Non-(completely) fluffy summer reads

My husband and I were out with some friends this weekend and one of them was lamenting at a summer read which, while very enjoyable, was objectively awful. You can look to my current trend of reading Madeleine Wickham back-to-back to know that I, too, understand this. There’s something about the warm air and patio drinking that just says brainless. But if you’re looking for something that’s both “summer” and “satisfying” (in a non-killing-brain-cells-way?) No problem.

  1. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. Ah an oldie but a goodie, the quintessential summer novel about (along with many other things) female friendship. If you’ve never ead this, you need to immediately run to your bookstore and be prepared to laugh, cry, and love along with Vix and Caitlin.

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2. Little Princes by Conor Grenan. A lovely story about a man volunteering at an Orphanage in Nepal, that had me sobbing into my apple pie and ice cream (true story) at the German cafe in Udaipur when I read it a few summers back. Sobbing in a good way. download-2

3. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok. Girl and mother emigrate from Hong Kong to New York in the 70s and are effectively forced into extreme poverty, working by piece in a factory in China Town. Heartwarming story about the girl, who comes to America speaking no English, struggling to get her and her mother out of their present circumstances. I read this one in one sitting at my cottage a few years ago. 7362158

4. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. An odd summer read choice, I grant you, about the NY of the roaring twenties. But definitely not the heaviest read, which I’d say qualifies it? Unknown-1

5. My not-so-perfect life by Sophie Kinsella. Okay, okay, I know Sophie Kinsella is just a pseudonym for Madeleine Wickham, of idiotic summer read fame. But. Under her different name, she seems to write a slightly better book (think the Shopaholic series) and this one is no disappointment. Katie has moved from Devon to London to take on a new job, and despite her crushing inability to afford to buy anything or do anything fun because of lack of funds, her instagram is pretending her life is on point. When she’s fired and returns to Devon, drama ensues. Very fun and entertaining read, but offers an interesting insight into the way in which we all publicize our lives with a certain tint. Unknown-2

6. Shanghai Girls/ Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. These great novels follow two women as they leave the streets of Shanghai on the heels of the Japanese invasion, and one of their daughters as she seeks to return – this time under Chairman Mao. To a certain extent fast-paced and entertaining, but also full of interesting tidbits about modern Chinese history.

7. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. One of the best books ever written, as far as I’m concerned. Set in Kyoto in the 20s – 40s, it describes Sayuri’s life as a Geisha in Gion before, during and after the war.

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8. Anything by Liane Moriarty, although my two favourites are Big Little Lies (way better than the TV show, which was also very good) or What Alice Forgot – both of which are compulsively readable and an interesting reflection on friendship, motherhood and marriage.

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Happy reading! Anything I missed?

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