A few years ago I started recording the books I read. I’m a completist by nature and it felt wrong to begin keeping track of my books starting in 2015. But, managed to force myself to do it. In 2015 I read 23 books. I’ve slowing increased the number of books that I’ve read each year. Last year, 2018, I read 51 books. This year thus far I’ve read 42. I’m glad that I decided to record the books that I read. Although it isn’t a life list, it’s been helpful to have my list and it makes me feel like I’ve actually accomplished something with my reading throughout the year. It has also made it much easier for me to remember what I’ve actually read.
Combing through the list for the books I read this summer, I realized that there were quite a few really good ones in the there. Without further ado, here are my top five books of the summer.
(There are amazon links on the reviews, but none of them are affiliate links.)
My Top Five Books
- Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
I heard about this book from the Satellite Sister’s Best Beach Bag Books. I read three of the books that they recommended this summer, two of them are on this list. This book was a great read. It follows the lives of two sisters over six decades, exploring the different paths that they take, either through necessity or choice. It examines the questions about how we change or are changed by the world around us and the choices that we, and others, make.
- Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This was another recommendation by the Satellite Sisters. This has an interview style format – think along the lines of a VH-1 behind the music rockumentary. It follows the formation of a band in the 70s (The Six) later introducing Daisy Jones to the mix. It explores the relationships that form and the secrets that are held by seven people as they weather a stunning rise to fame. I love interviews and different people’s points of views and I have been recommending this book all summer.
- City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
I picked this up from the “No Holds” section at the library after Jamie B. Golden raved about it on instagram stories. I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things back in 2014 and I thought it was extremely good. I was very skeptical to read her novel, because I read Eat, Pray, Love and thought it wasn’t very good, but, rest assured, she is an excellent novel writer. City of Girls follows Vivian Morris through 7 decades of her life starting as a 19 year old in 1940 and ending in the current day. She’s thrown out of her parents house and sent to live with her Aunt Peg who owns a theater company in New York City. Gilbert paints with her words and I could completely picture the New York of the 40s that she was describing to me. My only hesitation in recommending this book is that you know something big happens in Vivian’s life and the lead up to it is so long! But, after that the book picks right back up.
- The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything that Comes After by Julie Yip-Williams
This memoir was published in January of this year after Julie Yip-Williams died of cancer at the age of 42 in the spring of 2018. I’ve read quite a number of the memoirs that have been published in recent years by (usually) woman who are facing death at a very early age. What set this memoir apart is the questioning that Yip-Williams does in her quest to either find meaning or not in what is happening to her (and also to her family). I can’t imagine facing the experience that she did. My husband thinks my interest in this genre is morbid, but we are all going to face death at some point. These are questions that we will all have to wrestle with.
- All that Remains: A Life in Death by Sue Black
Continuing the death theme, this is a memoir by forensic anthropologist Sue Black based in the UK. This was a fascinating look at the work of forensic anthropology and how it has played out over her career first as a student and now as a professor of anatomy and anthropology. The book also examines the great knowledge that students gain when they use cadavers to dissect during their year of anatomy class and the gift that donating your body to science is to the future of medicine and the knowledge of people in the medical field. It really wasn’t something that I had thought about before and it gave me pause. It started to make me wonder if donating my body to science might be something that I would want to consider following my death.
However, this list wouldn’t be complete without some honorable mentions. Without further ado:
- The Library of the Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick – This is a light-hearted book about librarian Martha Storm who finds a book on her doorstep with a dedication written to her by her grandmother. The problem is, her grandmother died years before this book was published, and the book is filled with stories that only Martha and her grandmother, Zelda, shared.
- Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum – This is a YA novel. Normally I don’t read YA, but this novel was really good. It is about a girl, Jessie, whose father uproots her from Chicago and moved her to LA after he falls in love with and marries a woman he met online. Jessie has to navigate life in a completely different school with a completely different family. She is befriended somewhat mysteriously by an anonymous texter who offers to help her navigate her new school.
- A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery Book 2) by Dianne Freeman – This is a short little cozy mystery set in Victorian England. I love a good cozy and Freeman has written two books that hold my interest and let me lose myself in her world. This is a fun little read and the second in the series.
What were your favorite books this summer? Is there anything I left out?