Last Friday was the official first day of summer, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who got a little giddy thinking about lazy days spent lying next to a cool body of water, stack of books at the ready. For me, nothing signifies vacation quite like a fat juicy novel. Allowing myself to become fully absorbed requires putting away the technology (no multitasking!) and spending time indulging in something completely “unproductive” but wholly soul-nourishing. Of course, sometimes it seems like my best intentions to spend the summer tackling my reading list get eaten up by the demands of everyday life, but this year I’m determined to leave plenty of unscheduled time on my calendar to allow for it. How do you guys make time for reading in the midst of a busy schedule? Do you set aside a certain time each day, or just pickup a book when the feeling strikes? Here’s what I’m currently reading, and please leave a comment with any books you highly recommend – I’m always looking to add to next month’s list!

The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin. I’m halfway through this incredible piece of historical fiction (my book club’s selection this month), and I become more engrossed with each turn of the page. There’s family drama, mystery, tragedy and a beautiful sense of the natural landscape of rural Washington at the turn of the 20th century. Can’t believe this is Coplin’s debut novel: the characters are so beautifully drawn, and I have a feeling that I’ll be carrying each one with me for years to come.

The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur, Jean-Claude Ellena. This was a reader recommendation from last month’s On My Nightstand, and I’ve been intrigued ever since. An intimate look inside the career of the exclusive “nose” for the legendary house of Hermès, it’s an exploration of the power of scent and the experiences and memories it can evoke. Ellena says, “I create an illusion that is actually stronger than reality . . . you enter the scent and follow the path.”

Home Made Summer, Yvette van Boven. I’m a huge fan of Boven’s Homemade Winterand I can’t wait to see what she does with the season’s best berries, herbs, lettuces and more. The recipes are fantastic, and the engaging writing style and photography make this cookbook a contender for poolside reading.

The Engagements, J. Courtney Sullivan. My sweet book agent sent this one to me for my birthday, and I can’t wait to dive in… if Brettne says it’s great, it’s great. By the author of Commencement and MaineThe Engagements is a “sprawling novel about marriage—about those who marry in a white heat of passion, those who marry for partnership and comfort, and those who live together, love each other, and have absolutely no intention of ruining it all with a wedding.” I have a feeling this one might keep me home on a Friday night.

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

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