I'm not a beach reads type of girl. Mostly because I hate the sun and sand. I'm also very rarely in the mood for some light fluffy chick lit book (unless there are vampires or zombies involved). I pick books based on my mood, my destination, the weather and where my life is at that particular point in time. Books are part of my memories. They are what I've built my life on and I know they will always be there. So here are some of my book recommendations for your summer adventures.
I am in the midst of devouring Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. I haven't torn through the pages (okay, it's on my NOOK so that would be digital pages) of a book like this in a while. It's like reading the Eyre Affair. There are so many touchstones of modern living in this book. Google plays a huge role in it and e-readers are a point of discussion as well. There is also a book related mystery to solve. I just love this book and can't put it down. Get your copy right now. You can thank me later. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell is another good option if you won't have time to sit down and read a whole novel. This is her second collection of short stories. She was a Pulitzer Finalist last year for her book Swamplandia (which I also recommend). This collection of stories is bizarre and imaginative. It's unlike anything I've read and it will certainly make you wonder how she comes up with her story ideas. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris is another good recommendation. I'm normally not the type to recommend something on audio, but David Sedaris is just such a joy to listen to. I've read all his books and I've seen him speak before. He writes humorous essays about his life and is a great suggestion for all types of readers/listeners. That's why I think this would make a great companion to any road trip.
Want to be thrilled?
Dan Brown (of Da Vinci Code fame) has a new book out. Inferno takes place in Florence and centers around the theme of Dante's Inferno. Yes, he's a summer blockbuster kind of writer, but I'm still looking forward to reading it. I did enjoy the fast pace and historical aspects of Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons and I think this one is going to live up to the same expectations. However, if you are a bit of a literary snob then might I suggest you pick up something from Umberto Eco? I just placed Foucault's Pendulum on my wishlist and think this will appeal to those of you who are looking for more after reading Inferno. The writing is a higher quality and most of his novels are set in Italy. If you don't mind a bestseller then maybe you should try Daniel Silva. He's on my list too and I'm going to start with The Kill Artist. The main character is an ex-Israeli assassin turned art restorer. This looks like a series I can get hooked on.
I also have books by Joe Hill on my short list. His stuff is on the scarier side but he's been recommended by a few friends. I guess I will just have to read him with all the lights on in my apartment.
And for the literary minded
I just started reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. It's a story about a girl who keeps dying. She will die and then the story will start again and move on as if she did not die. It's beautifully written, but I think it's going to be one of those books that will take me a while to digest. If you are a sucker for a literary adventure (think Possession by Byatt or Shadow of The Wind by Zafon) then you should pick up The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett. It's the story of a man who loses his wife, moves to a small town in England to set up an antique bookstore and finds himself wrapped up a literary mystery.
Because I like humorous memoirs by women
Lets Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson has everything from taxidermied hamsters to the main character getting her hand stuck in a cows vagina. It's funny and strange and now I'm dying to meeting Mrs. Lawson in person. I also got How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran which I suspect is the British version of Bossypants. My guilty please pick is Drinking and Tweeting by Brandi Glanville. She's one of the Real House Wives of Beverly Hills and I can't wait to see what this mouthy broad is going to say. But I think the one book that will make my summer is the new memoir by Jen Lancaster, The Tao of Martha. I'm a staunch Lancaster supporter, but her last two works of fictions haven't lived up to my expectations. I think this one is going to be awesome. Plus, I've met her in person a few times and I just really like her. Totally BFF material.
and for the non fiction readers
Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman is the story Nely By and Elizabeth Bisland's race around the world. Bly was a reporter and certainly the type of lady I'd want to be friends with. In 1889 she raced around the world in an effort to outpace Jules Verne's fictional 80 day voyage. If you like Erik Larson or Laura Hillenbrand then this would be a great pick for you. I also think that Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg will be a good summer read. She's the COO of Facebook and writes about gender roles in the work force. It's not overly feminist and I think many women will enjoy hearing what she has to say. And for the quirky read I suggest The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart. She details the botany behind some of our favorite spirits. It's a pretty interesting read for cocktail and biology geeks.