What’s on YOUR Summer Reading List? Some Easy, Breezy Atypical60 Summer Reading Recommendations!

What a Wednesday!   I woke up to a torrential downpour the just didn’t stop! I’m telling you—the rain was so bad that only an idiot would be out and about in the deluge.

That idiot would be me!

Remember what I wrote about the Longchamp Le Pliage bag being so sturdy and great? Yeah—well today was the perfect day to carry one around. I decided it would be great to dress up a bit. I wore my navy and raspberry stripped maxi dress with navy flip flops.

The feet are clean, the dress is dried but the back is filthy

Flip flops and maxi dresses do not make for a very logical fashion choice in a down pour!

I also decided to carry my raspberry Nat & Nin bag! My leather bag!

Nat and Nin bag

I love this bag–got it last year during the soldes. Trust me, today was NOT the day to lug this bag around. I should have Lonchamped it!

A trip to the post office had me making a risky move out of the parking lot.  I had to make a left hand turn onto a busy street.  I do everything to avoid left-hand turns. Had there been lots of traffic I wouldn’t have done that.

Then it was on to Staples to pick up some well-needed writing necessities!

Staples in the rain

Still pouring and the parking lot is one big puddle!

Luckily my umbrella—which happened to break, did protect my bag.   My fate was worse. I lost a flip flop in the parking lot of Staples, walked barefoot into a puddle and when I finally got the shoe back on, my foot got caught in the bottom of my dress—which became soaked.

I’m a hot mess. Bra straps hanging out, dirty hem. Oh well, at least I’m smiling—right?

Bra straps sticking out, hair falling down. I'm a hot mess!

The bra straps. Ugh. What a mess. But I’m blissful today!

Anyway, I headed on to Barnes & Noble—I had a 20% off coupon and with my membership discount, I received a hefty 40% chunk off a cookbook I’ve been wanting.

Barnes and noble in the rain

You know–Barnes and Noble is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Don’t you think?

Rachel Khoo’s “Little French Kitchen”. Have you ever seen any of her cooking shows? She’s so freaking adorable that it’s almost painful to watch her! Her recipes are quick and easy and she always puts her personal take on classic recipes. Besides that, her wardrobe is as equally adorable as she is!

Rachael Khoo Little French Kitchen

The adorable Rachel Khoo–I’m adding her to my delusional list of best friends!

I pause to rest only to be completely unorganized

Jeez–have you ever sat at one of the tables in Barnes & Noble?  Everyone else was so organized while I made a mess at the table I sat at. I didn’t even have room to place a Starbuck’s latte down!

There is nothing wrong with cookbooks for summer reading.

Which brings me to today’s posting conversation. Don’t you think summer reading is just the most fun?

Picture it—a lazy, hazy, hot summer day. You are at the beach.

L'Aiguille. Morning at the beach.

Doesn’t matter if sand gets in the book, the reading is just so pleasurable…

You are nestled on a comfy hammock in between two shady trees.

Hammock between two trees

My dream reading place–except the trees in my development are too sparse and I’m afraid of bugs!

You are at the pool.

Theoule. Me reading one of many books at the pool

That would be ME–at the pool, early in the morning reading away. Bonaparte snapped this lovely pic!

You are in the air conditioned comfort of your sunroom.

Other than the beach, my favorite reading area

My favorite reading spot. All year. Snuggled up with a book is my earthly delight!

No matter where you are, you are curled up with a great book!

Vacation time is definitely reading time. I swear to you, I’ve read more books during vacations then the rest of the year. It’s heavenly to sit back and read something as light and fluffy as the clouds above!

That’s right! I’m not reading Kafka or any sort of philosophical reading that requires deep thinking. I’m talking girly stuff, funny stuff, a mystery or two, a quirky novel and a great, great story! Story books for adults—and my choices have run the gamut from serious to hysterically funny.

In a nutshell, here’s some of my recommended summer reading. I’m being very vague because I don’t want to give spoilers—here goes!

The most serious book I’ve ever read on a summer vacation was Colum McCann’s “Let The Great World Spin”.


An ex-girlfriend of my son recommended this book to me! I’m so happy she did. I loved this book! I also felt a connection because I actually saw Petit walk across the twin towers. I was working downtown Manhattan at the time!

It was slow-moving at first, but once past the first 80 pages it was incredibly intense. It was a very intricate book with Philippe Petit’s high-wire walk across the Twin Towers being the glue that binds the story together. The book took place in both Ireland, for a short while, then the USA—New York City to be exact. Lots of well-defined characters and overall a wonderful story. I’m really surprised this book was never made into a movie because it has the potential to be an Oscar worthy one.

Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple.

Whered you go bernadette

Bernadette is me. I am Bernadette. I’m still trying to figure out how Maria Semple got to know me!

My daughter, Oona, recommended this book to me a while ago. She said that the character, Bernadette Fox, reminded her of me.   As I read this book I couldn’t help but think—does Maria Semple know me?   I loved this book so much that I’ll be reading it again. And again! Bernadette Fox is a rather unusual woman—she’s not crazy about her neighbors, the mothers in her daughter’s school, or the city she lives in. She had a penchant for happy pills, and ends up mysteriously disappearing. That is all I’m going to say without giving anything away. I could not put this book down!! There is a lot going on in this book with the various characters and the way the book is written—lots of emailing. But it’s great. I’ve even started to call Oona, Bee. Bee is Bernadette’s daughter’s name. I hear that this may be a movie—I only hope the casting is spot on—because if the character of Bernadette is miscast the movie will suck!

Diary of a Mad Diva by Joan Rivers

Diary of a Mad Diva

This book brought tears to my eyes because it was THAT funny. OMG. This was a great read. I miss you Joan!

I miss Joan Rivers so much. With her death, came the death of political incorrectness. We need that back. NOW! I’m telling you, people at the pool in Theoule must’ve thought I was a lunatic. I could not stop laughing while reading this book. Loud laughing. Laughing to the point that I had to close the book because I was almost choking. The book contains the entries that Rivers made for a year into the diary that her daughter Melissa gifted her with for Christmas. All I can say is this woman has no boundaries—and that is a great thing.

Dirty Rush by Taylor Bell

Dirty rush

It was “meh”, but still a quick read and had a few moments.

Hands down, this was the least favorite of the books I’ve read so far this summer. The forward is by the infamous sorority email composer Rebecca Martinson. (If you are familiar with sororities, you will be well-aware of the profanity filled email that Martinson sent to her beloved sorority sisters a few years ago—it went viral). The story is about a sorority legacy who doesn’t want to join a sorority, but then she meets a cute boy and blah blah blah and booze and pills and cigs and mean girls and nice girls….it was a quick and easy read. But I have to say, it really makes sororities look bad—and they all aren’t. My daughter loved her sorority and her sisters and I wish someone would actually write a book about how sororities can be a good thing—especially for lasting friendships and networking in the business world!

Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison

Chose the wrong guy book beth harbison

Chick lit supreme. This was the perfect summer reading, I’m-at-the-beach-don’t-bother-me book. I loved this!

This was total chick lit. And—it was cute and fun and fluffy. It follows the story of Quinn Barton, set to marry her high school sweetheart, Burke Morrison. Burke’s brother gets in the way—the rest is just a fun and light story. I won’t even go further. All I can say is that I need to read more of Harbison’s books. She has an easy and uncomplicated way of telling a story. This book IS the perfect beach book. I swear you’ll read it in a day or two. It was tons of fun! I’m glad I stumbled upon it.   I actually left it in the apartment in Theoule for others to read.

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Girl you Left Behind

Two plots in one! The story was great with lots of surprises and great characters. I’m looking forward to reading more of her books!

This book was one of those books that take place between two time periods. Normally, I’m not crazy about this kind of book. But you know what? I loved this! It’s about two different women in two different eras and one painting ties them together. Sophie Lefèvre’s husband Édouard is fighting in WWI for France. She is protecting the family’s hotel, which has been taken over by the Germans. Many, many years later Liv Halston receives a gift, a beautiful painting from her husband David. David dies unexpectedly. The story switches from Sophie to Liv. It’s full of twists and turns and surprises. I was actually sad when this book ended because I wanted it to go on and on!

Two books that I will start reading soon—either at the beach or in my little sunroom!

more summer reading 004

With Lisa Lampanelli’s recommendation for “Here I Go Again”, I’m banking that “Me Before You” will be the better book–by a longshot. I still have hopes for Lancaster’s novel!

Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster

Jen Lancaster writes great books—about herself. Her memoirs are a riot and always manage to get big belly laughs from me.   This is her foray into writing novels. I’ve read mixed reviews, and the red flag is that Lisa Lampanelli, a “comedienne” who I think is just so unfunny recommends it. I got the book in the Bargain area of Barnes and Noble so we’ll see.   The book’s main character, Lissy Ryder reached the height of popularity in high school. Apparently it’s all downhill from there. I’m expecting some decent laughs since Jen Lancaster wrote it but you never know!

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

This is another book that Oona recommended. The description seems like a chick version of “The Intouchables”, the great French Film starring Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy. Anyway, the book centers on the relationship between Will Traynor, a quadriplegic and his young caregiver Louisa Clark. Based on reading The Girl You Left Behind, I’m guessing it’s going to be very good. I also want to read more of Jojo Moyes’ books!

Well, that’s about it for my summer reading reviews. The clouds are darkening up again and I do believe we are in for a late afternoon of more torrential rain. Thank God I’m now indoors wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

I’m off to peruse the recipe in Rachael Khoo’s book and perhaps find a good dish to make for tonight’s dinner!


Since we’re talking books-how about this oldie but goodie? Paperback Writer by the Beatles!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
This entry was posted in Beach reading, Books I loved. Let the Great World Spin. Diary of a Mad Diva, Chose the Wrong Guy, Dirty Rush, Little French Kitchen, Where'd You Go Bernadette? The Girl You Left Behind and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What’s on YOUR Summer Reading List? Some Easy, Breezy Atypical60 Summer Reading Recommendations!

  1. Margaret says:

    First I have to say, the photos of your trip were amazing!! I was on vacay in Vermont’s Green Mountains with my daughter when you posted them and only got to breeze through them quickly, but they’ve stuck in my mind. So beautiful, maybe someday I’ll get there. Luckily I can always go back to your post, thank you!

    Yes, Barnes & Noble on a rainy day, or any day, is a good thing IMO. I too have problems with flip flops in the rain, lol. I agree, Rachel Khoo is fun to watch and I’ll have to take a look at her book next time I’m in B&N. I enjoy reading all kinds of cookbooks. Nice book reviews here, I think I’ll finally read the Bernadette book (I bought last year) and will pick up the Joan RIvers book -because it’s always good to have a funny book in the house.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Margaret! I’m glad you liked the photos of our trip. How was Vermont? It’s so beautiful up there–did you go to the top of Mt. Equinox? Khoo’s book is great. I just prepared a recipe from the book for tomorrow. Glad you like the book reviews–and if you have Bernadette, by all means, take her out and read!! Also, the Joan Rivers book was hysterical. Hysterical!! XOXOXOXO

  2. Jean says:

    I’ve read Me Before You, Let the Great World Spin, and Bernadette and enjoyed all 3. I’m now reading Nightingale and loving it. Next on my list is Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat. Never read the authors (a mother and daughter) before but the title made me laugh. I too love B&N, and love reading on the beach now the crowds here in SW Florida have thinned. My perfect day is going to the beach alone with a good book so I don’t have to talk to anyone! I’m really not as antisocial as that sounded. The recipe looks tasty, healthy and pretty to boot. I tried to email you in the ‘contact me’ section, but it didn’t work. Been searching for THE bags and wanted to forward you a picture of one I found online at a french botique in Miami and ask if you’d seen anything similar at your favorite shop. Don’t want to take up personal space here in your comment section. It’s a smaller bag, I’ve been trying to downsize forever. Finally I think I’ve got it down!

  3. Catherine says:

    Hi Jean–I totally get what you mean about going to the beach alone with a good book. Honestly, when I’m at the beach reading, I take my chair down to where the waves break (if I’m not under my umbrella) and just sit there away from everyone. It’s complete “me” time! I’m dying to see the bag you want!! XOXOXOXO! We have very similar tastes in reading material!

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