It really takes a miracle to get anything extracurricular done in May, doesn’t it? May is the month in which we all attend graduations, recitals, performances, birthday parties, and weddings, until we’re passed out from exhaustion, incapable of another thought or breath. Here’s the good news: It’s June, and there is no better time in the South to settle down with a good book. The temperatures are rising, and the humidity is stifling, and by August, no one will care even a little bit if you stretch out half-dressed underneath a ceiling fan for hours at a time.
Before you melt into a heat-induced stupor, though, stock up with summer reading. (Your kids are doing it, and you should too!) Here’s my list of May reads to keep you busy:
Delancey by Molly Wizenberg. I read Delancey in the few hours between here and Nashville when my brother graduated from grad school earlier this month. Wizenberg is a long-time favorite – her first memoir, A Homemade Life, is one I consistently recommend, and now I can add Delancey to that list. Wizenberg is a food writer, but her books are so much more than that. Delancey is advertised as the story of her and her husband’s decision to open up a pizza place in their neighborhood, but honestly? Delancey is about a marriage. A marriage, and small business ownership, two things I happen to care an awful lot about. This book is delightfully written, but it’s also thought-provoking and immensely helpful for someone like me, who’s juggling a marriage and a new business. Have an entrepreneurial spirit and a taste for good food? This one’s for you.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I’m late to this train; I know. I’m not even sure what my excuse is, except… oh right, I own my own business and my nightstand currently has a stack of 10 books ready to topple over at any given moment. Me Before You has come recommended over and over again by blog readers and customers, and I finally dove in a couple of weeks ago. SO GOOD. You guys were right. And here’s the good news: Moyes has a brand new one coming out in July. If you’re like me, though, and you haven’t read Moyes yet, start with Me Before You, an unconventional love story you won’t be able to put down.
The One & Only by Emily Giffin. I waxed philosophical about this one in The Bookshelf’s customer email a week or so ago, but it’s worth briefly mentioning again. Giffin is normally cut-and-dried chick lit; enjoyable, yes, but not always my favorite. Her new book is the exception. The One & Only is Giffin’s best work by far, and I think it really showcases her talent as a writer. The One & Only introduces readers to a tiny Texas town obsessed with college football – sound familiar at all? – and the ethics that come into play with college athletes, the media, and money. Fans of Friday Night Lights – and you are, right? Because who wouldn’t be? – will love this one. (I finished it in just a few hours.)
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. Full disclosure: I haven’t finished this one yet. I bought my copy at Parnassus at the beginning of May, and I’ve been slowly making my way through. It’s not that Frog Music is a dull book; it’s just a little slower based than Donoghue’s first book, Room, which I adored. I wasn’t anticipating such a completely different work from her, but two novels certainly display her range as an author. Frog Music is historical fiction, and thus far, it’s well done, but it does move a little more slowly. Savor this one all month long.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I found the YA book of the summer! We Were Liars is completely intriguing and suspenseful; the prose is almost poetic, and the story is perfect beach read material. Seventeen-year-old Cadence Sinclair spends her summers on her family’s private island where the houses have names and perfect appearances must be maintained. But things have changed, and Cadence doesn’t know why. That’s all I’m going to tell you, because really: The less you know about this book going in, the better. You’re welcome in advance.
Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe. I’m including this one on my May list, even though I haven’t finished and we’re now a week into June. Love, Nina is nonfiction, despite the cover, which I think does the book a bit of a disservice. The story is written entirely in letters from Nina to her sister Vic back home. Nina, a nanny in London, covers all sorts of antics and anecdotes in her stories to her sister, and knowing they really happened, that the book is a memoir, makes them even more special. This book is unlike anything I’ve read in a while, and if you want to be swept away into another culture – 1980s England, perhaps? – pack this one in your overnight bag.