Summer 2015 Read, Watched, Listened to…

Well, since I dropped C off at PreK today, it feels like a good day to call the summer officially over.

Here’s what I’ve read, watched, and listened to this summer. (At least, what I think is good enough to recommend.)


The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking– I still have about 40 pages to go on this one, but I’m including it in this list because I highly recommend it. A book that debunks a lot of pop psychology about positive thinking and goal setting as effective ways of achieving happiness and success. Great examples. Thought provoking. Used it in a sermon.

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God– It’s hard to call this book “read” because it’s the type of book to be picked up again and savored and understood again and again. Rilke is a late 19th century/early 20th century Austrian poet whose poems are originally written in German. The most lovely theme of these poems, in my opinion, is how they develop the idea of God’s dependence on humanity. I welled up at these words: What will you do, God, when I die? Beautiful.

Brown Girl Dreaming (Newbery Honor Book)– I can’t remember where or how I heard about this book, but I’m glad I did!  This is an autobiographical work about Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood in the 1960s and 1970s. She divided her time between the South and North. It’s written in beautiful free verse.

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White HouseI read an excerpt of this in Reader’s Digest and was hooked! I plowed through this one in a couple of days. It tells stories about the inside of the white house from the perspective of many of the butlers, chefs and others who work on the inside. I loved it, and it made me want to read more about presidential history.

The Art Forger: A NovelI love fiction books about art history and art forgery and art heists. This book has a little bit of all of those. It reads like an action-adventure movie. I thought it got a liiiiittle absurd at times (just like a good movie, right?) but overall, it was great.

Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern ArtKeeping on the art forgery theme, this is a non-fiction work about an infamous art forger named John Drewe. I found this one a little more cumbersome and tedious than the previous one (The Art Forger) but still good.

The Light of the World: A Memoir– I saved the best for last. This was, hands down, my favorite book of the summer, (and my favorite book of 2015, so far.) It’s gripping and haunting and gorgeous. I didn’t want it to end. I hesitate to give books such high recommendations, lest they disappoint. After all, books are like works of art, they hit people in different ways. This is Elizabeth Alexander’s memoir of her marriage and the grief that followed the sudden loss of her husband. I think the thing I love most about it is how she so artfully records the details of everyday moments. I firmly believe that it is the everyday moments that make our lives extraordinary — the simple meals we enjoy together, the fruit at the market, the kiss goodbye in the morning. This book captures that in such a painfully beautiful way.


I’m waaaay late to the party on THIS TED talk, but holy cow! Watched it twice.

Forger…Who knew John Travolta was making new and good stuff? (Note the Art Forgery theme… again!)

Listened to:

I’m a fan of This American Life in general, but this two-part episode was paradigm shifting…

THISsong on repeat thanks to Elias’s  recent obsession


FCC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. -TMS

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