June 6, 2011

My Summer Reading List

"Donald Van de Mark spent more than 25 years interviewing prominent people for CNN and CNBC. He discovered that some people are not just successful, they're extraordinary. And more, these people share many of the same traits. Confirming the theories of psychologist Abraham Maslow, Van de Mark brings to life 19 specific personality traits that you can develop within yourself to emulate the great and the good."

"The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. The Glass Castle is truly astonishing -- a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar, but loyal, family. Jeannette Walls has a story to tell, and tells it brilliantly, without an ounce of self-pity."

"Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails."

"In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed "Hansel" and "Gretel." They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called "witch" by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children. Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story."

"Weiner spent a decade as a foreign correspondent reporting from such discontented locales as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. Unhappy people living in profoundly unstable states, he notes, inspire pathos and make for good copy, but not for good karma. So Weiner, admitted grump and self-help book aficionado, undertook a year's research to travel the globe, looking for the "unheralded happy places." The result is this book, equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and philosophical, a journey into both the definition of and the destination for true contentment. Apparently, the happiest places on earth include, somewhat unexpectedly, Iceland, Bhutan, and India. Weiner also visits the country deemed most malcontent, Moldova, and finds real merit in the claim. But the question remains: What makes people happy? Is it the freedom of the West or the myriad restrictions of Singapore? The simple ashrams of India or the glittering shopping malls of Qatar? From the youthful drunkenness of Iceland to the despond of Slough, a sad but resilient town in Heathrow's flight path, Weiner offers wry yet profound observations about the way people relate to circumstance and fate. Both revealing and inspirational, perhaps the best thing about this hilarious trip across four continents is that for the reader, the "geography of bliss" is wherever they happen to find themselves while reading it. "

"A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven. Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each."

"Alexandra Horowitz offers readers a fresh look at the world of dogs--from the dog's point of view."

"The unforgettable inspiring memoir of one extraordinary doctor who is saving lives in a most unconventional way Ask Me Why I Hurt is the touching and revealing first-person account of the remarkable work of Dr. Randy Christensen. Trained as a pediatrician, he works not in a typical hospital setting but, rather, in a 38-foot Winnebago that has been refitted as a doctor’s office on wheels. His patients are the city’s homeless adolescents and children. In the shadow of one affluent American city, Dr. Christensen has dedicated his life to caring for society's throwaway kids—the often-abused, unloved children who live on the streets without access to proper health care, all the while fending off constant threats from thugs, gangs, pimps, and other predators. With the Winnebago as his moveable medical center, Christensen and his team travel around the outskirts of Phoenix, attending to the children and teens who need him most."

"Twenty-four-year-old Natalie Taylor was leading a charmed life. At the age of twenty four, she had a fulfilling job as a high school English teacher, a wonderful husband, a new house and a baby on the way. Then, while visiting her sister, she gets the news that Josh has died in a freak accident. Four months before the birth of her son, Natalie is leveled by loss. What follows is an incredibly powerful emotional journey, as Natalie calls upon resources she didn’t even know she had in order to re-imagine and re-build a life for her and her son. In vivid and immediate detail, Natalie documents her life from the day of Josh’s death through the birth their son, Kai, as she struggles in her role as a new mother where everyone is watching her for signs of impending collapse. With honesty, raw pain, and most surprising, a wicked sense of humor, Natalie recounts the agonies and unexpected joys of her new life. " 

What is on your Summer Reading List?


  1. I haven't read any of these yet, but have heard of "Heaven is Real" and want to read and now want to also add the Geography of Bliss to my reading list.

    I currently just started reading "The Last Lecture"... which is so inspirational and judging from your book list above I think you'll really love it too :)


  2. These all sounds amazing. I might be adding some to my list!

    On my list right now are, The Hunger Games series, The Help, and Heart of the Matter.

  3. I haven't read any of these but will definitely be picking some of them up! I just bought another book by the author of The Doctors Wife which I found through you as well, excited to start reading it.

  4. Ooh thanks for posting. I want to read all of them. are u gonna do reviews as you read?

  5. GREAT list!!! I would love to read all of these! And some I hadn't heard of yet... So thanks! I just started The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I'm also going to read 168 Hours: You Have More Time than You think. :)

  6. These sound like great reads. I was thinking about reading Signs of Life.

  7. Have you read 'The Post-Birthday World' by Lionel Shriver? Makes you think what it would be like if you chose a different path in life! (Like if you played it safe and didn't fall in love with a certain professional athlete) I really enjoyed it, and if you haven't yet, it's a must-read! I also picture it as a movie starring Russell Brand haha.

  8. Also..I just read a post you wrote a long time ago about doing a book swap and I also read some of the comments, and it's true, postage can be pretty ridiculous, especially when you're sending to different continents, but I love reading and I love the comraderie on blogger. We should see if there's interest in doing an online book club! I have no idea how the logistics of that would work, but I think it would be a lot of fun and something to look forward to! What does everyone else think?

  9. I think I'm going to be stealing a couple from this list. We Need To Talk About Kevin, and Signs of Life sound like books that I would love.
    Right now I'm reading Bossypants by Tina Fey, and good Ole' Pride and Prejudice is on deck.

    I know you have tons and tons of books already but I'm just going to have to insist that if you haven't already, you read "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein. You will finish it in like 2 days and you will never look at your dog the same!

  10. Those are some great books that I will definitely be adding to my summer reading list. My mom read The Glass Castle two summers ago and loved it!

    Right now I'm reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide and The Happiness Project. On the docket is The Nazi's Officer's Wife and a novel about Napoleon's sister :)

    P.S. Are you on GoodReads? If so, let me know, I'd love to follow you!

  11. Wow. So many of those lok great. But my reading list for this summer will be 80% lighthearted and campy and 20% parenting related non-fiction.

  12. I have so many books that I need to read right now that I could never make a list of just what I want/need to read this summer! However, I do need to get through some guidebooks (Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest) and I want to re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Currently I'm reading Big Sex Little Death but it's kinda "meh". And I'm definitely interested in reading the Geography of Bliss and The Good Among the Great!

  13. That Hansel and Gretel book sounds fascinating - tell me how you like it! And, Signs of Life sounds SO up my alley - I'll probably go find that at the library later today! Have you ever read any Kristin Hannah books? I am lovin' her book Firefly Lane right now - if you get a chance, give it a try!

  14. oh my gosh im really excited because im not really a reader and when i saw your list and noticed i have read not ONE but TWO of these, i got excited!

    i have read the glass castle and geography of bliss. loved them both!!!! i had not heard of the real hansel and gretel, but i am going to look for it now! it looks great!!!

    hope you have a great day :)

  15. These all sound SO interesting!! I may have to add some of them to my own list! :)

  16. I read The Glass Castle last summer! Great book, although a bit disturbing at times.

  17. ive read we need to talk about kevin twice actually it was interesting and a bit strange and sad. I need to make myself a reading list too, ive been reading so little lately. maybe i'll put some of these on it too.

  18. Several of those were already on my 'to-read' list but I found a few new ones to add.
    First stop of my summer reading list are more technical :-( books about writing and journaling, along with several books on autism by Temple Grandin, and a parenting book by "Big Daddy" about parenting a child who's autistic.

    Why yes, I do have a bit of theme going, don't I? LOL


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