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Gini Dietrich

The Spin Sucks Summer Reading List

By: Gini Dietrich | July 2, 2013 | 
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The Spin Sucks Summer Reading List

By Gini Dietrich

I’m a huge fiction fan. My senior year in college, I took a women’s literary course to finish out my English degree, and I remember sitting in the stairwell of the creative writing department reading. No one would think to look for me there so I could read, uninterrupted, for hours.

It was like I was six years old again, hiding in my closet where my brothers couldn’t find me, with a book.

And I loved every second of it.

Not much has changed, except now I read on my iPad and I’m better at tuning out interruptions. I read on the couch, in the hammock, in bed, while getting a manicure, on the beach, on the El, and even when I’m riding a stationary bike.

Because of that, I have read 26 books this year and have six to recommend you put on your summer reading list.

The Spin Sucks Summer Reading List

  1. 11/22/63. Some of you may have already heard me extol the virtues of this book. It was the first Stephen King I’ve read (I went on to read The Stand this past spring) and it was a good one to start with. Built around Kennedy’s assassination, the book follows a story of a man who goes back in time to stop it. He has to make several attempts and you realize there is a part of you who really wants him to stop it. But what happens if he’s successful? It’s a long one, but it’s worth the time.
  2. We Need to Talk About Kevin. This is written as letters from a wife to her husband about their son, who kills some of his classmates while in high school. The book begins by her being in the grocery store and running into the mother of one of the girls who was killed. With so much violence in our schools, we forget the murderers have families and it’s a fascinating (though fiction) look at how it affects them. P.S. I heard the movie was terrible. Don’t see it. Read the book instead.
  3. Defending Jacob. Along the same lines as above, a young man is accused of killing a classmate. His father, the city’s district attorney, is fired from his job as the investigation heats up. He joins his son’t defense team and you read as the case is tried and his family begins to fall apart. You go back and forth between believing he did it and believing there is no way he could have.
  4. Into the Darkest Corner. Written by a police intelligence analyst, this look at a woman’s life who was so severely beaten by her boyfriend, she couldn’t face him in court is harrowing. It flips back and forth between the present – as she tries to get her life back together, even with a terrible case of OCD which the incident created – and the past when she met the man. It’s agonized to read, but it’s an interesting look at how we treat our friends when we think they’re nuts or when they have something we want.
  5. Sever. I’ll admit it. I’m a teen at heart. This is the third – and final – book in the Chemical Garden series and I read it in about 60 seconds. If you haven’t read the first two, they’re pretty good. Not Harry Potter or Hunger Games good, but good enough for a summer vacation fling. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the adults have figured out how to make perfect children, free of disease and disabilities. The only problem? Men live only until they’re 25 and women only until they’re 20. This story is told from the perspective of a young woman who is kidnapped to bear children for the son of a wildly successful doctor…so he can run tests on them to figure out how to lengthen their life spans.
  6. Dark Tide. Written by the same author as “Into the Darkest Corner,” this one is about a young woman who fulfills her father’s dying wish of buying a boat and living on it while she refurbishes it. But, in order to save the money needed for said boat, she becomes a stripper at night in a high-end gentleman’s club (if there is such a thing). After leaving her job, things begin happening near her boat. A body washes up on shore, there are a series of burglaries, and she is attacked. It’s nothing more than a high-suspense, murder novel. Great for those days you’re lying by the pool, drinking a Mai Tai.

Of course, anything written by Gillian Flynn is aces in my book. I love her. My favorite was Sharp Objects, but you can’t go wrong with Dark Places or Gone Girl.

So there you have it. First half of the year equaled 26 books read and the six best recommended for your summer reading list.

I have a long list of books yet to read this year, but always welcome recommendations. What have been your favorite fiction books so far this year?

P.S. We’re going to try something for the next three months. So I can focus on some longer form content and test some of the ideas outlined in Increase Blog Traffic with These 12 Ideas, I am scaling back by three blog posts per week. I’ll be here Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. Wednesday morning, Gin and Topics, and The Three Things will be written by our team. We’ll report back in October!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

101 comments
photo chris
photo chris

Can I beg of you all to keep the recommendations coming? I am going to a conference in September and can't believe I will have a whole airport, plane ride, and hotel stay all to myself! I can read while waiting, flying, eating.....ahhhhhhh! 

Kato42
Kato42

@ginidietrich I was in the bookstore today, buying myself a novel to perch on my bookshelf and motivate me through the last 1.5 weeks of my last Master's course. (I can't read fiction when I'm reading academic stuff, or I'd never read the academic stuff). 

I totally thought of your list, and how I have "We Need To Talk About Kevin" on my list... but then I saw the latest James Rollins book on sale and thought "YES! Brain candy!" and bought that instead. 

Because it's like the book equivalent of a Twinkie - all that book with no uncomfortable "thinking" feeling at the end. 

ayms219
ayms219

I feel exactly the same way about reading fiction! I got away from it for awhile, reading a lot of non-fiction, business related books, but it only takes one great one to fall madly in love with it again. I highly recommend The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce and The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson - strange title I know!

TaraGeissinger
TaraGeissinger

Fellow English major here -- and I LOVE reading fiction too! I am continually sucked in to all of the YA fiction that my kids are reading, but I'm going to have to pick up that Steven King one for this summer. As soon as I finish The One And Only Ivan. :) I also recently read Wonder by R.J. Palacio and loved it. It's one of those stories that changes the way you think about people and their struggles.

dbvickery
dbvickery

Might have to read that Stephen King book - it's been a long time since I've read King. I'm reading a lot of Daniel Silva, Robin Cook, Eric Van Lustbader, and Alex Berenson right now. Sometimes I throw in a David Baldacci.

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

Who has time to read. I am too busy helping Jack Steiner finish at least one of his 39 unpublished novels. 

photo chris
photo chris

Gini- you wrote about We Need To Talk About Kevin awhile ago so of course I had to buy it- I read it months ago and am STILL haunted.  I was just looking for another good read- so thank you to all who are posting! 

susancellura
susancellura

I LOVE to read!!! I would read in my room for hours (with a large bag of Skittles). I still love to curl up with a good book. When I find time now, I will go sit outside on the patio under the ceiling fans, because it is so quiet there. (Until more people start spending time in their backyards...which begs the question, "Why have a backyard if you aren't going to enjoy it?" But I digress.)

My daughter is slowly building a love for books as well, and I'm thrilled. I put actual books in her hands as she spends enough time on the iPad. I love seeing her read books that I read at her age. 

To everyone commenting - I am making a list of all of your suggestions as I have a vacation coming up!

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

I've just finished the first omnibus in the Wool series by indie author Hugh Howey. It is a finely crafted book which catches one off guard on more than one occasion.

I'm also reading through the Unicorn Western series, which is a delightful mix of western and science fiction, where the main character, Clint (a nod to the greatest western star ever) and his steed (a unicorn), Ed (a nod to a talking horse we all love), go on an amazing adventure. The stories give nod to many of the great Sergio Leone flicks of the past.  Brilliant!

And then there is Secret Doors: The Challenge, coming out soon...by ME! It has similarities to Harry Potter, though the main character is a red haired girl named Abby and her best friend is an very large 12 year old boy named Stevie. The main reason you should read it is that there are also two giant guinea pigs named Billy and Badger...and Billy talks! I mean, seriously, what is better than giant guinea pigs!

So, here is an offer to you, Gini (and any of your Spin Sucks readers), if you (or them) would like to be a beta reader, then just let me know with a reply. Did I mention the giant guinea pigs?!

Latest blog post: What Do You Think?

TimPio
TimPio

Hi Gini:

Thanks for the recommendations and good to hear you read your first Stephen King book recently.  Growing up, SKing was my go-to author and I read most of his books.  To me, summer reading = Stephen King.  I have not read 11/22/63, but I'm intrigued after reading more about it here.  

Last year,  along with a couple of my friends, we created a book club.  It has been a fun way to keep in touch with friends...but it's also a great way to become exposed to books I would not ordinarily select on my own.  Currently, we're reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and I'm digging it.

Thanks for the perfect summer post!

NancyCawleyJean
NancyCawleyJean

We sure have the same taste in books! I read the first 3 and loved them (and if you haven't read  King's Under the Dome, which is now airing on TV, I'd add that one too, except for a bizarre ending, I couldn't put it down). 11/22/63 blew me away. AMAZING. And Defending Jacob was just "hold on for an amazing ride." GREAT writer - same with "Kevin." Of course I can't wait for the next Gillian Flynn. She's just got an unbelievable talent for pulling you along at lightning speed in her books. Adding the remainder of your suggestions to my list. Also, I just finished a delightful novel that I got lost in, feeling like I was on the West Coast of Ireland myself in Maeve Binchy's final book before she passed away, A Week in Winter. And one of my fave books ever, if you haven't read it (it's old): A Painted House by John Grisham - a 180 degree turn from his normal legal thrillers, this little piece of 1950s America has  characters that will stay with you for a long time to come. ;) Happy summer and happy reading! Keep your lists coming, and good luck with your test! 

blfarris
blfarris

OK Gini, you're ahead of me! I'm only at 20 books YTD. 

The only one on my list that feels like it would fit on yours is "One Came Home" by Amy Timberlake. It's a little on the YA side -- but written by a Chicago author about turn of the century rural Wisconsin. I really enjoyed it. Part mystery, part historical fiction, part fun.

My summer reading list is a little more businessy. => http://www.icic.org/connection/blog-entry/blog-summer-reading-list-for-business-owners

maggielmcg
maggielmcg

I"m obsessed with We Need to Talk About Kevin! And I can sadly confirm that the movie is TERRIBLE...truly not worth watching. Will have to try the other Gillian Flynn books--I loved Gone Girl but hated the ending.

Two of the best books I read this year were Are You My Mother? and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Breed by Chase Novak was freaky/interesting, if not the best written book ever--good for a summer read.

IpjRobson
IpjRobson

Sever sounds interesting. Perhaps even a little disturbing. 

I haven't read much fiction lately although I do enjoy reading it quite a bit. Seems like you've mentioned a few goodies here. 

I curious how the test is going to go. I look forward to reading the results.

Pascale Bishop
Pascale Bishop

Gini, I recommend Life After Life by Kate Atkinson if you're looking for a new read...

bdorman264
bdorman264

I recently read Defending Jacob; just remember to buckle your seat belt, huh? 

I actually found some 'free' books for my Kindle that I have enjoyed reading but not sure they are 'best of' quality. I liked the Assassin's List by Scott Mathews but it's kind of a macho book that guys like. I'm half-way through Dead Like Me by Kelly Miller and the setting is Tampa, Fl which is local so I enjoy identifying with some of the landmarks mentioned. So far it's pretty good...

To catch up with your 26 books, my 'free' time now instead of online social is spent more with reading which I can do while watching baseball. I'm also venturing into some trail/mountain biking and when my ass quits hurting I will go out again over the holidays. 

More than you wanted to know I'm sure, but I'm a talker like that ya know...

Karen_C_Wilson
Karen_C_Wilson

I added all of these to my wishlist. I like these kinds of books, though I find it harder to read them now that I have a child. @Bob LeDrew convinced me last summer that I need to give Stephen King a shot. But he recommended starting with a different book...I'll have to ask him to remind me.

Unmana
Unmana

I've seen We Need to Talk About Kevin recommended by so many people that I've had it on my wishlist forever. Maybe it's time to finally buy it, huh.

photo chris
photo chris

@Kato42 @ginidietrich For more brain candy read Sweets, the first installment of the Windy City Witches books. Nice beach-y read, and I could SMELL the candy being made. And of course, I love that's it's set in Chicago :-)

ayms219
ayms219

The Night Circus is one of my faves! Read it twice now and it only gets better.

photo chris
photo chris

@ginidietrich @photo chris Really?!?! Yes please! I just downloaded Evernote over the holiday weekend and don't know the ins and outs quite yet; is there a way to share a notebook? What do you need?

Kato42
Kato42

@ginidietrich I understand completely. Until I decided to get a Master's degree, I was the same way. 

Actually, your list also reminds me that I'm looking forward to re-reading the early Stephen King novels, all of which I have, and love, and haven't read for years. I kind of gave up on him somewhere around "Insomnia," but might check in on his more recent books :)

Latest blog post: LaHave Bakery

TaraGeissinger
TaraGeissinger

@ginidietrich @TaraGeissinger I have not read that one yet. I finished The One And Only Ivan, however, and it was cute. Not life-changing or anything, but unique. I just finished Divergent as well and loved it. (If you love the Hunger Games, it's right up your alley.) I am now digging into the second book in the series. THEN Steven King! LOL

photo chris
photo chris

@ginidietrich @susancellura Books on the electronic devices are cool for little ones when you travel, but, children' books are especially magical in their HANDS. I ordered Journey of the Noble Gnarble on my Nook for the kiddos for something crazy- .99 or something. The second I opened it I knew we had to own it- I just wanted to smell those pages! They were so richly illustrated and I didn't feel I was "getting it all" with it sized down so drastically. Hubby bought it for ME for Valentine's Day that man knows my heart! I "share" it with the kids, lol.  Double Trouble in Walla Walla, Mouse was MAD, any one of the Miss Spider series.....none of those are done justice on an electronic device. 

Unmana
Unmana

@ginidietrich But can I trust you? :p I was a bit disappointed with Gone Girl, to be honest. I mean, the first half was great, and then it got weirder and weirder.

Word Ninja
Word Ninja

@photo chris @ginidietrich Has anyone read Dark Monk from the Hangman Daughter's series? Mystery set in the 1600s. Just bought it at Half Price today b/c when it was new the library would only let me take it out for a few days. *raspberries*

TaraGeissinger
TaraGeissinger

@ginidietrich @TaraGeissinger Be prepared. I could NOT put it down. I had to remind myself to be rational. "Okay Tara, it's 1am and you still have 200 pages left. This is NOT happening tonight. Put the book down and go to sleep...." :)

bobledrew
bobledrew

@ginidietrich @Karen_C_Wilson @bobledrew Catching up! is where I am. Yes, it's true, I am "The Kingcast." Haven't interviewed the man yet, but hope springs eternal. 

I'm going to pick some Canadian content to recommend -- in fact, the last novel I read. It's called "419", and it's written by Will Ferguson. 419 refers to the Nigerian criminal code section referring to e-scams. And this is a fascinating exploration of that phenomenon. 

photo chris
photo chris

@Unmana @ginidietrich The thing about Gillian Flynn is that the good guys really aren't so like able...her characters, STICK with you, they BOTHER you, they NEEDLE at you and the plot twists can flip your stomach but I've yet to be happy at the end of one...and yet....I can't stop talking about them ot the characters when I'm done. I'm still begging my friend to find time for Gone Girl so we can talk it to death.

Unmana
Unmana

@ginidietrich Oh good, that's exactly how I felt about it. I loved it so much at first I was extra disappointed at the ending. I've wishlisted Sharp Objects too...

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Unmana It did get weird. And the ending made me so angry. But I thought about it for weeks afterwards, which signals a great book to me.

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