Ah, the lazy hazy days of the summer. You'd be hard-pressed to find anything better than chilling out in the shade with a good book, unless it's chilling out with a good book by the pool or on the beach. But what books should you throw in your summer tote bag? We've got your answers right here.
Image credit: Randy Robertson
For Fiction Lovers
Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews -- Three friends, best friends since they were children, rent a cottage for a month on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. But summer isn't the same carefree time it was when they were children. They each come to the cottage with their own personal struggles. Together, can the three of them help each other and a few others along the way? Perfect to take the cottage or beach.
The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin -- I fell head-over-heels in love with the cover of this novel. Rich and beautiful, the only thing American Cora Cash wishes for at the turn of the twentieth century is a husband. After marrying an English duke she finds out that a lot more happens in country homes than card games. Wishes don't always turn out the way you want them to and money, it seems, cannot buy everything. In the face of snobbery and secrets Cora must choose what she values most in her life and in her marriage.
Miss Timmin's School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy -- It's the summer of 1974 and Charulata Apte arrives at the British boarding school, Miss Timmins' School for Girls in Panchgani. There she meets Moira Prince, who introduces her to pot-smoking and rock and roll. After a body is found by the cliff, Charu's real education begins. One part coming-of-age novel, one part murder mystery and one part literary fiction, it's a remarkable debut novel.
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson -- Did you love the Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler movie 50 First Dates? That's Christine's life. Kind of. Every night she goes to sleep and wakes up remembering nothing of her past. Each day she journals and puts more of the puzzle that is her life together. But why did she write "Don't trust Ben" in her journal? And can we trust her?
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson -- Set in the near future robots are now part of our everyday life and making it easier. At least until they go a little bit haywire and start murdering people and then it's war -- man versus machine. Told as a post-war oral history it may leave you looking at computers in a new way. It's already been optioned and Spielberg is set to direct. It should be coming at you on the big screen in 2013.
For YA Fans
Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan -- Yes! A book from the Fug Girls! There's glitz! There's glammer! But best of all there's snarky one-liners. It's a little bit like carrying your favorite blog around with you in your purse. Hmm would your beach bag pass a Fug Girls inspection?
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - What happens when a plane full of beauty queens crashes on a Lost-like desert island? Well... there are ball gowns. Lipstick. And oh yes, arms dealers. There are even commercial breaks. What's not to love? Warning: may cause you to lol for real.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs -- If you like your summer nights to be deliciously creepy this one is for you. Jacob goes off on a quest for the truth after his grandfather is brutally murdered. On a remote island in Wales he discovers Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and it becomes clear that the children who lived here, including his grandfather, were not quite...normal. The novel mixes fiction and photography to present a story that you won't be able to put down. It will make you think twice about those things that go bump in the night.
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares -- I'll admit that I'm stretching it here by putting this with the YA books. Did you love the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Well the girls are back but they aren't really girls anymore. They are just about enter their thirties. You know you want to be there for the reunion and to find out what (if anything) happened with Lena and Kostos.
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski -- Remember how when you were a teen you thought it would be the best thing ever to live without your parents for summer? Well imagine two girls, three guys and one parentless house for a whole summer... and all the things they probably should not do. It'll take you right back to that time your friend's parents left town for two weeks...
A Dose of Nonfiction
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Fall of a Serial Imposter by March Seal -- Christian Gerhartsreiter wanted the American Dream and to obtain it he created his own fantasy. He didn't just pretend to be rich, he pretended to be a Rockefeller. It was a con he ran successfully for years. Being described as Catch Me If You Can meets The Talented Mr. Ripley, it will leave you wondering how he did it, and more disturbingly, if you would have believed him too.
Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napolean's Army & Other Diabolical Insects by Amy Stewart -- I loved Wicked Plants when it came out and it's one of my favorite books to gift. Stewart is back with Wicked Bugs and it's the perfect book to read as you putter around in your yard. Anyone who has claimed that bugs are evil and out to get them will find much to love in this book.
Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by Molly Birnbaum -- Imagine you are 22, fresh out of college and about to start at the Culinary Institute of America when a freak accident steals your sense of smell. That is Molly Birmbaum's story. A mix of memoir and science it's a reminder of how much we depend on things that we take for granted.
Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden -- In the summer of 1916 Smith College graduates Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood did something that no proper young ladies in their home town had ever done before -- they got jobs. They left their Auburn, New York homes and headed off to Colorado to teach in a remote schoolhouse. New Yorker executive editor Dorothy Wickenden, and granddaughter of Dorothy Woodruff, reconstructs the story of these two intrepid women.
The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma -- When she was in fourth grade Alice Ozma's father made a pledge to read to her each night for 100 nights. At the end of the 100 nights they celebrated with pancakes for dinner and admitted that neither of them wanted to stop. They ended up reading to each other for 3,218 nights, ending the night before Alice's first day of college. Read it and start a reading streak of your own.
There you go. Fifteen books that you can throw in you bag and take to the beach, pool or cottage this summer. Still looking for more? Check out what we're reading in BlogHer Book Club.
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