Hi all! I figured I'd start off the new blog discussing summer bucket lists and the great books I've discovered this summer thanks to my list. Over the past few years I have taken great pleasure in developing bucket lists. Because it's tricky to start a bucket list when tethered down by responsibilities from school or work I usually create winter break or summer bucket lists. This summer I divided my list into sections: travel, health, activities, romance, social life, volunteering, and writing. The first item that I placed under writing is to read at least twenty books. As Stephen King reminds us in his book On Writing, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or tools) to write. Simple as that." As someone who continually seeks to improve her writing, I figured it would be helpful to read as many books as possible this summer.
I haven't reached the twenty book mark yet, but thought I'd share the books I have read so far as I think every one of them makes an excellent summer read. I especially love authors like Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah who write novels using multiple points of view; I think this technique makes their books applicable to everyone. Posted below is the list in alphabetical order:
- Stephen Chboksky: The Perks of Being a Wallflower - I just added this one to the list and you can find a complete description of the book on my most recent blogpost: http://heartisinthewriteplace.blogspot.com/2012/07/im-sucker-for-best-sellers.html
- Jaycee Dugard: A Stolen Life - I've been wanting to read Jaycee Dugard's memoir for some time now. The memoir details her experience after being kidnapped and raped when she was eleven years old and held captive for eighteen years. Ms. Dugard is such a strong young woman and she uses her story to remind us that we should never be afraid to speak out. I really respect her for choosing not to use a ghost writer; by using her own voice, Ms. Dugard helps us understand how she actually felt rather than giving us someone else's neat flowery version of a story that is anything but neat or flowery.
- Emily Giffin: Something Borrowed - This novel is an easy read about two best friends; one friend is getting married and the other is going to be her maid of honor. The twist is that the maid of honor falls in love with her best friend's fiance.
- Tracey Garvis Graves: On the Island - I just added this one to the list as well and you can find a complete description on my most recent blogpost: http://heartisinthewriteplace.blogspot.com/2012/07/im-sucker-for-best-sellers.html
- Kristin Hannah: Angel Falls - This novel is a tearjerker. After a man's wife falls into a coma he discovers that she was previously married to a famous movie star. He realizes that the movie star's return may be the only way to revive his wife and risks the life that he has built with his wife if it means he has a shot at bringing her back. Firefly Lane - A powerful novel that follows the lives of two best friends and the changes that happen in their lives from the 1970s through the millennium. Home Front - A novel about a mother who goes off to war and the sacrifices that her and her family must make. Night Road - A wonderful novel about three inseparable best friends who are changed forever after one night during their senior year.
- E.L. James: Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed, Fifty Shades of Grey - Because these books are all part of a series, I'll group them together. Although I agree that the writing is simple and the subject matter is not something you want to discuss at country clubs, I have to say that when I went on vacation I couldn't walk several steps without seeing someone reading these books. I'm glad I looked into what all the hype was about because I couldn't put these books down. The novels follow Anna Steele and Christian Grey who begin a dominant and submissive relationship that eventually turns into more.
- Tucker Max: Assholes Finish First - I just added this one to the list and you can find a complete description on my most recent blogpost: http://heartisinthewriteplace.blogspot.com/2012/07/assholes-and-overachievers.html
- Jodi Picoult: Handle with Care - Another tearjerker about a young girl born with osteogenesis imperfecta (a rare bone disease) and a mother who risks her friendship, marriage, and relationship with her older daughter to give her little girl a better life. Harvesting the Heart - A novel about a woman who was left by her mother when was she was young and considers making a similar decision when she too becomes a mother. Mercy - I just added this one to the list (book #20!) so you can see a complete description of this book on my blogpost here: http://heartisinthewriteplace.blogspot.com/2012/07/book-20.html Nineteen Minutes - A brilliant novel about a high school shooting. Picture Perfect - A novel about a woman who is married to one of the nation's most beloved movie stars; she temporarily looses her memory, but as the novel progresses she remembers what caused her head injury and realizes that sometimes it is necessary to let go of what she loves. Vanishing Acts - A novel about a woman, her father, and her daughter, and their struggle to stay together after her father is arrested for a secret that he has kept from his daughter for most of her life.
- Curtis Sittenfeld: American Wife - A novel about a small town girl who winds up falling in love with a politician and becoming first lady; she must choose between her personal beliefs and her love for her husband. The Man of My Dreams - A funny novel that explores the main character's relationships with men throughout her life.
I hope you guys enjoy these books as much as I have and if you wind up reading any of them please share your thoughts. I'd also love to hear about any good books you've read recently so I can add them to my list!
Aside from reading, if you're looking for something fun to do this summer I'd definitely watch the movie The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. My professor showed us the movie this year and although I'd already seen it, I'm glad she reminded me of the film because I found it even more inspiring to watch when I was slightly older. I'd also encourage you to make your own bucket list; you can even post it here if you'd like and let me know how you're doing with it :]. As Morgan Freeman says in the film:
"You measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you."
by Woody H1