Summer reading: it’s in the air. Beach books! Travel books! Romance! Adventure! How to choose my summer reads? Each year seems to bring more great-sounding books by new-to-me authors, as well as new ones from my favorite writers, and I always appreciate recommendations. When I belonged to book clubs, selecting my vacation reading was easier; my reading lists were partly determined by other people’s choices. Since I created my online business, my free time has dwindled, and I need to begin making my choices way in advance. I do miss the seemingly endless hours I once spent reading a book from cover to cover. Now, I want some of my books straightforward enough so that I can stop reading and pick up later without losing the plot thread or the emotional impact.
Regardless of recommendations, the decision, of course, is mine. What initially attracts me to a book? The jacket cover, title, blurb? Do I want a mix of genres? Do I want to laugh, be transported to foreign lands, become nostalgic? How many thrillers can I fit in? What does tempt me is a riveting story filled with characters I end up wanting to know, with human interest and a focus on women. I’m also drawn to loosely historical works.
The following list includes books I’ve read this year and highly recommend, as well as some I’m very much looking forward to reading.
Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner
A tale of ‘first love against the odds’. Rachel and Andy meet when they are 8 and 11, and their complex relationship evolves over three decades. Like many of her novels, this love story tugs at your heart with a mix of wit, romance, brutal honesty, and a touch of comedy. Probably will be one of my beach reads.
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier
Kate inherits her best friend’s journals after her untimely death and discovers surprises about her best friend, Elizabeth. I was drawn to the characters and intricacies of friendship; this was one of those books I couldn’t put down.
The Space Between Sisters: A Butternut Lake Novel by Mary McNear
A drama about sisters who share a complex relationship, differences, history, and love. Long kept secrets are revealed during an unforgettable summer at the lake. A “vacation novel” I am looking forward to reading.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
A page turner and soon to be a motion picture. No train ride will ever be the same. It will have you looking at every house, and apartment dweller and every train passenger in an entirely new way. I couldn’t put it down.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Penned under J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym, detective Cormoran Strike is broke. Luckily, he gets a case to investigate why a model, a presumed suicide, fell to her death from a balcony. The first of two in this series, this mystery is for sure a summer escape for me.
Disclaimer: A Novel by Renee Knight
Catherine picks up a bedside novel and is plunged into a nightmare. Her own past, a secret that only a dead person knew, is revealed in these pages, and she must get to the bottom of it, even if the truth destroys her. Sounds unsettling but also intriguing, I’ll give it a read.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This award winning author brings us a novel about two French sisters and their hardships to survive during WWII. The characters linger long past the last page, and their history should never be forgotten. This riveting story was a favorite of mine.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
It took the author 10 years to write this Pulitzer Prize winner. In this epic novel, the lives of a blind French girl and a German boy collide in occupied France where they both try to survive the devastation of WWII. An incredible, beautifully written tale of love, and so much more.
The Paris Architect: A Novel by Charles Belfoure
A fascinating tale of an ordinary Frenchman during the Nazi occupation, who carves out ingenious hiding places for Jews. It is the story not only about this talented architect, but the lives of Christians, German officers, women, and children caught up in the choices one must make in wartime. Not classified as suspense, but it had me on the edge of my seat.
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
A true story of nine working-class American boys surviving incredible hardship because they are determined to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Reading about their lives, commitment and challenges during the depression was mind blowing.
The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball
In this memoir, a restless, single New York City writer in her 30’s meets a farmer during an interview. She moves Upstate to spend a year on his farm to learn about sustainable farming and her entire life changes. Adventurous or reckless? We shall know upon reading.
I’m looking forward to soaking up the summer with great books I have not yet read. Hopefully you discovered a few here that call to you; we would love to know which ones they are. I still have room on my list for recommendations, so please pass along any you have in the comments.