Summer Reading is booming (like the river)

The summer reading season is well underway.    July is almost here, and I am getting the July book cart ready to order. Last chance for July acquisition requests!

Aside from the Usual Suspects, Baldacci, Lescroart, Patterson, Picoult, and other stock bestsellers, we have a few locally recommended titles getting excellent word-of-mouth reviews from our patrons.  On a patron recommendation we picked up some sharp new beach reads by Kim Gruenenfelder, including Misery Loves Cabernet.

Genre fiction can be streaky–while many vampire novels have hit the bestseller lists, local demand is oddly flat for the fanged fiction.  Still, Justin Cronin’s new release The Passage has been gaining readership this spring.  Weighing in at 766 pages, it has received many favorable comparisons to Stephen King’s classic, The Stand.   Even so, John Sayle’s new release A Moment in the Sun has the summer doorstopper award at 955 pages.

Camilla Läckberg  and Jo Nesbo are vying to fill the bestselling suspense thriller chasm left by Steig Larssen.  Speaking of classic suspense–Alistair MacLean’s early novels are being re-released this year, including When Eight Bells Toll.  MacLean was my first introduction to crack suspense thrillers after Conan Doyle–his storytelling still holds up.

The newest nonfiction title to take off  recently is Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts–this book isn’t your garden-variety beach read.  The author of Devil in the White City turns his focus on pre-WWII Germany, as the new American Ambassador, history professor William E. Dodd, takes his post in Berlin.  Larson follows Hitler’s ascent from the perspective of the naive ambassador and his wholly unprepared family.  There has also been a high demand for Reckless Endangerment by Gretchen Mortenson, which portray some characters with local connections.  Local connections don’t always guarantee heavy local interest–Paul Allen’s autobiography, Idea Man, has so far been received with comparatively mild interest.

Summer coincides with symphony season (The Ninth by Harvey Sachs), baseball season (The Physics of Pitching by Len Solesky), and fishing season (No Shortage of Good Days by John Gierach.)  While you’re waiting for the floodstage on the Wood to go down, grab a manual on tying flies, and check it out.

What’s on your reading radar this summer?

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Perhaps not classic summer reading, but I just finished a fascinating book on information theory, The Information by James Gleick. Another great writer who makes arcane subjects entertaining for us non-techies. We have two other Gleick books: a biography of Isaac Newton and an explanation of chaos theory. Going for the challenging stuff this summer!

    • Gleick has great range in science writing and information theory. His biography of the physicist and iconoclast Richard Feynman is a good read, too (plus, it brings one painlessly up to speed on hexaflexagons.)

  2. Just finished the 2010 release of The Mapping of Love and Death from the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear, . For me, these mysteries set in post WWI England are history sugar-coated. I get the guilty pleasure of “a murder most foul” along with a “good-for-you” filling of daily life in an era that is remote enough to be strange, yet near enough to be familiar. I’ll probably spend a weekend soon with Winspear’s latest, A Lesson in Secrets.

    • Let’s hear it for guilty pleasures! I’m a big fan of historical mysteries (though anachronisms can throw me out of a story.) I recently ripped through the Colin Cotterill mystery series set in the seventies in Laos. It was fascinating to see the wind down and aftermath of the war in Southeast Asia from a completely new cultural perspective, all nicely seasoned with a savory murder mystery.


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