The images that accompany stories about summer reading lists often feature relaxed sunbathers in elegant poses, reading by the seaside. Do things like this ever truly happen? I can never read at the beach--it's too noisy, and my hands are so gritty with sunblock and sand that I really shouldn't be handling a book anyway.
You're probably going to nicer beaches, and you're surely better prepared for the beach, than I. Nonetheless, I do love summer reading lists--so many wonderful new books to add to my list of must-reads.
Red Room congratulates the many Red Room Authors who have appeared on summer reading lists in recent weeks. And we wish all Red Room readers elegant seaside escapes--or at least a few lazy afternoons spent at home, reading in a sun-dappled favorite chair. To help you pick a book, we've compiled a list of Red Room Authors' books that have appeared on notable lists--from Oprah, independent booksellers, USA Today, and more. Please add to it by sharing your recommendations in the Comments section below.
Have a great summer and happy reading!
-Charles Purdy, Red Room Editorial Director
"Paging Summer! 20 Tantalizing Beach Reads" and "The 2009 Summer Reading List," O, The Oprah Magazine
One Fifth Avenue, by Candace Bushnell (Voice, 2008): "All about passion--for prime real estate. A fable of glitter and greed."
Appassionata, by Eva Hoffman (Other Press, 2009): "Isabel Merton is a brilliant concert pianist, a medium who transmits the passions of Mozart and Chopin through her fingertips. Unmoored from her marriage, on tour in Europe, she meets Anzor, a charismatic Chechen exile."
The Story of a Marriage, by Andrew Sean Greer (Picador, 2009): "A beautiful, lyrical novel of the 1950s in a country at war with itself--sexually repressed, patriotic, torn by racism, and smitten with domesticity."
The Peep Diaries, by Hal Niedzviecki (City Lights Publishers, 2009): "‘You need to know. You need to be known.' That is the compulsion fueling what cultural critic Hal Niedzviecki calls ‘peep culture, the bastard love child of gossip'--our mass addiction to twittering, tweeting, snooping, spying, blogging, gawking at reality TV and YouTube, spilling our secrets on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Ping. . . the list goes on."
"Independent Booksellers Pick Summer's Best Reads," NPR
Wicked Plants, by Amy N. Stewart (Algonquin Books, 2009): "Stewart, the best-selling author of Flower Confidential, has brought us a fascinating botanical lexicon loaded with plants that ‘kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend.' From deadly nightshade to mandrake root, killer algae to hemlock, pitcher plants to--if you can believe it--Kentucky bluegrass, this book has them all."
The Stolen Child, by Keith Donohue (Anchor, 2007): "The story begins when 7-year-old Henry Day is kidnapped by a group of childlike beings reminiscent of the Lost Boys from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan and replaced by one of their own--a doppelganger who must try to convince the Day family of his authenticity. Narrated by both Henry and his replacement, this novel follows both boys as they attempt to define who they are, or were, before they traded places in the world."
"2009 Summer Books Calendar," USA Today
The Story Sisters, by Alice Hoffman (Shaye Areheart Books, 2009): "A dark saga of three sisters with more than their share of tragedies and catastrophes."
Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard (William Morrow, 2009): "A 13-year-old and his mother take home a bleeding man who approaches them in a discount store."
Bad Mother: by Ayelet Waldman (Doubleday, 2009): "Writer who made headlines when she claimed she loves her husband more than her children examines the ‘bad mother' syndrome that haunts working mothers and their stay-at-home counterparts."
The Devil's Tickets, by Gary M. Pomerantz (Crown 2009): "The story of a wealthy Kansas City housewife who killed her philandering husband over a bridge game during the Roaring '20s."
Swimsuit, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown and Company, 2009): "After a supermodel disappears on a photo shoot in Hawaii, her parents and an investigative reporter try to find her."
The Family Man, by Elinor Lipman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009): "A screwball comedy, set in contemporary Manhattan, about a gay lawyer reconnecting with a long-lost stepdaughter."
A Plague of Secrets, by John Lescroart (Dutton Adult, 2009): "In this legal thriller, a beautiful young socialite finds herself entangled with politics, marijuana, blackmail, and murder."
How to Buy a Love of Reading, by Tanya Egan Gibson (Dutton Adult, 2009): "Desperate parents of an overweight teen struggle to find a solution to their daughter's utter distaste for books."
April and Oliver, by Tess Callahan (Grand Central Publishing, 2009): "A debut novel that reunites two childhood friends whose lives have taken wildly different paths."
"Women's Writing Fires Up Summer Reading Lists," Women's eNews
Bad Mother, by Ayelet Waldman: "Novelist Ayelet Waldman also stirs things up with her memoir, "Bad Mother," in which she responds to, among other things, the negative publicity she's encountered when writing honestly about her experiences as a mother and wife. Her husband is Michael Chabon, a Pulitzer-winning novelist."
The Story Sisters, by Alice Hoffman: "Alice Hoffman's The Story Sisters chronicles the lives of three sisters who grew up with their mother in Long Island. They are jolted out of the secret imaginary world of their childhood-including their own language-by an act of sexual abuse that has repercussions for their adult lives."
Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor, by Brad Gooch (Little, Brown and Company, 2009): "O'Connor was the southern mistress of the gothic short story."
[Don't forget to share your summer reading recommendations, in the Comments section below.]