June 2017 Reading List.

This month I got back into my book-a-week groove. I blame it on two things. First of all, Palm Springs. While I was there I read two books, and started another! There really is nothing better than laying in the sun and reading. I read some of the best books I’ve read yet this month… everything on this list is fantastic but I especially loved The Light We Lost and Tuesday Nights in 1980!!! As always, for more recommendations you can check out my Book Club page, where you can filter all of my favorite books by genre… and also take a peek at last month’s reading list!

And if you have a sec – please comment and tell me what you are reading – your suggestions are always my favorite… I find myself shopping the comments section of these posts… you guys have such good recommendations!

* The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. Oh my goodness – if you read one book this month, make this be it. I think that everyone in some way or form can relate to the main character, Lucy – she’s torn between her free-spirited (selfish) ex, and the more reliable man that she ends up marrying. Don’t we all have one of those… the Big, the Aiden… the guy who makes us feel alive and young but know we can’t depend on versus the reliable guy? Anyway, this is her story… it felt so real and true (and reminded me of stories so many of my married friends have told me), and I will just say that I sobbed the entire last chapter. It’s an absolute must read

* Into The Water is Paula Hawkins’ highly-anticipated next book after authoring Girl on the Train. Okay so this was hard to follow at first, and I didn’t know exactly where it was going. It was told from the perspective of at least eight or nine different people, so I found myself flipping back and forth. But once I got into it, I was hooked. I will admit that I did guess the ending, but there were twists along the way that I hadn’t thought of. If you are looking for a dark thriller that you can devour within a couple of days, this is it!!!

* Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss was probably the most accurate and real depiction of life in New York I’ve seen… though it is technically set before I was born, ha ha. Reading it made me wish I lived here way back then. It centers around the art world, and three main characters. There’s a synesthetic art critic (synesthesia is when your senses get crossed… you hear colors, see colors when you taste flavors, etc – it’s fascinating!), an emerging artist, and a young girl who moves to the big city from the midwest. The book tells all three of their stories (which of course end up intersecting). All three characters experience (incredibly dark, deep) tragedy and loss. The writing is incredible. Parts are hard to read, but I couldn’t stop reading. I can’t recommend this one enough!!!

* How to Be Married, by Jo Piazza. I will admit, I put reading this book off. I am not married, and being married is not particularly high on my list of priorities now. Reading an entire book about marriage felt kind of… miserable? But also: the reason I first started following Jo Piazza and her writing in the first place was because she wrote this amazing essay a few years ago about why she bought herself an engagement ring. That really resonated with me (and my single + non-single girlfriends alike). Funny enough, she ended up meeting the love of her life shortly after writing that piece, getting married, and writing this book! So when she sent me this book, I kept thinking about how I should read it, and then I’d get busy and forget. Finally, a week ago, I finally picked it up and couldn’t put it down. You can tell that her and Nick (the husband) are made for each other, but she also writes in a way that is realistic, self-deprecating, and funny. My issue with everyone’s idealization of marriage and “the one” is that everything – movies, books, etc. makes getting married feel like the ultimate goal in life, but then what happens afterward!? What I liked about this book was the realistic depiction of love (she writes, lovingly, about how awful her honeymoon was), and also all of the fun little bits of trivia woven throughout.

* Fake Plastic Love, by Kimberley Tait is the story of two college best friends. There’s M – a practical investment banker who puts work over love and prefers corduroys and loafers. And then there’s her bestie, Belle – a wide-eyed and whimsical fashion blogger. The book follows them through college and into their thirties, alongside adventures with their new friend Jeremy, and Belle’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Chase. It’s set around 2008 (at the height of the financial crisis). For me, what I loved most about it was the lesson underneath… the importance of living your life as opposed to performing (Belle) or being afraid of taking chances (M). The story is told in a modern-day Gatsby-esque way; you won’t be able to put it down.

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Comments

  1. Hmm, interesting take on Into The Water. It doesn’t sound that good, but I guess I have to find out for myself!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    • grace at the stripe says 6.15.17

      It’s a quick read. A little hard to get into at first, but overall I enjoyed it!

  2. Sandi says 6.15.17

    Yay! I need some new book ideas. I just finished two that you might like. The Lilac Girls, a story of three women and how their lives intersect during WW2. Took me a few chapters to get into it but once I did it was one of those, “how did it get to be 2am?” kind of books. I also just finished Trevor Noah’s book about growing up in South Africa. It was an interesting, quick read.

    Happy reading!

    https://www.amazon.com/Lilac-Girls-Martha-Hall-Kelly-ebook/dp/B011G3HI9U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497526425&sr=8-1&keywords=lilac+girls

    https://www.amazon.com/Born-Crime-Stories-African-Childhood-ebook/dp/B01DHWACVY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497526536&sr=8-1&keywords=trevor+noah+born+a+crime

  3. brittany says 6.15.17

    I always love your reading lists! I gotta say I didn’t love Into the Water. And if you loved the nightengale and all the light we cannot see, read the women in the castle!

    xo, brittany
    LOFT sale picks on my blog today!
    http://www.notablob.com

    • grace at the stripe says 6.15.17

      Oh good!! I wouldn’t say that it was my favorite, but I liked it!
      Sounds like I will LOVE women in the castle as those were two of my favorite books!

  4. Ash Diamond says 6.15.17

    Love these recommendations and adding three of these to my reading list – thanks Grace!

  5. Kendall says 6.15.17

    YES! Look forward to these posts every month.I just finished All the Missing Girls. Quick read and SO good. Kept me hooked!

  6. Dana says 6.15.17

    I NEED to read Tuesday Nights in 1980 – sounds like I’d love it! I’m currently reading The Thousandth Floor and I think there’s a second book coming out in August!

    Pink Champagne Problems

    • grace at the stripe says 6.15.17

      You do!!! It’s epic! Does such a good job capturing the energy of the city in the eighties.

  7. Sarah says 6.15.17

    I love the reading lists- seriously helps in figuring out what to read next. My book club has been on a bit of a YA slat recently, but they have been surprisingly great stories. Loved the Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir (3 books so far with a 4th due out in 2018 I believe), the Timebound series by Rysa Walker was also quite good, and we just finished Afterworlds which was decent as well. I’ve also been catching up on Mary Kay Andrews books- which are great quick fluffy beach reads. If you’re in the mood for murder mystery I really enjoyed the Michael Harvey Chicago Way series, as well as the Cuckoo’s Calling series by Robert Galbraith (aka J K Rowling) I also really enjoyed Into the Woods which is a series by Tana French, I haven’t gotten back to it, but she has 6 books in the series.

  8. Sam says 6.15.17

    Always love your recommendations! The Light We Lost was already on my to-read list, but will definitely check out the others. If you need a reco, I recently read Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things and really enjoyed it.

    xx
    Sam

    • grace at the stripe says 6.15.17

      Thank you Sam! I LOVED Small Great Things!!! I read it while I was home at my parents’ over Christmas and I could not put it down!

  9. Allison says 6.15.17

    My favorite post each month!! I loved Tuesday Nights in the 1980s!! The writing was so unique! I just finished The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner and Perennials by Mandy Berman! Both so wonderful! Two of the best books I’ve read this year so far!

  10. Alyssa says 6.15.17

    I’ve found we have really similar taste in books, so I always love seeing your suggestions! I gotta say, I felt sort of lukewarm on Into the Water—I loved Girl on the Train so much that I think my expectations were really high and, like you, it took me for-ev-er to get into the story line. There were just so many characters/storylines/timelines at play. I finished it and enjoyed the last third, but it definitely doesn’t top my faves! Right now I’m finishing up Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and I have to say it’s incredible and so moving. Definitely recommend it!

    • grace at the stripe says 6.15.17

      I think we do have similar taste. It’s funny, I didn’t love Girl on the Train. I mean, I liked it, it was good… but it got so much hype that I didn’t think it necessarily deserved?
      I will have to check out Homegoing! xo

  11. I read Into the Water last month, too, & loved it! Right now I’m reading this super-cheesy crime series by Blake Pierce; they’re $5 apiece on Amazon, & I can’t stoppp.

  12. Michelle Bell says 6.15.17

    Definitely want to check out Tuesday Nights in 1980! I’m kind of obsessed with era and have been since I was a child. I’m currently reading a couple of things. My staple is the books in the Detective D.D. Warren series by Lisa Gardner. I’m on the 6th book with is a novella so it should be a quick read but while I’m waiting to receive it from Amazon; I am reading a book called Among the Missing by Morag Joss. It’s a dark, British, mystery novel told from 3 perspectives. Interesting so far!

    http://beautybymbell.com

  13. Rachel says 6.15.17

    Those all sound great! I’ve been reading The Devil in the White City for far too long. I’ve heard great things, but something about it I haven’t really been able to get into it. I’m finally at the last part, so I feel like I just need to finish it. But I have a list of books to read waiting for me.. need to add some of these on to that too, but I have Rich People Problems, The Perfume Collector, Invincible Summer, and The Summer We Read Gatsby. Hopefully I’ll get to them soon!

    • grace at the stripe says 6.15.17

      oh my goodness that is one of my favorite books of all time! all time!!!! I actually want to re-read it. I hope that you are able to get into it!!!!

      Rich People Problems is next for me! xx

  14. Cy says 6.15.17

    These all sound interesting. I loved Sweetbitter, I could completely relate! Although, I worked in trendy, upscale places, it wasn’t quite so cutthroat .The restaurant industry is a very unique business, I miss it it sometimes. I made some life long friends and never a dull moment. It was loads of fun. At my sissy in Brooklyn, trying to get on East coast time. 🙂 just a quick through, flying to Lisbon tomorrow . So excited! Back to your post, reading is my favorite thing!

  15. Erin says 6.15.17

    I tore through The Light We Lost last weekend. I really loved it, but felt so emotionally drained after finishing the book–that last chapter really got me too! I had to call my sister to tell her all about the book because it felt so real to me. I agree with you that the characters really resonated with me, and I felt like she was telling parts of my life with the whole do you ever really forget your first love theme. I’m going to check out some of the lighter reads on this list for me next book!

    • grace at the stripe says 6.20.17

      My mom said the same thing to me – it is really emotionally draining!!! Def read something lighter next!

  16. Sharon says 6.15.17

    I absolutely loved ” the hate u give” highly recommend

  17. Helene says 6.15.17

    Just today i bought ”Into the water” and can’t wait to start it as it sounds promising to me. Thanks for the tip!
    Helene // Beautiful Is My Attire

  18. Kristen says 6.15.17

    I just read Sex Objects. I don’t usually get hooked on memoirs but this one was fascinating to me. A quick read – I was done in two days.

  19. Esra says 6.16.17

    I’ve been looking for new books to read so I always appreciate some recommendations! I just read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover and it was so beautifully written. Highly recommend!

    xx Esra
    http://esrasevgi.com

  20. Chlo says 6.16.17

    Ahh, thank you so much for sharing this 🙂 I love looking at other peoples reading lists, it gives me so many ideas and always inspires me to want to read! I used to be a huge reader, I once read five books in one week haha. Yet, I don’t read at all anymore really but, I’m starting to make time for it again! I’ve just started reading a book called “Straight White Male” by John Niven, I’m only on page 30 and it’s completely different to what I’d normally pick up BUT I like the challenge!! The book I most want to read off your reading list is Fake Plastic Love 🙂

    Have a lovely weekend 🙂

    Chloe @ https://girllgonerogue.blogspot.co.uk/

    • grace at the stripe says 6.20.17

      So happy you enjoyed it! Hope you can make more time to read, there are so many great books out right now!

  21. Ro says 6.16.17

    Don’t usually comment but must since our views on The Light we Lost differs quite a bit. I found all 3 characters to be incredibly selfish (yes even the husband). Their love seemed to be based more on sexual need on her part and childhood issues on his. His need to change the world being based on the photo of the Afghan girl and then the ease with which he makes it striked me as unrealistic. Lucy’s constant unhappiness & pining and running to Gabe at the drop of a hat made me dislike her intensely. The jumping to conclusions bit she did near the end just based on a contact name on the phone? No words. I truly did not see love in either of her two relationships. I read the book in 3 hours as it was an easy read but the entire time I was hoping for more, hoping it would improve. The ending was predictable beyond belief and felt like the easy way out for the author from the ‘complication’.

    • grace at the stripe says 6.20.17

      Thanks so much for sharing your views! I think I took a more romantic way of reading it… but everything you say is totally fair!

  22. Jessica says 6.16.17

    Thank you so much for this list! I need some summer reading material to add to my list.

  23. Anna Hecksher says 6.16.17

    I’m reading Men Explain Things To Me right now by Rebecca Solnit – definitely not a happy feel good book but such an incredible collection of feminist essays. It’s really been making me think, in the best way.

    Prior to that, I read The Perfume Collector which I loved! It was a quick read but such a beautiful story and really evocative of two different times that I’m obsessed with (the 1920s and 1950s). I’ve been reading too many thrillers so I balked at the slow story at first but I ended up really enjoying it.

    The Light we Lost is on my hold list at the library right now! Can’t wait to dive in.

  24. Judi says 6.16.17

    I loved Girl on the Train and was so looking forward to Into the Water….but you are so right, it’s really hard to stay with the beginning of this…I just put it away last week and decided it wasn’t for me, but I’m going to pick it back up and finish it…

  25. Meghan says 6.16.17

    The Swans of Fifth Avenue. Quick, fun read.

  26. Theresa says 6.17.17

    Home going is the best book I’ve read this year. Each chapter is the next generation of a family following them from Ghana to slavery to modern US. Couldn’t put it down.

  27. A Girl, A Style says 6.19.17

    Thank you so much for the recommendations! I especially want to read How to be Married and Tuesday Nights in 1980. Although I’m getting married (this weekend, haha), I hate how marriage is always idealised as some sort of end-goal for women or something to aspire to, so I can tell this is going to resonate with me!

    Briony xox

  28. I love when others share what they are reading! I just finished reading Into the Water, and although it was super confusing with all of the characters, I loved it even more than Girl on the Train! I am going to have to give The Light We Lost a go next, especially since theSkimm just recommended it as well. Thanks for sharing all the amazing reviews!

  29. Brooke says 6.20.17

    Hi Grace! I always love your book reviews and as I’m leaving for vacation later this week I wanted to look at your lists for some suggestions.

    This may just be me (so ignore me) but I struggled to find the link. I guess I just expected it to be at the top of the page where your other sections are so it took me a minute to find it at the bottom. I have no idea how difficult it is to move stuff around but just thought it was worth pointing out since I think new readers might also miss it, and it is such great, useful content 🙂

    • grace at the stripe says 6.20.17

      Thank you so much for the suggestion! I haven’t gotten that feedback before. I will make sure we include in the top drop down next time we make site updates.