Recent Reads / 05

Hello hello!

Happy Monday, dear friends. What’s new? How was your weekend? On my end, these summer days have been long and lovely; it’s certainly a change of pace from the school year, but I have little complaints about a schedule that includes day trips by the water, lazy movie nights, and homemade ice cream.

To my delight, I’ve also done a lot of reading this summer, in large thanks to a commute during which I can tackle my pile of library books and weekly meetings that have me reading and assessing new plays at work. Two months into my break (and numerous titles now read and adored), I thought I’d highlight some of the books I’ve enjoyed most. I leave you, then, with my highest recommendations, a few brief thoughts, and an important question: what have you read recently and recommend? :-)

Recent Reads 5[1] If French Milk is graphic novelist Lucy Knisley’s story of growing up, Kid Gloves is her delightful ode to parenthood. Chronicling the before, during, and after her first pregnancy, Knisley writes and draws with compelling honesty and humor, even when her journey presents its fair share of struggles. I’m years away from thinking about pregnancy, and yet the larger theme about how we discuss women’s health strikes a chord – and is presented with a welcome care. As a longtime Knisley fan, perhaps what is most exciting about Kid Gloves is the opportunity it presents to trace her growth as an artist and author parallel to her journey of becoming a mother. Needless to say, I have a feeling I’ll be suggesting this one for many months to come.

[2] I highlighted Dig back in January as one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and if my inability to put it down until I reached the end is any indication, it certainly delivers. True to King’s style, it’d told in a surrealist tone as readers are introduced to a “maze of tangled secrets” that connects potato farmers Gottfried and Marla to their children and grandchildren. Though it moves quickly, it remains a quiet read, one whose narrative is housed primarily in the inner (and intersecting!) thoughts of its large cast of characters. Dig’s impact, however, is profound, provoking readers to consider not only the voice of youth in the face of authority but also the hateful legacies of racism and abuse that extend generations. A worthy consideration for your TBR list, without a doubt. 

[3] After listening to author and artist Jenny Odell speak on a recent episode of Hurry Slowly, I was quick to request her book at the library. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy arrived quickly, and I devoured it at a similar pace, captivated by Odell’s inviting writing as well as her extensive research that spans artistic and scientific disciplines. She is frank from the start that she has no intention of writing a self-help book, and the final product sours far above it. It is both a call to action and an insightful meditation, prompting us to consider the act of “nothing” as an act of resistance. At risk of sounding like a broken record, let me just say that this has already landed a spot on my year-end list – and it’s likely I’ll soon be buying a copy for myself to reference and savor.

 [4] Finally, leave it to a YA veteran like Sarah Dessen to craft one of the strongest and sweetest contemporary novels I’ve read this year. Her latest, The Rest of the Story, finds the protagonist, Emma Saylor, reconciling the family she’s grown up with and the family she’s only now met when she moves in with her mother’s family for the summer. At her fourteenth book, Dessen has clearly perfected the beach town setting (North Lake pleased my Cape-Cod-loving heart), as well as her ability to develop an endearing ensemble of characters. I’ve taken to calling it “summertime bliss,” for Saylor’s coming-of-age is perfectly matched with a breezy romance, lakeside traditions, and imperfect but loyal family relations. A YA beach read doesn’t get much better than that.

Wishing you a wonderful week of warmth and rest.
B

Psst. I track all of my reading on Goodreads, so if you want more frequent updates on my five-star selections, please do come say hi here!

Top Ten 2016 Beach Reads

Hi!Top Ten TuesdayI look forward to reading in the summer as I do to a towering ice cream cone on a warm July day; in other words, it’s a treat that I couldn’t bear to miss. With two months off from school and little else to do, I like to fill my summer reading piles with a variety of authors and writing styles – is there any better time for bookworm exploration? – but if there’s one genre I make a priority come June, it’s beach reads, the lighter, fluffier stories that always leave me with a smile on my face.

Now that vacation is only two short weeks away and my reading pile is growing by the day, I couldn’t ask for a more fitting Top Ten Tuesday prompt: Beach Reads {how we approach the topic is left to us to decide}. I decided to take a cue from last year’s edition and pair stylish swimsuits with some of the contemporary novels on my TBR list, all of which have or will hit shelves this year. What books do you want to read this summer?

Before we begin, a reminder that Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Take a peek to find other books for your beach bag – and to link up a list of your own!

The Way Back to YouRoad trips stories are the epitome of the teenage summer, capturing all at once blossoming friendships, a sense of adventure, and the spontaneity of the season. They typically make for a fun read, and better yet, I have yet to find one I haven’t liked! The newest addition to the genre is The Way Back to You, a collaboration between authors Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott, and from its synopsis alone, I know it’ll find its way to me this summer. {swimsuit}

Summer of SloaneIf the sun-soaked cover of Erin L. Schneider’s debut doesn’t have you longing to be on the beaches of Hawaii, I don’t know what will. The novel, Summer of Sloane, has all the ingredients for the perfect beach read: a cute summer fling, a warm setting along the water, and storylines on friends and family.  To put it simply? In the beach bag it goes – right alongside the sunscreen, swimsuit, and towel! {swimsuit}

Summer in the Invisible CityI haven’t read Juliana Romano’s debut, nor have I been lucky enough to read her sophomore novel, Summer in the Invisible City, but from what I can tell, both books are right up my alley: coming-of-age stories with powerful emotional punches. It’s not the lighter style I typically save for the summertime, but nevertheless, its promise – a novel “whose characters will stay with you long into the fall” – is more than enough justification to bring it to the beach. {swimsuit}

Stars So Sweet Tara Dairman, author of the adorable All Four Stars series, has yet to disappoint, and I expect no different of a case when I grab hold of the third Gladys Gatsby installment, Stars So Sweet. As the series comes to close, Gladys is faced with a dilemma: can she meet with her editor and still keep her budding critic career a secret? This one isn’t set during the summer months, but even still, I’ll happily enjoy the cutie’s final adventure in July! {swimsuit}

Something NewLucy Knisley’s graphic memoir is the only nonfiction book of the bunch, but it sounds like a worthy summer read if I ever saw one! Knisley is known for her stunning travelogues, but Something New tackles a different story: her wedding preparations. If her past books are any indiction, these “tales from a makeshift bride” are sure to include hilarious anecdotes and colorful illustrations. I’ll need to grab it from the library soon! {swimsuit}

P.S. I Like YouThough I have put them on my TBR list posts time and time again, I have yet to pick up one of Kasie West’s adorable contemporary novels. It’s a mistake I’m determined to fix this summer, if only because I’m oh-so excited for the release of P.S. I Like You. West’s newest release follows the back-and-forth messages left between main character Lily and a secret pen-pal. It’s just the story I’ll want after wrapping up my AP Lit work for the summer. {swimsuit}

Lucky FewAn excellent premise or not, Kathryn Ormsbee’s Lucky Few would be added to my summer TBR pile based on its wonderfully illustrated cover alone! Fortunately, it sounds like a story both funny and sweet, a combination I’ll take any day of my vacation, as characters Stevie, Max, and Sanger attempt to check off all twenty-three items on their “Ways to Fake Death Without Dying” checklist. Perhaps I’ll order it as an end-of-the-year treat! {swimsuit}

Love and GelatoThe title of Jenna Evans Welch’s debut, Love and Gelato, has me dreaming of a trip to Italy, wandering the country’s streets with a cup of ice cream in hand. My wanderlust aside, I can’t ask for a better-looking read for any August afternoon. A brief summary: Lina travels to Italy on her mother’s wishes and ends up uncovering a mystery with her new friend – and possible crush – Ren. Yes please. {swimsuit}

Look Both WaysWith her adorable reality TV show romp, For Real, Alison Cherry secured herself a spot on my auto-read list, and now, with the release of her next novel, Look Both Ways, I hope only to reaffirm that position. Thankfully, it has so much that I love {theater, summer camp, first relationships} that I don’t think I’ll finish it disappointed. Will I even need to swim with this good of a book by my side? {swimsuit}

EligibleFinally, hand me a Jane Austen adaptation and read it I will. Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible has received much buzz in the publication world over the past few months, and I hope to carve out some time to read it myself this summer {along with a rewatch of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, of course!}. I can’t wait for an abundance of wit, the lines of subtle humor, and the modern takes of my favorite characters; if anyone can live up to Austen, I think Sittenfeld has proven herself well. {swimsuit}

Have a delightful Tuesday!

loving >> week 152

Hello!

The Love ListI’m loving…

The Paradise{via}

1 ♥ The Paradise I consider myself a Downton Abbey fan, but I have to admit that the last season was lost on me. The characters left no impression, I didn’t care for the storyline, and I’ll need a re-watch if I tune into the final episodes next year. Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist trying another British period drama {and new Netflix obsession}, The Paradise, and I am hooked. Starring the ever-so talented Joanna Vanderham and Emun Elliott, the show is set in 1875 in the first English department store. In an attempt to prolong my watching of the two seasons that it aired, I am only on Episode Four, but I can already recommend it for its developed storylines and gorgeous production design; hopefully, this high praise holds true into the second season before I move onto Mr. Selfridge, another department store drama. British television is the best.

Displacement2 ♥ Displacement While I love a good illustrated story as much as the next person, I had never considered myself a “graphic novel reader;” however, after thoroughly enjoying Relish, by Lucy Knisley, in January and her newest book, Displacement, just last week, I am quickly seeing the allure of graphic novels. Displacement recounts Knisley’s ten-day cruise trip to the Caribbean with her grandparents and explores the complex, if heavy, themes of mortality, purpose, and fear. The premise may sound depressing, but Knisley demonstrates incredible talent in balancing the deeper threads with humor and thought {her stunning watercolor illustrations are just an added bonus}. Next travelogue, please?!

Ever After3 ♥ Ever After My sister and I hold frequent movie nights – the crafty girls we are, a good film is the perfect background entertainment as we work on our latest creative projects. Our of our recent selections was Ever After, the 1998 Cinderella retelling starring Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston. I’m surprised I hadn’t seen this classic sooner; it was right up my alley, and I enjoyed it quite a bit! After seeing Disney’s Cinderella in movie theaters a few weeks ago {I adored that film too, not to worry!}, this historically set tale was a fun change of pace and comparing the two afterwards led to some interesting commentary. Have you watched Ever After?

Poncho{the kitty makes my morning}

4 ♥ Poncho / Moment I rarely “seek” out apps, preferring to discover new ones through blogs or on social media. Two of my new favorites were both found through A Cup of Jo, and I have loved using them! Poncho, while not an app, is an email/text service that sends you weather updates daily. As someone who shapes her wardrobe around the weather, I appreciate the convenience, but furthermore, the updates make me laugh – they are entirely welcome when I’ve come to hate the snow. Moment is another brilliant service, tracking your iPhone use on a daily basis. I’m sure I am not the only one who knows they can use their phone too much, so I love that this gives me an accurate measure of how much time I actually spend on it; in other words, it’s a nice wake-up call. What apps have you been loving lately?

Easter Bunny{via Alex T. Smith, one of my favorite artists}

5 ♥ Easter Finally, I’m looking forward to a relaxing Easter weekend with family and friends. This holiday always serves as a nice way to usher in spring, and this year, to be remembered for its never-ending winter, should be no different. The Easter basket goodies just make it all the better :) With that, I wish you the happiest of Fridays!

B