Thursday, July 11, 2013

Books to Read This Summer

I am on a GREAT reading run. You know the kind where you're reading book after book after book and every one of them is a winner? I love that!

So I thought I'd share - I'd love to hear if you've read any of these, your thoughts about them, what you're enjoying, what you're enjoying, what you're hoping to read this summer, etc.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is one of the best books I've read since Harry Potter. The story is nothing like Harry Potter, but it is powerful, captivating, wonderful book. I wrote an entire dedicated review of it a couple of months ago. Since that time, multiple friends of mine have read the book and all of them have raved about it. This is one I do not risk overselling or overhyping. Get it. Read it with your kids. You will laugh. You will cry. It will move and forever affect you, in a very, very good way. Wonder has over 1300 5-star reviews on Amazon. That is well deserved. Only twice have I ever written an author to rave about her book. This was one of those times. I feel lucky she wrote back, because she has been inundated with praise and correspondence.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is a hilarious, fun, and smart book. It is written by Maria Semple, who has also written for TV shows like "Arrested Development" and "Mad About You!" She is snarky and sarcastic and I laughed out loud reading this book. It is the story of Bernadette Fox, a woman who moves to Seattle with her Microsoft guru husband, and becomes so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India runs her most basic errands. She disappears and her 15-year-old daughter Bee pieces together clues from emails and faxes to figure out what happened. Great, fun read. I just checked and it has over 1,000 reviews and a 4.3 star rating.

I wasn't going to read this book, because when I saw the topic, I thought it would be too sad. Oh, don't get me wrong. I cried in public as I read it, but I'm so glad I read it anyway (and for the record, I laughed out loud, too). I have discovered an incredible writing talent in John Green. He writes YA (young adult) fiction and I was so impressed with his style and voice and talent that I bought another book by him before I'd even finished this one. I want more John Green! I have a feeling he's the biggest new thing in the YA genre, because many other books have him front and center as endorsing their own. He's a gem - get something by him and read it. This one in particular is being made into a film (get your tissues). He had me from page 1. Get this book and fall in love with Hazel and Augustus. Even I had a bit of a crush on Augustus by the time I'd read less than half this book. Beautiful book, phenomenal writing.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz isn't as much of a favorite of mine as the others listed so far, but it is another YA book that I just finished yesterday, and I'm glad I did. I discovered this local author in an indie book shop in a nearby town - the title and cover caught my eye, and the worker in the book store told me all about her and he was clearly impressed. When I looked her up, I was impressed with what I saw - she looks interesting, fun, and dynamic. She does a lot of workshops and multiple speaking engagements. Her books and topics all look so intriguing. I chose this one in particular because she'd won a Printz Honor for it, so I figured it would be a good place to start. It was fun to see all the local references scattered throughout the book. She covered some pretty heavy topics, and did it pretty well. I would be interested to read something else by her. I hear Ask the Passengers is a good one.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is what I'm currently reading. I am a visual person, so often a book cover will grab me before I even read what the book is about. This cover is one such example (I'm a sucker for cartoon-y drawings). I had seen this book, months ago, listed as one of the top books to read this year and wrote it on my list of book ideas (the one to which I refer when I'm in a reading slump) and from then on, I saw it listed on several different lists, in Amazon emails, and online. I've read multiple reviews of it and have been intrigued by every one. I keep checking our library system and they don't have it. I knew I wanted to read it anyway and figured I'd just wait for our library to get it, but Nevillegirl's review pushed me to break down and buy it (in hardback!) and get started. I was hooked from the first page on this one, too. I am really enjoying this read. Bonus: it's set in the 80s and the music and movie/TV references are plentiful and fun!

So, my next reads are as follows (in no particular order, other than I probably will go straight to John Green, because I think he's supremely talented and it's calling to me):

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green - how great of a title is that?

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - because I haven't ever read it.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli - because I'm seeing Spinelli's name everywhere and want to see what all the fuss is about!

 The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman - because I've wanted to read that for years now, so it's in the pile!

The Fantasya Treasury - because my daughter wrote it and it's one of her absolute favorite creations; I've read the first book and now would like to read part two. This is the book/manuscript she is currently shopping around to various agents.

So apparently I'm on a (great) YA kick. How about you?  
Have you read any of these?
 Are you curious to try any of them?
What are you reading this summer?


Dr. Mark said...

Wonder: Read it (with all of you). Loved it. It is a MUST read for anyone.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?: Read it. Really enjoyed it. I really love her writing style. It was easy to read and kept me interested the entire time.

The Fault in Our Stars: Also read this and really liked it. I did get quite upset with John Green the entire time, but that's mostly because his style is so incredible that I got VERY invested in the characters and their stories.

Flowers for Algernon: I read it a long time ago and remember very little, other than it being a good book.

I haven't read the others on your list but some of them look pretty good. I'm sure I'll pick up some of them at some point. And I agree--YA literature is getting better and better all the time.

musingsfromnevillesnavel said...

An Abundance of Katherines is fantastic - I think it was actually a major reason why I disliked The Fault in Our Stars, because I expected the two to be similar.

Stargirl... um... I hated that book, honestly. Homeschoolers are not all hippies! The writing also reminded me of bad poetry, but Spinelli has written other books that are great. Milkweed and There's A Girl in My Hammerlock come to mind.

The Magic Violinist said...

"Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" is next on my TBR list! :D I'd start reading it now, but I can't seem to put down "Beautiful Darkness."

I hope you enjoy "Fantasya." ;)

Jagged Rocks said...

I own The Fault in Our Stars, but I have been worried it was going to be too sad for me right now. I get so emotionally attached to books. So here are the books I have read, that I have really liked, most are either YA or Fantasy, with a couple of nonfiction thrown into the mix.
Currently I am reading Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.
After that I will be reading Awaken (the last book of the Abandon Trilogy) by Meg Cabot.
I have read the first five books of the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning.
I read Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi (I personally liked this since I have dealt with anorexia).
Seriously...I Am Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres (how can you read Portia without reading Ellen?).
Grave Memory (Alex Craft #3) by Kalayna Price.
My to-read list keeps growing. I have no idea what book I will read after I finish Awaken, but there are several I want to read (my to-read list is up to 734 on Goodreads).

Lindsay said...

I am excited to check some of these out. I am always looking for good books to read. I am just finishing a series, The Books of Pellinor. I have enjoyed them and think they are YA. I totally get into reading kicks and will read book after book, but then get busy with other things and not read for awhile.

Robynne said...

Thanks for this list - I have several of these on my To Read list and you have helped me bump them up a few notches!! :)

Jimmy said...

Thank you! I love book recommendations.

I've read Flowers for Algernon. Interesting premise, but I've never considered it a must read.

My girls and I enjoy talking about Wonder.

I started a series for YAs by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The first one is titled Among the Hidden. I'm surprised at how caught up I am in it.

Emily Foley said...

Oh, thank you! I haven't been able to find anything worth reading lately. Can't wait to go to the library and get started.

Boquinha said...

So, I'm 5 chapters in on AAoK and I'm not hooked yet. TFiOS had me from page 1 . . .

Ha! Didn't even know Stargirl was about homeschoolers, but I totally agree - though I know many hippie homeschoolers, many, many, many are not. There are all kinds, just like in public school, durr.

TMV, you're done with BD (I know, because I put it in the book return slot at the library), so on to other reads!

Kim, it was definitely sad, but oh such great characters and writing.

Portia de Rossi's book looks really good. I'm glad she wrote about her struggle. And who doesn't love Ellen? I haven't heard of a lot of those others. I'm not a huge fantasy reader. I prefer contemporary fiction, but those are probably good recommendations for Thing 1!

Lindsay, that's how I am with books.

Robynne, which ones got bumped up?

Jimmy, I'm so glad!

Emily, you're welcome! There are a lot of good ones on that list. I just finished Eleanor & Park and LOVED it. Like LOVE.

Dave Johnson said...

...and my TBR pile keeps getting bigger and bigger. Funny, I think I've seen you carrying around 90% of these books over the last few weeks/months.

Boquinha said...