ELR Summer Reading 2010

by jenna on May 10, 2010

That’s right! Am I the only one that semi-misses having required reading during the summer? Required reading always meant an excuse to just sit in a tree and read for hours on end. These days, my trees have been replaced by hammocks but I can’t complain.

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I know I posted a book list a few weeks ago but I decided to expand. Or, maybe I just didn’t have anything else relevant to post about. There’s only so much I can say about oatmeal and hummus, you know? But we love books!

So here is your mission: read, read, read. Go climb a tree, get in a hammock or just hunker down on your couch with an apple and almond butter.

Then, post your reviews of the books I have listed and I’ll include them in the future “book nerd” section of the blog.

The book nerd section is coming……I promise. And it’s going to be cool. All you book nerds out there will finally have a safe haven to express your true literary feelings, however weird or uncouth they are. We won’t judge you. Only ELR love.

Can you handle 10 books this summer? I hope so.

1. My Antonia

I first read this book in high school and have re-read it countless times since. It’s pretty much a modern day Little House on the Prairie and makes me want to run around outside in a petticoat and a bonnet.

2. The Help

One of those books I read in 48 hours…I know. I have a problem. This book was incredibly well written and the plot held me the whole time, especially with Stockett’s amazing use of Southern dialogue and character progression. Plus, she is an Alabama alum….roll tide!

3. Sarah’s Key

The best book I read in 2008. Hands down. No question. I’ve recommended this to pretty much everyone I know and just thinking about it makes me want to re-read for the fourth time. I’ll admit though, I’m a sucker for World War Two tales and period dramas. I would like to be an English teacher for the sole purpose of having my class read this book. Go find it today.

4. Those Who Save Us

Another World War Two drama with a female heroine. I loved the setting in this book (bakeries get me every time) and the two parts to the story. Family secrets + Nazi Germany. Very powerful and thought provoking as well as a page turner.

5. The Glass Castle

Read this book for no other reason other than it will shock the living daylights out of you. I read it all in a day with my mouth hanging open in uncomfortable awe. If anyone ever deserved to write a memoir, Jeannette Walls did. It will suck you in from the first page.

6. American Wife

Just finished. 577 in 48 hours. Now my mom, grandma and friends are reading it as well and can’t put it down either. The book is loosely based on the life of Laura Bush and is just fascinating and enthralling in every way. This is my number one pick so far for this year…

7. Beloved.

Oh Toni Morrison, how we love you. I read this for an undergraduate contemporary lit class in college and since then, have re-read it about three times. Every time I read it I get something new from it and am equally astonished and marveled at the book’s rich complexities and lessons. Every American should read this book. Required. I mean it did win the Pulitzer Prize.

8. The Kite Runner

I can’t believe I’m even putting this on the list. You all should have read this by now. Everyone should have read this by now. But, if for the slim chance you haven’t picked this up yet…….do it today. And then we can discuss. That is all.

9. A Thousand Splendid Suns

And then read this. I read the whole thing on a trans-Atlantic flight. But Kite Runner first. Yes….

10. The Poisonwood Bible

Fantastic.

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{ 126 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah @ Simply Fabulous May 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I’m going to bookmark this post! I’m always looking for new books to read with rave reviews.

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Diana May 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I love this idea! And I definitely miss reading a book all afternoon during summer just because I could. :)

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Jessica @ How Sweet May 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm

OH GOSH

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Jessica @ How Sweet May 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Ooops…sorry. LOL. Thank you for this Jenna! I am going to the beach in a month and need some books.

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melissa May 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Wow I’ve read 6 out of your 10 and “Those Who Save Us” is in my Amazon shopping cart now (along with about 15 other books haha). I just finished “Sarah’s Key” – WOW. I loved it so much. Can’t wait for the Book Nerd section…what an awesome idea!

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Amanda May 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Love this idea! After reading your other book post, I got Midwives out of the library and I am loooving it! I read on the train to/from work and this has made the ride fly by.

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Ashley May 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Have you read any of Lionel Shriver’s books? Based on your list (I LOVE so many of those novels!) you’d really enjoy her style — Post Birthday World, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and A Perfectly Good Family are all amazing!

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Jess May 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I got an ARC (advance reader copy) of Sarah’s Key from Goodreads.com (check it out if you haven’t…great way to keep track of your reading lists and share them with others)…but I didn’t really like it.

Kite Runner/Thousand Splendid Suns made my sob hysterically…on crowded airplanes, no less.

Barbara Kingsolver is wonderful.

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Alyssa May 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Awesome idea! Can I make another recommendation? I loved loved loved “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, it’s part of The Millennium Trilogy and the third book comes out in a few weeks. I want school to be over so bad so I can read!!! :P

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Heather (Heather's Dish) May 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm

this makes me really excited…my dad is an english professor and used to make us read a book and do a book report every week in the summer. at the time it made me really upset, but i’m so thankful now that he did it!

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Ashley May 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm

OH I love Sarah’s Key!! You should also read “Three Cups of Tea.”

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Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) May 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Hahaha I’ve totally read all of those books and can I just say: great choices! I, too, loved summer reading and still savor the excitement of picking up books from the library and cracking open the first page. My new apartment is less than 5 minutes’ walk from the library, which is obviously a huge selling point. ;)

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Katy(The Balanced Foodie) May 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Really, really excited about this. I’m also glad I have a library card. ;)

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Linda May 10, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I’ve read 8 out of the 10 and love them all. Have you read Swan House by Elizabeth Musser? More southern literature…takes place in Atlanta. I read it in 2 days after reading The Help. I think you’ll love it. Can’t wait for the book nerd section to go up….should be great. Hope you’re feeling better!!

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Morgan May 10, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I miss summer reading too!
I read and loved 7 of the books you recommend (just finished Sarah’s Key-amazing!). I also love WWII books. Reading about the Holocaust makes me feel so connected to my roots.
Oh, I also read the Help fairly recently. I’ve passed it off to everyone I know!
If you like period books, check out A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Marjorie Morningstar. My other favorite is Gone With the Wind.

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Andrea (Sweet N Green) May 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I can’t wait to go to the library and get some of these books!

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Lu May 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I’m using your list, to expand my list. It could be cheating, but I’m going to go with it’s “enlightening myself with the intellectual tomes ELR reads”. Your suggestions/list is/are wonderful. I’ll stop/cease. :)

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vanillavivante May 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Jenna, if you haven’t read PRODIGAL SUMMER or ANIMAL DREAMS, get them today!!! they’re also by Barbara Kingsolver (of THE POISONWOOD BIBLE), and both incredible. PRODIGAL SUMMER is also set in the south and is just a beautiful story, especially for summer reading. ANIMAL DREAMS is set in the southwest, with totally captivating scenery…

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Graze With Me May 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I loved The Glass Castle and I just bought The Help a month ago and am itching to read it.

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Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly May 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Awesome!!! Thanks for the list!

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Beth May 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I am actually reading “A Thousand Splendid Suns” right now, started it this morning! This is a great idea!!

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katieP May 10, 2010 at 1:25 pm

what a great idea!!!! i am finishing up with finals this week and then will make a trip to the book store!! i am leaing for a ten day trip to FL so this is a perfect time to get started! such excitement

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Rachel May 10, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, and I love it. This is the best idea. Good work. I’m definitely going to be headed to the library post-work today, so that I can get started ASAP.

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Snowflakes and Sunshine May 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Ahh A Thousand Splendid Suns is the best book I’ve read in so long!!

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Lauren May 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Few things. One, you just reminded me that I had a dream that you were my H.S. English teacher and I was SO unprepared for class and I was so stressed about it! Really WEIRD, I know! Plus, I’ve been out of college for a year so why am I still having school dreams? But how ironic about you-maybe you are meant to be an English teacher someday. ;) You certainly have the passion and talent for it! Also, have you read The Book Thief?! I recommended it before and have to again. It is a WWII book with a female heroin, family secrets, and Nazi Germany-so you should really like it! (I haven’t read Those Who Save Us, but I will!)I’ve added some of those books to my hold list at the library. Thank you so much for this list!!!

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Kayla May 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm

I do miss summer reading. I never had required summer reading but I always did the “how many books can you read this summer” contest at the library – and always won :) I’m really excited for this! I’m reading American Wife right now (and love it) but otherwise I haven’t read any of these, yay! And I’m really excited for the book nerd section :)

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Ameena May 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I’ve read #5,6,8 & 9 and loved all of them!! I can’t wait to read the rest.

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betsy May 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Great list! I’ve read all of these except two :-)

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lo May 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm

i cant believe you mentioned American Wife. My BFF’s college professors wife wrote that book!

great book list jenna.

xoxo
lo
HoneyNutLo.Com

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kate May 10, 2010 at 1:35 pm

OMG. Whenever I see a list of top books, I always check for The Glass Castle …that book needs to be required reading. It opened my eyes to SO much. She is one fab story teller. Agreed, I read in AWE, and everytime I put it down, I called my mom to say things like “wow this book freaks me out” “wow I can’t believe I just read x part…”!!!

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Molly @FuelHerUp May 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Have you read Lonesome Dove? My favorite book evahhh!

Kite Runner…so sad! but amazing at the same time!

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Raya @ Raya Runs May 10, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Oh my gosh I read the Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns a couple years ago and LOVED them…amazing books! I just finished reading Prep (by Sittenfeld) and may I just complain to you for one second that I actually found myself annoyed by the main character?? That never happens. Did that happen to you? Or just me? She was so “inside her head” that I really just wanted to smack some sense into her. I’m going to give “American Wife” a go as soon as someone returns it to the library so that I may check it out :)

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Cristin May 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Ooh Jenna-I have one for you can’t remember if I put it on my original comment or not. The Book Thief is amazing and beautiful and heartbreaking. Add it to your summer list!

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Dee May 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm

This is totally cool! I can’t wait to get started!

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Cristin May 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm

ps-I mean the summer list of books for you to read :)

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg May 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Hey Jenna– Laura Bush is being interviewed tonight (I think tonight?) on Larry King– I’m definitely watching it! I’ve been so fascinated with her after reading American Wife!

I know this isn’t a book recommendation post, but I have to give you just one more if you’re looking for an awesome read. The poet Mark Doty has a memoir called Dog Years that is so heartbreaking and wonderful…I know you’re a dog lover, so you would LOVE it. I’ll warn you– it’s REALLY sad at parts…but so amazing too!

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Stephanie (of Stephanie Inspired) May 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm

LOVE the book recs! I am a huge book nerd myself and I love seeing other people read. Keep telling us what you’re reading- I personally love it!

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Hallie May 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Thank you SO much for this. I’m starting grad school in the fall and have dubbed this summer “the summer of reading for pleasure” before all I read are journal articles and case studies for two years. Thanks so much for including a short description, that helps a TON. Off to the library I go!

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Yasmin May 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Great, great idea! Besides food, reading is my other passion and you have a great list here. I can’t wait to get started.

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kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com May 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm

u have a great taste in books my dear!

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Kara May 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Great! Love love book challenges!! (esp. mine. Pst, check out my link!) … The Glass Castle is amazing and I completely agree that it is completely shocking how the author grew up. Unbelievable! Sadly I’ve only read two of the 10 on your list. For shame …

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Jenna May 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Such a great idea. I absolutely love reading and devour books like nothing else but I’ve always wanted somewhere to share my thoughts about them and get insight from other people. I’ve only read a couple on your list and I’m not much of war tales fan, but I’ll give them a chance. I have Kite Runner sitting on my shelf, and it’s been there way too long.

You should read Prodigal Summer (If you haven’t already), since you loved The Poisonwood Bible. It’s been awhile since I read either of them, but I remember liking Prodigal Summer more.

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Lindsay May 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Good choices! I read “Beloved” for my African-American lit class in college, but I would have read it for fun. Actually, all the books I read in that class are books I’d read for fun. Same goes for Jewish-American lit. It was my most favorite course in college, and I wasn’t even an English major. I realize I didn’t comment when you were asking for book recommendations, but I figure, better late than never! To accompany “Beloved,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain” is really good. And from my Jewish classes, there were a ton: “Bread Givers,” “Maus” (graphic novel, but still) and “Angels in America” (OK, that’s a play, not a book, either).

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Amy May 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I am a book nerd and am beyond excited about this post. I’m reading American Wife right now and will definitely be reading the rest of that list this summer too. So excited!

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Jenna (Hello, I Love You) May 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I heart hammocks and summer reading. I am so excited about this! Can’t wait to tackle this list. :)

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Erin May 10, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Hey Jenna!
This is certainly a strong list. I think I missed the boat the other day when people were recommending books to you. Sure you already have a tooon to choose from, but if you like Morrison, I encourage that you check out her newest novel, A Mercy. Also, I just have this feeling you would really like Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan. As a fellow former English major, I kinda love this book a lot, and I think you would too.

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stephanie May 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Woo-hoo!! I got the help and american wife for mother’s day… I can’t wait to read all the rest of them. Book nerds forever!

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Red Head, Yellow Dog May 10, 2010 at 2:28 pm

um this is awesome. I can’t wait to start reading!! I’m in law school and DYING to read something not titled “someone v. someone else”. Wednesday read fest 2010 begins!! now to get these books!

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Jessica May 10, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I ordered American Wife when you recommended it before. It came a couple days ago and OMG. I want to lock my kids up with snacks and a tv so I can keep reading!

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theemptynutjar May 10, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Nice list. I find I get in phases where I need to read mindless stuff or more serious.
Wish I could just read full-time. Twould be nice!

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Cynthia (It All Changes) May 10, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I’m headed to the library tomorrow for fun and will pick up one of these books. Your posts about reading have convinced me I miss it and should stop watching stupid TV I don’t want to to and refreshing websites. I will be reading this summer and enjoying it. :-)

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Macrae May 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I second Linda’s recommendation for “The Swan House”. You’d love it being from the south!
And if you have room for any more suggestions :) Check out Jacqueline Winspear’s “Maisie Dobbs” series. They are such FUN and fast books…Maisie is a british detective and you’ll fall in love with the characters and british lingo!

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Kelly May 10, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Awesome! I’ve read Sarah’s Key and I’m in the middle of American Wife so I’ve just got a few more to go- wish I could read as fast as you!

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Sara @ myfancytuna.blogspot.com May 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I LOVE that you’re doing this. I can’t wait! I’ve already read (and loved) 7-10. Awesome.

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Tara @ Food For Fuel May 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I’ve read most of the books on your list and LOVE them. Good choices and I plan to start American Wife soon. I was going to second what someone else reccomended above for “The Book Thief.” I think you’d really, really like it!

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Christie May 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm

How awesome would it be if you renamed your blog eat live READ?

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Jessie May 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I saw the title to this post and literally said “YES!” out loud. Probably freaked out my roommate, but I guess that doesn’t matter. I’m so stoked that you have begun writing about your love of books more often. I look forward to checking out the 6 books on your list that I haven’t already read.

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Jessica @ The Process of Healing May 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Oh YAY!! How fun! Those books sound really good! I had to read the Kite Runner for my freshman English class and well.. it’s amazing.

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Tracy May 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Hooray for book nerds! :)

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BroccoliHut May 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Word nerds, unite! I’ve read most of the books on the list, and I couldn’t agree more–they’re all great reads!

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Morgan @ Life After Bagels May 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm

funny I just went on my public library website and ordered like 6 books, but I’m on a waiting list. Plus I’ve decided to reread Eclipse again like any good twilight fan would before the movies comes out again!

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Michelle (Life, With Relish) May 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I’m so happy to see this! I actually have 3 of these in my book queue right now, and have read 4. What a great idea and thanks for this list!

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Katie May 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I know I mentioned this before, but if you love World War I or II dramas you must must MUST read Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky.

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Liz May 10, 2010 at 3:35 pm

I’m going to third the Book Thief. One of the best books I have read in my life – and I was an English major in college!! Also, the Story of Edgar Sawtelle is amazing – beautifully written and the story is incredible.

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Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) May 10, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I will get on this list, for sure! Thanks for the suggestions :)

xo
K

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Angela May 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I have to say, I miss required reading a little bit also :) Thanks for giving me ideas of what to read. I’m currently reading “Eat, Pray, Love,” and it is SO good. You should add that one to your “to read” list :)

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Jennu May 10, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Thanks for the great reading ideas!

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liane May 10, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Apparently today was the day for book nerds to unite… I just spent an hour trolling the local bookshop for my summer reading list and then placing all the titles into my holds list on my library account.
Can I just say there is nothing better than receiving an email from the library letting you know one of your books is available for pick up? I do a happy dance each and every time (yes, book nerd).

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Melissa May 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Literally just this morning I posted a review of American Wife on my blog- its a good read! Also I reviewed The Help awhile back, its one of my favs. You should add The Book Thief to your list if you haven’t already read it, its fantastic.

Good luck on your summer reading list! Are you on goodreads? If so we should be friends. My username is DuolyNoted

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Lee May 10, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I’ve read most of those. I’ve been meaning to pick up An American Wife. I liked Prep.

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Hilary May 10, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Kite Runnner and A Thousand Splendid Suns are two of the best books I’ve ever read. My husband was in an airport book store several years ago perusing the selection and an older woman came up to him and told him about the Kite Runner. She went and bought the book and handed it to him on her way out of the store. She loved it so much she wanted to share it. I thought it was so cool!

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Carol May 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm

LOVE this idea . I’ve read most of the books on your list – have some great ones to contribute ! Thanks Jenna – I’m a bookworm too !

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Nancy in Naples May 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Love all of your choices that I have read . . . Poisonwood is my favorite. I’m halfway through The Help and can’t put it down.

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Maura May 10, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Loved all of those books (okay the 5/10 that I’ve read so far) but I’m sure I’ll love the other 5 too! As a HUGE Barbara Kingsolver & The Poisonwood Bible fan, can I also recommend her book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle?” I read it for my Nutritional Biochemistry class senior year of college and it was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s a foodie/food blogger/book geek’s dream!!

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Kelly May 10, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I’ve read 7/10 of your list and loved them all, so I am definitely getting the other three!! Thanks.

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Lindsay May 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Wow! What a great list….I can’t wait to dig into the ones I haven’t read yet. You have such great test in books, Jenna. Book nerds unite!

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Kellie May 10, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I love this book list. I am reading The American Wife right now and I am really enjoying it. If I didn’t have three little kids always asking me for something, I would have finished it in two days.

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eatmovelove May 10, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I LOVE THIS!!!
Why oh why can’t reading be a full-time job…:(.
I’ll admit I’m reading some silly chick lit now…ahem…but I love variety – I am so keen on “The Help” now after all this good stuff about it!
I love this book review idea – I’ve been doing book reviews on my site – and LOVE it :)
AGAIN – anyone hiring a full-time reader??? C’mon …anyone…I’ll read to your kids for food and shelter…;)

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steph-exercise physiologist and artist! May 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Man, I have always been so impressed by people who can read several books in a short amount of time. I am a SLOW reader. I always have been. I also tend to have to read certain paragraphs over and over again.
I will live vicariously through your (and everyone else’s reading) :)

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ShutupandRun May 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I’ve read most of these, but now have American Wife and Those Who Save Us on my list!! I think we must have very similar tastes in books!

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Heather May 10, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Have you read The Book Thief? It takes place during World War II and is absolutely amazing. Thanks for the reading suggestions…I am reading American Wife right now and can’t put it down!

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Katie May 10, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Oh how fun! I’ve already read several of these, but I have a couple more on my shelf at home. I’ve been meaning to read them anyway so this will give me the push I need to get to them. There will definitely be reviews as I finish!

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Karla May 10, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Hi Jenna!
Have you ever read “The Shack”? I read it and really enjoyed it. It was a tough read after losing my brother, so I will warn you. But, I loved the way it showed God’s love and mercy in our sorrow.

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Steph May 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I just picked up Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close at the library today based on some commenters here. I read the first few pages and wasn’t impressed, so I looked for the other books I really wanted (The Help & a book by Dave Eggers) but BOTH books were out, so I was forced to get it! I am glad I did.. I am only into the first chapter but the little boy is pretty cute and I can’t wait to go out on my balcony with some iced coffee and read in the warm sun!

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Sarah (Oc2Seattle) May 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

So funny, I was thinking last night about putting together a book list for my lil sis and I to read this summer. Top of my list: Maya Angelou starting with “I know Why The Caged Bird Sings.”

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Kelli May 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm

This post made me so happy because I LOVE to read. I wanted to suggest another book that really touched me….Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. It is the true story of a homeless black man and wealthy white man who are brought together in downtown Ft Worth. The story is really touching and comes from such a good place. http://www.samekindofdifferentasme.com

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Danielle May 10, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Love the idea! And I ADORE the Poisonwood Bible!!!

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anne May 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Love this list!! Can’t wait for the book section. Keep up the great work!

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Sana May 10, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Totally gonna save this page till finals are over… who am I kidding I don’t study anyways!!

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Jenn May 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Love, love, love The Kite Runner! Just read it last year and it is hands down my favorite book.

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Lisa May 10, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Thanks for the ideas! I LOVE to read, and would give (almost) anything to head back to my young adulthood summer days of hammock-reading…..

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kellyO May 10, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I’m not a big reader, I hate to admit, but I am going to give this list a shot. Thanks for the motivation!

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Emily May 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Oh Jenna I’m SO excited to start this! I LOVE getting book recommendations! Thanks!

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Sarah-Mae @ Eat, Run, Knit May 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm

I think I need to find a perfect reading spot for the summer!

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Heather @ Side of Sneakers May 10, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Summer reading lists were my favorite! The library used to do a summer program every year and you got a prize if you completed all the books- I hated when I got too old for it. I’ve already read 2, 3, 5, 8, and 9!!!

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Rachael May 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I can echo The Poisonwood Bible love. I read it while working in Africa, and definitely had a perspective shift.
It’s beautiful that so many self-professed reading addicts are coming out of the woodwork. My childhood library sponsored a reading contest every summer – who could read the most according to age group – and I had to dominate. Had to. Yep, I was that kid, and I still compulsively digest the written word. Books, periodicals, the backs of cereal boxes…I do not discriminate. Love the suggestions and the idea!

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Allie May 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Jenna this is so awesome, I’ve been dying to find some new books to read this summer. These will be great motivation to get reading more.

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Jenna May 10, 2010 at 6:48 pm

thanks for the list as i can’t wait to read read read this summer! i have found a new love for reading and i love it :)
jenna

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Anna May 10, 2010 at 6:51 pm

A Thousand Splendid Suns: bawled my eyes out after reading. That, and gave my mom a BIG hug haha!

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devon May 10, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I absolutely LOVED The Glass Castle. It was amazing!

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Becca May 10, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I LOVE READING!! Some recent favorites:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and it’s sequel, The Girl Who Plays with Fire
Olive Kitteredge (fave book I’ve read in a while)
Let the Great World Spin
A Year of Magical Thinking

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diana@mymarblerye May 10, 2010 at 8:07 pm

you should start a book exchange amongst bloggers so we save paper and money!

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Ilana May 10, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Hell. Yes. I’m a speed reader, I eat books like candy, I need more more more! Thanks for the recs!

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Jackie May 10, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Yes!! Book nerd section! Us book nerds gots to unite.

The Glass Castle is one of my absolute favorite books. If you think you have a crazy family, read this and I guarantee you you’ll feel much better. It’s one of those stories that continually shocks you as you read, never a dull moment with the Walls! Through it all Jeannette maintains complete unconditional love for her parents and does an awesome job of sucking you into her life. You for sure cannot put it down!

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Shelley (Pink House) May 10, 2010 at 10:04 pm

I also read The Help and The American Wife this year. Both good. Right now I’m reading The Kitchen House: A Novel, and LOVING it. I mean seriously. Written from the perspective of a black slave in early 1800′s.

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jeannie May 10, 2010 at 10:56 pm

My mom just finished The Help and said it was awesome! I’m planning on reading it when I visit this summer. Have you read Death Comes for the Archbishop? I absolutely LOVE that book, more than My Antonia. So good!
I haven’t read a few on this list, so I will add them to my library list. I loved the Glass Castle–I left my friends so that I could go home and finish reading it!

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Nora@LiveLifeEatRight May 11, 2010 at 12:33 am

I’m loving the book club idea! My local library had a book competition to get kids reading during the summer. All you had to do was read, read and READ! After reading a given number of books you were eligible for a free soft serve at the ice cream shop across the way. I secretly wish I could still participate!

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Kathryn May 11, 2010 at 5:56 am

I’ve read three of the 10 books (The Help, The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns), and will definitely try to read the other seven this summer. In fact, “My Antonia” has been sitting on my bookshelf for years and I’ve just never gotten around to reading it! Your post has motivated me to start!

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Emily May 11, 2010 at 6:06 am

I like a lot of your suggestions but I disagree about The Help and its use of dialect. I found it inconsistent- especially the way the author portrayed African American dialect and yet surprisingly had the White characters speak in perfect English. Read the 1 star reviews on Amazon for a pretty lively discussion on the matter. Even the author herself has admitted that she may have made a mistake with the dialogue…and a lot of folks are seeing the book as more racist than you’d think. I know it’s difficult seeing things like this when you come from a non-diverse background/group of friends (I’m not judging, it’s just that I’ve only seen White people featured on your blog). Try listening to some other points of views on the book and maybe re-read it. You might see something new!

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Jen May 11, 2010 at 6:09 am

I’ve red both “sarah’s key” and “those who save us”, both pretty recently and I loved both books. I also love WWII books.

The glass castle is also on my to-read list! I can’t wait to get to that one.

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Rose-Anne May 11, 2010 at 6:17 am

Hurray for books! Your timing is excellent: I desperately need some reading material other than Vegetarian Times to keep me entertained for the 20 hours that I’ll spend traveling in the next two weeks. I mean, I WAS going to buy the latest issue of Bon Appetit at the airport, but real books sound even better ;-) Thank you, thank you. You are a rock star.

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Penny May 11, 2010 at 6:26 am

I LOVE your book posts! I read all the healthy food blogs, and I dabble in food blogging too, but I’m a big ol’ book nerd at heart. I have become a little obsessed with your book posts. :-)
I have a book page on my blog, but it isn’t much. I have been trying to think of ways to make it more interesting.
I CAN’T WAIT for your book section!

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jeri May 11, 2010 at 7:40 am

We’re such kindred spirits! I used to live in trees in the summer time reading books. My parents wouldn’t be able to find me, except my golden retriever would always be sitting at the base of the tree waiting for me to take him back home. :)

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Lauren May 11, 2010 at 7:54 am

I am going to the library to see how many of these I can accumulate tomorrow! I do have a rather unhealthy problem with not being able to function doing anything else until I finish reading a book (in particular a VERY good one) so this might be hazardous to my health….;) But I figure since I’ll be starting my PT program in the Summer (aka no summer break for me) this might be the one way I have to escape the 5 hours of anatomy I’m going to be enduring daily. THANK YOU!! :)

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natalie berry May 11, 2010 at 9:02 am

Love love love that you are posting books to read! I am constantly looking for new good books. During the school year I really only get to read while I work out, but now that summer is here and I am officially done with school forever, I am hoping to get a lot more leisure reading done. Right now I’m reading Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult and it is fabulous! I can’t stop!

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Meg May 11, 2010 at 9:31 am

Have you read Gone with the Wind? I was skeptical to read it at first, but ended up LOVING IT! My Antonia is one of my favorites too. I’m excited to try some of the other ones you have listed.

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Jaime May 11, 2010 at 11:48 am

Ah, thank goodness! Someone else who has just read The Kite Runner! I just finished it on my recent trip to Portugal and by golly, it was awesome! So sad though – I spent half the time hating the protagonist and the rest with my mouth open just aghast at what was going on in the world of Kabul! Amazing writing. I’m definitely going to read his next book… and half of the others on your list! Nice work! :)

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Erin May 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I have only read 2 of the 10 books you listed (Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns – both of which were awesome!). So thanks Jenna, you just gave me a great list to conquer. I only wish I had the time to read as much as I would like to….sigh….

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sherri May 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm

if you haven’t read “the piano” it’s a must read!

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Jennifer May 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Sarah’s Key is one of my favourite stories ever. I bought the book in the airport before a holiday a few years ago and almost finished the whole thing on the plane! I liked the Kite Runner but A Thousand Splendid Suns was just epic…one of the few books that’s actually brought me to tears. Happy reading!

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Jil May 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm

I looooved required reading. Little House on the Prairie and all the Laura Ingles Wilder books DOMINATED most of my elementary summers.

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grace b May 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Love this! I only wish I was going to have regular internet this summer so I could keep up with it. I am super happy that the great state of Maryland allows up library peons to get books from all across the state so I’m able to stock up on books. Now to convince myself to start up my computer so I can access my reading list. It’s very long! I’m really intrigued by American Wife now! Also I can’t believe you didn’t mention Water for Elephants! SO GOOD. Oh man I miss working in a book store…also for awesome non-fiction try The Long Road Home by John Grogan (yep the guy who wrote Marley *sniff* and me *sniff*…). He is an excellent writer. Great recommendations Jenna! Okay, I’ll stop now.

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Rachel May 12, 2010 at 8:44 am

Ooh, yes, American Wife was fantastic – especially the first half (the last section felt a little rushed to me). I wonder if Laura Bush has read it and what she thinks about it?

On the other hand, The Poisonwood Bible is the only book I’ve ever thrown across a room. It made me so angry! I read it 8 years ago, and I get het up thinking about it. :D

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Shelley @ Green Eggs & Hamlet May 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

I’m currently reading American Wife, thanks to your recommendation, and I LOVE it. Actually, I’m listening to it on CD (I have a 45 min. commute to work so I like books on CD). Thanks for the great recommendations. I’ve read My Antonia and The Glass Castle and have always meant to read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Now I have a complete summer book list. I’m also working on Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and City of Thieves by David Benioff (actually reading, not cheating and listening to on CD). Reading, reading, reading!

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Jackie May 15, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Have you read Half Broke Horses? It is a follow up to The Glass Castle, about Rose Mary’s mother. Amazing read!

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Emily (Inside/Outside) June 2, 2010 at 7:59 am

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” is amazing!

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