Ten "Must Reads" for a PNW summer

Motivational historical and romantic choices

By Gwyn Nielsen on June 22, 2018

The most beautiful season of the year in the Pacific Northwest is here. It is time to pack a picnic, a bottle of local wine, a lawn chair and a good book for the glistening shores of the Puget Sound. Today, I am sharing 10 "Must Reads" for a perfect PNW summer.

Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path by Erin Loechner. If you live a fast paced life and feel like you are missing what is important, this book is for you. By the final word, you will have a fresh perspective, a direction to achieve contentment, and ideas to renew priorities. This book will give you tools to slow down and focus on the journey of grace versus the race. Here are two powerful quotes from the book: "We are doing ourselves no favors when we look to the crowd to tell us who we are." "Sometimes when we're not looking for what we want, we find what we need."

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This historical fiction is the story of two French sisters and each of their experiences during World War II. Grab a glass of PNW wine. The ending will leave you in tears, contemplating a second, or possibly a third, glass of wine.

How to Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories, and Places by Diana Henry. If cookbooks are your thing, this is one you must read. Diana Henry chose the title of her book in reference to how Italians eat meals in the summertime when it is too hot to cook. The host places a bowl of peaches on the table and offers a glass of chilled moscato. That is it. A bowl of peaches and a glass of wine. Each menu in the book is introduced with a personal story of Diana's journeys.

Providence by Caroline Kepnes. This novel is a thriller. Two best friends, Jon and Chloe, share an intense bond that exceeds friendship. Before Jon can declare his love, he is kidnapped. This book brings you to face the power of human connections.

The Kiss Quotient by Hello Hoang. Like romance? Stella is a peculiar girl who relates all things to math equations. In a quest to make sense of kissing, Stella finds that love is the best kind of logic.

Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively. Eighty-four-year-old Penelope will take you on a journey from Eden, to Sissinghurst, to her own backyard sharing a garden in words. I recommend listening to the audio book so that you may close your eyes and allow yourself to walk the gardens with Penelope.

The Summer House by Jenny Hale. Set on the beaches of North Carolina, this is a heart-warming story about family and not keeping secrets.

The Road Trip Book: 1001 Drives of a Lifetime by Darryl Sleath. Rent a convertible and pick up a copy of this book. It is an essential guide to the most beautiful and breathtaking road trips this world has to offer.  

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. This shockingly funny book about three fabulously rich Chinese families will have you doubled over laughing. It is the first in a trilogy and a movie is in the works.

The Map of Us by Jules Preston. All starting with a blue typewriter, this book will have you twisted in a web of secrets and lies while finding a bit of humor along the way.

Gwyn Nielsen is a military wife, volunteer, public speaker, and founder of, SparklingCharm.com.