Summer Must-Reads

As these last few days of finals come to an end, our minds wander to the leisurely luxury of being able to read by the (fill in body of water here).  Summer is when avid and voracious readers can take a break from annotating books from their courses' syllabi and take time to read books that spark their interest just for fun.  It truly is magical when you can become fully immersed in a story, lose track of time, forget about your worries.  But, with so many great books out there, it can be a challenge to pinpoint just the right one to start your summer off on the right foot.  So, grab a nice cool drink, find the perfect spot with just enough sun and just enough shade, and delve into one of these literary escapes!  There is one for you no matter what genre you’re interested in!

 

 

Murder Mystery:

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

 

 

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels.The newly appointed police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, in a highly unorthodox move, enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler's intellect and Moore's knowledge of New York's vast criminal underworld. They are joined by Sara Howard, a brave and determined woman who works as a secretary in the police department. Laboring in secret (for alienists, and the emerging discipline of psychology, are viewed by the public with skepticism at best), the unlikely team embarks on what is a revolutionary effort in criminology-- amassing a psychological profile of the man they're looking for based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who has killed before--and will kill again before the hunt is over.

 

A Lighter Mystery:

Where'd you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

 

 

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

 

Non-Fiction:

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi

 

Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.  This book tells the story of her heart-wrenching journey and recovery.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside by Katrina Firlik

 

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

Comedy:

You’ve probably heard of Bossypants by the beloved Tina Fey, but be sure to check out these titles by some of the other hilarious SNL ladies who reveal to us personal aspects of their lives all while keeping us laughing throughout the journey:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle by Rachel Dratch

And for SNL lovers who still want more:

Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History Of Saturday Night Live As Told By Its Stars, Writers, and Guests by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller

Beach Read:

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

Heavier but Important Reads:

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

 

 

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.

 

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel's recovery--the piece of the American Dream on which they've pinned all their hopes--will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles. At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamà fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she's sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.

 

*Note: Summaries taken from goodreads.com