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Books | Summer Reading 2014

Reading in the evenings has become my way to unwind after long days and hard workouts. It’s also my preferred source of entertainment during my commute now that I only have to schlep my Kindle around rather than heavy books — this is super relevant for the heavy (literally and figuratively) books I have read this summer! Here’s a look…

Tale for the time being

A Tale for the Time Being

I tried to explain this book in a nutshell to some friends over lunch, but there’s really no way to do that without diving deep into the story and its characters — it’s a story within a story within a story.  Ruth, an author living on a remote island off of Canada’s Pacific coast, discovers a Japanese girl’s diary that has washed up on the shore. In that diary, Nao describes her troubled life in Tokyo and tells of her 104-year-old great grandmother, who became a Buddhist monk after her son died as a kamikaze pilot in World War II. The tales from Nao’s diary become wound together with Ruth’s own personal struggles in sometimes fantastical ways. I loved this book for its honest and unromanticized glimpse into sometimes heartbreaking Japanese culture and customs.

Caged bird sings

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Wanting to pay tribute to Maya Angelou’s recent death, I decided to read one of her most well known autobiographies focusing on her life as a young girl. Angelou was raised in turns by her grandmother in rural Arkansas, her mother in St. Louis and San Francisco, and her father in LA.   She describes both the triumphal moments in her young life — like becoming the first black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco — and those that crushed her soul — like being raped as a young girl by her mother’s boyfriend. I loved Angelou’s voice throughout and looked forward to every story she had to tell.

Bossy pants

Bossy Pants

After the heavy themes of the previous two books, I needed something light and entertaining. I’m a big fan of Tina Fey and loved her humorous insights into the very male-centered world of comedy and improv. I tore through Bossy Pants in just a couple days and would certainly recommend it as a light read.

What are you reading these days? I’m currently loving Mandela’s autobiography A Long Walk to Freedom. Do you have any recommendations to share?

4 comments

  1. natalye says:

    The first book is definitely on my list for soon. I just finished Little Bee last night and then started Americanah… both of which deal with Nigeria. Coincidence. I also really wanna read the new Roxane Gay book.

  2. Rachel says:

    Ooh, I was thinking about reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Is it slow going, or can you read it fairly quickly? I’m reading Ghana Must Go right now, and it’s so beautifully written…though I do feel I need something light afterwards.

    • I would highly recommend I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing — her prose is quite lovely and easy to read, so it’ll go pretty fast. I wouldn’t call it a light hearted read though. I’ll have to add Ghana Must Go to my list!

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