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I’m sneaking this post in just in time! It’s my last day at work before a four-day long Labor Day weekend, and I’ve been wearing white clothes all week. I hate when it’s time to relegate my white pants and dresses to the back of my closet (er, shoved under my bed since closet too small), not only because it indicates the dismissal of summer, but I just love happy, bright colors.
But, if I wanted to bring back the memories of summer – the sunshine, swimming pools, green grass, wine, cocktails enjoyed while watching sunsets from the patio <swoon>, all I would need to do is re-read Danielle Ganek’s latest novel, THE SUMMER WE READ GATSBY.
I read the iconic GREAT GATSBY post college, when I was in a selfish haze enjoying my first summer as an “adult” in Chicago. I enjoyed the story and the fanciful clothing and setting, but think I missed some of the finer points of this “Great American Novel.” Reading the importance (er, “influence on the character) of the novel in Ganek’s latest made me want to rush out and find a copy to read again (also, to discover that elusive first edition with dust jacket supposedly worth more than $100k!).
This is a fun read, starting off with highlighting the differences between two half- sisters, thrown together for a month in Southampton in the home of a now-deceased beloved aunt. Pecksland (yes, that’s her name), better known as “Peck” is a 32 year old NYC society gal who’s a wannabe actress (I think we all know a few of these), while Stella Blue Cassandra Olivia Moriarty (who goes by Stella or Cassie) is a shy 28-year old brought up in with conservative European ways, with no living relatives other than the eccentric Peck.
The two sisters are both adrift in their lives, as Peck’s dreams have yet to be realized, while Stella recently went through a divorce and is still reeling from the death of her aunt. The ramshackle bungalow in Southampton brings these two characters, along with a couple other “Fools” (their aunt was very supportive of struggling artists and allowed non-paying “fools” to live in the garage) and takes a fun romp through the bustling community that’s the Hamptons in the summer. Obviously, their sharp edges towards each other become more like sea glass (how’s that analogy?!) as they warm up and end up actually liking each other.
Now I feel all nostalgia for my summer that’s over. Ganek does a great job showing the dichotomy and place of the Hamptons – new money vs. old, and the huge new mansions though large in size may be small in taste. There were fewer pool parties and wine tours than I would have expected – since really, what were these people doing all day!? But she did share friendships, love interests, family drama and a little bit of mystery. This is truly a summer read (or a firelight read when you’re trying to bring back summer thoughts), best enjoyed on the Long Island Railroad, when you have a patio, pool and beach bonfire in your imminent future.
Oh yes, and the aunt’s name is Lydia so I think I see a Southampton bungalow in my future (dad, you reading this? It’d be a great 26th b-day gift/investment!). I’ve already had quite the Southampton summer, thanks to my bf’s share house as well as Ganek’s sumptuous novel.
Good-Bye Hamptons, hello September.
I want this:
Time for this:
Thank you, dear work, for closing your doors to the elements at 3pm. Time to go trek home and warm up in front of the gasping radiator, with a hot toddy and a good book (title tbd).
For those others of you heading home early on this wintery Wednesday, I suggest you make my simple hot toddy too! Make tea (anything black tea works – I personally like mango and lemon, through raspberry wasn’t horrible), add a splash (“splash” is at your whim) of whiskey, lemon juice and a dose of honey, and watch the flakes swirl down.
**My apartment listing from Craigslist, I know this isn’t a book review, but since I need to find someone to sublease so I can head to NYU am hoping it’s somewhat relevant! Please pass this on to anyone who may be interested in Summer in Chicago!**
It makes me melancholy to even post this, since I know there is no better place than Chicago in the summer, especially in my apartment where we have a pool on our roof (32nd floor!), floor to ceiling windows and are just blocks to the beach and many summer festivals!
But alas, I’m headed to NYC for a potentially life-altering summer course, so my room in my Gold Coast high rise will be available, fully furnished and with two wonderful female (24/25) y.o roommates to share the summer experience with!! I’m looking for someone June 1 – July 20, but the end date is negotiable.
Like a hotel but more homey (and no maid, but there is a dishwasher and maintenance men!), the amenities are as follows:
• View of Chicago from the 24th floor in every room, yes that is Lake Michigan!
• POOL on roof with tons of chairs for sunning
• Workout room and laundry room
• 24 hour door men
• Double bed (I’ve been told it’s like “sleeping on a cloud”!)
• Furnished bedroom with desk and wardrobe
• Furnished living room including 42” flat screen TV to be shared (typically Lifetime movie Sunday!)
• Blocks to all public transportation – Redline, 22, 36, 151, 156 buses
• Walk downstairs to the heart of the Gold Coast – State and Rush Streets, for nightlife, food, bars and fun!
• Very affordable rent – Central air is included!
Contact me at email@example.com for more details. We would like to “interview” you since you’ll be living in my room with my two best friends, but I promise it won’t be painful (we can do it with drinks to make everyone more comfortable!). We are looking for a young, professional female who is both fun and independent. I’ll need the first month’s deposit when we come to a living agreement.
I have more pics but posting my bedroom on Craigslist seemed super creepy so contact me for those!
1. View from our living room window… No, it never gets old
2. Pool! I think this was a “staycation” work day; it’s typically more populated
3. North Avenue Beach – a ten minute stroll, of if you’re really lazy a five minute bus ride
4. Roomies on the pool deck – this could be you!!!