7 Summer Must Reads

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's summer!! Aka the perfect time to make good on that "read more" resolution you made at the beginning of every the year.

I'm all about variety in allll things in life (my one exception would be all them fancy bubble tea flavors, will order classic black tea till the day I die), so I hope this summer reading list covers a good assortment of genres - all have also been bestsellers at some point in time (if they're not still) so I'm not pitching any of that obscure-indie-book jazz. But they've got to be bestsellers for a reason right?

Anddd my answer is a resounding yes - presenting my 7 must read books for summer:

1. Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann
A solid read especially if you're traveling! Made up of interrelated stories & set in the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, it's easy to pick up and put down when you need to. A seemingly unrelated monk, prostitute, and hippie couple brought together by a man in a tightrope - seems like just a bunch of stories on the surface, but truly, McCann's greater statement is worth pondering.

2. The Opposite of Loneliness - Marina Keegan
I picked up this book (a posthumous compilation of fiction & nonfiction short pieces) in large part due to the author. I felt Marina's work might have an extra degree of relevance considering the similar stage in life I'm/we're in. It's true, she has an extraordinary degree of insight and authenticity for someone so "young" - and her process of verbalizing it all thought-inspiring to say the least.

Murakami may not be everyone's cup of tea, and I haven't read his other works (Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84, etc), but I personally think this man is a bloody genius. He so artfully weaves through being in this world yet not of this world and somehow speaks a narrative that actually makes you feel. He carries you through the darker spectrum of human emotion, and whether you've personally experienced it or not, it's very much worth the introspective double take you'll enter on life.

4. Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand
We're not mentioning the movie here. Lord, I don't know how anyone could live up to this book (okay, except maybe the man Zamperini himself). This man's story - it's unsettling and uplifting and everything in between; I'm still incredulous beyond belief. And then the way Hillenbrand brings it to life, the way she utilizes big pretty words with such clarity, the way she objectively yet powerfully portrays the life of an incredible, incredible (yes, worth the double adjective) man…purchasing this book was concurrently the best and worst decision of that ultrabusy week of the school year.

5. All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
Still kicking myself in the foot for forgetting to order this one. Whoops, I'll get to it.

Is it weird to say this man is my spirit author? On second thought, maybe he's not really, 'cause I could never dream of comparing my writing to his. But damn, I would love to write like he does. I don't often laugh out loud when I read, but his dry wit and sassy undertones never fail to make my heart smile. (Plus the last line of this book? My heart basically burst into tears smiling.)

7. The Color of Water - James McBride
You could say this book is socially relevant given its centrality on race relations. McBride notes it in his afterword - "hard line intellectuals have already had a field day with this book, using it to promote every sort of sociopolitical ideology…[but] the plain truth is that you'd have an easier time standing in the middle of the Mississippi River and requesting that it flow backwards than to expect people of different races and backgrounds to stop loving each other, stop marrying each other, stop starting families, stop enjoying the dreams that love inspires."

Mental, physical, psychological, spiritual - any type of pain - name it, and it's probably in here. Stories of suffering are neither the easiest to relate nor read, but they are so, so beautiful. I can only hope if someone wrote a book about my life it would burst of love like the God-given love that sustained McBride's family through all life's tribulations and joys alike.

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