Maybe it was my mother sending me to the library over and over again as a child during summer that has made it one of my most productive reading seasons of the year. Part of the pleasure of creating a "finished" stack of books on my nightstand is shopping for the special ones that will take me places as I either swing on a hammock, sit on a beach, or stay up too late reading. First up (above), a new book by Paula Hawkins, author of the popular suspense novel, Girl on the Train. Bodies turn up in the town river, known for its treacherous bend. Yet deaths have occurred there for centuries. Fast forward to the present--is a murderer responsible for the recent deaths? Into the Water promises to be part pulsating suspense thriller and mystery.
Murder is also what propelled Helene Strapinski to write Murder in Matera. For ten years the author went beyond the simple hobby of reconstructing the family tree to investigating what caused her great-great-grandmother to commit murder and leave Italy for America over a century ago. There are multiple bodies here too in this family story, but this history-mystery is also a travelogue and memoir.
Where'd you go, Arundhati Roy? Her first book, The God of Small Things (1997), won many prizes in fiction. Spanning the Indian subcontinent, Roy tells in her long-awaited new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, the stories of several characters exploring themes of love, adversity, religion, even gender identity.
The mandatory beach read comes from author Dorothea Benton Frank. Same Beach, Next Year follows two couples who meet every summer for vacation in South Carolina over the course of twenty years. Yet one half of each couple were once high school sweethearts...awkward/not awkward?
Most of us don't have time to get a degree in astrophysics to catch up on the latest happenings in space, "the final frontier." But we have Neil deGrasse Tyson and his book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Head of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC and host of the excellent Cosmos miniseries, this is the guy who can use plain-speak and humor to help us understand concepts that are "far out."
Summer is also the time to re-read one or two old favorites like And Then There Were None. A mysterious eccentric millionaire invites ten people of various backgrounds to a remote island getaway where they eventually find themselves alone. By the end of the weekend not a single guest escapes falling prey to murder. Written by the master of plotting and who-done-its, Agatha Christie, she keeps you guessing until the end when there are no suspects left alive. So who was the murderer? (Love the Hitchcockian cover of this edition).
I'm always looking for recommendations. What are your favorite summer reads?