Sadly, I have not done a ton of reading this summer. In 2016, I read lots of books, so this year I set the bar pretty high for myself to read even more. Unfortunately, given the fact that it’s already August, I don’t see myself reading 65 books in 2017. This is probably going to end up being the least I’ve read in a year in long time, and I feel majorly guilty about it. But, my life is way different this year than it was last year (schedule wise), so I know that is partly to blame, and I don’t want reading to become a “numbers” thing with a lot of pressure associated with it for me. But still, I just feel like I am depriving myself of the joy and relaxation that comes with reading, so that has been tough. Am I the only one that feels that guilt and sadness? It probably sounds really silly (it sounds that way even to me, a little bit), but it’s a real thing that I think about! I always feel like I should be squeezing in more time to read, and I definitely need to limit my social media scrolling time. Working on it!
But anyways, the point of this post is not to focus on all the books I haven’t read (even though there are a lot). Instead, I wanted to run through my favorite reads of the summer thus far. It’s National Book Lover’s Day, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to post this.
I’m still hoping to fit a few more in before the fall hits, and some of my holds that I’ve been waiting on forever have been coming through from the library, so that’s really motivating me to buzz through more pages every day. I also have a few plane rides coming up, which is usually a great opportunity for me to fit in some quality and uninterrupted Kindle time. For now, though, here are a few reviews of titles that I recommend adding to your TBR list.
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
I’m going to start with a book I read in May (that counts as summer, right?). Chris Bohjalian is one of my favorite authors and I really admire his writing style and the way he tells a story. This book was great. Someone had told me that it was a little bit graphic in describing childbirth, so I was a bit hesitant about it at first. But, I am very squirmish when it comes to reading about medical things, and I didn’t find this novel to be graphic at all. It’s the story of a midwife who leads women through at-home deliveries. One fateful night, a birth goes wrong, and a trial ensues that engulfes a Vermont town in the dramatic saga. The book switches points of view and largely focuses on the daughter’s outlook, which I really liked. I thought this was well-written and was fast-paced enough to keep my attention. I also had no idea what was coming next through the whole novel, which is always nice! Notably, this book was chosen for Oprah’s book club list in 1998 – so it’s an oldie but goodie for sure, people.
Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
This has been one of my favorite reads of the summer so far, hands down. This is a story about a woman who is a little bit misguided in her life, and she stumbles upon the job of being an NYC prep school’s admissions counselor. I thought that this book was light-hearted, witty, and a highly enjoyable to read. It reminded me of Curtis Sittenfeld’s writing style (swoon), so it was an instant love in my book. It’s the perfect novel to read on the beach, so don’t miss out! I’m looking forward to seeing what else Amy Poeppel writes.
Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Jodi Picoult (GOAT) recommended this book on Twitter, so I was really excited to read it. It turns out that my excitement was met with adoration, as this was an interesting and complex read that kept me hooked the whole way through. I will say that when I first started reading this book, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the different characters, because there are a lot and the POV switches from one chapter to the next. It ended up being really easy to learn who was who and follow their twisted storylines, though, so don’t let that discourage you. All in all, this was a highly engaging read that covered some timely issues in a tasteful and interesting way. This book was also very different than what I typically read, so that was refreshing. I would highly recommend!
One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline
Lisa Scottoline puts out one “emotional thriller” a year (she puts out several other books in her various mystery series each year, too), and this was it for 2017. I love Lisa Scottoline and have been absolutely enamored with some of her previous emotional thrillers (most notably Keep Quiet and Don’t Go), but the past couple have not been my favorite. I didn’t love Most Wanted or Every Fifteen Minutes, but I was cautiously optimistic about this year’s novel. With that being said, I’m happy to say that I absolutely loved this book. It was gripping, well-written, and had characters that were easy to like and to become invested in. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, since there are a bunch of twists in this book, but let’s just say that you won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for something fast-paced. I absolutely had to know what was going to happen next, so I raced through this book (then was naturally sad when it was over). Don’t miss out on this book – it’s the perfect summer read if you love a good thriller.
The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff
I saw this book while perusing Amazon Books (yes, we are lucky enough to have one of their storefronts here in Chicago, and it is actually awesome, although I just browse because I’m a loyal Kindle reader) and after reading the description on the back I immediately added it to my hold list from the library. I think I started at place 119 in line, so it was a long wait. But it was so worth it! If you enjoyed books like The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah or Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, you will love this book. It is very easy to get into this story. It follows a young woman who escapes from Holland during WWII and ends up rescuing a newborn baby and joining a circus. It’s a very interesting perspective on the time period and is unlike any other historical fiction book I’ve read. It also has an insanely high Goodreads rating, which is a tell-tale sign that it’s a well received book across the board. It’s probably the best book I’ve read so far this summer (perhaps even in 2017 thus far) and I’ll be thinking about it for a long time to come.
Up next is this summer’s Nancy Thayer novel (light and summery read!) and The Dry by Jane Harper, which I’ve heard amazing things about. I’ll keep you posted, but keep up with everything I read through my Goodreads account.