No matter if we’re lying by the pool or huddled inside around our air conditioners, a good book always makes summertime living a bit more easy. Since Houston summers seem to last until October, we’ve got a lot a time to fill with some great reads.
We asked for the perfect summer book, a book old or new that just feels like summer or evokes that perfect summer experience. Here are their recommendations.
Whether you’re looking for that hot new book to complement this season or are in want of a classic favorite that feels like a true companion for these sweltering months, it’s best to consult the experts. CultureMap asked three of Houston’s favorite independent bookstores to tell us what are the must-read books published just in time for summer.
Then to let them really show off their expertise we asked them for the perfect summer book, a book old or new that just feels like summer or evokes that perfect summer experience. Here are their recommendations.
Canada by Richard Ford
Manager Jeremy Ellis says: "Perhaps Ford's best book to date, the story of a well-intentioned family come undone by unlikely, if inevitable, events begs the reader to turn the page. A remarkable work of fiction from a powerhouse author. I love this book so much, I couldn't wait to get to the end but I wanted it to last forever."
[Richard Ford will be reading at Brazos Bookstore on Wednesday.]
Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat
Book Buyer Danielle DuBois Dimond says: "Another chilly read, this one full to bursting with imagination. Valtat, a highly respected French author, begins his steampunk New Venice trilogy with this stunner. Quite a step above your average science-fiction novel–perfect for lit-fic readers looking for something action packed and mind-bending."
For that classic summer read Danielle has fond memories of:
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
"Carson McCuller's Member of the Wedding feels like a summer read to me, perhaps because I first read it floating in a pool. This short novel follows Frankie, a precocious, adorably obnoxious 12-year-old girl whose life is bland and dull beyond belief before she discovers that her older brother is getting married.
"Through conversations with her housekeeper and her little cousin, Frankie imagines herself a far more integral part of the wedding than she truly is, even wishing that she would be asked along to the honeymoon. This book perfectly captures the sweet and painful boredom of adolescence, always at its peak in the long summer months. An awesome read for both adults and teens."
Murder by the Book’s John Kwiatkowski surveyed his staff of book lovers and suggests:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
"Three staff members have read and loved this book. Sally, one of our booksellers says, 'Gillian Flynn's third book grabs you by the lapel from page 1 and does not let go 'til the very end! Gone Girl is Flynn's most accessible book by far. A super fast read, as always. I HIGHLY recommend it.' "
Here's a quick description of the book: "Flynn's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit with deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds readers at every turn. When his wife disappears on their anniversary, Nick starts having cringe-worthy daydreams and becomes oddly evasive, eschewing his golden boy past."
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
"Two of us are sure this will be one of our favorite reads of 2012. Set in 1845, New York City it deals with the repercussions of the Irish potato famine on the political climate of NYC and the inception of the NYPD. It's a fascinating historical thriller with an amazing sense of place and time and really intriguing characters. "
Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts
"One of our recent favorites that is a perfect summer read. Set in Las Vegas, Wanna Get Lucky? definitely embodies all the over-the-top fun and hi-jinks you would expect from Sin City. Lucky O'Toole is the head of customer relations for one of the mega resorts, and when she's not dealing with high-maintenance hotel guests or crazy conventions, she's out solving murders. Fans of Janet Evanovich's Plum books will love this series as well."
River Oaks Bookstore plays trip advisor for a vacation back in time into intrigue-filled settings with:
The Time in Between by Maria Duenas
Maria Dueñas is a true storyteller. She weaves a spell, conjuring the heat and the glamour, the hardship and the thrill of Morocco and Spain in the late 1930’s. This inspiring international bestseller tells a story of a seemingly ordinary woman who uses her talent and courage to transform herself; first into a prestigious couturier and then into an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II.
Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon
Rich with atmosphere and period detail, played out against the bazaars and mosques and faded mansions of this ancient Ottoman city, Istanbul Passage is the haunting story of a man swept up in the dawn of the Cold War, of an unexpected love affair, and of a city as deceptive as the calm surface waters of the Bosphorus that divides it.
For a timeless summer book, perhaps to read on your favorite beach, River Oaks Bookstore picks:
The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe
Set in the beauty and magic of the Carolina low country, a beautiful story that explores the fragile yet enduring bond between mothers and daughters.
What new favorite or beloved classic will you be reading this summer?