Just for fun—and for you minimalist types—I’m narrowing the choices down to five. (I had a terrible time deciding what to include, because I love every one of the 35 books in the guide!)
But here’s the thing: I’m giving away the 5-book summer reading guide, and it’s a lot more affordable to ship 5 books than every book in the guide.
So I chose 5 titles that 1. are tremendously entertaining, 2. have broad appeal, and 3. are perfect for the beach, pool, or lounge chair in the backyard. This means the “breezy novels” category is over-represented, but I think I’m okay with that.
Helen McGill doesn't realize she's teetering on the verge of a midlife crisis until the professor rolls into town. He wants to sell her brother Parnassus—his traveling bookstore on (wagon) wheels. Helen falls in love with the idea of traveling through upstate New York, matching book-deprived readers with the right books, and she buys Parnassus herself. Adventures ensue. For fans of Miss Pettigrew (another terrific beach read). Essential reading for book lovers, and anyone who believes that when you sell a man a book, you sell him a whole new life. More info →
Charleston, November 1803. Sarah Grimké turns 11. Her birthday gift? A slave named Hetty ("Handful"). This sweeping novel tells the story—in alternating voices—of real-life abolitionist Sarah Grimké and the wholly imagined slave Handful through several decades and up and down the East Coast during a tumultuous time in American history. A can’t miss for fans of The Help or Monk Kidd’s first hit, The Secret Life of Bees. An engaging mix of fact and fiction. More info →
Can you fall in love with someone just by reading their email? For Lincoln O’Neill, the answer is YES. When he takes a new job as an “internet security officer” he doesn’t realize that means he’ll be reading people’s emails. But it’s the company's policy, and besides, all the employees know their emails are being monitored—at least in theory. Before long Lincoln has pored over countless personal emails between Jennifer and Beth, and he's sure of two things: he's in too deep, and it's too late to confess. It’s not as good as Eleanor & Park, but you couldn’t ask for a better beach read. More info →
Don Tillman can count his friends on one hand, has never been on a second date, and is clearly (to the reader, at least) on the autism spectrum. When a colleague surprises him by remarking he would make a wonderful husband, Don creates "the Wife Project," and embarks on a search to find his perfect partner. (To Don, that means creating the perfect questionnaire.) But when he meets a woman that's all wrong for him—at least on paper—he's forced to reconsider what he really wants, and what love really looks like (all while his scientific, orderly approach to life is getting wrecked). Fast, fun, and smart. Heads up for a few f-bombs and racy scenes. More info →
Any Morton novel would make a great summer read, but The Secret Keeper is her finest. When she was 16, Laurel witnessed a violent crime involving her mother, Dorothy. The family hushed it up, and Laurel hasn't spoken of it since. Now, fifty years later, Dorothy is dying, and Laurel is determined to unravel the secret while there's still time. As Laurel pursues her clues, the story flips back and forth in time between today and the years before and during World War II, including the London Blitz, which Morton recreates so vividly you can almost hear the bombs dropping. Filled with twists and turns that will keep you guessing to the end. More info →
Leave a comment below to enter. The winner will get all 5 books delivered straight to their door. U.S. only, must be eighteen or older, giveaway ends Sunday at midnight Eastern time.
What’s on your summer reading list? And I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above books in comments.
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