Book Picks #2: Summer time and the reading is easy

One huge perk to a simpler, slower summer schedule is I have a few more hours to find time to read. Of course having my parents here to run interference with the girls may have something to do with my extra free time too. 🙂 I’ve set a somewhat arbitrary and challenging goal for myself to read fifty books this year, and at twenty-four books finished I’m right on track! Amazing what you can accomplish when you delete Facebook off your phone. Oy. As I mentioned before I’m trying to branch out and stretch my reading into genres and topics that I’m not typically drawn to, but this season I’m finding myself reaching for easy, fun reads rather than books that explore deeper topics or darker themes. I’m still working my way through my “to read” list (which is getting longer instead of shorter) but here are a few titles I enjoyed and I think you might too.

Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

This story of self-discovery and re-invention is a light, page-turning read that still manages to touch on some more substantial topics. Helen, a thirty-something, recently divorced teacher, signs herself up for an intense wilderness survival course in an effort to change her life’s downward spiral. To her dismay she finds out her brother’s goofy best friend is attending the course too, sabotaging her plans to reinvent herself. To further complicate the situation she sticks out like a sore thumb among the college age sorority girl/frat boy group that is taking the course with her, not to mention the fact that she’s a klutz who hates the outdoors. This story is funny and inspiring, a fun, safe dive into adventure, romance, and finding joy where you least expect. Four stars.

Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie

This is the third book in a series featuring an English inspector named Duncan Kincaid and his sargent Gemma James. The first two books were good, but I felt like this book really drew me in and made me connect with the characters. It’s your typical police procedural, but reads more like a cozy mystery with lovely settings and interesting characters/suspects. When the son-in-law of an important man drowns Kincaid and James are called in as a favor to investigate. On the surface it seems a straightforward case of a tragic drunken slip into the river, but of course things are never that simple. We’re taken along for the ride into the world of English gentry and the glittery/tawdry world of opera as Kincaid uncovers more about the dead man’s family and finds nothing is as simple as it seems. Personal lives get complicated too as a bit of a love triangle develops. Set in the picturesque English countryside, this enjoyable mystery allowed me some summer travel without having to leave my couch. Four stars.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

The follow-up to her enormously popular The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, this book gives more practical and specific tips for sorting and organizing. Kondo is still pretty mystical and “woo-woo” in her approach to caring for your belongings (she talks about rolling socks as torturing them and encourages you to “thank your belongings for their service”) but her tips are smart and easy to implement. Thanks to Kondo’s prompting I managed to condense all of my bathroom supplies and toilettries down until they fit in one small drawer in our vanity and a set of plastic drawers under the sink. A word of warning: this book might turn your lazy summer days into a discarding/organizing marathon instead, so make sure you are up for that before you pick this one up. Four stars.

Your turn! Any easy breezy summer reading recommendations? I’d love to add them to my list!


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