summer-reading

Ah, fiction. Is there anything better than losing yourself in a fabulous storyline? I know I’ve got my hands on a good book when I can’t wait to get everyone settled for the night so I can get back to the characters who become like friends. Or enemies, depending on the story.

I read more nonfiction this year but I did manage to slip-in some good fiction titles. I am always looking for a good book so if you have some recommendations, I would love to hear them!

I will publish reader’s suggestions when I get home from vacation in a week. I’m checking out for a while so I can soak-up some sun, drink-up my babies, and hopefully, dodge Tropical Storm Anna.

Without further ado…(And links included are my Amazon affiliate links – just for disclosure purposes.)

The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Three years ago, I was hosting a birthday party for my daughter. The mother of one of her friends decided to stay but asked if it was OK if she parked herself in a chair to read her sister-in-law’s book before it was sent to the publisher. Of course I didn’t mind and she did her thing while I served cupcakes and came close to losing my ever-lovin’ mind while corralling 14 five years old girls. My ears are still ringing.

Fast forward to two years later and I discover the book I was holding in my hands, the one I was enjoying so much, was the same book the woman from the birthday party was pre-reading for her sister-in-law. With a last name like Diffenbaugh, it wasn’t hard to figure-out – it was the woman-from-the-birthday-party’s last name and Vanessa thanked her in the acknowledgments.

Here’s the thing, friends: this book is awesome. I love, love, love it. It was by far the best fiction title I read this year. Not to mention I now find myself looking for meaning behind flowers. It’s a wonderful story and I couldn’t put it down.

2. The Alchemistby Paulo Coelho

Moving. Powerful. Chock full o’ wisdom. Yes, there are moments when it feels as if it could get New Age-y but if we only see this, then we’re depriving ourselves of good, Biblical truth – not to mention the main character pledges his allegiance to Jesus Christ at one point.  I highlighted so many quotes the entire book was pretty much green by the time I finished. Here are a few nuggets for you:

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”

I could have filled the rest of this post and another with the wisdom from these pages.

And apparently, I need to read some more fiction because when I searched through my Nook, I realized there were only three, yes, three fiction titles from the past year. One I would not recommend – Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller is very well-written but honestly, it made me feel like I had a raincloud over my head for days after I finished reading it. Majorly depressing.

So here’s what I am going to read this summer (and in full disclosure, into the fall)

The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel

This historical fiction novel details the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh – wife to Charles, mom to the “Lindbergh Baby” and a pilot in her own rite, but never recognized. She penned one of my favorite books, A Gift From The Sea in Captiva Island. Captiva holds a special place in my heart.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

About a girl in the foster system who steals books during World War Two in Germany and gives them to Jews.

A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion)by Francine Rivers

Yeah, I know the cover completely looks like a Harlequin Romance cover but…Francine Rivers is about the only Christian fiction writers I enjoy. This is the first book of the popular “Mark of the Lion” series and it’s main character is Hadassah. Like much of Francine’s work, it’s historical fiction but I can’t ever help but think she embodies the truth in her writing. Though it was a different time, women still possessed the same ability to feel and have emotions of the heart. Rivers represents voices that wouldn’t have been able to be heard during that time.

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

About four women and how their lives intersect when the concierge of their Atlanta building hosts weekly screenings of Downton Abbey. Honestly, it just sounds like candy for the brain. I’m in.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemptionby Laura Hilllenbrand

The author’s story alone makes me want to cheer her on no matter what she writes – living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, this author of the uber-popular Seabiscuit takes years to write a book. This is NOT fiction – it’s a true story of a man who’s plane was shot-down during World War Two and the road of his unlikely survival. Hillenbrand is a brilliant writer.

The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew

From Amazon:

On a scorching day in August 1954, thirteen-year-old Jubie Watts leaves Charlotte, North Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation. Crammed into the Packard along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family’s black maid, Mary Luther. For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there–cooking, cleaning, compensating for her father’s rages and her mother’s benign neglect, and loving Jubie unconditionally.

Bright and curious, Jubie takes note of the anti-integration signs they pass, and of the racial tension that builds as they journey further south. But she could never have predicted the shocking turn their trip will take. Now, in the wake of tragedy, Jubie must confront her parents’ failings and limitations, decide where her own convictions lie, and make the tumultuous leap to independence. . .

Infused with the intensity of a changing time, here is a story of hope, heartbreak, and the love and courage that can transform us–from child to adult, from wounded to indomitable.

And there you have it, friends. What I’m reading this summer and into the fall, and very likely, into the winter.

I’m going to be on the beach next week reading . . . HA. Who am I kidding? I’ll be reading between the interruptions of “Look at me, Mama!” and the squeals of discovering sand crabs.

I’ll take it.

So I might post a photo or two around here or I might not. I’m in need of some rest so we’ll see how well I do with that…

If I’m not here next week, I’ll see you the following. Happy reading sisters!

What are you reading? What titles would you recommend? There’s always room for one more on the shelf!