When I think about summer I think about sunshine, evenings relaxing on the stoop, Lake Michigan at its warmest, and of course a good book! Although Chicago has gorgeous summers, the rain does show its face every now and then so I compiled a few books that may help pass the time while your stuck inside watching the clouds roll in. I chose these three book especially for rainy days because they are easy to get lost in. They make you want to curl up on your love seat by an open window listening to the sound of rhythmic rain drops dotting sometimes gray streets. Check out these three books for good summer reading on a not-so-good summer day.

For those of you who Like their Sad Stories Vicarious:
Lady Q: The Rise and Fall of a Latin Queen by Reymundo Sanchez and Sonia Rodriguez takes you to the worst part of an abusive, poverty stricken world. Reymundo Sanchez, author of My Bloody Life and Once a King, Always a King narrates the true story of Sonia Sanchez’s life. You are taken back to Sonia’s adolescence in Puerto Rico where she is beaten and molested by family members. Soon after settling into a new house and new barrio with her familia, Sonia ends up packing up and moving with her family to Chicago. She learns the streets are harsh (not nearly as bad as her home life) and she encounters gangs. Rejected and beaten daily by her mother, sisters and step father, Sonia continues to search for love but only finds affection in the most dangerous parts of the streets. Sonia is initiated into the Latin Kings and becomes a Latin Queen after a three minute beating from her Queen sisters. She soon begins to find acceptance and hope in their words. Not long after joining, Sonia begins a roller coaster ride of false love, incest, violence and single motherhood. I cannot express to you the amount of emotion this book displays. As a women, you can relate not to the gang life in which Sonia leads but to the need to be loved, wanted, treated gently, and, most importantly, treated like a human. I found this book sad yet it teaches lessons. You will put this book down, in tears, and understanding Sonia’s choices.

For the Patriots who Know what Being an Immigrant is All About:
I picked Craig Ferguson’s American On Purpose not because he’s on the cover wearing an American flag as a kilt and combat boots that are undone (although the cover of this hilarious memoir did catch my attention!), no, I don’t have a thing for men in kilts. It was Ferguson’s smug smile and my own patriotism made me read on. This is one of the funniest books I have ever read. I actually found myself crying from laughing so hard! This Scottish immigrant turned American citizen, currently hosting his own late night show on CBS, talks about his family and the poverty they endured through his childhood. Ferguson writes about mistakes he made and, although they are deadly serious, you can’t help but laugh out loud as he makes light of them. This book is a must read and makes me realize no matter where you are from, to be thankful to be in this beautiful country. This funny Scotsmen doesn’t forget where he came from, nor does he forget where he’s ended up. His book opens your eyes and makes you understand that no matter your culture, color, or beliefs, as an immigrant you struggle at first to be here. His story is a guaranteed laugh!

For the People who will Never Forget:
…I Never Saw Another Butterfly… is a harrowing book filled with children’s drawings and poems from the Terezin concentration camp (1942-1944). Filled with drawings of hellish places and poetry from children who are have been forced to grow beyond their years, you will soon find yourself reaching out to these helpless individuals as you get to know them poem after poem. Their words slip through honestly, showing what life was like in a concentration camp from a young perspective. Although afraid, you can read the young authors’ innocence being torn away. Their tears, although lonely, reveal bravery. Their drawings are childlike and simple yet show every detail of their short meaningful lives. These are some of the most important poems you will ever read. This book is a reminder to never forget the past and always show humility.

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