Books to Read this Summer

Summer months seem to be big reading months. Announcements are everywhere. Beach Reads. Vacation Reads. Books to read by the pool. Books you don’t want to miss. Yes, lots and lots of summer reading guides to be found. Everyone is coming out with suggestions on what to read. So why not me!

Personally, I will be tackling some of the titles from The Great American Read list. Out of the 100 books on the list, I’m embarrassed to say that I have only read 16 of them. So before voting on America’s favorite book comes to a close next fall, I hope to check a few off of my list. Some classics on my list to read include (but aren’t limited to):

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
1984 by George Orwell
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

But there will be lots of great new releases (and some not-so-new releases) that I don’t want to miss. I have compiled a list of eight books that I want to read this summer and hopefully, now, you will too!

2018 Summer Reads

 

Everyone’s reading it:

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My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley

Description: “This story of loves both great and small is most certainly not saccharine sweet. My Ex-Life reminds us that there is a reason for everything, and that sometimes it’s wise to go back to the familiar (albeit old) parts of ourselves to remind us just how far we’ve come. Stephen McCauley writes like your best friend – the one who always says what you’re thinking but you’d never have the guts to utter out loud. His perception of even the mundane tasks of life reveals a witty tone dripping with self-deprecation and amusement. This book is most certainly one you should put at the top of your to-be-read pile!”

Steph’s Thoughts: I have seen this book over and over again on Instagram. After hearing this great review on NPR I quickly ordered my copy.

 

Something to make you laugh:

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Calypso by David Sedaris

Description: “With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny–it’s a book that can make you laugh ’til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris’s powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future. This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris’s darkest and warmest book yet–and it just might be his very best.”

Steph’s Thoughts: If you’ve never read David Sedaris, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?! I was excited to see his latest as one of my Book of the Month Choices for June, which I quickly selected and will be anxiously hounding the mailman until it arrives.

 

Will it live up to the hype:

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The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Description: “Charming and wise, knowing and witty, Meg Wolitzer delivers a novel about power and influence, ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition. At its heart, The Female Persuasion is about the flame we all believe is flickering inside of us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time. It’s a story about the people who guide and the people who follow (and how those roles evolve over time), and the desire within all of us to be pulled into the light.”

Steph’s Thoughts: There’s been lots of attention and press around this book since its publishing date last April. I immediately ran out to buy it and I’m looking forward to seeing what all of the hubbub has been about.

 

An award winner:

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Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Description: “Who says you can’t run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town? ANSWER: You accept them all. What would possibly go wrong? “

Steph’s Thoughts: I haven’t always been the best about reading award winners, but that’s something I’d like to change. Less is the 2018 Pulitzer Winner for Fiction. With Anne Patchett (another author I’m very fond of) recommends a book “with her whole heart” you read it.

 

A favorite author:

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Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

Description: “Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory–surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places. A bewitching novel of hope, self-discovery, and second chances, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.”

Steph’s Thoughts: Having been gifted this book by Penguin Group, and enjoying Tyler’s other books, I have high hopes of enjoying this one.

 

A timely, thought-provoking novel:

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Southernmost by Silas House

Description: “In the aftermath of a flood that washes away much of a small Tennessee town, evangelical preacher Asher Sharp offers shelter to two gay men. In doing so, he starts to see his life anew–and risks losing everything: his wife, locked into her religious prejudices; his congregation, which shuns Asher after he delivers a passionate sermon in defense of tolerance; and his young son, Justin, caught in the middle of what turns into a bitter custody battle. With no way out but ahead, Asher takes Justin and flees to Key West, where he hopes to find his brother, Luke, whom he’d turned against years ago after Luke came out. And it is there, at the southernmost point of the country, that Asher and Justin discover a new way of thinking about the world, and a new way of understanding love. Southernmost is a tender and affecting book, a meditation on love and its consequences.”

Steph’s Thoughts: I just started reading this one. Another free book that I received from Net Galley and Algonquin Books, I’m anxious to dive further into the story. The story sounds very timely.

 

A good book for your purse:

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All We Ever Wanted by Emily Griffin

Description: “Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was. Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school. Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in–and her overprotective father doesn’t help–but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving. Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame. At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together–all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.”

Steph’s Thoughts: I have read other books by Griffin. If this book is similar to those, I anticipate this being an easy book to take to the beach or carry around in my purse to read here and there.

 

A memoir with lots of good reviews:

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Heating and Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly

Description: “The 52 micro-memoirs in genre-defying Heating & Cooling offer bright glimpses into a richly lived life, combining the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of nonfiction into one heartfelt, celebratory book. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a wife, mother, writer, and deeply original observer of life’s challenges and joys. Some pieces are wistful, some wry, and many reveal the humor buried in our everyday interactions. Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs shapes a life from unexpectedly illuminating moments, and awakens us to these moments as they appear in the margins of our lives.”

Steph’s Thoughts: This came out October of 2017, but I’m just now discovering this unique read. I love a good memoir and this has received excellent reviews.


All book descriptions courtesy of 
 IndieBound.org, a community of independent booksellers. Visit their site to locate the local bookstores near you.

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