Book List: Your End-of-Summer Reading List

August 4, 2015

Can someone tell me how it got to be August? It seems like only yesterday that many of us in the Northeast, and all around the country, were praying for temperatures to rise above 30 degrees. But before we lament the return to crisper autumnal days, there’s still a few weeks left to get out of town and head to the beach/lake/mountain-destination of your choice. And besides your sunblock and bug spray, the most important thing to include in your luggage is a good book.

If you’re like me, you start every summer with the kind of summer reading list you had when you were in third grade and books were at most 200 pages: a list with something like 50+ titles. As adults, however, we have fewer blissful hours to spend inside the pages of a favorite book. If you haven’t gotten to everything on your list yet, or even if you have, here are six ideas (in no particular order) to fill up these final weeks of summer, no matter where you spend it in reality or in your imagination.

1. The Girl Who Slept with God by Val Brelinski

A classic coming-of-age novel set in the 1970s in a small town in Idaho (read: no beaches…) gets a twist when the focus lands on a teenage girl in an ultra-conservative Christian family. Her older sister’s scandalous pregnancy, and an unconventional friendship with an ice cream man, provide ample fodder for the this stunning debut’s complexities of narrative and character.

2. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Marquez_coverIt’s steamy, it’s passionate, it’s a classic. The Colombian master relays a romance that spans fifty years and proves once and for all that true love can withstand time as well as epidemics.

3. Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh


This book was recommended to me during an extremely blissful, albeit short, yoga retreat earlier in the spring. I’ve been dying to get some quiet time (!) to read the Zen master’s work in full ever since. If you’re looking for an excuse to get away from all the noise around you and in your head, this book will lead you to that place (and even signal to people you’re with to shush up!). Take this line as a teaser of what the book can teach you:

If you can be here, if you can be free, then you can be happy right here and right now. You don’t have to run anymore.

4. The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

Solnit_coverAn exquisite memoir-cum-travelogue that will take you through the author’s varied emotional landscapes and experiences even as she crisscrosses around the globe. If you can’t get away from home yourself, you’ll feel more vicariously worldly by the end of this book.

5. Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Franzen_coverFranzen elicits a love or hate reaction in most people who read his work. His previous novels The Corrections and Freedom have been hailed as masterpieces of our age, and his newest effort is being held to a high bar and touted as one of the biggest books for fall 2015. Coming in at nearly 600 pages, it may weigh down your carry on but won’t fail to deliver with its fast-paced and absorbing saga about a young woman named Purity who finds herself caught up in an international man of mystery’s peace-making scandals.

And one to reread:

6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Lee_coverIf you’ve looked at a computer screen, television, newspaper, or magazine in the last several months, you’ve probably read something about the scandalous discovery and publication of the “new” novel by the revered one-hit-wonder of American literature. While I can’t honestly condone reading Go Set a Watchman, (re)reading the Pulitzer Prize-winning original will make you appreciate all the more why we love Scout, Jem, and Atticus so much–the way that Lee first introduced us to them, that is.

Which one of these would you read / have you read? Any other great books you recommend for late summer? 


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Features Editor Jennifer Kurdyla is a New York City girl with Jersey roots and a propensity for getting lost in the urban jungle. An experienced publishing professional, yoga instructor, home chef, sometimes-runner, and writer, she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 2008 and became vegan in 2013. She has written for The Harvard Review Online, The Rumpus, and Music & Literature and maintains a wellness-based website, Be Nourished, which features original writing and recipes. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram @jenniferkurdyla, Twitter @jenniferkurdyla, and Pinterest.


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