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Summer is here, and it’s not messing around! New York has been pummelled by heat and humidity for the past few days, making it a good time to sit on the porch (or in front of a fan) with a good book.

It’s been a long time since I lined up books to read. I’ve spent the bulk of the past 5 years reading personal development and business books—and basically spending all of my free time working on blogs and websites or other projects.

To be honest, I have raised my eyebrows more than once at those who seem to blow through books each month. I don’t have the patience for stories, I sometimes mumble to myself. I have stuff to do!

Sadly, that’s been my mindset for a while, which is why I’ve fallen behind with my own blogging (which is, essentially, storytelling), here on Hey Mishka.

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The good news is, I am slowly edging back into fiction.

Last year I went on the annual family beach camping trip and picked up a cheesy beach read on my way. I chose it for its bright pink cover and amusing synopsis. It was a story about a blogger who goes through a major life transformation after her picturesque world falls apart.

Timely, right?

Anyway, I didn’t finish that book, but it was pretty fun to read, and reading fiction made me realize how my own writing has dulled over the years.

They say reading is one of the best ways to become a better writer, and I could immediately see that I was grossly lacking in storytelling techniques, unique character development, and the ability to weave an engaging narrative of any kind.

Yikes.

(You guys may or may not know this, but I am attempting to write fiction on the side.)

Long story short, I’m back into fiction again, re-reading some of my favorites, and checking out some new books as well. My genres are all over the place, much like my brain.

Below you’ll find my reading list and (non-affiliate) links to the books on Amazon.

Summer Reading List 2018

The Diamond Age & Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson – I read both of these in high school and I have read Snow Crash once since then. I am not a sci-fi person, per say, but I believe my obsession with Stephenson can be credited to my teenage obsession with overtly futuristic Hong Kong cinema in the late 90s and early 2000’s. I couldn’t get enough of the batshit crazy characters and wonderfully vivid settings described in Stephenson’s books. They are truly a wild ride.

The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats – William Butler Yeats wrote one of my favorite poems of all time, The Cat and the Moon. From that poem, I took the name Minnaloushe to use in my clothing line: Maison Minnaloushe. You’ve probably heard of Yeats since he’s one of the most famous Irish poets of all time, but I only recently dove deeper into his fascinating life and the transformation of his writing style over the years.

Something in the Water – Did you know “thriller beach read” was a genre? I usually think of beach reads as romances, but I guess it makes sense! This book popped up on my recommended list and I thought it was intriguing. The opening narration is of a woman digging a grave for someone she just murdered, and the overall theme seems to merge paradise and terror in unexpected ways. I won’t say much more—don’t want to spoil anything.

Next Year in Havana – I don’t know what to expect from this dreamy romance book, but the plot hooked me pretty effortlessly: “The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…” I mean, come on. I have to read this.

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So those are the books I am diving into this summer. Since I’ll be taking on a long-term freelance project in mid-August that will require some commuting (le sigh), I’ll be doing plenty of reading on the subway, too.

What books are you hooked on this summer?

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P.S. In my writing group on Facebook, Wi-Fi Writers Club, we have a weekly thread that asks what everyone is reading.

There’s also an awesome support network there for writers in general, so join us if you’re looking for a cool community to take part in!

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Written by Mishka
A city girl who loves palm trees, strong coffee & late night writing. Founder of lifestyle blog Hey Mishka, co-founder & writing coach at Day Job Optional, and designer at Maison Minnaloushe. Learn more about her here.