After reading through publisher notes, sample chapters, and entire books (books that delayed me from writing this post because I couldn’t put them down!!), I am excited to present my summer reading list.
This eclectic list includes several thrillers, some environmental dystopia, a drama about love in Hollywood, new WWII fiction, long-lost stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and more. I have covered all my reading personalities and thus included something for everyone. I will update this post with links as I read these books and add my own reviews.
You can click on the titles or pictures for more information or to buy the book from Amazon. Happy summer reading!
The latest selection from my summer reading list is engrossing, informational, and timely; you’ll want to read this before August 21.
He Said/She Said is a psychological thriller set around a complete solar eclipse and characters who chase this phenomenon.
In 1999, Kit and Laura attend the eclipse festival in Cornwall, England. After they behold this rare and beautiful event, Laura witnesses a crime that has lasting implications on their lives and relationship.
The story models the five stages of an eclipse. As usual in modern thrillers (at least the ones I have read), it is told with alternating points of view and chopped-up time frames. This format has become the norm, I suppose, because it usually works to keep the pages turning.
I was “accidentally” eavesdropping on a conversation the other day – it looked like a first date and I just couldn’t help myself because I was well within earshot! Well thank goodness because that’s how I heard of this new show on TNT, Will, about a young Shakespeare.
The girl said she and her roommates or friends were getting together to watch it later that evening (this was Monday – it airs on Monday nights on TNT and is also “On Demand” if you have Comcast.)
Oh how I remember those fun days when I would watch my shows with friends! But now I prefer everyone to be in bed before I even start my show, so I can enjoy the TV to myself in the dark – ha!!
But I am soooo thankful to this girl for turning me on to this show which I checked out last night.
I am thrilled (pun intended) to give the latest recommendation from my summer reading list:
Billed as a mystery/thriller especially for fans of Agatha Christie books, this book shines because of its clever use of intertextuality (don’t be scared of that word – instead just click on that word to read my previous post on this literary technique!). It is a book within a book.
For the record, I have never read anything by Agatha Christie, and I still loved this “tribute” to classic British crime novels.
Because Roxane Gay writes with such raw honesty in Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body it will be difficult for me to write a blog post in response. The story was so powerful and HERS that it is daunting to attempt to reflect upon it. But because I loved the book and want other people to read it (and I do have a book blog – ha!!!) I will give it a shot.
Roxane Gay, also the author of bestselling Bad Feminist: Essays, is fat, very fat. She uses this word – “fat” – about herself over and over.
“When I use the world I am not insulting myself. I am describing myself.”
Much of her story is about living as a fat person in this world, including the embarrassment, the despair, the hopelessness.
But her memoir is also about WHY she is fat.
Evelyn Hugo came from nothing and climbs to the top of her profession in old Hollywood. In The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, she tells her life story to one specific journalist handpicked for a reason that doesn’t become clear until the end.
This book and especially the character of Evelyn Hugo were so engrossing I sometimes forgot she was a fictional character. I felt like she was really sitting there telling me her life story of how and why she married seven times, which turned out to be different from the reasons I expected!
Hanging on every word of this woman who is characterized as a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, I also enjoyed the snippets from tabloids scattered throughout the novel that referred to the “truth” of the situations she is revealing.
Today – June 16 – all over the world and especially in Dublin, fans of literature are celebrating Bloomsday, the day on which the masterpiece James Joyce’s Ulysses is set. Since I did my thesis work on the pubs in Ulysses I think this day should be celebrated with a pub crawl!
(If you want to know more about Bloomsday and why it deserves a celebration, first read my post on reading Ulysses and celebrating Bloomsday.)
If you, like me, happen to live where no one else (that you know of!) is celebrating Bloomsday, it is entirely possible to pay tribute to the pubs of 1904 Dublin in your own city, assuming you have a decent variety of pubs and gathering places from which to choose.
As Leopold Bloom has shown us, it is even possible to stay sober during this adventure if you so choose!
Here’s your itinerary to celebrate Bloomsday (exact timing is optional):
I recently plowed through The Light Between Oceans, enjoying the suspense of how the situation could possibly play out:
In the aftermath of WWI, a veteran takes a post as a lighthouse keeper at Janus Rock, which is hours by boat off of the coast of Australia. He and his new wife are the only people on the island, and they try to start a family. After multiple miscarriages and stillbirths, they are heartbroken. But then… a boat containing a dead man and a healthy baby drifts to their shore!
This book was a quick and entertaining read that required me to consider the morality and implications of these people’s choices. The ending was so emotional for me that it left me dehydrated the next day after staying up way past my bedtime to finish it in peace! I know this is not a new release (2012), but if you have not read this yet, I do recommend it! It left me desperate to discuss the situation with someone; it would be a great choice for a book club.
For my very first blog post on LesliesBookcase.com one year ago today, I wrote about why I love old books.
Before this blog, I had not read “new books” in many years because I had been working on my M.A. in English Literature, specifically studying Joyce’s Ulysses, and after that I was trying to read through my bookcases.
So for several years, decades even, best sellers and new releases were not on my radar, but now…
In the past year thanks to this blogging adventure, I have discovered how much I ALSO LOVE NEW BOOKS.
So in honor of my “blogoversary” here are 5 reasons I love new books. I apologize to my old books; please do know I still love you and plan to read you too (but maybe not as much).
Like many other readers, I have a fascination with the WWII genre. These stories give me insight into the time period when my grandfather was fighting a war across the world and my grandma was raising children on the home front. These are the times I never asked enough about. Even so, their answers and experiences, had asked all the questions I wish I would have, would be vastly different than those of someone living in occupied France or being bombed in London or experiencing the horrors in Germany and Eastern Europe.
Soon, as this generation leaves us, all we will have left are stories. Thankfully the authors whose books I profile below and others like them have done the daunting amount of work to recreate these experiences. Yes, it may be historical “fiction” but most of these authors spent years researching and interviewing survivors. I learned more about historical events from these books than I ever did in a class.
These stories are not always enjoyable. Parts of them are horrifying. So why put myself through this and why recommend this reading to you? For me it is a way to honor everything that was sacrificed and everyone who was lost. I also enjoy looking for the good and the helpers in the tragedies. It is also self-reflective: What would I have done? How would I have handled that experience or horror? For what it’s worth, after reading all of these books, I have a better understanding of this time period, human nature, and myself.
I will continue adding to this list becauseI have several other books in my queue so stay tuned.