It’s summertime and the living is…a little bit easier. We all look forward to the warm, lazy afternoons, the lure of the beach towel, or chaise longue, or even the airplane seat. (Who doesn’t want to lose herself in a good book then?)
Those are precisely the moments when you need a roundup of the season’s most delectable reads. And here, after sifting through many new titles, is exactly that.
Yes, I know Fifty Shades of Grey is all the rage but for me, a long lazy summer day means digging into other titles that impels my mind, wets my appetite, and dare I say, feeds into my sexual desires. Here are some options I’ve selected from Facebook pages, as well as from suggestions from friends, magazines and favorite book clubs.
The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan (http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Deborah-Copaken-Kogan/dp/1401340822/ref=pd_rhf_dp_shvl2). It’s been referred to as “The Big Chill meets The Group:” a story about a once-close circle of friends who meet again at their 20th college reunion.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. You can almost hear the jazz music as the background soundtrack to this wonderful novel, set in New York City in 1938. It’s a story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising 25-year- old as she embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.
Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed by Leslie Maitland. Investigative reporter Leslie Maitland grew up enthralled by her mother’s accounts of forbidden romance and harrowing flight from the Nazis. Her book is both a journalist’s vivid depiction of a world at war and a daughter’s pursuit of a haunting question: what had become of the handsome Frenchman whose picture her mother continued to treasure almost fifty years after they parted?
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand. The emotional fallout from a high school summer bonfire when one student is killed and another is left in a coma. A page turning read about the real truths behind those white picket fences of suburbia as secrets are kept, promises broken, and hearts betrayed
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. This book is buzzing on Amazon; it spans time – from 1962 to present – as well as various coasts (from Rome, to Hollywood, to Idaho, England and Scotland). The premise: The innkeeper of small hotel in Italy meets a pretty American actress who is said to be dying of stomach cancer. She not only brings a new aspect to his world and new insight to his own problems but Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor appear as supporting actors.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Behind the perfect McMansion lays the claustrophobic world of a failing marriage. The book reads as plucked from the headlines: Beautiful wife disappears; husband doesn’t seem as distraught as he should be under the circumstances.
In One Person by John Irving. A story about a bisexual man who falls in love with an older transgender woman who happens to be the librarian in a Vermont town.
Beach House Memories by Mary Alice Monroe. The name alone is perfect for summer, right? But the title is misleading as it’s really a story about the strength of women, particularly issues of class, women’s rights, and domestic abuse set in the tumultuous South during the 1970s. Think The Help fast-forwarded.
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. One of my personal favorites, centered on the real life events of the early 70s A.D. in ancient Judea when several hundred Jews fled Jerusalem to the desert near the Dead Sea. The novel follows the lives of four women who are broken and hurt, and yes, intertwined.
Secret Regrets: What if You had a Second Chance? by Kevin Hansen. More than 25,000 people have anonymously confessed their biggest regrets; kind of like “Chicken Soup for the Troubled Soul.”
The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain. A fictionalized account (based on real events) of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson as the two move into the incredibly exciting and volatile world of Jazz-age Paris.
Shameless: How I Ditched the Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time To Cook Dinner by Pamela Madsen. A quirky book about empowerment, pushing limits and big adventure.
Sky of Red Poppies by Zohreh Ghahremani’s. A novel about the close, once-in-a-lifetime friendship of two women whose lives take drastically different paths over the course of many decades and across continents as well as that age-old question, “What if I’d done things differently?”
Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own by Doreen Orion. How can you not love a book that starts with a martini recipe? This fun, inspiring travel memoir is all about a middle-aged couple and an RV. Think “Eat, Pray, Love – without the depression.”
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. A memoir about an 1,100-mile hike from the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State – alone! — that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.
Let me know what you’ve read and what titles you would recommend. Happy reading!!!