Summer Books

I’m looking for book recommendations.

I have Everybody’s Fool on the coffee table, but haven’t read it yet. It’s Richard Russo’s continuation of Nobody’s Fool. I sometimes love Russo, sometimes he bores me, so I’m not diving into this book with gusto. Still,  Straight Man is one of my all time favorite novels about academic life.

So, give me ideas for the summer. I’m doing a lot of waiting around for Ian to finish activities, which is a perfect time for power reading. I’m looking for quality fiction and non-fiction, as well flat-out trashy fiction. (hello, wendy!)

15 thoughts on “Summer Books

  1. I’m enjoying the inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. She throws in Canadian/Quebecoise background with decent murder mysteries.


  2. You rang? 🙂 Let’s take a look at what’s on the Kindle.

    Just finished The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn. More historical women’s fiction than romance, but it gets raves, and I love the WW1 and WW2 history (there are two narrators/stories going on). Much of it takes place in Lille, where I drove through briefly last summer.

    Heroine Complex, Sarah Kuhn. Fantasy novel with romance. Um, how to describe. So, in this universe, SF contains both people with superpowers and various demon portals that open up and spit out demons. Aveda Jupiter is the heroine who will stop the demons, and she does, branding herself on the Internet as the heroine of the city. This book is actually about her personal assistant, Evie. Kind of weird and hilarious and a meta commentary on celebrity in the Internet age.

    Not A Mistake, Amber Belldene. I was telling Amy about this one. The heroine is a priest who has a one-night-stand with one of her seminary professors a few hours after she graduates. Then she goes off to her new job. And realizes she got pregnant. Btw, her prof was her ethics professor. Interesting book, likable characters. Lots of ingesting over doing the right thing,

    Forbidden, Beverly Jenkins. Heroine is black; hero is passing as white. These two were almost too perfect as characters, and I later found out that the hero was a supporting character in previous books. I might have liked the other books better.

    When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon. YA book, kind of adorable. Dimple’s parents are trying to set her up in an arranged marriage and don’t get her desire to go to Stanford and be a famous app developer. They manipulate her into meeting their choice, Rishi, the son of their friends, at a computing conference. Of course he ends up being perfect but it takes a while to figure it out.

    Dating You/Hating You, Christina Lauren. They are agents in Hollywood, then their firms get merged and they are competing for the same job. Bae is woke but not woke enough because he doesn’t realize that she’s getting discriminated against.

    (Sorry, I get that these are more think-y than trashy. I’ve been in a mood for different stuff.)

    OK here are other trashier recs:
    Penny Reid, Dating-ish or any of the Winston Brothers series. I’d read Beard Science because it’s hilarious.
    Julia Quinn has a new one: The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband. It was good.
    Jenny Holiday. She has a few series. She has one series with Billionnaires, like The Engagement Game. And she has her 80s New Wave series set on a college campus. Oh, she has a new book out today that I just downloaded. It’s called Famous and I’ll let you know how it is in about 3 hours (have to make dinner first).
    Julie James, The Thing About Love. *Everyone* loved this one. I liked it (though didn’t love it as much as everyone else.) FBI agents on a case together.
    Tessa Dare, Spindle Cove books. Have you read her? Historical, humorous.
    Kelly Bowen’s Duke books. Loved these. Historical, spy-type stuff.
    Alissa Johnson, A Talent for Trickery and a Gift for Guile. I’ve found the first one tougher going, but the second one is supposed to be better. Historical. Heroine in each is the daughter of a con man; they’re just trying to go good.
    Alisha Rai’s newest book, Hate to Want You, is getting raves, but it’s not out yet. Erotic romance, if you like trash with your trash.


    1. Ooh, I’m good – just finished Famous. Thumbs up. Kind of reminds me of Cinderella Deal (by Jenny Cruise) mixed with Roman Holiday.

      For non-fiction reading, btw, I have Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up, by Ellen Braaten; Fan Cultures, by Matt Hills; and Capital in the 21st Century, by Thomas Piketty.


  3. I have really been enjoying, “How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids.”

    It’s a light read, but there’s a lot there.


  4. Light non-fiction (but quality, in a light way): I finished Bryson, A Walk in the Woods, and I’m in the middle of his “At Home,” both of which are very enjoyable reading.

    Serious non-fiction (the best that has been thought and said): I re-read Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Paranoid Style in American Politics and The Significance of the Frontier in American History, all of which repaid the effort.

    Fiction: I don’t read fiction. My summer reading project is the collected works of George Herbert, but I don’t know if Laura ever reads poetry.


  5. I bet Steve would like Lenin on the Train, by Catherine Merridale. She’s a most excellent historical writer.

    As a Hugo voter this year, I read a whole bunch of current science fiction and fantasy. Things I would not have read otherwise and really enjoyed include A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson, the current version of Ms. Marvel (she’s in a Jersey suburb, so it’s topical at 11D!), Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, and A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. I am looking forward to reading more out of Words Are My Matter by Ursula K. Le Guin, who can knock ’em dead with an essay. Also looking forward to finishing up Too Much Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer.

    Geekiest recent reading: China Among Equals – The Middle Kingdom and its Neighbors, 10th-14th Centuries. Not unlike Game of Thrones, although the sources are reticent about the sex.

    The Accidental Terrorist by William Shunn. How does a Mormon missionary get busted by the Mounties? Says a lot about corruption and privilege, too, if you stop to think. Plus it’s funnier than you think a straight book about Mormons would be.


    1. How does a Mormon missionary get busted by the Mounties?

      Jared Kushner’s legal team drops a dime on them to get their client a better deal.


  6. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson. Performance artists have a family and make their children part of their art. I love the coupon incident.


  7. The Dinner by Herman Koch is disturbing. I read it for my book club over a year ago and we still talk about it. It is also short.


  8. My fav. fiction so far this summer has been Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. My favorite “trash” has been Red Water by Kristen Mae. I also liked the Family Fang – very funny. I read Nobody’s Fool and really liked it, but I never really cared enough to see where the characters went, so I never even picked up Everybody’s Fool.

    I also finally read Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s two books. (Encyclopedia of an Ordinary life/Textbook AKR) We share an alma-mater and I’d always meant to read them, upon reading of her success in the alumni magazine, but did not until I read her obituary. I thought they were both very good and wished I had read them while she was still alive.


  9. So far this summer I’ve read and liked Americanah and Heat & Light. Neither is perfect (both are a little long) but they were both interesting. For non-fiction, Rick Bragg’s All Over But the Shoutin’ had some excellent writing, and (according to my book group) is better than Hillbilly Elegy. Code Name Verity, a YA book on WWII, was absorbing. A Gentleman of Moscow is on my list for this month and comes highly recommended from several people.

    The latest Flavia de Luce and First Ladies Detective Agency books are always on the summer agenda for me too.


  10. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. The Napoleonic war with sentient dragons that are used as the air force. Much better than that description makes it sound and there is a whole series. Great escapist fantasy.


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