It’s already May. How crazy is that?!
This all means that we’re inching closer and closer to summer; the smell of sandy beaches and the wind in our hair. Good books and good food and great friends, whether or not you’re traveling.
I don’t know for sure that I’ll be having much of a summer this year, because you don’t get such time off during rotations. However, I plan to read as many books as I can because I’ve set myself up to complete 50 books this year and I’ve only read 15. Sighh.
Here are the books I HAVE to read this summer (and maybe some you could add to your list?):
The Book Of Memory by Pettina Gappah
Memory, the narrator of Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory, is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, after being sentenced for murder. As part of her appeal, her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. The death penalty is a mandatory sentence for murder, and Memory is, both literally and metaphorically, writing for her life. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been tried and convicted for the murder of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted father. But who was Lloyd Hendricks? Why does Memory feel no remorse for his death? And did everything happen exactly as she remembers?
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen
In this irresistible memoir, Anna Quindlen writes about a woman’s life, from childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, using the events of her life to illuminate ours. Considering—and celebrating—everything from marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, parenting, faith, loss, to all the stuff in our closets, and more, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain.
Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson
When their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother’s family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children’s school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife.
Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta
In the late 1960’s, Adah, a spirited and resourceful woman manages to move her family to London. Seeking an independent life for herself and her children she encounters racism and hard truths about being a new citizen. “Second Class Citizen pales a lot of academic feminist writing into insignificance.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
WINNER OF THE KIRKUS PRIZE
A MAN BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST
A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
A Little Life follows four college classmates—broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition—as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma.
(I’ve heard it’s a tear jerker)
Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera
Before violence tore apart the tapestry of Sri Lanka and turned its pristine beaches red, there were two families; two young women, ripe for love with hopes for the future; and a chance encounter that leads to the terrible heritage they must reckon with for years to come.
One tragic moment that defines the fate of these women and their families will haunt their choices for decades to come. In the end, love and longing promise only an uneasy peace.
And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile
During the rainy season of 1995, in the bustling town of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power which changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago.
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Two friends, one a budding writer home from Europe, the other an ambitious racketeer, meet in the only nightclub, the Tram 83, in a war-torn city-state in secession, surrounded by profit-seekers of all languages and nationalities. Tram 83 plunges the reader into the modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic and colorfully exotic, using jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Longlisted for the Baileys Womens Prize For Fiction in 2016
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Her unexpected visit forces Lucy to confront the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of her life: her impoverished childhood in Amgash, Illinois, her escape to New York and her desire to become a writer, her faltering marriage, her love for her two daughters.
I still have a ton of other books I’d like to read (so I probably should stop taking recommendations at this stage, because it’s getting ridiculous) but hey, shoot me any recommendations you have.
Have you read any of these books or authors? What did you think? (NO SPOILERS).
** All blurbs from Amazon.com
Any of these you’d be interested in reading? Let me know in the comments!