Please help me welcome the lovely Lara Avery! She’s stopping by today to share her top 10 summer reads as part her blog tour for her latest YA novel, The Memory Book! Be sure to check out her amazing book, her list of summer reads, and enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
Top 10 Summer Reads
by Lara Avery
Hi readers! Thanks for having me, A Book and a Latte! This was a tough one, because all books feel like summer books. I’ve probably read half of all books I’ve ever read in my life (probably more than half) on a towel in my backyard, savoring the long, humid days. But I wanted the challenge. Here are some of my favorite books that either feature a summertime setting, are must-reads at all times of year, or are perfect for vacation, when you have plenty of time to get swept away.
1. In the Woods by Tana French
A surreal, almost fantasy-driven page turner about a terrible crime. The book takes place half in modern day Dublin, half in the hazy, questionable memories of a detective who had a life-changing summer in the woods near his home, and who soon finds himself way too close to the case. Don’t read this one for answers, but trust me, the questions that arise are just as pleasurable.
2. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
Essential reading anytime, for anyone. A collection of profoundly beautiful, complex, genre-bending poems on race relations in the United States, from the public to the personal. Even though school’s out, keep your critical lens sharp.
3. A Secret History by Donna Tartt
If there’s ever a book that convinces you never to return to school, primary, secondary, or otherwise, this is it. And we’re talking the opposite of the typical student’s ennui. We’re talking what happens when the academic work of your peers starts taking over primal parts of their brains, and how an average student feels powerless and too seduced by the lush, stimulating world of his tiny liberal arts school to stop it. Tartt got a Pulitzer for The Goldfinch, which she deserved, but I have to say this was by far a more ickily pleasant, entrancing read.
4. Any of the Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar
I feel like you go into GG knowing what to expect, and that’s juicy, easy-to-read episodes featuring attractive, rich people with attractive, rich people problems. It’s not like you go in for experimental prose or a lesson in classic literature. And I love it. Plus, what better time than summer to go to a pool, channel some Blair and Serena, and pretend that you own the whole damn place?
5. The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
Okay, so this is four books, not one, but they’re worth every minute you spend with them. We follow two friends from Naples, Italy through childhood, teenage years, and middle age. These books are not only exquisitely written, they changed my life, my idea of what it is to be woman, and my understanding and appreciation of female friendship. And with the theme, Southern Italy is hot most of the time, and full of beaches, islands, and families on holiday.
6. His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
There are few fantasy series that outpace these lush, sophisticated novels featuring magic, religion, and Lyra, the bravest, brashest 11-year-old girl to ever grace a page. You’ll pick them up while you sip your iced coffee and won’t be able to put them down until the fireflies come out. And heck, if you’ve already read ‘em, reread ‘em.
7. Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
Many summer romances are with another person, which is cool. But after reading Ocean Vuong’s poetry, you might learn how to better fall in love with yourself, and the whole bleeding world, for that matter. “Like how the spine / won’t remember its wings / no matter how many times our knees / kiss the pavement. Ocean are you listening? The most beautiful part / of your body is wherever / your mother’s shadow falls.”
8. The Witches by Stacy Schiff
You could argue this heavily researched, highly detailed account of the Salem trials of 1692 is a bit dense for summer reading, but if you can muddle through the names and dates, the accuracy and drama of this much-fictionalized period of history is grossly fascinating. So, yeah, cart this brick to the beach. Be the history nerd you want to see in the world. I, for one, have gotten lost in it on more than one airplane.
9. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
This is an epic, brilliant, multi-narrator story, all of whom are connected in various ways to a man who would never become a ghost, no matter how hard some tried to make him one. Bob Marley was more than just a musician, but who he really was, to the most powerful people in Jamaica, to the corrupt revolutionaries in Cuba, to the white American consumer, to soldiers fighting a drug war which was not their own, depended on who was asking. This is for anyone who hangs on every word of a true crime documentary, but knows their way around the record shop, as well. It will not only dazzle you with its prose, it will inspire an amazing playlist.
10. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
I mean, duh.
About Lara Avery
Many thanks to Lara for stopping by today! Readers, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win! Follow the tour schedule below to gain more entries.