Summer reading ideas – what’s in your bag?

I’m looking forward to reading some new books this summer, even though I already have plenty of books on my shelf. Here are three that caught my eye. All descriptions are from Amazon.

The Plot by Jane Hanff Korelitz (May 11)

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written—let alone published—anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that—a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?


The Maidens by Alex Michaelides (June 15)

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike―particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything―including her own life.


Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven (July 6)

When Catherine Raven finished her PhD in biology, she built herself a tiny cottage on an isolated plot of land in Montana. She was as emotionally isolated as she was physically, but she viewed the house as a way station, a temporary rest stop where she could gather her nerves and fill out applications for what she hoped would be a real job that would help her fit into society. In the meantime, she taught remotely and led field classes in nearby Yellowstone National Park. Then one day she realized that a mangy-looking fox was showing up on her property every afternoon at 4:15 p.m. She had never had a regular visitor before. How do you even talk to a fox? She brought out her camping chair, sat as close to him as she dared, and began reading to him from The Little Prince. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, yet as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself and they became friends. From the fox, she learned the single most important thing about loneliness: we are never alone when we are connected to the natural world. Friends, however, cannot save each other from the uncontained forces of nature. Fox and I is a poignant and remarkable tale of friendship, growth, and coping with inevitable loss―and of how that loss can be transformed into meaning. It is both a timely tale of solitude and belonging as well as a timeless story of one woman whose immersion in the natural world will change the way we view our surroundings―each tree, weed, flower, stone, or fox.


I found these recommendations at “Summer Is Coming. Bring a Book.” from the New York Times. What’s on your summer reading list?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

45 thoughts on “Summer reading ideas – what’s in your bag?

    1. Hi Alethea – yes, that could be tough. I do want to read it though and I’m going to see if I can get it at the library. Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you are doing well.

  1. I’m not organized enough to have a seasonal reading list — so maybe I’ll just crib from yours :-). I am finishing “The Sum of Us” on audio and reading “Chosen by a Horse” at present, having just completed another Kelly Barnhill middle grade fantasy, “The Witch’s Boy” — I guess my reading tastes are as free-ranging and chaotic as, well, the rest of my brain 🙂 I’m sure I’d love “The Fox & I”.

      1. HI Barbara, I finished off the decorations for Terence’s birthday cake which I will share next weekend. I am hoping everything works out okay – it is one of my experiments.

  2. Three intriguing titles, all for different reasons. I am looking forward in particular to My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones. His prose always clicks with me. It’s conversational, but polished, but not stuffy!

    1. Hi Priscilla – I don’t know that book. I’ll have to look up Stephen Graham Jones. Thanks for mentioning it. And thank you for reading and commenting! 🙂

  3. These titles look enticing, Barbara.

    I just finished reading and reviewing Pamela Wight’s Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary in our Lives. Refreshing summer reading – short vignettes.

    1. Hi Diana – thank you for reading. Lately I’ve been drawn to nature memoirs like that. I recently read The Home Place by J. Drew Lanham and really enjoyed Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. I’m looking forward to reading Fox and I.

    1. Ah yes, I feel like I should read another Dickens book. I’ve only read A Tale of Two Cities and an abridge version of Great Expectations (in school a long time ago). What would you recommend?

      1. I’m thoroughly enjoying Nicholas Nickleby at the moment. Oliver Twist is of course shorter, and even shorter is the most popular of the Christmas Books – A Christmas Carol. But I know length doesn’t put you off 🙂

  4. We are going on vacation next week…I went with traditional beach books…Preordered The Guncle, People you meet on vacation, and soulmate equation. after that I’m not sure

  5. Great suggestions, Barbara! I just finished reading Elin Hilderbrand’s Troubles in Paradise (last in a trilogy). Great books and good summer reads. She’s one of my favorites. 🙂

  6. It’s always good to have a few books lined up to read during the summer. Fox & I sounds like something I would enjoy and would make me reminisce about our visit to Yellowstone and Montana. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I hope you like it if you get a chance to read it. We don’t have it at the library yet, but I’ll get on the hold list as soon as we do. Thanks for the visit!

    1. Hi Jennifer – oh thank you for stopping by. I’m playing catch-up on comments this morning but soon I’ll be heading out to do the weekly food shop! I’m glad you liked these 🙂 Hope you are enjoying that sea air (and I hope it’s warming up)!

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