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Recommended Summer Reading: Yeah, I’m telling you what to read

Seems like this is the time when others foist their summer reading lists upon us. It’s also an easy blog post to put together when your mind is overwhelmed; for me, that includes some new software program I have to learn for a volunteer position I didn’t volunteer for.

Yep, that’s right, I got suckered into volunteering.

I’m not a natural volunteer.


Here’s my list of books I think you’d enjoy as long as you like to read.

For everyone else, prepare to be bored.

1. Born Standing Up – by Steve Martin. I’ve loved Steve Martin ever since I saw him on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show wearing an arrow on his head. This books recounts Martin’s childhood spent perfecting magic tricks in his room, and his subsequent rise to fame. What struck me was Martin’s isolation: no hovering parents anxiously nurturing their son’s performing skill. Even though he had parents. And a normal childhood. Er, normal for the time.

2. I’m Down – by Mishna Wolff. Wolff is former model who wrote a very funny memoir about growing up in a poor neighborhood with a white dad who thought he was black. Funny, but also sad. Though the ending sputtered a bit, it’s mostly great throughout. I laughed out loud. A lot.

3. The Art of Racing in the Rain – by Garth Stein. My sister gave me this book, so – thanks, sis, for a good read! About a family, written from the dog’s point-of-view. Dogs think things. Be nice to your dog.

4. Bossy Pants – by Tina Fey. Funny, funny memoir. I laughed out loud. A lot. Didn’t I just say that two books earlier? Who cares? There is no higher praise than to laugh out loud a lot. While reading a book. Meant to be funny.

5. Angela’s Ashes – by Frank McCourt. What? Huh? You haven’t read this Pulitzer Prize winning memoir about the “miserable Irish Catholic childhood?” What’s wrong with you? Read it! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…you’ll want to read his next two memoirs, ‘Tis and Teacher Man. Lyrical writing.

6. The Glass Castle – by Jeannette Walls. The American version of Angela’s Ashes. Unless you’ve been living in an alternate universe, Walls’ memoir has been read by avid readers everywhere. If you haven’t read it, download it to your Kindle, buy it used, order through Amazon immediately. Another tough childhood story, but written without a hint of self-pity. One of my favorite books, ever.

7. Let the Right One In – by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I don’t read a lot of horror, though I recall going through a horror-book phase when I was eleven. But maybe that was just the horror of being eleven. Anyway, I saw a Swedish version of the movie based on the book. Which led me to the book. Which led me to the American version of the movie based on the book. Apparently, I like this book! The vampire story, as written by Swedish author Ajvide, is layered, mysterious and sad – a terrific read.

Anyway, I could recommend a bunch more. But now it’s your turn: what books do you recommend? Feel free to add to the list!

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May 30, 2012 - 12:11 pm

ROWriter - Seriously, I am going to finally read “The Help.” It was all the rage while my dad was so ill. At the time, all I read were books on Alzheimer’s and short essays as my brain was too overwhelmed to concentrate on much. And, thanks to your recommendation, I will most definitely read Steve Martin’s book! He’s one of my favs!

May 30, 2012 - 12:30 pm

Pam Houghton - “The Help” was good! ๐Ÿ™‚

May 30, 2012 - 10:43 pm

Cindy L - I’ve read a few on your list, and agree with your choices. I just finished Anna Q’s “Lots of Cake, Plenty of Candles” and enjoyed it (also reviewed it on my blog). Finished “The Paris Wife” for book club and now reading Hemingway’s “Moveable Feast” for book club. (Yes, we get into it, don’t we?) Can’t wait to start “Tiger’s Wife” and Alice Hoffman’s new one. So many books, so little time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

May 30, 2012 - 11:16 pm

Pam Houghton - Those are all good recommendations – I will check them out. I’ve heard a lot about Anna Q’s book – and I love Alice Hoffman – thanks for bringing her new book to my attention. Some day, I will belong to a book club! I swear!

June 6, 2012 - 7:32 pm

Eve - I remember Steve Martin with the arrow through his head! I haven’t read his book, but I’ve read ‘Angela’s Ashes’, about the poor kid with the ‘unruly, sticking up Northern Ireland hair..’, something like that…it was really funny and really miserable..
I really want to read Tina Fey’s book…right now I’m reading ‘The Know-It-All’ by AJ Jacobs…it’s his humble quest to become the smartest person in the world by reading the entire encyclopaedia Brittanica..very funny
BTW, I got your name from Alex Cavanaugh’s IWSG list. Nice to ‘meet’ you!

June 6, 2012 - 7:49 pm

Pam Houghton - Eve – thanks for stopping by! “The Know-It-All” sounds funny and interesting. I’ll have to check it out.

Really funny and really miserable is a great way to describe Angela’s Ashes. Where’s your blog? Maybe I can get to it via the identity you used to comment? I’ll check…!

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