Summer ReadingBy Gini Dietrich

Though last weekend was the official start to summer in Canada, it doesn’t officially begin in the States until this weekend.

But, if you’re anywhere but Chicago right now, summer began several weeks ago (it’s 42 degrees here right now; blah).

So I thought it’d be fun to give you the 2015 summer reading list to get your BBQ, beach, flip-flop wearing season off to a bang.

The 2015 Summer Reading List

This is everything I’ve read since January 1 of this year. I probably would have had 16 books by now, but I got stuck watching Bloodline (just finished last night and it was super good), which took away from my fiction reading.

I’ll catch back up!

I present to you the good and the bad.

  1. The Goldfinch. Hands down, the best book of the year…and I started the new year off with it. It’s definitely going to be hard to beat. The writing is superb and it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction because of it. In fact, when my mom finished it, she said, “It was like a symphony of words that jumped off the page.” If you want to craft your writing skill, read this book. Study this book. Never put this book away.
  2. Big Little Lies. From the author of The Husband’s Secret (which I loved), comes this tale of ex-husbands, new wives, and the little lies we tell ourselves to survive. As USA Today put it, it’s a bit like drinking a pink cosmo laced with arsenic.
  3. The Rosie Project. I can’t remember if this is ever actually said in the book, but I have the impression the main character has Asperger’s (or is on the autism spectrum), which makes it even more endearing. He is charming, yet socially challenged so finding a wife becomes a science project. But the woman he ends up falling for won’t have anything to do with his genetics testing. It’s a fun, romantic story.
  4. City of Bones. I’m not going to lie. I love teen books, particularly trilogies (hello, Hunger Games!). But I could not get through this. I don’t know if it’s because I read a draft of Neicole Crepeau’s forthcoming novel first and it was 10,000 times better (same genre) or if it just wasn’t that good. But, if you’re into teen thrillers, you might want to give it a try.
  5. Wild. I loved this with every part of my being. When I finished it, I was seriously ready to take a three-month sabbatical and go hike the Pacific Crest trail by myself. Some people thought the main character was selfish and absorbed. I thought she was an amazing human being who made some really horrible mistakes and used her three-month hike to realize what she needed in life. I loved it.
  6. The Bone Clocks. This is from the author of Cloud Atlas and it came recommended by Lindsay Bell-Wheeler (we typically have the same taste in fiction), but I hated it. The book’s description says, “Rich with character and realms of possibility, The Bone Clocks is a kaleidoscopic novel that begs to be taken apart and put back together by a writer.” I could not disagree more. I couldn’t want to finish it so I could go on to something else.
  7. The Girl on the Train. When my mother-in-law suggested I read this, she said, “I couldn’t put it down. I missed my bedtime!” I had the same reaction. I read it in a day (and missed my bedtime). It’s a story of a woman who rides the same train every day and makes up stories about the people she sees in their homes from the train stops. And then she meets one of the couples in real life and it all unravels. It is a bit like a Hitchcock thriller.
  8. Still Alice. I do not recommend this book for anyone who is affected by Alzheimer’s. It’s an incredible story about a woman who has early onset Alzheimer’s (at 50) and what she has to go through as she begins to forget things and then completely lose her present self. We see and hear stories of what it’s like for the family, but rarely what it’s like for the person with the disease. I also saw the movie this past weekend and it was good…though not as good as the book.
  9. Natchez Burning. This is the first book in another trilogy and I could take it or leave it. It was OK. Not good enough to read the other two books. The story, itself, is really compelling—about a present-day man who has to look into his family’s history of the KKK, greed, and murder—but I don’t know, I just didn’t like it.
  10. All the Light We Cannot See. This is the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner so I know I have to love it. But I don’t. I can’t get through it. I’m only 12 percent of the way through it, but I’ve gone back to it three different times and can’t get hooked. BUT. It didn’t win the Pulitzer for nothing so I’ll try again. I know many of you have already read it and loved it so I will give it another shot. Sometime this summer.
  11. Minor King. This is the debut novel from Jim Mitchem, who some of you may know from Twitter or his blog, Obsessed with Conformity. He also was our author feature this month during the Author Q&A. I loved this book. Partly because I know Jim and his story and partly because the writing is magical. My only complaints are that the characters weren’t developed as well as I would have liked and it was much too short. I was disappointed when I finished it because I wanted more. I wanted more Jim Christianson. I wanted more Tabitha Christianson. I even wanted more of the jerk boss.
  12. Silent Wife. Eh. This was OK. I didn’t love it. (Though it was one of the books that Mr. D. said, “Are you reading a manual on how to be a wife?” Hardy, har, har.) I think it was trying to be Gone Girl or a similar thriller, but it missed the boat. I did finish it (which is more than I can say for this year’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book) and it did hold my attention, but it fell flat of my expectations.
  13. The Nightingale. This was slow to get into, but I’m glad I stuck with it. It’s the story of the women who lost their husbands and sons to the concentration camps in Nazi France. I was finishing it on a flight home last week and I cried and cried and cried. I had to put it down because I was crying so hard on a plane and finished it in the middle of the night at home. The jump between present day and the 1940s is a little jarring at first, mostly because you read half the book before she comes back to today, but it soon becomes apparent as to why that is.
  14. Secrets of a Charmed Life. Clearly I’m now stuck on a World War II path (I blame Pamela Grow) because this book is about girls who live in England when the Nazis come in. They are sent away from London to live in the country, where it’ll be “safe” and it tells the story of sisters who want different things from life. It wasn’t a book that made me sob, nor one that made me want to hike for three months alone, but it was good.

I have The Life We Bury on my list and then I’ll go back to All the Light We Cannot See.

So there you have it, my 2015 summer reading list.

Now it’s your turn. What should I read for the second half of the year?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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