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Summer Reading List

Blogger Becki Singer of Shopping’s My Cardio suggests some new books to slip into your beach tote

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. A tragic love story set on the Italian coast during the 1960s. It’s virtually impossible not to love a book that includes glamorous movie stars, Hollywood has-beens and enough vivid descriptions of Cinque Terre to make you wish you could skip work and hop the next plane. The story jumps back and forth between the 1960s and present-day and had just enough mystery to keep me turning pages well after I should have been asleep (I admit it, I do more bedside reading than poolside). Read this for the setting and the fumbling-yet-unforgettably-charming Italian hero-- everything else is a bonus.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. A little denser than your typical summer read but I loved The Interestings, which follows a group of friends who meet at summer camp through their adult lives. The writing is beautifully thick and rich and the characters so real you’ll half expect to meet them one day. It has that flavor of nostalgic summers gone by and will make you think of friends you’d nearly forgotten. Wolitzer’s style reminds me of Zadie Smith and Jeffrey Eugenides – if you love them, you’ll love this too.

The Paris Journal by Nichole and Evan Robertson. If you're dreaming of the perfect trip to Paris but haven't booked your tickets just yet, The Paris Journal is just the thing to stoke your wanderlust. Authors Nichole and Evan Robertson (the dynamic duo behind Obvious State) are two of the most talented people I know and they've finally put their heads together to create the ultimate fictionalized Parisian escape. If Nichole's gorgeous photos don't grab you, the impossibly charming narrative of a perfect day spent in Paris will. Fair warning: I guarantee you'll be searching for last-minute fares by the time you reach the last page.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud. Oh, how I love Claire Messud. She has this ability to write about modern life in a way no one else can; every scene she sets is as textured and complex as the real world, with a touch of satire but it feels undeniably true at every turn. Her latest is the story of a single woman in her 40s – as Messud puts it, “That woman who lives alone in the apartment upstairs from you, who you never really consider as having a life of interest.” As a year of Nora’s life unfolds into the most deliciously interesting year anyone could imagine, you’ll get a taste of Messud’s sense of humor, a cast of imperfect but unforgettable characters and a novel you’ll be sorry to see end.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. Easily one of my favorite books of the year, this book is by turns hilarious, tragic, cringe-inducing and familiar. A jilted middle son’s father dies and he returns home to sit shiva with his entire family for seven days. Hilarity ensues. Tropper’s writing reminds me of Nick Hornby at his best. He is better than almost anyone at capturing the complexities of a family dynamic and he does it with humor, which helps you forgive even the ugliest truths that come out when you spend this much time examining someone else’s life. An easy read and a page-turner. Don’t miss it.


Becki Singer is a writer, stylist and the founder of, a grown-up's guide to life with style.