What We’re Reading

Summer is indisputably the best time of year to catch up on reading. The days are long, the weather is beautiful, all the good tv shows are on hiatus, and you long to be outside even if you don’t really have anything to do out there. Well, just grab a book and a beach towel and voilà, you’re all set! Here are a few of the titles on our must-read list this summer.

What We're Reading

 

1. Looking for a mystery that’s both old-fashioned and high-tech? Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore delivers with geeky puzzles, conspiracy theories, a genuine love of books, and the pursuit of immortality.

2. A castaway story for the modern age, The Martian is about an astronaut whose crew unknowingly leaves him behind on Mars. He’s forced to fight for survival and find a way to contact Earth while facing starvation, mechanical failures, and the most profound sense of isolation any human has ever experienced. (Soon to be a movie starring Matt Damon!)

3. Orhan’s Inheritance is our next book club pick! Following the bizarre death of his grandfather, Orhan sets out to answer questions about his family; what he discovers spans from the Ottoman Empire to 1990s Los Angeles, and has the potential to completely unravel his family’s legacy.

4. What better time for explosive secrets to come to light than right before you get married? The literary equivalent of a light yet satisfying rom-com, Eight Hundred Grapes kicks off with Georgia Ford fleeing to her family’s winery days before her wedding. But don’t worry, the drama is just beginning.

5. In the years following a heist gone wrong, Unbecoming slowly untangles the story of an American expat in Paris as she fixates on her youth, the mistakes she’s made, and the two men she left behind.

Have you read any good books lately? We’d love to hear your recommendations!

♥ Mil

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What We’re Reading: The Beach Edition

When I moved to Seattle, the idea was to pursue a job where I worked a normal 40 hour week, as opposed to the often 60 hour weeks I pulled in Arkansas. Well, instead I ended up getting two jobs: a forty hour a week job as well as a part-time catering gig on the weekends. Recently the extra work has been getting to me and I’ve found myself leaning on Downton Abbey and Newsroom episodes as a release. I have a thick stack of books from the library next to my bed, but for some reason I just keep on turning to my Amazon Prime playlist.
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Mil and I are taking a trip to the beach in a few weeks and I’m excited to spend hours lounging in the sun leisurely reading. I used to always turn to books as an escape and I’m looking forward to hopefully getting back into this routine. Here’s a round-up of some of the titles we plan on packing in our beach bags this summer:

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1. In A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra weaves together the stories of three characters struggling to survive in war-torn Chechnya: an eight-year-old whose house is burned by Russian soldiers, her older next door neighbor whose wife struggled with dementia, and the last doctor in the area who happens to be of Russian heritage. While a novel about the fallout of war may sound a bit intense for summer, the New York Times Book Review suggests that it’ll leave you believing in “the regenerative possibility of life in its essential form.” And what is summer about, if not the regenerative possibility of life?
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2. Something light and fun is a requirement for any beach reading list. Seating Arrangements is the perfect combination of frothy fun and smart satire. Set during a wedding weekend on an exclusive New England island, this story of family drama and scandalous flirtations is guaranteed to entertain.
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3. Joan Didion is most known for her novels and writing the screenplay for Up Close and PersonalSlouching Towards Bethlehem is her first nonfiction work, originally published in 1968. In it, she paints portraits of various people and lifestyles in the 1960’s, from John Wayne to a regular housewife. Described as illustrating “the essence of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury,” it’s the perfect book for better understanding northern California’s counterculture history while lounging on southern California’s beaches.

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4. As a girl, I was obsessed with the “Little House” books. I longed to live in a time when churning your own butter was a thing. The children’s series is based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography, which publishers were originally not interested in. Apparently it depicted life on the prairie as just a little bit too grim. After 70 years, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography has now been published, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. That is, if I can get my hands on a copy. The second printing of the book was sold before it even came off the press.
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5. Who can resist religious conspiracies and  papal intrigue? Ten years after publishing The Rule of Four, Ian Caldwell is back with another thriller that may over shadow the first. A Catholic priest must search for the connection between the gospels, a religious relic, and the murder of the curator of the Vatican Museum – all before becoming a victim himself. The Fifth Gospel will have you glued to your beach towel until you turn the last page.
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What’s on your summer reading list? Besides lots of juicy magazines, of course!

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XOXO,
Jules

What We’re Reading

This month has been insanely busy (in a fun way!) but unfortunately that means we’re way behind on our pleasure reading. Jules and I usually have a lengthy holding pattern of books we want to read, including some we’ve recommended to each other, so I thought I’d share what’s on our mutual reading list at the moment. We are seriously in need of a beach vacation so we can lie in the sunshine and knock a few of these out…

 

What We're Reading

 

1. As soon as I saw the title of this book, I knew I would love it – and less than a day after I heard about it, Jules sent me a link to it, saying “this is the perfect book for you.” What I Was Doing While You Breeding is the travel memoir of a female sitcom writer who says no, thanks to the marriage-and-kids path her friends are taking and instead follows her wanderlust across the globe. From Paris to Amsterdam, Russia to Brazil, the author’s adventures sound at once hilarious, wild, and utterly relatable.

2. It’s been too long since I’ve read a great thriller, and The Girl on the Train combines the unpredictability of Gone Girl with the voyeuristic suspense of Rear Window. A woman riding a commuter train each morning obsessively watches an attractive couple whose home she can see from one of the stops. One morning, she witnesses something shocking and becomes embroiled in their web of suburban secrecy, lies and violence. Clear your schedule next Sunday and plan to read this in a single sitting.

3. We love ourselves a good apocalypse novel! Station Eleven is set fifteen years after civilization’s collapse and interweaves the stories of a movie star, an EMT, and a nomadic troupe of actors. Unlike so many novels set in a dystopian future, this one is about more than survival; humanity needs something to survive for, and Station Eleven speaks to the importance of art and beauty in a post-apocalyptic world.

4. In The Like Switch, a former FBI agent with a background in recruiting spies presents the techniques that will enable you to instantly read people, influence their perceptions of you, and ultimately win them over. Apart from the obvious practical applications (job interviews!), flipping the “like switch” will help you to deepen your friendships, become a better communicator and possibly recruit Soviet spies. So, super valuable stuff!

5. If you haven’t yet read Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), you need to get on it immediately. Be warned, you’ll want to stop every few minutes and read the funny parts out loud to whoever is nearby (spoiler alert: the whole book is funny parts). Mindy discusses everything from her shopaholic tendencies to childhood humiliations to what makes a superior best friend. Mindy, will you be best friends with us?

What are you guys reading right now? Have you read any of the books on our list? Send us your recommendations!

♥ Mil

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