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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!