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Monday, July 3, 2017

2017 Summer Reading List






Each summer, for the past eight years I have shared my summer reading list with family, friends, and through Social Media. The practice has become an annual tradition that I enjoy.

This year, I have a wide variety of recommendations from a variety of family and friends from around the country. The reason I write this list each year is that I love to learn about books recommended by friends that I can check-out for my summer reading! I also get to learn about new authors that broaden my scope. Some of the titles have been on previous lists, but are worth repeating.

Summer is a great time to recharge your batteries, relax and learn something new. Reading is one of the ways many of us find to escape from the day-to-day challenges we face in our personal and professional lives. I hope you find a book or two that you can add to your summer reading! So whether you are going to the beach, traveling to a foreign country or just sitting in your backyard, pick a book and enjoy! 

Here we go!

The first person to respond to my request for a good book was my good friend and colleague, Robin Boltz. Her top recommendation for summer reading was "The Illegal," by Lawrence Hill. The book is a fictional work but important story about a war refugee trying to find a place to live in the world. Through the symbolism of running, the author portrays the state of constant fear, alertness, and exhaustion that people living through war sustain. She shared; ‘this book is not a relaxing vacation read, but it made me appreciate the peaceful vacation (and life) that I have.’

Colleague and Facebook friend, Mary Ellen Gervais wrote; “My pleasure reading for the summer is – all mysteries and thrillers. She wrote, I just finished “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins. It was good. Also loved “The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

My sister-in-law, Trisha Douville suggested “The Rescue at Dead Dog Beach” by Stephen McGarva. She notes; “It was a tough read but enjoyable book for dog lovers. Also, she recommends “The Three Year Swim Club” by Julie Checkoway; is a good non-fiction book.

Long-time Case Management colleague, Stefany Almaden; suggested a book she wrote about her journey to the United States and about being a nurse. “A Blood-Tinged Diary, Culture Crossing” is an intriguing book that described an accurate depiction of the life of a child who was daring enough to dream the biggest dreams. Her existence was tested since birth, and so was the sequence of events that followed into her late teens including death, hardships, losses, and war-time.

Wendell Matas is a colleague who I have been in contact with for year mostly through Facebook took the time to share his recommendation when he was traveling from Washington DC to his home in Seattle WA after a business trip and for that I am grateful. His contribution is “Incompatible with Nature” by Tracie Frank Mayer. He shared he met the author Tracie, her sister and Tracie’s son at a New Year’s Eve Party a year and a half ago. He said he had no idea that this mother/son has such an incredible story of him being born with a defective heart. The story resonated with Wendell because Tracie was a staunch advocate for her son!

Teri Treiger case management friend and colleague shared the book she has been most impressed with this year; “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande. Teri shared that each chapter highlights a personal story of someone coming to grips with their mortality. Each example points to the shortcomings or highlights the clinicians involved. A must read for all of us!


Friend, Deborah Johnson suggested: "Ask, and It is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks. A wonderful way to move forward in life with joy and fun. Deb notes; “I loved this book, and the processes are transforming."

Laura Ostrosky, a case management colleague, and friend shared that she just finished, “The Nightingale” by Kristen Hannah. Laura shared that the book was hard to put down! "I stayed up much too late finishing it."


Facebook friend, Barbara Hassett-Schoener suggested “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly. She also recommended “America’s First Daughter” by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie.


Quotartian sister, Dyan Ruhana suggested, “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult. Also "Commonwealth" by Ann Patches; both drew me in!


Emily McCrater, another Quotarian sister from Fort Lauderdale, finds time to read after her little boy Danielle goes to bed! She wrote, I just read, “The Orphans Tale” by Pam Jenoff and “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult. Both were very good!


Annual contributor, a long-time friend and avid reader, Sandi Greenawalt shot me a quick note with her summer reading recommendations that include: “Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelly. "All the Light We Cannot See" which is a beautifully written story that is a must-read by Anthony Doerr. “Mischling” by Affinity Konar, “Truly Madly Guilty” by Liane Moriarty. She also liked, “The Gene” by Siddhartha Mukherjee, “The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Stedman and The Mountains Echoed, was beautifully written by one of her favorite authors Khaled Hossein.


Good friend, Bonnie Zickgraf recommended: “The People Pill” by Ken Wright


A new author I have been following recently is Lisa Scottoline. She is from Philadelphia and writes thrillers in and around the Philadelphia area. Her books are fast paced and interesting. 

Friend and colleague, Yvonne Beckman shared her favorite reads. They included a mix of fiction and non-fiction. “Euphoria by Lily King" inspired by events of anthropologist Margaret Mead.  A little science and scientists who have feelings too. The backdrop is New Guinea.  Her next recommendation was “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren. This book was about trees, flowers seeds, soil and how things grow and the life of a female scientist with parallel private life experiences.  Last, she recommended “The Brothers Vonnegut: Science and Fiction in House of Magic” by Ginger Strand. The book is about two brothers who live their remarkable lives with integrity. The story spans several decades with a cultural history of WW II and the cold war.  She also recommends anything by Ian McEwan and Kurt Vonnegut.


Connie Phillip Jones case management friend and Philly girl shared her picks for the Summer Reading List: “The Light Between Oceans," by M.L.Stedman, “All the Light We Can Not See” by Anthony Doer, “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi and “Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch.


Long-time friend and colleague, Connie Sunderhaus share that she just read “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware –a good summer read. She also suggested, – ‘Small, Great Things” by Jodi Picoult and “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. Connie said just read it – you’ll be glad you did!


Sandra Stedman, a friend from Water Aerobics, brings a bag of books every few weeks for us all to enjoy suggested; "The Dressmaker, by Elizabeth Birkelund-Oberbeck. The group also liked: “The Alibi by Sandra Brown and “Fool me Once” by Harlan Coben.  Her last suggestion was a good book from Anita Shreve; "Strange Fits of Passion."


A friend I have come to know through my Mahjong group turned me onto; "I am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai and “The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah.

That’s it for 2017! Hope you find a good read. If you have any other suggestions, please note then in the comment box below or email me at allewellyn48@gmail.com Feel free to share this list with your family and friends! Have a great summer! 

I am not a 'beach book' reader so these titles may not appeal to all.  But I found them well written, with a compelling story line and page-turner appeal. 

But must rave for The Gentleman from Moscow by Amor Towles.  I gave it 5 stars on my Goodreads list.  Russian Count Alexander Rostov survives the Bolshevik takeover but sentenced to house arrest.  

Late entry: 

Friend and colleague Stefanie Daniels sent me a note this week with her recommendations and I wanted to add them to this year's summer reading list. She said: I am not a 'beach book' reader so these titles may not appeal to all.  But I found them well written, with a compelling story line and page-turner appeal. Here they are: 

"A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman. This book allows the reader to enter the solitary world of a curmudgeon widower only to find a delicate soul. Next is "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" by Rachel Joyce. This author is a joy to read. The book starts off as Harold sets out to mail a letter and decides to deliver the note in person. Similarly, "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson can only be characterized as a charming account of the retired British officer's commitment to defend responsibility and tradition which means he's in a constant state of disappointment. 

Here non-fiction recommendations were:, "Hamilton" by Ron Chernow and "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson held my rapt attention on every page.  Hope you check these recommendations out!