Friday, June 21, 2013


The elusive perfect summer reading list. My philosophy is: it’s summer, read whatever you want! Personally, I like to read thrillers/mysteries, books that make me laugh over and over, books I’ve been meaning to read for months, new books by my favorite authors, and enthralling nonfiction. Basically, I want books that will keep my attention because summer is full of fun, non-book related distractions. -LeAnna

Here are some of our summer reading recommendations:

What better time to explore happiness than summer?

“In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and Julia, The Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.” (Goodreads)

After marathoning The Mindy Project I realized how much I love Minday Kaling. And what better way to go from love to obsession than reading her book?

“In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.” (Goodreads)

This book will definitely get you thinking about Paris, and is a great read if you're in the mood for a good story.

“A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley...A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.” (Goodreads)

This book will definitely change the way you think about food, and will definitely make you want to head to your local farmer's market.

“Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between carnivore and vegetarian. As he became a husband and a father, he kept returning to two questions: Why do we eat animals? And would we eat them if we knew how they got on our dinner plates? Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, and his own undercover detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales justify a brutal ignorance. Marked by Foer's profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, huge bestsellers, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we've told--and the stories we now need to tell.” (Goodreads)

I learned so much about Diane, the fashion industry, and running a business from this book. DVF has led an extraordinary life, and has become a fashion and style icon.

“The frank and compelling story of an extraordinary woman and her adventures in fashion, business, and life.“Most fairy tales end with the girl marrying the prince. That's where mine began,” says Diane Von Furstenberg. Von Furstenberg lived the American Dream before she was thirty, building a multimillion-dollar fashion empire while raising two children and living life in the fast lane. Her wrap dress, a cultural phenomenon in the seventies, hangs in the Smithsonian Institution; her entry into the beauty business in 1979 was as serendipitous and as successful.” (Goodreads)

Kim is currently reading Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson and Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington.

I received this book as a gift in February and have only now got around to starting it. I love the description and with my love of music, I think this will be the perfect summer read.

“Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.” (Goodreads)

YA literature is one of my favorite genres and I can’t wait to read this spy story.

“Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called "a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel" in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.” (Amazon)

I’ve been a Sarah Dessen fan ever since my freshman year of high school. I love her writing style and I’m excited I have a new Dessen book to dive into this summer. 

“Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.” (Goodreads)

I love retelling of classic stories and can’t wait to devour this book as I sit on my patio.

“For this retelling of the classic Arabic tales, Beirut-born al-Shaykh translated 19 of the originals and, beginning with its traditional frame story, embeds narrative within narrative to create a striking new version. To counter "the cunning and deceit of women," King Shahrayar beds a new wife each night only to have her killed in the morning. But his vizier's daughter, Shahrazad, vows to save the kingdom's girls by marrying the king and then telling him stories that so enthrall him that he can't kill her. From that opening, the stories build and fold in on themselves until we find ourselves back at the beginning. These stories pulse with sex, magic, and moral ambiguities; while terrible violence underscores moments of pure beauty. Guests are invited into a home only to encounter terrible cruelty; a woman becomes king so she can be a beacon for her lost love; a man plucks his eye for the pain he caused his family. Why retread such well-worn territory? In her foreword al-Shaykh (Women of Sand and Myrrh) speaks of rediscovering her own Arab roots while recognizing the power these ancient women held. Suprising and delightful, al-Shaykh's masterful work has restored the tale to contemporary relevance.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

I actually started reading this book months ago, but my life took a chaotic turn and I had to put my reading on hold. Yet I still remember every detail of the 100-odd pages I read, and I am really looking forward to being able to dive into this captivating story again. 

“Marriage can be a real killer.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.” (Goodreads)

LeAnna is currently reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and A Visit from the Goon Squad

Do you have summer reads you want to share? What are you most excited about reading this summer?


  1. I want to read all of these books. But next on my list is something I've read each summer fro the last two years, so it's time to reread it again: The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, by Walter Moers.

  2. I love psychological thrillers and I am always looking for ones out there with decent character development and I do also love a good twist ending! I will definitely check out “Gone Girl” (thank you!). I thought I would recommend a fantastic murder mystery/psychological thriller called “The Gemini Factor” by author Philip Fleishman ( This book features two detectives in two different countries dealing with identical murders and come to find out later, they are living very similar lives too! The book has so many twists and turns that I couldn’t put it down and the ending blew me away. It is the author’s first novel, and he is already being compared to Michael Crichton and Robin Cook! I highly recommend it and hope you will give it a read