Happy Memorial Day! It’s finally felt like summer here the past few days. And what better way to kick off this season of fun than…not talk of beers or BBQ…but a list of books? Okay, glad we’re on the same page.
These five novels will keep you interested but aren’t too difficult to follow or understand – perfect whether you’re on the beach or spending a rainy Sunday in bed. I’ve enjoyed each of them over the past couple of years and hope you will, too.
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
IT manager Alan Clay travels to Saudi Arabia to sell the king on a product developed by his firm in a last-ditch attempt to pull himself out of debt and prove he’s capable of getting things done. The trip unfolds like a bad dream – Alan drinks too much, oversleeps his commitments or has trouble figuring out transportation, the king cancels on them over and over again. He definitely hits rock bottom, but it’s at that point that he can begin to (sort of) figure things out. The book was made into a movie starring Tom Hanks last month.
Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
I like slice-of-life novels – the messiness and incomplete resolutions make them more real to me – and thought this one was done well. It follows three twenty-something women in New York City as they attend the weddings of their put-together friends while trying to sort out their own dysfunctional relationships. Jennifer Close’s dry sense of humor really made this a great read.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani
Fifteen-year-old Thea Atwell has been sent away to an equestrian camp-slash-boarding school after a serious accident at home for which she is partially responsible. All we know at the beginning is that the trouble had something to do with Thea’s incestuous relationship with her cousin, and I was kept at the edge of my seat as Disclafani alternated between Thea’s stay at camp and revealing the rest of the story through flashbacks. I think I liked Thea so much because she’s just like the rest of us – at times her decisions are selfish and stupid, and at others they are kind and brave.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Surprise, another one about a girl who moves to New York City after college. I’m in the middle of this one and loving it. I’d describe this book as refreshing – the characters are like no one I’ve ever met or read about, and the setting is confined mostly to the restaurant where the main character, Tess, works, yet somehow I haven’t been bored. The author spent time working as a server, so the operations of the restaurant seem authentic.
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
The longest time has passed since I read this one, but I remember savoring this book, not wanting it to end. It’s another slice-of-life novel, this time time told (convincingly, even though the author is female) from the perspective of a guy in his late twenties navigating the New York City dating scene as a newly in-demand author after several failed relationships and difficult years working his way up. True to the book jacket’s description, this is ‘an absorbing tale of one man’s search for happiness.’
What’s on your summer reading list? Books are one kind of purchase I can always justify, so let me know in the comments. 🙂