Summer is upon us. Not yet the dog days, nor Indian summer but real, true summer-summer. School’s out, but that doesn’t mean our synapses should take the entire three months off. Growing up, some of my favorite times were spent perusing aisle at the bookstore in July, tumbling down the rabbit hole and enjoying books just because. This brings me to these beautiful tomes below. These books aren’t for anything, per se – they fill that wonderful warm heart shaped place reserved for summer reads. While there are a plethora of summer activities that are, well, active, my favorite involves putting my feet up and keeping up with the arduous task of lifting my arm to flick pages. Hey, my arm is heavy. A lot of summer reads veer toward lighter fare, but you, dear readers, have brains and souls and oceans of wisdom contained within your multitudes. Don’t get it twisted, I love me a frothy read – and don’t even get me started on the 50 Shades of it all. Below are three awesome reads I’ve been crushing on this summer.
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Not one but two bookstores were sold out of this sleek read when I tried to get my paws on it — everyone on the beach seems to be into this little black book, and with good reason. Meet Nick and Amy Dunne; in quiet North Carthage, Missouri, they’re happily celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary. The lovebirds are wrapping presents and making celebratory plans, but unexpectedly Amy goes missing from their rented mansion. Suddenly, we’re thrown into a narrative where Nick’s constant daydreams about the shape of his wife’s head confuse and seem to implicate, and passages from Amy’s diary reveal her type-A almost obsessive personality…But is that enough to drive him to murder? Flynn’s fast-pacing, unexpected plotting, joyous use of language and astounding psychological insight will keep you turning pages long into the night. Read on if you dare. I read it in one sitting then proceeded to mad-dog my friends, roommate, boyfriend… It was like the game Clue just up and invaded my apartment. But without the fun names and weapons. Did I mention OLOP Reese’s production company is adapting for film? If only Hitchcock were alive…You go on, gurlz.
Tell The Wolves I’m Home – Carol Rifka Brunt
Often, debuts can be hit or miss. The brave souls putting forth their novels are still “working on their voice”m sayeth literary critics. But this one blew me away. Firstly, 1987. Not Orwellian. I hold a special place in my heart for this year – ‘twas my birth year, I say! When I saw the book is a period piece set in the late ’80s, I was hooked. Sidebar: love that the period in period pieces can be as late as the ’90s now – three cheers for the time warp. But back to the Wolves. Tell The Wolves I’m Home follows shy 14-year-old June Elbus and her emotional fallout after the only person in the world who understands her, Uncle Flynn, passes away from a mysterious and unfamiliar disease called AIDS. At Flynn’s funeral, a surprise acquaintance comes into June’s life. He eventually brings her closer to the uncle she thought she knew everything about and ultimately her entire family. This book literally had me sobbing and dry-heaving with emotion. Bring tissues.
Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker
Another debut – call me champion of the newbies. Walker comes from the editing world; she wrote Age of Miracles in the mornings before work, which just highlights her achievement all the more. Miracles follows the coming-of-age of preteen Julia, a slightly nerdy, sensitive, sweet off-beat girl. HOLLA. Her parents fight, a loved one dies, she faces heartbreak, you know the drill. What’s unusual about Julia’s world is it’s slowing down, literally. The slowing (of Earth’s rotation) causes days to be longer, gravity to increase and the environment to go haywire. A most fit metaphor for adolescence. Walker’s language is clean, almost to the point of being stark, and Julia’s insecurities about her place in an uncertain world are heartbreaking and wondrous. Bring more tissues.