The Daily Need

Summer reading roundups: what’s on your list?

Books on this year’s summer reading lists are anything but predictable. Summer reading often implies lighter fare, but these so-called “beach reads” don’t necessarily have to be trashy, or recycled versions of the same genres. The beach book has “undergone a makeover for 2011,” writes Janet Maslin in the New York Times, offering up this summer’s fresh takes on true crime, celeb memoirs, thrillers and chick lit.

Other seasonal reading roundups from the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and NPR include categories in everything from children’s books and food memoirs to indie press releases and critics’ choices, including Tayari Jones’s “Silver Sparrow,” Preeta Samarasan’s “Evening is the Whole Day,” Mat Johnson’s “Pym” and the Michael Ondaatje memoir “Running in the Family.”

While editors at the Times Book Review claim to be re-reading classics like “Moby Dick” and “Middlemarch” for their own summer picks, informal surveys of city teachers and students and readers in Central Park reveal more populist titles like “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and Tina Fey’s  “Bossypants.”

In the Guardian’s list of best holiday reads, authors like Jennifer Egan and Jonathan Franzen, whose own novels regularly appear on summer reading lists, share their most memorable holiday literature experiences. (Don’t look for quick reads here: AS Byatt recalls a summer of Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” in the original French, while Ian Rankin waxes nostalgic for a “safari” reading of “War and Peace.”)

What books have you been reading this summer? Post your comments below.

 
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Comments

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZQI6NK35X5T2TYBFBXSNMFMNZY Steve K

    Korzybski: A Biography by Bruce I. Kodish.

  • Cindy

    The Pale King – David Foster Wallace.  Then Ulysses – James Joyce – which I’m embarrassed to admit I have never finished.

  • Sleth

    The best book I read this summer was, ‘Meant to Be’, by Beverly Butler and Sue Warhaftig.  Check out the reviews on Amazon!  It’s got a great cast of characters who are become part of our own peaks and valleys.  Great story line about a woman who is faced with questions, interwoven with her husband, family and friends.  Right from the start, you want to know what is going to happen next.  It’s a happy but real-life look at our relationships and just how important they really are to us.  Lots of laughs as well as a look at oneself and what we value.  A MUST READ!  If summer reading is over for you, put it at the top of your list as we transition to the Fall season.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=718296360 Nanette Nielson

    Room by Emma Donoghue

  • Ccsinclair

    Barbara Michaels’ entire book list.  A friend recommended her, and somehow I had missed them.  Great gothic reads–if you liked Rebecca, you’ll love these!

  • Swamikaur

    Decided to spend my Summer sparetime reading the Henning Mankell, Wallander series.  Good mystery reads.

  • Victoriabwillson

    Re-read all Jane Austen novels–now reading Diana Gabaldon Highlander series–it’s been an “historic” summer!

  • Bgood_pa

    The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein… one that will be on my read again list…

  • Vicki708

    I have been lost in the entire GAMES OF THRONES series.  On book 5 right now. Then I will move onto the final book in the LINGER YA series.

  • Stevensonology

    Confessions of a Philosopher – by Bryan Magee, an excellent book!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=90901106 Sylvia Eliason Needel

    Connie Willis – Blackout and All Clear – it addresses interesting questions about time travel.

  • Pmbates

    alice hoffman’s body of work,the lost dog.a fresh new thoughtful book from australia

  • Hotpanfight

    Simon Peggs “Nerd Do Well”

  • Jean

    No one has ever finished Ulysses.  I’ve tried three times.

  • Kathy Dubbels

    “Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day,” by Ben Loory (Don’t read the book all at once or you loose the impact of the stories).
    “The Warmth of Other Suns..’” by Isabel Wilkerson
    “Train Your Brain, Engage Your Heart, Transform Your Life,” by Amit Sood MD, MSc
    “Cutting for Stone, ” by Abraham Verghese
    “Gang of One, ” by Fan Shen

  • http://twitter.com/britimport Gwendolyn McIntyre

    My Summer Reading List was long this year. Don’t ask for a favourite, for each is… in their own unique way.

    13 Curses – Michelle Harrison
    Across The Great Barrier – Patricia Wrede
    Ghost Story – Jim Butcher
    Flutter – Erin E Moulton
    Unnatural Issue – Mercedes Lackey
    Tortall and Other Lands – Tamora Pierce
    The Soul Mirror – Carol Berg
    Steel – Carrie Vaughn
    Enchanted No More – Robin D. Owens
    Dreaming Anastasia – Joy Preble
    Yesterdays Magic – Pamela F. Service
    Blackveil -Kristen Britain

  • Susan L.

    I’ve read “Inside the Jihad: My Life with Al Qaeda” by Omar Nasiri, “This is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper, “Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest ” by Stephen Ambrose, and now I’m finishing up “Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentlemen Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail” by Stephen Bown.

  • Belle00100

    By the Light of My Father’s Smile by Alice Walker

  • Wawsumb

    I enjoyed Benjamin Black’s DEATH IN SUMMER, a mystery thriller set in Dublin and several detective mysteries by Kate Atkinson. Also, The Hypnotist from Sweden–dark but involving. What is it with the Swedes? Best book of the summer: David Brooks’ THE SOCIAL ANIMAL, a study of how our inner life guides our outer decisions. Fascinating.

  • Vicki

    31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan

  • Vicki

    31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan

  • Laramie Sasseville

    ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ by Patrick Rothfuss and I’ve been re-reading the Andrew Lang collections of color fairy books: ‘The Red Fairy Book,’ ‘The Blue Fairy Book,’ etc – 12 colors in all.

  • Laramie Sasseville

    ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ by Patrick Rothfuss and I’ve been re-reading the Andrew Lang collections of color fairy books: ‘The Red Fairy Book,’ ‘The Blue Fairy Book,’ etc – 12 colors in all.

  • LindaG413

    I’ve read all of Geraldine Brooks’ books. Right now finishing Tom McNeal’s To Be Sung Underwater. City of God by Doctorow was wonderful.

  • LindaG413

    I’ve read all of Geraldine Brooks’ books. Right now finishing Tom McNeal’s To Be Sung Underwater. City of God by Doctorow was wonderful.

  • Debrawtx

    A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle; I Need Your Love — Is That True? by Byron Katie; Bring Me The Rhinoceros by John Tarrant; Trail Life by Ray Jardine; and re-read When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.

  • Patrick

    Raymond Chandler, even if you have read them more than once.  Skip right to The Long Goodbye, it has a miraculous description of blondes in the 1950′s.  If you can find the novellete Pearls are a Nuisance, you will be happy

  • rcooper-2

    I read “Dracula” by Bram Stoker when I was 16. I plan to read it again.  I’m sure that I will understand it better.

  • rcooper-2

    I read “Dracula” by Bram Stoker when I was 16. I plan to read it again.  I’m sure that I will understand it better.

  • Cheryl B.

    Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

  • Meredith French

    The Bells, Waterworks, Mukiwa, When A Crocodile Eats the Sun, The Assault, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. On “The Other” now. Life is too short for beach reads…

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.stomps Stephen Stomps

    Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest (reading the books, watching the movies, playing the board game); Perry’s The Sheen on the Silk;

  • Bookmark60

    Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, and Butterfly’s Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe, and Faith by Jennifer Haigh all of them Summer Reads and great books for the beach or anywhere this summer.

  • Anonymous

    NONE OF US WERE LIKE THIS BEFORE, by Joshua E.S. Phillips

    I checked it out after your broadcast about the Detainee Abuse Task Force.  Wow…what a book.  I actually thought it was going to be a dry book about policy, but it was far more engaging (riveting might be a better word) than I expect.  It also surprised me in many ways.  Like the author, I was genuinely curious about how US forces turned to torture.  But I was really stunned to learn the various ways in which engaging in torture had many grave costs.  We’re still seeing these these damaging effects, and will likely see them grow as the years wear on.  It’s really an extraordinary read.  I highly recommend it.  I can safely say it’s one book that really changed me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1061215303 Mary Moritz

    The Hunt, by Heather Killough-Walden – e-book

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1061215303 Mary Moritz

    Redeemer, Heather Killough-Walden, e-book – Very unusual story that combines historical religion and modern day paranormal. Or maybe historical paranormal?? My third reading. Just love this story and all of the author’s works.

  • Mary

    Big Bad Wolf Series, Series of novels written about a werewolf clan. Takes place in three different cities and the characters cross over. Never know where the author is taking you – in a good way.

  • http://johndoylemysteries.webs.com mark elley

    You might like my new book, NARC!:A John Doyle Mystery!

  • http://johndoylemysteries.webs.com mark elley

    I’ve just had a new book published- NARC! A John Doyle Mystery. It is the story of a late teen who gets involved with the RCMP in Ontario, Canada to stop a drug ring in his small town in the late 1960′s. It leads to violence, murder and intrigue as he places his Christian ideals against the ideals of a turn on, tune out generation. There is some youthful lust as the relationship between his fiance, Susan and himself is explored. It is a classic good v. evil story that is taken from real life and then fictionalized. Those who have read it have said that it gets their attention in the first twenty pages.

  • Karlin

    Gutenberg Galaxy by McLuhan. A terrible choice for summer reading!! But I MUST slog through it, I must I must….
    When I simply cannot read any more McLuhan, I am re-reading Zen and the Art of M’cycle Maintenance.

  • Mesgc

    Adam Hochschild ‘To End All Wars’, Geraldine Brooks ‘Caleb’s Crossing’, David Mitchell ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’, and now the latest Donna Leon ‘Drawing Conclusions’ – a rich reading summer!

  • Mesgc

    Adam Hochschild ‘To End All Wars’, Geraldine Brooks ‘Caleb’s Crossing’, David Mitchell ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’, and now the latest Donna Leon ‘Drawing Conclusions’ – a rich reading summer!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tania-lee-Tomlinson-Goodheart/890820075 Tania-lee Tomlinson Goodheart

    My Faves this Summer were Poppet’s new Heresy series and her amazing books Djinn and Dusan, Heather Killough-Walden’s Big Bad Wold series and Hell Bent, Lauren Dane’s Goddess with a Blade, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-hunter series, and Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series.
    Ok so the list is LONG but I cut it down significantly! I am a voracious reader :)

  • Ptrue

    With my Kindle on my hols with me there’s so much to read but this year it’s Heather Killough-Walden’s The Hunt, J R Rain’s Moon Child and Laurell J Hamilton’s entire Anita Blake animator series which is fabulous!

  • Ptrue

    With my Kindle on my hols with me there’s so much to read but this year it’s Heather Killough-Walden’s The Hunt, J R Rain’s Moon Child and Laurell J Hamilton’s entire Anita Blake animator series which is fabulous!

  • Sandrita

    Amid all the controversy over “The Help” this summer, I decided to read COOKING IN OTHER WOMEN’S KITCHENS: Domestic Workers In the South, 1865-1960 by Rebecca Sharpless. Culled from government and academic archives, Ms. Sharpless presents the actual voices of black household workers up to the civil rights era as they cope with conditions and attitudes that were really an extension of slavery. The only difference was the pittance of a wage. 

  • Renata Birkenbuel

    This summer I’ve read mostly nonfiction: Valerie Plame’s Fair Game, Albert Brooks’ Twenty Thirty, Don Van Natta, Jr.’s Wonder Girl (bio about Babe Didrickson Zaharias), Van Natta’s First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers and Cheaters from Taft to Bush. I’m still reading Francis Mayes’ rich, detailed account of renovating an old house in rural Tuscany, Under the Tuscan Sun. On deck: Betty White’s If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t), Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken and Dan Simmon’s Drood (the latter for my book group).

  • Renata Birkenbuel

    Correction: Albert Brooks’ book is fiction.

  • Renata Birkenbuel

    Add one more: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot — the nonfiction book of the year! I hope it’s nominated for a Pulitzer.