Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Reading

You all know I adore a good book. And there is no better time for putting one's feet up and sitting back with a good novel and a cold beverage than summertime. I don't know about you, but I like different sorts of books in different situations and climates. Summer, to me, is for lighter reading -- mysteries, some girlfriends-at-the-beach books, nothing too heavy or classic. There are always exceptions, though, and the best sorts of books are often the ones you didn't know you were in the mood for when you read it but it turned out to be exactly the right thing. The lucky finds, the surprises.

In case you need some suggestions for what to read this summer, here are some favorites from my list -- I might have mentioned some before, but that just means that I really, really really think these books are worth reading! Oh, and please do comment with anything you suggest! It might be just what I'm in the mood for and don't realize it yet!

The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger (Told in letters, the unfolding between a baseball fan child and his hero -- I don't like baseball or sports books, but this was about the charming relationship. Very enjoyable reading. Keep kleenex handy. Just saying. )

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Suburban life in Mississippi in the 1960s, from the perspectiv of the black maids in well-to-do white households. You'll read this, and you'll not be able to stop thinking about it, and you'll give it as gifts, and recommend it to everyone you know. It's THAT good.)

The Likeness by Tana French (a twisty, turny mystery about a detective who goes undercover to solve the mysterious death of a girl who looks just like her. Implausible premise, really, and yet totally engrossing and fascinating and believable. I loved the writing.)

There's No Place Like Here by Cecelia Ahern (a missing persons investigator goes missing -- and finds herself in the land of lost things. Magical realism, I guess you'd call it -- charmingly written but with lots to think about. I love everything I've read by this author.)

And here's what's on my summer list. No heavy reading, but novels that look interesting and have gotten good reviews. I've not read them yet so I can't recommend them yet:

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (everyone I know says this is wonderful -- even Oprah picked it)

The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow

April & Oliver by Tess Callahan (if Joshilyn Jackson says it's good, that's good enough for me.)

Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger (writing this list reminded me I haven't read a few of this author's more recent books)

Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moment of Grace, Essays by Ayelet Waldman (reflections on motherhood, looks really good)

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz (novel told from perspective on an admissions officer at Princeton)

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (murder mystery compared to Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh -- I LOVED that book as a kid)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson (a thriller that is getting good reviews and promises to be "un-put-downable." I hope.)

Okay -- I'm headed out to return books to the library! Happy reading!


  1. I just finished reading Admission last week and really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to requesting some of your suggestions from the library.

  2. Thanks for the list. I'm always looking for book recommendations from fellow readers.

  3. Thanks for the list Diane, I'm happiest when I have a huge to-be-read list and these look like great additions.

  4. Great timing, Diane. I'm about to leave for California again, and so will place my Amazon order in the next day or two. Haven't read any Steve Kluger, but obviously must do that. I aleady have The Help on my wishlist, as well as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo...

    Just finished a fun English countryside novel, Blackthorn Winter, by Sarah Challis. A good summer read!

    Also loved Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri.

  5. I am reading Lee Child at the moment, his character Jack Reacher is so real it is fantastic and you don't want the book to end. Thanks for your suggestions, they all sound great.

  6. Have you read any of the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich?
    They are good, fun summer reads.

  7. Anonymous5:16 AM

    "Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" is one of my fave books of 2009 - what a gem! I look forward to chasing up some of the others on this list, thanks!

  8. I LOVED Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie! But I think of it as more Agatha Christie's style, with a little girl named Flavia instead of Miss Marple. I can't wait for more of her adventures.