15 Books to Read This Summer

This year I set a goal to make reading a priority. I’ve been a pretty voracious reader ever since I’ve been since a child but as I’ve gotten older, reading has been a hobby that has definitely slipped through the cracks as responsibilities piled up. In order to reach my goal, I’ve been devouring as many books as I can get my hands on and with summer (aka one of the best reading seasons) almost upon us, I’d thought I’d put out my list of recommendations.

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  1. Night Film by Marisha Pessl – I read this on the recommendation of a close friend and couldn’t put it down. I’m serious when I say that I couldn’t put it down. I was reading at work, at the gym, on the street, and in the kitchen while I cooked dinner at night. I was obsessed with this book to the point of bringing it up to my roommates and anyone who would listen at any available opportunity. I’m pretty sure half of Chicago has likely heard me talk about this book at this point and so if you don’t live in the Midwest, I’ll send this rec out into the interwebs in the hopes that you also will enjoy this book as much as I did.
  2. Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood – As someone who was raised Catholic, I found the premise of this book to be extremely interesting before I’d even cracked the cover. However, I was not prepared for the laughs. This book is hilarious. Grab it as soon as you can.
  3. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell – This gave me all the happy, spring feels and also provided more than enough dramatic flair to get me completely and utterly hooked by the second chapter.
  4. More Than This by Patrick Ness – I wasn’t sure how I’d like this book as I had heard mixed reviews but overall definitely enjoyable. Especially if you’re into cool Matrix vibes and adventurous fiction.
  5. Lust and Wonder by Augusten Burroughs – Honestly, anything by Augusten Burroughs is wonderful but this little baby is exceptional. I was cry laughing at multiple points throughout the book and was struck hard in the feels at others. I was genuinely sad when I finished it and then dove deep into the internet hole of stalking Augusten Borrough’s personal life like some strange and unoriginal voyeur. Augusten, if you ever see this, I’m sorry, I enjoyed your book, and you and Christopher are adorable.
  6. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – So good. That’s all I can say. So good. And cute. And amazing. Read it.
  7. The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda – I love a murder mystery. Literally, get at me with any murder mystery recs that you have. This plot was a little different than what I’m used to and I loved every second of it.
  8. Love’s Executioner (And Other Tales of Psychotherapy) by Irvin D. Yalom – As a professional counselor, I loved this book but I honestly think it’s extremely useful for anyone and everyone (especially if you’re into reality television and/or personal growth).
  9. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – So, full disclosure, I only read this because I liked the cover art and because they’re supposed to be turning it into a movie starring Sebastian Stan (yas gawd). But honestly, it’s amazing. A quick and easy read with a killer mystery to boot.
  10. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby – This book is a classic. Just read it.
  11. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson – I read this while going through a bit of a funk because I had heard good things from people who had read it in similar states to myself. Plain and simple, this book is fucking hilarious. You will absolutely 110% laugh when you read this and every single section is enjoyable. If you’re okay with laughing on a beach in public, take this book with you or else read in the comfort of your own sunshine-filled personal space.
  12. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur – An amazing book of poetry that has an almost cult-like following and for damn good reason. I think I read this book in twenty minutes and then proceeded to cry at the kitchen island in my parents house where I then forced my mom to listen while I recited certain passages aloud.
  13. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West – This is a collection of essays about feminism, pop culture, fat acceptance, and basically being a person in the digital age. I was actually interrupted several times while reading this book by important phone calls (i.e. family emergencies and potential employers) and I actually considered not answering either only so that I could keep reading. It’s that good.
  14. You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein – Refreshing and hilarious antics about growing up as a woman and all that that entails. Both relatable and inspirational.

Pizza Bread

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A few weeks ago, I went to one of my favorite restaurants in my neighborhood where I splurged on their incredible pizza bread. As a self-proclaimed carb queen, I had pretty high expectations and this bread did not disappoint. As I found myself craving more later in the week, I came up with this copycat recipe that dare I say was better than the original. To recreate it, you’ll need:

1 loaf Italian bread

1/4 cup olive oil (or more depending on the size of your loaf)

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoon parsley

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 log mozzarella cheese

Marinara sauce (I used the Thrive Market Organic Marinara)

Pepperoni slices

Fresh basil (optional)

To start, preheat the oven to 375 degrees slice the italian bread 3/4 of the way through so that the bottom is still intact. Mix the olive oil, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and pepper together and use a pastry brush to lightly brush the mixture onto each side of the slices you have created. Insert a folded slice of pepperoni into each of the bread slices that you have created and then layer slices of mozzarella on top of the loaf. Bake the bread for approximately ten minutes (or until the cheese is fully melted). While the bread is baking, heat up the marinara sauce in a small bowl and then set to the side. Once the cheese is fully melted and the bread is thoroughly warmed, garnish with shredded fresh basil. Tear, dip, and enjoy!