Welcome to my most requested List… Book Recommendations! I am going to do this monthly, and am kicking it off with some summer reading – books I’ve read recently-ish (over the past few years) that have become my “go to” suggestions for people looking to read a book they can’t put down and aren’t necessarily genre-specific. I promise not to post spoilers in the descriptions if you promise not to post spoilers in the comments!
These aren’t in any particular order – just books I’ve read and suggest you do as well! If you click on the book, it will take you straight to my Amazon affiliate link so you can order…and ordering from my link enables me to buy more books. All of which I’ll tell you about in future lists. Isn’t Amazon grand?
1. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
A thriller with enough twists to keep even someone like me (who consumes far too much media, thus is hard to surprise) guessing! Be sure to read this book BEFORE October when the movie is released starring Ben Affleck. Remember, Class: We read the book first. I know Ben Affleck is a dreamboat and whatnot, but this novel is so excellent its worthy of reading before the film. You know, like all books.
2. What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures, by Malcolm Gladwell
This is a collection of Gladwell’s essays that he has written for The New Yorker over many years. Gladwell has written more famous books (Outsiders, The Tipping Point, Blink), but I always recommend What the Dog Saw as a perfect introduction to his writing that you can pick up and put down. The book’s essays examine everything from intelligence tests and ethnic profiling, to why there are many varieties of mustard but only one variety of ketchup.
3. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Hardbach
I was hesitant to put this on my list, as it’s a little deeper and “Book Club” ish than a summer read, but here goes: This book that’s not really about baseball could be hit or miss (ha, see what I did there) for many readers. True, it’s main protagonist is a baseball player, but the novel is actually character and relationship-driven. The downside is that there’s a few parts that feel long and sluggish. I didn’t think I would end up enjoying it after reading the first 50 pages or so, but the author does a fantastic job developing the characters and made me invested in their futures.
4. 11/22/63, by Stephen King
At 753 pages, this is no light read! But it is King doing what he does best – writing a captivating story unlike one I’ve ever read. 11/22/63 follows a man who attempts to go back in time and prevent the assassination of JFK while examining the consequences of changing time. If you’re willing to commit to the length, this book is awesome.
5. Here I Go Again, by Jen Lancaster
Time travel? Again? Well this one isn’t exactly 11/22/63. A perfect beach read, this follows former high school Queen Bee Lissy Ryder, who goes back in time to try and fix her life, karma and mean girl reputation. I love everything Jen Lancaster has written because no matter what she always keeps me laughing.
6. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
Technically a young adult novel, it follows the story of a young girl in World War 2 who steals books and her foster father uses them to teach her how to read. It is beautifully written and the narrator provides for an interesting perspective (no spoilers here on who narrates). It isn’t going to make you laugh, but it will make you think. And maybe make you cry. (PS: Oh, and obviously they made it into a movie – I repeat: Read the book).
7. Defending Jacob, by William Landay
A legal crime thriller, Defending Jacob is about a Boston suburb ADA who investigates the murder of a boy in his son’s class until evidence suggests his son, Jacob, is the primary suspect. The story follows Jacob’s parents’ love of their son, as well as examines whether a propensity for violence can be genetic. Excellent read and a page-turner until the very end. (PS: It’s not a movie yet…but I’m sure it will be… read it now and be a trendsetter!)
8. The Jefferson Key, by Steve Berry
I love Steve Berry and his books featuring Cotton Malone are my favorite. He mixes history and fiction to create captivating, beach read stories that I can’t put down. The Jefferson Key links several assassination attempts of U.S. presidents and the group behind them, and follows Cotton Malone as he tries to solve a cipher once used by Thomas Jefferson. If you liked the film National Treasure, you’ll love Steve Berry.
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Okay, these are some books that should keep you turning pages while at the beach. Next month I want to dive in to a different genre or theme. What would you like to see next? Young Adult? My All-Time Favorites? Non-Fiction? Comment below with your future book list requests!