What’s On the Nightstand: Summer Edition

Stack of Books

What have you been reading lately? I’ve stocked up for the summer and am making my way through these.

First up is David Sedaris’s Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. Purchased through Park Road Books at his reading in Charlotte. As usual, so funny! I especially liked the chapter about language learning—-awesome bits about German.

The Expats is pretty pulpy, but intriguing. I’m reading it right now. A former CIA operative, now an expat housewife (whose husband doesn’t know the truth about her career) is unraveling a mystery in Luxembourg. The spy stuff is mixed with domestic/ marriage stuff, which is an interesting combo. This one was recommended by Sally Brewster at Park Road Books.

Inside Out and Back Again is a recent Newbery winner, about a young girl in the 1970s who flees war-town Vietnam and ends up in Alabama. Sadly, I only got a little ways into it before I had to return it to the library because someone had it on hold. Rats! I’ll have to try again. It’s very lyrical, written in poems. (P, if you’re reading, I picked this up because of you).

Next up is Where’d You Go, Bernadette? which is probably my favorite read in the last six months. My daughter asked me please to not read it while driving (no, I don’t really do that, but she thought I might). Laugh-out-loud funny, razor sharp, and so smart. The reclusive genius (former) architect Bernadette has gone missing, and her teenage daughter is determined to find her by gathering all the clues she can. It takes place in Seattle, which Bernadette hates with a hysterically fiery passion. (Sorry, Seattle, I’ve always imagined you to be really cool). Two weekends ago I drove my road trip friends crazy because I would NOT. SHUT. UP. about Bernadette. I’m going all fangirl on the author, Maria Semple. Must read her other title.

And lastly, I’ve got A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This one, along with Bernadette, was also recommended by Sally Brewster of Park Road Books (and I purchased them there). I haven’t started it yet, but Sally said it was beautiful, a book to savor, and also about someone who’s moved to a new place (Japan) and is struggling to adjust.

And that seems to be the theme here: fish-out-of-water stories. In fact the novel I’m working on is also a fish-out-of-water story. It’s a theme on the brain this year, my first one back in the U.S. after two and a half years in Germany. Sometimes I’m still just flipping around, missing my water, wondering how to breathe this air.

What about you? What are you reading this summer? Your kids? I’d love some family audiobook recommendations.

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6 thoughts on “What’s On the Nightstand: Summer Edition

  1. With the kids we just finished listening to The Secret Garden. Such a delight! Read in a British accent it is just perfect. I just started Tess of the D’Urbervilles (it’s been decades!). Read Housekeeping recently. Wow–to write like that–I would love to. I’ve heard about The Expats. : ) Thanks for posting!

      • Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. Not exactly good housekeeping, no. The author just paints such beautiful pictures. The setting is a small mountain town–I missed where–western US, very cold and long winters. I thought I knew, I was afraid I knew how it would turn out, but I was wrong.

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