I really love a good coming-of-age story and sometimes we all need a little break from all the serious reads. It’s summertime after all.
I think I might have written a post like this in the past, but I’ve been thinking a lot about books and genres. It’s probably because I’m in the process of moving across the country and that means whittling my book piles down to the ones that I truly want to read.
I rummaged through all my books, made lists, and figured out that the top billings for genres that I love to read. Here’s what I got:
My general fiction contains everything from literary greats to the beach read. I love fiction in general, but there’s a time and place for all of it. I like to keep a mix of books available so that I can pick and choose depending on my mood. Most times, I’ll read a fun summer read because I’m always in the mood for those. I didn’t think that my general fiction pile would be so big, but I guess that’s because it’s got some literary fiction, womens’ fiction, some romance novels, and my diverse books.
Most literary fiction I read is from an author of color. I just love the stories that they tell and they always make me think a little harder and understand a little deeper.
The sad thing about this list is that there’s not a lot of literary fiction here. Most of these books are fun reads or “womens’ fiction.” I think the reason for that is because I’ve read so many stories about the young woman moving to New York in pursuit of something. Or that couple that’s on the verge of breaking up and they’re doing what they can to stay together. As I get older, I’m noticing that my tastes are changing and I’m moving away from books by the Jonathans (Safran Foer, Franzen, etc) and more into books that let me escape a little from my life.
Sci-fi and Fantasy is my next biggest genre. If anything, sci-fi/fantasy is my favorite genre. The list here is small, but I also have all my bigger fantasy reads on my Kindle.
When I was growing up, I was in love with science fiction and fantasy. I even ran the sci-fi/fantasy literary magazine at my high school! However, I didn’t read a lot when I was a kid and therefore don’t have a lot of the classic sci-fi/fantasy novels under my belt. While I don’t have many of those classics in my TBR pile, I do have aspirations to read them all. Hello, I haven’t even read Hitchhiker’s Guide yet…
My non-fiction pile is strangely tall. I also included my poetry books in here as well. I think the reason for that is because I haven’t read them. I love reading non-fiction essays and memoirs, but fiction just always happens to take over when I’m reading books. I think I’ll change it this summer and at least read one non-fiction book per month. This way, I’ll get some non-fiction in my life!
Sometimes I like to throw in some thriller, some romance and some YA to mix things up. I always thought I was a YA reader, but I guess most of the YA I’m reading is also Science Fiction and Fantasy. When I think back to my reading life, I think of the Twilight series and Harry Potter and The Hunger Games being big in my life. Isn’t it funny how sometimes your favorite genres are just sitting right in front of your face?
I approach this novel like it was another diverse read with a distinct voice from an Asian American author. What I got was a heck of a lot more. I’ve also got a cute trailer for the book I want to share. Check it out below!
TGFMB – Thank Goodness for Melissa Broder. Sometimes you come across a novel that completely entrances you, baffles you, and eventually guts you with surprises you just didn’t fathom possible.
This is your classic book to take to the beach. While this one won’t be out until June, it’ll definitely be the book you take with you on those summer vacations.
This took me a little bit longer to read than I’d like to admit. I don’t think it has anything to do with the story itself, but with me being so busy with work and living that I don’t have time to read. I can’t believe I’m admitting that.
Synopsis (from Goodreads.com) – When her mother’s incessant matchmaking hits an all-time high, Georgie Archibald does what any sensible woman would do: she flees the country.
Seeking refuge in the picturesque seaside village of Vernazza, Italy, Georgie’s only plan is to lie low, gorge herself on gelato, and let the wine and waves wash her troubles away… that is until she wakes up in a bed that belongs to the most romantic-looking man she’s ever seen.
After going out of his way to rescue her, the former London financier turned mysterious recluse makes it clear that despite acting as her white knight, he has no plans to co-star in her fairytale.
But Georgie isn’t asking for his heart—she’s merely intrigued.
After all, Gianluca isn’t just gorgeous—tall and tan from days spent in the sun—his touch sets her world on fire. With him, Georgie experiences the most intoxicating passion she’s ever known, and it only takes a few steamy nights for her to realize that sometimes running away from trouble is the best way to find it.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My thoughts – I love R.S. Grey. I could probably read anything by her and enjoy it. Why? Because it’s like reading a little snippet into someone’s life without it being ridiculously tragic or overwhelmingly anxiety inducing. You read because you want to know that love is still a possibility in the world. You want to know that sometimes you can have your Happily Ever After.
This one is no exception. As we journey off to Cinque Terra in Italy, our girl Georgie experiences some once in a lifetime views, beaches, food, and men. However, the one she chooses is sort of a dud. I’m talking about heartache to the extreme.
However, what I love about R.S. Grey is that you’re not reading some sexy romance where all you want to do is get to the good stuff. No, you invest your time into knowing whether or not Georgie and Gianluca actually get together in the end.
I think the only thing I wanted to fault here (and basically the only reason why it got a 4.5 rather than the full 5 stars) is that the language and dialects didn’t seem accurate to the place they were in and the people they were encountering. Yes, Georgie is British and there were enough “blokes” and “mates” and “bloody hells” to really enforce that. However, I wasn’t sure of Gianluca’s character. He’s originally from Italy, but he lived in England for quite some time. Now he’s back in Italy and I couldn’t really imagine the right accent with his dialogue. It almost just felt American?
Anyway, that could just be a symptom of my brain and not something you all will face when reading this. I strongly suggest it especially in these cold months when all we can do is dream of a warm summer day in Italy.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I started loving books or going to the library, but I did. I don’t even think it had anything to do with the books, but the fact that there’s this public place you can come to and study, rent books, and escape from reality. Because the truth is that only a certain kind of person goes to the library and those people are the dreamers.
Scratch that, the truth is that homeless people go to the library because it’s warm and there’s a free bathroom.
But I go to the library or a bookstore or any place you can patron that has books because I’m just your typical book lover. I love to read books, be around books, and generally want to be a book.
There’s a magic when you arrive. The air is musty from the older reference books and the temperature is cold to keep the publicly used computers nice and cool.
My childhood library was amazing. There were three stories of books all ranging from children’s to research and I remember spending my time from when I was really young (maybe 6-7) to when I graduated from high school there. I’d be a part of the reading program every summer and at one point wanted to work at the library. I ended up spending my lunch periods in high school helping out in the school library and putting books back on the shelf. I was that lame.
It took me a while to get back to the library mostly because there was a scene in the movie The Squid and the Whale where the young kid masturbates in the stacks and then wipes his semen on the spines of the books. That swore me off from those books for a few years. I didn’t want to touch nasty books especially when I live in the same city as the characters from that movie.
But I’ve managed to quell my OCD thoughts from what might be on those books and started to take advantage of the library system again.
All of this to say, I’ve got some great reads from the library and I’m sharing them with you now.
1. Siracusa by Delia Ephron – New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine—Finn, his wife Taylor, and their daughter Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” Told Rashomon-style in alternating points of view, the characters expose and stumble upon lies and infidelities past and present. Snow, ten years old and precociously drawn into a far more adult drama, becomes the catalyst for catastrophe as the novel explores collusion and betrayal in marriage.
Ephron delivers a meditation on marriage, friendship, and the meaning of travel. Set on the sun-drenched coast of the Ionian Sea, Siracusa unfolds with the pacing of a psychological thriller and delivers an unexpected final act that none can see coming.
I was going to read this right after I finished Commonwealth, but I’m starting to see that maybe this one is a little too close to what I’m reading now. I might hold off while I get a palate cleanser in there.
2. The Girls by Emma Cline – Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
I’ve been going back and forth with this one. In fact, this is my second time borrowing this book from the library because I haven’t made up my mind if I should read it or not. It’s because I like stories about Charles Manson, but I don’t want to read about the horrendous acts he made those people do.
Coincidentally, my office decided to have a book discussion on this read in a few weeks, so I figured I’ll read it with the intention of going to this book discussion and see how I feel about it.
3. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven – Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.
Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.
Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.
Ugh, I can already tell by the looks of this novel that it’s going to thrash my soul. I love Jennifer Niven and I was a huge fan of All the Bright Lights. Jennifer Niven has a tendency to hit some serious issues as well (depression, suicidal thoughts), so hopefully this won’t throw me into a panic.
4. The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia – Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.
Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?
I think this one will be the book I read next since it’s a little bit more light-hearted (ish) and not too close to Commonwealth’s plot. I’m actually really excited because I loved Beautiful Creatures and sometimes I guiltily re-watch the movie.
What about you? Do you love the library?