It’s near the end of July, we’re in the thick of summer, and the weather is HOT. I live most of the year in a beautiful beachfront house on the Gulf—it doesn’t mean I always sit on the beach—definitely not in the HOT summer. Instead, I’m watching the waves from afar, in my air-conditioned house writing, cooking, reading books, and…just relaxing.
As I turn page after page, filling my head with thoughts and knowledge, I realize that it’s not important what genre you read, it’s that you take the time to read every day. Books are everything—they are a way to continue education as learning tools, they are a means of escape, and they are a way to chase dreams and enjoyment.
Right now I’m spending my time reading professional literature, researching the food industry’s trends, people’s likes and dislikes, and popular cookbooks. This is all in preparation for my forthcoming Pinnacle Lust companion cookbook. If I spend a little extra time reading, however, I can also squeeze in a few fiction reads.
Here is what I’ve already read this summer.
Silence by Shusaku Endo
Endo’s historical fiction was originally published in 1966, but I picked up a reprint version earlier this year and have finally had a chance to read it. It’s the story of Jesuit missionaries in 1600s Japan who are captured and persecuted for their beliefs. Although I’m not highly religious, I enjoyed the themes of this book of a silent God, and found myself wondering if I would face the same internal conflict as the book’s main characters. It’s certainly not a beach read, but it’s a historically accurate picture of religion in 17th century Japan.
You by Karoline Kepnes
Part of my goal this summer is to read books that have been on my shelves for years but have never been opened. You was one of them, and since it was published in 2014, I’ve been kicking myself since I’ve finished reading it for letting it sit on my shelf for three years before cracking it open. You is written in second person, as if the author is speaking directly to you, and it tells the story of a man-turned-stalker who falls in love with a woman he barely knows. I was really on the edge of my seat as I slipped deeper into this man’s mentally unstable mind. Very well written, and one I highly recommend.
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
Okay, this one’s nonfiction, but it’s written so well and so creatively that it captured my attention like a fiction book would. It’s widely known that North Koreans don’t live well—no power, little food, no freedoms—but I wasn’t fully aware of their plight. Many have escaped to China or South Korea, and this book tells of their stories under Kim Jong-un’s regime. It’s not a sad tale as I had feared, but more of a realistic and deep look at the lives of North Koreans.
Have you read any highly recommended books this summer?