Is anyone else excited that summer is almost here? On the off chance anyone has some down time this summer, let’s discuss: which are the best books to read for fun? Which are the thrillers you couldn’t put down — the rom-coms that warmed your heart — the memoirs that made you laugh, cry, think? Which authors do you eagerly follow and read pretty much anything they write, and which best sellers were worth the hype?
I’m happy to report that I’m reading books again — a few months ago I got a Kindle Paperwhite after hearing readers raving about them, and so I’ve been getting a ton of books out of the library as well as buying old favorites to “keep” on my Kindle. I’m also a fan (particularly for nonfiction or memoirs) of getting audio books out of the library. Some of my recent reads (and likes):
Fiction I’ve Enjoyed Recently:
- Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins — Yes, I just got around to this. I didn’t like it as much as I liked Gone Girl, which still sticks with me. I’ve been trying to clear out my Pocket reading list, and found all these old articles I’d saved about Gone Girl, including an old New Yorker article comparing it to We Need to Talk About Kevin — that book looks like a much heavier subject matter (especially as a mom to two boys) but I may try to get into it.
- Where’d You Go Bernadette?, by Maria Semple. A few friends and I were going to start a book club and someone chose this one as the first book — we actually never got around to discussing the book, but I read it and enjoyed it a lot.
- Twenties Girl: A Novel, by Sophie Kinsella. Kinsella is one of those authors that I’ll read pretty much anything she writes, and I hadn’t read this one yet, so I did. It wasn’t my favorite book of hers, but it’s a solid, enjoyable book. (My all time favorite of hers is The Undomestic Goddess — I highly recommend, especially to Corporette readers. I also was surprised by how much I enjoyed I’ve Got Your Number: A Novel.) (Word to the wise, with any Kinsella or other book written by someone who churns out content (Stephen King, Julia Quinn, whatever) — don’t binge read several books at once!)
- The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I mentioned this a few months ago, and it’s a solid, enjoyable book loosely based on Wils/K-Mid’s romance. Here’s a free Kindle preview (first 7 chapters).
Non-Fiction Books I’ve Enjoyed Recentlyish
- #GirlBoss, by Sophia Amoruso – Yes, yes, I just got around to reading this one — I love that The Washington Post apparently called this “Lean In for Misfits.” I got the audiobook out from the library and died laughing on a few walks — her story is really inspiring to me.
- Bossypants, by Tina Fey. I loved this book, although admittedly I read it a few years ago now. I liked it better than Mindy Kaling’s book, though, which I read more recently (well, halfway through), and I have yet to read Amy Poehler’s book (it’s on my short list!). I’ve also been thinking of reading Nora Ephron — I’d love any other suggestions in the funny-lady genre if you have any favorites.)
- The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson, by Jeffrey Toobin — This book was the basis for FX’s American Crime Story, and I remembered liking the book a lot when I first read it for a college class, so I thought it might be interesting to reread.
- Nutrition books: The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body, by Cameron Diaz – I got this out as an audiobook after hearing great things about it. I’m only halfway through — it’s nothing new if you’re into nutrition, but it’s solid advice, told in an interesting way. A similar but older book that I enjoyed reading: Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, by Gary Taubes. Also along these lines: VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good, by Mark Bittman — I got this out of the library and it’s a great book to flip through and get ideas for vegan meals. (I am by no means a vegan, but the older I get the more I think that the more vegetables and legumes and whole grains, the better.)
- I read this book a while ago, but an honorable mention to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua — this woman is Intense with a capital I, but I thought it was a really enjoyable read, even if you aren’t entirely sure who you’re rooting for in the book — and it’s the kind of book I’m sure I’ll reread later. The Barcelona vacation chapter has stayed with me…
Old Favorite Books I’m Due to Reread
- Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. I haven’t reread it in a few years and I’d like to — it’s such a dense book chock full of statistics. (Check out the Corporette discussion of Lean In here, as well as a list of the other best business books for women.)
- The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess – readers turned me on to this book and the last time I tried to follow the workout plan in it, I didn’t really read the beginning of the book — I’m going through it more slowly now and finding lots of good stuff. I wish there were a more recent version, but I do think a lot of what they talk about is evergreen. I seem to remember that they’ve got a website or FB group or something that offers more updated info, so I’ve got to look into that. Check out our last discussion of lifting for women (as well as other resources) if you’re curious for more info.
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Tim Ferris — I keep meaning to reread this book. If you’re at all interested in trying something entrepreneurial for yourself, I urge you to read this book.
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell. I love everything Gladwell writes — this book has stayed with me for years and it’s definitely time for a reread.
- The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. I haven’t read this book in years and with the reboot coming, now is a great time to reread it. (Any other favorite Atwood books? I haven’t read a novel of hers in years.)
- White Noise, by Don DeLillo. I first read this book in my mid-20s and adored it — gobbled it up! — and several scenes from the book have stayed with me through the years. I really want to reread it now that I’ve got kids. I’m also due to reread The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon, another old favorite.
- To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. I’m not hugely into sci fi, but I reread this book every few years — it’s a fun blend of time traveling / rom-com / history. If you are into sci fi, though, I got this book for my husband based on reader suggestions here as it being better than Game of Thrones, and he loved it.
- Honorable mentions for nonfiction for writers and other creators: On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King. I definitely need to reread this, because it’s been too long. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield is also great, as is The Tools: Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity, by Phil Stutz and Barry Michaels (I loved the audiobook verison of The Tools in particular.)
- Honorable mentions if you’re trying to lose weight — I found all of these books to have a great perspective on eating, and would heartily recommend taking a look if this is something you struggle with: French Women Don’t Get Fat, by Mireille Guiliano, The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person, by Judith S. Beck (much more about the psychology behind it — looks like she has a newer one too that I’ll have to add to my reading list), and Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting, by Bethenny Frankel.
- Honorable mentions for short stories: If you’re into Very Good Writing in Short Form, some of my favorite collections of short stories include Good Bones and Simple Murders, by Margaret Atwood, 40 Stories by Donald Barthelme, and Stranger Things Happen, by Kelly Link.
Ladies, let’s hear it — what are you eager to read this summer? What have you read recently that you really enjoyed? What’s your favorite kind of book to read, and how does it compare to podcasts, magazines, blogs, etc? (Check out our last discussion of the best podcasts for working women, as well as my favorite magazines — and our last discussion on brain candy books.)