Lately I have been stealing moments throughout each day to read. I’ve also recently (finally!) updated my Goodreads profile (friend me here).
There’s something magical about laying beach or poolside during the summer, immersed in a great book. Or maybe you prefer porch lounging, or laying in a hammock in the yard or while camping. Maybe you are traveling for the summer, and have a beloved book stashed in your backpack. You could read to pass the time on a train or airplane. If you’re just working per usual this summer, unable to get outside during the day, you can still try to escape from the office during your lunch break; when I lived and worked in New York, I used to sneak across the street to a bench in Central Park during the summer, any time that it was possible for me to step out for lunch.
Obviously, summer reading holds a nostalgic place in my heart; and unlike most nostalgia, this activity is still pleasant in the present! So, here are the ten books that I have already read, am currently reading, or plan to read before the end of Summer 2016:
By Susan Casey
The moment I opened the book and read the first paragraph of the prologue, this writer’s prose blew me away. I was not expecting such expert composition from a book that frankly looks a little cheesy from the cover. Also, I am not a particularly huge fan of animals in general or dolphins in particular, but my dad gave me this book for Christmas, insisting it was special. Well, in the past 24 hours I’ve devoured half of it, and am not only a converted dolphin fan, but also a Susan Casey fan. I will definitely be looking for her other two nonfiction books after this (one about waves and the other sharks; both perfect for summer beach reading or daydreaming).
By Anodea Judith
I am almost done with this book and I am OBSESSED. For any yogi who is in or interested in psychotherapy, this is for you. Using the insights, information and practices in this book, I feel like I have immediately overcome some personal healing hurdles that have been plaguing me for years. Of course healing is a process, but if you’re feeling stuck in any way, or drawn to the chakras but want more information, read this book!
John H. Johnson Ph.D. and Mike Gluck
I haven’t started reading this book yet, but it sounds up the alley of Stephen Dubner and Malcolm Gladwell, both writers whose work I enjoy. This line in the book’s description intrigued me: The average person consumes approximately 30 gigabytes of data every single day, but has no idea how to interpret it correctly… EVERYDATA explains, through the eyes of an expert economist and statistician, how to decipher the small bytes of data we consume.
By Paul Grilley
This book is short and to the point, but an extremely clear and useful guide to what Yin Yoga is, why you should practice it, and how. Summer is a particularly good time to balance out excess heat (especially for Pitta doshas) with a cooling practice like Yin. As Yoga Journal pointed out: teacher and author Maya Tiwari writes, “The doshas are not simply the dynamic energy within the body; rather, they are influenced primarily by seasonal variations.” As summer heats up, we become prone to accumulating excess pitta. If we already possess a pitta prakriti (nature), we’re at an even higher risk of becoming out of balance. So if you don’t already have a Yin practice, this is the perfect time to start.
by Flannery O’Connor
Total honesty: I bought this book because I loved the cover. Also, I have never been into short stories, but I am interested in them all of a sudden. I think it’s important to have at least one challenging and/or classic work on a Summer Reading list. I’ve read two of these short stories so far, and one was poignant, beautiful and resonated with me; the other was confusing and I think its meaning went over my head. But I will keep going! If anyone is an O’Connor fan and wants to discuss some of these, please let me know.
By Jay Strongman
This is a quick, easy summer read that is mystery/thriller and makes you want to throw a tiki party, or at least drink a mai tai. Perfect to take with you if you are actually on vacation in Hawaii or California. Read my full review here.
By Paolo Coelho
We were required to read this book in one of my middle school English classes, and I was way too inexperienced to appreciate it. In fact, I didn’t like it at all when I first read it. Now that I am a little older and wiser, and I consider myself on a spiritual life journey, this book (which is really a fable) was completely endearing to me. I was finally ready for its wisdom. This is the kind of book that gives hope to those of us with some life experience, and I imagine comfort to those of us with a lot. I read this book literally in one afternoon at the beach, and highly recommend it to anyone else who is on a journey, or who believes that things happen for a reason.
By Emma Cline
Everyone (on my social media feed and book podcasts I listen to) has been talking about this book, so when I saw a signed copy on sale at Costco last week, I grabbed it. It’s set during the summer in the late 1960’s (perfect for my aforementioned summer reading nostalgia) and sounds gripping: it’s a coming-of-age story involving a cult.
YOUNG ADULT (YA)
By Gregory Maguire
If you know me, you know I love Children’s Literature and YA, and did even before Divergent and Hunger Games came out (which I’m also a fan of, of course). I think that anyone who grew up loving Harry Potter (and I was part of the cohort who was the same age as Harry when each book was released) will just have a soft spot for YA forever. Does anyone else agree with this? Anyways, I enjoyed Gregory Maguire’s fiction books for adults, Wicked and the rest of that series, so I’m interested to read this YA book of his, which is set in Russia, where my ancestors are from. Doesn’t this review just draw you in? “A beautiful reminder that fairy tales are at their best when they illuminate the precarious balance between lighthearted childhood and the darkness and danger of adulthood.” — School Library Journal. Sadly, I rented this book from the library but didn’t get around to reading it before it was due (which was Fourth of July weekend, so I had to return it rather than renew). I’ll have to go back for it soon!
By Jessica Khoury
I stumbled upon this book in the public library next to my house. It was a fast, easy read, and definitely a page-turner. While I would only rate this book three out of five stars, due to some inconsistencies in the story, I have to admit that I was thoroughly engrossed in it, and very much enjoyed the book overall. The protagonist is the one and only immortal human, living secretly in the Amazon jungle with only the scientists who created her. If you want an easy, quick and entertaining sci-fi YA book (and one that isn’t about a dystopian future or vampires) this is a good one. It’s also the first book in a trilogy called Corpus, which I plan to read the rest of, so you can continue on if you’d like (but this book does wrap up nicely if you’re not interested in continuing on and reading all three).