Summer Reads: Adults

Oh yeah, some me-time reading!  Summer doesn’t mean for us grown-ups what it does for kids – those endless sunny days with nothing to do but curl up with a book…  in fact, summer can mean twice the work, while the kids are out of school!  Not to mention summer workshops, family trips. . .But somehow, we all manage to find a little time to ourselves with nothing but an icy drink and a fun read.  Here are the top 11 books we are personally looking forward to (or have read earlier in the year and highly recommend)!


Swamplandia by Karen Russell – The Everglades, a family of alligator wrestlers, ghosts and a visit to the underworld, this novel is reminiscent of Harper Lee, Barbara Kingsolver, Carolyn Chute and John Irving, yet remains entirely original.


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness  – It’s very tempting to call this Twilight for grown-ups.  But it’s more than that.  1.  There’s a fun historical aspect.  2.  The heroine isn’t a wuss (in fact, it’s as if the author is too-fervently making Diana the “anti-Bella”).  3.  It’s well written.


The Paris Wife  by Paula McLean-The Paris wife is Hadley Hemingway and the novel is written in her voice telling the story of  her early years with novelist Ernest Hemingway–their love and life together.  This is a lovely inside view of a couple who becomes very real to you–and to the passionate lives this circle of friends lived in a gin-soaked, jazz-infused early 20th century Paris.


A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan – It’s good to have the latest Pulitzer Prize winning novel on your reading list for summer, and when the book is as easy to read, yet thoughtful and thought provoking as this one, it’s not even a duty read.  Especially because 70 or so of the pages are formatted as a PowerPoint presentation… (this reads WAY better than it sounds)!


A Dance with Dragons – If you’ve read George R. R. Martin’s first four books in the series, you’re already on the waitlist at the library, or have just gotten the book.  If you watch the HBO series Game of Thrones (based on the first book in the series), this summer is a great time to read the fun books it’s based on.  If you haven’t read the books or watched the series, you’re in for a double treat.  (These are loooooong books and will take you the rest of the summer.  So get cracking!)


Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim-  Hello?  Nellie Olsen wrote an autobiography!  And reveals awesome details like Michael Landon didn’t wear underwear, and how she and Laura got drunk on rum cakes.  I’m in!  (Oh, yeah, she also turned into a social and political activist, and a darn fine writer.)


Bossypants – Tina Fey wrote a series of essay-ish chapters that read more like vignettes on how to become a powerful woman in Hollywood (or any business) while retaining your inner Dork and empowering other women, than an autobiography.  It’s easy to read, it’s funny, and it’s sneakily thoughtful.


The Magician King by Lev Grossman – This is the hotly anticipated sequel (well, by us anyway) for The Magicians.  We like magic.  We like good writing.  We liked the first book.  We are pretty happy to have this to look forward to in August!


In the Garden of Beasts – Erik Larson’s first novel, Devil in the White City, is a book we have both recommended several times to just about everyone, and even people who aren’t big non-fiction readers love it.  This is his new book.  It’s about America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  Ok, it’s not a breezy beach read, but it’s utterly gripping.


The Snowman by Jo Nesbo – Finished the last of the Stieg Larsson trilogy?  Caught up with Henning Mankell’s works?  Disappointed with the season finale of The Killing?  The latest hot detective import from Scandanavia is Harry Hole.  Enjoy.  (We are both looking forward to this one, so if you get to it before we do, please tell us if it’s worthy of the hype!)


Bless the Bride by Rhys Bowen- Yep, another sequel.  The publishing world saves these up for summer and Christmas.  If you’re a mystery fan, history fan or feminist, you’ll love Molly Murphy.  This installment picks up as Molly contemplates how marriage will change her career (private investigator in turn of the century New York) plans.  And throws in some fascinating history on New York’s Chinatown.


Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortez- This is a brilliant adult book written in the form of a kid’s book.  If you have kids–or remember craving sleep when you had little ones, GET THIS.  You will laugh, you will relate, you may cry. If you feel like crying, listen to Samuel Jackson reading the book aloud.  You’ll revert to laughter.


One Response to Summer Reads: Adults

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! I have been recommending A Discovery of Witches to all of my friends this summer and I was so thrilled to see it made your list too! Browsing through your list I’ve discovered a few new titles to add to my summer reading. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch? Yes Please.

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