Spike Lee might hate us a little for riffing off the title of one of his more mediocre films, but if the title fits, well, who’s gonna blame us?
We know we just gave you some great ideas for books to kick back with by the pool or on the beach here, but it’s summer and you can’t have too many. So here are a few more in case you are chewing through the previous list at an impressive rate or those other books just weren’t for you.
1. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats– Oh, this book wooed us! In that old-fashioned, damn-I-had-no-idea-I-could-be-knocked-off-my-feet-like-that kind of way. First of all, it started off as a sort of mystery: Dad disappears and daughter goes off to find him. Then the story morphs and suddenly you find yourself smack dab in the middle of an honest-to-goodness-old-fashioned romance. Once you catch on to what’s happening in this story within a story, you will be hooked, so just willingly suspend that disbelief and succumb to the infinite charms of this deeply beautiful and affecting love story. You are gonna be all warm and fuzzy about true love after this one—Fifty Shades be damned!
2.Lifeboat—Charlotte Rogan’s kind of a rock star. With this first novel, she has created a book with the characters, plot, and pace you crave in a great summer read. A bonus is that you will get so caught up in it that you’ll be chartering your own craft before the novel’s done.
Rogan grew up in a sailing family, and her descriptions of the sea itself are pretty engrossing (haven’t read such great imagery since The Perfect Storm). But that’s just half of the appeal. The other main draw is her narrator Grace—a newlywed with secrets and sass. No eye-rolling, please, but Erin and her sister had an intense hour-long conversation about whether Grace can be trusted to tell the story honestly. You will be wondering too, and that’s part of what elevates this story to really wonderful.
3. Broken Harbor by Tana French– This is a weird choice, because we haven’t actually read it, but we absolutely will and you should too. In fact, we already said how much we love Tana French here, but we should probably say it again: If you haven’t read her, rectify that situation. Pronto. This is what we know about the new novel. It is set in Dublin (like the other books), it involves a mystery to be solved, and it will be released July 24th. It will be wonderful. We just know it!! Reserve your copy today!!
4. Silver Girl by Elin Hildebrand— You may not have noticed, but we have a little section at the top of our blog where we review books. This is one of the first beach reads Ellen reviewed. Here’s an excerpt from that review:
“While the disaster that befalls, Meredith, the wife of the orchestrator of a fictional Ponzi scam is the storyline, I was drawn in by the rich character development and the authenticity of all of the relationships. The friendship between Meredith and Connie is as messy as you would expect for two people who have known each other since childhood: full of mistakes, history, tears, jealousy, and forgiveness.”
You can read the rest here. Then grab a cool drink, a comfy chair, a great view, and escape.
5. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta— This is another great read from a favorite writer who understands our current culture and climate so well. This book is one answer to the question: What happens when it all goes away? It’s a compelling, thought-provoking, and wonderful read—what more can you ask for with your toes in the sand?
6. The Wilder Life by Wendy Mc Clure— Not all of us were Laura Ingalls Wilder fans when we were girls, but this book will get you all excited about butter churns and samplers. This is an infectious fun book about the ultimate dork road trip. You will be gassing up the minivan and pointing it westward in no time.
7. Look At Me by Jennifer Egan—This is another book club favorite. But this one comes with a warning: this book is hard to love even when you cannot put it down. Intrigued? You should be. This book is definitely going to get you thinking. The central character Charlotte is a model that loses her looks in a horrific car accident. As she is healing, she is nearly unrecognizable. This leaves ample room for the talented Egan to spin a tale that takes on our society’s obsession with appearances. Sound a little deep for poolside reading? We have a whole group of friends who would challenge that notion. You won’t be sorry if you add this to your stack.
8. The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller—We love Sue Miller. She is so good at creating characters that you forget you’re reading and feel yourself looking around for your new friends. Anyway, this is a story in a story too, and this approach gives you just the distance you need to see these characters clearly. Billy, the playwright, is grieving the loss of her lover who was killed in the attacks of 9/11, and she works out her feelings in her play about a man waiting to hear if his wife has been killed in a terrorist attack on the famed train, The Lake Shore Limited. These characters will drag you into their world no matter where you may be sipping your drink.
9. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake— Ashley Taylor at The Dose of Reality loves Anna Quindlan as much as we do and says so here. Knowing full well that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we had to go out immediately and read this book, because, well, it’s Anna Quindlan.
It. Was. Perfect. Everyone, not even just the Quindlan-obsessed, will have to concede this point.
Here’s a favorite quote from it: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.” Now, go get yourself a copy!!
10. War and Peace–This is Erin’s pick completely. Ellen is busy suppressing every innate reflex to mock. This is on our list, because it’s on Erin’s summer reading list. Again.
She was supposed to read this book for her own self-edification when she was 30. And didn’t. Many attempts over the ensuing 10 years didn’t get the job done. Snookering hapless friends into “reading” it with her didn’t help either.
That’s all gonna change this summer. Mary jumped on this band wagon, and we invited our regular book club friends to read it with us. So now we are inviting all of you too. There won’t be any prizes, but you can mock with glee if you read it and we don’t. But Erin is really gonna read it, so be prepared to high-five via the interwebz!
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski