Last night, on a probably-unnecessary-but-very-necessary late night Skype catchup call with my BFF who lives about 10 minutes away, she said something very interesting:
I need to get back into the habit of reading for pleasure.
Booyah. There it is. Right there! Reading for fun is a habit, just like any other pass-time. The more you do it, the more you enjoy it, the more you work it into your daily schedule – the better it is. I am also of the opinion that reading the wrong things can bum you out and steer your clear of reading altogether. There’s probably some deep metaphor in there for life, but I’m a little out of it this morning so just bear with me.
I have a simple rule, most of the time: I read what I’m really, really excited to read. Choosing a book at random off my shelf can work in a pinch, but most of the time I try to read things that I can’t wait to get my hands on. This might seem like it’d be expensive, but I rely quite heavily on the libraries at my disposal (my school’s system and the Montreal library), which, among them, carry most things. Of course, for the brand-new ones that aren’t yet at the library, I can usually save $10-15 by buying them on Kindle. And sometimes I decide to be patient, and wait until I can get them for free.
All of this is to say: I believe in you! If you decide to make this summer the summer that you get back into reading for fun, you can do it. Let me help you by sharing my personal picks for the next few months! These are all books I’ve either read and enjoyed, am reading, or am psyched to get my hands on.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess): If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you might have picked up on the fact that I think Jenny is the single funniest blogger I’ve ever read. Her writing is usually an unique mix of self-deprecation, quirkiness, and relatability. She also doesn’t hide the fact that she suffers from mental and physical illness, and that it can sometimes be really hard. Her book, which I am about 2/3 through, has made me laugh several times, but has also made me quiet and sad a couple times too. Her memoir is wonderfully written, and doesn’t shy away from that life can be difficult, annoying, or awful. Mostly though, it’s hilarious. I’m loving it.
Born to Run – Christopher McDougall: It’s a book about running, but not just any running – ultramarathons! Feats of strength I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams. Things so crazy I had to stop and read some parts out loud to friends. It’s about running, but I don’t think you need to be a runner to appreciate it. McDougall is a great writer, and his stories are awe-inspiring and entertaining. If you are a runner though, the book is so motivating: it makes you really want to learn to run better, and learn to love running in the process.
An Everlasting Meal – Tamar Adler: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I heard about it from Joy the Baker and Shutterbean, and decided to trust their taste because I’m obsessed with their podcast and agree with almost everything they say. (Yep, I’m a fangirl.) And it was a good call! It’s an amazing book. The subtitle is “cooking with economy and grace”, and that fits so well with the contents of the book. It contains recipes, but it’s not a recipe book. It really is a cookbook, it guides you in how to cook. With economy and grace. It’s difficult to describe the lifestyle that Adler lays out, but it’s light, and good, and wholesome and it really just makes sense. It’s the kind of book I’d like to have my own copy of, to reference while I make eggs, or beans, or grow herbs. It’s just packed full of lovely nuggets of wisdom and joy, and hope, if that makes any sense. It makes me want to be better at cooking. And in life.
The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau: I’m pretty sure this is the next one I’ll be reading. I’ve watched the trailer, read reviews and flipped through the book in-store – and was pleasantly surprised to find it a lot more hefty than I expected, for whatever reason. I love Chris Guillebeau, I find his writing really down-to-earth and inspiring – he makes me want to drop everything and travel the world. A few years ago, he was responsible for a couple awesome epiphanies for me. And I think at this point, learning more about his perspective on business would be a wonderful thing. I have no doubt that I’ll learn a lot from this one.
An Economist Gets Lunch – Tyler Cowen: First, read this article (an excerpt from the book). Then come back. Are you back? Awesome, right? Ain’t that just the coolest thing? When I first read it – and yes, granted I’m a foodie – I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on the book, and excitedly spouting the tips to all who would listen (not many). Amazing. Applying economic principles to restaurant-going? Genius. I can’t wait to learn more.
The Joy the Baker Cookbook – Joy Wilson: I’m counting this as a “read” because I plan to read it, cover to cover, and lovingly stroke the pretty pictures and read the funny intros. It’s 100 recipes and 100 photos, the majority of which are not featured on her blog but are so incredible-looking that I cannot wait to try them. I would have bought this book already, if my bookstore had it in stock!
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell: Well, actually, I plan on reading Mitchell’s entire oeuvre this summer. He’s one of my favourite authors, yet I’ve only read 2 of his books! They were both absolutely outstanding, but still – I must read the rest. I haven’t much to say about this book, except that all his work is amazing, he’s a genius, yadda yadda yadda. Can’t wait to carve out some time to enjoy this one.
Yay! I’m getting excited about reading just skimming through this list. I’m also planning on tackling one long book (The Count of Monte Cristo), and I hope I’ll be reading many more books than what’s on this list as well.
I love the sound of almost every book on Alex Franzen’s summer reading list too – check it out here! And please please share your summer picks in the comments below. I need all the inspiration I can get!