Summer Reading Recommendations 2012

Do you read more or less during the summer months? I’m not sure if I actually do read more in the summer or if it’s just that I think about and plan more of what I’m going to read during the summer months. 
I was unable to participate in last week’s #summerreading hash tag fest on Twitter, but I’m throwing my hat into the ring here with some summer recommendations of my own. 
Some of these I’ve read and others I’m looking forward to diving into–

Mystery/Suspense
  • Bent Road by Lori Roy: I recently read a review copy and was blown away by this Edgar Award winning novel. It is a beautifully written, atmospheric suspense novel set in Kansas in the late 1960s. The simplistic style belies its complexity. An outstanding read if you appreciate a strong sense of place and well-crafted characters who are tied to place and circumstance.
  • Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon Series is perfect summer reading because you can do some arm chair traveling–each book in the series is set in a different National Park with a mystery appropriate to and/or “in sync” with the landscape.
  • Louise Penny’s The Beautiful Mystery is coming out August 28, 2012.  I adore Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache Series and will spend the summer counting down yo the release of this book. This will be Penny’s eighth entry in the series. Don’t be a fool like me and delay reading this well written and thoughtful series. Start now.
Sci-Fi
  • Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson: recently read this one for book group. Published in 1977 it’s a collection of related stories set in Callahan’s bar. It’s packed with references to the 60s/70s (Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam) and social issues that are still relevant today.
  • Dana Stabenow’s Star Svensdotter Series: I recently read the first book in this series, Second Star (it’s available for free download here). I’m not a hug sci-fi fan, because sometimes the worlds that are created are just too complex to keep straight or they don’t interest me, but Stabenow creates a society and characters that I care about. Stabenow is best known for her Kate Shugak series which I also recommend.
Horror
  • The Swarm by Frank Schatzing: This book has been on my shelves for a couple years. Since I don’t have a beach vacation planned this year, I’m thinking it’s safe to read now. It was a bestseller in Germany for over two years.
  • Tallulah Rising by Glen Duncan: This is book two of Duncan’ werewolf trilogy. There was much hype surrounding the first book, The Last Werewolf, which I read and was left with mixed feelings. However, I was intrigued enough by book one to finish it and am looking forward to seeing how book two of this planned trilogy comes off.
Young Adult
  • Scars and Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield: Both novels are great reads for teens or adults. Scars is an award winning novel that deals with a girl who cuts herself and Hunted is a sci-fi thriller about a girl who lives in a society that persecutes people for paranormal powers. See Cheryl’s website for details on both books.
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is technically not a young adult novel, although I’ve seen it shelved in some YA sections in bookstores. It’s a solid adventure/fantasy read for folks of high school age or older who like Harry Potter. Plus, it’s big, thick book in which to get lost for a while.
Biography
  • Taking My Life by Jane Rule: Her novel, Desert of The Heart, (and the movie, Desert Hearts) had a big impact on me as a young adult.  Although I haven’t read anything else by Rule, the reviews of this book have captured my interest. Her reputation as one of the most important lesbian writers of the twentieth century seems to have been lost in the U.S., but is perhaps more alive and well in Canada, her adopted country.
  • The Peabody Sisters by Megan Marshall: I was enthralled by Elizabeth Peabody in graduate school and read Louise Hall Tharp’s dated 1950 biography of the sisters. I purchased Marshall’s book when it came out in 2005 and plan to make this the summer that I actually read it. The Peabody Sisters are often called “the American Brontes.” Elizabeth was a great mover and thinker; Mary was a reformer who married Horace Mann; Sophia married Nathaniel Hawthorne.
History
  • The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery by Captain Witold Pilecki: The true account of Pilecki, an officer in the Polish Army and resistance, who volunteered to be captured by the Nazis in a round-up and be sent to Auschwitz to gather intelligence on what was going on inside. I was honored to receive a review copy of this book from the publisher.
  • Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott: This is one of those books that I’ve been meaning to read since it first came out (in 2007). I’m a big fan of The Devil in the White City and people who love that book have told me I’ll love this one as well. For someone who enjoys Chicago history, I’ve no idea why it’s taken me so long to read this one.
For The Willa Cather Novel Reading Challenge I’ll also be reading:
  • June: A Lost Lady
  • July: The Professor’s House
  • August: My Mortal Enemy
What are you excited about reading this summer?

Author: Chris Wolak

I'm cohost of the podcast Book Cougars: Two Middle-Aged Women on the Hunt for a Good Read and write about books and libraries on my blog, WildmooBooks.

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