I don’t know about you, but I read a TON in the summer. It’s probably because all my favourite TV shows are on hiatus (other than So You Think You Can Dance and The Young and the Restless). It also could be because my kids go off to sleepover camp and I’ve got a lot more time on my hands. Regardless of the reason, I need to feed my 2-3 book-per-week habit with fantastic reads.
I’m sure there are lots of other bibliophiles out there in the same boat. So, I thought I’d do the Internet a favour and compile a list of Chicky’s Hot Summer Reads, as recommended by the publishers. I think we’ll be piling up our nightstands, virtual or otherwise, with these amazing recommendations.
Today, Penguin Canada is up with a ton of top reads for summer (I tried to just pick three or four, but just couldn’t).
Rules of Civility by Amor Towes
A sophisticated and entertaining debut novel about an irresistible young woman with an uncommon sense of purpose.
Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty-five-year- old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.
Editor’s Note: I read this book last summer, and I loved it . Not your typical read, it gets you thinking.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
A richly inventive novel, A Discovery of Witches is about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together. Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Editor’s Note: I loved this book so much, and can’t wait to read the sequel, Shadow of Night.
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
USA Today‘s #1 Hot Fiction Pick for the summer, The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922 and the summer that would change them both.
Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.
Editor’s Note: The question is, how much am I DYING to read this book. I am so about the Great Gastby era this summer.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
What would happen if you were visited by your younger self, and got a chance for a do-over? Alice Love is twenty-nine years old, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first child. So imagine her surprise when, after a fall, she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! she HATES the gym!) and discovers that she’s actually thirty-nine, has three children, and is in the midst of an acrimonious divorce. A knock on the head has misplaced ten years of her life, and Alice isn’t sure she likes who she’s become. It turns out, though, that forgetting might be the most memorable thing that has ever happened to Alice.
Editor’s Note: Very interesting premise. Who hasn’t wondered what they’d do with a do-ver…hmm…
Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
What would you do with a second chance at life? Having survived a life-threatening illness, Kate celebrates by gathering with six close friends. At an intimate outdoor dinner on a warm September evening, the women challenge Kate to start her new lease on life by going white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon with her daughter. But Kate is reluctant to take the risk. That is, until her friend Marion proposes a pact: if Kate will face the rapids, each woman will do one thing in the next year that scares her. Kate agrees, with one provision – she didn’t get to choose her challenge, so she gets to choose theirs. Whether it’s learning to let go of the past or getting a tattoo, each woman’s story interweaves with the others, forming a seamless portrait of the power of female friendships. From the author of The School of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners is a beautifully crafted novel about daring to experience true joy, starting one small step at a time
Editor’s Note: Meeting life head-on, the friendships of women, living life to the fullest. These are themes close to my heart. This book might get me thinking.
Sea Change by Jeremy Page
For Ava Whalen, a new marriage and a move to St. Simons Island means a new beginning. But what she doesn’t realize is that her marriage will take her on an unexpected journey into the deep recesses of her past that will transform her forever…
For as long as she can remember, Ava Whalen has struggled with a sense of not belonging, and now, at thirty-five, she still feels stymied by her family. Then she meets child psychologist Matthew Frazier, and thinks her days of loneliness are behind her. After a whirlwind romance, they impulsively elope, and Ava moves to Matthew’s ancestral home on St. SimonsIsland off the coast of Georgia.
But after the initial excitement, Ava is surprised to discover that true happiness continues to elude her. There is much she doesn’t know about Matthew, including the mysterious circumstances surrounding his first wife’s death. And her new home seems to hold as many mysteries and secrets as her new husband. Feeling adrift, Ava throws herself into uncovering Matthew’s family history and that of the island, not realizing that she has a connection of her own to this place—or that her obsession with the past could very well destroy her future.
Editor’s Note: hmmm, some intrigue… My curiosity is piqued. Also, I love books written by men in a woman’s voice.
Stony River by Tricia Dower
On a sweltering June afternoon, Linda Wise and Tereza Dobra witness a disturbing scene. A pale, pretty girl who looks about their age is taken from Crazy Haggerty’s house by two uniformed policemen. Everyone in Stony River thought Crazy Haggerty lived alone. The pale, pretty girl is about to enter an alien world. Linda and Tereza try to make sense of what they’ve seen, unaware their own lives will soon be shattered. Set in a decade we tend to think of as a more innocent time, Stony River shows in dramatic and unexpected ways how perilous it was to come of age in the fifties. Here are absent mothers, controlling fathers, biblical injunctions, teenage longing and small-town pretense. The threat of violence is all around: angry fathers at home, dirty boys in the neighborhood, strange men in strange cars, a dead girl and another gone missing. Stony River is an engrossing novel about growing up, finding your voice and forgiving your family.
Editor’s Note: I don’t even know what to say except that this one looks completely engrossing. Sounds like quite a story.
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
A major new talent tackles the complicated terrain of sisters, the power of books, and the places we decide to call home. There is no problem that a library card can’t solve. The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much. But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.
Editor’s Note: You had me at weird, sisters, and a family of readers.
Which one is on your list?
Also part of Chicky’s Summer Reads:
Simon & Schuster Canada (coming soon)