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Summer Reading List 2013

Hi everyone! Welcome to SUMMER! (It might have come earlier to those of you in the south and west, but here in New York, school just ended and it’s the first official weekend of summer.) I’m a year-round reader and I don’t think I devote more time to it during any particular season, but most people I know bump up their reading time in the summer. There’s nothing like a good book, whether you’re sitting on your porch or lying on a beach towel. So here’s my first annual summer reading list. Not everything on it is new, it’s just a mix of titles I’m looking forward to reading this year.

Cleopatra (biography) by Stacy Schiff. Cleopatra, one of the world’s best-known female leaders, led a fascinating life AND death. She committed suicide after her lover Marc Antony’s death by allowing herself to be bitten by an Egyptian cobra. Who wouldn’t want to read about her?

And the Mountains Echoed book cover
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And the Mountains Echoed (novel) by Khaled Hosseini, the brilliant Afghani writer of A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner. I actually don’t know much about this next book, beyond that it’s set all over the world, but it doesn’t matter- I’ll read anything he’s written.

Beautiful Day (novel) by Elin Hilderbrand. Another great beach read about the island of Nantucket, this time centering around the drama of two families planning a wedding. I love the way Hilderbrand writes relationships, and she brings the Nantucket setting right into the heart of every novel. I know this is going to be a fast and pleasureful read.

The Silver Star (novel) by Jeannette Walls, the author of The Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses. I loved her first two memoir/biographies- the gritty details, the historical perspective. This novel takes some of her familiar themes, such as abandonment, poverty and artistic temperament, and applies them to two fictional girls who travel across the country to find roots after their mother leaves them.

Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True (memoir/writing manual) by Elizabeth Berg. I think she’s a beautiful, insightful writer (I just recently finished her latest novel, Tapestry of Fortunes) and I’m looking forward to reading her thoughts about writing. This is an older book, but it’s been in continual publication since 1999.

Sisterland (novel) by Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep and American Wife (the novel loosely based on Laura Bush). A story about twin sisters born with psychic powers that one embraces and one hides. This one isn’t out until June 25th. As with Hosseini, I’d read anything Sittenfeld wrote.

The Tao of Martha (memoir) by Jen Lancaster. I’ve fallen in and out of love with Lancaster’s memoirs over the years (I’m not a big fan of her novels) but I can’t deny that they’re unfailingly witty, snappy, and good for a laugh. There’s no one out there who writes like her. In this one, Lancaster attempts to make herself over, Martha Stewart-style.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor (nonfiction) by Thomas C. Foster. This book was recently recommended to me. I wish I had the time and funds to go back to school and get a degree in literature or creative writing. Though that’s not in the cards right now, I think this book will give me a bit of the classroom experience I crave. It teaches how to read more thoughtfully by delving into the themes and devices used in common literature.

The Mystery of Mercy Close (novel) by Marian Keyes. I’ve waited YEARS for this next Walsh sister novel. This is the fifth novel, starring Helen, the youngest Walsh daughter. I’ve actually read some not-so-great reviews about this book, but I’m going to read it anyway. If nothing else, I always enjoy Marian Keyes’s style and the setting in Dublin, Ireland. If you’re new to Marian Keys or the Walsh sisters, start with Watermelon.

Truman (biography) by David McCullough. I’ve always been particularly interested in Harry Truman. He had big shoes to fill, and he made one of the most important decisions in American presidential history (releasing the atomic bomb). But he also smoothed the transition from WWII to the booming 1950s economy. I’ve heard that this is one of McCullough’s best books, and that’s saying something.

Ladies’ Night (novel) by Mary Kay Andrews, my favorite Southern author. I love stepping into the shoes of her quirky, offbeat Southern-girl characters. This latest novel is about a lifestyle blogger who loses everything when her husband cheats on her, and the club she forms with other betrayed spouses.

Fly Away (novel) by Kristin Hannah, the sequel to Firefly Lane. I can’t believe I waited so long to read this one (it’s been out a couple of months already). I haven’t met a woman yet who doesn’t love Kristin Hannah. Go and read her, if you haven’t! Firefly Lane is a good place to start, though I also love Night Road.

If you’re still looking for things to read, I’m still looking for readers to test my latest draft of Waist! I have several, but I’d be happy for more. I can’t pay you, but if I’m ever published, you may find yourself gratefully thanked in my author acknowledgements!

2 Responses to “Summer Reading List 2013”

  1. Ana says:

    OMG OMG A new Marian Keyes Walsh sisters book??? You made my day 🙂
    I clicked over to your blog from Laura Vanderkam (I’m waiting and waiting for my doctor’s appt) and I’m loving your book reviews! I think we may have similar tastes—I was also deeply in love with BSC and Anne of Green Gables (I have all 8 and still comfort read those during times of stress).

    • Leanne Sowul says:

      Welcome! Thanks so much for coming over and checking out my blog! I’m glad you like the book reviews. Obviously, if you love Anne of Green Gables, you are a kindred spirit 🙂 I’ve been waiting years for a new Walsh sisters book and I can’t wait to read it. Come back and let me know what you think, when you do!

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