My Summer TBR List
I’ve never been good at following a set list of books I want to read (see my recent mood reader discovery). But there are a handful of books I do want to try and read this summer. Who knows if I’ll actually get to them? Maybe, maybe not. But these are the ones I’m most looking forward to reading over the next few months.
Bel Canto - Ann Patchett
Goodreads Description: In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.
Among the hostages are Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Swiss Red Cross negotiator Joachim Messner comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands. Days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months. Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give.
Why I’m Excited: I mentioned Bel Canto in My Top 5 Unread Shelf Books post. I'm determined to read this over the summer. Plus, there’s never a bad time to read Ann Patchett.
Dr. Strange Beard - Penny Reid
Goodreads Description: Ten years after Simone Payton broke his heart, all Roscoe Winston wants is a doughnut. He’d also like to forget her entirely, but that’s never going to happen. Roscoe remembers everything—every look, every word, every single unrequited second—and the last thing he needs is another memory of Simone. Unfortunately, after one chance encounter, Simone keeps popping up everywhere he happens to be . . .
Ten years after Roscoe Winston dropped out of her life, all Simone Payton wants is to exploit him. She’d also like some answers from her former best friend about why he ghosted her, but if she never gets those answers, that’s a-okay. Simone let go of the past a long time ago. Seriously, she has. She totally, totally has. She is definitely not still thinking about Roscoe. Nope. She’s more than happy to forget he exists. But first, she needs just one teeny-tiny favor . . .
Why I’m Excited: This is Roscoe’s book. He is the youngest of the Winstons and just so darn adorable. His love interest is his childhood best friend Simone Payton who he's been avoiding for some unknown reason since high school. In Penny's newsletters, she has given us a few excerpts, and I cannot wait to get back to Green Valley and those lovely Winston boys. I’ll read anything Penny Reid writes; she could write IKEA instructions, and I would rush out and immediately read it. But while I'm excited for this, I'm really dying for Billy and Claire's book, but it doesn't come out until next spring. Sigh.
Howards End - E. M. Forster
Goodreads Description: Howards End is a novel by E. M. Forster about social conventions, codes of conduct and relationships in turn-of-the-century England. A strong-willed and intelligent woman refuses to allow the pretensions of her husband's smug English family to ruin her life. Howards End is considered by some to be Forster's masterpiece.
Why I’m Excited: I picked this up at our local library book sale this past weekend. And since Starz came out with its adaptation with Hayley Atwell and Matthew Macfadyen, I want to read the book before watching the series.
Much Ado About Nothing - William Shakespeare
Goodreads Description: Much Ado About Nothing is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare set in Messina, Sicily. The story concerns a pair of lovers named Claudio and Hero who are due to be married in a week. To pass the time before their wedding day they conspire with Don Pedro, the prince of Aragon, to trick their friends, Beatrice and Benedick, into confessing their love for one another. The prince's illegitimate brother Don John, however, jealous of both Don Pedro's power and his affection for Claudio, plans to sabotage the coming wedding.
Why I’m Excited: I’ve only ever read Romeo & Juliet and that was in eighth grade English. But I picked this up at our library book sale sometime ago and have been meaning to read it. It also helps that in Lucy Parker’s Act Like It, my favorites Lainie and Richard compare themselves to Beatrice and Benedick. So naturally, I need to know the origin story. Parker's latest newsletter had a short story on Lainie and Richard, where they play Beatrice and Benedick in a West End festival run, so I'm even more invested.
Tangerine - Christine Mangan
Goodreads Description: The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
Why I’m Excited: Annie Jones from the Bookshelf raved about this book, and I snagged a Kindle copy when it was on sale. It seems like a great noir novel. And a timely read considering the South in the Summer must resemble the weather in Morocco, right?
The Ensemble - Aja Gabel
Goodreads Description: The addictive debut novel about four young friends navigating the cutthroat world of music and their complex relationships with each other, as ambition, passion, and love intertwine over the course of their lives.
Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; the viola is Henry, a prodigy who’s always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest, the angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness String Quartet.
In The Ensemble, each character picks up the melody, from the group’s youthful rocky start through to adulthood. As they navigate devastating failures and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty, they are always tied together—by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry together, and by choosing each other over and over again.
Why I’m Excited: The cover is reason enough to pick it up. But more than that, I have heard nothing but great things about it.
The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang
Goodreads Description: A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…
Why I’m Excited: This seems to be THE romance book of the summer. Everyone has raved about it. I cannot wait to read it. Also Helen Hoang discovered her own autism diagnosis while writing the book. How incredible is that?
The Late Bloomers’ Club - Louise Miller
Goodreads Description: Nora, the owner of the Miss Guthrie diner, is perfectly happy serving up apple cider donuts, coffee, and eggs-any-way-you-like-em to her regulars, and she takes great pleasure in knowing exactly what's "the usual." But her life is soon shaken when she discovers she and her younger, free-spirited sister Kit stand to inherit the home and land of the town's beloved cake lady, Peggy Johnson.
Kit, an aspiring--and broke--filmmaker needs to generate funding for her latest project, and is particularly keen when they find out Peggy was in the process of selling the land to a big-box developer before her death. The people of Guthrie are divided--some want the opportunities the development will bring, while others are staunchly against any change--and they aren't afraid to leave their opinions with their tips.
Time is running out, and the sisters need to make a decision soon. But Nora isn't quite ready to let go of the land, complete with a charming farmhouse, an ancient apple orchard and clues to a secret life that no one knew Peggy had. Troubled by the conflicting needs of the town, and confused by her growing feelings towards Elliot, the big-box developer, Nora throws herself into solving the one problem that everyone in town can agree on--finding Peggy's missing dog, Freckles.
When a disaster strikes the diner, the community of Guthrie bands together to help her, and Nora discovers that doing the right thing doesn't always mean giving up your dreams.
Why I’m Excited: I won a Goodreads Giveaway for this book, and I am counting down the days until it arrives in my mailbox. I absolutely adored Miller’s first book, The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, and cannot wait to dive right into this one. Also how amazing is it that Louise Miller is a pastry chef for her day job?
The Water Is Wide - Pat Conroy
Goodreads Description: The island is nearly deserted, haunting, beautiful. Across a slip of ocean lies South Carolina. But for the handful of families on Yamacraw Island, America is a world away. For years the people here lived proudly from the sea, but now its waters are not safe. Waste from industry threatens their very existence–unless, somehow, they can learn a new life. But they will learn nothing without someone to teach them, and their school has no teacher. Here is Pat Conroy’s extraordinary drama based on his own experience–the true story of a man who gave a year of his life to an island and the new life its people gave him.
Why I’m Excited: I have read every other book Conroy wrote and have been wanting to read this for a long time. It's also probably time for a reread of Beach Music, my favorite Conroy book.
I am sure I'll read more books than just these. Or maybe I'll put one of these off until later because #moodreader. But regardless, these are the books I'm excited to dive into either at the pool or even on my sun porch.
What are you planning to read this summer?