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7 Books for Summer 2014 Reading

I have a stack of books on my bedside table. Every day I look longingly at them, wishing there were more hours in the day.

That’s one of the reasons I enjoy summer so much. Between travel and tent time, I can always find time for reading.

Here are 7 books for summer reading. Some I’ve read, others are in the queue

"7 books for summer reading"

Books for summer reading

  • Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery.

I’m in the middle of this book right now and can’t put it down. If you think you’re too old for a long distance hike, think again. Emma Gatewood, a 67 year old great-grandmother, set off on her own with all of 15 pounds on her back (no tent) and a few hundred dollars. She became the first woman to solo hike the whole of the Appalachian Trail – in 1955. According to the book, her criticism of the less well maintained sections of the trail may well have saved the trail from extinction.

  • Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder

This book had been around for a while but I just read it over the winter. Paul Farmer, the most energetic, creative, brilliant human being in modern times that I have heard about, sets out to cure the world, particularly in Haiti, Peru, Cuba and Russia. As a specialist in infectious diseases, he devises, plans and negotiates new ways to treat old diseases and achieves lasting results with some of the poorest people on the planet. The book will energize you, inform you and leave you cheering for him.

  • The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

I haven’t read this one yet but I can tell I won’t be able to put it down. Ann Morrow meets, falls in love and eventually weds Colonel Charles Lindbergh. She became the world’s first licensed female pilot, but despite that accomplishment she is always just the aviator’s wife – until she learns to embrace change and happiness – after experiencing hardship and heartbreak.

  • Your Brain on Nature by Dr. Eva Selhub and Alan C. Logan

This book is on my wish list. It was recommended to me by Vinessa of Clearwater Canoeing in Saskatchewan. She tells me that she makes the book required reading for all the staff she hires. Why? – so that they can understand the relationship between nature and our physical, psychological and mental health. Since I plan to spend most of the summer outside, I’d like to know exactly what it’s going to do for me. I probably already do but the book provides the empirical evidence.

  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson

If you have had any experience with people with Asperger’s, you will instantly recognize Don Tillman. Don, a professor of genetics, says “Logically I should be attractive to a wide range of women”. He is on a search for a wife and his methodology is hilarious. You will be rooting for this guy and in awe of his memory and brain power. Plan to read the book in one sitting.

  •  The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife refers to Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, the couple heads for Paris in the 1920’s. The ups and downs of their lives, their relationships with the big thinkers and writers of their time – like Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, the jealousies and deception – all make for great reading.

  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Over Christmas I had a chance to visit Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home. One of my readers suggested this book. It’s about a clandestine love affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and one of his clients – Mamah Borthwick. Although the book is fictional, it’s based on their real affair – which ended tragically when she was murdered at Taliesin West.

What books – and I like everything but science fiction – would you recommend for summer reading in 2o14?

Leigh McAdam


Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure – & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project – a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

More posts by Leigh

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Andrew says:

    A very interesting book list, Leigh. Something for almost everyone here.

  • Donna Hull says:

    What a great stack of summer reading. I just finished The Paris Wife. It’s a great read but I ended up mad at Ernest Hemmingway. Did I recommend Loving Frank to you? It’s another good one. I think The Aviator’s Wife and Grandma Gatewood’s Walk are going to be added to my Kindle. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • @Donna It may have been you that suggested Loving Frank. It’s next. I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy Grandma Gatewood’s Walk. I can relate to your anger about Hemingway. He certainly didn’t treat his wife very kindly – except when he was in a good mood.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. I think that my book club in Texas would enjoy Your Brain on Nature. We read Mountains Beyond Mountains years ago and had a really good discussion. My book club in Malaysia is currently reading Wild about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and I’m intensely disliking the author of this memoir. I’m only part way through, so perhaps she will redeem herself. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk seems like a better fit for me as far as books about independent women hiking long trails. As for The Rosie Project, it’s one of my favorite reads of the last year. It’s fun and quick, yet it really resonated with me. I explained Don’s methodology to my teen son, and he thought it made complete sense. I wonder if I’ve now influenced his dating years. The Paris Wife has been on my very long Want to Read list ever since last summer when I myself visited Paris. Have you read anything by Mary Roach? I found her non-fiction book Packing for Mars both informative and humorous.

    • @Michele I also read Wild and found Cheryl a little too self-absorbed for my tastes. Grandma Gatewood’s walk is another thing altogether. She was one gutsy lady and just this AM I had an email that a documentary is going to be made about her life by WGTE/PBS, Eden Valley Enterprises and FilmAffect. The Paris Wife is an exceptional read. I have not read anything by Mary Roach so have just added that book to my wish list. Thank you Michele.

  • Jackie Smith says:

    I also read The Paris Wife, and found it interesting. My stack is already about to topple over, but you’ve given me some good ideas for others to add to it. BTW, we ordered the shoes you reviewed (found them on sale so with shipping and tax they were $95 US a pair) Mine -coral was all that was available – arrived today and I am already in love with them. Joel remarked that they looked nice enough to wear anywhere and not just hiking. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Mette says:

    I love reading recommendations, and the only one I’ve read on this list is The Paris Wife, so thank you for the inspiration.

    • @Mette There are so many great books out there that I let to get recommendations so I don’t waste my time with a bad one. And I look forward to lots of reading this summer.

  • Sophie says:

    Dervla Murphy’s Through Siberia by Accident, about her (then in her 70s), biking through Siberia. Very inspiring.

  • Christopher says:

    I’d recommend Dorothee Lang and Smitha Murthy’s Worlds Apart. If you love short literary fiction, any of the following would be very good reads: Kathy Fish’s Together We Can Bury it, May-Lan Tan’s Things to Make and Break, Dan Powell’s Looking Through Broken Windows. Colin Winnette’s Fondly is a great book (sort of violent), and Lee Klein’s The Shimmering Go-Between is wild and fun. Gay Degani’s What Came Before is a page turner murder mystery.

  • Faye says:

    Have you read either of Arlene Blum’s books? One is called ‘Annapurna: A Women’s Place’; the other ‘Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life’.
    They are both amongst the most engrossing books I’ve read. She is an inspiration!

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