Blissful Belle

Be Happy, Feel Beautiful

Summer Must-Reads for Every Blissful Belle!


Need a new book for your nightstand? What about for that upcoming beach trip or vacation? Summer is a great time to relax by the pool, beach, or in an air-conditioned room as you stick your nose into a great book. We all need that escape for our imaginations. You sure don’t want to miss these summer reads. Don’t worry—Snooki’s book doesn’t cut it in our list either.

  • Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells a true tale of Kamela, a young woman struggling to stay alive in Taliban-occupied Kabul. In Afghanistan, we hear from the news that women are oppressed sufferers of the Taliban. However, Kamela is determined to educate herself and, eventually, become a seamstress. She refuses to be kept in this enforced captivity, so she and her sisters sewed beautiful garments and secretly found shops to buy the clothes. This novel focuses on a heartwarming story about the triumph of human spirit, and how one woman can change the lives of others.
  • This August, Emma Stone stars in a movie based on Katheryn Stockett’s The Help. This book is about a white woman who writes stories of abuse and oppression told by black maids who work for white women. The maids do everything for the families: they cook for them, clean their houses and take care of the children. Yet, these families treat the maids as less than humans because of their skin color. The stories told by the maids come with a price—they hope to be published anonymously and not recognizable by the very white women who they work for. Told before the time of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • What summer reading list is complete without Jane Austen? Pride & Prejudice is a book that can’t be helped but to be read over and over again. Opening with Mrs. Bennet worrying about how to marry her five daughters off, this novel was written at a time when a woman’s status and financial security was based on who they marry. Elizabeth Bennet, the second oldest daughter, is a woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, even after she finds that her first impressions aren’t often lasting. Visiting the countryside is Mr. Bingley, a single man of good fortune, and Mr. Darcy, a single man of even greater fortune. Hard to please, Mr. Darcy is repulsed by Mrs. Bennet’s vulgarity and the younger three of the Bennet sisters, and thus cannot see the charm and inner beauty of Elizabeth and Jane until later. Written with wit and style, Jane Austen provides her audience a timeless novel for the ages.
  • One of my favorite books of all time, Jeannette Walls’s memoir The Glass Castle, is told with grace, honesty and a great sense of humor. Jeannette writes about her journey across the country with her dysfunctional family. There was Rex, her father who taught them how to live life fearlessly, when sober. By her father’s side was Rose Mary, an artist and writer who enjoys “excitement.” Despite the countless adventures she had with her parents and three siblings, she lived a life of poverty and neglect. Rex is an alcoholic who can’t keep a job while Rose Mary didn’t want to deal with the responsibility of caring for her family. They move from town to town, hoping for prosperity. In the end, they still eat out of trashcans and walk around in tattered clothes. However, not once does Jeannette doubt the love that her parents have for her. This memoir gives readers a peek into the lives of a family that, from the beginning to the end, is loveable.
  • Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation weaves what it means to be an immigrant with the values of family, a sense of duty, and hope for the future. As an adult, Kimberly looks back at her childhood at a time when she lived a life as a poor sweatshop worker and a scholar. She emigrates from Hong Kong to New York City with her mother in hopes to achieve the American Dream. Jean Kwok does a magnificent job of putting readers in Kimberly’s shoes. I loved how she incorporates the accent in Kimberly and her mother in their dialogues. Kimberly speaks and understands a Chinese schoolgirl’s English; she understands most words but not all. Thus, Kwok writes the dialogue the way Kimberly hears it. Kimberly teaches readers that through hard work and persistence, they can move mountains.

             ◊Vania Myers

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This entry was posted on June 17, 2011 by in Happy Belle and tagged , , , , , , .
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