Summer meant a lot of things to me growing up. It meant waking up at 10am, eating breakfast at noon and watching my soap operas. Most importantly, it meant finding and reading new books.
There was no such thing as a great Summer when I was younger if I didn’t read at least two books during that break. Now that I am a bit older, not much has changed. I read more of course but I still like to have a good reading list as a guide to Summer.
I compiled the ultimate Summer Reading List for 2015. There’s fiction and non fiction; self help and romance; one or two may be considered classics but most are newer.
Read one, read all.
All of the descriptions below are courtesy of Amazon.com
RUBY – Cynthia Bond
The newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection
The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her, this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.
Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city—the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village—all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.
Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen, where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.
GOD HELP THE CHILD – Toni Morrison
Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride’s mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”
A fierce and provocative novel that adds a new dimension to the matchless oeuvre of Toni Morrison.
Queen Sugar – Natalie Baszile
Readers, booksellers, and critics alike are embracing Queen Sugar and cheering for its heroine, Charley Bordelon, an African American woman and single mother struggling to build a new life amid the complexities of the contemporary South. When Charley unexpectedly inherits eight hundred acres of sugarcane land, she and her eleven-year-old daughter say goodbye to smoggy Los Angeles and head to Louisiana. She soon learns, however, that cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley struggles to balance the overwhelming challenges of a farm in decline with the demands of family and the startling desires of her own heart.
The third book in the beloved #1 bestselling author’s sexy, romantic suspense Slow Burn series…
They say young love doesn’t last, but a girl from the wrong side of the tracks with unique abilities and the hometown golden boy were determined to defy the odds. For Zack Covington, Anna-Grace—his”Gracie”—was the one. Until one night forever alters the course of their future, when a devastated Gracie disappears without a trace, leaving Zack to agonize over what happened to the girl he loved. As the years pass, his desperate efforts to find her uncovered nothing. Now working for Devereaux Security, he stumbles across a painting featuring a special place only he and Gracie would know. The image is too perfectly rendered for it to be coincidence. His Gracie must be alive. When he finally tracks her down, he is shocked—and heart-broken—to discover the wounded shell of the girl he once knew and still loves. Her psychic gifts are gone, and worse, she believes he betrayed her all those years ago. Zack has enemies, and once his weakness is discovered, Gracie becomes a target for revenge. He’ll have to save her before he can earn her trust and her love. And he vows they’ll never be torn apart again.
CHERRY LANE (A CAVANAUGH ISLAND NOVEL BOOK 5) – rochelle alers
A place to call home . . .
In New York City, attorney Devon Gilmore devoted all her time and energy to fast-track her career. She lost her boyfriend . . . but found herself with a surprise baby on the way. To begin a new life, Devon needs a place to settle down-a place like Cavanaugh Island, where the pace is slow, the weather is fine, and the men are even finer. From the moment David Sullivan meets Devon, he knows he can’t fight the laws of attraction. Whether it’s helping fix up the old cottage she just bought on Cherry Lane or working together on a pro bono legal case, he can’t help feeling a little protective. But will the most eligible bachelor in town be ready for an instant family? Only if he can convince Devon to put her heart on the line one more time-for all time.
FIND ME (FOUND DUET BOOK 2) – laurelin paige
The Conclusion of Gwen and JC’s Story
Gwen Anders came to The Sky Launch to begin fresh, away from the horrors of her past. She fit in quickly, becoming good friends with her co-manager, Alayna Withers and the owner of the club, Hudson Pierce. Though the circumstances that brought her here were not the best, she’s never felt more at home. But starting a new life means letting go. And there are some things she doesn’t want to leave behind – like JC, the man who taught her how to let loose. The man she wasn’t supposed to fall in love with. The man she doesn’t want to lose. Now, with the reason she ran still a threat, Gwen fears she’ll never be able to move on completely. And if she does, can she still hold out hope that JC loves her enough to come and find her?
FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES – charles m. blow
A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America’s most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past . New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African-American Louisiana town where he grew up — a place where slavery’s legacy felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders’ stories and in the near-constant wash of violence. Blow’s attachment to his mother — a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory, a soon-to-be-ex husband, and a love of newspapers and learning — cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. It’s damage that triggers years of anger and searing self-questioning. Finally, Blow escapes to a nearby state university, where he joins a black fraternity after a passage of brutal hazing, and then enters a world of racial and sexual privilege that feels like everything he’s ever needed and wanted, until he’s called upon, himself, to become the one perpetuating the shocking abuse.A powerfully redemptive memoir that both fits the tradition of African-American storytelling from the South, and gives it an indelible new slant.
THE 10 HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL WOMEN – Glynnis macnicol and rachel sklar
The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Women is a collection of essays revealing the secret career habits and hard-won wisdom of a diverse group of accomplished women, selected by Rachel Sklar and Glynnis MacNicol, co-founders of TheLi.st, the well-known network dedicated to elevating professional women. Perhaps no group has experienced more upheaval in the last few decades than working women. In this series, each woman explores the one key habit or lesson that has made the difference in forging her career and attaining professional success. Whether it’s CNN personality Sally Kohn’s exploration of emotional correctness or What Not To Wear’sStacy London on the wear and tear of our aspirational “Culture of Extraordinary”; why millennial Nisha Chittal won’t tell you her age and what Cindy Gallop learned about sex while dating men half hers; how lessons from waitressing led Jenna Wortham to The New York Times or how Paula Froelich perfected the art of the “controlled burn” to start over after the end of a dream career—these essays uncover the challenges and delights of chasing, and finding, success in work and life as a professional woman. This book was initially released in episodes as a Kindle Serial. All episodes are now available for immediate download as a complete book.
Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice.
Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond. Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.
THE AWESOME GIRL’S GUIDE TO DATING EXTRAORDINARY MEN – ernessa t. carter
Four women. Two years. A friendship to last a lifetime. The only things that Sharita, Thursday, Risa, and Tammy have in common are their disastrous love lives. But the year three of them turn 30 will be different, they swear! Sharita, a plump and conservative accountant wants to make partner at her firm and find the man of her dreams. Thursday, the daughter of a formerly chart-topping political rapper, wants to stop being a serial one-month stander, and settle down into a stable life with a stable boyfriend. Risa, a skinny and audacious electronica punk rocker, wants to finally land an album deal, which she feels is the only way to win back the heart of her on-again of off-again closeted girlfriend. And after getting fired as the spokesmodel for her family’s hair company, sweet and gorgeous Tammy wants to prove that she has what it takes to make it on her own. None of these women get what they want, but over the course of two years, they get exactly what they need. And that proves to be the best thing after all.
THE SEAT OF THE SOUL – gary zukav
With the same extraordinary skill that he used to demystify scientific abstraction and the new physics, Gary Zukay, the award-winning author of The Dancing Wu Li Masters, here takes us on a brilliant and penetrating exploration of the new phase of evolution we have now entered.
With lucidity and elegance, Zukav explains that we are evolving from a species that pursues power based upon the perceptions of the five senses — external power — into a species that pursuesauthentic power — power that is based upon the perceptions and values of the spirit. He shows how the pursuit of external power has produced our survival-of-the-fittest understanding of evolution, generated conflict between lovers, communities, and superpowers, and brought us to the edge of destruction.
Using his scientist’s eye and philosopher’s heart, Zukav shows how infusing the activities of life with reverence, compassion, and trust makes them come alive with meaning and purpose. He illustrates how the emerging values of the spirit are changing marriages into spiritual partnerships, psychology into spiritual psychology, and transforming our everyday lives. The Seat of the Soul describes the remarkable journey to the spirit that each of us is on.
• Pursue Your Passions
• Take Risks That Are Calculated, Not Crazy
• Achieve “The 360° Life”
• Make Your Life a Grudge-Free Zone
• Orchestrate Your Own Success
The bestselling guide to seizing opportunity in the workplace, from the woman at the pinnacle of the Hearst magazine empire. Every woman dreams of having a wise, funny mentor who understands the challenges she faces. Now, Cathie Black—one of Forbes’s “100 Most Powerful Women” and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business”—offers invaluable lessons that will help you land the job, promotion, or project you’re vying for. You’ll find out how to handle interviews, which rules to break, and why you should make your life a grudge-free zone. Filled with surprisingly candid, personal stories and advice, this is the only career guide you’ll ever need.
THE KITE RUNNER – khaled hosseini
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies. A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
RISING STRONG – brene brown
The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall. The author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Daring Greatly, The Gifts of Imperfection, and I Thought It Was Just Me, tells us what it takes to get back up, and how owning our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak gives us the power to write a daring new ending. Struggle, Brené Brown writes, can be our greatest call to courage, and rising strong our clearest path to a wholehearted life.