Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Reads

By Susan

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in a new book. I've been obsessively tracking some new releases, watching their pre-sales and following the reviews. Here are my top picks for this summer.

WILD, by Cheryl Strayed (Knopf, 2012)
This book came out in March, and I quickly snatched it up after hearing an author interview on NPR's Fresh Air with Terri Gross. Oprah reinvented her book club after reading this memoir, and for good reason.

Even without the hype, I would still sing the praises of this book. Strayed, a 40-something wife and mother and the true face behind Dear Sugar (a formerly-annonymous advice column for is an incredible writer. Even if you've never lifted a backpack, her story of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in the early 1990s is a magnificent feast for the soul.

I've told everyone I know to read this book, so now I will share that advice with you: READ THIS BOOK. It's a beautiful and eloquent exercise in truth-telling, self-discovery, and grief.

AGE OF MIRACLES, by Karen Thompson Walker (Randon House, 2012)
Only released three days ago, the pre-publication hype and rumors of a seven-figure advance for this former Simon and Schuster editor are worth the buzz.

Narrated by eleven-year-old Julia, this novel answers the question--in slow motion-- of what would happen if we truly did have more hours in the day.

As the earth's rotation slows, the days and nights grow longer, the environment is thrown into chaos, and the gravitational pull of our world goes haywire. All the while Julia must deal with the everyday crisis of family and friends as the world slowly comes to an end.

A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME, by Wiley Cash (William Morrow, 2012)

This debut by North Carolina author Wiley Cash hits the jackpot. An intricate tale narrated by a child, a midwife and the county sheriff, this story explores what happens when a boy sees something he shouldn't see and the consequences that ensue.

Set in a fictional western North Carolina town, young Jess Hall must navigate a world he doesn't quite understand-- one of a serpent-handling preacher with a dubious past, a mother he doesn't understand, and an older brother who is mute.

I read this from start to finish on a plane in May and was sad to see the end. Dark at times, cringe-worthy at others, this debut is powerful. I'll be watching this author for his next novel, because this one was gripping.

GONE GIRL, by Gillian Flynn (Crown, 2012)
How have I never read Gillian Flynn before?

GONE GIRL, her third novel, is a suspensful thriller that details the demise of a marriage, a wife gone missing, and alternating points of view that keep the reader engaged and the pace fast.

Set in a riverside Missouri town, Nick and Amy are planning for their fifth anniversary when she disappears. Plot twists and the unexpected keep this novel moving at a can't-put-down pace.

Flynn also wrote Sharp Objects: A Novel, and Dark Places: A Novel, two books that I will definitely be picking up at my local bookstore as soon as I can.

1 comment:

  1. I want to read several of these, and I already read and loved A Land More Kind Than Home. Finished Lydia Netzer's SHINE SHINE SHINE the other day and was blown away. It's going to be like fireworks when it realeases, I think!


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