Friday, July 22, 2011

Weekend Reading: Get Thee to the Library!

As part of my frugal summer (and life) plans, I've been reading a lot.  There's nothing quite like the summertime... or really fall, winter and spring to curl up with a good. book.  Since a big part of my job is helping people find books to read, I though I might throw in a short list of what I've been enjoying lately--some good "summer reads", if you will.

  1. Elin Hilderbrand.  Hilderbrand was first recommended to me by a wise grad school chum, and I've been smitten ever since. She (the author, not my friend) writes stories that take place on Nantucket, which makes her books perfect summertime reads.  To date, I've read almost all of her books, and recommended them to many a library patron.  I actually looked on the shelf the other day and noticed that even though we have about four copies of each of her titles, they were all checked out.  Now I need to come up with another "beach read" recommendation.
  2. Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series.  I had heard of Laura Lippman, but I've never had a lot of library patrons ask for her, and our library doesn't seem to have many copies of her books.  Then I saw her speak while I was at the ALA conference this past June, and learned that a friend actually got her baby name from Lippman's lady PI, Tess Monaghan.  Naturally, I had her sign a copy of one of her books for my friend, and then I read it in the hotel room.  I have to say, the woman weaves a gripping yarn.  I'm not much for the murder mystery genre usually, but her writing is less gruesome and more intriguing, and Tess Monaghan is a delightfully flawed badass, which is what I've always aspired to be.
  3. Izzy Spellman Mysteries by Lisa Lutz.  I know I said above that I'm not much of a mystery reader, but these books (full disclosure: I've only read the first one so far.  There are four in the series), are like a delightful mix of The Westing Game and Mrs. Pollifax with a dash of The War of the Roses (which I haven't actually read, so I may be waaaaaaaaay off).  Anyway, good stuff.
  4. Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepherd.  Now is the point in the list where I start to wonder if I've actually been a big mystery reader all along and never owned up to it... I am a bit obsessed with Nancy Drew... Regardless, I first dismissed the PLL series as Gossip Girl with slightly more boring covers.  Turns out, that despite the somewhat cardboard teen character casting i.e. The Smart One, The Arty One, The One With The Eating Disorder, etc., these books are seriously well-written and devourable.  I couldn't stop reading them, and now I can't stop talking about them.
  5. TC Boyle. Anything by TC Boyle.  I have loved TC Boyle for many, many years.  He runs the gamut from historical to hilarious to heartbreaking and I make it a point to have at least one of his books on a display in the library at all times.  He's the ultimate satirist, and he can bring your emotions bubbling up to the surface without you feeling the slightest bit used or tricked. For funny, I recommend Drop City; to make you think, The Tortilla Curtain; for history, The Road to Wellville; and if you just want a damn good book, When the Killing's Done.
  6. Bill Bryson.  I love Bill Bryson.  He's funny and smart and thoroughly entertaining. He basically tricks you into learning, which is awesome.I read his newest book At Home, a few months ago while serving jury duty, and it was fascinating.Then I told a co-worker about it, and every time I saw him, he'd say something like, "Can you believe that's how it was?!?!?"  I love his travel books too, he makes you feel like you're there, but without being all pretentious about it.  Good stuff.
So that's just a short list, feel free to add your own suggestions for me and the other readers.  And if you hate one of the books/ authors I mentioned, let's have a delightful brawl in the comments section!


    1. I thought the same thing about PLL. I also have yet to read Gossip Girl, but have the first four from a used book sale waiting to be read. I am looking for another good beach read author, and none that I find compare to EH!

    2. I should say I have not read PLL yet either, but I will now!

    3. Do! But make sure you have a stack of them because you won't want to wait for the next one!

    4. An interesting summer read with surprising bits of depth is Jimmy Buffet's "A Salty Piece of Land" - yes, that Jimmy Buffet.

      I rarely re-read fiction, but am keeping Salty around for the next time I want to wander around the Caribbean with interesting characters, searching for the perfect lighthouse lens...

      **Katy M
      Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at
      Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove