List-ish: Five books for a slow summer

I plan on spending plenty of July and August languishing on a Chicago beach or passing the hours on a blanket at the park. In my bag will be SPF 90 (ginger life!) and a book or three. Here are a few I hope to re-read and why they’re perfect for a slow sunny day outside.

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Annie knows. Summer should be spent outdoors.

“Pilgrim At Tinker Creek” by Annie Dillard

“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard

Read when: You want to appreciate your surroundings.

Here’s why: Annie’s descriptions of nature and her contemplations on life that stem from wrapping herself in its cradle will leave you enamored with all things outside. Yes, even the bugs.

“Beauty and grace will be performed whether or not we sense them. The least we can do is show up.” Annie Motha-f’in’ D.



Essays about her writing desks make me consider cleaning up mine and moving it outside…

“Small Wonder” by Barbara Kingsolver

Read when: You feel one with nature.

“The changes we dread most may contain our salvation.” Barbara Kingsolver

Here’s why: This book of essays was written post-9/11 about a post-9/11 world, and its themes of reconciling white hot anger with love, grief, humanity and our role in taking care of the earth and each other seems even more relevant in 2017.



“Ways To Disappear” by Idra Novey

“Desire… was what a man will deny himself until he can’t.” Idra Novey

Read when: You have a full day for nose-in-a-book-ing.

Here’s why: I finished this book in a day. It reads fast and is set in a sweaty, sexy tropical paradise. You’ll feel dreamy afterward for your walk home.



“Just Kids” by Patti Smith

Read when: You’re hot for the city.

“I thought to myself that he contained a whole universe I had yet to know.” Patti Smith

Here’s why: 1. Because it’s Patti Smith. 2. This is her best book. 3. Its reminiscence of being hungry, passionate, unknown artists in New York’s dubious late ’60s, early ’70s will make you want to explore your own city.



“In The Woods” by Tana French

Read when: You’re just really hot.

“I am not good at noticing when I’m happy, except in retrospect.” Tana French

Here’s why: Tana is a brilliant murder mystery novelist. Her first book is one of my favorites and is set in the lush, dripping forests of Ireland. Her descriptions of its dark greenery will cool you down a few degrees.



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