Yes, the summer is finally upon us.  The kids are out of school, the camp line-up is set, and it is time to buy your supply of sunscreen, check the condition of your beach chairs, and dust-off the Yeti!  It is also time to select your summer reading list.  If you are contemplating divorce, in the middle of divorce, or have finished your divorce, or just want to take some time reading good books this summer that make you laugh, or may make you cry – consider this list of literary gems that are certain to enrich your summer.

1. How to Sleep Alone in a King Size Bed, by Theo Pauline Nester

“I feel like I’ve joined an enormous club, something like the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  We are weary with battle fatigue and sometimes even gripped by nostalgia for the good old, bad old days, but our numbers are large,” writes Theo Pauline Nestor in this honest, funny, and brave chronicle of life after divorce.  She has a great voice filled with heart-warming honesty, and a bigger-than-life mother who puts divorce into perspective – especially since she’s had three!

2. Co-Dependent No more: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself, by Melody Beattie

“Most codependents were obsessed with other people…yet these codependents who had such great insight into others couldn’t see themselves.  They didn’t know what they were feeling.  They weren’t sure what they thought,” writes Melody Beattie.  So, we cannot leave it all to the novelists for summertime divorce reads.  Some serious work must be done!  This is an inspirational book of healing that will help you do the work you need to understand codependency and to create your own path for healing.

3. Wild: From lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strand

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed.  Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told.  I decided I was safe.  I was strong.  I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me,” writes Cheryl Strand in this epoch story of loss, discovery, and triumph.  Sometimes it just takes a long walk to figure things out!  Cheryl takes us on her 1000 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail – a journey that brought her to a place of healing and true human triumph.

4. Loving What is: Four Questions that Can Change Your Life, by Byron Katie

“Whenever we experience a stressful feeling – anything from mild discomfort to intense sorrow, rage, or despair – we can be certain that there is a specific thought that is causing our reaction, whether or not we are conscious of it,” writes Byron Katie in this important and yet simple book on bringing clarity and peace to your life.  Her work is brilliant and worthy of introspect.

5. Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems, by Billy Collins

“But my heart is always propped up in a field on its tripod, ready for the next arrow,” writes the legendary poet, Billy Collins.  Poetry as a summertime divorce read is truly a balm for the soul!  In this collection, Billy captures love, loss, and joy with his witty humor, his unmistakable voice, and uncanny ability to communicate it all through poetry.

6. The Japanese Lover, by Isabel Allende

“We are all born happy.  Life gets us dirty along the way, but we can clean it up.  Happiness is not exuberant or noisy like pleasure or joy; it’s silent, tranquil, and gentle; it’s a feeling of satisfaction inside that begins with self-love,” writes the invenerable Isabel Allende.  This is a multicultural, multigenerational epic novel of love, forgiveness, and humanity.

7. Falling Apart in One Piece: One Optimists journey Through the Hell of Divorce, by Stacy Morrison

“As I looked at the mosaic floor my son was joyously dancing on, I was reminded that what you see in your life isn’t one thing, one picture, one thought.   Life is a thousand little pieces, sliding and moving, like bits of glass in a kaleidoscope.  You may get a moment of suddenly taking in a pattern whole, and this is gone again in a flash, arranging, shifting into something else,” writes Stacy Morrison in her divorce memoir and chronicle of re-connecting with herself.

8. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett

“Bad habits were all a matter of perspective, and as long as the present was viewed through the lens of the past, anyone would say he was doing a spectacular job” writes Anne Patchett in her incredibly well-woven novel, Commonwealth.  Families come in all shapes and sizes, and the Keating and Cousin families are no different – one night made that profoundly clear.

9. Open House, by Elizabeth Berg

“I remove my wedding rings and put them in the jewelry box. So many others have done this. I am not the only one. I am not the only one. But here, I am the only one” writes Elizabeth Berg in her novel of reinventing self and love after divorce.  Not only is this novel entertaining, it is a direct hit to your heart.

10. Heartburn, by Nora Ephron

”I loved to cook, so I cooked. And then the cooking became a way of saying I love you. And then the cooking became the easy way of saying I love you. And then the cooking became the only way of saying I love you. I was so busy perfecting the peach pie that I wasn’t paying attention,” writes the remarkable Nora Ephron.  As usual, Nora Ephron has the ability to bring us to our knees with laughter that heals even when writing about infidelity.

Enjoy the summer, even if you are facing difficult decisions in your own family.  Reading can give you a break and a perspective like no other.

Happy reading!