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Reading Into It: New Summer Must-Reads

Posted Jul 19 2010 6:38am

By pool or by plane, I’ve been reading like a fiend this summer, which I just love being able to do. While I’ve already suggested some of my summer reading classics , I wanted to share three newer titles that I’ve really enjoyed this summer!

First up… Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves .

I’m sure you all know a bit about Crystal Renn, the plus-sized model who has become a symbol of ending the emphasis on unhealthy weight standards in the fashion industry. I knew quite a bit about her before I read her memoir, but I must say, it still totally rocked my world. It’s definitely an easy read; I just felt like I was reading the most wonderful magazine article ever. But it’s not dumb; it’s easy to read because you just feel like you’re talking to the coolest girl in the world. She’s seriously so cool. So, so, so cool. She’s fearless, self-aware, funny, and just all-around wonderful. There were honestly so many times I just wanted to stand up and cheer while I was reading. (I may have said a few probs-too-loud, “FUCK YEAHS!” poolside…)

Next I read Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes .

This book was so “me,” I sort of wasn’t in the mood to read it. You know I love everything French, and I love food and cookbooks…and you add in a long-distance relationship love story, and, well, you’d think I’d be all over that. But I wasn’t really in the mood for another Eat, Pray, Love. I decided to read it simply because I wanted to be part of the conversation when everyone else read it. (Um, like Eat, Pray, Love.) But the book really surprised me! It’s not so much a rom-com as it is a grown-up memoir about love, marriage, family, work, and cultural differences. It’s the story of a twentysomething American woman who has to figure out what to do after the datecation ends and she moves to France to live with her future husband. (Well, first she rejects his proposal for a good six months because she’s scared.) She struggles with what to do with herself because Americans define success based on your career, whereas the French define success based on, well, your happiness. I realized that I’m ready to read memoirs that are a bit more grown-up, although not ready for memoirs of women in their forties and fifties, so this was perfect. And the recipes and love affair she has with food aren’t bad either.

Then I read The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart.

There are books that I know I will love and this was one of those books. I had never heard of it, just came across it at the library, and as I read the jacket, it was just like, Yep. When it comes to love stories, my favorite themes are time, the heart/heartbreak, fear/avoiding being hurt, and the idea of everyone having a person whom they are just meant to be with. I also love a little element of sci-fi. When I want to really feel my feelings, you can find me (hungover, binging on carbs) reading The Time Traveler’s Wife or watching “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” — both of these titles combine all that. As does The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart.

Set in 19th-century Edinburgh, it follows Jack, an orphan born with a heart so weak, it is replaced with a cuckoo clock. His whole life he is told he must never fall in love because the clock heart couldn’t stand the pleasure and pain of being in love. And of course he does fall in love. The story is almost childlike, but it’s also so not. I read it all in one sitting, with my hand over my heart and my breath held the entire time. It’s a good thing I’m not heartbroken or emo right now, because this is the sort of book I’d re-read every day, crying into the food I’d most definitely be over-eating. Even though I’m not a mess, I still loved it, and probably in a healthier way.

If you’re interested you can also watch this Tim Burton-eque music video cartoon inspired by the book . I think it gives you a good sense of the style of the book and also the story.

Besides those, I’ve had lots of Christopher Moore books in my beach bag. Last week I finished A Dirty Job in one night (386 pages! I had to know the ending!!!). That was one of my favorites of his so far, and now I’m onto the older The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror (not really of-the-season, but funny nonetheless). If you’re a bit of a Shakespeare nerd (um, I am), I highly recommend Fool and if you’re just a person alive with a sense of humor, I can’t recommend Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story more. Christopher Moore is an amazing author! I’m honestly working my way through all his books and they are perfect light summer reading but they won’t rot your brain like some of the fluffier titles out there.

Have you guys read any good books this summer? Do share — I’m working the library as much as I possibly can right now!

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