Summer Reads & Recs || Plane & Beach Reads!

We’ve all seen the displays at our bookstores: whole tables weighed down with books with a placard that says “Beach Reads” or “Summer Reads” (not to be confused with summer reading). The general idea is that beach reads are fun, easy to blow through and frivolous. Plane reads are similar: something like a romance or a thriller that will help melt away those long, uncomfortable hours spent on a plane. And that’s true, but why should plane or beach reads be limited to easy reads?

During summer, I like to re-read, or challenge myself with something more difficult or a classic, because I know I have more time to devote to it. But I’m also one of those people who plonks down on a beach chair and talks to no one for hours. But if you’re like me, check out these stellar beach/plane/summer recommendations!

90619Little, Big by John Crowley

This book was recommended to me by my sister, who has been pestering me to read it since I can remember. Since she also recommended I Capture the Castle to me, which is one of my Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time, I tend to trust her.

Little, Big is magic realism, about a man called Smoky Barnable who travels to another world to marry a woman named Daily Alice Drinkwater. According to my sister, it’s both elegantly written and strange, filled with unexplained magic. Sounds like just my type.



7190The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Of course I want to read this one! I also have the sequel, Ten Years Later that I thrifted for like a dollar last year. Score.







7603Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi 

Ever since I actually read Lolita, I’ve wanted to read this book. It’s pretty well known and it’s tucked away in one of my shelves, but I want to take the time to read it. It’s about a teacher who secretly teaches this book to her students in Iran, and a true story. 




103575751Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Ach, I’ve been wanting to read this one for over a year, but it’s daunting. I also didn’t much care for Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, the only other novel I’ve read by him, so I’m strangely reluctant.

One of these days I’ll pull this one off my shelf and hunker down, and what better time than the dog days? Long, warm nights and long books go so well together!




17262100The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

I was a big fan of Lahiri a few years ago and even though I much prefer her short stories (especially Interpreter of Maladies) to her novel, I have to read this one. It’s also somewhere in my bookshelves ready to be dusted off and read.

So what are you all reading this summer? Sound off in the comments!





Book Lust: Lisa's Must Reads

I have been reading like a fiend so far this year but I still feel like I’m slacking, and also that there are too many books I want to read and only so many eyes I have in my face (only two). I’ve been dying to read these books. If you’ve read them and can offer insight, critical or otherwise, or if you have a fifty dollar bill you’d like to donate so I can buy these, let me know in the comments (I really should renew my library membership).

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 9.51.32 PM

1. Ender’s Game: my sister is teaching this book to her eighth graders and raving about it nonstop, and I’ll admit I’m curious about all the hype and controversy surrounding the film version. I’m never one to not read a novel/see a movie because of the personal beliefs of the artist. I believe art exists separate from its creator. Also, Ender’s Game is an undisputed classic and I’d like to experience it for myself.

2. His Dark Materials: this novel(s) is another example of being able to separate the artist’s own beliefs from the narrative and story. This trilogy is a classic fantasy piece of literature, and also happens to be a popular film. I’m noticing a pattern in my literary choices.

3. PAULO COELHO: i.e., everything he’s written. I’ve previously read By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept and I loved it. I’m a third of the way through The Alchemist right now and highlighting every other line. Coelho has the ability to infuse a sense of magic into an otherwise mundane story. Santiago the shepherd and his journey to achieve his life’s purpose have me bewitched. I’m planning to read The Valkyries next.

4. 1Q84: I feel like I’ll need at least three weeks to read this tome, and I’d like to spend the necessary time with it. Hopefully I don’t put it off for too long. Maybe it’s a good plane read for my trip to and from Alaska next week. Being stuck on a plane is a great way to get some books read.

5. American Gods: I’m slowly moving my way through Gaiman’s oeuvre and loving every minute of it. Read what I thought of Stardust and Neverwhere while you’re here!

6. A Winter’s Tale: those sappy, beautifully-shot commercials for the film have made me want to read the novel. This desire may also be a symptom of the lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day feeling in the air, but I’ll take it nonetheless! I’ve heard great things about the novel, so hopefully I get my hands on a copy of this soon. (Also a movie!)

7. The Lowland: I love to read immigrant literature, especially if it’s by one of my favorite authors, Jhumpa Lahiri. I received the hardcover for Christmas and can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!

There’s nothing I love to do more during the winter season than bury myself in blankets and read, most often with some sort of spiked hot beverage 😉

My Christmas Lit & Fashion Haul

As you can probably expect, I got plenty of clothes, shoes, jewelry, and books for Christmas. Not too shabby:


I love the print on this skater skirt, and the slight steampunk vibe of the statement necklace.


Gilmore Girls on DVD, and some great books I’ve been salivating for: The Lowland, The Valkyries, The Alchemist, Neverwhere, Bellman & Black, and The Moonstone. January will be a month filled with great reads, so stay tuned!


shoes from ModCloth and Jeffrey Campbell! Evangelina mesh booties, Flair-y Tale Boots, and Haute on Your Heels Booties

.IMG_2591 IMG_2592

And the coat from Modcloth I was waxing poetic about just a few short weeks ago…


Haul ^ I’m ready for a long, cold winter filled with reading by the fire, plenty of scarves and boots, and some great hot chocolate!

Book Lust & Black Friday

I wish bookstores had Black Friday sales so I could get a bestselling $27.95 hardcover for like seven bucks. That would be a merry Christmas! I guess I’ll just have to wait for Read Tuesday though. My family knows me very well by now so they know I usually ask for specific books and if they can’t find those, or if they’ve already been bought, a B&N gift card is always appreciated. On my wish list this year are several of those aforementioned expensive hardcovers released recently:

1. Bellman & Black, by Diane Setterfield


I loved Setterfield’s first novel, The Thirteenth Tale, and was so excited by the prospect of another unique, many-layered novel like that. I read The Thirteenth Tale when I was very young, fourteen I think, and it was a book that made me stop reading YA for a time and focus on adult literature, and so I credit it with introducing me to new books and new authors. I’ve heard Bellman & Black has gotten less-than-stellar reviews but I’m still eager to experience it myself.

2. The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri


Jhumpa Lahiri is one of my favorite authors, even though her novel The Namesake was my least favorite of her books. I liked her short story collections much better, especially The Interpreter of Maladies. Anyway, I got sticker shock when I saw the price on that one and kept putting off a trip to the library so I could read the thing already, and then I decided to ask for it for Christmas. I’m super excited for it, even though all my other Lahiri books are paperback! But I do like mismatched shelves, and I like hardcovers even more.

3. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins


I found such a gorgeous hardcover edition of this classic at Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago and had to forcibly stop my hand from picking it up and buying it immediately. I want this edition specifically because it’s pretty because I’m sure I could get a cheap paperback of this for close to nothing. Unfortunately, I like pretty books.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Box Set Trilogy, Stieg Larsson


This one is a guilty pleasure. I loved the books but I don’t own them, having borrowed them from my sister a couple years ago. She’s got the cloth-covered box set that I covet, and since they’re so expensive, I feel like they’d make a great gift from my long-suffering family! Barring that, I’ll get myself a used set. Pre-loved, I always say.

What’s on your wish list this holiday season?

1, 2, 3, 4