Saturday, June 8, 2013

Beyond 30 Books: Lots. Of. Books.

Last Sunday night, I was sitting in our apartment, deep in a book.

Chris turned and asked, "Did you read that whole book today?"

"Yep!" I responded. "Summer."

I make so much more time for reading in the summer, and it's truly one of my favorite things. In just the past month, I have finished five different books - two last weekend alone. Since I have had a lot of friends asking for recommendations for summer reading, I've put them all in one place, rather than doing a post for each one.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
This is a book that I got from my mom, who sad it was a must-read. I concur.

If you are looking for a book to add to your list this summer, this is a beautiful story. The novel jumps back and forth between WWII and present day (or closer to it), to tell the story of Henry, a young Chinese boy, and Keiko, his first love, a Japanese girl who he meets at school while working the lunch line together. Their relationship becomes complicated, both by his strict father's anti-Chinese sentiments, and the looming Japanese internment across the country. In modern, day, Henry searches for something that was lost during this time in the abandoned Panama Hotel, while deciding how to share these memories with his college-age son.

I don't want to give too much of the story away, so I'll stop there. Just know that it is a beautiful, moving story with an in-depth look at a very ugly piece of American history. I was a little late to the game in finding this book, so don't delay in finding your own copy.

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
We are reading Decisive by the Heath Brothers for our office. I was excited that we picked this, as I enjoyed the concepts from Made to Stick and Switch, their two earlier books. The book looks at strategies for better decision making and provides examples from a number of different companies, both large and small. One of the reasons that I like their books is that they break things down really well into easy to understand concepts, but also provide a lot of additional resources too. I think I will be able to use this for decisions large and small, both at work and at home.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl. Who hasn't heard about it at this point? It's been on my list of books to read for awhile, and I finally broke down and used one of my last Audible credits to get it. It did not disappoint. The book goes back and forth from chapter to chapter from Nick, the husband, and the journal entries of Amy, his wife, who has disappeared. Nick is the main suspect, and each chapter provides new insights into their relationship that keep you wanting to learn more about what happened to her. If you enjoy audiobooks, this is a great one - the first person narration back and forth between the two is very well done. Just make sure you have plenty of time to listen.

Defending Jacob by William Landay
I joined a new book club, and this is our June pick. We are actually discussing it on Monday - I am looking forward to hearing about others' reactions. This book is a good courtroom drama, in which a high school student is found dead and the main suspect just happens to be the son of the assistant district attorney. One of the main plot points centers around the idea of the "murder gene" - does the capacity for violence pass genetically from one generation to the next?

The book builds to a very intense and surprising end that I definitely did not see coming. Okay, not totally true...I'll admit that I have a bad habit of reading the last few pages of a book first. So I kind of knew the end already. But never would have guessed how they got there.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
I'm not going to lie. I bought this one because I thought the cover was breathtaking. The story sounded pretty good too. It did not disappoint. In fact, this would make an excellent book club read. The novel weaves together the stories of a number of different characters from the 60s to modern day. From a small hotel on the coast of Italy to Hollywood, the author paints beautiful scenery and an intriguing story. I read it in a day, barely putting it down. Perhaps that says enough?

Up next: The Late Homecomer and Lean In. Oh, and the new Dan Brown book, as soon as I can get it from Chris. Need more reading ideas, here is a more complete list of what I've read.

What is on your summer reading list? What do you recommend?

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