Saturday, May 12, 2012

Great Summer Reads

Relax and Read: Summer 2012

As soon as we spring forward, we all can hardly wait until the longer days mean bringing out the grill, flip-flops, and sun block. To kickoff your vacation, perhaps it is time to stock up on good reads for those lazy days of summer. Besides devouring “The Hunger Games” by the pool in order to catch up with the rest of the planet and avoid a genial ribbing at the next barbecue, add these titles to your list.

“Seating Arrangements” by Maggie Shipstead follows the father of a very pregnant bride-to-be as he and his family face dramatic nuptials in picturesque Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The wedding sets secrets and drama in motion as family dynamics and relationships are on display for better or worse. This humorous yet endearing look at a family trying to figure it out while focusing on the impending marriage of those they love reminds us all that family can be far from perfect. This new author is worth checking out.

Another father is at the helm of “Brand New Human Being” by Emily Jeanne Miller. Stay-at-home dad Logan Pyle is barely hanging on to his family, self worth, and sanity while his world deteriorates. As he tries to tackle both parental and marital mountains, he is trying not to lose himself. Follow father and son, husband and wife, and their redemption journey lined with insight and grace. Their journey is worth the read.

Sit back and enjoy Ruth Brennan, the seven-foot-tall young girl navigating life in small town Canada at the end of World War II in “The Girl Giant” by Kristen den Hartog. As her parents try to put their post-war life back together and raise their unique daughter the best they can, Ruth makes her way through adolescence and offers unexpected gifts to those around her.

At the center of “The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker is Julia, an 11-year-old Californian who awakes one morning to a scientific anomaly-the slowing of the earth’s rotation. Along with the inevitable changes that creates to gravity and normalcy alike, Julia’s family works through relationship struggles and what the future could possible bring, all while wondering what time it is. 

In the “Kingdom of Men” by Kim Barnes takes us back to the 1960s, from rural Oklahoma to Saudi Arabia. On the move with the goal of bettering their circumstances through the oil industry, Gin and Mason’s world changes dramatically behind the gates of their compound. Culture shock and an unexpected crime send this couple into unknown dessert and marital territory against a vibrant Middle Eastern backdrop.

No summer can go by without a family coming together to reconnect and heal while hashing out secrets and hurts from long ago. “The Red House” by Mark Haddon is set in the English countryside, where a family death brings siblings together. In the name of bonding, a brother and his estranged sister seek a new start, but end up facing the past. Follow each voice as they share the part they have played in this family’s tapestry, including those from the grave.

Hopefully this sampling is enough to get you started. Enjoy discovering gems of your own as the summer heats up. Remember that colleges often offer summer reading recommendations that may catch your eye as you look into universities and learn more about accredited online colleges for the fall. Enjoy!


Real Simple (2012)

Barnes & Noble (2012)

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