Ciao a tutti! I hope everyone is having a nice and relaxing summer! I have been doing a lot of traveling, from the Hamptons to Los Angeles, as well as keeping busy here in New Jersey. Recently here on the East Coast, we have been having a lot of rain (the past twenty days to be exact), and it has been my perfect excuse to cozy up with some great novels! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I took a poll recently asking my followers if they would be interested in seeing my monthly reading list or joining a book club, and the vote resulted in over 80% saying yes!
I have always been an avid reader, and as a writer myself, reading serves as a bit of "research" for me to keep up on the latest literary trends, elements of a strong plot and character development, and where my novels might fit in on the bookshelves one day. My vision for this book club is to encourage the art of reading, and to start a discussion on what we like about these stories, the characters, and how we relate to them and what they have taught us. My goal is to read five books per month and to share those reads with you on the first of every month. Then, we will choose one book to collectively read and discuss virtually via social media or here in the comments on my blog. If there are any books you feel are "must reads" and want them included in this book club, please leave them in the comments below, or post them on social media using the hashtag #PaisanasPick. I also have created a separate Instagram account just for this book club - please follow along for updates and to join in the conversation @PaisanasPickBookClub.
We are now a few days into August, but I am going to go ahead and share with you five novels that I read last month and thoroughly enjoyed. A few of these are debut novels, others are established authors, some that I have just discovered and loved immediately.
1. Playing With Matches by Hannah Orenstein
Named "the best book of the summer" by Refinery 29, Bustle and PopSugar, this novel is the perfect read for millennials. The novel centers around Sasha Goldberg, a young professional navigating her way through her not-so-together personal life, and her new career as a matchmaker in New York City. Orenstein's style is comedic yet utterly relatable, and she writes in such a way that you can't put the book down - I read it in one day! Overall, this is a great "romantic comedy" that details the trials of dating in the digital age in a humorous way.
2. How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson
I absolutely devoured this book! As someone who has always loved British humor (think Bridget Jones and Sophie Kinsella novels), this novel made me laugh out loud, yet it still had some deep and touching moments that all of us can relate to. This was the first Allison Pearson novel that I read, and this book does have a predecessor called I Don't Know How She Does It, which was an International bestseller. Although I read these out of order, I will be reading Pearson's first novel due to her unique way of storytelling and her humor. Click the image to read the full synopsis.
3. A Lady's Guide To Selling Out by Sally Franson
Another millennial driven read, Franson's debut novel was written in such a way that kept the pages turning, and kept me underlining some of her most quotable and universally-relatable passages. Described as following in the tradition of the smash hit The Devil Wears Prada, set in Minneapolis, our main character Casey Pendergast keeps us rooting for her until the very end. Although Franson's writing has a definite humorous edge, on the same page, she can tug at your heart and make you consider complex decisions of life.
4. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
A modern take on Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice, Eligible is a wonderfully written epic that is all too relatable in our modern world. With her fresh twists on classic and beloved characters such as Jane, now a yoga instructor, and Liz, a writer for a magazine, Sittenfeld attributes unforgettable nuances to each character, each scene, and the overall theme and shape of the novel. Although it is a modern retelling, the story is still fresh and has unexpected twists and turns that keeps you driving through the pages.
5. Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani
One of my favorite authors of all time, this is one of Trigiani's earlier books. Set in the 1950s, this is a heartwarming tale of a young Italian beauty, Lucia Sartori, the daughter of an Italian grocer in Greenwich Village who has her own set of ambitions. The story is full of tension and risk-taking decisions, and in Trigiani's signature style, she engrosses readers in the world of 1950s New York through a young woman trying to figure life out. An instant classic in my book, no pun intended, I have read this book several times and it never loses its charm or appeal. If you are new to Trigiani's books, I would suggest this as your first.
Have you read any of these books? What do you want to read next month?
I am in the process of selecting the very first book for the Paisana's Pick Book Club, and while I already have a few titles in mind, I would love your recommendations. Please leave your thoughts in the comment box below, or tag me on social media using the hashtag #PaisanasPick. As always, don't forget to follow along on social media and join in on the conversation @TheSweetPaisana and @PaisanasPickBookClub.
The Sweet Paisana