top ten thursday : summer reading 

The Shoemakers Wife, Adriana Trigani

A beautiful piece of historical fiction, this novel follows two star crossed lovers from the hills of Italy across the ocean to immigrant lives in early America.  The characters are so well written readers will develop an attachment to their every trial and tribulation.  Although it is not a completely true story, it is based heavily on the author’s grandparents’ lives with a wonderful family biography at the end.

Missing: Richard Simmons, Dan Taberski


This podcast, created in 2016/17 when Richard Simmons fell off the map, is intriguing and somewhat sad.  The creator interviews longtime friends of Simmons, detailing how he loved leading his workout classes and standing in front of his house to greet tour buses full of fans.  You’ll even learn about Simmons’ little known song, Hairdo (available on iTunes).  While some find the podcast an invasion of Simmons’ privacy, it gives insight into the lonely world fame and celebrity can create.

Celebrate, Lauren Conrad


Lauren Conrads Party Planning Bible is full of amazing tips and tricks to throw the ultimate soirée.  From how to build the ideal charcuterie, to creating diy decor for a  full blown wedding, Conrad cements her status as an event planning powerhouse (and to think it all started with the Black and White Affair Season 1 Laguna Beach…)

Atlas Obscura, Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton 

The perfect book for the traveler in your life!  Atlas Obscura describes over 600 weird, wild and wonderful destinations throughout the world.  From the pub inside a tree in South Africa to the Baby Jumping Festival  in Spain, your wanderlust will be intrigued by this massive tome.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood 

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel gained notoriety after Hulu created a series based on the story of an overthrown government and loss of civil rights, especially for women.  Many have made the connection between the 1980s text and the current political climate, pointing out how easily we give up our rights for so-called security. The series differs slightly from the book, so read/watch both!

A Long Way Home, Saroo Brierly


Based on the incredible true story of a young boy who becomes lost hundreds of miles from home in the dangerous city of Calcutta, this book has been made into the Oscar nominated film, Lion.  Readers feel connected to Saroo’s story of loss, fear and resilience that has a somewhat happy ending.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Mary Roach

An unexpectedly funny look at the good deeds human cadavers have contributed to medicine and science, sometimes unwillingly.  I would classify this book as “edutainment”- part scientific study, part anecdotal incidents from beyond the grave. As the author says, don’t take life too seriously, no one gets out alive anyway.

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, Sherman Alexie

After reading Alexie’s essay “Superman and Me” about his struggle to teach himself to read, and his young adult novel “The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian”, I was intrigued to read more of his books.  A masterful writer, Alexie details growing up with an unpredictable alcoholic mother who deep down wanted to give her son a better life.  After his mothers death, Alexie grappled with his emotions in this powerfully raw memoir.

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

An interesting read about gender fluidity in a time period where that was unheard of.  The main character draws you in with her (later his) accounts of life, and leaves you pondering why we focus so much on genitals and gender identity that are not our own.

Straight Up with Stassi, Stassi Schroeder

My favorite biatch from Vanderpump Rules holds nothing back in her funny and unabashedly real podcast.  From giving Jax a sociopath test, to hilariously recapping every episode of The Bachelor, Stassi’s podcast is perfect for plane rides or road trips.

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