I purchased an unabridged copy of The Count of Monte Cristo several years ago at a book sale, and it has been shelved in our home ever since, always passed by for something less cumbersome or somehow more practical. 1500 pages are intimidating for anyone, even a book-lover. Yet after reading this brief article in The New York Times on the lost pleasure of binge reading, with a little nod to the Count, I decided to brush off the dust, put down my phone, and commit to binge read this summer. A couple of my children read this way, disappearing into a quiet spot for hours to read and read and read, and something in me wanted to remember that feeling. 900 pages into the book, I love it and am not looking back.
Binge reading doesn’t require a long book or a heady one. And for those of you looking for a quick read to close the summer, here are a few books that you won’t want to put down.
Where the Crawdads Sing | Taking place in an impoverished, coastal marsh in the South, this story follows the life of a young girl left to raise herself at age six. It is a coming-of-age story with a resilient heroine, but also a murder mystery and a commentary on the power of inquisitive nature and self-education. In short, this book lives up to all the hype and will keep you curious to the end.
The Lost Vintage | Like any novel written by a food writer, this one begs to be read with a glass of wine in hand. Set in the wine countries of California and France, this lighter-hearted novel follows one bright, young woman’s return to her family’s generational vineyard in France and the lessons she learns about her family during WWII. Straddling time, place, and the curious happenings that compel us home, this is a light, quick read. Also to consider: Delicious!: a Novel
The Great Alone | Set in 1970s Alaska, this book will transport you, compelling you with Kristin Hannah’s compelling prose and unexpected twists. Written with such richly developed characters, this novel trudges through weightier topics and themes, but it also served as a swift reminder of how far we have come in my lifetime in terms of women’s rights and understanding the traumatic effects of war. Also to consider: The Nightingale
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine | Quirky and unexpected, I loved the hidden humor and compassion tucked into this story, the reminder that, at times, even our own hearts can be hidden from us.
Educated: A Memoir | Although a memoir and not a novel, Tara Westover’s writing and personal story will certainly keep you turning pages. Raw and vulnerable, her story will make you cringe and cheer her on all at the same time. Also to consider: The Glass Castle