The Modern Bee Guide to Summer Reading – Part 1

June 22, 2020 in Storytelling - No Comments
The library at author Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lennox, MA.

Well, it’s officially summer! Didn’t it seem like we kind of skipped spring this year though? I remember still wearing my winter parka in early March and then after string after string of weeks in quarantine, looking out the window one day to see that my neighbor’s magnolia tree was in full bloom. While I used to be an ardent summer fan, I much prefer fall and winter these days (my teenage self is really cringing at the fact that I now love winter). Nevertheless, I still find ways to enjoy the season and make the best and most of it.

Even as businesses start to re-open, many of my favorite summer pleasures luckily hadn’t fallen into the category of being closed for business. Today. I thought I’d talk about one of them: reading! My local library recently re-opened for curbside pick-up and I’m anxious to stock up again. During lockdown, I had ordered a few stacks from independent book stores, which I’ll still continue to do. Here’s what I’ve recently read and what I’m looking forward to reading in the upcoming weeks.

Lakewood by Megan Giddings. I just started this the other night and it’s already one that I’m trying to make last because it. is. good. It’s giving me major Get Out vibes and I can’t wait to see what happens. It’s about a Black millennial who signs up for a medical research study in a remote midwestern American town to support her family. It touches on some really important issues surrounding class, race and societal inequalities.

Beloved by Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison is my beloved and I have read a lot of her work over the years, but Beloved was one of her novels that I had especially emotional difficulties getting through for several reasons. I’d pick it up to start and then have to put it back down because I couldn’t handle it. I’ve decided that this is the summer I will push through. It tells the story of a formerly enslaved woman who is haunted by the daughter she made the excruciating decision to kill rather than see taken back to a life of bondage. It’s inspired by the true story of Margaret Garner, which has also haunted me for years.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Speaking of difficult books. I loved what I made through of this book, even if it was incredibly difficult. I have lost two people who were close to be under sudden and tragic circumstances so I really struggled with this memoir, which recounts the death of Didion’s husband and her daughter’s hospitalization, because it was relatable in the most heart-wrenching way. It’s another book I plan to finish this summer.

When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir by Esmeralda Santiago. I read this when I was in high school and found myself thinking about it the other day. I decided to buy a copy to revisit the story and to see how my reaction to it has or hasn’t changed over the years. It’s the first part of a three book autobiographical series by Santiago. I read the other two installments and plan to re-read them after I get through this one. This one tells the story of Santiago’s early life in Puerto Rico and her move to New York City.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. Set against the backdrop of the iconic New York Public Library, I cannot wait for this latest piece of historical fiction from Fiona Davis. Fiona joined the circle at The Modern Bee a few weeks ago and talked about her work, her process and New York City in general.

What are you reading this summer?



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