So I thought, what better time to do a summer reading list than when you are about to enjoy a holiday weekend?!?
You have some extra time on your hands. I have lots of book recommendations. You may even have recommendations for me.
We all win!
The 2016 Spin Sucks Book Recommendations
- Avenue of Mysteries. John Irving is one of my most favorite authors of all time. So, when this book was billed as returning “to the themes that established him as one of our most admired and beloved authors,” I was all in! But I couldn’t get through it. It’s almost as though John Irving is overthinking every, single word and every last sentence structure…to the point that it is agonizing to read. I’m probably going to give it another shot, but if you were to put it on your list, I recommend putting it near the bottom.
- Bazaar of Bad Dreams. This is a series of short stories from Stephen King. While some of them did give me bad dreams, I almost prefer his longer form writing. For many of the stories, I was starting to get into them when they ended. But if you want something that you can read in quick spurts, this is the book for you.
- Everyone Brave is Forgiven. This is by the author of Little Bee, so I was excited to read it. And, to be fair, I did start to read it in a restaurant in Las Vegas, where there were way too many distractions walking by. But even by the pool or during my normal reading time—before bed—I couldn’t get into it. It’s another one I’ll go back to when I can be a little more focused, but add it to the end of your list.
- Good Riddance. This book is perfect for a summer at the pool or beach. Written by friend (and client), Whitney Fay, it’s a fun look at a high school reunion and all of the things we all encounter when we go back to see our “friends.” (Well, everyone buy me…I’ve always refused to go.) It also has a great nod to ’80s culture, which is Whitney’s forte (for which she likes to tease me because I have zero clue about pop culture from then).
- Me Before You. Yes, I know this is nearly four years old, but my mom told me I had to read it before the movie came out…and so I did. I don’t want to give anything away, so I will say this: It’s great, it’s an easy read, and you’ll bawl your eyes out. You’re welcome.
- Primates of Park Avenue. I actually did not like this book at all. I expected it to be more a fictional (but realistic) look at the social elite in New York City, but it turned out to be more anthropology than story telling. That said, it has really stuck with me and I quote from it more than I care to admit. And, now that we have SoulCycle in Chicago, I will say that her description of that “cult” is very, very accurate. I was in a class last week that I clearly had interrupted a ladies of leisure club. So, if you see it in the bookstore, flip it open and find that section. It’s funny…because it’s true.
- Rogue Lawyer. I have a secret. I love, love, love John Grisham. It sort of goes against my normal taste in literature (and my creative writing advisor would be so disappointed in me), but I love him. I read everything of his. Of course, his books are all the same—and this is no exception—but if you’re looking for an easy read, this is it.
- The Big Fear. I wanted to love this book. It was intriguing enough that it kept me turning the pages and I finished it fairly quickly, but there were big holes in the story. There were things I wanted to know more about—and things I didn’t need to know so much about. The main character, Ralph Mulino, has a dark and sordid past and I want to know more. But, when he finally lets you in on what happened, it’s near the end of the book so it doesn’t give you that much detail and, in the big scheme of things, it wasn’t all that dark or sordid.
- The Girl in the Spider’s Web. They certainly tried to bring back Lisbeth and Blomkvist for us, and it was a great attempt. Had it not been for the three books before it—and had it been finished by Stieg Larsson—it probably would have been a fantastic read. But, for those of us who are major Millennium Series fans, it didn’t quite meet expectations.
- The Martian. I already know I’m going to be vilified for writing this, but I could not get through this book. I saw the movie. Loved it. Loved the idea of the book and loved the storytelling. But the writing was so horrible that I was rewriting it in my head and it was taking me three times longer to read it than it should have. I finally had to put it down and agree to just see the movie. But the story is really good, so if you haven’t yet read it (and can not be a snob like me), you really should pick it up.
- The Nest. This one I just finished this past weekend. When I got to the end, I yelled, “WHAT IN THE HECK?!?!” I was super mad. I texted my friend Abbie Fink, who is my virtual book club friend, and said, “Why did I just read that?” Now, all of that said, it’s a must-read. It’s really well written. The story is fantastic. But the ending will piss you off. So, when you finish it, text me and yell at me. I’ll be your sounding board.
- When Breath Becomes Air. This book is completely heart-wrenching…but you must read it. It’s written by a neurosurgeon who, at the age of 36, finds out he has stage IV cancer. His wife has to finish writing the book for him and it is one of the most compelling pieces of art you will read in your entire lifetime.
Wow. With the exception of the last two, I’m clearly either becoming a harder critic (or extraordinarily grumpy) or someone needs to write another The Nightingale type book.
Or…maybe a little of both.
Still On My List
Maybe one of these will be that book for me.
- America’s First Daughter
- Good Night, Mr. Tom
- Good Omens
- The Gargoyle
- The Gunslinger
- The Japanese Lover
- The Kind Worth Killing
- The Last One
- The Life We Bury
- The Secret Daughter
- The Thirteenth Tale
Now it’s your turn. Have you read any of the 24 books in this article? What other book recommendations do you have?