With the arrival of Halloween candy at the grocery store, you know it’s that time of year again… August!
I felt a twinge of melancholy when I saw pumpkin- and ghost-shaped Peeps on Safeway’s shelves the other day. Not just because they’ll undoubtedly be stale by the time October 31st rolls around, but because they reminded me that summer’s end is nigh. There are so many books to enjoy on the beach, by the pool, and on the couch under the AC vent and there’s only one more month do it!
I know how quickly a month can go by, but hopefully you have some vacations lined up or at least some down time to savor a great book. I created a list in June of summer reading recommendations for my school’s faculty and staff, so with a shorter reading timeline in mind, I’ve pared it down to five un-put-downable titles that you’ll plow through:
The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeny
I’m always a sucker for books about dysfunctional families and the the Plumbs provide drama in spades. The four Plumb siblings have long awaited the day they’ll receive their shares of a very handsome trust fund they call “The Nest.” They’re especially anxious because they have all made significant financial decisions knowing they’d have the funds eventually. But when oldest brother Leo gets in a drunk-driving accident, the long-awaited money is used to deal with the consequences of his actions, and The Nest isn’t quite the fortune the Plumbs were expecting.
Before the Fall, by Noah Hawley
Just a warning: if you have travel plans that require boarding a plane, you might want to hold off on reading this as your in-flight book. Solid ground would be recommended. The book starts with a private plane taking off on a foggy night with 11 passengers, all but one (painter Scott Borroughs) extremely rich and from influential families. Sixteen short minutes later, the plane has crashed into the ocean and the only survivors are Borroughs and the 4-year-old son of a media mogul. First Burroughs is heralded as a hero, but then doubts arise. Why was he one the plane? Was the crash intentional? As we learn the backstories of all people on that plane, the truth becomes clear.
I Let You Go, by Clare Mackintosh
This book will have you saying, “Whaaaaat?!!?” (in a good way) and flipping back to reread earlier sections of the novel. The story alternates points of view: one is Jenna Gray who has moved to the Welsh coast to recover from the death of her child and move forward after a traumatic car accident. The other is Detective Inspector Ray Stevens who is looking into a deadly hit-and-run case. Just as Jenna starts seeing the joy in life again, Stevens’ investigation threatens to rip her world apart once more. Twisty twists galore in this one!
The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
If you’re afraid that watching this year’s Olympics in Rio will give you nightmares of global pandemics and feces-infested waters, read Boys in the Boat instead. You’ll fall in love with salt-of-the-earth rower Joe Rantz and his eight teammates on the 1936 Berlin Olympics rowing team as they battle the odds and make America proud.
Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari
Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford in Parks & Recreation (“Treat yo self!”) cracks me up to no end, but this book seriously made me laugh out loud just as much, if not more. In Modern Romance, Ansari explores the nature of modern relationships and how technology plays a huge role in changing our approach to dating. Not only are his discussions on the stress of texting a love interest and creating the perfect online dating profile entertaining, but it’s obvious he did a lot of research and his writing is quite insightful. The book contains graphs and photos, but I have to recommend the audio version because Ansari narrates it himself and does a hilariously fantastic job.
What books do you plan on reading this August???