Getting excited about reading was never really a problem when I was a kid, but what really upped the ante every summer was the promise of free personal pan pizzas once you hit a certain number of finished books.
Yes, I was a happy participant in Pizza Hut’s reading program every summer in Wisconsin, so along with my Judy Blume and Jane Austen, I also reveled in the joys of thick crust and melted cheese. You know, whatever it takes, right?
And while there isn’t free deep dish in the equation these days (however, there is the possibility of even cooler prizes that involve one seriously cool Kate Spade tote), I’m just as excited to begin my annual summer reading program with BookSparks.
Kicking things off in thrilling style, I’ll be reading Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water. For anyone not familiar with Paula, she’s the author behind the massively successful The Girl On the Train, which I actually finished on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. It was one of those rare books I couldn’t put down until I figured out exactly what happened and how, and I suspect Into the Water will be equally engaging.
In the meantime, I’ve been on a bit of a reading tear these days and have recently finished several excellent books that span the genres. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke’s first foray into thrillers with The Good Widow. If you enjoy an exciting, thoroughly twisty story that’ll keep you up much, much too late, I can’t recommend pre-ordering fast enough. Yes, it’s that good, and I wouldn’t dream of ruining your experience by saying any more.
I also loved Sophie Kinsella’s latest My Not-So-Perfect Life. While I’ve enjoyed the bulk of her “Shopaholic” titles, her most recent work reminded me of my all-time favorite Kinsella novel, Can You Keep a Secret?. I’m convinced that both would make excellent rom-coms on the big screen, and I laughed more times than I could count, which is always a good sign.
Last but not least, I read cookbooks with the same vigor as regular books and thoroughly enjoyed Chopped judge and NYC restaurateur Chris Santos’ first cookbook Share. I must admit that he had me at French onion soup dumplings, and I can’t wait to whip them up in my kitchen sometime soon.
As for what I #amreading at the moment, I’m about halfway through Mario Batali’s Big American Cookbook and am on the final pages of Susan Herrmann Loomis’ On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town. Not only is Rue Tatin lovingly written with the Francophile in me smiling with every turned page, but it’s been fun living vicariously through Susan’s experiences. Let’s just say on more than one occasion, it’s left me jonesing for fresh baguettes and brie.