Hey, everyone! Happy 4th!! Currently writing this from within a pool of my own sweat, as we try to keep our heads down during a pretty brutal heat wave. (How we find room to complain about heat when where I live suffers some of the worst winters in the state is astonishing, but that’s human nature for ya).
Since summer has officially firmly slapped us across the face to remind us of its immediate presence, it got me thinking about putting together some seasonally themed posts for you all. Even though we have the beach, bikinis, and barbecues (yes, come through, alliteration) on the brain, it’s also a time to crack open a great book.
Summer isn’t an especially long season where I live, but still plenty of time to set a reading goal and explore a new genre! Check out this list of recommendations I got from my good friend Modern Library!
1. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao- Junot Díaz
An ingenious web of family trauma, political crises, fragile masculinity and unrequited love won Díaz a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Heartbreakingly hilarious, the story makes you feel for both the main character, Oscar, and for any and everyone he interacts with on his ill-fated journey.
2. The Road- Cormac McCarthy
A gritty and unrelenting post-apocalyptic thriller, The Road follows a man and his young son as they journey through the decimated American heartland, and explores the length a father will go to in order to protect his child. After reading, check our the 2009 film adaptation, directed by John Hillcoat and starring Viggo Mortensen. And then, you know, go watch videos of puppies being reunited with their owners or something, because both the book and movie are both pretty brutal and you’re going to need a break. Amazing, but brutal.
3. Little Fires Everywhere- Celeste Ng
Set in the author’s hometown of Shaker Heights, Little Fires examines the confluences of secrets and obsession through the lens of a contested adoption of a Chinese-American child, and questions the the rigidity of societies predicated on playing by the rules. The book was picked up by Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon earlier this year, who are producing it as an upcoming limited series for Hulu.
4. Educated- Tara Westover
Educated follows the author’s unconventional upbringing by fervent survivalist Mormon parents. Even though the book largely covers her abusive upbringing, going her entire young life without seeing a doctor or setting foot in a “government school”, ultimately the larger, more redeeming story arc is Westover’s triumphant ascension into the upper echelons of academia on the back of her own unimaginable effort, with hefty credentials like a PhD from Cambridge and a Harvard fellowship. It’s a gripping tale of the power of self-reliance.
5. Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit- Chris Matthews
A fascinating portrait of an enigmatic underdog tragically assassinated during a fateful presidential bid, Bobby Kennedy arguably gets closer than any previous biography, as it’s written by a notable Kennedy Historian. If you’re obsessed by the Kennedy dynasty as much as me, this will provide a lot of color to the mystery surrounding some of the other siblings of JFK.
Many, many thanks to Modern Library for carefully curating this list for my readers! Those books on this list that I haven’t read I’m so excited to dive into- after I dive into an ice cold bath to try to bring my temperature down (how have I not become a melted popsicle)?
For now, I leave you with this list- let me know if you have any other suggestions for me as well!
Keep it real,