My Summer Reading Plans

My Summer Reading Plans


I love to read. I love, love, love it. I have loved it ever since I started reading chapter books in elementary school. Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High, The Babysitter’s Club and anything Judy Blume were my most favorites. I even got yelled at by my fourth grade teacher for reading instead of listening to instruction. That was scary. The Liberal Southern Belle (TLSB) has been working a lot over the past six months and reading time has not really existed due to juggling two jobs. Thankfully, I am able to let go of one of my additional jobs to read and spend time with my son this summer. Boy, oh boy! This stack of books is ready to be devoured!!

I have a serious “thing” for true crime. Three of the books on my list are true crime books. Let’s start with “The Killing of Anna Nicole Smith” which is actually written by the presiding judge in her wrongful death case. He developed an infatuation with the deceased Anna Nicole Smith during trial like many men did over her brief life. Anna Nicole has always fascinated me – her curvy, voluptuous, blonde beauty went against the stick thin norms that Hollywood demands. Her humble upbringing. Her wild personality commanded attention, and I was and am still a big fan. Especially, after she made a comeback right there at the end of her short life. The E True Hollywood Story about her paired with the lifetime movie about her untimely death only made me want to know more about her. Thus, I found this book – and I actually found it at the world’s largest family owned bookstore in Portland, Oregon – a place called Powell’s Books. Me being in that store is like a crackhead being in a crack house with unlimited rocks! 6 floors full of new and gently used books. Anyway, I am ready to sink my teeth into this one.

Yours For Eternity” is likely the fifth or sixth book involving the West Memphis Three that I will have read. There are also several documentaries and movies on this case. It has captivated me from day one as it happened only 2.5 hours from me in West Memphis, Arkansas. Without getting into the details, this book is the true love story that began while Damien Echols was on death row. It details his romance with Lorri Davis behind bars. I have already started on this one, something I do a lot with books. I am looking forward to finishing it.

My last true crime book for the summer, I am sure I will add more, is by one of my favorite true crime authors, Diane Fanning. I am friends with her on Facebook, and she is a down to earth lady who will actually write you back if you want to ask her questions. I am a huge fan of someone who writes anything, much less someone that writes true crime. She was as obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial as I was, and she details it in her book “Mommy’s Little Girl: Casey Anthony and her Daughter’s Tragic Fate” which was a riveting account of all things Casey Anthony. I have chosen her new book “Under Cover of the Night: A True Story of Sex, Greed and Murder.” It has what I enjoy best in a book: adultery, bad finances and shattered dreams.

I have selected two books by the author Katherine Center called “The Lost Husband” and “Happiness for Beginners.” I discovered Katherine after reading a review of one of her books in People Magazine. I have found several authors that I like this way. Her book “The Lost Husband” really took off and put her on the map, and I haven’t had time to read it. Her newest book, “Happiness for Beginners” is about a divorced woman who goes on a really long hike in the dessert. I felt like I might be inspired to walk on the SKW walking track since I am also divorced – if she can walk across the dessert or mountains or what have you, I can at least put in a mile on the walking track?

Not That Kind of Girl” by Lena Dunham is another book that I have started reading. I love her show “Girls” on HBO. I like that Lena is creative and that she is a bit overweight. We have at least two things in common.

Data, A Love Story – How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match” is another book that I have already begun reading. I am big about starting books and going back to them later. This book is non-fiction written by a single, successful business woman who has a series of bad dates from online dating. I have not had a series of bad dates from online dating – I have had a plethora. I consider myself smart, and I appreciate the logic she uses to finally meet her future husband. Right now, I am putting online dating on the back burner. My son is coming, and I don’t have time for the non-sense that is online dating. It is truly a time thief. I have had so many dates where staying home in my recliner with my Sophie Girl (beagle) cuddled up next to me would have been such a better choice. I would like to read about what she did and how it worked for her. I may employ her strategy if I get lonely again this fall. Right now, my Little A (son) will be getting my full attention. He is more fun than dealing with the discards available to a divorced woman in her mid thirties. The current dating pool could be an entire book in and of itself. I can teach anyone what not to do.

The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins is another book that I have started reading. It is a hot, hot bestseller and was listed as Amazon’s Book of the Month for January. I don’t read every bestseller as I prefer to find hidden gems on my own, but I do read at least two or three a year. This was one of the ones that I picked for summer reading because the main character is an alcoholic divorced woman whose ex-spouse has remarried and had a child with someone else. This one resonates for obvious reasons. Also, there is a crime element as the main character witnesses something from her train commute that becomes part of the main plot of the story. This one should be a page turner.

My last two books are by authors local to the small town where I live. The first one is by Annie Oeth called “Because I Said So: Life in the Mom Zone.” I devoured Oeth’s “For Love or Money: A Guide to Bungee Jumping Through Life.” I loved her second book “For Love…” because it talks about living on a budget and online dating – two things that are topics I need a little help on still! Another reason that Annie Oeth is such an intriguing author is because I used to babysit her two oldest boys. Also, she is a journalist and a writer. She started out just like me working for the Daily Times Leader right out of college, and she went all the way to features editor for The Clarion Ledger in Jackson – in addition to writing two books and raising four children.  I guess I read these out of order. I read her second book first. I am looking forward to the first book – she said it had a lot of West Point in it. My final selection is a book “Colleen” written by Diane Barrett Powell of West Point. Growing up, her husband was our family doctor and her son was close to me in age. Diane did a marvelous book talk at our local library on her book and where she got the inspiration to write it. “Colleen” is of special interest to me because it details the life of a young girl who loses her husband in World War II. The same thing happened to my grandmother, and I would like to read this to better understand her heartache. Plus, I just really admire people who write and publish books in this area!

If you will notice, I slipped a copy of People Magazine on top of the pile. Pop culture or celebrity news is my comfort food. I enjoy reading about and seeing photos of celebrities. I know this is nothing to be proud of, but it is mindless entertainment, and I love it.

What are you reading this summer?


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