2016 Summer Reading List

I don’t know about all of you, but I can hardly believe that it is June already. I’m excited that it’s June because it creates the perfect opportunity to grab a good book and read outside in the warm sunshine. When I was in college I would stock pile countless books to read when the quarter or semester was over. Today, I have the luxury of reading on the train every morning and evening as part of my commute to and from work.

With that said, I’ve been compiling what I think to be the perfect 2016 Summer Reading List. A few of the books on this list I’ve already tackled and enjoyed very much. Those books include: Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Me Before You, and After You. I gathered the book selections mostly from Pinterest and iBooks recommendations. I wanted to share the list with all of you and ask that if you’ve read any of the books listed, let me know what you think! (All excerpts can be found in iBooks)

  1. The Assistants – by Camille Perry

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Rule #1: All important men have assistants. Rule #2: Men rule the world. Rule #3: There is enough money. There is so much money.

Tina Fontana is a 30-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss – but after six years of making reservations and pouring drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, the glamour of working for a media company in New York has completely faded, but her student debt has not.

When a technical error with Robert’s expense report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her loans with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she hesitates. She’s always played by the rules, but this would be a life-changer. As Tina begins to fall down the rabbit hole of her morally questionable plan, other assistants with crushing debt and fewer scruples approach her to say that they want in. Before she knows it, she’s at the forefront of a movement that has implications far beyond what anyone anticipated.

2. It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool, Too) A Memoir- by Nora McInerny Purmort

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Twenty-someting Nora McInerny Purmort bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job. Then she met Aaron, a charismatic art director and her kindred spirit. They made mix tapes (and pancakes) into the wee hors of the morning. They finished each other’s sentences. They just knew. When Aaron was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer, they refused to let it limit their love. They got engaged on Aaron’s hospital bed and married after his first surgery. They had a baby when he was on chemo. They shared an amazing summer filled with happiness and laughter. A few months later, Aaron died in Nora’s arms in another hospital bed. His wildly creative obituary, which they wrote together, touched the world.

Now, Nora shares hysterical, moving, and painfully honest stories about her journey with Aaron. It’s OK to Laugh explores universal themes of love, marriage, work, (single) motherhood, and depression through her refreshingly frank view point. A love letter to life, in all of its messy glory, and what it’s like to still be kicking’, It’s OK to Laugh is like a long chat with a close friend over a cup of coffee (or chardonnay).

3. The Girls – by Emma Cline

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Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall of Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is an exotic, thrilling, charged – place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.

4. Rich and Pretty – by Rumaan Alam 

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As close as sisters for twenty years, Sarah and Lauren have been together through high school and college, first jobs, first loves, the uncertainties of their twenties and the realities of their thirties.

Sarah, the only child of a prominent intellectual and a socialite, works at a charity and is methodically planning her wedding. Lauren – beautiful, independent, and unpredictable – is single and working in publishing, deflecting her parents’ worries and questions about her life and future by trying not to think about it herself. Each woman envies – and is horrified by – particular aspects of the other’s life, topics of conversation they avoid with masterful linguistic pirouettes. 

Once, Sarah and Lauren were inseparable; for a long time now they’ve been apart. Can two women who rarely see one another, selectively share secrets, and lead different lives still call themselves best friends? Is it their abiding connection – or just force of habit – that keeps them together?

5. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and Other Lessons from the Crematory – by Caitlin Doughty

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Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty – a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre – took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humors and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practice from different cultures. 

Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is lie going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like?

6. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? -by Maria Semple

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Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised award: a family trip to Antartica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle – and people in general – has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence – creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

7. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules – by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

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Martha Andersson may be seventy-nine-years-old and live in a retirement home, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to stop enjoying life. So when the new management of Diamond House starts cutting corners to save money, Martha and her four closest friends – The Genius,  The Rake, Christina and Anna-Gretta (a.k.a. The League of Pensioners) – won’t stand for it. Fed up with early bedtimes and overcooked veggies, this group of feisty seniors sets about to regain their independence, improve their lot, and stand up for seniors.

Their solution? White collar crime. What begins as a relatively straightforward robbery of a nearby luxury hotel quickly escalates into an unsolvable heist at the National Museum. With police baffled and the Mafia hot on their trail, the League of Pensioners has to stay one walker’s length ahead if it’s going to succeed…

8. Me Before You – by Jojo moyes

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They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose…

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life – steady boyfriend, close family – who has barely been farther afield  than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life – big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel – and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy – but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. 

9. After You – by Jojo Moyes

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(This book is the sequel to “Me Before You.”) 

“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong capable Sam Fielding – the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

10. The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love and Loss – by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt

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Though Anderson Cooper has always considered himself close to his mother, his intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS affords him little time to spend with her. After she suffers a brief but serious illness at the age of ninety-one, they resolve to change their relationship by beginning a year-long conversation unlike any they had ever had before. The result is a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discuss their lives, the things that matter to them, and what they still want to learn about each other.

Both a son’s love letter to his mother and an unconventional mom’s life lessons for her grown son, The Rainbow Comes and Goes offers a rare window into their close relationship and fascinating life stories, including their tragedies and triumphs. In these often humorous and moving exchanges, they share their most private thoughts and the hard-earned truths they’ve learned along the way. In their words their distinctive personalities shine through – Anderson’s journalistic outlook on the world is a sharp contrast to his mother’s idealism and unwavering optimism.

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wishbonedreams

Hi there! I’m Nikki Delucchi, a 34-year-old from the San Francisco Bay Area.

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