I haven’t been doing as much reading as I normally like. I’m lucky if I can squeeze in ten pages before my eyes can’t stay open any longer before I go to bed. Even our vacations have been so go-go-go that it’s not like I’m sitting on a beach with a good book. (Now that I think about it, I think I’m going to head to the beach this weekend and do just that!)
I have checked a few books off my reading list for the summer.
Let’s start with my favorite book so far: The Ramblers. This book had been sitting on my nightstand for a while and I kind of wish I had read it sooner. I was in a bit of a reading rut, and this was the perfect read. Right before I started reading it, I thought the name of the author sounded familiar, and I remembered that I’ve been to one of Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s Happier Hours when I lived in the city! Maybe that made me like the book even more, but I swear it’s a great novel. A fast read without being a “fluffy” read. Each chapter is from a different character’s perspective over the course of a week. I was hooked on the storyline and loved the New York City references. Highly recommend!!!
I also read Modern Lovers and really got into it. I loved Emma Straub’s The Vacationers, so I had high hopes for Modern Lovers. It didn’t disappoint, although I think I liked The Vacationers better. The plot moves slowly, which normally would bother me, but there’s something about the way Straub slowly adds layers to the story and characters that’s a bit mesmerizing. This also follows different characters, and their children, around Brooklyn as they deal with growing up and growing old.
One of my first summer reads was The Madwoman Upstairs. I wasn’t sure that I’d like this and ended up loving it. Sometimes the whole Bronte sisters/Jane Austen thing can come off like an overplayed schtick, but it worked nicely here and felt new and fresh. The book follows the heiress to the Bronte sisters’ “fortune” as she navigates life at Oxford University, lingering family drama, and a scavenger hunt of sorts left by her dad.
I also read The After Party and The Girls. I loved Anton DiSclafani’s The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls but couldn’t get into The After Party as much. It’s about socialites in Dallas and basically their trials and tribulations throughout life. My major problem with it was that the main character bored me, although her best friend Joan’s life was way more interesting. And you don’t really get to the bottom of that until the very end of the book, unfortunately.
I had heard incredible things about The Girls and that it was the book of the summer and everything. (Emma Cline, the author, sold the book for a whopping $2 million.) I listened to it on audiotape, and maybe reading it would have been more enjoyable, but I could not get into it for the life of me. I had (and still have) very little interest in the Charles Manson murders which is the foundation of the entire plot. I get that the book is very well-written, but not everything needs a 15-word descriptor. (I think this is what made the audiobook so unbearable… no skimming through the excessive details.)
Have you read any great books this summer? I’m currently reading, and enjoying, The Singles Game.
PS Here are some other suggestions for summer reading.