UPDATED: My Top Five Books I Will Read This Summer Even If It Means My Family Is Ignored

I love reading. I don’t care if the book is fiction or nonfiction, 200 pages or 1200. If it’s a good story, I’m reading it. And when I’m reading, I pretty much don’t want to do anything else.


Who cares about recycling when there’s reading to be had.

Here are the five books I better get through this summer or there will be hissy fits.

Currently reading (I’m such a go-getter)

Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore

I’m a little obsession with Vincent Van Gogh. I have a life goal of seeing all 8 (the 9th was destroyed in 1945) of 12 Sunflower in a Vase paintings. I have seen 4 so far.  I drooled over the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, read nonfiction and historical fiction books on him and could stand all day starring at the thickness of the paint on his canvas. When I heard on NPR that Christopher Moore had written a humorous, (completely) fictional book on Van Gogh’s death as a murder instead of a suicide, I bought the book. I was impressed with the scope of the author’s vision, and at over halfway through, I am not disappointed at all.
NPR interview with Moore.

Other four I will read when I finish the above book

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat

As a home-churching family, I am always interested in thoughts on Christianity as an institution because I wonder why we cannot find a home when we ask to follow God everyday. When I heard the NPR interview of Ross Douthat which included comments such as — even though Americans are still as religious as ever, the churches and institutions are declining. The U.S. become a nation of heretics where praying harder is synonymous with getting good things like wealth and no one wants to take up their cross — how could I resist?
NPR interview with Douthat

The Lifeboat: A Novel by Charlotte Rogan

Another work of fiction based on nonfiction (maybe I should think about getting into this new genre), it’s the story of a ship sinking two years after the sinking of the Titanic. This luxury ship has enough lifeboats but they are rescued in 4-6 hours like the Titanic survivors. So questions arise around morality: saving some by sacrificing others. Who participates and why? Who is sacrificed? What does it mean once they are rescued? (that’s not a spoiler since the story is begins with the main character on trial for something that happened on the lifeboats)
NPR interview with Rogan

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

Of course, I had to have a Young Adult novel on here even though I can swing wildly from loving The Hunger Games to being more disappointed than most with The Book Thief (beautiful writing mostly about 2-dimensional characters), I can’t resist them. I usually go for the dystopic ones, but the book is about a child in the Cambodian Killing Fields so that’s probably enough. I was intrigued by her decision to write it as a YA novel and her answer made me put the book on the list:

I think young adults get a bad rap for being self-absorbed and self-centered. My experience going around the United States and speaking in schools is that teenagers here are very interested in the fate of their peers around the world. They are deeply compassionate. I think it allows them to see that their lives are endurable, and it gives them inspiration and courage when they see kids like themselves under extraordinarily circumstances surviving.

NPR interview with McCormick

Narcopolis: A Novel by Jeet Thayil

This is a memoir-like novel since the author is a former addict who spent years in the Indian underworld. I usually stay away from memoirs because I don’t read to experience real-life. Also, I don’t like the word “underworld.” But the interview with the author was intriguing as was his explanation of the complexity of his characters, and my last memoir experience was so good that I am putting it on the list. Last, but here.
NPR interview with Thayil

PS. I love discussing novels but hate book clubs so be my club! Email me (alex{at}makesfunofstuff{dot}com) or comment here with what you thought on these books or any I should add to my ignoring-my-family book list. UPDATED: Instead of commenting here, we will be chatting on FB in a private group about the books called Enough Books. I think you can just request to join but if I’m wrong, let me know and I’ll just add you.

Disclaimer: I included Amazon Affiliate links so a percentage of any Amazon purchases comes to this site instead of Amazon. It did not influence my book choices; NPR clearly did.

Related reviews:

Article by Late Enough

Alex Iwashyna blogs at LateEnough.com mostly about life, parenting, marriage, politics, culture, religion and preparing for the end of the world. Expect blog appearances by her muse of a husband, 2 young kids, 4 cats, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. Find her on her blog, Facebook or the Twitter.
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  1. Chara says:

    These look great! Thanks for the recommendations. I don’t have an obsession with Van Gough but am interested in him and tried to read The Agony and Ecstasy in high school. I’ve always tried to be way more artsy and intelligent than brain is capable I think. That one sounds good though! In fact, they all do! Finishing up the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes right now and then reading The Paris Wife for book club.

  2. GenieInABlog says:

    Everyone said the Book Thief was amazing and was going to make me cry a ton. It was good. But I didn’t love it.

    When we went to the National Gallery in DC I cried when I stood up to the Van Gogh self portrait they have. My husband thought someone had stepped on my foot. At was ah-mazing to stand up close and really get my eyeballs on OMG HIS ACTUAL BRUSHSTROKES!

  3. Kristin says:

    I like Christopher Moore very much, haven’t read this new one yet. Adding the others to my to read list.
    I love a good story too.

    • admin says:

      I just finished it. It was weird and good and made me laugh out loud at times. I like the wrap up explanation Moore does at the end.

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