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June 5, 2013

Gab Bag: Summer Lovin' ... Reader-Style!

(Repost of a popular topic)


By Kim Harris Thacker

For many people, summer is a time off school and a time for the pool! For others, it’s the time of year for hitting yard sales and farmer’s markets and for gardening, landscaping, Honey-Do List making (or completing items on the Honey-Do List), and of course, barbequing.

As a kid, I fell into the first category (though since we didn’t have a local pool, I played softball, picked worms, changed sprinkler pipe, and fished during the summer, instead). Now, as a mom with kids of my own, I fall into the latter category. After all my summer chores are done for the day, there’s nothing I like better than crawling into bed, exhausted, and flipping open a terrific book. In spite of the increase in the daily number of items I get accomplished during the summer, I also get in much more reading time than in the colder months. It makes absolutely no sense, but there you have it. Maybe it has something to do with how my girls and I love to walk to the library on warm days...

During the colder months, I adore snuggling under my covers and reading books like JANE EYRE, A TALE OF TWO CITIES, and THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. A brisk wind begs for classic novels, I think. But during the summer, I crave books like DEAD END IN NORVELT, ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, and THE NAME OF THE WIND. Gimme giggles, romance, high adventure, and more than a small helping of magic, please.

A few of the novels that I’ve read this summer that really stand out to me include:
Lena Coakley’s WITCHLANDERS – YA fantasy
Teresa Flavin’s THE BLACKHOPE ENIGMA – MG fantasy
Marianne Malone’s STEALING MAGIC (sequel to THE SIXTY EIGHT ROOMS, which I reviewed on Bookshop Talk here) – MG fantasy
Leif Enger’s PEACE LIKE A RIVER – Adult fiction
Leif Enger’s SO BRAVE, YOUNG, AND HANDSOME (reviewed on Bookshop Talk by Josi Kilpack here) – Adult historical fiction
Joelle Anthony’s THE RIGHT & THE REAL – YA realistic fiction
Victoria Schwab’s THE NEAR WITCH (reviewed on Bookshop Talk by Pica here YA fantasy
Bethany Griffin’s MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH – YA fantasy

What are some of your favorite summer-time reads? Do you love contemporary novels for those coconut-scented-sunblock-and-drippy-ice-cream-cones days? Or are you all about the magic of fantasy? I hope you’ll share some of your favorite book titles with all of us on Bookshop Talk!

21 comments:

Alexa said...

I read more in the summer too, I think it's because we sit outside more so I'm not tempted to put the TV on :) Although this summer is such a wash out, we haven't been out at all.

Anyway I love contemporary in the summer, nothing like a Sarah Dessen novel when it is hot out. I also just finished Flat Out Love by Jessica Park, which was a great summer read, charming and funny and full of great characters.

MKHutchins said...

Hmm. I don't know if my reading patterns have a seasonality, but lately I've read some Terry Pratchett, Jane Austen's Persuasion (first Austen book I've read). I do love a book with wit.

Alice said...

Your winter books are three of my all time favorites.

Kim said...

It's kind of odd to think about having seasonal tastes when it comes to books! But I definitely have them.

Alexa, I've heard great things about FLAT OUT LOVE.

MKHutchins, Terry Pratchett is one of my absolute favorite writers. NATION might even be on my top-10 list!

Alice, it's nice to "meet" someone with similar taste! I just adore Sir Percy, don't you?

Amy {BookshopTalk.com} said...

There's few things I love more than devouring a book during a summer vacation (or at any time, really). There is something about summer though that makes me want to dive into a romantic story, or one that can be read at break-neck speed. Preferably both.

Right now I'm reading Austen's Persuasion, which I've always skipped over before because I've seen two film adaptations in which the main character is so drab I couldn't stand the thought of reading the novel. But my loss, because the novel is fantastic! One of Austen's best, I think.

And Harry Potter is a perennial summer favorite for me. I just read the entire series again during May and June, and I have honestly never loved it more than this tenth or so time through. Yes, I’m a bit of a Potterphile, and proud of it.

Books that are too serious don’t usually mix well with me during the summer. It just feels wrong to read something like THE BOOK THIEF while I’m watching my kids play on the beach.

My instant recommendations for enjoyable, quick summer reads:

I Capture the Castle
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Help
A travel book about wherever you are going on vacation, or would like to go
And two of my favorite young adult titles in the past couple of years: Clockwork Angel, and
Clockwork Prince

Great topic, Kim. Thanks!

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

I have to add a few more books to this list that I created last summer:

DARKBEAST (a MG fantasy novel by Morgan Keyes)
INCARCERON (a YA dystopian/fantasy by Catherine Fisher)
SERAPHINA (a YA fantasy with completely unique dragons by Rachel Hartman)
WONDER (a MG contemporary by R.J. Palacio)
THE ARCHIVED (a YA contemporary fantasy by Victoria Schwab)
THE ALMOST TRUTH (a YA contemporary by Eileen Cook)
NAVIGATING EARLY (a MG historical by Clare Vanderpool)
DIVERGENT (a YA dystopian by Veronica Roth)
UNNATURAL CREATURES (a collection of short stories about...well, unnatural creatures, compiled by Neil Gaiman)
THE YOUNG MAN AND THE SEA (a MG contemporary--maybe historical--by Rodman Philbrick)

Amy {BookshopTalk.com} said...

To my comments from last year, I've got to add CLOCKWORK PRINCE, the last book in the Infernal Devices series, and Jessica Day George's books that have come out since last summer: WEDNESDAYS IN THE TOWER, and PRINCESS OF THE SILVER WOODS. And a new favorite series is Jennifer A. Nielsen's THE FALSE PRINCE, and THE RUNAWAY KING. All of these are fast fun reads :)

Kim said...

Ooo...yes, Amy! Jessica Day George's books are always so terrific. And I'm reading THE RUNAWAY KING right now! I absolutely loved THE FALSE PRINCE. II haven't read THE CLOCKWORK PRINCE, yet!

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

I'm currently listening to The Runaway King. Hoping it measures up to The False Prince. I second, Wonder and The Archived. Oh my, just finished The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey of Monstrumolgy fame. Love to know what you think of that one. But I'm probably most excited to finish Quintana of Charyn, the last of Machetta's Lumatere Chronicles. Thanks for all the suggestions ladies.

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

I forgot...Kim, have you read Prachett's Dodger? I enjoyed it.

Kim said...

Hi Kim K! I did read DODGER, and I loved it! Of course, Terry Pratchett never disappoints when it comes to YA and MG novels! I haven't read any of the Lumatere novels, but I did read her SAVING FRANCESCA, which I loved. I also haven't read THE 5TH WAVE! I've gotta get reading!!!

Nanee McGee said...

I want to win

lucaseth said...

I am a voracious reader year round...but love to take a good book out to the swing with a cool glass of lemonade....YA is my choice for a good summer read...but sometimes a classic is what I want..

I want to win a book!!

Jaina said...

I read anything and everything in the summer - just more of it. My favorite summer reads, though, are probably those that leave in impression amidst everything I read, and that give me something to think about. I also find myself re-reading favorite series (Harry Potter and Septimus Heap, to name a few) in the summer, because of my amount of free time.

Jaina said...

Oops! I want to win a book. I forgot to say that in my last post.

Irene said...

Actually, I seem to read more in the winter in front of the fire or in bed under a down quilt. In summer, there's so much to do and, by the time I settle down to read, it is already 9:30 or 10:00PM. But...what I'm reading this summer is Lily Koppel's The Astronaut Wives Club; Robert Edsel's The Monuments Men; Amor Towles' Eve in Hollywood; Lynn Shepherd's A Fatal Likeness and Stephanie Carroll's A White Room.

Paul said...

I'm trying to mash-up some fantasy and classics this summer. I'm a teacher, so summer is the only time I'll be able to read Les Miserables (unabridged). Also going to read Crime and Punishment, and some Dresden Files books. They're extremely fun (the aforementioned Dresden novels, which do not appeal to the stereotypical image many have of Russian novels, despite my love for said tradition). They're light, fun, and have much verve.

Of course, this is just an elaborate way of saying "I want to win a/10 book(s).

Valette M. said...

Yep, wouldn't be down time without a book. I can never enjoy a Saturday morning bowl of cereal without one.
Probably my favorite summer read so far is Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.
"I want to win a book."

Stephanie said...

I want to win a book

Julie said...

I love to be able to read more during the summer. As a college/graduate student, I always look forward to reading books that have nothing to do with theory or my thesis.

I make it a point to read "To Kill a Mockingbird" every summer, because it is my all-time favorite book. There's just something about that book that feels so summery to me--maybe Scout's and Dill's adventures outside, thinking of ways to make Boo Radley emerge.

This summer, I have been taking classes, so my reading has been low. I have just finished TELL THE WOLVES I'M HOME by Carol Rifka Brunt, which I LOVED. I plan to submit a review asap! :)

I want to win a book!