Inspire Great Reading for Summer 2017
Today is the first day of summer. The summer solstice is upon us, meaning that today is the longest day of the year. While this blog post is devoted to reading suggestions, I do recommend staying outside and soaking up the summer sun on the longest day of the year. Lay out in the fields and watch the sunset fade to rich blue with twinklings of stars.
Once you're done enjoying the summer air, go inside and then read a good book before you head to bed. Stay up all night if you want to--because those are the best nights, in my opinion. Last night, I stayed up far too late reading the first book on my list of suggestions.
1. Rainbow Rowell - "Landline"
|"Landline" by Rainbow Rowell|
"Landline" was the perfect book for me to begin my summer reading. Rainbow Rowell is the acclaimed author of the bestseller "Eleanor & Park," one of my favorite books to this date. Rowell writes real characters--people I imagine I would know in real life. She's a realist writer, therefore all of her topics revolve around relationships, family life, and careers.
"Landline" is a modern science fiction story, but it definitely doesn't feel like science fiction. Television screenwriter Georgie McCool (Isn't that a cool name for a character?) finally has her chance to write her own television show with her writing partner, Seth. But, this means she must stay home for Christmas instead of traveling to Nebraska with her husband and two young children to visit his mother. Her husband, Neal, leaves and it feels very familiar to the time in college when he broke up with her.
Georgie visits the past each time she uses the landline phone at her mother's house. She hopes Neal answers--wanting to make things right with him. Maybe she can fix the things in their past that always seemed impossible in the present? Maybe they could have a happy marriage? Maybe they can start all over...and maybe not start at all and live separate lives?
"Landline" is a romantic heart-wrenching story, but it's also hilarious with a comical collection of characters--including a two-year-old girl who likes to say "meow" instead of "hello." Now, I haven't finished this story, so I don't know what will happen to these characters, but the way Rowell has written her characters, I hope for the best.
2. Daniel Riley - "Fly Me"
|Daniel Riley's "Fly Me"|
Set in the early 1970s, the California lifestyle begins to sink into Suzy. Does she get wrapped up in a drug smuggling scheme? Then there's the case of severe aircraft hijacking. Is Suzy at the center of the drama? Or, is she too caught in the mess to find her way out?
"Fly Me" is Riley's debut novel, and it's the perfect balance between focus and fantasy.
3. Patricia Lockwood - "Priestdaddy: A Memoir"
|Patricia Lockwood's "Priestdaddy: A Memoir"|
But now the poet has published a memoir, "Priestdaddy: A Memoir." Lockwood is the daughter of a Catholic priest, but he's not your typical picture of a Catholic priest. He conducts family meetings in his underwear. He carries a gun, drinks Baileys Irish Cream, and hates felines. Just like Lockwood, he's, well, eccentric.
The memoir brings a new dimension to the idea of being a "priest's daughter." It's a 'laugh out loud' piece of creative nonfiction. The Lockwood family feels like your own family.
4. F. Scott Fitzgerald - "The Great Gatsby"
|F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"|
I call Fitzgerald my literary boyfriend. He's my favorite author. His prose is poetic and enticing, but also, he gave me one of my favorite literary characters of all time--Jay Gatsby. I'm sure most of you reading this blog post read "The Great Gatsby" in high school, but have you returned to it since then? Have you traveled back in time to the roaring 1920s, when the parties were louder and the American dream was on everyone's mind?
While not everyone agrees that "The Great Gatsby" is an American classic--"the great American novel"--I don't care. Even though I have read this novel multiple times (I'll say seven), I would pick it up again this summer. I would read it outside, sipping pink lemonade and relaxing under the summer sunshine.
Plus, there's that Fitzgerald prose.
5. Jessica Lee - "Turning: A Swimming Memoir"
|Jessica Lee's "Turning: A Swimming Memoir"|
"Turning: A Swimming Memoir" is Lee's debut novel. It documents her attempt to swim in 52 German lakes over 52 weeks. Why do this? She has a desire to overcome a broken heart, and with each push and pull in the water, she hauls herself from the depression.
If anything, this piece of creative nonfiction will convince you to get out of the house, jump into the water and swim. I know I don't need to be convinced.
Reading is inspiration on the page. While I'm reading Rainbow Rowell's "Landline," I'm inspired by the dynamic characters. I continually find myself inspired by new writing. Maybe I'll go write my own new piece of poetry or creative nonfiction, and I credit the inspiration from the books I read.
Inspire great reading for this summer. If you have a book you absolutely love, tell your friends. Suggest these readings because the works need to be read. If you have books filling up your bookcase, pick one up and start reading. You never know what you'll find.
You might just be inspired.