Summer is always a nice time to find a new book. I love reading on vacations — there’s something about having a salty breeze, a cold drink, and a good book that gets me to my happy place.
Now that I’m three summers out of my teaching career, it’s funny to think that I read more now that I ever did when I had summers “off.” There’s a lot that goes into that — for example, I’m much more intentional about reading than I was then (and I don’t have lesson plans to write) — but it still makes me laugh.
My summer reads are a result of a few goals. I’ve never read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, and I promised Zach that I would because it was a favorite of his growing up. I made significant progress in the past two months, and only have the final book left to finish in August.
I also have several contemporary books from my To Read list that I was excited to get to — and they didn’t disappoint.
Overall, I’m slightly behind on my 100 book goal for 2019 (I’m 50 in!), but I’m hoping to catch up in the next two months.
Here are my reads from June & July:
I continued my efforts to read the C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series with The Horse & His Boy, which might be one of my favorites from the series. I love Shasta, the surprise twist of his identity at the end, and the story as a whole.
I finally got to Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth, which I’ve seen on best seller shelves for what feels like forever. It wasn’t at all what I expected, but I really liked the way she wove the story of this blended family together.
I read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate based on an enthusiastic recommendation from a Barnes & Noble clerk during a visit to the beach back in May. It did not disappoint. I loved and hated characters (if you’ve read it, you know who I’m talking about), and the story kept me on my toes, then wrapped up with a sweet ending. I also enjoyed that it was set in South Carolina.
Two more Narnia books, Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair followed. I started to get frustrated with how much Lewis broke the fourth wall in Prince Caspian, but loved Reepicheep. I enjoyed the quest in The Silver Chair and how certain elements unfolded throughout. I didn’t realize before these books that the four Pevensie children aren’t in the entire series, but I liked the variety of characters.
A surprise choice from a stop at the library turned out to be great. I highly recommend The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay, particularly if you’re looking for some diversity in your reading. At times, the narrator felt like a big baby, but I still enjoyed the story and the complex characters.
Another title I’ve seen everywhere is Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie. Like many popular titles, it wasn’t at all what I expected, but I was proud of the progress in our protagonist and loved everything she learned about herself. Certain characters and their behavior horrified me, but that’s what makes the story real.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is also a popular must-read this summer — for good reason. I loved the way Owens interweaves past and present so that we can better relate to the protagonist, causing us to root for her all the way through. Elements of this story reminded me a bit of Jodi Picoult’s writing style, while I was also reminded of great authors like Pat Conroy in his descriptions and storytelling about the Carolina coast.
A fun discovery was Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks — yes, the Tom Hanks — which is a compilation of short stories, with some of the later stories returning to characters from earlier ones. I really enjoyed his writing (plus, I listened to the audiobook, which he read) and the way he incorporated typewriters into every story in some capacity. It was always fun to discover how each story would tie them in! This would be a great beach read or something to read before bed since you could read one story at a time.
My final book in July was Atomic Habits by James Clear. I’d seen it on several shelves and should-read lists, but there wasn’t much in it that I hadn’t heard before about habit forming from Lara Casey and other goal setting/habit setting experts. I still appreciated the stories and examples he shared, and it was a nice book to read going into the second half of the year as a way to get motivated to continue with my 2019 goals.
That’s it! Have you read any of these titles? I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading lately!