We aren’t quite to the halfway point, but I needed to see where I stood on my ‘book a week’ goal. I’m doing better than I feared, convinced I was way off the pace. Looking for a good summer read? Maybe you’ll find one here. These are listed in no particular order, and rather than giving you a review of each I will say only that Commonwealth was so good, this year’s reading was already a repeat since I first read it late last year. Jane O’Reilly’s The Secret of Goldenrod, a young adult book, was absolutely delightful, and the perfect way to recuperate during a weekend spent bedridden with the flu.
I don’t belong to a book club and never have. I rely on The New York Times Book Review each Sunday, as well as the Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition for reading inspiration. Oprah’s monthly magazine has wonderful suggestions and David Sedaris (who makes an appearance on the list) is always good for one or two nudges a year. Jerry Dale McFadden, keyboardist for The Mavericks, publishes his reading list during the week between Christmas and New Year on the band’s Facebook page. A life spent on the road provides plenty of time for reading. Throughout the year, I add to my list by tracking any recommendations I learn of to an Evernote file I have titled “Books to Read.” Whenever I find myself uninspired by the selection on my iPad, a quick search of that file remedies my perceived famine.
1. Moonglow, Michael Chabon
2. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
3. Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher
4. Commonwealth, Ann Patchett
5. Shoe Dog, Phil Knight
6. Ill Will, Dan Chaon
7. Tenth of December, George Saunders
8. The Secret of Goldenrod, Jane O’Reilly
9. Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver
10. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
11. Anything is Possible, Elizabeth Strout
12. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
13. Dear Life, Alice Munro
14. Motherland, Paul Theroux
15. Option B, Sheryl Sandberg
16. Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff
17. Lit, Mary Karr
18. Down City, Leah Carroll
19. Food City, Ina Yalof
20. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett
21. Eileen, Otessa Moshfegh
22. Riverine, Angela Palm
23. When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
24. Theft by Finding, David Sedaris
25. The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For, David McCullough
Virginia Birks says
First, let me say how impressed I am with this article. Second, I will state that I was Amy’s 11th grade English teacher, but her talent can in no way be attributed to me. I have read 10 of the books on this list and a few are on my mental “to read” list. I’m not organized enough to write everything down. I do star a few on Goodreads. Amy, convince me to go back to American Gods. One of my book clubs read it, but I gave up a third(?) of the way through. I’ve read a couple others by Gaiman, but I just don’t get him.
Amy Coletta says
Don’t sell yourself short, Va! You were an enormous influence on me and I’m thrilled we can keep in touch via Facebook. I wish I could give you a hearty endorsement for Neil Gaiman, but American Gods wasn’t my favorite. Interesting at first, mostly because of the regional places featured…but the superhero-like plot turns left me cold by the end. I haven’t attempted his other works yet. There are so many other books I’d rather read.