It's that time of the year again — summer reading time!
Every summer I give myself three months to get through a handful of books. I start with a list, but I often stray from it when I hear about new releases or receive new recommendations from friends. As of now, here is my 2011 Summer Reading List.
::: The Radleys by Matt Haig :::
This book is said to be a "witty vampire novel" and immediately piqued my interest when I read a review written in Entertainment Weekly magazine. I enjoyed the Twilight Saga, but I'm definitely over the whole vampire theme in pop culture. However, The Radleys is supposed to be geared more toward adults, both cleverly written and unique in its storyline. I'm starting this one today, as I've been looking forward to it since it was released.
For a review of The Radleys, check out this article from USA Today.
::: Half a Life by Darin Strauss :::
The memoir genre is one of my favorite literature genres to read, so I'm hoping Half a Life won't disappoint. The summary is quite intriguing, especially considering it's a true story (from the author's point of view). Strauss recounts the last few days of his high-school career, when his life changed forever — while out driving his car with some friends, he collides with a classmate who is riding her bike, and kills her. The author's website notes that the memoir discusses the tragedy as well as the events that transpire afterward. I'm expecting it to be a powerful and emotional read.
::: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan :::
I have other books written by Egan on my list of things to read, but A Visit from the Goon Squad was bumped to the top of my list after I read many reviews that gave it much praise. It won a number of awards, including the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the 2011 L.A. Times Book Prize for Fiction and the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award. The title itself was interesting, and the storyline is equally as interesting. I won't explain it here, but you can read the summary (and buy it) on Amazon.
::: I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman :::
I bought this book a few months ago and simply haven't gotten to it yet. But I'm making it a point to read it this summer. You can read a summary of I'd Know You Anywhere on the author's website, so I don't have to explain it all here. I'm anxious to get this one started... finally! Apparently it alternates between present time and the past with each different chapter, which I'm hoping doesn't muddle the story with awkward transitions. I've heard good things about this author though, so I'm optimistic.
::: Numb by Sean Ferrell :::
This caught my attention because of the odd premise: a man who can't feel pain. Literally. I think there is a medical term for it (it was featured in an episode of "House" once), though I'm not sure how many cases of the condition are known/studied throughout the world. It looks like Numb deals more with the emotional effects of the character's condition, and his search for details about his past that will identify how he came to be this way, moreso than the unique condition itself. Could be interesting!
::: The Patterns of Paper Monsters by Emma Rathbone :::
I just added this one to my list earlier today, after it was recommended on the website Good Reads based on my preferences and past book ratings. Publishers Weekly called The Patterns of Paper Monsters "Extraordinary and imaginative... One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest meets Napoleon Dynamite." With a description like that, I couldn't pass it up! It's basically about a 17-year-old's time in a juvenile detention center, which I'm sure is filled with many confrontations and maybe even some personal growth thrown into the mix.
I also have some "light reading" options for days when I just need a short break from reality. These are books that I can pick up anytime, without involved/elaborate storylines:
::: I Totally Meant to Do That by Jane Borden :::
::: 1001 Little Fashion Miracles by Caroline Jones :::
::: The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha :::
::: On Beauty by Zadie Smith :::
I look forward to sharing some reviews of my reads throughout the summer!