Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Reading Season: What's on Your Wish List?

Here we are, at the precipice of glorious summer: Sunny literary dalliance amidst the soothing serenade of the sea. How'd you like my Pat Conroy impression? To translate: It's summer beach-reading season! So I thought I'd spending a post telling you about some of the more anticipated novels of this summer.

Let's start with two that have already been released. For many, the beach-reading season is not only in full swing, but has already peaked. The trilogy-completer The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest came out on May 25 and has already been raved about by those who live the series — which has further motivated me to finally start the series. Soon. Soooooon.

Another great summer read — Brady Udall's The Lonely Polygamist — has already been widely devoured, enjoyed and raved about as well. Check out The Reading Ape's terrific review, as one example. I just ordered this book and can't wait to devour, enjoy and review it as well.

My most anticipated book of the summer, unfortunately, doesn't come out until near the close —  when the benign joy of the season will have metastasized into the unbearably drippy dog days. (Does anyone else have a weird subconscious association between summer and Pat Conroy's writing?) Anyway, on August 31st, Jonathan Franzen's new book, Freedom, comes out. Talk about anticipation! This is Franzen's first novel since The Corrections in 2002, which I loved!  

Two other summer books I'm eagerly anticipating: David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (due out June 29th) and Sara Gruen's Ape House (due Sept. 7th). Mitchell's Cloud Atlas has come so highly recommended by so many people I'm a little embarrassed to admit I haven't read it yet. So I'm going to start with this new one (which I also just pre-ordered) and drift backwards to Cloud Atlas after that. Gruen's Water For Elephants was one of the best novels of the aughts, and so I'm intrigued to see what she'll come up with next.

Two other randoms that sound good: Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart (July 27), and the first in what promises to be quite the tree-killing trilogy, Ken Follett's Fall of Giants (Sept. 28).

If you're in to the paranormal urban vampire romance (or whatever that genre's official name is), Justin Cronin's The Passage (due out June 8th) has been getting an obscene amount of good press — including a rare A- from Entertainment Weekly. Finally, and I realize I'm not exactly breaking news here, but probably THE most anticipated novel of the summer across any genre is the conclusion of Suzanne Collins's fantasy/YA trilogy: Mockingjay is due out August 24. I haven't read any of these Hunger Games novels — anyone want to try to make a case that a literary-book-loving dork would enjoy them?

Now you. What are you eagerly anticipating this summer?


  1. I'm reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest now, and I'm curious to read the new books by Nicole Krauss and Tana French (who is releasing the third book in her own series of sorts).

  2. I was hoping to open The Passage next, but I have a couple review obligations that are keeping me busy yet. Thousand Autumns has sure caught my eye also.

  3. Hold the phone. The Passage is not "paranormal urban vampire romance." I do not read that genre, but I did read The Passage. I got a galley from BEA and read it in literaly less than 24 hours. All 766 pages of it. It defies genre, I swear. It's not one of those, "if you like vampires, you'll like this book" books. It's a "if you like good writing, good characters, and a compelling story, you'll like this book" book. Trust me on this one. It's amazing. I'm in the process of writing my own review, but I had to set you straight on this one :)

    Also I'm looking forward to Ape House, Room, and West of Here. Along with a bunch others. Including Mockingjay.

    Will you hurry up and read Larrson's series already so I can stop bugging you about it? ;)

  4. I second the motion for The Passage;my copy came from Good Reads and it's a real genre ground breaker,an amazing epic worth diving into.

    I need to catch up on the Girl Who series,too and have heard great things about the Udall book(The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint was a wonderful debut).

    Also just started on A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer(her last novel came out a few years ago,City of Light)and this one is set in NYC during the beginning of WWII,with the race to claim ownership of penicillin as the major McGuffin of the plot. Plus,while I'm reading Android Karenina,the original Anna K is on my active list as well. Pretty busy summer start for me:)

  5. I had no idea Mitchell had a new coming out. I have to admit Cloud Atlas was a disappointment after reading Ghost Written first. Ghost Written is one of my all time favorite reads. I highly recommend it over Atlas.
    I am not waiting for any books to come out this summer, but I did get sucked into a comic series titled Kill Shakespeare.

  6. @Katie - Good call on the new Krauss novel. I really liked Man Walks Into Room and The History of Love. Maybe Great House will be her breakout!

    @JoJo - Thousand Autumns sounds really, really good. Can't wait!

    @home - Consider the phone held! Thanks for sending me straight. I just saw the word 'vampires' in the description on amazon and stopped my investigation right there. You've actually made a pretty compelling case. How was BEA, by the way?

    @ladyt - Again, I stand corrected on The Passage. My bad. Thanks for the heads-up on Belfer's new novel, too. Will definitely have to check that out!

    @SariJ - Mitchell seems to inspire some fierce passions and strong opinions. ;) I'll definitely add Ghost Written to my summer'o'Mitchell, too!

  7. popping in from the blog hop great blog am now a follower keep up the good work.

  8. I'm not really that into Vampire fiction, but hearing all the rave reviews about "The Passage" has me intrigued. I'm planning on starting "The girl with..." trilogy eventually as well.

    Please read "The Hunger Games" series! It's great! I loved it!

    Found you on the Blog Hop! Fellow Chicagoan here!

  9. Ohmygod is it SUMMER already?!? How did that happen? It totally snuck up on me!

    I've only ever read Number9Dream by David Mitchell. I absolutely ADORED it, and I've been meaning to read something else by him. Namely, Cloud Atlas. Despite having not yet read it, I also am excited about his new release. It looks great. Also psyched about the Sara Gruen book.
    I hope you'll enjoy the Millenium Series. I finished them a little while ago, and I loved them. Although after reading some reviews, I get the impression they read better in French than in English.

    As for the Hunger Games, I read the first one, and I loved it, I've got the second one in my kindle waiting to be read, and the third one on its way release day. And yet, I oddly enough can't see you reading them. Maybe you would love them. They just don't seem to fit, though, with anything I know about your reading tastes.

    As for what I'm psyched about (other than, apparently, what you are psyched about) - super looking forward to China Mieville's new novel, Kraken, out June 29.

  10. Franzen, Shytengart, and Krauss for sure. I heard Milan Kundera has a new book coming out in August, but can't seem to get verfication on that.

  11. It's Friday. Let's do the Hop!

    My Hop is here.

    I hope you are having a fun filled Friday. :)

    From the Shadows

  12. we're heading into winter over these parts, it's dark by 6:30 pm so i'm getting excited about going to bed early to snuggle in under the doona with some good reads, i've got about 70 books i've bought to read sitting on my shelf in the spare room and 100+ on my TBR/purchased list and so i'm sure i'll get into something good with all those to choose from - i've got a few modern classics i think it's high time i read, like lady chatterley's lover, some stephen kings i haven't read yet and a few new released books as well as heaps of young adult paranormal romance (i can't help it it's like an addiction, don't judge me!). and can i say about the hunger games series - i really loved the first two books, as far as YA lit goes they are some of the better written ones, if you don't expect too much and just want to enjoy a great story told simply with lots of tension and great pace i highly recommend them! PERFECT beach reading for a fellow like yourself :-)

  13. I'm adding The Passage to my list, based on the blogger buzz. I read Justin Cronin's previous book, a collection of linked stories, and thought it was brilliant. Wolf Hall is on my list, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Also, Trollope-I only have two left in the Palliser series. Oh, and Don Quixote. Does my list sound Quixotic?

  14. ok hold the phone, i just finished reading The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness - it's a children's book (though not a nice fuzzy read by any means) and destined to become a classic, i think you will love it (based on the books you have reviewed and enjoyed i think this is likely to be your kind of 'YA' literature) it and highly recommend it to you.

  15. Man, I've got a STACK of summer reading, including Anthropology of an American Girl (Hilary Thayer Hamann), The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, True Compass (Edward Kennedy), Tinkers (Paul Harding), American Salvage (Bonnie Jo Campbell . . . and whatever else comes up. Am interested in the Franzen and Krauss books, too!

  16. I am officially starting The Hunger Games trilogy because I am a sucker for the distopic vision of the future genre, read about it in a book review in The New Yorker today, then saw this post right after and decided the world is trying to tell me something.
    Oh, and the new Franzen. I can not wait for the new Franzen.

  17. I've read the first two of the Hunger Games books, and thought, for YA type fiction, they were entertaining enough. Funny thing, though, my 15 year old just couldn't get into them. Huh, go figure.

    I loved The Passage, but then I'm a huge Stephen King--The Stand fan and it's really the same type of book. I've got the Larsson trilogy on the horizon as well as The Thousand Autumns. Sigh, so many books, so little time, sigh..

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    (Good luck with Life of Pi, I know I'm in the most minor minority of all, because I didn't even finish it. I thought it was as over-rated as The Historian, yet another wildly adored book that I hated. I think I'm just too much of a Philistine for those books!)