What You Read Over Summer Vacation: Readers Respond to eNotes

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Remember, just a few months ago, when the summer seemed endless and our Loyal Blog Readers were asked what  books were going into beach bags and which were being chucked in the backseats of cars?  Some were novels recommended by a friend; others were purchased because of the rave reviews of trusted literary critics; still others were ones that had been Christmas gifts that we were finally going to have time to read.  Well, now those readers report back, with thumbs up or down or sideways about those earlier choices, and some that snuck in somehow…impulse buys or gifts.  Here’s what you had to say about your summer reading selections:  

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Top Ten Summer Readings for 2013

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Ahhhh, summer! Finally, some time for a bit of pleasure reading. Got a gift certificate you’ve been hanging on to? (Ha. Mine are gone minutes after they hit my hands.) Or maybe you are just overwhelmed with choices and don’t want to waste precious free time on something that isn’t so great. Well, we at eNotes want to help you get the most out of your summer reading

Here are ten suggestions offered by my very well-read friends who occasionally hang up their tweed jackets and loosen their professorial buns (no, not hair).  Here you will find a combination of new and older works, both fiction and non-fiction, serious and comedic.  So pick a few and let us know what YOU think!

madwomen

1.  Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue by Jane Maas

Are you a fan of AMC’s Mad Men and Peggy and Joan in particular? Curious about what life was really like on Madison Avenue in the ’60s? Then you will enjoy Maas’s exploration of life in the ad game in the 1960s and beyond .

confessions

2.  Confessions of an Ex-Girlfriend by Lynda Curnyn

A good beach read by a first time novelist. A friend says it is “the only romance novel I’ve ever finished.”

“Suddenly single when her aspiring screenwriter boyfriend takes off for a hot job in L.A., bridal magazine editor Emma Carter is forced to reassess her appearance, her job, and her prospects-and take action. A diverse cast of engaging, occasionally offbeat characters, the hilarious sayings attributed to them, and a fast-paced style facilitated by Emma’s pithy sound-bite “confessions” add to the fun in a lively Manhattan-set story that, while not a true romance, leaves the heroine happily pursuing her dreams and involved in a satisfying romantic relationship. This work may appeal to those who enjoy Bridget Jones-type books and like their stories urban, trendy, and slightly ambiguous. Curnyn is a fiction editor and lives in New York. This is her first novel. ” – Library Journal

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Summer Reading Recommendations

Ahhh…summer.  Time to catch up on some reading, but so many choices. Here are some suggestions to sure please every reading taste:

Memoir

One More Theory About Happiness by Paul Guest

When Paul Guest was twelve years old, he broke his neck in a horrific accident on a bicycle. The author takes the reader from those immediate, difficult years following the accident into his manhood. Guest became a teacher, an award-winning poet, and a husband. One More Theory About Happiness has been called : “Wonderful”— John Ashbery; “Astonishing”—Jorie Graham; “Fierce and unnerving”—Robert Hass.  You can read an excerpt here.

Fiction


The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

Included on many summer reading favorites of critics is Brady Udall’s  tragicomedy, The Lonely Polygamist.

Golden Richards is married to four women. He has twenty-eight children.  And he is having one hell of a midlife crisis. His business is failing, his wives and children are fighting amongst each other, and he is trying to come to terms with the death of his daughter and the stillborn death of his son.  To cope, Golden has an affair which threatens his family and business.

Read an excerpt here.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo By Steig Larson

The first in Larsson’s acclaimed trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a good way to begin your summer reading and then continue on with the second volume, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and conclude with the final installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. A summary from the publisher:

Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist is hired by Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of Vanger’s great-niece Harriet. Henrik suspects that someone in his family, the powerful Vanger clan, murdered Harriet over forty years ago.

Starting his investigation, Mikael realizes that Harriet’s disappearance is not a single event, but rather linked to series of gruesome murders in the past. He now crosses paths with Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker, an asocial punk and most importantly, a young woman driven by her vindictiveness.

Non-Fiction


The Facebook Effect by David Kilpatrick

A summary from Amazon:

IN LITTLE MORE THAN HALF A DECADE, Facebook has gone from a dorm-room novelty to a company with 500 million users. It is one of the fastest growing companies in history, an essential part of the social life not only of teenagers but hundreds of millions of adults worldwide. As Facebook spreads around the globe, it creates surprising effects–even becoming instrumental in political protests from Colombia to Iran. Veteran technology reporter David Kirkpatrick had the full cooperation of Facebook’s key executives in researching this fascinating history of the company and its impact on our lives.

The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World’s Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo

An summary from Amazon:

Thrilling, true tales of  three of the greatest detectives in the world–a renowned FBI agent turned private eye, a sculptor and lothario who speaks to the dead, and an eccentric profiler known as “the living Sherlock Holmes”-were heartsick over the growing tide of unsolved murders. Good friends and sometime rivals William Fleisher, Frank Bender, and Richard Walter decided one day over lunch that something had to be done, and pledged themselves to a grand quest for justice. The three men invited the greatest collection of forensic investigators ever assembled, drawn from five continents, to the Downtown Club in Philadelphia to begin an audacious quest: to bring the coldest killers in the world to an accounting. Named for the first modern detective, the Parisian eugène François Vidocq-the flamboyant Napoleonic real-life sleuth who inspired Sherlock Holmes-the Vidocq Society meets monthly in its secretive chambers to solve a cold murder over a gourmet lunch.

Poetry

The Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin

Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry,  “The Shadow of Sirius” is a collection of luminous, often tender poems that focus on the profound power of memory.

Cookbook

The Big Summer Cookbook: 300 fresh, flavorful recipes for those lazy, hazy days  by Jeff Cox

Combine two summer loves, reading and eating!  Sample a recipe for Tomato Tarts here.


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