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Milk and Cookies

with Kristen

I'm a mother of five, a bargain hunter, a recreational comparison shopper, and always trying to make more time - for me and for you, too. On this blog I'm sharing my favorite tools and finds to help make your work-life juggle a bit easier.

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Summer reading list

Categories: Books


It’s not like I have more time during the summer than during the rest of the year, but I persist in thinking of it as a time for lying around on the beach and reading. Ha ha ha! But anyway.

Stories I Only Tell My Friends, by Rob Lowe (photo from I put this on my list after being assured by many reviewers that it was the GOOD kind of celebrity autobiography, rather than the kind that makes you go totally off the celebrity. I concur: I had many eye-rolling moments, and yet I came away from it wanting to see more of what Rob Lowe had done.

Cutting For Stone, by Abraham Verghese (photo from I found this book slow going: the grimness/sadness/ickiness of many scenes made me reluctant to pick it up once I’d put it down. I ended up really, really, really liking it—but if you gave up on it, you would not find me critical.

Bossypants, by Tina Fey (photo from We’re all reading this book this summer, I think. It’s the one I’m working on now. I find I really, really, really like Tina Fey after seeing her in a few episodes of 30 Rock and a few impersonations of Sarah Palin. I’m about 1/3rd of the way through the book and I don’t like her any less yet.

Room, by Emma Donoghue (photo from This is the book we all read a season or two ago, but I haven’t read it yet because I’ve been so frustrated with our library’s search system. I type in “Room” and select the “title” field—and I get ten pages of results with names like “The Current State of Nanotechnology, and Where There is Room for Improvement.” Finally this morning I committed to finding it even if I had to call the library and ask them to help me, and I did find it, and there are only 11 holds on it so I hope I’ll read it this summer.

The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton (photo from This is next on my list: I have it out from the library and the timer is ticking because it’s on hold for someone else, and I’m still reading Bossypants, which is also on hold for someone else. Ack!

State of Wonder, by Anne Patchett (photo from I’m on hold for this right now. In fact, I had it in my mitts last month but didn’t have time to read it so I returned it and put myself back on the hold list.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs (photo from I’m on hold for this at the library, and our library only has one copy—and I see the hardcover is 50% off at Amazon. Sometimes if I find a popular book at a good price, what I do is buy it, read it, and then donate it to the library. I’m tempted to do that here.


What are you reading this summer? What do you recommend others add to their lists? Do you too always think you’ll have more time to read when it’s hot outside, but then find that you don’t?

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16 comments so far...

  • Your library list is exactly like mine, ticking clock and all.

    I’ve read Cutting for Stone, Bossypants, Room, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children - all were good reads.

    Right now I’m working on The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.

    Amanda  |  July 20th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

  • Bossypants! I read that, straight through, on a flight earlier in the summer. Luckily, no one was sitting in the seat immediately next to me, because I was laughing so hard that my whole body was shaking. I must’ve looked like a nut (totally worth it).

    Buttercup  |  July 20th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

  • At any time I have at least 5 books on hold with our library. Then it never fails that I will go a few weeks with nothing to read, then suddenly three books I’ve been waiting for come at once. And I can never manage to read them all yet I can’t renew them b/c they’re books someone else has a hold on. Drives me insane!

    I am one of the few who didn’t like “Room” and didn’t even finish it. It did nothing for me. I love Kate Morton, so I’ll put that on my list. Also a fan of Ann Patchett (she went to my university so I have some pride there, as if I had anything to do with her success) and Miss Peregrine sounds very interesting!

    I would recommend Discovery of Witches.

    Shelly  |  July 20th, 2011 at 1:49 pm

  • I’m reading State of Wonder right now, and I have Miss Peregrine on my wishlist. I’ve also read Room, which I liked but didn’t LOVE.

    I think next I’ll read a Discovery of Witches, and then some thriller-y type stuff (new Tess Gerritson, new Preston/Child).

    Tessie  |  July 20th, 2011 at 2:06 pm

  • That last one looks really intriguing. The reviews painted it much differently than what I would have expected by just looking at the cover/title.

    I just finished re-reading all the Harry Potter books so I can go see the last film, since I have some sort of cultish need to re-read all the books whenever something new “Harry” comes out.

    Misty  |  July 20th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

  • I’m on the list for the Rob Lowe book at my library. I saw your review on your other site, and it made me even more excited to get it!

    I just read Bossypants and now my husband is reading it. We both liked it.

    Right now I’m reading The Historian, which is not in a genre I usually read (it’s kind of sci-fi/vampire), but I am really liking it.

    Room seems like it would be too intense for me right now.

    -R-  |  July 20th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

  • Exactly the way I felt about Cutting for Stone. Took me nearly a full year to finish it but I ended up really loving all the characters.

    And I love the cover art. I had it on the Kindle so I missed out on seeing that picture all the time, which is too bad in a way. :)

    “Peculiar Children” is an intriguing title!!

    el-e-e  |  July 20th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

  • I’m waiting for Bossypants! And loved Room. I listened to it on audiobook, and it was creepy and unsettling as can be, but a page-turner for me. Also loveloveloved Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, but I really like Aimee Bender and her fantasy realism coolness. Also reading Good to a Fault, which I think you might like! Only a little way into it so far, though.

    marilyn  |  July 20th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

  • This summer I’m rereading a bunch of books I loved as a child, trying to figure out why I connected with them SO HARD all those years ago. Plus, juvenille fiction is satisfyingly quick to get through. Stuff along the lines of Island of the Blue Dolphins, the Doctor Doolittles, and some of the big classics: Alcott, Burnett, Carroll, Lewis. And I’m previewing them again for my kiddo, who may be ready to have chapter books read to her soon.

    As for recently read and loved, here are four from my list. Don’t know if they’re things I may have gotten from you, actually! If I had to only recomment one, it would be this sweet multi-generational story: The Namesake, by Jhumpra Lahiri. They made a movie of this, but leave it ALONE until you read the book or it won’t really make sense. Also on the list: Look Again, by Lisa Scottoline. Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller. Not Becoming My Mother, by Ruth Reichl.

    BKC  |  July 20th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

  • I’ve got Miss Peregrine on my Amazon wishlist, and I am several people deep on the library loan list, so I also might just buy it. I think I’ll probably need to get the actual book instead of the Kindle copy, because it’s supposed to have great pictures that are integral to the story, and those don’t show up very well on my Kindle screen.

    Lynnette  |  July 20th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

  • Also, I am currently reading the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series in one volume, and I fear not getting it back to the library in time.

    Lynnette  |  July 20th, 2011 at 9:28 pm

  • Just finished “Forgotten Garden” and really, really enjoyed it so HURRY UP! ;-) Glad to hear about “Cutting”. I keep waffling over it . . .

    I am now reading “Faithful Place” by Tanna French and loving it so far and I recently finished “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah (really good but a painful read - sorta like how Schindler’s List is a really good movie, if that makes any sense at all). I also liked “The Physik Book of Deliverance Dane” but it read sorta like a screenplay so you wouldn’t miss much if you waited for the inevitable movie.

    SallyG  |  July 21st, 2011 at 8:01 pm

  • Thanks! Some of these I was able to find in my library’s Overdrive system so that I could borrow them for my Kindle for free. I am also trying to make it through “Cutting for Stone” and I appreciate your words of encouragement :).

    Betsy  |  July 21st, 2011 at 8:25 pm

  • Oh, I would recommend “Emily Alone” by Stewart O’Nan I just finished it and loved the character-focused writing.

    Betsy  |  July 21st, 2011 at 8:26 pm

  • I want to read Room too. Hopefully sometime soon.
    I LOVE Tina Fey! LOVE! However, I didn’t think the book was nearly as funny as she is. I thought it was just OK.

    Devan  |  July 26th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

  • I read nothing that is worth noting, but absolutely love posts about what other people are reading! I like light fiction, chick lit, and so pretty much never read anything that anyone else is ever reading. I may have to put a couple of yours on my list…I like going on the waiting list at our library for book suggestions because when my name finally comes up there is a strange motivation to get after it and actually read the book (as opposed to owning it and putting it in the pile of books I have that are to-be-read).

    Melanie  |  July 29th, 2011 at 2:45 pm