I’ve really been slacking on reading. You can check out my pitiful amount of books I’ve read so far this year here. My goal of reading 52 books this year — AKA, a book every week — isn’t going so well. For some reason, I’ve just wanted to sit back and relax on my commute. Although sometimes I need to shut my eyes in the morning or want to watch a downloaded episode of Bloodline on my phone, the tiny bit I’ve read over the last few months is not exemplary behavior of a writer and former English major! This summer, I plan on catching up. Especially with the weather changing from under-the-covers-in-bed-with-Netflix weather to on-the-beach-with-a-book-weather, I have no excuse!
This is a list of some of the books I want to read this summer. Some are new, some are old, some are borrowed, and some are blue.
1. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
You probably recognize the author’s name, as she is also the author of The Girl on the Train, a popular suspense novel from a few years ago and the book title from which I derived my blog name. In Into the Water, a crime finds multiple women dead on the bottom of a river in a small town. The story is told from the point of view of a 15-year-old girl whose mother and best friend were victims of the mysterious murders. Like The Girl on the Train, this novel is told from the perspectives of multiple characters, with each chapter from the point of view of a different person. Though this novel didn’t get quite as much positive feedback as her first novel, I’m still excited to dive into a thrilling beach read.
2. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
I’ve heard fantastic things about the HBO series, so I want to read the book before I tune into the show. This story is told from the point of view of 3 women, a divorcee, an adult queen bee, and a young single mother. What seems like a calm little town is full of secrets, scandals, and even a murder. Apparently, Moriarty is great at writing characters and building their relationships. I can’t wait to see what all the hype’s about!
3. Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
My dad is the one that got me into Dennis Lehane. Though I haven’t read much of his stuff, I’ve loved what I’ve read. Mystic River in particular had me hooked. Lehane is just such a fantastic writer. In this, we have a female protagonist, which I’ve never seen from Lehane. In fact, the only problems I’ve ever had with his writing is that I don’t really buy the women he writes; this could be interesting. The main character, Rachel, is a former journalist who barely leaves the house after a breakdown on the air. Her marriage and life are relatively normal, but something causes that nice life to change. My dad said it’s not as great as his other books, but if Lehane wrote it, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.
4. Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard
This will be the first book I read this summer, since I joined a book club at work in which this is the next book we’ll be discussing. The founder of Patagonia, Inc. wrote this memoir to tell his readers about his life of environmentalism, one of Patagonia’s biggest initiatives. I love nonfiction books and since this one is so short, I know it’ll be a breeze to get through.
5. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
I’m sure you’ve all heard of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the popular children’s series. In recent years, it’s been made into movies and a Netflix series. Since the last time I read this book was in sixth grade, I thought it would be a good thing to pick up. Not only did I never finish the series completely, I remember really enjoying the books as a middle schooler. Sometimes, reading children’s books as an adult can shed light on different themes and ideas I never would have seen at a young age.
6. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
This was the book that was required reading of the class that graduated a year ahead of me at college. (Instead, we got stuck with a terrible book about the risks of the internet and how it’s making us stupid; meanwhile, all of our homework assignments and tests were online. But I digress.) Though I eat meat, I think knowing where our food comes from and the psychology and business aspects of factory farming are very important. Many people turn into vegetarians after reading this book, as it reveals the gruesome side of the meat industry that so many Americans turn a blind eye to.
7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
As an English major, how have I not read this book?! This is one of the most acclaimed feminist novels of the twentieth century. In addition, it’s one of the first highly popular dystopian works. Basically, this dystopian society has women playing the role of wife and mother… and nothing else. I look forward to reading this before tuning into the Hulu series, which I’ve heard is excellent as well.
8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
I’m sure a lot of you have read this book or seen the movie. I have not experienced either and therefore want to get to something that’s been on my reading list for years. A journalist receives a task to investigate a disappearance that has remained unsolved for years with the help of a female investigator, the girl with the dragon tattoo. Everyone I know who’s read that has loved it. I also find it so interesting that the author died before finishing the last book in the series. Apparently it takes a while to get into it, but once you’re in, you’re hooked.
9. Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
I read Fun Home — which inspired the famous Broadway musical — last summer and really enjoyed it. Like Fun Home, this is in the form of a graphic novel, telling the story of her life and childhood. While the other focuses on her relationship with her father (a closeted gay male), this focuses on her relationship with her mother. You might recognize Alison Bechdel’s name, as she is a famous feminist and LGBTQ+ activist. She also developed the Bechdel Test, a famous test for books, movies, TV shows, etc. to see if they include dynamic female characters. Since it’s a graphic memoir, it’ll be a fast read; I think I read Fun Home in one afternoon and can surely do the same with this one.
10. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
I’ve read a few Jodi Picoult novels before and liked them, didn’t love them. After a friend recommended this one, I knew it would be a great read from the plot alone. A labor and delivery nurse finds out that a parent has requested her not to work with their child — and don’t even want her to touch the child — because they are white supremacists and the nurse is black. The next day, the baby goes into cardiac arrest while this nurse is the only one in the room but she hesitates, not sure if she should treat the child or follow the racist wishes of its parents. As a result, she is put on trial for murder to neglecting to help the child. The concept alone sounds intense, but in our present society, reading something about racial prejudice at such a high level could be really eyeopening.
Want to see more of my face and read more of my voice? Subscribe to my blog via email and follow me on my various social media outlets!