Summer Reads 2012

I had a comment from one of you the other day asking me if I would be sharing my summer reads.  I am glad she reminded me!

The last few summers I have shared with you what I have been reading during the summer months.  You can check out past summers here:  Summer 2011  and Summer 2010.

I must admit I haven’t done as much reading this summer as I usually have due to Wedding Carnival preparations which seem to consume every free minute but I have managed to squeeze a few books in.  Thank goodness for books on CD because I get a lot of reading done while I am running Wedding Carnival errands!  Also,  I am counting summer as starting the first of May when Tessa came home from school for the summer.

I am often asked how I manage to read as much as I do.  I love to read and I have always been a reader.  My mother shared her love of reading with me growing up and I have been a reader ever since.  (A shout out to my mother whose birthday it is today.  She is still an avid reader at age 82!)  I also do not watch TV except for a BBC series now and then.  I’ll share some of my favorite BBC shows in another post.  I am also a very fast reader which helps and like I said I do a lot of “reading” in the car listening to books on CD and yes, that does count as reading!

So here is this summer’s list – so far!  I may have to do another update in a month or so.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  The Night Circus or Cirque des Reves is a circus that arrives without warning, simply appearing when yesterday it was not there.  It was a bit slow getting into it but I totally enjoyed the story.  A little mystical magical romance for summer!

In Search of Balance by Richard Swenson.  Although I am still searching I really enjoyed this book and took quite a few  notes while reading it.  Some good thought provoking ideas and suggestions that  I am trying to incorporate into my life.  I always try to read one or two non-fiction books each summer for personal improvement!

Galloways Marathon FAQ  by Jeff Galloway.  Although I am not planning on running a marathon I did pick up some good tips from Jeff.  I like his run/walk approach to long distance running but I think a 1/2 marathon was enough for me.

The Good Earth by Pearl Buck.  I also like to read one or two classics each summer and this was my first one for the summer.  I had never read it before.  Jim and I listened to it on a long car ride and he enjoyed it too.  The life and labors of a Chinese farmer.

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin.  This book was recommended to me as one that “anyone who loves Downton Abbey, will love this book.”  Well, I love Downton Abbey and I enjoyed this book.  I didn’t love it but it was a good read.  It is the story of a wealthy American girl who marries a British Aristocrat.  Sound familiar? The two main American women in the book and mini series even have the same name!  The beginning is slow but if you hang in there it gets better.  Tessa and I listened to this and both enjoyed it.

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky.   This book has been a continuation of my run on books that take place in Paris that I have been on for the last year.  This book is about Paris during WWII and the Nazi occupation.  When Irène Némirovsky began working on Suite Française, she was already a highly successful writer living in Paris. But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where she died. For sixty-four years, this novel remained hidden and unknown.

Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley.  This is a fun new series I discovered this summer.  If you are a fan of the Mitford Series you will enjoy the Harmony series.  They are sweet, simple easy reads about a quaint little community and all the characters that live there.  You may just want to move to Harmony after you are done reading it just like I wanted to move to Mitford!

If you enjoy it you will also want to read the other books in the series like I did.  They are all very quick and easy reads.

Signs and Wonders

Just Shy of Harmony

Life Goes On

No Need for Speed: A Beginners Guide to the Joy of Running by John Bingham.  Not sure I found the joy in running yet but I’m trying.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years  by Donald Miller.  This book was recommended to me by my good friend Marsha and I loved it.  I read a library copy and took copious notes while reading the book.  Marsha and I then went down to Powell’s Books and bought a copy.  Jim is now reading it and I will reread when he is done.  Donald Miller is a Portland author and the book is Donald’s story of how he learns to edit his life into a great story which is something each of us can do.  We can edit our own life and make the choice to live a great story. This book is a celebration of the beauty of life.  I loved it and it has changed how I look at my life.

The Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye by Anne Tyler.  I have been an Anne Tyler fan since reading The Accident Tourist in 1985.  I think I have read every book she has written.  This book is a story of loss and recovery and how the main character (a man) learns to live with and deal with loss and how to say goodbye.


Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly.  This book came on recommendation from my husband who is a big history fan and a Bill O’Reilly fan.  Although not my favorite book of the summer it was an interesting read and I learned a lot about the history of the Civil War and President Lincoln’s assassination that is not printed in your average history textbook.


Heaven Is Here  by Stephanie Nielson.  This is the story and book written by popular blogger Nie Nie who survived a near fatal plane crash with her husband.  It is a story of struggle, courage and amazing spirit.  Caution:  You may shed a tear or two.  I have been a follower of Stephanie’s blog since the crash so most of the story I was familiar with but it is always inspirational.

The Anatomists Apprentice by Tessa Harris.  If you are looking for a good murder mystery this summer and if you are a fan of  Bones or any of those CSI TV shows you will enjoy this book.  Amazon describes it as CSI meets Age of Reason.  The story takes place in England in the 18th century and is an enjoyable murder mystery/ forensic medicine type tale.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.  If you enjoyed The Help you will like this book.  This story takes place on a plantation in the 1800’s and is the tragic story of what life on a plantation as a slave was like.  Despite the terrible things the slaves endured they enjoyed family and love amongst each other.

Current Read:  Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.  If you are a Jane Austen fan and a mystery fan you might want to check this one out.  I’ll keep you posted.

Eighteen books and counting.  What have you been reading this summer?

Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

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  1. says

    I’m a fantasy and sci fi girl. Most of my summer reading has been Urban Fantasy- things like “Nice Girls Don’t have Fangs”. My favorite book this summer has been War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. I also just picked up a brand new Charles De Lint book. He’s one of my favorite authors.

  2. Vicky says

    I just borrowed “The Good Earth” from a friend. I’ve been looking for a few books to take to the beach with me next week. I just requested a few off your list from the library. Thanks!!!

  3. kelly says

    thanks for posting, i was looking for a good book when i asked so i looked at your past lists, i’m currently reading peach keeper and love it. i also read heaven is here and although i knew the story it was a great book! i have also read kisses from katie which is the best book i’ve read in a long time! so inspirational!! please check it out! a friend just reccomended wild to me so i bought that on my kindle. added a few to my list from yours!!

  4. says

    I read Heaven is Here and loved it. Also read The Road to Grace – the 3rd book in Richard Paul Evans series The Walk. Love it! Now I have to wait for Spring 2013 for the next book. Great list, thanks for sharing.

  5. says

    Just found your site today via Pinterest–nice find!! I read lots of nonfiction. This summer I am reading The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman and Free Marketing…by Jim Cockrum. Both are nice to pick up and use for references.

  6. cara says

    Hi Leigh Anne,

    Thanks for the book list. I just finished Racing in the Rain and Summer Rental. I enjoyed both of them. I’m reading The Next Thing on my List which is cute. Reminds me of Sophie Kinsella’s books. In the car, I’m reading The Language of Flowers. After that, I want to read Gone Girl, Canada, and a Tartine cookbook. Also, I enjoyed the cookbook called The Homemade Pantry and plan to buy that the next time I’m at B&N. I took love to “read” in the car. :-)

  7. Kristy says

    If your husband is into Abraham Lincoln’s assassination then he should read Manhunt- The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanon. We recently visited Ford’s Theater where he was shot and this book was recommended by the people working there, one of the best that they have seen so far. I have had a hard time putting this book down and I’ve never been interested in history books before. I’m definitely reading more of his books.

  8. Jayne says

    Looking forward to your BBC suggestions – I love Downton Abbey and I’m a bit lost until the new season comes out. Thanks for the book suggestions.

  9. says

    Thank you! Just loaded up my audible account with the ones I haven’t read. You always have great suggestions, thanks for sharing! I just finished my last Kate Morton book- I read all of them thanks to you:)

  10. says

    I read Heaven is Here and LOVED it!!! I don’t read a whole lot, so i have to know it will be good before. I started The Uglies on a trip and enjoyed it, but now that I’m home, a lot less reading is happening.

  11. says

    Soooo many great selections and recommendations here! Love it! Just have to put a good word in for “The Good Earth” it’s on my short list of most favorite books of all time . . . just thought I’d let you know :) Can’t wait to pick up “The Anatomist’s Apprentice”, “The Kitchen House” and “Death comes to Pemberly” – I feel a Kindle spree coming on . . .



  12. Joy says

    I’m looking forward to trying out these suggestions- most which I’ve never heard of. I really liked the Night Circus & Kisses from Katie. Also a cute workplace romance was Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell. In honor of Downton, I liked The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen. And It Happened at the Fair by Deanne Gist-a historical fiction that took place at the Chicago World’s Fair.

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