Summer Reading 2014


There is something so decadent about summer reading. For all the years I was a student, summer was the only time I could read whatever I wanted without the guilt of homework and textbook reading hanging over me. (I still devoured books all during the school year, just in stolen hours in the middle of the night and with a lot more guilt.)

Here is some of the fun stuff I’ve read this summer:


The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. Thank you, Samantha, for this excellent recommendation. The Mediterranean world in Roman times really comes alive in this book. It made me see the lives of the early Christians in ways I had never considered.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Who hasn’t read TFiOS this summer? If you haven’t, you really should. It’s a quick read; I finished it in about two hours from the time I cracked open the cover. Not at all sappy or sentimental, the voice is sarcastic and canny and spot-on. I can promise that you will laugh out loud (like a hyena) and you will cry (violently, like a crazy person).


The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. I gave this Pulitzer Prize winner my endorsement here.

thewhippingboy shadowofabull

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman and Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska. Somehow I missed these two Newbery Medal-winners growing up. The whole time I was reading The Whipping Boy I kept thinking about how it would be the perfect entertaining read-aloud for my younger siblings (I think I’ll do that soon). And Shadow of a Bull reminded me of the summer I was working in Spain and got to see a bullfight in the Plaza de Toros in Madrid.

thelastolympian thelosthero theredpyramid

The Last Olympian, The Lost Hero, and The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. My little brother, who just turned ten, introduced me to Rick Riordan’s books, including the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series, The Heroes of Olympus Series, and the Kane Chronicles. He and I have been having so much fun reading all of them and getting geeked out on them together. The adventures are epic and the writing style is casual, conversational, and funny. Most of all I love how they’re getting kids excited about Greek and Egyptian mythology. (When I was a kid I read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and any other mythology book I could get my hands on over and over again, so that is a cause I can get on board with!)


The Green Smoothies Diet by Robyn Openshaw. I read six or seven books on green smoothies while I was doing research for an eBook I wrote for a client, and this one stands out as the best. I learned lots of cool stuff about the nutritional contents of greens.

isabelthequeen adrizzleofhoney bestlovedfairytales

Isabel the Queen: Life and Times by Peggy K. Liss and A Drizzle of Honey: The Lives and Recipes of Spain’s Secret Jews by David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson and Best-Loved Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen. More research for my secret project! The more Isabel biographies I read, the more I am impressed with her strength. She commanded a nation, generaled a war, and founded an empire. She endured the infidelity of her husband, the stillbirths of two of her seven children, and the deaths of her heirs and children Juan and Isabella, and still retained her dignity and a sincere, devout faith in God.


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. This book (along with The Poisonwood Bible) should be required reading for everyone who lives, eats food, and breathes air on planet Earth. One of these times I’ll have to dedicate an entire post to it; she articulates so engagingly and passionately the beliefs I share about food and the way it should be grown, harvested, distributed, eaten, and loved.


Life of Pi by Yann Martel has been on my reading list for a decade and I’m finally getting around to it! I’ll let you know what my verdict is when I finish.

Have you guys read any of these books? Did you like them? Dislike them?

What books are on your summer reading list? What books have you read and enjoyed lately?

Does anyone beside me keep a “to-read” list to keep track of book recommendations and books you’re meaning to read? What books are on your to-read list? And does anyone have any recommendations for me?

6 thoughts on “Summer Reading 2014

  1. I’m reading The Robe and loving it! Not only is it a fascinating glimpse into another side of the world’s most well-known story, but the author’s rich diction and elaborate sentence formulation make each chapter vivid and dense. I’ll have to add some of the others to my list!

  2. Hey Kimberly. I do keep track of the books I’ve read and the books I want to read, all on I have been using this website for a few years now and I love it for several reasons. I am connected to my friends and family on it who also keep track of their books and what they rated them, so I get great recommendations from people whose opinion I trust, and often reason as to why they rated a book so high or low. Also, it helps me keep track of my “to-read”. So if you end up joining this website, add me as your friend! 🙂 Also, it sounds like you would be a good leader of a book club in your ward, should you decide to take up one more commitment in your life. 😉 Does your Spanish ward have a book club and is it something people would be interested in?

    • Hey Shantel! You’ve inspired me to sign back into my long-abandoned Goodreads account (I think hadn’t used it for at least two and a half years) and start using it again–so watch for my friend request on there! And then I can get all your book recommendations! And yes, I would love to start a book club! I’ve been trying to gauge potential interest in the ward by asking everybody if they like to read…sadly, so many people can’t think of anything they’ve read lately except The Hunger Games. But a book club would be a good way to help more people get excited about reading, right?! What about you? Have you ever been part of a book club?

  3. Yay! I’m glad you liked The Robe, and I loved Fault In Our Stars too when I read it last year. I’ve been trying to make Brandon read it…he just never has any time. Apparently Autumn is obsessed with it. Haha, I was a mythology nerd too (and still am…I need to give Riordan another try. I listened to the last three of the Percy Jackson trilogy and I hated the narrator, so, consequently, I was not a huge fan of the books). Aaaahhh I can’t wait for your secret project! You are so cool. One of these days I’m going to grow up to be as awesome as you are. I’ve been reading the Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal this summer, and I got my mom and Sydnee hooked on them too. They’re fun, super-easy reads, but well-written and clever too. I think you’d like them. Oh, have you read the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld? Those might be too science-fiction/steampunk to be up your alley, but I really liked them. Thanks for inspiring me to read more!

    • I haven’t had any success getting Mark to read TFiOS, either. Yay for more good book recommendations! I just added the Glamourist Histories and the Leviathan trilogy to my list…and I still need to read Flavia de Luce and Cold Sassy Tree! What would I do without you and your excellent book recommendations and unfailing encouragement and friendship? xoxo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s