So, sometime in June I decided to make a summer reading list and actually read books this summer. What I discovered is, I can pretty much pick one thing (running, baking, reading) and I can fit that in plus working. I cannot fit in more than that one thing as evidenced by the lack of running this summer.

If you read any of these books, you should tell me and then we could talk about books. Sometimes I miss that. Remember when I was an English major and I paid lots of money to learn about book and talk about them? Me too.

  1. All My Friends are Superheroes, by Andrew Kaufman

I was really displeased when I finished this because I felt like the plot never really got going. Or there was really no plot. It could have been a short story about superheroes. But at the same time, the characters were fun and I would have liked this if there had in fact been a plot.

2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This is probably my favorite book I read this summer. It’s not Shakespeare or James Joyce, but I found it really excellent. It’s about a post-pandemic world. There are a number of characters who you follow and their lives overlap tangentially, but the main character is girl. Also, they do in fact perform Shakespeare in the book, so you can feel smart when you read it like, Oh yeah I know all about King Lear. Also also, there is a Star Trek quote. Really, this book was written for me. And, for a post-pandemic novel where 99% of the world population dies in the beginning of the book, it had a pretty happy ending.

3. The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

Also a great book. Sort of reminded me of Alexander McCall Smith (part of it takes place in Africa, main character is a really smart woman who solves problems). It’s totally bizarre, but I really enjoyed it.

4. Sandition by Jane Austen

When I started this, I knew it was unfinished. And I was holding a physical copy, so I could tell it was short. But it was REALLY short. You meet all the characters, and it ends. So while I very much liked it, I can’t really recommend it because you’ll be sad when it ends. (And yes, I’m still counting this as a book read despite how short and unfinished it is).

5. Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriaty

Look, if you want to read a book that’s kind of like Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, but is not that book and takes place in Australia instead, this is your book. But if you don’t really want to read about teen angst in letter form, yep the whole book is letters, don’t read this book. I didn’t hate it, and in fact some parts of it were quite funny, but generally, nothing special. Life is only so long! I can only read so many books! I could have read Station Eleven twice instead…

6. Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

I do recommend this one, even though it is really silly. General premise: what if you sent out a true Christmas letter by accident to 100 of your nearest and dearest, you know, actually telling people how you feel about your family and what they’ve been up to that year. Also set in Australia. Overall, a great summer/vacation read.

7. Casebook by Mona Simpson

I really disliked this book until about 200 pages in, and then I couldn’t put it down, but then I didn’t really like the ending. But now I can’t remember the ending…hmm. The narrator is a boy who ages from 9 to 18ish during the book. Basically, his parents get divorced and they deal with it and he deals with it. Moves really really slowly. Then gets kind of exciting, then slow again.

8. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

The only non-fiction I read. I liked it. I like Amy Poehler. But it doesn’t seem like she really liked writing a book. Mostly she says at multiple points that she didn’t like it and it was hard. Solution: don’t write a book, just be an awesome lady who makes a great tv show, etc.

9. World War Z by Max Brooks

I don’t want to sound like I hated every book I read, definitely not. But I didn’t really love this either. I think I just thought it would be a more cohesive story. It’s not. But it is well written. I haven’t seen the movie, have you? I found the book pretty hard to read at bed time.

10. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

I liked this a lot. The two main characters were a modern day foster kid and a child who was on the Orphan Train in the 1930s (who is also a character in the present). It was also not Shakespeare, and I think the foster kid’s situation worked out WAY TOO WELL to be realistic. Everything worked out too well to be realistic. But, you know, I’m okay with a book that has happiness in that is maybe disproportionate to real life. Also, the parts set in the past were interesting. Also, also, thinking about it, there were plenty of sucky things that happened in the middle of the book, just the end seemed like, well that extremely nice.

11. Some Luck by Jane Smiley

Okay…so I haven’t actually finished this book yet. But I am about 50 pages from the end. I like it a lot, it’s the first book in a trilogy. Each chapter is a year, so the first book includes the drought, depression, WWII, and the beginning of the Cold War. The characters are all members of a family who live in Iowa on a farm (though the kids grow up over the course of the book and some move). Also, it was reviewed in The New Yorker. So I don’t even feel ashamed of reading it.

I have been waiting on, but have been unable to get ALL SUMMER At the Waters Edge. So it better be amazing when it comes in… Also I had been planning to read The Luck of the Bodkins, but that also proved quite difficult to get.

That’s what I’ve been up to this summer 😀 How about you?