The Live FAST Summer Reading Guide


Reading should be a pleasure enjoyed by all. With the summer months heating us up, we hope to find some sunny corners of the world to sit back and turn pages of new reads with freshly licked finger tips. Whether it’s curling up with a hot cup of coffee in bed, or wine on a breezy patio, we hope you find the time this summer to investigate a new book that brings you great inspiration.  Our team of seasoned writers here at Live FAST would like to start you off with a few recommendations…

Erin Rose Belair @roseblacque

Fourth of July Creek, Smith Hederson

Fourth of July Creek rocked my world. This book is filled with heart and anguish and I found it intoxicating. I’d wake up early before work just to get a few chapters in. Set in rural Montana in 1980 it follows Pete Snow, a down and out social worker, who for better or worse truly cares about people often much more than his own well being. The plot never lags, not even for a second, and the prose will keep you shadow boxing until the very end. Henderson is a master of language. And this book, like any really good one, will teach you how to read it from page one. Keep an eye out for my favorite passage in which he turns word Wyoming into an active verb and adjective. I loved it to the very end and it has stayed with me since.

Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed

I had to put myself on a reading diet once I got this book in my hands because otherwise I would have devoured it one afternoon. Dear Sugar (aka Cheryl Strayed) was for years a cult worthy advice column on The Rumpus. After coming clean that she was in fact Sugar, she released this collection of letters and responses, the best of the best from her years on the column. There is something for everyone here. The book moves from sections on love, self wort, grief, family, and more. She is witty, heartfelt, hilarious, and at times painfully honest in the best of ways. It’s a fun read you can pick up and put down all summer long.

Julia Childs @juliaelisechilds

On Beauty, Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith’s prose is quite delectable. The plot weaves together multiple characters, resulting in drama that is entertaining enough to keep you hooked but smart enough to keep you stimulated. Smith’s keen sense of a superb narrative structure paired with her beautiful syntax makes for a read that you are certain to get lost in.

Siddhartha, Herman Hesse

The last time I read this book, I was fourteen years old. I remember being particularly perplexed by a passage where a character is meditating while standing on one leg. I am assuming I was too young to fully understand and appreciate the intended profoundness of said passage. This fact, for whatever reason, led me to feel inclined to pick up a copy of the book this past week and re-read it.

Vivianne Lapointe @ladyshark

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo

A Japanese bestseller gaining a huge following in North America and Europe. “Tidying is a dialogue with oneself” author, Marie Kondo explains. The idea around this is to keep only pieces which “spark joy” within you. Decluttering your house will lead to a less cluttered mind. This book will help you find calm and focus with a categorical method that has lasting results.

Erin Kelleher @moongallery

Geek Love, Katherine Dunn

Geek Love is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose children are “designed” by their parents with the help of drugs, radiation, and poison so they can be truly freakish enough to maintain their own traveling Fabulon.

The premise was, at first, a bit off-putting, and I feared that I may be in for an overdose of “crazy for crazy’s sake” when I first started reading, but after adjusting to the strange language and getting an idea of what the characters were like in the first few chapters, I became so immersed in this world of the “Other” that I soon found myself feeling like I was trailing right along with this distinctive family, riding the wave of their illuminating tour as they performed across the backwaters of the U.S.

Annisha Lashand @cobra.scales

Wild, Cheryl Strayed

Wild made me remember that I have the space and time to change my story no matter what period of life I am passing through. This is a most eloquent memoir of Cheryl Strayed’s hike through the Pacific Crest Trail after suffering the loss of her mother and spiraling into a grief filled drug addiction. The scenery descriptions in this book will make you forget where you are and Cheryl’s self conscious writing style is beautifully human and whole. My walks through the city slowed and I began to admire the life around me once again after reading this book.

A Midweek Meditation on Zadie Smith’s Literary Brilliance, Michelle Obama’s Grace and Common’s Never-ending Creativity

This week, I’m leaning into love. Love for literature and one of its most brilliant minds. Love for our First Lady who feels like family instead of political royalty. Love for Common, a man whose trademark creative impulse shines on an unofficial remix of “Cranes in the Sky.”

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