Hi, I’m Riley.

I'm a web designer based in Vermont where I run my own design studio. I am always working on several side projects, and building my husband's art brand Goons into an international empire. 

Top 10 Summer Reads for Thinkers, Dreamers, and Fans of Wit and Charm

reading in a meadowNow that summer is officially here (yay!) it's time to get serious about our reading lists for the next few months. There is a certain feeling to summer which makes it seem appropriate from any type of read, and I find it best for going from one genre to the next. One summer I decided to read the entire series of Harry Potter, and while I was happy to finally get through the entire series, it took an enormous amount of time (4,100 pages! I'd read it again though). So, this list is composed of a variety of reads, all of which I've read sometime in the last 5 or so years, and every one of which I highly recommend. Bonus! None of these are new releases, so they're all reasonably priced (I've been waiting for Gone Girl to go on sale forever!).

The Firm, John Grisham

john grisham the firmThe Firm is the first John Grisham book I read and it remains my favorite. He always writes about crime/scandals... the type of book that leads you guessing what will happen until the end, and always throws a few wrenches along the way. I read this before I even realized there was a movie (and now apparently a TV show), and I'm glad I did because I much preferred the book (don't we always?) even though the movie starred Tom Cruise and I am a fan of him.

Animal Farm, George Orwell

george orwell animal farmAnimal Farm is one of those classic books, it will always apply to society and will forever impart its timeless lessons. Told through a story of animals on a farm, of which several of them come to power, and what it means for the other animals who are mere cogs in the wheel. I read this about 5 years ago and I still think about it all the time. Short but very powerful.

The Sunday List of Dreams, Kris Radish

the sunday list of dreams, kris radishThe Sunday List of Dreams is a much more light-hearted read than the two above, and probably meant for someone who is middle-age/mid-life crisis era (what does that mean anyway... I don't believe in age) vs myself as a 20-something. It's the story of a woman who is always creating lists for her life (something I always do), and how she discovers herself through finding out about her daughters secret sex shop in NYC. It's a good read about family and finding yourself. I'm certain my Mom and sister read this one as well.

The Richest Man in Babylon, George S. Clason

the richest man in babylon, george s clasonThe Richest Man in Babylon is a book about money, and it is the one book on my bookshelf I can see myself reading over and over. Told over the course of 7 or 8 chapters, I find this book is best read by reading one chapter a night, and taking the time to digest each lesson after reading. It's kind of like the adult version of a fable. You will get a lot out of it and will likely rethink how you handle your money and how you want to grow your wealth.

Plain Truth, Jodi Picoult

plain truth, jodi picoultI know Jodi Picoult is a huge deal. Every time she does an author reading in my area, people show up in hoards, however this is the only book I've read of hers. I'm not sure why, because it is excellent. (Other Jodi Picoult book recommendations, anyone?). Plain Truth takes place in Amish country, surrounding the mysterious appearance of a newborn who was found dead, and the young girl who is believed to be the mother, and person responsible. Really well-written, and definitely a book you will recommend to fellow bookworms.

The Dead Don't Dance, Charles Martin

the dead don't dance, charles martinInterestingly, I read The Dead Don't Dance around the same time as the above, and it also involves a baby. I remember it as being haunting and mysterious, two things I like in a book. I recommended it to my sister, and she barreled quickly through reading it as well.

Still Life With Woodpecker, Tom Robbins

still life with woodpecker, tom robbinsTom Robbins is one of my favorite authors of all time. Still Life With Woodpecker is the first book of his I read, and I think I'm due another reading this summer. His writing is quirky and strange, I associate it with being a woman, connecting with the moon, the feelings of childhood and adulthood, love, finding yourself, and feeling like another version of a human.

Naked, David Sedaris

naked, david sedarisIf you haven't read anything by David Sedaris, you are really missing out. He possesses a great wit and talent for retelling stories, comes across as charming and will definitely make you want to be friends with him. Naked is a series of essays and is the perfect summer read. If you want to try before you buy, check out this article he wrote for The New Yorker recently.

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

the hunger games, suzanne collinsObviously you know about The Hunger Games, but have you read the books? I made a point to read the trilogy before seeing the first movie in theaters last year, and I'm glad I did. There was so much missing from the story! Gah - I hate that. The Hunger Games sort of feels like a futuristic Animal Farm now that I think of it. Many lessons to be learned. (For the record, I liked the movie too, and I'm looking forward to the next two). Also, this book is on sale for $2.45 right now! (say what?!)

Bossypants, Tina Fey

bossypants, tina feyFinally, for some good laughs care of our favorite high-profile bitch, read Bossypants. Tina is so relatable in a way that others who've made it big are not. She recounts stories of growing up, and all the awkward, funny in retrospect moments that go along with it. Bossypants is Liz Lemon in book form. (Don't you relate to her weirdness? I do.)

What are your favorite summer reads? I'm always on the hunt for the next book to add to my stack!

photo of girl reading in a meadow via

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