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.