3 Books (and 1 Drink) to Enjoy this Summer
Summer is here (at least it feels like it in New York!). For me, the perfect Summer would involve a hammock in a tropical location, a cold drink and a book. Unfortunately I can't take you to the tropics, but I can bring you the other two with this delicious boozy chamoyada recipe and these four sizzling reads!
I am a bit of a seasonal reader. In the summer I gravitate towards “addictive” reads with either great plot twists or juicy characters and storylines that I can really get invested in quickly. I look for books that are perfect for reading on the beach or by the pool. These four reads span genres, time, location and cultures but each one will grip you from start to finish.
As for the drink…
Chamoyadas are one of my favorite summer treats! They combine a perfect mix of mango sweetness and chili spiciness (this one contains a little liquid happiness too! Although of course you can omit this part if you’d like). You can find chamoy and Miguelito or Tajin at most Mexican grocery stores and frozen mango in the freezer section at your local grocery stores. This summer drink pairs perfectly with these 4 engrossing binge worthy reads, salud!
2 cups frozen mango cubes
3/4 cup of fruit juice of your choice (orange juice or guava are my favorites)
Salsa de Chamoy
Tequila (to taste)
To prepare the glass:
Wet the rim of a glass with lime juice and dip the rim into a plate of miguelito (Tajin or salt also work). Coat the inside of the glass with chamoy sauce.
To prepare the drink:
Blend the frozen mango chunks, fruit juice and tequila until you have a smooth, drinkable consistency. You can add water or juice to adjust consistency to your taste. Add a squeeze of lime juice and mix. Pour the mango blend over the ice and add a drizzle of chamoy sauce and a sprinkle of Tajin or Miguelito on top. Enjoy!
3 Summer Reading Recommendations
Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Romance? Mystery? Family Drama? History? This books has it all and then some. It follows dual timelines: One follows Elisa a young, rich debutant living in Havana in 1958 who falls in love with a revolutionary just as the Cuban Revolution breaks out and the world she has always known falls apart. The second one is set in modern times and follows Mirasol, a Cuban-American woman and Elisa's granddaughter, as she visits Cuba for the first time after Fidel's death to scatter her grandmother’s ashes on the Island. As the two stories progress they become intertwined and Marisol comes to realize that there was a part to her Grandmother that she never knew. Secrets are uncovered, love blooms in unexpected places and each woman finds her courage under great uncertainty and . This book is a reflection on identity, family and what it means to be Cuban and Cuban-American. If you are looking for a vibrant book with excellent sense of place, beautiful, lush writing and lots of heart, do yourself a favor and pick up Next Year In Havana.
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria (e-book only)
Looking for a summer fling with a book? Well look no further! This steamy contemporary will fit the bill! Set in the glitzy world of a reality TV Dance competition, Take the Lead follows two unlikely dance partners: Gina, a bad-ass Boricua professional dancer with dreams of Broadway and Stone (yes, that is indeed his name) a deliciously lumbersexual Alaskan man who just wants to go home and live a quiet life surrounded by nature. Both have different reasons for wanting to win and the stakes are high and they could not be more different from each other. As the competition progresses however, the dance floor is not the only thing that starts to heat up as Gina and Stone they find themselves drawn to each other as more than just dance partners. This book is sizzling! Seriously, there is a certain hospital scene that made me miss my stop when I was reading this book on the train. This book also features: great female friendships and support systems and a very relatable New York subway scene.
The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha, translated by Eric M B Becker
This book is what I like to call a “tiramisu” read: it is sweet and easy to devour quickly but also surprisingly layered and complex if you take the time to savor it. This book really took me by surprise. I’m not going to lie: It was a major cover buy (I mean look at that gorgeous cover) and I rolled my eyes at the overused title structure so I was expecting a funny, light summer read. While this book is compulsively readable it also sparkles with sharp wit, charm and a strong dash of feminism. Euridice is a quiet, middle class Brazilian housewife who’s incredible brain and talents have never been recognized by her husband. This all changes when her sister Guida returns home after a long disappearance and turns her life around. This book is features a conversational almost gossipy prose, in which the narrator relates to the reader stories that allegedly occurred and often digressing to dive into the back stories of some of the secondary characters in the story like the gossipy neighbor, the insufferable mother-in-law and the reporter-father. This is not only immensely entertaining to read and fleshes out the character’s but it also gives the reader a multifaceted look at the complex class, race and gender relations in Brazil. If you are a fan of fun, slightly quirky books à la Fredrik Backman or Muriel Barbery with a quietly radically feminist take I highly recommend you pick this one up!