What I’m Reading Wednesday: The Summer Reading List

I may get around to reading 50 Shades of Grey (when I can borrow it from a friend), but honestly, I have TOO many good books lined up on both my Kindle app for my iPad and on my bookshelf (and coffee table…and nightstand) to spare the time on it. This is my (incomplete) summer reading list, and the 15 reasons why I’m (probably the ONLY person) not currently reading Fifty Shades of Grey:

  • Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway: an absurdist comedy about Joe Spork, a mild-mannered clockmaker (son of an infamous mobster), Edie, a retired octogenarian secret agent, and their race to save the world from a 1950’s doomsday device that Joe unintentionally activates, as they are hunted down by the government, mad monks and scientists.  I’m in the middle of this right  now, and I’m loving it in all it’s outrageousness.
  • Small Man in a Book by Rob Brydon: an autobiography of the actor and comedian, and truly his life story, as it starts with the day he was born. Peppered with his gentle humor, after hearing him speak at Hay Festival, I’m certain I will be reading this with his voice in my head.
  • The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen: The tale of Judith, a pious 10 year old who lives with her father in a strict fundamentalist religious home, and her escape from that world into a world in miniature which she has created out of pipe cleaners, discarded trash – her idea of the Promised Land, that she calls the Land of Decoration. But when things that she does inside the Land begin to happen in the real world, the results are not always positive.
  • Sacrilege by S.J. Parris:  the third book in her Giordano Bruno series, this historical thriller set in16th-century England follows Bruno, our excommunicated monk/scholar/writer on his way Canterbury to investigate the murder of Sir Thomas Beckett.
  • Peaches for Monsieur le Cure by Joanne Harris: A third book in the Chocolat series finds Vianne returning to Lansquenet 8 years after she first left after receiving a letter from beyond the grave. She finds a town much changed, with a settlement of Moroccans in Les Marauds and her former foe Father Reynaud, disgraced and under threat from a charismatic new priest.
  • The Bakers Daughter by Sarah McCoy: Moving between Hitler’s Germany and current El Paso, Texas, the story traces the experiences of Elsie (the baker’s daughter of the title) and Reba, the woman who interviews her with the intent of writing a Christmas story and the relationship that grows from that interaction. It is the story of two very different women and how they find themselves.
  • My Song by Harry Belafonte: the autobiography of the remarkable life of the singer, actor, and Civil Rights activist.
  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: The story of Victoria, a woman with a difficult past finds that the only way she can communicate with others is through the language of flowers (and their meanings), and how she changes the lives of others by how she chooses flowers for them.
  • The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman: Nearly two thousand years ago, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada. Based on that event, this is the story of four women, each of whom is a dovekeeper and who come from different backgrounds, and how their lives interact during the siege.
  • Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn: this is a non-fiction book exploring the oppression of women and girls in the developing world, and how offering a little help can transform the lives of women and girls.
  • The Monster (Troubletwisters) by Garth Nix and Sean Williams: I’ve been anxiously awaiting the second book in the young adult Troubletwisters series. In this story, Jaide and Jack are learning how to control their powers (while discovering what they are), who Grandma X is, while protecting their town from what may be Evil and the Monster of Portland.
  • Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan: Rosie Hopkins leaves her life in London to help her elderly Aunt Lilian with her country village sweet shop, while Lilian deals with family secrets.
  • All Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann: based on the true story of  Margaret Morgan who, although being a free woman of color in 1830s Pennsylvania, was sold back in to slavery along with her children.
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: This young adult novel is about 13-year old Conor, who is awakened by a monster – not the monster of his dreams, but a more ancient one who is seeking truth. Sound intriguing?
  • Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness: Okay, so book #2 in the All Souls Trilogy hasn’t officially been released yet (it will in 3 weeks time) but I’ve pre-ordered it and it will be delivered to my Kindle on the release date. It picks up where the first book (A Discovery of Witches) left off, with Diana (the Oxford scholar and a witch) and Matthew (a vampire) sent back to Elizabethan London where Diana must find a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew confronts his past and the mystery of Ashmole 782 continues.

Yes, it’s an eclectic mix. No, there probably isn’t much hard reading in there, but summer is nearly upon us and that’s the best time for the lighter stuff, eh?

Some of the authors listed above were at this year’s Hay Festival and I had their books beforehand; some I heard speak there and was spurred to purchase their books. And, I do haunt local bookshops. And the book aisle at Sainsburys.

This list is probably the only silver lining to the black cloud that is a broken foot for the summer – I have a valid excuse to curl up (well, stretch out) with a good book and read.

So tell me: What is on your summer reading list?

Stay tuned – plenty of book reviews to follow!

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