Summer, glorious summer, how I have longed for you. My summer ode is a bit late due to my working a preschool summer camp, but I have arrived, at long last.
So, we all approach summer reading a little differently. My friend, Mari, who teaches middle school English, does not read at all during the summer. She has been reading essays on The Outsiders all year long and could do with a break, thank you very much. My friend, Anne, once told me she was spending her summer with Russian authors, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, etc. So, that's the other end of the spectrum.
I'm going to recommend three books for summer in this post that are somewhere in the middle of Nothing and Great Russian Tragedy.
Book #1 The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
Abbi Waxman is my new jam!!! This is her first book, and it tells the tale of Lilian Gervin, an illustrator, mother of two, and a widow.
Lillian is coping along just fine, when her job requires her to suddenly start taking a gardening class. Fill in a host of colorful characters, including a handsome, charming, and very nice guy. Whom Lilian has no interest in getting to know.
Abbi Waxman is hilarious. I laughed out loud reading this book, which is always fun, especially if you like to have lunch alone in a restaurant, you know, just a little me-time whereupon one can indulge a taco habit and read a book without being interrupted. Except by spraying the table with aforementioned taco. Ooh - and then comes the choking.
But my point is that this book is wonderful and very enjoyable. Abbi can write about tragedy that is so real it's palpable and then the hilarity of life that is also very real. Also, I would like to make Abbi my friend.
Before I get to Book #2, Let Me Explain:
It has rained A LOT the past 2 days. And even though I applied the usual amount of hair product, it was not enough. Not nearly enough.
As my husband was taking this photo, even he commented, "Uh, your hair is kind of frizzy." I tried putting it up, then taking it down. Finally, he zoomed in to see if my eyebrows also respond to humidity (no, they don't because Paula's Choice Eye Brow Gel WORKS! Aaaand I've just been informed that Paula no longer makes it, so my eyebrows will be College Professor Crazy before you know it).
The end result of all this ridiculousness is this photo. And a complete waste of lipstick. It was dark pink, very pretty, but that's neither here no there...
Ok, Book #2, The UnHoneymooners by Christina Lauren.
The Bridge and Groom get sick with an awful seafood poisoning at their own reception, so the Maid of Honor and Best Man go on their paid-for-can't-be-returned honeymoon. Of course, they dislike each other. This is usually my definition of light summer reading. Just reading the blurb on the back, you know this unlikely couple will totally couple, there will be a misunderstanding, then a tearful makeup, blah, blah, blah.
What makes this book stand out is the unforeseen twists and turns. Yes, coupledom is achieved, but not in the usual manner, and all the other side characters get arcs of their own, so that makes this book more than the usual summer fare. I really enjoyed it and plan to read more of Lauren's books.
Book #3, The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor
I have been reading Jodi Taylor's The Chronicles of St. Mary's all year. I love her writing - so very quirky and British and clever.
The Nothing Girl is the beginning of a new series called the Frogmorton Series. It is the tale of Jenny Dove, a quiet girl orphaned at a young age and beset with a debilitating stutter. She is befriended by a Golden Horse (see quirky) and is saved by GH on the cusp of tragedy. As a young adult she marries the sublimely chaotic (chaotically sublime?) artist, Russel Checkland. Mystery, hijinks, love and donkey rescue ensue.
I completely adore this book. So much so that I've gifted it to my friend, Kathleen. And loaned it to my friend, Juli, so that she can talk about this book with me. The Something Girl comes out in August, and I've already pre-ordered it.
You might have noticed the lack of Selfie. Because I loaned out my first copy and gifted the second. But worry not; Kathleen has sent me some photos of this book. Glamour shots, she calls them.
Kathleen might be suffering from Frizzy Hair. But we'll never know, will we?