When I was school-aged summertime meant endless days of reading. Sure I left the house to see friends, swim and go places with my family, but my favorite thing to do was read. My reading waxes and wanes with my schedule, but the last few months I’ve purposely made time every day between ending work and dinnertime (I work from home so the commute from my office to my sofa takes me 2 minutes) and sometimes longer to read.
I think summertime is the best book season and I’ve been reading up a storm and adding to my Kindle wishlist. Books that “take me places” are my favorite kinds of reads, always have been. Books transport me all over the world and here are some that I am reading currently or have read recently.
Brooklyn in Love
I so wanted to Brooklyn in Love to my Francophile Library – Summer 2018 post because Amy Thomas who’s first book, Paris, My Sweet, a must-read recommendation from my Books to Read Before Visiting Paris, is a diehard francophile like me who exudes a love for all things French, particularly pastries! I first met Amy in 2010 at a Paris Bloggers meet-up I organized with Haven in Paris, she was in the middle of her time in Paris and loving every minute of it.
I love memoirs and while I absolutely adore the biting sarcasm and wit of Jennifer Lancaster, the openness and transparency of Amy Thomas is endearing, her unapologetic sweet tooth radiates sweetness through her writing, even when she is writing about her hangups and dissatisfaction with life. In Brooklyn in Love, which continues Amy’s story after leaving Paris, you can see that even when she is struggling to get reacquainted with her life in New York, her career as an “older” creative and her love life that she never not on a quest for happiness, she doesn’t want to wallow in negatively, she along with her therapist(!) have the determination to know that happiness is just around the corner, that the struggle is real, but that life will eventually give you what you want as long as you have faith and sweet treats from Brooklyn bakeries to sustain you!
More with Amy Thomas
- My original review and interview with Amy about Paris, My Sweet.
- A guest post Amy did here on Misadventures with Andi about her passion for Paris.
Pasta Pane Vino
I wrote about Pasta Pane Vino from Matt Goulding in my March Currently. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy from an author whose books I devoured: Rice, Noodle, Fish and Grape, Olive, Pig. But the book just actually released to the public, 6 days after its publisher Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. I’m re-reading the book. Each book starts with a series of letters between Matt and Anthony and I think of the 3 books, Italy was closest to Anthony Bourdain’s heart. Even if it wasn’t I somehow feel closer to him when I am reading his letters and Matt’s books truly are wonderful. The level of detail on food cultural that he extracts on his visits for research is impressive and I hope he continues his journeys around the globe, even without the direct support of his mentor.
Convenience Store Woman
I saw Convenience Store Woman on several summer reading lists and I was intrigued. It’s from a popular Japanese author, but this is the first time one of her books has been translated into English. After reading it, I certainly hope it won’t be her last! If you have never been to Japan, convenience stores are something to see and the idea of just working in one for a few weeks sounds fascinating to me, let alone the time that Sayaka Murata’s main character Keiko spends in one! This book is a great way to get insight into Japanese culture and its exactly the type of vehicle that I like to use to do exactly that. The fact that Ms. Murata actually worked in a convenience store really shows in the book, it is poignant, brilliant and offbeat.
Number One Chinese Restaurant
A restaurant book combined with multi-generational Chinese family and culture and a little bit of crime thrown in? I was all in! Number One Chinese Restaurant was a great read that was truly a feast. It’s full of the type of dark humor and drama that comes with family and long-term employees and multi-generational immigrants, and I couldn’t get enough! It’s a cultural comedy that will have you wanting to see into the kitchen and back office of your favorite Chinese restaurant!
Women in Sunlight
Much like Eat Pray Love, Under the Tuscan Sun is a classic book a lot of romantic travel writers (and heck, a lot of women) have read and loved. Well now Frances Mayes has returned with Women in Sunlight, another novel set in Tuscany. In this one has the main character Kit Raine, lives in Tuscany and working on a book. Her life is disrupted by the arrival of 3 women who are all looking to start over. The women, all with different personalities, and different missions pursue some really awesome adventures with Italy as their playgorund. But what I love most about the book are the descriptions of the incredible meals from one of my favorite parts of the world.
America for Beginners
This book is actually not out yet, but America for Beginners will be out July 24th and I’ll get it that very day! It’s the debut novel from Leah Franqui and the story sounds intriguing! The main character, Pival heads from India to the United States to learn more about her son in California, but instead of flying direct from India to California she heads to New York instead intent on traveling cross-country a tour. I can only imagine the tales that unfold!
RoadTrip America Arizona and New Mexico
Am I the only one that likes to read tour books, even when they aren’t planning a trip? Or as inspiration for a trip? Mr. Misadventures and I did a 10-day southwestern road trip a few years back and now that we actually live in the Southwest we are doing weekend explorations whenever we can, but I’m hankering for a road trip again. I guess a year-and-a-half on the road in the RV didn’t kill my roadtrippin’ spirit! That’s why I’ve been enjoying Rick Quinn’s RoadTrip America Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips. It’s giving me great ideas for getting out on the road soon!
Rough Guides: Paris, Porto & Florence
And because I can’t get enough of guidebooks I’m making my way through some new ones from Rough Guides. I enjoy reading books like these for places that I have been to, know well, or want to get to know better. I know Paris like the back of my hand, but there is always something new to see. I’ve been to Florence several times but still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. And on my single trip to Porto, I fell in love. These books help me extend my past memories and prepare me for new adventures!
How about you? What’s on your summer reading list? Did any of mine catch your eye? Do tell!
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