My original post about Summer reading lists basically consisted of a list of books I’d like to read in the next few months. Today I want to share a list of some of the books I have loved. This list is not a list of all of the books I have loved or even a list of my most favorite books. It is just a list of books I have truly enjoyed.
Aquamarine/ Carol Anshaw: one of the most perfectly written stories. After an olympic swimmer hesitates and comes in second, the reader is given 3 possible lives she could have had.
Soloist/ Mark Salzman. I really liked the quiet subtlety of this story about a violinist, once a child prodigy and now an average adult violin teacher, whose life is transformed when he is called for jury duty.
Hairstyles of the Damned/ Joe Meno. This is the first Joe Meno book I read although I enjoyed his column in the now defunct zine, Punk Planet. Hairstyles captures some of the most painful and embarrassing moments of adolescence. Not a huge plot line; but, enough to keep you interested and so compelling in it’s Seinfeldesque descriptions of a young, awkward teen boy coming of age, that I couldn’t put it down.
Welcome to My Planet Where English is Sometimes Spoken/ Shannon Olson. I loved, loved this novel, which is frequently and mistakenly just lumped with the whole chick lit genre. Welcome to My Planet’s narrator is a hilariously neurotic 30 something still living with her parents and obsessing over her future. What sets Olson’s novel apart from the thousands of other novels about 30 something women is Olson’s gift for storytelling. Her character development is excellent and the interplay between mother and daughter is not just an opportunity for a joke; but, reveals something deeper. One of my favorite novels to recommend to people looking for something funny.
Plain Janes/ Cecil Castellucci. I loved this YA graphic novel so much I tried to convince everyone to read it. It’s an extremely quick read; but, it’s such a little treasure. Basically, a group of non conformist girls goes on a guerilla art spree in their town. Funny and sweet and thought provoking.
Love & Rockets/ Hernandez Brothers. This is not a book; but, a long running comic book series that has been collected a few different times in various ways. If you think graphic novels are not legitimate sources of literature, check out Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez’s Love and Rockets.
Lovingkindness/ Sharon Salzberg. I go back to this book over and over. It is so simple and beautifully written. It is one of my favorite books by a Buddhist teacher. The first couple of nights after my accident, Kate and my friend Grace, stayed up until the wee hours of the morning pushing my pain medicine button and reading aloud from this book. It is probably my most treasured, spiritual book.
Everyday Zen/ Charlotte Joko Beck. This book turned me into a Buddhist. Ha, ha. No, really.
If I had to choose a book that is a fun page turner, guaranteed to make you laugh without challenging you too much intellectually; but still offers a little bit of literary meat, I’d suggest you read:
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. Sort of a mystery; but, with enough other plot lines going on that you almost forget there is something to be solved. The Spellmans are a family of private detectives who are constantly invading each other’s privacy while simultaneously running a detective agency. This book is clever and when I turned the last page I was immensly happy that it was the first book of a series, of which there are now 3 titles published.