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Camille Styles

On My Nightstand

July 28th, 2014

On My Nightstand | Camille Styles

For me, summertime and books go hand-in-hand. There’s something about settling into a hammock (or a beach chair, or a picnic blanket) with a captivating novel or memoir that symbolizes the ultimate in slowing down and savoring — what summer is all about! This month, I’m cooking (and eating) from a fab new cookbook that truly celebrates the season, diving into a fascinating memoir, devouring the final pages of one of the most addictive novels, and feeling inspired by reflections on a meaningful life from one of my favorite authors.

  1. Now I See You, A Memoir by Nicole C. Kear. I’m planning to climb in bed early tonight to start reading my book club’s current selection. In this incredible-sounding memoir, Kear finds out at age 19 that she will slowly go blind in the coming years. Instead of retreating, she decides to live life to the fullest while she can.
  2. Summer Food by Paul Lowe, Nina Dreyer Hensley and Jim Hensley. Simple fresh ingredients and meals made for dining with friends al fresco — this cookbook is right up my alley. From watermelon-chili salsa to lamb burgers with minty pesto, this is one of those cookbooks that inspires me to get in the kitchen and make every single recipe in it.
  3. A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen. As someone who’s always trying to unlock the secret to fully engaging in everyday life (but who frequently gets bogged down in scheduling and technology distractions), I ate up every word of this beautiful piece by novelist Anna Quindlen. And yes, the words are few (the entire book clocks in at 64 pages), but the message to richly live every day like it’s your last comes through powerfully, and I’ve found myself returning to certain passages over and over.
  4. The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Since I couldn’t bring myself to tackle all 800 pages of The Goldfinch, I decided to pickup her other slightly shorter but equally acclaimed novel from over 20 years ago… and boy, am I glad I did! This was my constant companion while we were in France, and I really couldn’t think about anything else until I finished it. A group of clever academic misfits at a New England college bond over their love of the Greek classics, and the ensuing tale is one of mystery, murder and the rejection of conventional moral judgement.

Now it’s your turn! Let me know what you’re reading this month in the comments… and for other book ideas, be sure to check out the last few editions of On My Nightstand.

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14 Comments under :: On My Nightstand
  1. alison says:

    these posts are quickly turning into my favorites. i just finished “Brain on Fire,” which you recommended a ways, ways back and it was really one of the best books i’ve read in so long. THANK YOU. can’t wait to pick another one from your nightstand!

  2. Caroline says:

    I am working on getting back into reading so last night I began reading The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

  3. This is such a great post! I’m currently addicted to Malcolm Gladwells “David and Goliath.” I think my next read will be “A Short Guide to a Happy Life.” It sounds like a fun summer read.

    http://www.livinginsteil.com

    • I have been so curious about David and Goliath! Loved “The Tipping Point,” but was unsure if D and G would keep my attention as much. When you finish it, I’d love to hear back from you on whether you’d recommend!

  4. Chris says:

    Disclaimer: I tend to fervently believe that when I love a book, of course everyone else will love it also. But really, everyone should read The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, because it is funny and heartbreaking often at the same time, beautifully written and one of those rare books that makes you love life more when you turn the last page.

  5. Molly says:

    I am obsessed with you. These are the best picks. I’m reading two books right now, and I would recommend them both:

    Half a Life by Darin Strauss. It’s his memoir after he accidentally hits and kills a cyclist when he is 16. It is short and powerful. Just a really interesting take on how we process trauma as adolescents.

    And then I’m also reading Water For Elephants, which is crazy good, even though I usually hate books that take place in the Depression Era. They typically make me feel, er, depressed. But Sarah Gruen paints such a magical picture of carnival-life. I am really ready to become a ringmaster.

  6. I’ll have to try Water for Elephants again… I picked it up a few years ago when it first came out, and couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters. But I know so many people love it! Half a Life sounds so fascinating. It is amazing what people go through, and a memoir is such a powerful way to see it through their eyes. Thanks for the great recs!

  7. Lynn says:

    I read Anna Quindlen’s book years ago…but keep going back to it. Such a good reminder!!

  8. Lisa says:

    Just finished The Giver Quartet. All four books in one. It was wonderful. Picked up a book called Girl Reading by Katie Ward. I’m hoping I can get into it. It’s hard to follow along so far.

  9. Oh I loved The Secret History! One of my favorite books, indeed. Donna Tartt really is the best, isn’t she? I wish she wrote more than one book every ten years! You really should consider picking up The Goldfinch–it’s equally wonderful. Maybe for your next vacation : )

    Currently reading Nineteen Eighty-Four because somehow I never read it in high school or college (or graduate school). Next up is The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. Summer reading is truly the best! Thanks for your suggestions!

  10. My nightstand is out of control, but I guess the stacks always look more organized when they’re laid out like this! I’m reading Iain M. Banks (some British sci-fi), Thoreau’s “Walden” (not crazy about it, thus far), and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (which I am enjoying SO much more than expected). I am going to have to hunt down “The Secret History”!

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