summer and reading


The summer has passed so quickly by and now, the long list of “beach” books

on reading lists seem like a moot point. I have read only two books completely,

so far!

With the upcoming August 9th Book Lovers Day looming shortly ahead, I

thought I would give you a short but varied list of books you may already

have on your pile.


“The Light of the World,”

^^ Written by Elizabeth Alexander.

Ms. Alexander is a poet and Yale professor so this book is filled with lyrical

images which tell her personal story of loss. Her husband, an artist, died

suddenly at age 50 which impacted her and her two sons lives. This was an

interesting and beautiful way of telling this. I liked a reviewer’s use of the

word, “reverberations” in how the loss affected them.

“The Theft of Memory”

(Losing My Father, One Day at a Time)

^^ Written by Jonathan Kozol

This renown and award winning author about children in inner city takes on a

heart felt journey with his father who has Alzheimer’s disease. Another true life

story with his father, neurologist and psychiatrist, narrating how his mind is

slipping away. This is poignant and timely, as “Still Alice was both popular in

book and movie form. (2014 Best Actress winner, Julianne Moore portrayed

her character excellently.

“The Rose Hotel”

(A Memoir of Secrets, Loss and Love from Iran to America)

^^ Written by Rahimeh Andalibian

Ms. Andalibian was born into a world of money and privelege. The way her life

began was as a daughter of a hotel owner, her father. She was raised into the

Muslim culture and when events in 1979 of Islamic Revolution occurred, bringing

problems into their serene (and secure) lives. This change in their lives created

traumatic results and this is part of the reason she wrote this memoir. To be able

to overcome her past; move forward here in the United States as a clinical



“Re Jane”

^^ Written by Patricia Park

Since many of us dearly enjoyed “Jane Eyre” the retelling of the story using

another culture fascinated me. A young Korean American woman’s hired to be

a nanny for a cool, modern Brooklyn family. I also thought of my summer, a few

years back, of enjoying the ‘addictive as candy’ book, “The Princess Diaries.”

“China Rich Girlfriend”

^^ Written by Kevin Kwan

If you already read the book, “Crazy Rich Asians,” you will be ahead of the game

with this sequel. It is considered a “frothy”and funny book. I liked that it included

some romance, society features and even a scandal. This is one which is easy

to read and hard to put down!

*** Serious, but QUIRKY Subject Matters ***

“The Star Side of Bird Hill”

^^ Written by Naomi Jackson

This books takes you from Brooklyn, New York to Barbados. There is a moment

when you have to suspend your own system of beliefs, but this is all due to the

mysterious and spiritual world of folk magic (voodoo or “obeah”).  The two main

characters are a 16 year old, Dionne, and a 10 year old,  Phaedra. Their being

“kicked out” or “exiled” makes them reluctant to absorb and embrace the culture

of their Grandmother, who is both a midwife and a practitioner of the Spirit World.

“Modern Romance”

^^ Written by Aziz Ansari

The author is best known for his stand-up comedy acts than anything else. It

helps that he is attractive and played on one of the lesser known but beloved

television sit-coms known as “Parks and Recreation.” Amy Poehler was in this

one along with others you would recognize like Chris Pratt. A great comedic

team which I believe it is over and cancelled now. This book is about a serious

scientific look at the world of love and romance, using advantages of technology.

His joint effort with Eric Klinenenberg, who is a sociologist is also funny to read.

Amusing to me, who has based the beginning of this blog on my experiences

with online dating.

“Saint Mazie”

^Written by Jami Attenberg

I enjoy historical fiction where you feel like you have been transported back into

unique settings and meet interesting characters. This book will make you feel you

need to do more with your life. The story is about a character, “Mazie Phillips”

based on a real person named, Mazie Gordon. Her title,”Queen of the Bovary,”

was due to her selling tickets to the Venice Theater during the days and then

how she helped numerous homeless people at night. These persons were

desperately impoverished and hungry, due to the Great Depression in the

United States,1940’s New York specifically.

~~~                                           ~~~                                   ~~~

Up until this point in my post I have featured books I either skimmed or read

from cover to cover. I felt they all deserved my full attention. With my long, hot

hours at the warehouse, unfortunately I am not always “fully engaged” in my

reading. I am sporadic, at best, while posting and reading other blogs. I am

going to remind you of the books which are going to leave you spell bound

and speechless. You already know about them, they are on your personal

pile of books or at least, on your “radar.”

Everyone is talking about these:


#1. “Go Set a Watchman,” by the award winning author, Harper Lee.

If you have read or skimmed this book, please let us know about some

of the places which bothered you, (or didn’t) about our beloved Atticus

and how he is not the man we knew from, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I was

shocked about his being part of a semi- Ku Klux Klan organization. We

now call it, “White Supremacist” groups. I was pleased at Scout’s maturity

and her growth. I felt that the scenery had changed and shifted, there was

a touch of melancholy in my feelings while reading this fine 1960 book.

#2. “Charlie Martz and Other Stories,” so many of Elmore Leonard books

have been made into movies, you will need to check out 11 of Elmore L’s

never before published short stories. If you have never seen or read, “Get

Shorty” or other books by Elmore Leonard, you may wish to ‘dabble’ into

this cesspool of the underbelly of society and a rahter unusual detective.

Elmore Leonard died in 2013 and wrote from the 1950’s era on. There are

four more “early published works” that have not been out in book form for

some time. Check this one out. Please!

#3. Three of my women’s magazines suggested to add “Circling the Sun”

to your reading group, your personal reading or taking it on vacation. I

have also seen it on the “Library Staff Suggests” shelves at the Delaware

County District Library. The book written by Paula McLain, who grew up

and lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is her second historical fiction. Her

first one is about Ernest Hemingway’s wife, and called, “The Paris Wife.”

The woman who was Ernest’s wife in the 1920’s, was named Hadley


“Circling the Sun” is about a fictional female aviator who lives in the time

period and actually meets the characters from, “Out of Africa.” This book,

if you have never read nor seen the movie is on my Top 10 of my Life.

My Mom was always impressed with Isak Dinesen. A woman who like Harper

Lee wrote during a period that some people preferred male authors,

using a male name for her “nom de plume.” Picture Kenya, Africa in the

1920’s with rigid restraints for women securely in place, rare to meet an

outspoken woman and equally rare to run into a woman navigator of the

world. She is a female horse trainer who catches the eyes of Denys Finch

Hatten. This is the male leading role in the movie played by Robert Redford.

Karen Blixen is female leading role played by Meryl Streep. Having mentioned

my Mom and I have to watch this every year, during the summer. This is one

worth seeing again just to see how fine actors the two leads were, back in

their younger days. Beryl Markham is the horse trainer and aviator who gets

involved in a love triangle with the people from Isak Dinesen’s book.


I feel the need to send you off with two Summer quotes which were ‘cute.’

~ One ~

“The faster a cricket chirps, the warmer the temperature.”

(Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2015)

~ Two ~

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should.

For their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”

(Ray Bradbury quotation)


We are coming into the “Home Stretch” of Summer here in Ohio. Have you

made it through all the books you were intending to read?

Have you one or more that you wish to recommend?

How about are there any you would like to dissuade us from bothering to

read? (“Circling the Sun” was not given a favorable review by Alexander

Fuller in the New York Times Book Review magazine.


About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

61 responses »

    • Cindy, thank you for this great comment. I am sometimes concerned to say too much or not enough. . . I think there are several you will enjoy. The memoirs are meaningful in the two which focus on dying and death. There is humor, life lessons and dignity shown. 🙂

  1. Great reviews. I am behind on my leisure reading but ahead on technical stuff I need to read for work. I wish we got summers off like we did when we were kids. I am working my way through an interesting book I got for Fathers Day. Summer has been good though.

    • Time certainly flew by this summer and find myself pleased I at least got 2 full books plus several partial books read. This is great to be ahead in your technical reading for work, Dan. Do you find work and blogging take away some of your “reading for pleasure” time? I do. It certainly would be nice to go back to summers off. I will never worry about what to do when I retire!

  2. Robin, gosh, you make me feel like an illiterate – such a wonderful collection of books you’re recommending! Thanks for the list – I am also an Out of Africa lover and, of course, can’t get enough of Meryl Streep in anything! So looking forward to the release of Ricki and the Flash next week…I like her daughter, too. Hope your summer finishes strong…

    • I am glad you are also a big fan of “Out of Africa.” It was a fantastic book and movie. I an looking forward to seeing “Ricki and the Flash,” too. I enjoyed Meryl in “Mamma Mia” and have seen her daughter with Gummer as last name. 🙂 she looks like Meryl and has talent in acting. This looks like a fun film!

  3. I haven’t read any of the books on your list Robin. [Yikes!] My reading is a bit sporadic at the moment too – I try to read half an hour before sleep and that’s about it. Last night I finished ‘Wise Men’ by Stuart Nadler. The story of the reluctant scion of a multi-millionaire father, a major event of his adolescence and a girl who haunts him throughout his life. With an ending that comes as a surprise and an explanation. Not my favourite book ever, but an enjoyable read.

    I have no intentions of reading ‘Go Set A Watchman’ as the original book is too beloved by me to want to risk tampering with the characters. I felt the same about ‘Return to Pemberley’ [PD James sequel to ‘Pride and Prejudice’] which I started to read and put down one chapter in. There are some stories and some characters I am reluctant to have changed in any way – I’m not sure what that says about me as a reader [unadventurous perhaps?] but there we have it.

      • I did like the PBS show that displayed Elizabeth and her 2 children. The person accused of murder we (as readers) might feel he could be found guilty. It was the deceitful man who married her little sister. But Elizabeth’s husband comes to the “rescue” once again. I liked seeing what was going on at Pemberley, Pauline. I debated whether I should tell you how I felt about this. As a friend, though, I do feel remakes or continuations don’t always work. My favorite (of all time) sequel is the ones that Louisa May Alcott. I love how she wrote about Jo and her professor husband in “Jo’s Boys.” ♡

  4. I don’t really do a book list. I go to the library every 3 weeks (when books are due) and just count on their selection. I am constantly having books recommended to me but it ‘s hard for me to keep track when I’m at the library. I should really put a list in my iPhone.

    Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend sound fun to me. I haven’t read any of these except Still Alice but that wasn’t really on your recommendations list so I don’t know if that counts.

    • “Still Alice” may have been on last year’s list, Marissa. Those librarians and regular readers are the ones to follow.Evert 3 weeks means your keeping up a great pace!

      • Yes, it does get hard though, when you can’t finish everything on time and you feel like you have to rush through. Then I have to ask the librarian if I can renew it on my daughter’s card…and she always gives me that look….

  5. Great list and reviews, Robin! Oh my…the summer is passing and my list continues to grow each day. My bookcases are exploding, along with my Kindle. I do squeeze in reading time, before bed, but for now, writing is filling my free time. Happy Reading! ❤

  6. I’ve read a lot this summer, as always, and I’ve really, really enjoyed about half of what I’ve read. My favorite recent book was Every Last One by Anna Quindlen. It hit me so hard, I’ve no doubt it will stay with me forever.
    Part of my reading in the summer is rereading some of what the kids are reading so we can talk about it.
    Last week Sassy finished her reading list for school (8 books, 2 of which I read with her) but she’s beaten me this summer, as she’s read 30 books total and I’ve only read 21. Oh to be twelve again! lol
    I’m interested in Circling the Sun, that’s definitely on my to-be-read list. I also liked The Paris Wife.
    I don’t think I’m going to read Go Set a Watchman. I think I might prefer to keep Atticus Finch as is.

    • Hi, you snuck in here and I missed you. Glad to see you and I am amused that you are a huge fan of something I happen to like and watch on t.v., Chris. I am hoping fans will get this show re-instated. 🙂
      I liked this book and need to read it again “s-l-o-o-w-e-r!” This post was under a crunch with only one more month of official summer reading left. “Modern Romance” has scientific reach to back up their points. Need to study how to stay current out there in the dating world. 🙂

  7. what a great summer reading list, robin and i have a strong feeling, these new ones may move into fall and winter for me, but i look forward to many of them. )

      • Beth, the reply for Joey came into your area and then the one intended to be for your winter’s in Michigan is lingering here. Sorry about the mix up. 2 replies are always hard to keep straight. Lol 🙂

    • I was rushing this am but do feel reading as many books as you did with family and children is amazing, Joey! I think if we were having a contest, TWENTY-ONE books would win amongst this blogging group. 🙂
      I will need to read both books again about aviator and the Paris wife. I developed speed reading skills and yet retain little unless I take notes! Thanks for you telling me how you feel about “my ” beloved Atticus. 🙂

    • I am glad you found this list to be intriguing and hope life in winter months fins you cozies up with blanket and a book 🙂 and someone at the other end of the sofa.

  8. I have read half a dozen thrillers this summer just for kicks. I am trying to wade through “The Price of Inequality” by Nobel Prize winner (Economics) Joseph Stiglitz. It is well-written, but non-fiction can be depressing, especially when writing about our economy.

    I also checked out a copy of Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything – Capitalism vs. The Climate,” also not a lightweight subject. Nor are these lightweight intellectual writers. Sometimes I feel a personal obligation to be well-informed on topics of the day. I suspect part of the reason may be that I won’t feel bad about moving to another country if we, as a nation, cannot get our hands on solutions to the biggest issues facing our society. (I do have a couple of countries in mind.)

    I have read every one of Elmore Leonard’s novels, and I was a big fan of the TV Series, Justified, which he (and posthumously, his son) helped produce based on his short story, Fire in the Hole. I will have to check out his other short stories when the nonfiction gets too deep. Thanks for the reading tips. – Mike

  9. So many great suggestions, Robin. I tend not to read fiction but every so often an historical novel appeals to me, like Kristen Lavransdatter, that type of thing. I am reading a stack of books on the Roosevelts right now. Just finished a book on Frank Sinatra and one on Ava Gardner. I have Robert Mitchum and Natalie Wood in the wings, too. I love Turner Classic Movies, so my interest is in the earlier movie stars — certain ones.

    So many exciting things to read and so little time!

    Wonderful post, as usual. You are catholic in your tastes. 🙂

    • I am smiling back at you, Beth B. 🙂 I love TCm and the classics. ♡ My gay friend suggests Raymond Burrs book of his 35 year love relationship and his life as a child who grew up being called a, “Potato Kid.” Behind the Shadows I is called. Hugs and hang in there! 🙂

  10. I’d love to read Re Jane. Sounds great. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. And that’s a great quote, “Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should. For their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.” Your posts are always packed with pleasures. XOXO

  11. Thanks for the books you’ve read or skimmed (haha)! They all sound good, Robin. Personally, I wouldn’t call Go Set a Watchman a must read. I have not read it, but have researched it. Also, some friends whose reading I really trust say it’s awful and that it’s hard to believe it was even written by Harper Lee. It isn’t a prequel, but just a SFD (shitty first draft) of what came to be To Kill a Mockingbird as guided by an extraordinary editor and written by a writer who wasn’t averse to hard work.

    • Oh, I meant to say these are “being touted as Must Reads,” Luanne. I hope I also added I did not wish to become disillusioned over the way Atticus becomes over the years after the “big trial.” I may check it out awhile from now but was just making list. The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch both were including it so I wanted to be “current.” Thanks for confirming my fears about this book. Luanne.

  12. Aloha, Robin. I love all of Haruki Murakami’s writings. Also Khaled Hosseini, Barbara Kingsolver, Terry Tempest Williams, Tobias Wolff, Amy Tan, Lisa See. Many more that take me into the experiences of others, especially in other cultures. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

    • Aloha, dear one! I am glad you listed a great collection of multicultural books, Bela. I like Amy Tan very much and will pick up a few of these in the Winter. I respect your opinion and will try some of these. I have heard of the authors. 🙂
      I did enjoy the Swedish deceased writer of the “trio”of mysteries with the first being, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” I also like the Swedish female author of “Out of Africa,” Isak Dinesen

      • I…AM…SILLY! I STILL WANT A HAREM. DON’T HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT I’LL DO WITH YOU ONCE I GET YOU ALL IN IT…DOUBT I COULD AFFORD THE UPKEEP FOR LESS THAN A WEEK! MY WIFE OWNS WHATEVER LEFT OF ME WORKS—AND ALL THE PARTS THAT DO PARTIALLY OR DON’T–SO A LOT OF THAT FUN IS OUT! MAYBE YOU’LL ALLOW ME JUST A FEW LOOKS AT ALL YOUR LOVELINESSES…BEFORE THE WIFE GETS WIND OF IT! wHO ELSE? I’M ON THE BUDGET PLAN—ONE NUTTY IDEA AT A TIME! Seriously, the other day I thought of you. It’s okay! I’m trying to not cram my e-mailing list of readers. inboxes to overflowing, as well. 🙂 It’s NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A BURDEN! now…what do I want you to send for harem membership? I’m afraid to ask…so forget it! (one firestorm a week is enough for me!) And for this…I might lose friends. Lost enough of them already, this month, too!


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