I’m a huge fiction fan. My senior year in college, I took a women’s literary course to finish my English degree, and sat in the stairwell of the creative writing department and read. No one would look for me there so I could read, uninterrupted, for hours.
I loved every second of it.
Not much has changed, except now I read on my iPad and can tune out interruptions better. I read on the couch, in the hammock, in bed, while I get a manicure, on the beach, on the El, and even while I ride a stationary bike.
Here’s my summer reading list:
“11/22/63” Some of you may have already heard me praise this book. It was the first Stephen King novel I read and it was a good one to start with. The book follows the story of a man who goes back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination. He makes several attempts and you realize there is a part of you that really wants him to stop the attack. But what happens if he’s successful? It’s a long one, but it’s worth the time.
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” The book is a collection of letters from a wife to her husband about their son who kills some of his classmates while in high school. The book begins in the grocery store where Kevin’s mother runs into the mother of one of the murdered girls. With so much violence in our schools, we forget that murderers have families and it’s a fascinating, though fictional, look at how such violence affects them.
P.S. I heard the movie was terrible. Don’t see it. Read the book instead.
“Defending Jacob” A young man is accused of killing a classmate. His father, the city’s district attorney, loses his job as the investigation heats up and joins his son’s defense team. The case begins and his family starts to fall apart. You fluctuate between believing Jacob is innocent and believing he’s guilty.
“Into the Darkest Corner” Written by a police intelligence analyst, the harrowing book looks at a woman who is so severely beaten by her boyfriend, she couldn’t face him in court. It oscillates between the present—as she tries to get her life back together, even with a terrible case of OCD that the incident creates—and the past, when she met the man. It is hard to read, but is an interesting look at how we treat our friends when we think they’re nuts or have something we want.
“Sever” This is the third—and final—book in the “Chemical Garden” series and I read it in about 60 seconds. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where adults have figured out how to make perfect children, free of disease and disabilities. The only problem? Men only live until they’re 25 and women only until they’re 20. This story is told from the perspective of a young woman who is kidnapped to bear children for the son of a wildly successful doctor so he can run tests on the kids to figure out how to lengthen their lives.
“Dark Tide” Written by the same author as “Into the Darkest Corner,” this novel is about a young woman who fulfills her father’s dying wish to buy a boat, live on it and refurbish it. In order to save the money needed for the boat, she becomes a stripper at night in a high-end gentleman’s club. After she leaves her job, strange events occur near her boat. A body washes up on shore, there are a series of burglaries, and she is attacked. It’s nothing more than a high-suspense, murder novel.
Of course, anything written by Gillian Flynn is aces in my book. I love her. My favorite was “Sharp Objects,” but you can’t go wrong with “Dark Places” or “Gone Girl.”
What have been your favorite fiction books so far this year?
A version of this story first appeared on Spin Sucks.