I crave a good book stack. It gives me a small high when I have so much “potential” education, entertainment, and escapism at my fingertips. And, summer means most of us can make more time to take advantage of the high season for juicy fiction and gripping tell-alls.
So, let’s tear through some tomes between now and Labor Day with these reading recommendations…
The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books. ~~ Longfellow
Fiction / Biography
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to either.
A Well-Read Woman: The Life, Loves, and Legacy of Ruth Rappaport by Kate Stewart – A biographical story of Ruth’s passion for the printed word, and the haven it provides. This wasn’t just a career for Ruth Rappaport. It was her purpose.
Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex – A haunting novel of rivalry, love, and betrayal that transports you back to Renaissance Italy, this book will have you looking up the works of the great master… not for clues to a mystery, but to contemplate the secrets of the human heart.
The Price of Paradise by Susana López Rubio – In Havana, Cuba, in 1947 a young Patricio flees impoverished Spain and steps into the sultry island paradise with only the clothes on his back and half-baked dreams of a better life. Blessed with good looks and natural charm, he lands a job as a runner at El Encanto, one of the most luxurious department stores in the world.
Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah – A mysterious child teaches two strangers how to live and love again.
The Last of the Stanfields by Marc Levy – Two strangers unite in this novel of family secrets.
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro – Newlywed Grace Monroe doesn’t fit anyone’s expectations of a successful 1950s London socialite, least of all her own. When she receives an unexpected inheritance from a complete stranger, Madame Eva d’Orsey, Grace is drawn to uncover the identity of her mysterious benefactor. A remarkable novel about secrets, desire, memory, passion, and possibility.
Lulu Meets God And Doubts Him by Danielle Ganek – When painter Jeffrey Finelli is run over by a cab, the art world clamors for the instantly in-demand work by the late “emerging artist”—especially an enormous painting called Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him. Gallery receptionist and aspiring artist Mia McMurray finds herself at the center of the hype.
Self Improvement / Business
Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek – Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?
Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get The Life You Want by Michael Hyatt – Each of us has but one life to live on this earth. What we do with it is our choice. Are we drifting through it as spectators, reacting to our circumstances when necessary and wondering just how we got to this point anyway? Or are we directing it, maximizing the joy and potential of every day, living with a purpose or mission in mind?
The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins – Throughout your life, you’ve had parents, coaches, teachers, friends and mentors who have pushed you to be better than your excuses and bigger than your fears. What if the secret to having the confidence and courage to enrich your life and work is simply knowing how to push yourself? Using the science of habits, riveting stories and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art and business, Mel Robbins will explain the power of a “push moment.”
Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology by Vivek Wadhwa – Women in technology are on the rise in both power and numbers, and now it’s more important than ever to not lose that momentum, to “lean in” and close the gender gap. Although they make up half of the population, only 14% of engineers in the United States are women. The future of technology depends on the full and active participation of women and men working together, and it is vital that women are both educated and encouraged to go into the tech sectors.
The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else by Daniel Coyle – What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In this groundbreaking work, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople—and everyone else—with tools they can use to maximize potential in themselves and others.
Settle For More by Megyn Kelly – In Settle for More, the NBC News anchor reflects on the enduring values and experiences that have shaped her—from growing up in a family that rejected the “trophies for everyone” mentality, to her father’s sudden, tragic death while she was in high school. She goes behind-the-scenes of her career, sharing the stories and struggles that landed her in the anchor chair and taught her to ask the tough questions.
Finding the Exit: It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish by Lea A. Ellermeier – What’s it really like for the average woman to start and sell a technology company? Standing splendidly in the intersection of two genres – a business memoir and gritty personal tell-all – Finding the Exit is a courageous tale of a woman who, against harrowing odds that began in childhood, successfully started and sold a medtech company to a Fortune 100 in less than five years.
High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard – After extensive original research and a decade as the world’s highest-paid performance coach, Brendon Burchard finally reveals the most effective habits for reaching long-term success. Based on one of the largest surveys ever conducted on high performers, it turns out that just six habits move the needle the most in helping you succeed. Adopt these six habits, and you win.
Good Authority: How to Become the Leader Your Team Is Waiting For by Jonathan Raymond – Imagine a world where personal and professional growth is one thing, where improving your relationships and owning your strengths at work translate directly into the rest of your life. Creating a company culture like that is not a dream. Through personal stories and real-life conversations, Jonathan takes you into the room with managers and employees where real culture change happens.
The Widow Cliquot by Tilar J. Mazzeo – A business biography of the visionary young widow who built a champagne empire, became a legend in her tumultuous times and showed the world how to live with style. Mazzeo brings to life the woman behind the label, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, in this utterly intoxicating book
Mystery / Suspense
In The Woods by Tana French – As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.
Origin by Dan Brown – Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist, and one of Langdon’s first students. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever.
Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen – In 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is all the rage—the success of which a struggling poet like Frances Osgood can only dream. As a mother trying to support two young children after her husband’s cruel betrayal, Frances jumps at the chance to meet the illustrious Mr. Poe at a small literary gathering. What follows is a flirtation, then a seduction, then an illicit affair, and Frances finds herself falling slowly and inexorably under the spell of her mysterious, complicated lover. But when Edgar’s frail wife, Virginia, insists on befriending Frances as well, the relationship becomes as dark and twisted as one of Poe’s tales.
A Study In Scarlet: Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – The year is 1881. The city, London. A man lies dead in an empty house, not a mark upon him, and no clues—save for the word “RACHE” scrawled in blood on the wall above. Elsewhere, two men—a former army doctor called John Watson and a brilliant eccentric called Sherlock Holmes—meet for the first time. These two events set in motion an adventure into the darkest corners of men’s hearts.
The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard – Will Hurley was an attractive, charming, and impressive student at Dublin’s elite St. John’s College — and Ireland’s most prolific serial killer. Freshman Alison Smith moved to the Big Smoke to enroll in St. John’s and soon fell hard for Will Hurley. Her world bloomed . . . and then imploded when Liz, her best friend, became the latest victim of the Canal Killer — and the Canal Killer turned out to be the boy who’d been sleeping in her bed. Alison fled to the Netherlands and, in ten years, has never once looked back.
Blood For Blood by Victoria Selman – Rush hour, London. A packed commuter train is torn apart in a collision. Picking through the carnage, ex-special forces profiler Ziba MacKenzie helps a dying woman who passes on a cryptic message: He did it. You have to tell someone.
All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
Last fall I started a minor project of reading ALL the books written by Agatha Christie in the order that she published them. Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 3 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world’s most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare’s works and the Bible.
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