8 Perfect Books for Your Summer Reading List

 

8 Perfect Books for Your Summer Reading List

Summer is coming and soon we’ll all be in need of a beach read or two. I decided to go through my recently read posts (most recent here) and choose the books I found most compulsively readable. The ones I couldn’t put down. The ones I wished I’d read sitting in a beach chair and covered in SPF 50.

So if you’re looking for something to read now, something that will suck you right in, this summer reading list is for you.

Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this book on the blog before. I read this book in a day and a half. It was that good. I could not put it down.

This book is a memoir of a medical mystery experienced by 24 year-old Susannah Calahan. I’m not usually one for memoirs (fiction only for this girl) but this book kept me glued to the pages. I can’t elaborate too much but basically Susannah wakes up in a hospital, strapped to the bed and has a huge gap of time missing. She’s been deemed psychotic. And she has no memory of her actions during the missing time. The memoir is her writing later as she tries to fill in the gaps. Absolutely riveting.

Dark Matter

Oh, you think a physics based thriller doesn’t sound like it’s going to keep you up late at night? Oh but it will.

Jason is a physicist living a normal, albeit slightly boring life in Chicago with his wife and son. Professionally only moderately successful, Jason wonders what he could have accomplished but is comforted by his solid home life.

One night, Jason is kidnapped and taken to an abandoned warehouse by an unknown assailant. What happens next will keep you reading way past lights out. Trust me.

Go ahead and download the sample on your Kindle (it’s the button on the right side) or send it to the Kindle app on your iPhone. I got to the end of the sample and immediately ordered the hardback. I had to know what happened. When I finished I gave it to my brother and he read it in a day. Just do it. Download the sample.

American Wife

I picked this book up at a used bookstore in Florence after I’d read all the other books I brought to Italy during bouts of time zone induced insomnia. This book that follows the life of Alice Lindgren, a fictional character loosely based on the life of Laura Bush.

It is fairly long and goes through her life from childhood all the way through to her time as first lady. The book is not a biography but there is so much that is pulled from Laura Bush’s life, it actually made me grow quite fond of her. It was fascinating to take a (fictional) peek into what life might be life for some of America’s iconic, privileged families.

It also left me wondering how often she disagreed with her husband in their private life. Alice frequently disagrees with her husband, something that I’d never pondered might be an experience that many first ladies share. I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy learning about the people behind politics (or at least imagining how their lives might be).

The Weight of Silence

I bought this book at Goodwill for 25 cents and it sat on my shelf for years before I read it. That is basically a crime. This is the kind of book that hooks you from the very beginning and you don’t put it down until you’re done. I read the last 200 pages in one sitting.

The Weight of Silence is about the disappearance of two young girls, best friends and neighbors. Both are gone from their beds in the middle of the night with very few clues about what happened. Were they together? Were they taken? Did they go by choice? The story is written from the perspective of nearly every character, with each chapter changing perspective. I was absolutely riveted. While the plots are very different, if you liked Gone Girl, you might like this.

Orphan Train

Orphan Train alternates perspective between two orphans – Molly, a Penobscot Indian who is now in the foster system, and Vivian, a woman now in her 90s. Molly is close to aging out of the foster system and after a bit of a mess up, needs to do 50 hours of community service. Vivian’s story starts out in Ireland, takes her through Ellis Island and to New York, and later on the “orphan train” from New York to the midwest. Her story was the one I found most gripping but I really loved how the two stories intertwined as Molly helped Vivian clean out her attic.

The Orphan Trains are definitely a piece of American history that I didn’t know about and, after working so closely with social workers in my real life, it was shocking to see how social issues were handled way back when. I got to a point where I absolutely couldn’t put this book down. I read it in a day.

Where’d You Go Bernadette

I’d heard that this book was good and that was true. I read the entire thing in one sitting. The story is written from the perspective of Bee, a young teen who is trying to figure out what happened to her Mom (Bernadette), who has gone missing.

I absolutely loved how the story is told via emails, documents, letters, faxes, and Bee’s commentary. I’ve never read a book with a format like this and it keeps you from ever getting bored. Though it sounds from the descriptions I read that it is a mystery, it’s actually quite a funny read and you’re on the edge of your seat but not the way you are with a traditional mystery/thriller. It’s a genre all to itself.

Attachments

This was probably my favorite book I read in 2015. Actually, I’ll go so far as to say this – Attachments is in my top 10 favorite books ever. Whoa. It’s also my favorite Rainbow Rowell book and I’m fairly sure it’s one of her only books that is not YA.

This was suggested to me as a “happy” book to read after I’d read a number of disturbing thrillers (mostly by Gillian Flynn). It was absolute perfection complete with the sweet ending I was craving. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes feeling warm fuzzies (i.e. anyone who is not a cyborg). If you’re looking for a romantic comedy in book form, you found it.

Inferno

Dan Brown with another Robert Langdon story. This book actually terrified me. The title of the book is misleading. Is it about fire? Nope. Overpopulation.

Apparently there are a lot of (educated) people who believe that there are already too many people on the planet and that our resources cannot possibly support where we are headed in terms of population. It also brought to my attention how really incredible science of the future will be used for good and bad. Basically science is the future of terrorism. Like I said, terrifying.

Honestly, this is my favorite Dan Brown novel. I liked this better than both The Davinci Code and Angels & Demons (both of which I loved).

Alright, now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below with one book that you absolutely could not put down. Happy reading! 

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  • ahh this could not have come at a better time! was just looking for some new reads- thank you!

  • I have read and loved all of Dan Brown’s books.

  • I love Dan Brown’s books! I really want to pick up Dark Matter now! 🙂 Thanks for the recs!

  • I LOVED Dark Matter. Such a good read!

  • I’ve heard great things about Dark Matter but haven’t read it yet! I just picked up The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman. It’s a super light and easy read, but super witty and entertaining. I’ve been reading a lot of “heavier”/mystery books lately (i.e. The Woman in Cabin 10, What She Knew) so it’s been nice to have a light read in between.

  • I LOVED Orphan Train, I think I read it in a day or two as well. Couldn’t put it down. I’ll have to look into a few of the others you mentioned, I’ve been looking for a new book!

  • Liza

    I really enjoyed Orphan Train too, and it’s unbelievable what was standard practice not so long ago. Like in Anne of Green Gables, when a family friend was able to just pick out an orphan and take her home for someone else. Like oh hey while you’re out, can you get me some milk? And a child? Totally ok.
    When I was little I read a book called The Day They Gave Babies Away. It was about a large family that lost both parents, so it was up to the eldest child to find homes for his siblings. This family never had a child of their own? Here you go! I know both titles are fictional, but based on the way things were really done. Amazing how much things change!

  • I’ve read Inferno and watched the movie on the plane home from Italy last month… it was pretty intense. The book raises some really interesting questions. I’ve been wanting to read American Wife – thanks for the reminder!

  • Ari Marsh

    It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover. Sooo good.

  • I absolutely loved Attachments too! Rainbow Rowell is the best! I have a few of these on my list already but some new ones to add too. Thanks!

  • I have read three of these but will have to check out the others! Thanks for the recommendations!!!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Dark matter was such an awesome book! Love coming across a list of reading recommendations.

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