On My Nightstand

By Camille Styles
On My Nightstand | Camille Styles

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.