Friday, May 28, 2021

2021 Summer Reading Guide

 Here's my 2021 Summer Reading Guide! Check out 2019 and 2020's lists for more book recommendations!

History Comes to Life

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boy's Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat: This chronicles the true story of how the Thai soccer team got stranded in a cave for weeks and the miraculous journey of how they got out. This was completely gripping. 

The Only Plane in the Sky by Garret M. Goff: I don't think anyone wants to relive 9/11 but if you did, absolutely pick up this complete oral history of that day. Fair warning it will make you cry. I hear it's a must on audio. 

Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall by Nina Willner

Interesting look at a family's story that is divided by the Berlin Wall. I learned so much about East and West Germany at this time and I'm glad I learned it through the eyes of this family. It's heartbreaking to think that some of the siblings and their parents had little to no connection with each other, some for almost 40 years.  The central theme I felt was you don't know what it's like to have freedom until you lose it.

Let's Hear it for the Ladies

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams: Genesis has dealt with self-loathing for a good portion of her life and it doesn't help that she just moved to a new city. Again. Dealing with being the new kid as well as family troubles, she has to face the task of seeing her self differently. I loved Genesis' character and it was cool that the author narrated her own novel. 

Know My Name by Chanel Miller: You may have been familiar with Emily Doe, the girl who was sexually assaulted at a college party by a Stanford swimmer. This is her coming out and sharing her side of the story. She basically breaks any argument that you might have with regards to women and why they get assaulted. This is a pretty uncomfortable read but so good. 

Becoming by Michelle Obama: Having read Barack's memoir, I would definitely recommend Michelle's over his. Must be a girl thing. I love her insights and what she cared about during this complete turn of events in her life. I loved hearing her story.

Middle Grade Magic

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus: If I could describe this book it's a cross between Chronicles of Narnia and The War That Saved My Life. Three orphan children have been displaced during WWII and are looking for a permanent home and family without telling people that is their plan. The writing is beautiful and I just wanted to give this book a big hug by the end. 

Framed Series by James Ponti: Such fun mystery series involving a middle school boy who secretly works for the FBI. The mysteries are clever and this is just downright fun! Great on audio. 

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor: Perry is born and raised in a correctional facility but one days ends up outside those walls into a foster home. He tries to reunite with his mom and discover some surprising truths along the way. A book about the power of family and community and that people aren't all what they seem. 

Audiobooks for the Road

Donald Trump vs The United States by Michael Schmidt: Journalist investigation is starting to become a go-to for me because they are compulsive reads. This is like the behind-the-scenes look of the Trump presidency, Robert Mueller coming into investigate, and his impeachment. Even though this is 15 hours long, I inhaled it in about a few days. 

The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu: This book really is the epitomy of joy! I loved learning from both men on how to navigate life's challenges with joy. The audiobook made me feel like I was sitting in the room with friends having a chat. Save this for when you need a good comfort read. 

When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson: Even though this is a graphic novel, the audio with sound effects is so well done! This is Omar's story of being a refugee and waiting for years to come to the United States. I'm amazed at the resiliency of these refugees. Helps me appreciate what I have here. 

Nonfiction Worth Discussing

This is All I Got: A New Mother's Search for Home by Lauren Sandler: For as rich as country as ours, we have an enormous homeless population. Sandler is a journalist who chronicles the life of a single mother who had her baby in a women's shelter and is trying to go to school while taking care of her newborn with no support. Not to mention she has to figure out the labyrinth that is the welfare system. I immediately told a friend about it so we could discuss. 

More Than a Body: Your Body is an Instrument, Not an Ornament by Lexi Kite, Lindsay Kite: I've already written a lengthy review about this but can this be required reading?

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson: This is a bit dense but should be in curriculums everywhere. She breaks down how our country got to where we are with racism mixed in with her life experiences. It's a must read. She is a powerhouse. 

Minimalist Guide
All Thirteen
Know My Name
A Place to Hang the Moon
The Book of Joy
More Than a Body

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