Particularly Good Crop of Summer Reads to Choose From

Posted: June 27, 2007 in Lists, Lists and More Lists

I wish I had free time to choose my own reading over the summer, especially considering the truly great line-up of books coming out lately, but with the potential for starting grad school in the fall I’ve decided to complete the theme of “going for broke” and review as many books this summer as I possibly can. I figured I won’t have an awful lot of reviewing time come September, assuming the University of Wisconsin-Madison does relent and accept me for their MLIS program, so I’m thinking I’d better get a lot of this out of my system now, while I still can.

If I did have any reading time that was my own, this is the stuff I would be reading this summer(and if I can beg freebie review copies of these, you better know I will):


Haruki Murakami won’t be to everyone’s taste. He writes in a very surreal, somewhat dark style that’s reminiscent of Camus. Anything new by him is always very good news to me. If you like this one try The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. If you like that, try Kobo Abe’s The Woman in the Dunes. If you like both of those, you and I have really similar reading tastes, and we should get together for coffee sometime.


Ondaatje’s The English Patient was brilliant, but I can’t speak to anything else he’s written. As with Murakami, just seeing his name on anything sells me.


Ian McEwan writes in a similarly dark, psychologically complex style I’d compare to Haruki Murakami, but I’d have to say he’s far less obscure. I went on a McEwan reading spree a couple of years ago, shortly after Doubleday/Talese sent me a copy of Atonement to review,and I fell in love with his style. His first novel, The Cement Garden, is brilliant stuff. It’s really dark and disturbing, which to me is a good thing, but I will forewarn you on that, just in case you aren’t as thick-skinned as I am.


I’ll disclose I have total prejudice for this book, as I’ve exchanged emails with the author, he’s offered me an interview, and his publisher sent me a copy of his book. I can be swayed by free hardbacks (hint), but I really wouldn’t endorse him if I didn’t think his book had merit. Really!

And he didn’t pay me to say that, either.

The Short Bus is the memoir of a man who struggled his whole life against the stereotype of being “learning disabled,” and how he managed to not just get by, but to succeed, graduating with honors from Brown University with a degree in English literature. His story is inspirational. This is also the one book on this list I know I’ll be reading this summer, because I promised I would.


Like this one NEEDS any extra publicity help… The Kite Runner was phenomenal. This one is, too, no doubt.


I’ve decided I’m going to be Joyce Carol Oates in my next life. Is there anyone who publishes more, in more variety, than she does? I can’t decide if I love her or hate her. Depends on the day, I guess.

There are loads more of these truly great reads hot off the presses for the summer, but I’ll stop here for now. Next time I’ll tell you what I actually am reading this summer, what I’ve begged from publishers and had better read or they’ll come after me (or worse, not send me any more books). The list is frighteningly long. I’ll warn you of that so you can shield your eyes if you have a delicate constitution. When it comes time to pay the proverbial piper I may find myself a little sorry I asked for so much. I’m like a kid in a candy store when someone mentions FREE BOOKS, and like a kid who’s imbibed too much I may wind up with a stomach ache. Pity, eh?


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