Summer is here! That means beach-filled weekends, lounging pool-side and sunny road trips are in our sights. When packing your travel bags, be sure to toss in that book you’ve been meaning to read since the New Year and be sure your AirPods are fully charged for that new podcast.
Take a look at Devine + Partners staffers’ must-read books and must-hear podcasts for the Summer of 2019 below. With plenty of days left before Labor Day which marks the unofficial end of summer, there’s never been a better time to grab a book, dip your toes in the sand with your favorite drink or cocktail, and get reading/listening. What is on your summer read list? We’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at email@example.com.
Here’s what we’re reading and listening to….
I am currently reading Book Four of the Neapolitan Novel series by Elena Ferrante. The fourth book is called The Story of the Lost Child. The series
follows the lives of two perceptive and intelligent girls, Elena and Lila, from childhood to adulthood and old age, as they try to create lives for themselves amidst the violent and stultifying culture of their home – a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Italy. If you want to see it come alive on television, there is also a four part HBO series.
Right now I am reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. The story is about a Russian aristocrat who is not deemed sympathetic to the Bolsheviks and the rise of Communism in the early 1920s. He is banished to live in the Metropol, a grand hotel near the Kremlin. While it’s a little slow moving, it might be one of the most beautifully written pieces I’ve ever read. Every sentence drips with elegant descriptions that paint a precise picture of the scene and the Count’s considerations. I’m tempted to read it with a highlighter nearby to mark my favorites.
Although I’m typically more of a news junkie, when I need a break from politics and world affairs, my commutes include podcasts like:
Oprah’s Master Class (30-minute mini biographies of celebrities in entertainment, politics, and sports — all in their own words)
Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin (Alec interviews a wide range of guests — both well-known and lesser-known. Funny. A little sarcastic. New York-based guests are most interesting to me because the conversations reveal more intimate insights about the city.)
To Live & Die in LA — not my usual pick, but Paige talked me into it and I couldn’t wait for the weekly release of each episode.
I’m reading The Rolling Stones 50 by the band members just in time for their Philly concert next month which should be easy (the book has more than 1,000 pictures and illustrations.) I also plan to read Just a Shot Away: Peace, Love, and Tragedy with The Rolling Stones at Altamont by Saul Austerlitz. A few from the running library are 26 Marathons by Meb Keflezighi and 26.2 Marathon Stories by Kathrine Switzer and Roger Robinson.
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks is also on the summer list. I recently finished and highly recommend On Writing by Stephen King and I also liked Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry. Bill Bryson is a favorite author but his new book, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, isn’t due until October. Instead, I’ll thumb through his A Short History of Nearly Everything, a hefty 500+ pages, which should carry me through to the fall. I gravitate to nonfiction, but if you have any fiction recommendations, please send them my way by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you know me, you know most of what I will be listening to this summer are podcasts about the Bachelor and Bachelorette, or really any reality TV program. One of my favorites is Rosebuds, and it’s actually hosted by a group of Philadelphians.
One of the hosts, Eddie, also does weekly recaps for PhillyVoice – so you’ll probably catch me reading his posts too!
As for books I’ll be reading… well, I haven’t really thought about it, but I’m open to suggestions! Send suggestions to me at email@example.com.
As I get ready to tackle my first Ironman this September, one book I have on my summer reading list is Finding My Voice: Tales From Ironman, the World’s Greatest Endurance Event by notorious Ironman announcer Mike Reilly.
Every year, over three hundred thousand people around the world compete in a series of long-distance triathlons that test the outer limits of their physical abilities and mental toughness. Some do it for glory, some to test themselves (I fall in this bucket), some to honor lost loved ones or colleagues, some to bring healing to their troubled lives.
Over the years, hundreds of Ironman athletes have shared their tales with Reilly. In this book, he tells some of the stories that have touched and inspired him, in the hope that they will do the same for the reader.
I’m reading Killers of the Flower Moon by my favorite, The New Yorker writer, David Gran. The story is an amazing work of non-fiction reporting based on police reports, case notes, and other historic records that tells the story of the mysterious murders occurring in the early 1920s among the Native American Osage people. The tribe was re-located against their will by the U.S. government only to find out the new land was unexpectedly atop rich oil wells. The Osage soon become a very wealthy tribe but racist jealousy ensues as suspicious marriages and murders prompt not only investigations, but the birth of the FBI. If you like investigative stories, this is an unbelievable true crime read. A film adaptation from Martin Scorsese and Leonard DiCaprio was expected to begin in spring 2019.
I am currently reading Not Dead Yet: The Memoir by Phil Collins – in my opinion, one of the greatest musicians of our time! It’s a fascinating look at his life and rise to fame as the lead singer of Genesis and then through his own solo tour. His writing is funny, introspective, and revealing, not just of his successes but also his many, many failures. If you’re a fan of that era of music, it’s also a great peek into the world of pop and rock at that time. I think the back cover sums it up perfectly, and got a good laugh out of me! For a real experience, listen to his discography while you read; that’s how I’m doing it, at least.
My most recent read I would suggest for someone to tackle is What is Real? The unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics by Adam Becker. I heard a lecture involving Quantum Mechanics in New York City a little while back. The speaker said something to the effect of “if you understand the meaning behind Quantum Mechanics you understand the secret behind the universe.” I knew absolutely nothing about Quantum Mechanics but was intrigued, which is how I came upon What is Real?
Before that my last book was The Devil in the White City about H.H. Holmes and his murder’s during the World’s Fair in Chicago. It’s a great read!
I have several books that I hope to read this summer, but I just recently picked up The Vacationers and Crazy Rich Asians. I saw Crazy Rich Asians in theatres and thought the plot was very appealing and it really took off as a movie. I had the knowledge that it was a best seller and wanted to see what all the hype was about. The Vacationers is also a New York Times Bestseller and is all about the dynamic of family vacations. A lot of secrets emerge on this specific family’s vacation and different things come into light on their two week stay in Mallorca. Apparently, this one really takes a turn in the midst of the story and I am intrigued to see exactly what it is.
I have been listening to the Bill Simmons Podcast. Simmons is renowned for being one of the best and most knowledgeable reporter and columnist on the NBA for years, and worked for ESPN before starting his own sports media outlet, “The Ringer.” It’s great for those who really enjoy the game. He breaks down details that the average viewer wouldn’t typically notice.
One book on my summer 2019 bucket list is Girl, Stop Apologizing written by Rachel Hollis. Hollis, best known for her success as a New York Times Bestselling author and social media influencer, writes in support of women. Her book Girl, Was Your Face is full of motivational storytelling geared towards women facing self-doubt. Not only did Girl, Was Your Face end up being my favorite recent read, but it also created mini-paradigm shifts in my personal way of thinking. Girl, Stop Apologizing is something I am really excited about reading this summer because of Hollis’ empowering tone and messages.
I’ve been listening to the Jenna & Julien Podcast. It’s a podcast by YouTube couple Jenna Marbles and Julien Solomita. It is basically a podcast where every episode they pick a random topic to talk about, like reading their childhood letters, talking about the process of adopting their new greyhound Bunny (so cute!), or discussing how well they would survive in the wild. It’s kind of a bunch of randomness, but they are both very funny and listening to them discuss all things is always a laugh. They also post the video versions of their podcasts to YouTube if you prefer a visual.