Helloooo, book clubbers! Summertime is upon us. That means pool parties, outdoor festivals, and, for me, lots of time spent in a lounge chair or on a beach blanket reading.
Here are the 10 titles I will be stashing in my straw tote this season!
1. Tuesday Nights in 1980
Author: Molly Prentiss
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2016
I missed this book when it came out last year. But no worries, thanks to a great friend, it landed in my lap this month. And with perfect timing! This is a great big juicy summer read. Molly Prentiss’ brilliant debut novel is an interwoven tale of intersecting characters, set against one of my favorite backdrops—New York City’s art scene in the early 1980s. If you loved Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Good Squad (I did!), you will be just as entranced by this one.
2. Do Not Become Alarmed
Author: Maile Meloy
Publisher: Riverhead Books, 2017
This is THE book of summer! It’s on everyone’s lists, and for good reason—it’s a scorcher. The premise is simple enough—two privileged families go on a cruise. But things take a turn when the ship docks in Central America. The children go missing. The adults turn on each other and themselves. Ann Patchett (who, as readers here will know, is one of my favorite authors, and one of the best writers working today) calls it "smart and thrilling and impossible to put down... the book that every reader longs for." Sold!
3. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books, 2017
When a book’s film rights get snapped up in a heartbeat by Reese Witherspoon (producer of HBO’s spectacular series-based-on-a-book, Big Little Lies), you know it has to be good. And this one is. This quirky, funny, and utterly charming book tells the story of the singular Eleanor Oliphant, and the people she meets who change her life.
4. At the Water's Edge
Author: Sara Gruen
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau, 2015
Oh I do love a good spellbinding historical yarn poolside, and Sara Gruen has given us another with this book. I adored her novel, Water for Elephants (and the movie too!). I am loving this one as well. Set in the 1940s, this story follows Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, disgraced members of Philadelphia’s upper crust, who take the leap to Scotland to search for the Loch Ness Monster (I know, it sounds kooky. But trust me, it works). In the process, Maddie finds herself.
5. Into the Water
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Riverhead Books, 2017
OOO! Another book from the woman who gave us that marvel of a mystery The Girl on the Train. Yes, please! Paula Hawkins’ latest focuses on a single mother who (of course) turns up dead at the bottom of the river. How did she get there? And what of those she left behind? Full of the twists and surprises we’ve come to expect from this genre. Un-put-down-able!
6. The Dinner Party
Author: Joshua Ferris
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2017
The first collection of short stories by the universally acclaimed Joshua Ferris (author of Then We Came to the End) was one of the most anticipated books of this year, and it has finally arrived. I cannot wait to dig in. Ferris seems to be tackling familiar territory here—the absurdities of modern life—but with his own distinctive style. From the publisher: “The stories in The Dinner Party are about lives changed forever when the reckless gives way to possibility and the ordinary cedes ground to mystery.“
7. Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford
Author: Donald Spoto
Publisher: William Morrow, 2011
Who else binge watched FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan over three red wine and chocolate gelato fueled nights? Anyone? Just me? At any rate, that spectacular TV series led me to revisit the life story of one of film’s biggest (and most misunderstood) legends, Joan Crawford. Donald Spoto is the foremost biographer of great film stars, and his look at Joan does not disappoint. He sets the record straight while delivering the dish on old Hollywood. A delicious summer read!
8. This Is Not My Beautiful Life
Author: Victoria Fedden
Publisher: Picador, 2016
Another book that somehow escaped me last summer when it was released, but that I cannot wait to catch up with now. The publisher’s blurb says it all: “If you think it sucks to live with your parents when you’re thirty-six and nine months pregnant, just wait till the DEA comes knocking (with the IRS in tow): Welcome to Victoria Fedden’s life.” Uh, what? Deal me in, girl! This one proves that things happen in real life that no one would find remotely plausible in fiction.
9. Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
Author: Lizzy Goodman
Publisher: Dey Street Books, 2017
Just got my hands on this one. A history of the 2000s NYC music scene from those who were there? Oh yes. Give it to me! From the publisher: “Meet Me in the Bathroom charts the transformation of the New York music scene in the first decade of the 2000s, the bands behind it—including The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend—and the cultural forces that shaped it... Drawing on 200 original interviews with James Murphy, Julian Casablancas, Karen O, Ezra Koenig, and many others who lived through this explosive time, journalist Lizzy Goodman offers a fascinating portrait of a time and a place that gave birth to a new era in modern rock-and-roll.”
10. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Publisher: W. W. Norton, 2017
Okay, so maybe astrophysics doesn’t automatically jump to mind as a light and fun summer reading topic, but trust me, the title says it all here. From the publisher: “Today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.... Reveal[s] just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.”
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We’d love to hear what you think about these books, so Tweet me (@Cincy_Bookworm)—it’s not a book club without you!