Summer Reading


Summer is officially here. Warm weather. Thunderstorms. Lazy beach days. Cookouts. Sharing drinks on the porch with friends. Sleeping in the hammock.

….and reading.

For some reason, certain books seem to fit the summer months better than others. I hope I can tempt you to try some of the books below!


SummerCrossingSummer Crossing, by Truman Capote (read my review)

Capote’s newly discovered novella takes place during a summer in New York and is about the sexual awakening of a young girl.

CountryOfPointedFirsThe Country of Pointed Firs, by Sarah Orne Jewett (read my review)

First published in 1896, this short novel takes place one summer in the fictional seaside town of Dunnet Landing, Maine. Filled with endearing characters and a beautiful sense of place, this is one novel that is best enjoyed on your front porch.

GrapesOfWrathThe Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck (read my review)

Steinbeck’s best known classic follows the Joad family as they travel west during the Great Dust Bowl Migration.

Older Titles:

BeachcombingBeachcombing for a Shipwrecked God, by Joe Coomer (read my review)

Set in New England on the coast, Coomer’s novel explores how one woman moves on with her life after the death of her husband.

backwhenBack When We Were Grownups, by Anne Tyler (read my thoughts)

Anne Tyler is at her best in this novel about a woman who wonders what life would have been like had she made different choices.

AlentejoBlueAlentejo Blue, by Monica Ali (read my review)

More like a collection of interwoven short stories, Ali’s novel  measures the ebb and flow of small town life under a Portugal sun.

Newly Released:

lawsofharmonyThe Laws of Harmony, by Judith Ryan Hendricks (read my review)

This novel moves from New Mexico to an island off of the West Coast and involves a wonderful cast of characters, great food descriptions and a mystery.

beach-tripBeach Trip, by Cathy Holton (read my review)

Holton’s novel takes place during the summer along the Outer Banks of North Carolina and unravels the lives of four college friends who are now middle-aged.

mechanicoffallingThe Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories, by Catherine Brady (read my review)

In the mood for a short story? Try Brady’s nuanced and wise collection of eleven stories that explore doubt, fear, faith, and conflict.

Coming this Summer:

southofbroadSouth of Broad, by Pat Conroy (release date: August 11, 2009)

Set in 1969 in South Carolina, Conroy explores the lives of a group of high school friends as they grow into adulthood.

girlwhoplayedThe Girl Who Played With Fire, by Stieg Larsson (release date: July 28, 2009)

This follow up to the best selling novel The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, has critics excited. A sharp, intelligent thriller with a unique heroine, this book looks like a winner.

Do you have favorite summer reads? Anything that is coming out this summer that you just can’t wait to read?

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    • Jenny on June 23, 2009 at 20:04

    Pretty good post. I just found your blog and wanted to say
    that I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way
    I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

    • Kim on June 23, 2009 at 21:36

    I read Summer Crossing last year, and my memory of it was that I didn’t like it all that much–my question for you, at the end, did she or didn’t she? (trying not to give away a spoiler!)

    The Pointed Firs book looks delightful–off to my library site to see if it is in!

    • JoAnn on June 24, 2009 at 02:57

    Great list, Wendy! I’ll have to look into your first two classic selections. I recently got Alentejo Blue from Robert’s Book Box (through the Bookies Too yahoo group).

  1. Thanks for the list! I had considered the Pat Conroy, but not sure about it at the same time. Have to see when the time comes, I guess!

    • Eva on June 24, 2009 at 04:45

    Great post! I have Country of the Pointed Firs on my shelf…must get to it soon!

  2. Great list! I’m going to have to check out Laws of Harmony. Thanks!

    • Staci on June 24, 2009 at 10:02

    Beach Trip was an enjoyable read…I’ve got a whole shelf full of books that I would like to get through this summer..wish me luck!

    • EL Fay on June 24, 2009 at 14:26

    Marguerite Duras’s “The Sailor from Gibraltar.” A French oldie (published in the early ’60s) but a real goodie. A love story on a glamorous yacht on the Mediterranean.

    • Diane on June 24, 2009 at 15:44

    Memories…I recall reading Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked Godon the beach in Aruba several years ago. I have Alentejo Blue , and look forward to that one. Enjoy your summer reading.

  3. I recently read Beach Trip and really enjoyed it. It is a perfect beach or poolside read.

  4. The Grapes of Wrath was a huge favorite when I read it in high school. I still want to read East of Eden on of these days. Oh, and Travels With Charley is another good one!

    I have Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God in my stacks. I’ll read your review once I’ve read the book. You might have to remind me when you see it in my sidebar, though!

    I’m excited about Pat Conroy’s new book, although it sounds a bit reminiscent of Beach Music (which I loved!!!). I may wait to hear what others think before I buy it in hardcover. 🙂

    • Wendy on June 28, 2009 at 09:31

    Jenny: Thanks for subscribing – and thank you for stopping in and leaving a comment too!

    Kim: Re: Summer Crossing at the end…I think she did 🙂

    JoAnn: I hope you like Alentejo Blue – I really loved the atmosphere of that book.

    Kailana: I haven’t read Pat Conroy before, but I keep hearing good things about his books, so that is one I want to read.

    Eva: Country of the Pointed Firs is awesome…I do hope you’ll enjoy it!

    Texas Red: Hendricks is a great writer – I just loved her book.

    Staci: Good luck! I know all about the towering stacks.

    El Fay: Thanks for that recommendation – it looks wonderful!

    Diane: Isn’t it funny how a book can spark a bunch of memories about the time and place in which we read it?

    Jessica: I completely agree!

    Les: I love Travels with Charley (but I love everything Steinbeck!). I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts about Shipwrecked God…I’ll remind you to read my review when I’ve read yours 🙂 I haven’t read Conroy yet – but Beach Music has been on my wish list forever!!

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