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Our Summer Reading List

By May 25, 2011Books, Jessica, Neil

Nook Color

I have been looking forward to summer for no other reason than reading something, anything, that has nothing to do with work or school. I’m embarrassed to say that the last time I was able to get through a book was Christmas. It’s shameful, but impossible to avoid it seems. I feel like there is always something practical I should be reading. A design tutorial or new coding language, an industry publication, basically anything I feel will improve my skills or help me professionally. It’s a vicious cycle because, while no one would argue that it’s good to work hard and be successful and always strive to be better, sometimes it’s necessary to just, …be. To do something just because it feels good and makes me happy.

Enter my Precious Nook. It’s a book hoarder’s dream! I’ve always been the type to tuck books into my purse (even when I know it won’t get a chance to read them), and now I carry no less than fifty titles with me everywhere I go. And I’m constantly downloading more, it’s like crack. Neil’s taken quite a fancy to it too, and has requested a few downloads as well. With so many choices, it’s all too easy to end up reading multiple books at once. So what are we reading this summer?

Summer Reading

  1. After reading Nasty Bits, I added every title by Anthony Bourdain to my reading list. Neil and I both love his writing style and his sense of humor. Since I started kind of in middle, I thought it best that we go back to the beginning with Kitchen Confidential. Look how young he looks!
  2. I bought StiegLarsson’sThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before getting the Nook and have subsequently downloaded the whole group. I’m about one-fourth of the way through the first one, and I have to admit, I’m finding it a little slow to get into. Everyone says that will change soon, and I hope so because everyone seems to rave about the series and I’d hate to burn through the whole series and disagree (I wasn’t much a fan of the Twilight series — sorry Rach!).
  3. As a relatively new runner, people are constantly telling me to read Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, so it was one of the first titles I picked up. I can’t wait to start. Hopefully it gives me a little more motivation, as I’d love running to stop feeling like a chore and more like a treat.
  4. We’re saving The Yosemite by John Muir for a backpacking trip, but can’t wait to read about his travels in the high Sierra. I have no doubt it will leave me feeling inspired.
  5. The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power probably necessitates some explaining, but all I (Jessica) can really say is that I’m totally entranced by religious fundamentalism, especially when it comes to social issues and family structure. I’m weird like that?
  6. We picked up A. Lincoln: A Biography off of someone else’s reading list. I’m a U.S. History junkie, and I always love how presidents came to be presidents.
  7. After reading I, Elizabeth: A Novel, I picked up one of Phillipa Gregory’s most popular titles, The Red Queen. It’s safe to say that I’m more than a little Monarchy-obsessed, especially anything to do with the Tudors.
  8. I actually know very little about The Last Chinese Chef. I downloaded it on a whim because the reviews caught my eye, and I wanted something food-related that was deeper than a cookbook, something along the lines of Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life, which I enjoyed immensely last year.
  9. Although it’s at the bottom of this list, I’ve already dived into the pages The Lost Dog’s. Being that our little Clive-o is a rescue himself,  the tragedy and amazing recovery of Michael Vick’s dogs was a must-start-now read.

It’s a pretty random assortment isn’t it? Will we get through all of these books? I’m not sure yet. I’ve come to realize this week that we have unwittingly packed my summer schedule to the gills. In addition to moving, home projects, freelance work and all the fun stuff we’ve planned, I accepted a new job offer on Monday. I’ll be a Digital Marketing Specialist for the University’s online education program! I’m very excited, but hoping I’ll make it out of the next three weeks alive.

What’s on your summer reading list? Have any recent reads you’d recommend?


  • I want to read The Lost Dogs. It sounds right up my alley. And Born to Run is great – fast paced, exciting and will definitely make you want to run!

    • Jessica says:

      You will like it a lot. I am so inspired by what people have been able to do to not only rehabilitate but give these dogs new purpose.

      I’m glad it’s a fast-paced read. I don’t know what to expect, but if I come out happier to run each week, that’s all I can hope for.

  • Scott says:

    Have read a few of these (Kitchen Confidential, I, Elizabeth) but will add a few others. The Last Chinese Chef looks excellent. Book club!

    • Jessica says:

      We started a #Comowinegirls book club a while back, but I don’t think anyone has had time to get it together (read: me). Maybe I’ll re-purpose it for the whole of CoMo’s social media scene.

  • h4x354x0r says:

    DBRL’s One Read book, “The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks,” is an absolutely fascinating book. The Columbia branch is currently stocking hundreds of copies for checkout, but you’ll be on the waiting list if you don’t hurry up. The story touches on so many social and medical aspects…

  • Liz says:

    I’m Tudor-obesessed, too! Let me know how The Red Queen is. I really liked The Other Boelyn Girl and feel like I need to read everything Phillipa Gregory. Have you watched any of the Showtime series The Tudors?

    • Jessica says:

      LOVED the Tudors! Have seen every episode at least once. I find myself watching seasons 1-3 most often. Are you watching The Borgias? It’s really good also!

      • Liz says:

        I’ve heard good things about The Borgias, I’ll likely wait until s1 is on DVD and then watch the entire season at once. I did that with s1 of Mad Men and it was like the longest but most awesome movie ever.

  • Wallace says:

    First, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo DOES get better. In fact, you spend so much time trying to figure what’s going on in the beginning that it can deflate your sails, when really you don’t need to be paying attention at all (the entire court situation almost doesn’t matter and is explained again later). So as soon as you get past the background info, you can fly through.

    I am reading The White Queen right now (the prequel to The Red Queen) and am loving it! Am looking forward to reading TRQ next… you’ll have to let us know if it’s any good. 🙂