Thursday, June 9, 2011

10 Great Books for Summer Reading

Summer reading is more a state of mind than seasonal, but when state of mind meets New England summer, the conditions are just right! For the first of several summer reading lists, I have a mix of  last summer’s favorites now out in paper and some new releases I recently read and really enjoyed! Some of these author interviews are up on but no fair tuning in until after you've read the book!

Camille Noe Pagan/The Art Of Forgetting - debut and just out!

With stacks of books patiently waiting their turn to be read, how is it that a new book will arrive and push its way to the top? As soon as I saw the cover and read the blurbs from several of my favorite authors, I put down what I was reading and dove right in (won't tell so don't ask!). At its center the book is about the friendship of two women who meet as teens at boarding school. Marissa Rogers and Julia Ferrar find themselves coping with the effects of a sudden traumatic brain injury after Julia is hit by a car while crossing the street. Through the years we see these women following their dreams and rooting for each other, though there is always an elephant in the room.Humor, sensitivity and attention to detail will likely bring to mind an old friend and you might just feel like picking up the phone-or digging around on Facebook!

J. Courtney Sullivan/Maine - just out!

Sullivan's first novel, Commencement, was such a treat that when I heard a new one was coming out I got right on securing an advanced copy! Always fun to read a book before it's released into the reading population! I am drawn to books where a summer home is a main character. A functioning dysfunctional multigenerational story in said home makes it the perfect read! The women in the Kelleher family have little in common yet each seeks acceptance and understanding from the others. Classic, old family grudges are always simmering below the surface. The story slides down like a smooth summer cocktail!

Laura Dave/First Husband - just out!

I became a fan of Laura's writing style and wit after reading The Divorce Party (the title alone!). In First Husband the fun continues with the age old question of did I pick the right guy? I love a story where our heroine starts off thinking she has it all figured out. Laura did her research for this book finding out what the ingredients are that will help to ensure a successful relationship. Does true love exist and is the possibility enough to keep us hoping? Witty and page-turning, toss this book in the tote bag and you'll be assured an entertaining day at the beach!

Meg W. Clayton/The Four Ms.Bradwells

A gifted storyteller, Meg Clayton,spins a tale about four women who have been best friends since their first days at law school. The friends have come together years later when one is awaiting senate confirmation for her appointment to the Supreme Court. The foursome consists of the funny one,the rebel,the good girl and the savant. There are skeletons in the closet that come to light during the hearings threatening to ruin any chances of the appointment. Secrets, affairs, marriages, divorces and all the joys that life can hold surround the lives of these women against the back-drop of the the inequities that women continue to endure in their professional and personal lives. Lots of light moments also permeate the story making this one of my favorite summer picks!

Caroline Leavitt/Pictures Of You

I picked up Pictures Of You and could hardly put it down! I have been a fan of Leavitt's writing for many years and as I follow Caroline on Facebook felt like I was along for the ride as she typed away at this latest book. Totally unpredictable, this book is a literary joy of a read! An engrossing mystery is woven around the lives of two women who meet by chance as they are each running away from something or someone. I dare anyone to figure it out as they read along. Suspenseful and thought-provoking - how well do really know the people we love. Life is complicated and so are the characters that we come to understand. Oh, the drama!!

Danielle Ganek/The Summer We Read Gatsby

Does this title scream summer, or what? Evoking summers at the lake, sipping mint juleps and days that never seem to end. A summer home takes center stage in this book when two half-sisters inherit a broken-down cottage from their beloved Aunt Lydia. The sisters seemingly have little in common and when they are forced together in this home to figure out its future the fun and mystery begins! Written in Ganek's witty style, it kind of makes you want to take one of those rainy summer days and reread Gatsby... or watch the movie! A win either way and much better without the English exam at the end!

Amy Bourret/Mother and Other Liars

The title alone made me want to pick this one up! Is there anything more powerful than a mother's love? Even if there are extenuating circumstances under which the mother and child came to be together? You will fall in love with Ruby and Lark as their story unfolds and face the heartbreaking truth that is their lives. What would it be like to find out that you are not the person you always thought you were? What happens to the trust and love you've known all of your life and where do you go from there?

Lynne Griffin/Sea Escape

The author of Life Without Summer returns with another summer must-read. This book also centers around a beloved summer home, Sea Escape. Laura Martinez has a busy life as a nurse, wife and mother to two young children. She also has a mother who needs her and Laura hopes that the happy memories once shared at Sea Escape will have a healing effect. The power of Lynne's storytelling is also evident in the way she incorporates the love letters written by Laura's father to her mother. An added bonus - Laura learns that mother and daughter share more than they know. A lot can be learned from past generations.

Ayelet Waldman/Red Hook Road

The story of two very different families and the tragedy that occurs right at the start of this compulsively readable book hook the reader in! Set on the coast of Maine over four summers, these families must find a way to relate to each other if for no other reason than their children were once connected. Music and literature figure heavily into the storyline, joys that make life livable. In reflecting about this book I so loved last summer it makes me want to take another trip down Red Hook Road!

Sue Miller/The Lake Shore Limited

Many of Sue's novels are among my favorite books of all time: While I Was Gone, The Good Mother and more recently, The Senator's WifeThe Lake Shore Limited joins this list of fabulously told stories and is so vividly told that I can imagine it being performed as the play that we read about in the story.  A book with lots of layers - that's for me! At the heart of this novel is the question of a relationship that may not have lasted as long as it did had it not been for the tragic events of September 11th. Really makes the reader think. Just what a brilliant novel is supposed to do! Having interviewed Sue several times I am constantly amazed by her humility and wonder if she knows just how marvelous she is!
Reading enthusiast and all around "book-pusher" Robin Kall can be heard live Saturday mornings from 7-8am on Reading With Robin WHJJ 920AM. Also streaming live at Follow on Twitter @robinkall, andFacebook - Reading With Robin.

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