Friday, June 19, 2015

5 Books to Read this Summer

I love summer.  This is not because the temperatures are high or I like to hang out at the pool all day. I love summer because I am a school librarian and I get the summers off, which means I actually have a little time to read.  I enjoy easy reads in the summer and I always get asked for recommendations for books to read during those long awaited summer vacations at the beach.  So... here you go.  These are 5 of my favorite summer reads in no particular order:

1. Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave: This is a recently published book and I just finished reading it while I was spending a weekend in Charleston, SC.  I love wine and was attracted to this book solely for that reason.  Eight Hundred Grapes is a great read about a family that owns a small vineyard in California.  The youngest sibling, Georgia, is a L.A. lawyer and is supposed to get married at the vineyard in a week's time but discovers that her fiance is keeping a big secret.  She returns home to try and figure things out only to discover that her family members have some secrets of their own. 

2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: This is a young adult book, but a great read all the same.  It reminds me of Gone Girl in the sense that there is a surprise ending.  If you are one of those that like to read the last chapter first, don't do it with this one.  Trust me.  The surprise is worth the wait.  Click here to read the full review. 

3.  Landline by Rainbow Rowell:  Have I mentioned that I love Rainbow Rowell?  While I absolutely love all of her books, this is by far my favorite.  I read it in one sitting and wanted to start it over again as soon as I read the last page.  Click here to read the full review. 

4. Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple: This is a quirky read about a family whose mother goes missing.  15 year old, Bee, is determined to find out what happened to her mother.  The novel goes back in time and tells about the events leading up to Bernadette's disappearance.  I promise this one will have you laughing out loud. Click here to read the full review. 

5. South of Broad by Pat Conroy:  My husband and I have been super fortunate to be able to vacation in Charleston, SC over the years. It is one of my absolute favorite cities.  In this book, Pat Conroy tells the story of residents who live in the multi-million dollar homes south of Broad Street. His storytelling is superb and his characters are incredibly intriguing.  If you haven't visited this wonderful city, you will definitely want to once you finish this book.  Click here to read the full review. 

And here's what I plan to read over the summer:

1. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
2. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
3. The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
4. The Truth According to Us by Anne Barrows
5. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Lydia is the favorite child in a mixed race family.  At the beginning of this 1970's family drama, readers find out that Lydia is dead and her body has been found in the middle of the school lake. The remaining of the novel goes back in time and tells the story of how her death occurred via each of her family members.  We find out that James, her Chinese father, really wants Lydia to be popular at school because he was a bit of an outcast growing up.  Marilyn, her American mother, gave up a lot when she married James and got pregnant with their first child. She had big aspirations to be a doctor and not a housewife like her mother. Marilyn decides that if she can't be a doctor she will do everything in her power to make sure Lydia becomes one.  Her older brother, Nath, is extremely intelligent but is barely noticed because all of his parent's attention is on Lydia.  Hannah, the youngest, is portrayed almost as a shadow that slips in and out of rooms with little to no recognition. As the story unfolds, each family member's perspective weaves a tale that is both intriguing and thought provoking.  

My Thoughts: 
While this novel started out a little slow for me, I was extremely glad that I read it.  Celeste Ng does an amazing job of telling this story about family life.  In every family there are so many different perspectives and view points that have to coexist and while James and Marilyn had loving intentions for Lydia, it is obvious that their desires are not her desires. This book is definitely not a light summer read, but I highly recommend that you add it to your summer reading list.  It's also a great book club pick with lots to discuss.