My Beach (Book!) Bag

Editor’s Note:  Books chosen to review or recommend are not based on endorsements.  I purchase my own books with cold, hard cash or find them for FREE through my dear old local public library.  I write about books that I like and believe that others might like also.  If you would like to purchase a book that I have recommended, please consider using the affiliate link provided.  Just click on the picture or the title and VOILA!  There it is, waiting for you!

Friends!  The time has come!  The season is upon us. . .

the SUMMER READING season! 

Reading all day!  Reading all night!  Reading by water, reading under trees, reading in cozy corners of lovely air conditioned spaces!

It’s time for us to find our lovely reading rabbit holes and DIVE RIGHT IN.    

Here are some of my Summer TBR’s. . .

These books will travel with me throughout this holiday weekend.  A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. . . books that will make you think and books that are palate cleansers for your brain.

You in?


The Book that Matters Most by Ann Hood

I am excited to escape into this tale of Ava,  a woman whose marriage has fallen apart, whose kids are up and out of the house, and, without warning, she finds herself at loose ends.  Searching for connection and community, she joins a book group whose aim is to identify and reread the books that have mattered most to the members throughout their lives.  Through this, Ava explores her past and finds healing for the future.  No doubt a plucky heroine!

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

This book was released a few years ago, and for reasons unknown, has been languishing on my shelf.  Well, it shall languish no longer!  This is the story of one couple’s relationship evolution over twenty-four year’s time, and explores the notions of “marriage, creativity, power, and perception” (book jacket).  Sounds right up my alley.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Mbue’s novel was my BOTM pick this spring, has been recommended by several friends and trusted sources, and was just announced as Oprah’s newest Book Club choice.  I am looking forward to spending time in the world of Jende Jonga, an immigrant who works as a driver for a Lehman Brothers exec right before the collapse of the firm.  The novel explores the relationships between class, race, cultures, and marriage within two families, both of whom are chasing the American dream. 

CLASSIC FICTION (and an escapist reread)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I stumbled upon this gorgeous edition of one of my favorite childhood books at my (new to me) local independent bookstore, and IT HAD TO LIVE IN MY HOUSE WITH ME FOREVER AND EVER.  Even the endpapers are gorgeous!  I loved spending childhood summers with the Marsh girls, huddled in a corner in my room, tired and happy after spending the afternoon at the pool.  If you haven’t spent time with Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth, I hope you will consider making their acquaintance.  


Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

So many readers I love and respect have metaphorically placed this slim book into my hands, and I am looking forward to reading Coates’ letter to his adolescent son about race, slavery, segregation, all within the context of American history.  Coates, a memoirist and national correspondent for The Atlantic, brings both his reporting prowess and personal experiences to create an informative and compelling commentary on race in America.  Important reading, and I can’t wait.  

The Story of Charlotte’s Web:  E.B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic by Michael Sims

My seven-year old and I enjoyed reading Charlotte’s Web aloud this spring, and after it was finished, we were NOT.  We had so many questions about E.B. White!  What was his writing process, how did he create this story, how did he find his ideas, what he was like, and was there a REAL Charlotte?  I am in the middle of this book now, and am finding Andy, as he was known, to be a fascinating person and even a better writer.  Did you know, for instance, that he was a long-time contributor to The New Yorker?  Or that he brought a spider’s egg sack from his country farm back to his home in New York City, because he just HAD to see the spiders emerge?  Sims’s book has answered many of my curious boy’s questions, and has been inspiring to me as writer and a human.  And, beyond that, I am always a sucker for a good biography.

NONFICTION:  The Creative Life

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

This is a necessary reread to give this girl a long overdue kick in the pants.  Applicable for writers, creatives, or anyone that just wants to get something done, Lamott weaves sensible advice within poignant and hilarious stories that makes you feel less alone in your work, whatever that work may be.  For this go-around, I am enjoying this book on Audible, which helps the Anne's wisdom to wash over me in a completely new way.  Highly recommend.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Another necessary reread for me this summer.  Like Lamott, Pressfield gives creatives much needed encouragement with force, passion, and plainspoken candor.  He addresses the resistance that artists of all kinds face, and discusses how to, basically, get over yourself and get your work done.  I always find myself returning to Pressfield when I am facing daunting new projects, as I am this summer.  A must read.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

McKeown’s book helps busy people make the best use of their time by identifying the work that ONLY THEY can do, and helping them craft a way to be rid of the excess.  What is essential for you to do, what balls can be dropped, and how can the rest be shifted?  I know how to do EXACTLY NONE of that, so I need to spend some time figuring out what in my work life is essential.  I’ll keep you posted.  


Theft by Finding:  Diaries 1977-2002 by David Sedaris

David Sedaris is hilarious.  He is irreverent.  He is inappropriate.  He is wildly funny and cringy and so smart and astute in his observations of human nature.  The wildly entertaining tales of his quirky, unconventional family will have you guffawing.  Quite simply, he make me roar.  I will love listening to his latest on Audible.  


Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary

The littles and I spend a great deal of time in the car, and Ramona has been our constant companion this summer.  We have enjoyed the Audible version, narrated by the incomparable Stockard Channing, and have enjoyed watching Ramona’s scrapes, misunderstandings, and realizations about what it means to grow up.  Our favorite book so far has been Ramona and Her Father, when Ramona and Beezus forge a two-girl campaign to stop her father from smoking.  Spending time with the Quimby’s during all of our travels hither and yon has been a delight.  

My dear readers, I wish you the happiest of happy holiday weekends, with books and laughter and joy galore.  Fire up your e-reader.  Go to your local independent bookstore.  Let Amazon Prime bring you a treasure in two days or less.  Give yourself the gift of stories!  Keep me posted on which reading rabbit holes ensnare you.

Happy reading!