May's Book Club was this 1960s Russian novel which follows a man through a day in the Soviet Gulag. Through a series of flashbacks you learn Ivan's personal story and how his experience tells the greater story of life under Stalin's Russia. This book is certainly strong and insightful, but I would recommend Journey Into the Whirlwind as an even more compelling read on life under Stalin. (Whirlwind is an incredibly powerful non-fiction story about a woman sent to a Siberian camp.)
Our book club is also reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane as a fun book to read with your kids over the summer. For some reason, my boys were not in the least interested, but I still liked it. While it's a short book that kids can read on their own, it still held my attention. In the same vein as the Velveteen Rabbit, Edward Tulane is forced into various circumstances that teach him what is means to love and be loved.
When I asked my friend Becky for a light "beach read", she suggested Undomestic Goddess. The title alone made me love it, and when I unexpectedly discovered that it was by Sophie Kinsella, author of the Shopaholic series, I knew it would be perfect. I think Undomestic Goddess is actually my favorite of Kinsella's books. While I totally enjoyed the Shopaholic books, the main character kinda bugged me. Not so in Undomestic Goddess. The story is about a high-powered attorney who, quite accidentally, made a multi-million error. She freaks out and finds herself in the countryside where she impersonates a domestic servant. It's cute, funny, and the perfect vacation read.
My sister recommended The Nannies for my vacation. This is a youth series about three teenagers who become nannies to the super rich/famous in LA. It was an easy, light read. However, if you are looking for a great book about being a nanny that will make you both laugh and cry, then read The Nanny Diaries. (It was made into a movie a few years back, but even if you saw the movie, the book is still worth your time.)
Our family is heading to Florida in just a few weeks, and I need some more "mind candy" books for the trip. Any suggestions?