Summer Reading-Once a Nerd, Always a Nerd

Today is the first day of summer.  Summer always makes me think of day camp, long lazy days at the pool, swim meets and fruit.  In addition, it’s hard not to think about summer reading. 

When I say summer reading, I’m not talking about that list you were given at the end of every school year of required books.  No, I mean the good stuff.  The junk books you could read for hours that had no value.  The books you always wanted to read, but never had time for.  The new bestseller you just had to get your hands on.  Books, books, books.

Since I was a little kid, I’ve always had at least one book on my nightstand that I have been totally engrossed in.  It used to be Baby-Sitter’s Club, then Sweet Valley High, of course the Harry Potter series, the Twilight series, and the list goes on and on. 

Now, as I’m older as my tastes in reading have changed, my book choices have changed.  Some of my absolute favorite books of all time are classics, and I wanted to share with all of you some books I think are MUST READS, in case you’re looking for any summer reading of your own! 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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This is absolutely my hands down, most favorite book in the world.  I’ve read it close to a dozen times.  Every single time, without fail, I cry.  I can’t get enough of this book.

Here’s the description: Francie Nolan, avid reader, penny-candy connoisseur, and adroit observer of human nature, has much to ponder in colorful, turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. She grows up with a sweet, tragic father, a severely realistic mother, and an aunt who gives her love too freely–to men, and to a brother who will always be the favored child. Francie learns early the meaning of hunger and the value of a penny. She is her father’s child–romantic and hungry for beauty. But she is her mother’s child, too–deeply practical and in constant need of truth. Like the Tree of Heaven that grows out of cement or through cellar gratings, resourceful Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive. Betty Smith’s poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Her frank writing about life’s squalor was alarming to some of the more genteel society, but the book’s humor and pathos ensured its place in the realm of classics–and in the hearts of readers, young and old.

Marjorie Morningstar

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I absolutely adore coming of age stories.  I was a little young when I read this for the first time, and didn’t really appreciate it, until I read it a few more subsequent times.  I love this beautiful coming of age story about a young Jewish girl in New York’s Upper West Side trying to find herself.

Marjorie Morningstar is a love story. It presents one of the greatest characters in modern fiction: Marjorie, the pretty seventeen-year-old who left the respectability of New York’s Central Park West to join the theater, live in the teeming streets of Greenwich Village, and seek love in the arms of a brilliant, enigmatic writer. In this memorable novel, Herman Wouk, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, has created a story as universal, as sensitive, and as unmistakably authentic as any ever told.

Gone With the Wind

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Like I need to say anything about this one!  It’s long, but every single page is amazing and engrossing.  This is probably one of the most incredibly emotional books I’ve ever read.  As much as I love coming of age stories (which this is), I love stories of strong Southern women, and historical fiction.  This covers all of the bases!

from Wikipedia: Scarlett O’Hara is the daughter of an Irish immigrant who in 1861 owns a plantation named Tara in Georgia. Scarlett is infatuated with Ashley Wilkes, who, although attracted to her, marries his cousin, Melanie Hamilton. At the party announcing Ashley’s engagement to Melanie, Scarlett meets Rhett Butler, who has a reputation as a rogue. As the Civil War begins, Scarlett accepts a proposal of marriage from Melanie’s brother, Charles Hamilton, who soon dies of disease in training. Scarlett’s main concern regarding his death is that she must wear black and cannot attend parties. After the war, Scarlett inherits Tara and manages to keep the place going. When Scarlett cannot get money from Rhett to pay the taxes on Tara, she marries her sister’s fiancé, Frank Kennedy, takes control of his business, and increases its profitability with business practices that make many Atlantans resent her. Frank is killed when he and other Ku Klux Klan members raid a shanty town where Scarlet was assaulted while driving alone. Remorseful after Frank’s death, Scarlett marries Rhett, who is aware of her passion for Ashley but hopes that one day she will come to love him instead. Scarlett eventually comes to realize that she does love Rhett, but only once the couple has been through so much that Rhett has fallen out of love with her.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

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While I didn’t love the movie (though Eric Bana makes my heart pound), this book was fantastic.  I had trouble getting into it, but once I started, I just could not put it down.  It was a beautiful story, and completely engrossing once it really got going.  Before I give a description, a little eye candy…

This clever and inventive tale works on three levels: as an intriguing science fiction concept, a realistic character study and a touching love story. Henry De Tamble is a Chicago librarian with "Chrono Displacement" disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. This leads to some wonderful paradoxes. From his point of view, he first met his wife, Clare, when he was 28 and she was 20. She ran up to him exclaiming that she’d known him all her life. He, however, had never seen her before. But when he reaches his 40s, already married to Clare, he suddenly finds himself time travelling to Clare’s childhood and meeting her as a 6-year-old. The book alternates between Henry and Clare’s points of view, and so does the narration. Reed ably expresses the longing of the one always left behind, the frustrations of their unusual lifestyle, and above all, her overriding love for Henry. Likewise, Burns evokes the fear of a man who never knows where or when he’ll turn up, and his gratitude at having Clare, whose love is his anchor.

On the night table this summer?  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the other subsequent books

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Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family’s remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller by muckraking Swedish journalist Larsson. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden’s dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman

What is one of your all time most favorite books?  What is on your must read list this summer?

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5 Responses

  1. Thanks for the book reviews! I seriously need to read a tree grows in brooklyn. I’ve heard so many good things!

  2. My favorite book is Wuthering Heights! But this summer, I’ve been all over Kathy Griffin’s memoirs. It’s a loooong fall from the heights, lol.

  3. I just went on my weekly library trip! I honestly don’t think I could pick a favorite book, but I have read “A Separate Peace” eleventy billion times. So maybe that one.

  4. books…enjoy them girl! I havent read a book since before i was preg. The longest “me time” i have these days is about 4 mins at a time. No time to get into a book. Magazines though are my friends 🙂

  5. Thanks for the book reviews! I’ve been wanting to read girl with the dragon tattoo! that’s definitely on my list. I’m going to add a tree grows in brooklyn too!
    I like the idea of a summer reading list actually – I may do that!

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