I decided to bring some to you, too. And I've categorized them! Since summer reading can go many a way. Generally I think you can read whatever genre, whenever you want, but let's go with the theme - this ain't time to read the frigid, despairing pages of Cormac McCarthy! You're on a beach! By a pool! Lounging in the sun or relaxing in air conditioning!
The Good Ol' Blockbuster
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (& sequels) by Stieg Larsson
The books, the Swedish films, the rumors for the American film versions - this series is legitimately everywhere! And you know what? They're good! You can believe in the hype. At least - for now. I just finished the second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and I believe it's a vast improvement on the first. Perhaps because we get more of kick-ass rebel Lisbeth Salander? Or maybe because the translation's just better! I can't wait to read the third, and ALERT: the wonderful Swedish film adaptation is currently available on Netflix Instant Watch! The sequel was just released in theaters, and that's what I'm seeing tonight!
The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike
This one's an oldie. If you've been reading, you probably know that as a pre-teen and teenager, I was obsessed with Pike's eerie novels. However, this was one of his adult novels, and it's a wee bit sci-fi, a wee bit vampiric - and a total page-turner. It's been a few years since I last read it, I may have to delve in again!
For a Laugh
Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler
Last year, Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea cracked me up. This year's choice had me laughing out loud on the plane to San Diego in June. If she wasn't so funny about her practical jokes, she could be a sadistic pathological liar. Good thing she's hilarious!
Hot Mess: Summer in the City by Julie Kraut and Shallon Lester
I read this a few summers ago, and the emo references and teen language were great for a light, funny read. Also, if you've ever seen MTV's Downtown Girls, its star, Shallon, co-wrote this!
Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis
Though definitely a dark comedy (the usual Ellis satirical stuffs) I am fully convinced that whoever wrote the plot to Zoolander definitely read this book. It's about the 90s, supermodels, and terrorism: I'm JUST saying. (It's also really violent and sexual, not for the faint of heart!)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
You may have recently heard of this novel because Kiera Knightley, Carey Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield (the newest Spiderman) are starring in a film version. Read it before you see it! I love this novel wholeheartedly, and unlike Dragon Tattoo, I'm pretty sure the movie cannot live up to the written word.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
I read this last summer on the honeymoon - it was perfect to read on the beach with the warm Aruban winds lifting the corner of the pages every so often. It's a saga in the way of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, set in South America and following a family through tragedies and a nation's militant uprising. Allende's settings and characters come to life instantaneously with her gorgeous and illustrative writing.
Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe by Jenny Hollowell
I contemplated grouping this with the comedies, but it made me think - think at what exactly I was laughing at. It's funny, to be sure, but in an almost sad, depressive way. Want to take a look into the seedy business of Hollywood? Go ahead.
Evening by Susan Minot
I read this novel for a class in college, but it still sticks with me long after. The writing uses so many flash-forward, flash-backward plot devices and descriptions that make you think; and it makes you emotional (was it just me?). You'll think of your own memories (many of them summer memories) and your first loves, lost loves, and even regrets.
Perfect for Short Summer Attention Spans
Runaway (Stories) by Alice Munro
Munro makes so much plot in so little words. Her stories could be ten pages long and you'd finish feeling like you knew those characters; her descriptions are succinct, plain, and perfect. I just read this last month, my first by Munro, and I can't wait to read more of her works.
Nine Stories by JD Salinger
I indeed despise Catcher in the Rye - but I truly love this tiny book. In fact, a friend "handed it down" to me last year for the bridal shower, and it was filled with little notes and ticket stubs from all over the world. I recently passed it on to another friend, and told her to leave her mark and pass it on as well. It's writing you can get attached to, but want to share with everyone else.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
I don't think I can even write about how much I love this collection of essays and articles. Ever since I read it last summer, I can't stop thinking about certain moments in this book, and in her writing. I've already reread a few of these essays, and can claim Didion as one of my favourite writers of all time.
A Classic for a Time Escape
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
If someone were to ask me my favourite novel of all time, I'd say this one. I read it one summer many years ago when visiting my family in Panama. I was under a mosquito net, the jungle outside my window, the humidity on every inch of my skin - and I relished in how I remembered everything even more clearly that summer because of this book. Also set in a deep South American jungle, the writing, though translated, is the best. One day I intend to read it in the original Spanish.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
And now to France! This novel made me laugh many times, but like Hollowell's novel, there's an underlying sadness and desperateness throughout the text. Wonderful read.
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
For my final suggestion, a return to old New York. I still can't get Newland Archer's character out of my head - Wharton writes in an exacting, witty way and she gets across a lot in few words. If you enjoy Jane Austen and her musings on courtship, Wharton does the same in a much more biting manner. I'm currently reading The House of Mirth by her, and I'm glad to recognize her clever writing again.
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Do not, under any circumstances, pick up Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I couldn't even finish it; what a self-indulgent snooze-fest. And I absolutely love her magazine writing! I was super disappointed. Okay, okay - I know a lot of people love it, and maybe you hate one of my own suggestions. To each their own! Let me know if you love/hate/can't wait to read what's listed! Any suggestions of your own?