Good morning friends, and happy Tuesday to you. I hope this post finds you well, and your anticipation of lazy summer days is a positive one, and not racked with fear of wild/bored children…Maybe a little of both?

I come to you today with a small list of books I am hoping to tackle this Summer. One of my favorite memories as a child was laying down with my mother in the afternoons to read Stuart Little, The 100 Dresses, Danny the Champion of the World and countless other magical stories that brightened both of our long Texas Summer days.

Here is whats on my agenda along with a little synopsis of each book:

Find Your Extraordinary by Jessica Herrin, CEO of Stella and Dot

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What if you could, with a little effort, live an extraordinary life? A life in which you felt deep passion for everything you did, and always had time for what matters most? A life in which you had the power, the daring, and the will to make your boldest dreams come true, all while you happily left feelings of inadequacy or guilt behind?

It is possible to take your life from ordinary to extraordinary. The secret? Cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit inside you – the spirit that allows you to embrace your individuality, to look not just at what is but at what could be, to believe in yourself beyond reason and to step up to creating your own definition of happiness and success  – a version of success in which work and family life happily co-exist – instead of chasing a cookie-cutter version.

Here, Jessica Herrin, serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of the Stella & Dot Family Brands, shows how the classic traits of successful entrepreneurs are ones each one of us can develop – and use not only to create a company, but also to create an extraordinary life. Whether we work a corporate job, run a family, or run our own business, Herrin offers realistic, attainable steps each one of us can take to achieve extraordinary success on our own terms. Through candid and inspiring lessons from her life as a successful CEO and working mother of two, as well as stories of many amazing individuals she’s met along the way, Herrin inspires and empowers us to dial up the sound of our own voices and make our authentic dreams a reality.

This book isn’t about having it all; it’s about having what matters most to you. It is about how to find your extraordinary – your extraordinary career, your extraordinary happiness, your extraordinary life.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

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Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends—the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a prestigious husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman—a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.

Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrée into the enviable lives of Manhattan’s elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe’s powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls “True Heart,” Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller—even when the stories aren’t his to tell.

Truman’s fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he’ll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens the door onto one of America’s most sumptuous eras.

The Rainbow Comes and Goes by: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper

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Though Anderson Cooper has always considered himself close to his mother, his intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS affords him little time to spend with her. After she suffers a brief but serious illness at the age of ninety-one, they resolve to change their relationship by beginning a year-long conversation unlike any they had ever had before. The result is a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discuss their lives, the things that matter to them, and what they still want to learn about each other.

Both a son’s love letter to his mother and an unconventional mom’s life lessons for her grown son, The Rainbow Comes and Goes offers a rare window into their close relationship and fascinating life stories, including their tragedies and triumphs. In these often humorous and moving exchanges, they share their most private thoughts and the hard-earned truths they’ve learned along the way. In their words their distinctive personalities shine through—Anderson’s journalistic outlook on the world is a sharp contrast to his mother’s idealism and unwavering optimism.

An appealing memoir with inspirational advice, The Rainbow Comes and Goes is a beautiful and affectionate celebration of the universal bond between a parent and a child, and a thoughtful reflection on life, reminding us of the precious insight that remains to be shared, no matter our age.

 

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Larson

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Joe and Rose Kennedy’s strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the Queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet, Rosemary was intellectually disabled — a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.

Major new sources — Rose Kennedy’s diaries and correspondence, school and doctors’ letters, and exclusive family interviews — bring Rosemary alive as a girl adored but left far behind by her competitive siblings. Kate Larson reveals both the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave to Rosemary and then — as the family’s standing reached an apex — the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly intractable in her early twenties. Finally, Larson illuminates Joe’s decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age twenty-three, and the family’s complicity in keeping the secret.

Rosemary delivers a profoundly moving coda: JFK visited Rosemary for the first time while campaigning in the Midwest; she had been living isolated in a Wisconsin institution for nearly twenty years. Only then did the siblings understand what had happened to Rosemary and bring her home for loving family visits. It was a reckoning that inspired them to direct attention to the plight of the disabled, transforming the lives of millions.

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Can you believe that I have never actually read this series? Or even seen the movies! Not quite sure if they are too old for James to understand, but if not, I imagine we will have some lazy Summer afternoons reading these together.

If you have any suggestions, I would love to read them in the comments below.

-ciao for now-

lauren

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