This past Memorial Day weekend was my official kick off to the summer reading season. The only thing I love more than an afternoon on the beach is an afternoon reading a really good book. With an active toddler though I don’t have as much time to read as I used to. Still, I’ve got a few books that are on my must read list for the summer; it’s a short list tailored to my hectic schedule. How do I choose? For starters, I’m always asking friends for recommendations and reading the New York Times Book Review on Sunday. I’m also a big Oprah fan and I tend to like many (though not all) of her book recommendations. I’ll typically cruise her list and pick out one or two that catch my eye. Finally, I always listen to NPR (my favorite news station) and read up on what their book critics recommend. Here’s what’s on my short list so far:
El Sicario: The Autobiography of A Mexican Assassin by Molly Molloy and Charles Bowden.
I heard an interview with the co-authors of this book on NPR and was riveted. This is the true story of an Mexican assassin who finds Christ and turns his back on his old way of life. The authors bear witness to the crimes he’s committed as he recounts the story of his life in Mexico as a commandante in a Mexican drug cartel. Very timely in light of the news of the increasing violence in Mexico and its impact on ordinary citizens.
Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story on how Wall Street and Washington Sought to Save the Financial System – and Themselves by Andrew Ross Sorkin.
I know this book has been out for a minute, but this has been on my list for awhile. Andrew Ross Sorkin writes for the New York Times and I enjoy his articles and his smart commentary on MSNBC’s morning news program “Morning Joe”, where he is a frequent guest. Too Big to Fail was a recently made into an HBO movie, which aired last month. I think better films have documented the financial meltdown but the movie did spur me to put this at the top of my list for the summer.
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake.
I couldn’t resist this book about the interconnected lives of three very different women living during WWII. This is a book club favorite and I love reading strong character driven novels in historic settings.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
I’ve been a huge fan of Laura Hillenbrand ever since her bestseller, Seabiscuit. This is the story of Louis Zamparini, an athlete turned army hero. As a WWII bomber pilot he endures and survives incredible adversity as a Japanese POW after his plane’s engines die in the Pacific. I heard a review of this book on NPR and vowed to add it to my list. Hillenbrand is known for her meticulous research and evocative story telling. I can’t wait to dig into this book and learn more about Zamparini and how he found the strength and character to survive his harrowing POW experience.
Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks.
This is a work of historical fiction that tells the story of a Caleb, the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University in 1665. At the heart of this story is the intersection of two cultures (Native American and European), attitudes about race and religion in the 1600’s set in the wild western frontier of an emerging America.
So this is my reading list for the summer. My hope is that with this shorter list, I can actually read everything. Of course, I’m always open to recommendations. So what are your “must reads” this summer? What should I add? Do share!