Susannah’s Summer Reading List

I make no bones about reading.  Other than writing and laughing, it’s my favorite thing to do.  I’m always amazed how many people don’t read.  If you haven’t the time to sit and kick your feet up, you could listen to a book on tape like my pals Amy and David.  In any event, I’m not here to lecture, but merely stimulate, stir and suggest.

1) Why Sinatra Matters…Pete Hamill  You needn’t be a Sinatra fan to appreciate this quaint boozy tale since it regales old New York, opening with Frank holding court at the legendary P.J. Clarke’s Saloon, Pete taking notes.

2) A Marriage Made in Heaven…Erma Bombeck  Queen of quirky essays, if you want something light to keep you company on a cool summer night, Erma’s your girl.

3) How I Got To Be Perfect…Jean Kerr  Jean preceded Erma who was her favorite writer as well as one of mine.  Her pieces drip with such silly innocence even a Catholic nun would giggle.

4) The Truth About Hillary…Edward Klein  One can’t help wondering what Mrs. Clinton did to piss off old Eddie for him to pen such a selection of Hillarisms that will put chills down your spine starting with her nickname, The Big Girl, when she was first lady.

5)  Rewrites…Neil Simon  Any lover of theater and its history this memoir’s for you taking you through all of his plays from The Odd Couple to Laughter on the 23rd Floor.  Notables like Bob Fosse, Walter Matthau and Maureen Stapleton to name a few jump off the page not to mention Simon’s personal history wrapped in gentle poignancy.

6) Robert F. Kennedy; a memoir…Jack Newfield  If you had any doubt RFK would have been a great president this book begs to differ.  Newfield, a respected journalist, was an intimate friend from the very beginning till June, 1968 when Bobby was no more.  A riveting read whether you’re a Kennedy fan or not.

7) The Little Prince…Antoine de Saint Exupery  You want to swoon and smile, reflect and remember what it feels like to have a child’s imagination, run to get a copy.  The illustrations alone are worth the trip.

8) Joe and Marilyn…C. David Heymann  Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe had to be one of the most romantic, tempestuous couples of all time.  Who knew they were about to get remarried when she overdosed in August, 1962 at the age of 36, her funeral held on the day they were to wed.  Sad, but a glorious reminder love, till death due us part and in some cases even after, has the last say.

9) Kitchen Confidential…Anthony Bourdain  You want to hear what goes on in a first-class kitchen as well as every dive along the way, then this candid, sassy, funny book’s for you.  Written in 2000, he still apologizes for its content, but KC put this now famous TV chef (Parts Unknown) on the map.  Whatever you do, don’t ever order fish at any restaurant on a Monday.

10) Operating Instructions…Anne Lamott  One of my favorite writers, her story is about giving birth when she least expected to be expecting.  Another author who weaves woe into mirth having you on the floor wanting to send a baby gift even though her son Sam is now well into his 20s.

11) Some Assembly Required…Anne and Sam Lamott  The sequel in a sense to OI when Sam becomes an unexpected father and Anne a granny.  It was the first book of hers I ever read making me an eternal disciple.

12) A Walk In The Woods…Bill Bryson  His recap of hiking along the Appalachian Trail with a funny pal of his.  You feel like you’re there, happy you’re not when a few things go wrong.

13) Julie and Julia…Julie Powell  If you liked the Nora Ephron film by the same name, you’ll love who inspired it.  JP writes so sweetly on the subject of cooking herself through Julia Child’s famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, blogging the experience through the course of a year.  I recommend this in particular to those royal she-bloggers out there.

14) On Writing…Stephen King  A bible for any scribe and pencil pusher seasoned or otherwise.  I keep my copy by the bed for a quick spur as well as a reminder to keep it real.

15) Bird By Bird…Anne Lamott  A sister read to Steve’s.  There’s something about tips from a writer who’s ridden the rails before you that blink true.  I once heard it described as, aspiring to inspire.

Summer is a great time for classics you never had a chance to read or long to reread.  My particular favorites:

A Moveable Feast…Ernest Hemingway

Frankenstein…Mary Shelley

Out of Africa…Isak Dinesen

Pride and Prejudice…Jane Austen

The Great Gatsby…F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Hunchback of Notre Dame…Victor Hugo

To Kill A Mockingbird…Harper Lee

The Pursuit of Love

                                       Nancy Mitford

Love in a Cold Climate…back to back. 

And for you history lovers, The Big Oyster…Mark Kurlansky  Did you know up till the early 1900s, New York Harbor had so many oysters some the size of catcher’s mitts, even the poorest of families could have them every night for dinner?

Meet You In Hell…Les Standiford  The message Henry Clay Frick sent Andrew Carnegie who, on his death bed, wanted to finally make amends to the man who helped him build his steel empire.

Hallowed Ground…James McPherson  His walking tour of The Gettysburg Battlefield he takes his students on every year making you want to hop a bus and tag along.

Mornings On Horseback…David McCullough  The early life of Theodore Roosevelt written so beautifully you’ll become even against your will, an immediate, avid Teddy fan. The title alone makes you want to peruse it or at least go for a carriage ride.

Lucy…Ellen Feldman.  Lucy Mercer, the great love of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s life though forced to part after being discovered by Eleanor, was at his side in 1945, when he died suddenly in Warm Springs, Georgia of a cerebral hemorrhage.  What was their romance like in the beginning?  Feldman spins a sweet, compelling tale you can’t help but to appreciate.

One last suggestion.  Model Behavior: Friends For Life…Susannah Bianchi  If you’d really like to know why she’s so nuts, here’s your chance.  LOL

I chose books that were pretty short and easy to digest.  You’ll find no Tolstoy here, although who knows, War and Peace might be just what the doctor ordered, along with a Black Russian or two…on the rocks.

ti01082479 smaller reader SB


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
This entry was posted in Books, Family, food, History, humor, Love, New York City, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Susannah’s Summer Reading List

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    Great photo! Thanks for the list.


    • I appreciate the comment. That photo was from a job I just did. Seemed apt to include it. After rereading the list might lag a bit but you know us readers, we can get carried away. Always a privilege hearing from you.


  2. micklively says:

    It’s an impressive list Susannah. I can only find four that I’ve already read amongst them, so I’ve plenty of scope. Alas, there’s already a four foot pile on my “to do” bedside table, so no vacancies for a while yet.
    Love the photo.


  3. Ally Bean says:

    I love this list idea. #2, #3 & #15 are books that sound like perfect, almost inspirational, summer reads to me. I suspect that those three books are around this house somewhere. Now, if I can only find them without becoming enamored by all the other books I’ll find along the way… 😉


    • I love Erma and Jean. When I need to lighten up, I pick them up and when you think how long ago they were written, especially How I Got To Be Perfect, it’s quite amazing to still be laughing. I was a little girl when Jean was machine gunning those essays. Still so funny.


      • Ally Bean says:

        i remember my mother giving me Jean’s book when I young, thinking that I’d appreciate her humor. I really need to re-read that book. Thanks for reminding me of it.


      • Some of the terms like the Bendix for washer machine dates them, but they are as funny now as they were then. Dogs That Have Known Me, The Kerr Hilton, I Saw Mommy Kicking Santa Claus. She was a hoot.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Beverly Giangiacomo says:

    Thanks for the reading list. I thought I might pass along to you my favorite book this year… Essentialism by Greg Mc Keown.
    I have enjoyed reading your column for a long time now and have never commented. It’s a bit like spending a few minutes with a best girlfriend. We don’t always think alike and the banter would be fun to share if it were easily possible. How about a readers weekend in New York where a bunch of readers could walk the walk through the park and have a drink at that bar and have a long winded conversation of many!


    • So nice to meet another reader. I find them few and far between. I do belong to a library where on any given afternoon you’ll see as many as 30 faces shoved in a book.
      I appreciate you read what I write. Always humbling.


  5. Elle Knowles says:

    I have many of these on my TBR list and also have read a few per your suggestion. My favorite is Model Behavior – Friends For Life! Thanks for the list Susannah and love the pic! ~Elle


  6. Great list and great photo. You are gorgeous!


  7. brodbill says:

    Took the words right out of my mouth, Kate Crimmins: great picture and great list. Thanks.


  8. Great List!
    Now that had to be the best photo shoot of your career!


  9. Lost in a book photo…it suits you. Susannah, you are a walking library. Have a super weekend. :O)


  10. Lusekelo Munene says:

    I love the couch haha..


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