Summer reading takes on new meaning when you’re unplugged from the rest of the world. Every summer, we spend a week or two at the beach, in an area that’s a dead zone for cell phone and internet access. It’s not entirely primitive (I don’t do ‘on-the-ground’ primitive anymore) but it’s rustic enough that our entertainment revolves around cycling, beachcombing, evening stories around the campfire, and daytime reading. Oh, and eating. Can’t forget that.
This summer, like every other one, I took up a bag of books. Since readers often wonder what writers read, I thought I’d tell you what was in my bag.
First up was Superfoods by David Wolfe. At least I was reading about healthy options even if my diet leaned heavily to chips and Chablis. I also dipped into Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester. Filled with lighthearted anecdotes from Lester’s own experience reading tea leaves, it also explained the nuts and bolts of the job. Last in my non-fiction pile was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In an effort to think about the things that really mattered, Rubin spent a year test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Each month, she pursued a different set of resolutions: lighten up; be serious about play; remember love. It was a humorous, insightful read, and it inspired me to take a closer look at my own priorities and beliefs.
One of my biggest priorities, always, is fiction. Writing it and reading it. My first fiction pick was the latest Kristan Higgins read – My One and Only. The premise: Divorce attorney Harper James runs into her ex-husband, Nick, at her sister’s destination wedding. Afterwards, in a cruel twist of fate (handled beautifully, by the way), she’s forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. Sparks fly, angst bubbles up and a number of strong secondary characters complicate things further. Higgins, in my opinion, just keeps getting better and better; I loved this book.
Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank offered up Frank’s trademark wit, breezy dialogue and lush atmosphere. Set in South Carolina, Folly Beach juxtaposes a play within a novel, to bring to life the rich history of Charleston and the era of George Gershwin. Most of the story is told through the eyes of contemporary heroine Cate Cooper who returns to her native South Carolina following a personal tragedy. Cooper is forced to grow and change through a series of unexpected events, all complicated by the zany characters surrounding her. A compulsive, enthralling read.
Last but definitely not least was Rachel Gibson’s laugh-out-loud Nothing But Trouble. Out-of-work actress Chelsea Ross with her blonde/reddish/pinkish hair and whacked-out wardrobe takes a temporary job as personal assistant to hockey superstar Mark Bressler. Because of a terrible car accident, Bressler will never play hockey again. He has a huge chip on his shoulder and has managed to run off all the other ‘personal assistants’ hired by his old team. But Chelsea is determined to stick it out; there’s a $10,000 bonus in it if she can last three months. And a lot can happen in three months! This was a fun, sexy read.