07/26/12 - 0 Comments
Top Ten Summer Reads
There’s nothing better than laying poolside on a hot summer day, soaking up the rays with a cocktail in one hand and a summer read in the other. While we can’t supply the sun, pool or the booze, we have a definite hot list of summer reads you shouldn’t skip out on:
The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty. This is the crazy, obsessive story about the things—and we mean anything—one would do for love. The story follows the life of Ellen O’Farrel, a professional hynotherapist, who falls in love with single dad Patrick Scott. When out to dinner one night, she sees him peer in the back of the room as he asks to excuse himself from the table. Frightened, she finds herself relieved when he returns not to tell a fabricated tale of why he must ditch their date, but instead that his ex-girlfriend of three years is there. And that’s not all—she’s been stalking him since the breakup! Watch as Ellen slowly becomes obsessed with his ex’s, Saskia’s, own obsession, and as Saskia’s own evil ploy develops (under a pseudonym, she becomes one of Ellen’s clients, but that’s all we’ll say since we don’t want to spoil the surprise!).
Crossing the Borders of Time by Leslie Maitland. It’s 1938 and the Nazis are taking Germany, and the rest of Eastern Europe, by a destructive storm. Janine Gunzburger and her family flee war-torn Germany, but not before taking a few rest stops in the Alsace-Lorraine region and in Lyon, the port city of Marseille, both in France. There, she meets her lover, Roland, and, despite their promise to reunite after the war, all contact was lost. Janine goes on to marry American Leonard Maitland in 1946, and later has two children. However, after 43 years of happy marriage, Leonard is dying. Leslie, one of their daughters, takes it upon herself to travel through her mother’s records and recollections to find her former lover, Roland, who is alive and living in Canada. This is a true story chronicling Leslie Maitland’s (a former New York Times reporter) voyage to discover her mother’s past.
The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones. This strange and bizarre tale is about the wealthy Torrington family, and their eldest daughter, Emerald’s, birthday party. It is the last day of April 1912, and things couldn’t be going better. However, not only does Emerald need to worry about the two dinner guests vying for her undying attention, but the family now also has to cater to the needs of a dozen or so train wreck survivors, mostly coming from the third-class carts, who find salvation in their home. Clovis, Emerald’s brother, finds himself entranced with the survivors’ self-appointed leader, Charlie Traversham-Beechers, and invites him to dinner. Read this Victorian exemplar of literature to watch the strangeness ensue.
Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom. The author of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven offers another thought-provoking novel. This non-fiction piece follows a particularly odd moment in Albom’s life: when an 82-year-old rabbi from his hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. However, he has not died yet, nor does Albom know anything about the rabbi. The author decides to dig deeper and learn something about the old man, but found learned, while doing so, something about himself. He finds him comparing the rabbi with a Detroit pastor, a former drug dealer and convict, who delivers sermons to the homeless and poor in a crumbling church. Despite their vast differences, they both rely on one thing alone to restore peace, sanity and life: faith. Don’t be confused; this isn’t a religious book. But, it does touch on the unity of two different worlds and how they both rely on faith to help solve their problems. This book is about life’s purpose, losing faith and finding it again. Have a Little Faith debuted at number one on the New York Times‘ bestseller list, and was chosen by Oprah as the best non-fiction book of 2009.
Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Wesiberger. Everyone knows her for The Devil Wears Prada, but this book is a hidden gem by the same author. It follows the life of Bette Robinson as she ditches her corporate banking job for a different lifestyle, the life of event public relations. Bette finds herself lost in the world of celebrities, drugs and… well, just plain old fake and nasty people. After one drunken night, she lands herself in the tabloids, supposedly dating the Phillip Weston, the hottest dude du jour. But, in this sea of delusion, she finds herself falling for none other then the bouncer, Sammy. (“What’s his name again? Oh yeah, that bouncer.”) Follow Bette as she discovers what’s right for her—a comfortable social life or one of fame and fortune.
On the Road Again by Jack Kerouac. Although this book was published in 1957, Kerouac will remain plastered as the face of the 1950s post-war beat generation. The mostly-autobiographical story, inspired by jazz, poetry and drug experiences, follows the journeys of Salvatore “Sal” Paradise and his buddy Dean Moriarty (AKA, Jack and his friend Neal Cassady, but Kerouac was unable to use real names in his book). In this five-part series, the two find themselves road tripping across America in an attempt to fulfill their internal quest for freedom and self-determination. When originally released, the New York Times hailed the story as the “most beautifully executed, the clearest and most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as ‘beat,’ and whose principal avatar he is.” Superb!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Follow Charlie, a measly freshman, as he wonders through his first year of high school as a loner. However, he soon meets a group of quirky seniors and suddenly he has a life. Reminiscent of Catcher in the Rye, Perks is a coming-of-age story about how a young boy looses his innocence while learning that, just because you are different, doesn’t mean you are strange. Also another reason to add this to your must-read list? A movie is coming out later this year starring the lovely Emma Watson.
Penelope by Rebecca Harrington. Everyone’s been there before—their first day of college. With no friends and a large bundle of nerves, Penelope doesn’t think she’ll fit in. After all, she is only “an incoming freshman of average height and lank hair.” While keeping her mother’s friendly advice in mind (“Don’t bee too enthusiastic, don’t talk to people who seem to be getting annoyed and, for heaven’s sake, stop playing Tetris on your phone at parties!”), she timidly journeys solo through her first days at Harvard. Penelope learns the ranks and the social hierarchy of college, while also learning more about herself.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This literary gem, published in 1925, is more of an archetype of the rich and lush lifestyles of the roaring ’20s. The story follows Nick Carraway, a recent Yale graduate, who moves to the West Egg district of Long Island to live near his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom. Torrid with love affairs, Fitzgerald tells an interesting tale—but no story is complete without a mystery. In this novel, the enigma is Jay Gatsby, the ultra-rich next door neighbor who throws lavish parties every Saturday but is virtually unseen and unheard of throughout the rest of the week.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. If you want to cry, this is your book (as is any other Picoult masterpiece). Peter Houghton has always been bullied and one morning he decides to take revenge against innocent children in his high school. He brings a gun to school and, in only 19 minutes, a massacre transpires. But, how does Josie Comier, an old friend turned “popular” girl, come into the swing of things? What happens when her boyfriend was the last student murdered? How will her mother, Alex Comier, cope, especially as the judge of this widely-known case? What will happen to Alex’s relationship with Peter’s mother? Read it, we know you want to know!
So, enjoy your summer reading! We hope you love our suggestions as much as we’ve loved reading them!
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