Summer Reading So Far

My summer reading so far is inconsistent. Some weeks have been so busy that I haven’t read a word and then some weekends, I’ve done nothing but read. This feast or famine situation is not my preference and still, there have been some good reads in any case.

The Downstairs Girl book cover

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

At first I didn’t really like this book. I thought the characters lacked complexity and the plot felt a little predictable. Then I discovered that this is a Young Adult book. This is a fantastic Young Adult book! My initial feelings just confirm that in general Young Adult books are not for me.

This is the story of a Jo, young Chinese girl, growing up in Atlanta, GA in the late 1800’s. As Jo struggles to find her place in the world she unexpectedly becomes an anonymous advice columnist. For me the best part of the book is the light it shines on the little known experiences and struggles of the Chinese people who were brought to the American South.

The Devil in the White City book cover.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I chose this book one day when I just needed to choose something that was already downloaded to my Audible account. Originally I downloaded this book for my son’s high school reading assignment many years ago. I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. This narrative non-fiction tells the history of the Chicago World’s Fair and the infamous serial killer H.H. Holmes in an interesting and compelling style. In alternating chapters we follow the challenges faced by the Fair’s lead architect Daniel Burnham and the crimes committed by Mr. Holmes. I was surprised by how interested I was in the details of the architectural planning and relieved that the true crime was not too graphic.

The Dutch House book cover.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I chose this as my first book by Ann Patchett. So many readers have recommend Ann Patchett that I knew I needed to dive in. This book is just the kind of literary fiction I enjoy. I loved the careful character development of siblings Maeve and Danny. Their mother is absent, their father is distant and their stepmother fits the “wicked” stereotype. They grow up in the Dutch House and over time the house becomes an obsession for them. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel where I’ve been intimately familiar with the setting, but this novel takes place in the very same Philadelphia suburbs I call home. This definitely provided an added dimension to the experience.

the sun and her flowers book cover.

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

I enjoy modern poetry. This collection by Rupi Kaur did not disappoint. She explores the themes of loss and finding love again after heartbreak. Here is a sampling.

they should feel like home
a place that grounds your life
where you go to take the day off
-the one
Sparks like Stars book cover.

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

Of all the books I’ve read recently this one feels the most like a summer read. The main characters are likable, the story is compelling and the plot moves along at a good pace. As a child, Sitara Zamani escapes a deadly coup in Afghanistan and subsequently escapes to the US. The first part of the story follows her harrowing escape while the second half explores her struggles to make peace with her troubled past. In addition to the great storytelling, this book is filled with literary references and life wisdom.

How is your summer reading so far? I hope it’s better than you expected!

I’m linking with Quick Lit by Anne Bogel. Be sure to check out her comments for so many great recommendations.

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Hi, I'm Debbie

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