As an English major, I spend the majority of my time in college with my nose in a book. Over the past year I’ve read 18th-century British literature, novels about madmen and mental institutions, and the entirety of August Wilson’s collection of plays, among a million other works. Despite how interesting each of my academic novels was, though, I want nothing more than to dig my toes in the sand and read a book that I want to read, not one required by a syllabus. Am I the only one who feels this way?
Reading is one of my favorite relaxing activities, especially during this time of year. There are so many places to enjoy a good book in the summertime: the beach, the pool, a backyard lawn chair, a hammock in the shade… anywhere! Below is a list of my favorite reads that I have compiled over the past few summers. Some are old, some are new, some are funny and some more serious. Each is great, though, and is stamped with the Kelly Sheridan seal of approval (or they would be, if I had one).
Bitter is the New Black, by Jen Lancaster
There are not enough wonderful things to say about this author. Jen Lancaster is overly sarcastic, witty, refreshing, and hilariously honest in her account of dealing with her unexpected job loss. After reading Bitter, in addition to her other works, I want to be best friends with Jen. I have read every book in her series of memoirs (multiple times) and recommend that you do the same!
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
I specifically used a picture of this novel from before it became a blockbuster hit and the movie’s poster replaced its original cover. I read The Help before it was turned into a movie, and have never read anything like it. More on the serious side, this novel describes the lives of African-American housekeepers in 1962, when the civil rights movement is in full swing. The southern culture and historical period are both so vividly described, providing a vibrant setting for the story’s well-developed and vibrant characters.
Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,by Chelsea Handler
I cannot count the number of times I openly laughed out loud while reading this book. Using the word “absurd” to describe this account of Chelsea’s life would be inadequate. Though some parts seem a bit embellished, this book is a fun, inappropriate read. It’s perfect for light entertainment on the beach.
Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult
A heart-wrenching novel about a high-school shooting, this book surpasses The Pact and My Sister’s Keeper for my all-time favorite Jodi Picoult read. She begins the novel with the shooting, then goes back in time so that the reader can become acquainted with the characters as they grow up. Picoult’s transitions between past and present throughout the storyline provide endless surprises, culminating in an unforgettable ending.
The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger
This book is on my recommended list because I want to reach out to everyone who has seen the film version of this book, but has yet to read it. Although I have to admit the film was awesome, and I want Anne Hathaway’s wardrobe for my own, the book is so much better (as always). The characters in the novel are different, names are changed, and crucial events are included that aren’t on screen. Also, the ending is much more satisfying
And because I have a summer reading list of my own, here are some of the books I’m planning to read this summer:
1. Everything is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer
This book details the account of a young man who seeks to find the woman who may have saved his grandfather from the Nazis in World War II. As the story unfolds, Jonathan travels through his history and learns the story of his family’s past.
One Day, by David Nicholls
I’ve heard so many good things about this book, and can’t wait to read it! One Day is a love story about two young college graduates who begin a friendship upon their graduation from Edinburgh University. Over the course of the novel, the two meet on the same day, July 15, every year for the next twenty years. Each year shows drastic changes in each of them, but they still secretly have feelings for one another.
The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
My roommate recommended this book to me when I was thinking about what I should read this summer. This novel describes the life of the Wells family, who is constantly low on money and food, and travels the country trying to settle down.
Have any of you read any of the books on these lists? Tell us what you thought! What’s on your reading lists this summer, Lovelies?