Summer reading suggestions?

 What's on your summer reading list?
 Let me know your suggestions in the comments.

I'm about to embark on a studio prep session and then a long run of commission & personal work, which means I need some new audio book suggestions!
I read everything from non-fiction and bios to fantasy and sci-fi. I have an e-reader subscription service that provides audiobooks so I can still get "reading" done while I work. Although I must admit, when I'm really in the painting zone I need to re-listen to a chapter or three.

 Here are my top three that I've recently finished:
It's not surprising at all that it won the Bellwether prize for fiction.
  • This I Believe; The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, an incredible compilation of frank and candid essays from Americans of "all walks of life". This is one instance where I soundly recommend listening to the audio version, as you will hear clips of the original recordings from the interviewees and editors. It gave me chills, and was utterly inspiring and completely heartbreaking at points. The entire program is only 53 minutes, and is worth a listen. 
The book is based on the NPR series, and you can visit to hear many, many more essays. 

  • The Universe Versus Alex Woods, Gavin Extence
I really can't write anything deserving enough of this book. It's one of my favorites, by far.
The inclusion of astrophysics, neurology, spiritualism, pacifism, and the ethics of one's right to a dignified death all in one?
A hundred times, yes. 

I'll let you read this review by Susanna Rustin, if you like, but this quote sums it up nicely.

"Extence's hugely likable first novel is a fairytale for rationalists."

Okay, your turn!
What lit is inspiring you this summer?

Let me know. :)
May the muse be with you!

~D. Renée


  1. lol. I have to re-read chapters sometimes too. Funny how that happens - especially when you WANT to read. There is something awesome about getting engrossed in your work.

    Im reading the 2nd part of Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy. Its about a magical land, completely cut off from us, which is right next to Portland.

    I usually enjoy reading Teen or Kid books - I find them easier to read while I have three kids running circles around me.

  2. If you're looking for a long series with a follow up series already two in, Edward W Robertson has two "cycles" that are good fantasy with plenty of humor. (Cycle of Arawn and Cycle of Galand). I also fairly recently enjoyed a bunch of fantasy books by Joe Abercrombie. There are a handful that take place in the same 'universe,' but that aren't all exactly the same series. Then, of course, there's pretty much anything by Brandon Sanderson! There's also a fun series about a modern day druid by Kevin Hearne that's fun, and the narrated version of it is really enjoyable, too. And the Jack Whyte Arthur retelling books are really fun because they're very historical. They're more an origin story for the myth and focus on a Roman family. Umm...maybe I should stop now! Not sure if you were just looking for an library's worth of books. =p

  3. I'm currently reading Start with Why ... you can see my booklist over on Goodreads:

  4. This is awesome! Thanks for the recommendations. I'm always looking for background noise too. I don't do audio books much but did do a couple of the free marie kondo ones on Youtube:

    Her first one:

    The sequel spark joy:

    And I listen to a lot of silly YouTube bad movie reviews while working because I'm a weird nerd :P haha

    Been enjoying the ones by Phelous today as background noise while transcribing notes because his voice is so unique and animated but also sedate so I can still focus on my work:

    I do need to listen to more books though, so thanks for your recs :)

  5. I know it may seem overhyped but I just read Eat, Pray, Love and it was an absolute page turner!

  6. I am currently reading (less than 100 pages left) - "In the Garden of Beasts....Hitler's Berlin". I love reading anything about to do with History - with Europe, and mainly any book about NY at the turn of the Century.

    "In the Garden of Beasts" It reflects Hilter's early years - 1933-1934 - when he was just starting to slowing take power of German related from various diaries of the US Ambassador to Berlin - William Dodd; and his daughter Martha, who with her young curiosity dates many of Hilter's closest confidants, as well as USSR leaders. It is interesting to see how very slowly Hitler - with his main goal in mind - slow manipulating the German people.

    I recently finished "The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers" which takes place in NY during the early 1900's, and an interesting biography of Edgar Allen Poe and his rise and fall during this time as his interest in the Mary Rogers case overwhelms his life.

    Next I will be reading "Murder on St Nicholas Ave" - I am very interested in this, as my grandmother grew up on St Nicholas Ave (NY) and grew up hearing so many stories of her early life on St Nicholas Ave.

    Chesley - so many told me I had to read "Eat,love and Pray" - I often tried but for some reason couldn't get past the first 50 pages. I had a literature teacher who one time told us "If you can't get into the book by the first Chapter" put the book down and start another. This is so very true! anyone else every find this true?


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