Nothing against romance novels and more traditional beach reads, but I like to use my downtime to get deep and dirty into books that take me aback and encourage me to evolve without mindfulness and meditation. Here are a few of my summer reading recommendations.
—> Are you attracted to celebrity culture, but want to be more Ava DuVernay amplifying Jessica Chastain’s commentary about women in film than a self-flagellating narcissist like a Kardashian? (*) Or maybe you have leftover angry baggage about the denial of sexism’s role in the 2016 election season to infinity? Well then, Sady Doyle’s Trainwreck is your next summer read.
This non-fiction gem is a feminist history lesson that holds up a mirror to our own attitudes towards women who crash and burn. Doyle takes us from the Brontes to Amy Winehouse to Billie Holiday to Britney Spears to Hillary Clinton to Whitney Houston to Mary Wollstonecraft and back to Britney Spears, all the while giving context to their public spirals into “trainwreck” territory. The chapters are easily digestible anecdote-filled morsels that analyze both the subjects’ and the readers’ behavior. Trainwreck will entertain, educate, and make you stop and think about your own responses to celebrity.
(*) I fully understand the irony of calling out The Kardashians to open a mini-review/suggestion to read a book about celebrity trainwrecks.
—> Reading Ada Calhoun’s Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give is a lot less expensive and a lot more fun than couples therapy. At least I imagine so. At once funny and sad and contemplative and honest, Calhoun nudges us to reevaluate and appreciate our own relationships. Each essay has a different filter and focus, but it never feels forced or manufactured.
Throughout the collection, Calhoun’s voice is like the friend you rely on to tell you the truth about what an idiot you’re being, but over a glass of your favorite beverage at sunset. The personal stories walk the line of TMI, but never cross it. We get to know her family without feeling like we’ve invaded their personal space too much. Best suited to couples who have been together for a while; you’ll probably recommend your partner reads the book as well.
—> I have to throw in a repeated recommendation for Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women. It’s just so good. This collection of short stories has something to suit any mood and any variation on summer weather. Read my full review here: Difficult Women. Gay’s new book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, is focused on food, weight, and self-image, and it’s sure to become the must-read of 2017. But I haven’t read it yet, so let me know what you think.
Leave YOUR suggestions for summer reading in comments!