Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What I'm Reading: A Week at the Beach

Earlier this year, I made a pact with myself that I would try and read more than just smut romance books. My inner English major was starting to die a little on the inside. I've been doing a reading challenge this year, but that felt so mundance to write about, so instead I'm starting a new series: What I'm Reading. A real time look at what books I'm reading during super important events, like a week at the beach.

Beach and pool times are my favorite reading times.  They aren't really Aaron's favorite times, because he's not a huge lay in the sun and read kind of guy. Do those guys exist?! But for me, this is my happy place. So here's what I'm reading for a week at the beach.

Lauren Conrad: Celebrate

My favorite part of reading a book is getting lost in someone else's life, even if that person isn't real. A good book makes their life feel real and like you're part of it. Bloggers do much the same thing.  We let you in to our lives, show you how we live, what we wear, eat, decorate our houses with and do.  It's always fun to step outside of your life and into someone else's. It's magical and why books have always been my first love. But what if you went from just a glimpse through articles and posts to an actual book about how to live like someone else, how to curate your own life?

Enter lifestyle books.

Mind blown. I found this book perusing cookbooks at Barnes and Nobles. It's =one of my favorite lazy day activities. I grab a big stack of books, find a table in Starbucks and flip through all the pages. I take pictures of the ones I want to check out from the library and possibly purchase.  This book was in the cookbook section. But it's not just a cookbook. It's a how-to party plan your entire life book. And I love it!

She goes through invitations, making a guest list, choosing your outfit, and, of course, some recipes for multiple types of gatherings. And they all look straight out of a magazine. And she writes in such a way that it sounds like you're sitting with your girlfriend telling you about her party. You think, "I can totally do that."  Definitely worth of a dreamy day on the beach thinking your life is way more put together than it actually is!

Curtis Sittenfeld: Eligible

I've been a huge Curtis Sittenfeld fan since her first book, Prep.  She is a wonderful storyteller and has one foot in chick lit land and one foot out.  I picked up Eligible at the library off the Lucky Day shelf.  You have 7 days to read the book and no renewals.  I never do so hot with that, but this one I did! A week to yourself helps!

It's a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I know, there have been many.  And, honestly, I enjoy most of them.  I love to see what writers can do to a traditional, well known story to make it their own.  In this version, it's set in Cincinnatti.  Mr. Bingley is the lead of a Bachelor-esque TV show. And you have all types of characters such as a transgender cross-fitter, a terrible love interest for Liz that you love to hate and quirkey personalities for each of the sisters.  It's a great beach read.  

Maureen Chiquet: Beyond the Label

Non-fiction was never really my favorite genre, but I've found that I love memoirs and people's stories. If one day, I was to fulfill my lifelong dream to become a writer and actually sit down and write an entire book (which my ADD probably won't ever allow), I'd imagine it would be a memoir.  Sometimes, true stories are so much more fascinating than real life! I picked this book up at the library.  It was on the new book shelf and piqued my interest.

This book, while career advice, is also the story of a woman that worked herself into the CEO position of Chanel. And it's pretty fascinating so far. She starts out by telling you that she can't give you the magic recipe for success or the steps you should take, but that she can tell you what she did. What decisions she made along the way.

Luz Gabas: Palm Trees in the Snow

In my never-ending quest to find non-smut books to read, I found this one on Amazon.  It was free for Kindle readers, so I figured "hey, why not?"

I've really gotten into it so far. The book is about a Spanish family with two sons that go to work with their father on a cocoa plantation in Guinea, Africa. That description, however, makes it seem much more calm and tranquil than it is.  They go from a quiet mountain village to basically overseers on a plantation.  Men work on the plantation for 24 months at a time and then have a long vacation. The novel looks at the life of these men and how the decisions and secrets from their time on the plantation 30 years ago effect the lives of their children.

Amazon calls it an epic historical family saga and they aren't far off.  It sat on my Kindle for a while because it was hard to get into.  It's a little slow at first and you keep thinking, "Where am I?" and "Where is this set?," but once you get in a few chapters, you're hooked.  I appreciate that it's a different story than is usually told.  I, at least, haven't read much about families that worked cocoa plantations as overseers in Africa.  There is also a good amount of history as you get to watch the political climate change in Guinea and how the brothers end up leaving.

Those are my four books for my week at the beach.  Not going to lie, I've pretty much rotated between all of them and have only finished one. When I was a kid, that's how I used to read: I'd have four or five books going at once.  I grew up watching soap operas with my babysitter, so I'm well trained at this!  What are you reading this summer?

*All photos of covers are courtesy of Amazon.com


  1. I love this idea for a series and I'm excited to be following along. My New Year's resolution for 2017 was read more and I had planned to try to finish one book a month. Then I had my son in April and barely had time to eat and sleep so, needless to say, I didn't get much reading done. I'm finally getting to a point where I can pick up a book and make some (slow) progress so I'll look to your lists for inspiration for my next book! Thanks for sharing :-)


    1. Thanks Nikki! I love to read and am really excited to explore more genres! Here's to reading more for both of us!

  2. This is a great list! Honestly, I need to add more to my daily reading list other than my devotional. I have been a fan of Lauren Conrad since high school so maybe I will start with her book.

    1. Yes! It's an easy read with lots of pretty photos! Plus, you can feel like you're a professional party planner while reading it, ha!

  3. I love reading other people's reading lists! Palm Trees in the Snow sounds really good, I'll have to see if my library has it.

  4. I get into reading binges and then I stop for a little while. I need to pick up a good book soon. Love your list and I need to get to the beach!

  5. Great list! I read "Prep" ages ago, so I'd probably enjoy "Eligible." And you're definitely not the only one who reads 3 or 4 books at a time, I'm guilty of that too! I need to get back into reading novels. I was doing great this year until about a month or two ago when I got stuck in a book I hated and I finally decided to quit reading it, but then I never picked up another book. ::sigh:: I'll do it soon, I'm just reading short fiction and listening to audiobooks right now.