essay: my dogeared summer (2018)

10 books i read and loved over the past few months:

  • little fires everywhere by celeste ng

excellent read for traveling, as you won’t be able to put it down on a flight or drive somewhere. i personally loved reading this by the pool this summer. it involves a wealthy neighborhood, a new kid in town, young love, and a lot of secrets.

  • win your case by gerry spence

a practical book; non-lawyers, don’t shy away from this one. it’s got tons of advice for attorneys, but all of it is equally applicable to other professions too. gerry spence shares his wisdom from his legal career to help readers become strong advocates for themselves (or their clients). great for if you want to better yourself without reading a true self-help book.

  • the shipping news by annie proulx

i have been told this book isn’t for everyone, as annie proulx’s writing style is quite distinct; but i loved it. it takes place in the cinematic landscape of newfoundland and involves complex and unforgettable characters, most notably, quoyle, who has to start over in his 30s when he loses his wife and learns he has to love himself before he can let anyone else in (among other crucial life lessons).

  • red clocks by leni zumas

ONE OF MY NEW FAVORITES (!!!) it’s been said to have handmaid’s tale vibes (this is even mentioned in the jacket). this is true to the extent that it is about a fictional but eerily believable society where abortion is completely banned and lawmakers have made it virtually impossible for women to make choices about the fate of their own bodies. multiple story lines from the perspectives of various women–all at different ages, stages in life, and desires when it comes to marriage, children, and careers–makes this a fascinating, multi-layer story.

  • i’ll be gone in the dark by michelle mcnamara

for the true crime lover, this is a must. it’s been in the news a lot lately because the golden state killer–the murderer who this book is based on–was caught earlier this year, shortly after the book was published. the author, michelle mcnamara, passed away before the story was finished and released by her husband (patton oswalt) and the rest of her researching and writing team. the story has the usual true crime elements one may look for in this genre (suspense, mystery, the WTF factor), but also goes deeper and introduces the reader extensively to the victims, their families, and mcnamara herself.

  • all we ever wanted by emily giffin

i was pleasantly surprised by this one. similar to little fires everywhere in that i consider this to be a great book for traveling because it is pretty simple to read, but high in entertainment value. it takes place in nashville, and explores multiple perspectives after a scandal takes place between students at a local exclusive private school. giffin takes time to expose the conflict that parents may feel, between giving their kids the best that life has to offer, and remaining true to where they came from, in the process.

  • freedom by jonathan franzen

this book is very long but well worth the time it takes to get through. the characters are insanely frustrating and self-sabotaging, but painfully relatable. it’s about the complexity of family relationships, the difficulty of maintaining a successful marriage when partners grow apart, and overcoming (or succumbing to) the temptation of things (and people) one can’t have.

  • turtles all the way down by john green

this is frequently categorized as a young adult novel, but as a 26-year-old, i really enjoyed it. john green takes on usual tween-ish themes, like young love, tensions between best friends, and the ups and downs of how young adults get along with their parents, but he adds an important, often overlooked element that young people deal with: mental illness. the main character has severe obsessive compulsive disorder and lost her father at a young age. the intense things that the young people go through in this book make it easily accessible for older readers, too.

  • political fictions by joan didion

non-fiction. perfect for the history/political buff. this collection of essays features didion’s signature sharp descriptions and quick wit on events in american history including the election of george h.w. bush, the republican takeover of congress in the 1994 elections, clinton’s impeachment, and the 2000 race between george w. bush and al gore.

  • after henry by joan didion

see above. also includes reagan, a murder mystery, drug cartels, NYC, and LA.

what was on your reading list this summer?