Escapist Reading for Summer

Since I’ve always been more of an indoor girl when the sun is beating down in the summer (I blame my pale skin and blatant dislike of temperatures higher than 90 degrees), books are a constant companion as I retreat to the air conditioning.

And whenever I’ve needed a break from reading and re-reading and making revisions to my novel Spaghetti in Exile, I’ve been enjoying a variety of fiction and non-fiction titles in the meantime.

I’m proud to say that I’ve finally finished Susan Hermann Loomis’ delightful On Rue Tatin, which I started back in (gasp!) January. Lest you think my plodding pace is a reflection on the book’s inherent readability, it’s definitely not. The book is so good that you’ll hang on every delicious word— especially if you like to eat and find yourself daydreaming of ditching suburbia for somewhere, anywhere, really, in France. In addition to documenting all the positively swoon-worthy moments, many involving crusty baguettes and the bounty of fresh produce available at local markets, Loomis has an easy, charming sense of humor about the not-so-glamorous moments, adjustments, and inevitable culture shock too. On Rue Tatin is the kind of book that revels in the details and is easy to get lost in—one I can see revisiting again in the not-so-distant future.

Now that you know my secret, namely that I’m a sucker for books set in France, it’s probably no surprise that I plowed through Elizabeth Bard’s Dinner Chez Moi, a collection of essays and recipes about some of her favorite French dishes, in no time. I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth’s ever since Lunch in Paris released in 2011, and Dinner Chez Moi is just as enchanting as she reminisces about what she ate and the customs unique to the French dining experience.

Rounding out the trio of recent reads is Jennifer Weiner’s Hungry Heart. A marked departure from her funny, frank women’s fiction, Hungry Heart is a collection of personal essays that  scale the spectrum of human emotion. Whether she’s detailing her colorful family history (trust me, “colorful” is putting it mildly), talking about her lifelong battle, and eventually, making peace with her body, or talking about her warts-and-all journey toward publication, Hungry Heart held my attention and didn’t let go.

As someone who is currently shopping my third novel and has heard “no” more times in the past four months of querying than I’d like, Hungry Heart was not only an encouraging reminder that good things take time, but that even best-selling authors like Weiner walked the same bumpy path paved with rejection and PERSEVERED. That was about all the #mondaymotivation I needed then (and today). Really, the timing couldn’t have been better.

Now it’s your turn, what books have you enjoyed the most the summer and why? What are you currently reading? Continuing my Parisian theme, I’m halfway through a collection of essays edited by Eleanor Brown (The Light of Paris, Weird Sisters) called A Paris All Your Own. Featuring a motley crew of bestselling female writers, they share wildly different accounts of their time spent in the City of Light. After that, I can’t wait to dig into Laura Dave’s latest, Hello, Sunshine.


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  1. I really enjoyed “Everyone Brave Is Forgiven” by Chris Cleave.

  2. Hey SIL,
    With two weeks of vacay I was able to read “All The Light We Cannot See” which was as good as everyone said it was. And another great Inspector Gamache mystery by Louise Penny– “A Rule Against Murder.”

    I love ” On Rue Tatin” BTW!

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