2013 Summer Reading Guide
Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly

$12.99$3.99

This is the Brené Brown book best suited to the beach, and since you need to read at least one Brené Brown book in your lifetime, go ahead and throw it in your swim bag. Brown is a researcher and a storyteller: while she’s educating you about vulnerability and courage, you’ll find yourself thinking she’d make a great girlfriend. Funny, insightful, and wise.

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Bossypants

Bossypants

This easy reading memoir is part comedy, part auto-biography. Fey covers a lot of ground here: from her Pennsylvania childhood to her awkward college years, her crappy job at the YMCA to the big leagues of SNL. Filled with funny and fascinating anecdotes, like what a photo shoot is really like, and how she finally nailed Sarah Palin’s precise lip color shade. Fast and fun.

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Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Cain hooks you with a great story on page 1 and doesn’t let up till the elegant ending. By sharing personal stories and fascinating research, Cain showcases introverts’ unique strengths--and how those strengths are often squelched in a culture that’s embraced the Extrovert Ideal. Quiet is smart, eye-opening, and utterly enjoyable, for introverts and extroverts alike.

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Happier at Home

Happier at Home

I've been meaning to re-read this one since I made my 2013 goals last year. Rubin reminds me it's worth making the effort to do the little things--especially in my home—because they really do make a difference.

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Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected

Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected

Life changed in an instant for Kelle Hampton when her second child was unexpectedly born with Down Syndrome. In Bloom, she relates the grief–and the joy–that little Nella brought her. Hampton’s insights into life, love, friendship, and the beauty in the unexpected will make you laugh and make you cry--often on the same page.

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Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

If you’re crazy (or compulsive) about reading, you’ll recognize yourself on the pages of this essay collection. Perhaps you’ve experienced the pain/pleasure of merging libraries with a new spouse (“Marrying Libraries”), or utilize questionable bookmarking strategies (“Never Do That to a Book”), or self-identify as a compulsive proofreader (“Insert a Carat”--my favorite!). Smart, interesting, and laugh-out-loud funny.

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The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life

The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life

This slim volume (114 pages) is well worth spending an afternoon on. Memoir readers everywhere will thank Roach for her no-nonsense rules for writing your own story: you can write about anything, but just because something happens, doesn’t make it interesting. Have no fear: Roach will help you make it interesting. Entertaining and dead-practical: if you're a writer, you'll learn to write better; readers will learn to better appreciate the genre—and know how to spot a good specimen when they see it.

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Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

$11.99$1.99

If you count yourself among Truss’s target audience--the tiny minority of people “who love punctuation and don’t like to see it mucked about with”--this book will make you laugh until you cry. Her chapter on the semicolon (I’m a fan) is my very favorite. Tons of fun for grammar geeks.

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The Getaway Car

The Getaway Car

$2.99$2.51

Patchett realized she wanted to be a writer about the same time she learned to ride a tricycle. In this mini-memoir, Patchett sketches a path from childhood all the way to the completion of her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. Stops along the way include her college years (complete with fabulous teachers), a failed marriage, the Iowa writing program, and a waitressing stint at TGIFriday’s. You’ll come away inspired to sit down at your keyboard and write.

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The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

$7.39$1.49Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

An instant classic. This is THE BOOK on the subject; everything else is derivative. Highly recommended.

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Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Audiobook: 1.99 (Whispersync)

“Happy families are all alike;” begins this classic novel, “every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” If you’ve never read Anna Karenina, a great time to find out why William Faulkner called this novel “the best ever written.” Whether or not you agree, you’ll be glad you read it.

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Emma

Emma

$3.95$0.99Audiobook: 0.99 (Whispersync)

Of all Jane Austen’s novels, Emma is the most suited for the beach. Emma is different from the others. It's engaging and witty, as all Jane Austen is. But it's bright and fresh and thoroughly modern, and Emma–despite her flaws–is so winning and relatable I find myself cheering her on more than any other Austen heroine. (Yes, even more than Lizzie.) If you’ve never read Austen, Emma is a great place to start.

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The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald's classic was the topic of my first high school term paper—and despite that, I still love it. Fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby has built a mansion on Long Island Sound for the sole purpose of wooing and winning his lost love Daisy Buchanan, who married another man while Gatsby was serving overseas. This classic American novel captures the Jazz Age in all its decadence and excess, while weaving a wistful story of love and loss. Even if you've seen the movie (especially if you've seen the movie) you need to read the book.

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The Great Train Robbery

The Great Train Robbery

$10.492.95 (Audible Daily Deal)

Crichton departs from his usual routine with this true story of a game-changing robbery. “It is difficult,” Crichton says in his introduction, “to understand the extent to which the train robbery of 1855 shocked the sensibilities of Victorian England.” Crichton unpacks how the colorful cast of robbers very nearly pulled off the crime of the century and what it meant to 19th century London in this fast-paced account.

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Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

This is a real-life Ocean’s 11 tale of a 2003 robbery in Antwerp, Belgium, when thieves broke into a supposedly airtight vault and made off with 108 million dollars of loot. The crime was flawless, but the getaway was clumsy, and real-life diamond experts Campbell and Selby were called in to track down the thieves in a real-life worldwide goose chase.

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Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

The Whiskey Robber is Attilla Ambrus, a gentleman thief who couldn’t quite make ends meet, so he turned to robbing banks to supplement his income in 1990s Hungary, all while playing for the biggest hockey team in Budapest. His brazen crime spree goes on for years, which would be unbelievable if he weren’t up against a police team that’s almost too incompetent to be true.

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Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures

$11.99$1.99

Wittman is a retired FBI agent and founder of its Art Crimes Team, and his day-in-the-life stories read like a spy thriller. His tale of going undercover to track down stolen masterpieces and bust art thieves depicts a seedy world that’s quite different from the polite cat-and-mouse games of The Thomas Crown Affair.

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Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

Just because it’s assigned reading in high school doesn’t mean this isn’t a great book. This groundbreaking classic is a Gothic romance, mystery, and psychological thriller all rolled into one. You’ll be kicking yourself for not reading it decades sooner.

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Get Lucky

Get Lucky

$11.99$1.99Audiobook: 4.49 (Whispersync)

An MMD Summer Reading Guide pick. After forwarding an inappropriate email to the whole company, Katherine gets fired, moves back to her hometown in disgrace, and starts her life over. This short and easy read has a familiar arc: girl in a mess, girl sees the light, girl finds happiness, yet its themes of sisterhood, forgiveness, and redemption make it worth your while. Recommended reading for Brené Brown fans. Add Audible narration for $4.49.

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What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot

This novel had me pinned to the couch for two days (or it might have been just one). It reads like the breeziest chick lit, but has a surprising depth that makes me love it even more.

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Semple cut her teeth writing for Mad About You and Arrested Development, and that snarky tone is all over this screwball satire. Bernadette Fox was once a cutting edge architect whose work earned her a MacArthur genius grant, but after her daughter is born, she quits, and moves to Seattle with her Microsoft rock star husband, slowing sinking into a town—and a life—she loathes. The format is (appropriately) a little wacky: Bernadette tells her side of the story, sure, but emails, school documents, police reports, and even an emergency room bill clue us in to what's happening. Eventually we figure out where Bernadette escaped to—and why. This feels similar to Gone Girl, but this easy read is lighter, fresher, and a lot more fun.

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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

I’ll bet you weren’t assigned this breezy Cinderella-ish story set in 1930s Britain back in English class. When a placement agency sends unemployed Miss Pettigrew to the wrong address, she spends the day of her life with a glamorous nightclub singer, extricating her hour by hour from one scrape after another. Miss Pettigrew is light, charming and utterly delightful.

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Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility

This gorgeous novel can almost be categorized as literary fiction, which too many readers dismiss as inaccessible. Don't make that mistake. This Gatsby-esque novel pulls several shocking plot twists, and I definitely didn’t see that ending coming.

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Jayber Crow

Jayber Crow

Jayber Crow returns to his native Port William, Kentucky after the 1937 flood to become the town’s barber. There he learns about the deep meaning of community, the discipline of place, and what it truly means to love. This is a gorgeous novel.

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Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

I came to this classic expecting a dry read, but was swept up in this epic coming-of-age story set in Britain between the world wars. I’ve read it ten times since then, entranced by the story of the Flyte family’s unraveling–along with the rest of Britain’s aristocracy–and by its themes of love, loss, and grace. Recommended reading for Downton Abbey fans.

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Gilead

Gilead

Robinson’s story of the dying Iowa minister John Ames is one of the most beautiful books you’ll ever read, containing some of the most beautiful sentences ever put to paper. Read it. Read it slow. Wistful, reflective, and wise, this is a book you can read over and over again.

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The Likeness

The Likeness

In the second of Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, detective Cassie Maddux is pulled off her current beat and sent to investigate a murder. When she arrives at the scene, she finds the victim looks just like her, and—even more creepy—she was using an alias that Cassie used in a previous case. The victim was a student, and her boss talks her into trying to crack the case by impersonating her, explaining to her friends that she survived the attempted murder. The victim lived with four other students in a strangely intimate, isolated setting, and as Cassie gets to know them, liking them almost in spite of herself, her boundaries—and loyalties—begin to blur. A taut psychological thriller that keeps you guessing till the end.

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When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me

$7.99$1.99Audiobook: 9.99 (Whispersync)

Stead's Newbery-winning book is wrapped around an old one: Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, which just happens to be the favorite of 6th grader Miranda Sinclair. Miranda’s life is pretty normal, until things begin to unravel. I loved the setting of late 1970s Manhattan; Miranda’s life looks so different from the lives of today’s kids. A clever tale of friendship, mystery, and time travel.

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The Search for Delicious

The Search for Delicious

From the author of Tuck Everlasting. Twelve-year-old Gaylen sets off to poll the kingdom about which food should stand for “delicious” in the new dictionary, but his simple quest soon reveals civil war is brewing. This is a sweet tale of a boy, his father-figure, a mermaid, and a dictionary, full of magic and mystery. Age 8 and up.

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A Homemade Life

A Homemade Life

$11.99$0.99

After her father died, Molly Wizenburg didn’t know what to do with herself. So she went to Paris, and later, she started a blog. No spoilers here, so let’s just say I especially loved hearing about how the internet introduced the author to new, life-changing relationships. This memoir made me laugh, cry, check airfare to Paris, and curse my low carb diet. Completely and utterly charming, accompanied by tasty recipes.

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