Reading Into It: New Summer Must-Reads

by Rachel on July 19, 2010

By pool or by plane, I’ve been reading like a fiend this summer, which I just love being able to do. While I’ve already suggested some of my summer reading classics, I wanted to share three newer titles that I’ve really enjoyed this summer!

First up…Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves.

I’m sure you all know a bit about Crystal Renn, the plus-sized model who has become a symbol of ending the emphasis on unhealthy weight standards in the fashion industry. I knew quite a bit about her before I read her memoir, but I must say, it still totally rocked my world. It’s definitely an easy read; I just felt like I was reading the most wonderful magazine article ever. But it’s not dumb; it’s easy to read because you just feel like you’re talking to the coolest girl in the world. She’s seriously so cool. So, so, so cool. She’s fearless, self-aware, funny, and just all-around wonderful. There were honestly so many times I just wanted to stand up and cheer while I was reading. (I may have said a few probs-too-loud, “FUCK YEAHS!” poolside…)

Next I read Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes.

This book was so “me,” I sort of wasn’t in the mood to read it. You know I love everything French, and I love food and cookbooks…and you add in a long-distance relationship love story, and, well, you’d think I’d be all over that. But I wasn’t really in the mood for another Eat, Pray, Love. I decided to read it simply because I wanted to be part of the conversation when everyone else read it. (Um, like Eat, Pray, Love.) But the book really surprised me! It’s not so much a rom-com as it is a grown-up memoir about love, marriage, family, work, and cultural differences. It’s the story of a twentysomething American woman who has to figure out what to do after the datecation ends and she moves to France to live with her future husband. (Well, first she rejects his proposal for a good six months because she’s scared.) She struggles with what to do with herself because Americans define success based on your career, whereas the French define success based on, well, your happiness. I realized that I’m ready to read memoirs that are a bit more grown-up, although not ready for memoirs of women in their forties and fifties, so this was perfect. And the recipes and love affair she has with food aren’t bad either.

Then I read The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart.

There are books that I know I will love and this was one of those books. I had never heard of it, just came across it at the library, and as I read the jacket, it was just like, Yep. When it comes to love stories, my favorite themes are time, the heart/heartbreak, fear/avoiding being hurt, and the idea of everyone having a person whom they are just meant to be with. I also love a little element of sci-fi. When I want to really feel my feelings, you can find me (hungover, binging on carbs) reading The Time Traveler’s Wife or watching “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” — both of these titles combine all that. As does The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart.

Set in 19th-century Edinburgh, it follows Jack, an orphan born with a heart so weak, it is replaced with a cuckoo clock. His whole life he is told he must never fall in love because the clock heart couldn’t stand the pleasure and pain of being in love. And of course he does fall in love. The story is almost childlike, but it’s also so not. I read it all in one sitting, with my hand over my heart and my breath held the entire time. It’s a good thing I’m not heartbroken or emo right now, because this is the sort of book I’d re-read every day, crying into the food I’d most definitely be over-eating. Even though I’m not a mess, I still loved it, and probably in a healthier way.

If you’re interested you can also watch this Tim Burton-eque music video cartoon inspired by the book. I think it gives you a good sense of the style of the book and also the story.

Besides those, I’ve had lots of Christopher Moore books in my beach bag. Last week I finished A Dirty Job in one night (386 pages! I had to know the ending!!!). That was one of my favorites of his so far, and now I’m onto the older The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror (not really of-the-season, but funny nonetheless). If you’re a bit of a Shakespeare nerd (um, I am), I highly recommend Fool and if you’re just a person alive with a sense of humor, I can’t recommend Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story more. Christopher Moore is an amazing author! I’m honestly working my way through all his books and they are perfect light summer reading but they won’t rot your brain like some of the fluffier titles out there.

Have you guys read any good books this summer? Do share — I’m working the library as much as I possibly can right now!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen July 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

Thanks for the recs. I’ve never heard of these books before and I’malways on the hunt for good and interesting reads. :) I’ll have to add these to my find-at-the-library list. As for what I’ve been reading lately, I’m sorry to say it’s been a whole lot of nothing much this summer (new baby and all that). :/

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2 Lexie July 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

Crystal Renn looks so beautiful! I’m going to have to read her book.

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3 Anna July 19, 2010 at 9:01 am

Okay, now I really want to read The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart. I loved the Time Traveler’s Wife (and I think Christopher Moore’s books are a riot). I just finished an epic pair of sci-fi books, so these are some great options to try next!

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4 Rachel Marlena July 19, 2010 at 9:22 am

So my original thought (that I typed out in full) was: OMG Rachel you have to read Lamb: The Gospel of Christ according to Biff, Christ’s childhood friend by (goes to google it) Christopher Moore…oh….she said she loves that dude. So you probably HAVE read it but if not — go pick it up right now! So hilarious and awesome. Are his other books that good?

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5 Ashley July 19, 2010 at 9:23 am

I’m about to finish “Heart of the Matter.” I love all of Emily Giffin’s books! I want to see if my library has that “Lunch in Paris” book!

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6 MelissaNibbles July 19, 2010 at 9:30 am

Holy shit! I’m reading Lunch In Paris right now! I find it very interesting. Especially the parts where she explains how French people don’t have “careers” they just have jobs and when she takes her mother to the market and can’t get her past the thought of no leftovers. Great book!

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7 Sarah July 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I highly recommend any of Jonathan Tropper’s books, really great reads.

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8 Kendra July 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I can’t even tell you how much I miss reading. I think that we have pretty similar taste in books. You totally sold me on The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart. My list of must reads is getting longer and longer. Oh well, I’ll have time soon.

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9 Trinidad Pena July 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Thanks for the summer reading! I’m way behind on my list but I’m gonna have to add The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart! I’m love romance and sci-fi! I’m in!

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10 Dori July 19, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Did you ever read the book I sent you, it will take you a few hours and is HILARIOUS!

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11 amanda July 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I recently finished EAT LOVE PRAY and Remember Me? I am currently reading Twenties Girls by Sophie Kinsella. All very good reads.

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12 Angela July 22, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Heck, we are reading a lot of the same books. :D I love Christopher Moore’s books – A Dirty Job was my first one and then I started reading the rest. I love all of them except for a couple – one had coyote in the title and I can’t remember the other one.

I think you would love Mennonite in Little Black Dress if you haven’t read it already. I just finished Hungry and absolutely loved it. Another great one is Tuscan Holiday.

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