the books I read this summer

I’m a sporadic reader. I go for months without picking up a book and then cruise through one after the next in a short period of time. When I’m not reading, I forget how much I love being engaged and entertained by a well-written story. When I’m reading, I wonder why I don’t do it more often.

I read mostly at night before bed, but when it’s a book I can’t put down I carve out minutes here and there throughout the day. Somehow the time to read just makes its way into my days.

Over the past few months, I’ve poured over several books worth sharing. Here they are:


the dressmaker // an aspiring seamstress is hired by a famous designer to be her personal maid on the Titanic. Of course disaster strikes and suspicions arise and Tess must decide where her loyalty falls. I’m a lover of historical fiction and so this one was an enjoyable and engaging read.

cold tangerines // a collection of short stories about celebrating the everyday. This book was recommended by a friend and it is the most heart warming and inspiring set of little essays. A must read, if you ask me.

a week in winter // an old irish estate is re-vamped and turned into a bed & breakfast by a woman looking for a second chance. It is there that a cast of characters come together each finding a way for themselves and enriching their lives. I love it when an author can create a handful of separately captivating stories and weave them all together until at the end, they become one big story. Maeve Binchy’s books are always well done.

sparkly green earrings // a heartwarming and hilarious commentary on motherhood written by well-loved blogger, Melanie Shankle {aka. big mama}. This one makes you laugh and cry and feel normal and overwhelmingly thankful for the opportunity to be a mother.

war brides // four women return to their war-era village in england 50 years after the end of the war to commemorate the occasion. It’s a story about the way their lives were changed by the war and another one of those great weaving-the-characters-together type of stories. Maybe not the greatest book of all times, but I really liked this one.

and the mountains echoed // an exploration of the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how the choices we make resonate through generations. The story takes place around the globe, but primarily in kabul, afghanistan. The book is beautifully written and almost poetic, the characters are so well developed and I didn’t really want this one to end. It breaks your heart but lifts it up as well.

bread & wine // another collection of short essays all surrounding the idea of sharing our lives around the table. It’s a story about the ways God nourishes our souls as we nourish those around us. Recipes are included and stories to go along with them. A lovely book and a great gift.

the house at riverton // the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for decades {via the amazon description}. I LOVED this book. All of Kate Morton’s books, actually. If you love downton abbey, you’ll adore this one.

give them grace // a revolutionary perspective on parenting that shows us how to receive the gospel afresh and give grace in abundance, helping our children know the dazzling love of Jesus and respond with heartfelt obedience {via the amazon description}. I haven’t finished this one, but really should. It is so the way I want to parent.

where’d you go bernadette // when her social-outcast mom disappears, 15 year old bee puts the pieces together to find her. It’s funny, sad, intriguing and an entertaining read. In other words, read it.

what alice forgot // after a terrible fall, alice wakes up forgetting the last 10 years. She thinks shes happily married, expecting her first baby, but really is going through a divorce with three kids who don’t even like her. How did her life end up like this? And can she get back to the way it was? This book makes you think and reflect on your own life. Where will I be 10 years from now? Will I like who I am? Would my 10-years ago self like who I am today? This one is a little crass, but a really entertaining and interesting read.

with all my love // I have only just began this one, so I can’t say much about it. The story is set in ireland and centers around the relationships between mothers and daughters. I’ll let you know how i like it.

So there you have it. Twelve good books worth reading.

Have you read anything fabulous lately? Please share …

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71 Responses to the books I read this summer

  1. Adrienne August 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    A visual girl like you might like The Night Circus. It’s not my usual style (I am drawn to non-fiction / bios), but I downloaded the digital audiobook from the library, and listened while I work and was totally captivated. The language was incredibly descriptive and it was so easy to see the story the author was telling. It made me want to have a Night Circus themed party afterwards. That it was read to me in a great British accent didn’t hurt either. Wonderfully unexpected escapism!

    Also loved lately: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (SO well written), The Dinner by Herman Koch (twisted ending, very interesting story), Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (she was way more interesting than I knew about), The Wife also by Meg Wolitzer (such good writing, and a lovely ending though the rest was sometimes prickly), An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler (actually a cookbook, but in an unusual style and written so beautifully you won’t believe it’s not poetry), Steve Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson (a bit drawn out sometimes, but an amazing life story and worth the effort), and maybe my favorite of the last few years that is perfect for anyone who doesn’t mind laughing ALL the way through – Bossypants by TIna Fey. A masterpiece! :)

  2. Sabrina@loulousucre August 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    You definitely should try Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. It’s great!!

  3. jo wyrosdick August 28, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    One of my favorites was Folly Beach by Karen White. In fact all of her books are good. They have background history woven into the story. Also A Vintage Affair by Isobel Wolff. If you love vintage clothing this is a must read. I read it twice.

  4. Carly August 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    I am so excited to read these! I love getting book recommendations. Keep ‘em coming :)

  5. Jennifer S. August 28, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

    I love getting book recommendations! One author I’ve been enjoying this summer is Susanna Kearsley, my favorites are The Winter Sea, The Rose Garden and Mariana. I too am usually a just read at night gal but I cannot put her books down and find myself putting off housework to read.

  6. Carla August 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    It was interesting to find that, although not always the same books, we had many authors in common. I, too, read the Kate Morton books and “War Brides” and enjoyed them. I read a different Maeve Binchy — “Nights of Rain and Stars” – and have “Kite Runner” on my short list (and my book shelf).
    I have also enjoyed re-reading James Herriot’s “Cat Stories” and listening to “The Hobbit” on audiobook while on a long road trip.
    My most surprisingly enjoyable read this summer was a story in two parts by Stephanie Grace Whitson, “A Garden in Paris” and “A hilltop in Tuscany”. Not my normal style at all, but they were foisted on me and I found them very refreshing if only slightly too “happily ever after”. I appreciate a happy ending these days.

  7. Carla August 28, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    (I liked “Night Circus” too. Beautifully descriptive, if a bit dark)

  8. Pauline August 29, 2013 at 5:54 am #

    Thanks for the book recommendations – I have been listening to books while walking. Books I have read/listened to and enjoyed “The Walk” Series (4 books) by Richard Paul Evans, “The Fault with Our Stars” by John Green, “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult and “Crazy Little Thing” by Tracy Brogan (not my usual type of read but was recommended from someone I respect and it did make me laugh out loud).

    If you read any of these books, I hope you let us know your take on them. I love reading your blogs, especially the love letter to your house. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Marion Darbyshire August 29, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    I’m so excited to read these. I have a hard time finding books I love, maybe because my recommendations are from my wonderful reading husband (Our taste I have finally realized after 17 1/2 years of marriage is very different – Ha!). Thanks again and for the recommendations in the comments. I’m ordering today!

  10. ellen patton August 29, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    Thanks for the recommendations! I just pinned most of them to my “books to read” board on Pinterest.

  11. Tawni August 29, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Thank you for sharing these reading finds – your taste is great and I’ve enjoyed a handful of books at your suggestion. Please keep sharing.

  12. Marie August 29, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    I read A Shadow on the Crown – Excellent historical fiction!

  13. Kimberly August 30, 2013 at 8:18 am #


    Thank you for sharing your book list again! I appreciate the opportunity to find something new to read. LOVED “What Alice Forgot”. Found that book a summer ago. I also read “Bittersweet” by Shauna Niequist on my Kindle. “Where’d You Go Bernadette?” has been on my watch list, but I haven’t taken the bait yet. Maybe now I will! The book, “Sparkly Green Earrings” is now calling to me as well. :-)

    Summer may be just about over, but here in the PNW, the rain will be coming! That equals curling up with a good book! Thanks again! {Kimberly}

  14. Jillian August 30, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Such wonderful recommendations, and at the perfect time! My family is heading to the beach this weekend and I need a new read!

  15. Aimee September 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    I’ve been reading the Anne of Green Gables series. *sigh* It’s such a wonderful summer read! I’m on Anne of Windy Poplars right now and LOVING it! Have you read them? Do!

  16. Maggie June 4, 2014 at 5:54 am #

    Love this post! We go to the library every week for kids books but I never know what to get for myself. I’ve read Kate Morton, Where’d you go Bernadette & give them grace and liked all them! Excited to check out the others on your list since we must have similar taste :) hope you will do more posts like this!

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