What I’m reading lately: summer reading progress.

I made myself a summer reading list back in May, and I’ve been trying very hard to stick closely to it. (It’s tough!)

I’ve managed to cross quite a few titles off the list so far. As you can see, my summer reading list is heavy on serious nonfiction, because that’s exactly what I wasn’t reading when I was doing Summer Reading Guide prep.

Quick Lit 7/15
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania

I've heard wonderful things about Larson's work, but this is the first book I've read by him. Now I understand why readers say when a new Larson book comes out, they drop everything and read it. The sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat changed history, yet it only gets a paragraph or two in history textbooks. Larson brings the story vividly to life: this meticulously researched account reads like a novel. I listened to this on Audible. More info →
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Public shaming used to be a common punishment, but it was stopped long ago: not because it was ineffective, but because it was deemed far too cruel. But with the dawn of social media, public shaming is back in a big way, and it's being carried out by ordinary people. Ronson walks the reader through some recent examples of lives ruined over one public mistake: a fabricated quote in a book, one ill-considered tweet, one Facebook photo that went viral. This is one of the scariest books I've read in a long time, and I'm not saying that lightly. An important but uncomfortable read for anyone on social media, and that's most of us. More info →
Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

When Chile's San Jose mine collapsed in August 2010, thirty-three miners were trapped beneath thousands of feet of rock for 69 days—longer than anyone thought they could survive. While they were still trapped in the mine, the men agreed that if they told their story, they would only do it together. On their release, they entrusted Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tobar with its telling. I put this on my reading list because Ann Patchett gushed about it. While it was good, I found myself skimming quite a bit to get through the overwhelming amount of detail. More info →
The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans

This was one of the books everyone has read but me, and I'm happy to finally know what the fuss is about. Tom and Isabel live alone on Janus Rock, keeping the lighthouse. After two miscarriages and one stillbirth, all on the isolated island, Isabel is despondent. When a boat holding a dead man and a crying baby washes up on shore, Isabel persuades Tom to leave the discovery out of his log and eventually adopts the child as her own. But when they visit the shore and its nearby community two years later ... you can imagine what might happen. A great summer read, if you don't mind a hefty dose of fictional sorrow. More info →
Saint Anything

Saint Anything

Sarah Dessen wasn't on my radar before BEA and BookCon, but I left determined to try her work. I chose Saint Anything because it was her newest release (May 5), and highly rated. Dessen writes about ordinary teens in a way that is poignant, true, and real—sometimes uncomfortably so. I enjoyed this one, especially her characters' funny and relatable conversations about nothing. For fans of Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, and Lauren Oliver. More info →
A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 7)

A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 7)

One of my summer reading goals was to finish books 3-10 in Penny's Inspector Gamache series so I would be ready for book 11 to come out on August 25. I've been flying through them (this is definite binge reading material) and this, book 7, is the best one yet. A murder mystery, a sleepy, idyllic Quebecois town, and the world of fine art combine to create an un-put-down-able read. These books don't have to be read in order, but I recommend it. (Start with summer reading guide pick Still Life.) More info →

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  1. Sara K. says:

    I am on the library waiting list for Dead Wake. I can’t wait to read it! I thought about getting the audible version, but I wasn’t sure I liked the narrator’s voice. Did you enjoy the narration?

    • Anne says:

      I thought the narration was good. Often the narrator sounds strange to me for the first five minutes, but then I get used to it. I don’t remember that happening with this one, though.

  2. I really enjoyed The Light Between Oceans. It’s not something I would have picked for myself, but we read it for book club. So good!

    Saint Anything is on my TBR list, and I’m adding So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

  3. Sarah M says:

    I *love* Erik Larsen books. I haven’t read this one, either…yet.
    I just finished True Spirit by Jessica Watson. She was 16 when she sailed around the world by herself. It was good, but not excellent. Thank goodness for the sailing glossary at the end! Now I’m onto 50 Women Every Christian Should Know by DeRusha and it’s really good.
    Sarah M

  4. Tim says:

    I read an old one since you mentioned it in a recent post: Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express. Great stuff, and now I’m planning on more Poirot!

        • liz n. says:

          The mysteries stand on their own, but I still recommend reading them in order. Because there are references to other cases, as well as a handful of recurring characters (one of whom evolves quite a bit over time), the Poirot books really do work best taken as a whole, in order. Also, “Curtain” is the last Poirot book for a reason, and reading it before any of the others pretty much spoils the book and deprives you of fully appreciating the point of view of Hastings, Poirot’s friend, who narrates the story.

  5. Dana says:

    Never read anything by Erik Larsen but Dead Wake sounds good. I thought The Light Between Oceans was really good but heart wrenching. I read the first of the Louis Penny mysteries several years ago. It was OK, but I did not feel the need to read another one. My problem with reading mysteries is I compare everything to P.D. James who was my favorite. So sad that there will be no more Adam Dalgleish stories.

    I am reading The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck. It has gotten great reviews and for good reason. I am enjoying it so much. It is non-fiction about Buck and his brother taking a 2,000 mile trip on The Oregon Trail from Kansas to Oregon in a mule-drawn covered wagon, recreating what so many pioneers did in the 1800s. It is part history, part travelogue and part memoir. Rinker Buck’s style is engaging and so enthusiastic I found myself fully enjoying an entire chapter devoted to the breeding history that went into creating mules. Just finished Glitter and Glue. It was one of the top sellers last year at my local indie bookstore. I liked it, but not sure what all of the fuss was about.

  6. Terri Torrez says:

    I’ve been binge reading Louise Penny too, ever since you mentioned this series. But I think I’m putting on weight as a result. I swear all these people do is eat really decadent French food. 😉

  7. Donna says:

    I can’t wait to read ‘Deep Down Dark’ in the fall. I am currently reading and absolutely loving Hector Tobar’s ‘The Barbarian Nurseries’. I discovered this one while browsing the stacks at my neighbourhood library. This one grabbed me from the first page and I don’t want it to end. Highly recommend picking it up!

      • donna says:

        You’re welcome! It’s a very interesting story. Quite different. And the love the way he takes the ordinary lives of his characters and turns them into something incredibly special. Enjoy and I’d love to hear your thoughts when you get to reading it.?

  8. Cassie says:

    I am kinda afraid to read Ronson’s book. I heard a couple interviews with him and it makes me want to build a house in the woods and throw my computer in the garbage . . . .

  9. Kayla P. says:

    So you’ve been publicly shamed looks really good. Public shaming is serious business and it has me rethinking how we feel about our fellow human beings. Do we not think people can change? Have regrets? Say the wrong thing but not be a horrible person?

  10. Melanie says:

    Just picked up The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny at my local library. I’m loving it! Will definitely be looking for the rest. I would love to read them in order. Thanks for all the great posts!

  11. Shannon says:

    This is an AWESOME list, Anne! Thanks for sharing. I found Modern Mrs. Darcy through the podcast you did with Kat on How They Blog. I knew you were a book fanatic (as am I) but didn’t realize what an AWESOME wealth of content an literature-oriented insights I’d be getting.. color me a HUGE, new fan! I too am a #CrazyBookLady (lol) and actually work for a publishing company heading up the marketing department – by day – and blog at ACreativeCulture.com – by night – haha! So great to connect with a like-minded individual. Again, thanks for all you do and the wonderful content you churn out.

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