To All the Books I’ve Loved Before
Recently, a couple of friends asked for good books to take with them on their summer trips.
Where to begin? I ruled out any books with heavy themes – no mental illness, characters filled with angst, violence or murder.
So here’s a list. 9 of some of my favorite reads, in no particular order. I found each of them to be great page-turners.
A trilogy about a young couple, Russell and Corrine Calloway, pursuing their dreams and the good life in NYC. The books follow them from the early 80’s to present day, each book focusing on a specific period of time. I found them slightly addictive – like a good mini-series that draws you in.
They May Not Mean To, But They Do - Cathleen Schine
Schine is a master comic novelist. This book looks at aging, family, loneliness, and love. Hilarious, laugh-out loud funny and also poignant, it depicts the story of the Bergmans as three generations wrestle with the realities of adult children and their aging parents.
The Nest - Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
A Witty novel about 4 adult siblings in NY, waiting for their inheritance (a.k.a. The Nest) to be dispersed when the youngest turns 40. Each has a different plan for what they’ll with what they believe will be a substantial sum. Things do not go as planned.
State of Wonder - Ann Patchett
This finds big pharma researcher Dr. Marina Singh as she sets off into the Amazon jungle on a mission to find a co-worker who has gone MIA and also a reclusive gynecologist who has been researching why the women of a local tribe can conceive in their middle ages and beyond. This is a riveting adventure story, full of suspense set against the exotic jungle landscape of the Amazon.
A Spool of Blue Thread - Anne Tyler
I love stories about families; this is a sprawling family saga spanning 4 generations in a big house in Baltimore. Tyler “has a knack for turning sitcom situations into something far deeper and more moving.”—The New York Times Book Review
The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer
6 teenagers meet at a summer camp for the arts in 1974, become fast friends who adopt the name “The Interestings.” From that first summer at camp through the next 4 decades, friendships change and evolve in ways no one expected when they were 15. Idiosyncratic characters engrossing plot and plenty of pop culture references make it a treat to dive into.
Past Imperfect - Julian Fellowes
If you were a fan of “Downton Abbey”, chances are you’ll enjoy this novel by its creator. It follows a group of friends who are members of London’s aristocracy, from the Swinging 60’s, on the cusp of that way of life disappearing. Forty years later, one of the characters asks another to help him solve a mystery, which leads the friend to connect again with the rest of the group to find answers.
The Royal We - Heather Cocks
A thinly veiled novel about Prince William & Kate’s romance; lightweight, humorous and very British. The definition of a guilty pleasure.
The Boys in the Boat - Daniel James Brown
A real life, nail-biting account of the US rowing team in the 30s, from the University of Washington. These working class boys from the American West surprised everyone by defeating elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain. “Boys in the Boat” chronicles their remarkable journey to compete in the ’36 Olympics. An absolutely compelling, moving, story that with one of the best Feel Good endings I’ve read in a long time.
All of these books have been out for a while, so they should be available from your library or in paperback for sale or as used books on Amazon.
Hope you find something appealing! Click here to discover new books that are on my summer to-be-read list.