Kids are home from school. The grill is getting a serious workout. Your hammock calls your name in the middle of the day. Summer has begun!
Therefore, it is time for my annual list of fiction books for summer reading.
Following is a list of my favorite books that I’ve read in 2014. They are in no particular order.
1. “The Dinner“: This book takes place during one dinner when two brothers and their wives meet to discuss the banality of work and triviality of the holidays. We quickly learn, though, that a bigger issue is at play. One brother’s 15-year-old son seems to have participated in a horrific act that triggered a police investigation and will test the sibling rivalry.
2. “The Husband’s Secret“: When I read this, I joked that I had to get through it so I could figure out what secret my husband is keeping. I hope it’s not the one this husband keeps! In a drunken stupor the night his first child was born, a husband writes his wife a letter to open upon his death. Several years later, in the middle of raising three kids, she finds it (long before his death) and struggles with whether to open it or pretend she never saw it. She eventually reads it, and what she finds inside is astonishing.
3. “The Weight of Blood“: This is Laura McHugh’s first novel. Her husband went to college with my husband, and I felt obligated to read the book. I loved it! The story takes place in a town in the Ozark Mountains where a high school graduate, Lucy, learns a dark secret about the mother she never knew—the mother who disappeared when Lucy was a child. When a girl Lucy’s age goes missing and her body is displayed for all to see, Lucy grapples with losing both her friend and mother. What happened to both is shocking and disturbing.
4. “Once We Were Brothers“: In Poland, a family takes in a boy the same age as their son. As the boys grow up, they become more than just friends—they become brothers. When the war hits, one boy stays with his Jewish family while the other goes off to serve in Hitler’s war. Fast forward to today when the Jewish man recognizes civic leader and philanthropist, Elliot Rosenzweig, as his old friend and former Nazi SS officer, Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamosc. Of course, no one believes Rosenzweig could really be that horrible person, and everyone brushes off the Jewish man’s claims saying they’re from a delusional old man.
5. “Orange is the New Black“: It’s back! The second season of the Netflix original is here. Though I read the book last summer (and have recommended it to many), now is as good a time as any to read it. I like that the book gives much more detail than the TV series. Did you know the prison was put on lockdown during the Martha Stewart trial because no one wanted her jailed there? You learn why, and much more, in the book. True to form, the book is better than the Netflix series.
One business book
6. “The Hard Thing About Hard Things“: The guy who co-founded Bonobos recommended this book to me. Because of his extreme success, I thought I should listen. It’s by Ben Horowitz, and talks about what makes a great entrepreneur. The qualities, like “I didn’t quit” and “I learned how to pivot,” will surprise you.
The biggest thing for me, as a sometimes struggling entrepreneur, was when Horowitz talked about the differences between being mediocre and great. Mediocre entrepreneurs point to events as their biggest accomplishments—they sold for a gazillion dollars or they took the company public. The great entrepreneurs, though, always say their biggest accomplishment was that they didn’t quit. I tell you from experience that there are many, many, many times you want to quit.
There you go! Get to the library, run to the bookstore, get on Amazon or pull out your Kindle. It’s time for summer reading to commence!
Leave me fiction recommendations in the comments. I’m taking a mini vacation soon and need a few books to read.