Books to Spice Up Summertime
by Olivia Atwood on Friday, June 8th, 2012
Summer is a time to kick back, relax, and prop open a book as you recline in a beach chair. With that in mind, here are some excellent poolside reads for the summer months. So grab a book, stretch out in the sun, and get reading!
First, take a look at Room, by Emma Donoghue. This book details the haunting tale of a mother and her child who are held captive in a one-room shed for five years. Inspired by the events of the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping, the story is told by the five-year-old son of the kidnapped woman. This boy, Jack, knows nothing beyond that one room. The tale is suspenseful and long enough to last any plane ride. I myself have read it twice, and each time I am hooked by Donoghue’s voice as she tells the stunning story from Jack’s perspective.
If you find yourself craving humor, open Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And other concerns), by Mindy Kaling. If you know me, then you’re probably constantly annoyed by my obsession with Ms. Kaling, television writer and star of NBC’s hit comedy series, The Office. I want to be her. Through her humorous, touching, and inspiring book, Kaling describes her work in television and her childhood with such a candid voice and such honest humor that you can’t stop reading. Honestly. I carried this book with me everywhere.
Rachel Dratch’s newest book Girl Walks Into a Bar has the same raw and comic tone as Kaling’s memoir, but tells a completely different story. While we as readers always hear the success stories from wildly accomplished and funny actresses like Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler, we almost never hear the voices of the less successful. Dratch’s book describes what it is like to not hit it big in Hollywood: to be constantly ignored or given undesirable roles because of Hollywood’s impossible beauty standards. Heartbreaking and fascinating, Girl Walks into a Bar is narrated with the comedy, charisma, and honesty that only Dratch possesses.
The Last American Man, by Elizabeth Gilbert, takes us to the wild. Gilbert, the acclaimed author of bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, tries her hand at a different type of story in this inspiring wilderness adventure. Based on the true story of Eustace Conway, The Last American Man tells the tale of a man who decided to abandon his suburban life and live in the wild for 20 years.
My mom loves it. Having recommended it to several of her friends, she says the novel is fascinating as it breaks down one man’s life completely and then rebuilds it in a totally different setting. Gilbert’s most recent novel has been acclaimed by literary critics as well: The Houston Chronicle raves that “Gilbert has written what may be her best book yet.” It’s a lesser-known book by a well-known author, and the careful style and poignant tone used with the story is utterly breathtaking. The perfect read for a car ride or a day on the porch, this book will leave you thinking.
Those three books are simply a sampling of all the material available to read this summer. There are funny books, sad ones, touching ones, and true ones. So whatever you do this summer, get out and pack a book with you. Keep reading, and have a great break.
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