August is right around the corner, and here in Ireland we’re enjoying those rare batches of several consecutive days of sunshine between rain that we tentatively call “summer”! Holidays are being planned and taken, and if you’re anything like me that means a last minute dash to the book shop, in departures or otherwise en route to getting the hell out of the city and going somewhere nice for a week or two!
I’ve been wondering what should be on my holiday reading list, so, with that ulterior motive on the table, I’m putting us all back in the capable hands of Heather for a summer reading guide…
Well folks, we are well into summer now, and I’d imagine some of you have been reading up a storm! There is something about reading outside, whether it’s on the beach, in a hammock, in the park, or on the deck, that is immensely gratifying. Maybe it’s just a big FU to snowy winter and rainy spring, but it feels awesome to get outside with a cold beverage and crack open a great summer read (I don’t do e-readers y’all)!
I sent Carolyn a preliminary summer reading list a few weeks ago, but of course my list has morphed and changed since then. I was disappointed by a couple of books I was originally going to talk about, but never fear, there are always MORE BOOKS coming out! Here are a few titles I’ve read recently, and a bunch more that are on deck!
One Plus One, by Jojo Moyes
Jojo ripped out my heart and stomped on it with Me Before You, and I LIKED it! I went back for more emotional manipulation with her new book, and I was all in. I wanted to hug this book when I finished (books have feelings, don’t they?). Single mom Jess, her math whiz daughter Tanzie, her bullied teenage son Nicky, and their slobbering flatulent dog Norman need a ride to a math competition that could change their lives. Enter tech millionaire Ed Nicholls, a man in crisis who needs an escape, and happens to have a car…
Jojo talks some more about it in this BBC interview.
My only complaint is the UK cover (above) is so much cuter than the North American one! (below)
Seconds, by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
I’ve been waiting a long time for the follow up to Scott Pilgrim (4 years you guys! Holy cow!), and Seconds was worth the wait.
Katie is a 29 year old chef plagued by delays in opening her own restaurant. She’s also trying to figure out some messy relationships past and present. After an accident at work, she meets a house spirit (just go with me) who gives her the opportunity to change the past through the use of a magic notebook, a magic mushroom, and these instructions: “1. Write your mistake. 2. Ingest one mushroom. 3. Go to sleep. 4. Wake anew.”
But what if Katie has more mistakes she wants to fix, and what if she has access to more mushrooms? What if she messes up her life by trying to fix it, and angers the house spirit while doing so?
The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen.
Kelsea is the rightful Queen of the Tear, returning after 18 years in exile to oust her evil uncle from her throne. Her actions anger the evil Red Queen from the neighbouring city of Mortmesne, and Kelsea waits for retaliation with her band of loyal Queen’s Guards. I’d say it’s Game of Thrones-lite, filled with magic, mayhem, and plenty of sword fights.
I didn’t love this book, but it was entertaining, and I will read the sequel when it comes out, and watch the movie adaptation too! Emma Watson is attached to star as Kelsea, though I fail to see how she will pull off plain and pudgy, unless she goes full Zellweger for the role, but I like Erika’s commitment to writing a regular looking heroine who has more pressing matters than boy trouble.
Summer House With Swimming Pool, by Herman Koch.
If you have read the messed up shit that goes on in Koch’s novel The Dinner, you know why I can’t wait to see what his twisted mind comes up with this time! This novel involves the death of famous actor Ralph Meier on Dr. Marc Schlosser’s operating table, and a violent incident that occurred the summer before when both men’s families vacationed at the Meier’s summer house in the Mediterranean. Intrigue! I expect some psychological twists and turns from this one.
The Innocents, by Francesca Segal.
Sometimes you just want to read a book with a girl in a big tulle skirt running through a hedge maze on the cover! It doesn’t hurt that it’s a modern day retelling of The Age of Innocence.
The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith.
The 2nd Cormoran Strike mystery is actually written by JK Rowling, Queen of the Universe. What other reason do you need?
The Girl With All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey.
I love a book jacket that tells you just enough to pique your interest, but still leaves you wondering what the hell the book is about. This one says:
“Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.
When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
Melanie is a very special girl.”
I’m in, plus look at the creepy cover!
Em and the Big Hoom, by Jerry Pinto.
Imelda and Augustine aka Em and the Big Hoom are the young narrator’s parents. Em is the centre of the family, but her bipolar disorder throws the family into crisis. This book was a big deal when published in India a couple of years ago, and I don’t think Salman Rushdie does glowing blurbs very often, so I’m looking forward to it.
The Girls From Corona Del Mar, by Rufi Thorpe.
“Why did Lorrie Ann look graceful in beat-up Keds and shorts a bit too small for her? Why was it charming when she snorted from laughing too hard? Yes, we were jealous of her, and yet we did not hate her. She was never so much as teased by us, we roaming and bratty girls of Corona del Mar, thieves of corn nuts and orange soda, abusers of lip gloss and foul language.”
I am hooked by this short passage from the book. This is about a life long friendship between “hard-hearted” Mia and “untouchably beautiful, kind” Lorrie Ann, and how things change as they grow from teen girls to women. I have it on good authority that I will love this (s’up Rachael!). I love a summery cover too!
The Rise & Fall of Great Powers, by Tom Rachman.
4 years after The Imperfectionists, it sounds like Rachman has written another winner. His main character Tooly is hiding away working at her small out of the way bookshop in Wales, when she gets a Facebook friend request that induces her to delve into her past. The Globe and Mail review spells it all out without giving too much away, aside from the book being brilliant!