Summer vacation has begun!
Kids are home from school. The grill is getting a serious workout. And your hammock calls your name in the middle of the day.
Therefore, it is time for our annual list of fiction for summer reading.
Summer Reading Choices
Following is a list of my favorite books that I’ve read in 2014. They are in no particular order. I have not included books I read, but didn’t like.
- The Dinner. This book is set through the course of one dinner, when two brothers and their wives meet to discuss the banality of work and the triviality of the holidays. We quickly learn, though, there is a bigger issue at play with their 15-year-old sons who seem to have participated in a horrific act that has triggered a police investigation and is going to test the sibling rivalry.
- The Husband’s Secret. When I read this, I joked that I had to get through it so I could figure out what secret Mr. D is keeping. I hope it’s not the one this husband keeps! In a drunken stupor the night their first child was born, a husband writes his wife a letter to be opened upon his death. Several years later, in the middle of raising three kids, she finds it long before his death and struggles with whether to open it or pretend she never saw it. She eventually opens and reads it and what she finds inside is astonishing.
- The Weight of Blood. This novel is the first for author Laura McHugh, whose husband went to college with Mr. D. Because of that, I felt obligated to read it and didn’t expect to like. I loved it! Written from a town in the Ozark Mountains, high school graduate, Lucy, learns a deep, dark secret about the mother she never knew; the mother who disappeared when she was a child. When a girl her own age goes missing and her body is displayed for all to see, Lucy grapples with losing her friend and losing her mother. What happened to both is shocking and disturbing.
- Once We Were Brothers. In Poland, a family takes in a boy the same age as their own son. As the boys grow up, they become more than just friends…they become brothers. When the war hits, though, the one boy stays with his family – who is Jewish – while the other goes off to serve in Hitler’s war. Fast forward to today when the Jewish man recognizes civic leader and philanthropist, Elliot Rosenzweig, as his old friend and soon-to-be enemy former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamosc. Of course, no one believes Rosenzweig could really be this horrible person and brushes off the claims as coming from a delusional old man.
- Orange is the New Black. It is baaaaack! The second season of the Netflix original is here. Though I read the book that started it all last summer (and have recommended it to many), it’s as good a time as any to read it. What I like about the book is it gives much more detail about what’s going on in prison…things the TV series misses. Did you know the prison was put on lockdown during the Martha Stewart trial because they didn’t want her jailed there? You learn in the book why this is and much more. In true nature, the book is better than the Netflix series.
And One to Grow On
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things. The guy who co-founded Bonobos recommended this to me. Because of his extreme success, I thought I should listen. It’s by Ben Horowitz and it talks about the things that make a great entrepreneur…and the things will surprise you. Things such as, “I didn’t quit” and “I learned how to pivot.” The biggest thing for me, as a sometimes struggling entrepreneur was when he talked about the differences between mediocre and great. The mediocre entrepreneurs always point to events as their biggest accomplishments – they sold for a gazillion dollars, they took the company they founded public…some big event. The great entrepreneurs, though, always say their biggest accomplishment was they didn’t quit. And, I’m telling you from experience, there are many, many, many times you want to quit. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
There you go! Get to the library, run to the bookstore, get on Amazon, or download on your Kindle. It’s time for summer reading to commence!
P.S. Leave me fiction recommendations in the comments. I’m taking a mini vacation on Monday and Tuesday of next week and need a few books to read!