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As you look for reading materials for your summer adventures, here are 10 fiction and 10 non-fiction books that have been showing up on summer reading lists!
The Snow Queen: A heartbroken man turns to religion after seeing a vision in the sky above Central Park while his musician brother takes drugs he thinks will help him compose a ballad for his seriously ill wife.
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour: A Novel: After noticing his identity has been stolen and used to create various social media accounts, a man with a troubled past, Paul O’Rourke, begins to wonder if his virtual alter ego is actually a better version of himself.
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel: From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
The Goldfinch: A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend’s family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld.
Americanah: A Novel: A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.
Natchez Burning: A Novel: Penn Cage must investigate when his father, a beloved family doctor and pillar of the community, is accused of murdering Violet Davis, the beautiful nurse with whom he worked in the dark days of the early 1960s.
All the Birds, Singing: A Novel: Jake Whyte is living on her own in an old farmhouse on a craggy British island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. Her disobedient collie, Dog, and a flock of sheep are her sole companions, which is how she wanted it to be. But every few nights something–or someone–picks off one of the sheep and sounds a new deep pulse of terror.
Frog Music: A Novel: Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heatwave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice–if he doesn’t track her down first.
The Son: A Novel: The author of the internationally best-selling Harry Hole series now gives us an electrifying stand-alone novel set amid Oslo’s hierarchy of corruption, from which one very unusual young man is about to propel himself into a mission of brutal revenge.
The Invention of Wings: Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
John Quincy Adams: American Visionary: A brilliant combination of literary analysis and historical detail, this masterfully written biography of the much misunderstood sixth president of the United States reveals the many sides of this forward-thinking man whose progressive vision helped shape the course of America.
The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames: Drawing on extensive interviews with Ames’ widow and quotes from his private letters, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer presents a brilliant narrative of the making of America’s most influential and effective intelligence officer in the Middle East.
Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival: “…the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast.” (Amazon)
Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies: The feud between this nation’s great air pioneers, the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss, was a collision of unyielding and profoundly American personalities. On one side, a pair of tenacious siblings who together had solved the centuries-old riddle of powered, heavier-than-air flight. On the other, an audacious motorcycle racer whose innovative aircraft became synonymous in the public mind with death-defying stunts.
The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014: In this sweeping account of a war brought by well-intentioned American leaders against an enemy they barely understood, and could not truly engage, Gall argues that Pakistan fueled the Taliban and protected Osama bin Laden for the entire duration of the American invasion and occupation.
The Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation: A mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the videogame industry.
The Long Shadow: The Legacies of The Great War in the Twentieth Century: One of the most violent conflicts in the history of civilization, World War I has been strangely forgotten in American culture. It has become a ghostly war fought in a haze of memory, often seen merely as a distant preamble to World War II. In The Long Shadow critically acclaimed historian David Reynolds seeks to broaden our vision by assessing the impact of the Great War across the twentieth century.
Gandhi Before India: “In 1893, when Gandhi set sail for South Africa, he was a twenty-three-year-old lawyer who had failed to establish himself in India. In this remarkable biography, the author makes clear the fundamental ways in which Gandhi’s ideas were shaped before his return to India in 1915. It was during his years in England and South Africa, Guha shows us, that Gandhi came to understand the nature of imperialism and racism; and in South Africa that he forged the philosophy and techniques that would undermine and eventually overthrow the British Raj.” (from Amazon)
Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises: From the former Treasury Secretary, the definitive account of the unprecedented effort to save the U.S. economy from collapse in the wake of the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression.
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowdon, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State: Investigative reporter for The Guardian and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald, provides an in-depth look into the NSA scandal that has triggered a national debate over national security and information privacy. With further revelations from documents entrusted to Glenn Greenwald by Edward Snowden himself, this book explores the extraordinary cooperation between private industry and the NSA, and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s surveillance program, both domestically and abroad.
Project Wake: Civility
If you want to see what the incoming class of 2018 will be reading this summer and discussing in the fall, check outChoosing Civility, by P.M. Forni.
Here are some “best of” and themed summer reading posts from around the book world:
- Best Summer Books 2014 (PW)
- A Critic’s Survey of Summer Books (NYT)
- Best Books of the Year So Far (Amazon)
- 10 Books to Read if You’re Not Traveling This Summer (PW)
- Book Your Trip-books by theme (NPR)
- 10 Great Summer Paperbacks (EW)
- Sunday Book Review (NYT)
- Discover Great New Writers (B&N)
- 2013 Book Concierge (NPR)
4 Comments on ‘Summer Reading 2014’
Kaeley, what a wonderful list! Thank you for giving me some great ideas for this weekend!
Thanks Kaeley- I noted that the Goldfinch painting is now back home in the Hague!
Several of these have been on my TBR list. Happy to know ZSR has them!
Thanks, Kaeley! I’ve read a few, but can’t wait to read more.