Reading Lists: For the Park Bench

Now that it’s warm out (but no longer full-fledged summer), it’s perfect park bench reading time.  It’s warm enough to sit outside and enjoy a good book but not so hot that the sweat from your forehead starts dripping on the pages.  Here are some books to enjoy while you’re enjoying the fresh air:

reading list - park bench

For the girl who heads to the park to escape prying eyes:

“The Lying Game” – Ruth Ware’s (In a Dark Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin Ten) latest novel brings a formerly inseparable high school foursome together when their past threatens to come back to haunt them.  At boarding school, Isa, Kate, Thea, and Fatima got a high off telling lies and fooling anybody but each other.  As adults, they’ve grown up and moved on…until a human bone is found on the beach and their most serious lie is at risk of being discovered.

4 out of 5 stars.

reading list - park bench - the lying game

For the person who looks around the park and marvels at her freedom:

“The Handmaid’s Tale” – I read this book way back when (in 7th grade, I believe) and the only thing I could remember was that store signs had pictures rather than words because people in this society couldn’t read.  When the Hulu adaptation was released, I decided to re-read this OG in the dystopian fiction genre.  If you haven’t read it yet, give it a go.  If, like me, you read it forever ago, read it again because it’s definitely a trailblazer.  Side Note: I can’t believe a teacher let me read this when I was so young!

reading list - park bench - handmaid's tale

For the person who enjoys the changing seasons:

“Sweetbitter” – This book is about a girl named Tess in the food industry…how could I not read it?!  After 50% of reviews were raves and 50% were “meh”s, I decided to wait until this one came out in paperback.  I’m glad I waited because while it was certainly enjoyable, it wasn’t the must-read of the summer.  First of all, I only know the main character’s name is Tess because of the synopsis on the back cover.  She isn’t mentioned by name until page 216 (well over halfway), which made it a bit harder to connect with her.  She felt like any other 22 year old coming of age in the big city, doing too much cocaine, and crushing on inappropriate men.  Perhaps that’s part of the point.  She could just be anyone in the restaurant industry, trying to figure things out.  I don’t want to say Tess loses herself; I think she was lost to begin with but doesn’t seem to care about finding herself.  The stream of consciousness style of writing definitely contributed to that “anybody” feeling.

3 out of 5 stars.

reading list - park bench - sweetbitter