A summer reading list.

For a decent chunk of my elementary school years, my grade was comprised of only me and Loo (we shared a classroom with the grade above or below us), which allowed us to grow up as uniform-wearing, violin-playing, poem-writing, Dick Van Dyke-loving nerds, unaware that all of these things were fairly unusual and decidedly uncool. Not that it would have mattered. Coolness is a non-issue when your outfit options boil down to wearing the ascot or not wearing the ascot. Also, ignorance is bliss.

One of the many benefits of having your dearest friend as your only classmate is the nearly guaranteed dress-down day vouchers. Each year, every class competed for vouchers awarded to the student who read the most pages over the summer. Loo and I would have weekly check-ins on our reading progress, setting us up for a solid tie at the beginning of the school year. Sneaky.

When we graduated from high school, the missing reading list felt like a gaping hole in the season. Highly dramatic, I know. Such is the attachment of nerds to books. So I've started creating them for myself, with a mix of biography, non-fiction, fiction and history (as all good reading lists should be).

Here are a few recommendations from this summer's assortment:
- Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand: The story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic miler who survives a POW camp during WWII. Such a great testament to the power of determination, grace and forgiveness. I could not put this book down.
- The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton: I adore anything by Kate Morton. She's a fantastic storyteller. I can't always get invested in fantasy, but this story of a girl searching for her family and their past was engrossing.
- Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg: I know this book has received mixed reviews, but I love it. I think it has a significant message for all women - lean in to whatever it is you're passionate about, and don't settle. Plus, Sandberg is one of my top ten favorite powerful women. Aaaand cut, before I pull a Leslie Knope.
- The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, John Piper and Justin Taylor: A great read for anyone who loves words and wants to better understand their impact in our relationships with each other and with the Creator of speech, Himself.
- Food Matters, Mark Bittman: I will read almost anything written by Bittman, because I think he has a great perspective on food and the way it is used and abused in our culture today. This is Responsible Eating 101.
- Lunch in Paris, Elizabeth Bard: This is a great memoir on love and food in Paris, with recipes creatively woven throughout. I'm infatuated with French food and language, so this book was drool-worthy.