Summer Reading List 2013

As the school days wind down (only 17 days left!), I am starting to think about those wonderful, lazy summer days. Well, not exactly lazy as I’ll be working at a camp but it seems like life moves slower and everything’s easier to get done on those long summer days. My students will be getting their summer reading lists along with a fun summer activity packet on the last week of school. I used to love getting the summer reading list (I can’t be the only one). I embraced the list of book recommendations and would march over to the public library with the paper in one hand and my trusty library card in the other. Any avid reader loves new books to consume and I only wish someone would come up with a list full of adult titles for me every single summer. Instead I’ve made my own list of books I’d like to read this summer and will be digging that library card out of my wallet soon.

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

From barnesandnoble.com: “Barbara Kingsolver’s fifth novel is a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. It weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel’s intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place.”

I’ve been trying to read Prodigal Summer for awhile now because I love the lyrical way Kingsolver writes. I always get distracted since it’s more a book of reflection than action but I feel like this will be the perfect book to conquer this summer.

Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

From Publisher’s Weekly: “Jazz Age legends F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald come into focus in Fowler’s rich debut. The famous couple have a whirlwind courtship in Montgomery, Ala., where Scott was briefly stationed at the end of WWI, and Zelda was the talk of the town. Then Fowler unfolds the next 20 years: the couple’s New York celebrity after This Side of Paradise; the years in Paris with the other “Lost Generation” expats; and their return to the U.S. to treat Zelda’s schizophrenia.”

After reading The Paris Wife about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson, I was intrigued to learn more about the Lost Generation especially the women at its center and the vivacious Zelda Fitzgerald. I picked this up at the bookstore this weekend and after reading the first page I was instantly hooked.

Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

From barnesandnoble.com: “Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending—the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.)The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!”

I saw the movie when it came out and it’s officially one of my favorites. The movie has a great cast but I think the heartwarming story of rediscovering oneself and finding joy in life once again is really what got me. And from what I’ve heard, the book is even better than the movie so I’m really excited for this one.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

From KLIATT: “This fierce, funny memoir lives up to its tongue-in-cheek title. When Eggers was a senior in college, his parents both died of cancer, only five weeks apart, and he found that he had inherited his eight-year-old brother. He and young Toph (short for Christopher) leave Chicago for Berkley, California, to live near older siblings, but Eggers is the one who serves as chief surrogate parent. The two set up a slovenly bachelor household together, and Eggers attempts to start a career while taking care of his brother, undertaking both endeavors in a rather haphazard but energetic and deeply felt manner. The brothers play Frisbee endlessly and practice sock sliding in their various abodes, eating dishes like “The Mexican-Italian War” (ground beef sautéed in spaghetti sauce, served with tortillas), arriving late to everything but somehow, just barely, keeping it together.”

This book arrived on my bookshelf via my boyfriend, though actually I should consider it “our” bookshelf now. He read it and said it’s pretty different but definitely worth a read so that’s what I’ll do.

The Asylum by John Harwood

From Publisher’s Weekly: “As he did in The Ghost Writer and The Séance, Australian author Harwood evokes Charles Palliser and Louis Bayard in his engrossing third stand-alone Victorian thriller. In the first sentence, Georgina Ferrars declares, “I woke, as it seemed, from a nightmare of being stretched on the rack, only to sink into another dream in which I was lying on a strange bed, afraid to open my eyes for fear of what I might see.” Alas, Georgina finds herself in a Cornwall asylum, whose sinister director, Dr. Maynard Straker, tells her that she arrived the previous day, November 1, 1882, and identified herself as 21-year-old Lucy Ashton. With no memory of the previous six weeks, Georgina is hard-pressed to refute Straker. Only gradually do the events that led to her confinement become clear.”

I found this one through a simple search on Barnes and Noble’s website. It’s described as a “gothic thriller” which is a genre I’ve never tried. It sounds dark and weird, not something I’m usually into, but I feel like it’d be best to try it in the summer when I have plenty of time to delve into strange and interesting books.

Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford

From Kirkus Reviews: “Autobiographical vignettes from Twitter comedian Oxford. These stories fall into roughly three stages of the author’s life: obnoxiously precocious childhood, confused young adulthood and parenthood. When Oxford tells us about her childhood and teen years, she doesn’t hold back, giving us mortifying stories about wetting herself in a gas station and puking in her friend’s father’s car before a party.”

I came across this book through blogs, naturally, and have since started following Kelly on twitter. I’m on the fence about this one since I don’t like to read overly hyped books but I’m looking for a funny title to through in the mix.

What books do you have on your summer reading list?

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