But I’m not done with my Summer reading yet

I just looked up and realized kids are back in school today. Which means it’s officially Fall (a time that usually heralds more serious books on my nightstand.) But I didn’t get to The Shining Girls, Eleanor & Park or The Interestings, so they’ll just have to carry over.

Along with The Bone Season (which is getting all sorts of hype as the first in a planned series of 7)

At Summer’s end, here’s where I stand:

I got through The Son (Phillipp Meyer), Sisterland (Curtis Sittenfeld), Big Brother: A Novel (Lionel Shriver), The Burgess Boys (Elizabeth Strout) and The Language of Flowers (Vanessa Diffenbaugh)

But the only ones I liked enough to recommend were Big Brother and The Language of Flowers.

What was your best read this Summer?

– Jen

*Clarifications on the picture above: 1) Only Jason read The Monuments Men, which he loved. (It’s the true story of the squad sent into Europe to save the world’s art  from Hitler) Neither Knightly or I read anything so highbrow… 2) The nasal spray is to make Jason stop snoring…he’s still snoring…


11 Responses to “But I’m not done with my Summer reading yet”

  • Suvi Says:

    Ah, excellent. Thanks for the new recos. My book club plans their year out in advance and somehow put Midnight’s Children by Salamn Rushdie as the book we should be reading over the summer. I personally found diving into something so intense while at the each completely unthinkable so I went rogue and stuck to lighter fare. The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared was my favorite of the summer. About to start The Sister’s Brothers, which I have heard rave reviews on.

  • Bothell Britt Says:

    Suvi, I read The Sisters Brothers earlier this summer and it was great for summer reading – quick, easy, not too cerebral, and with a well-developed main character. The whole time I was reading it I pictured it in movie form, in the style of Inglorious Basterds.

    I also posted back in July a few other favorites that I’ll repost here:

    They were not only amazingly thought out books, but so full of writer’s moments – you know, the ones where you want to copy down the sentence and save it somewhere because it is so beautiful that you want to remember that thought forever?

    Serena by Ron Rash – A book about a timber baron and his mysterious new bride. I can’t say much more without spoilers except that this is a movie coming in the Fall that has been horribly mis-cast. The book, however, sparkles.

    The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy – His writing makes me want to cradle every word. There are almost no adjectives, just simplicity at its finest, yet I can envision every moment and nuance. A story about many different lives, but connections seem to spring up in startling ways. A familiar concept, but taken to the greatest heights. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Mystical, magical, ethereal, and perhaps deadly. The story behind a circus that values aesthetics just as much as the wonder of spectacle, and the love that is created from it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

    “The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells” by Andrew Sean Greer is a good Fall book. It centers on a woman with grief-based depression who receives electroshock therapy and awakes in a version of herself in a different time. It sounds very Sci-fi, but isn’t at all, and challenges the reader to think about what holds meaning and value, the sacrifices we make, and whether we’d do it the same way again.

    Recommend with caveats:
    We The Animals, by Justin Torres. The first 95% was amazingly constructed, but the end left me wondering if the author died and some ghost writer stepped in and bludgeoned the book to death.

    The Call: A Novel by Yannick Murphy. This book has a unique writing style in that the narrator, who is also the main character, lays out the book as though it were a veterinary log, except the entries reflect his personal life as well as the animals he treats. I found it difficult to relate to the main character, either because of this technique or because I didn’t agree with the choices he made, but it left me ambivalent about the outcome.

    I would NOT recommend:
    Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. Predictable and unconvincing, nearly every page left me saying, “No one would do that”. It was written in a teen-lit kind of way but with an adult main character, which didn’t match at all, and most of the plot device centered around her not asking questions or having conversations that were obvious and would have ended the book 200 pages sooner.

    Happy reading!

  • Lisa Says:

    Second the language of flowers rec. i have been reading the new rowling and am not crazy about it so far… My old standbys are the quebec-set mystery series by louise penny and the rebus series set in edinburgh by ian rankin.

  • Lisa Says:

    Thanks for posting your summer reading update! I am about halfway through Night Film by Marisha Pessl. It’s definitely shaping up to be the best novel I’ve read this year. It’s also scaring the crap out of me.

  • Robin Says:

    I tried so hard to like The Shining Girls, but I just couldn’t get into it at all so I gave up and started in on my long-planned Stephen King binge. Did anyone else read and like The Shining Girls? Is it worth sticking out?

  • Will Says:

    I wouldn’t call myself an avid reader. I usually only make it through 3 books a year if I’m lucky.

    I would like to agree with Bothell Britt in that Night Circus is highly recommended. The visuals that are created from the words on the page made me long to be a visitor of the night circus. After my wife read it she told me to go, return the book to the library and then find the nearest bookstore and purchase the book. She will read 20 or so books and year and purchase maybe 2. And that’s only if she loved them. This one made it on the list.

    I also read Salt Sugar Fat. I would recommend it. It didn’t make me want to quit eating food made by major manufacturers, just be more mindful of what I am eating.

  • Sandy Says:

    I loved Eleanor & Park so much I’m reading another of hers: Attachments. Just in case you squeeze in another light read. Such real characters, situations, and perfect dialogue. And like Bothell Britt said above, I come across lots of sentences and thoughts that are so lovely I highlight them in my NOOK to save them.

  • Rachel Says:

    Cuckoo’s Calling by my great love JK Rowling. This book was right up her alley- Witty and smart and kept you guessing. Everything I loved about Harry Potter but with a grown up twist (which is what I had wanted from Casual Vacancy and never really got).

  • Tprc62 Says:

    I really liked “Eleanor and Park”. Not your typical lead characters and some really riveting scenes(one on a school bus). I think you will really like it.

    Two recent ones that I liked:
    Time Betwen Us(Tamara Stone), and Through to You(Emily Hainsworth). Both books are romance with a scifi element(time travel, alt. universe), but put it to good use. Interesting characters with dilemmas that aren’t easy choices.

    I have been loving my local library these past few months. Its a well-funded library, and they are really getting a lot of good books.

  • John Arenivar Says:

    Read Vacationland by Sarah Stonich. A terrific book that lets you into the lives of a whole town of individuals, all centered on a resort in northern Minnesota. Location is a character in this book, but you aren’t hit over the head with that. At the end, a celebration of life in all its glory.

  • Sybil Says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I am so glad you are back to your blog Jen, and I always love your book recommendations. Suvi, I too really enjoyed The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared and have been telling my friends to read it. I also got a big kick out of the Sisters Brothers. I was a little late to Gone Girl, but thought it was an entertaining summer read. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore was also fun. Thanks to you Jen I read and also loved Where’d You Go Bernadette and Tell the Wolves I’m Home (although my daughter was very dismayed to see the tears running down my face as I finished the latter). This summer I also read Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir, Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar, and the Potty Mouth at the Table which were a different type of read but good to throw in the mix. I’d also second Serena; I had no idea they were making it into a movie, definitely read it before you see any previews and it gets ruined. If you have never read the Glass Castle, Peace Like a River, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, or The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, well, you should. I have added many of the above suggestions to my library requests! Thank you all so much.