Summer Reading Request 2013

I’ve been reading a lot this year.  Usually I go thought phases of reading feverishly every night and weekend for a month or so then I don’t pick up a book for weeks and weeks on end. This past year, I’ve fallen into a different pattern. I read every day at the moment but I’m in no hurry to finish books at all. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been so very, very busy at work; it is, after all, my main way to relax and I don’t need anymore deadlines. Or maybe I’m just mellowing as I mature… Whatever the reason, I like this steady reading routine that I’ve settled into.

These are my favourite reads from the past year:

The Pursuit of Love – Nancy Mitford

I’m a wee bit obsessed with Nancy Mitford at the moment and am reading everything I can find by and about her. Nothing beats this book though. An extremely funny period romance. One of those books I finished and consider just starting all over again.

Red Dust Road – Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay is a Scottish poet and this is an autobiographical account of her attempts to get to know her birth parents: a Highland woman and a Kenyan man. It’s cracking. Funny and interesting and touching. I devoured this book in a day and I keep telling people to read it.

The Fault in our Stars – John Greene

Am I the last person in the universe to read this? Perhaps. Beautiful, emotional, humorous book. Not going to tell you what it’s about because it’ll sound too depressing and that’s not what this book is. Well, it is. But it’s really, really not too. Read it. Really.

Maine – Courtney Sullivan

Despite the troubled characters and tense conversations, there was something very peaceful about this book. It’s all about a mother and her daughters and a summer house in Maine and it’s really rather beautifully written. I have Sullivan’s other novel, Commencement, in my case for my trip to Italy this summer.

The Accidental Tourist – Anne Tyler

I’ve read several books by Anne Tyler and I recognised many of the characters in this novel. It’s my favourite book of hers so far though. Macon is a travel writer for people who doesn’t like to travel and he finds comfort in the rigid routines of his life. Then everything falls apart. A subtle book that’s stayed with me months and months after reading it.

100 Year Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Ran Away – Jonas Jonasson

Probably should have put this first on the list. I’ve been giving it to everyone as a present! So much fun! Laughed my way from beginning to end.

Heartburn – Nora Ephron

Wry, funny, semi-autobiographical tale of a pregnant woman whose husband cheats on her.

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Odd and fascinating novel. It’s a journey through America with ancient Gods who’ve seen better days, ghosts, leprechauns and the idols of the new world. Weirdly addictive.


So these are my recommendations. With seven weeks of holidays fast approaching, I’d love to hear some of yours. 🙂

17 thoughts on “Summer Reading Request 2013

  1. I’m very jealous of that steady reading routine. I’ve tried to develop that habit recently, but failed miserably. You’re not the last person to read The Fault in our Stars – that will be me – I’ve really got to get around to it. I did enjoy the 100 Year Old Man, though. My favourite read in the last year was a bit of an odd choice – In Pursuit of Spring by Edward Thomas. A travel book (of sorts) that I read exactly 100 years after the events portrayed in the book. A bit of a personal choice, perhaps, because so many of the places mentioned remind me of different times in my own life.

  2. I have been recording these immediately for a library search, especially the Jackie Kay
    Recently I have been recommending the Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. Just great! Also special was Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser which has just won the big Australian literary prize, Miles Franklin award.

    Enjoy you summer!!

  3. Wendy, I love the reading lists you publish and regularly come back to them for ideas on what to read. So thank you for publishing another. I’ve been reading a lot recently as well, favourites have been:

    * Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White – I read this as a kid and then recently re-read and re-loved it. It’s a cracking good story, brilliantly told.
    * China Mieville’s The City & The City – a sci-fi I could love. Beautifully written and hard to put down.
    * I’ve just started Ha Jin’s Waiting and reckon I’m going to love it.

  4. Love seeing your list. I seem to lurch between dense novels that take me forever and quick ones that I whizz through. E is a big neil gaiman fan so I have read some of his recently – one about the spider god – Anansi boys – which was good fun. Have also recently enjoyed 44 Scotland street by Alexander McCall Smith, the Blackhouse by Peter May and another that I can’t remember for the life of me. Happy reading

  5. Thanks for the list…even though I should be reading the pile on my bookshelf first!
    I enjoyed Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout…lovely to see another book of hers being recommended. Her astute observations of people in a small town in Maine are so accurate and universal.
    Another is Sufficient Grace by Amy Espeseth..I heard the author interviewed and this is the story of a small religious community in which she grew up, hauntingly written, and really…mostly true. Amazing writing.
    I haven’t read Heartburn, but love Nora Ephron’s book called I feel bad about my neck. This is especially for anyone going through menopause, it is great to know Nora has trodden the path before us!

  6. I read The Pursuit of Love a couple of years ago, ready for a reread! Have you read The Mitford Girls, very interesting and well written.

    I just finished The Fault on our Stars and loved it.

    How about The Man Who Forgot His Wife or Fractions of a Whole;both very different, but favourite books I’ve read this year.

    Happy holidays!

  7. My favourite book of all time is Magician by Raymond E Feist, I have reread a good few times, think Lord of the Rings but written better, not so meandering. We have a very different taste in books though so …

  8. I adore Nancy Mitford! I find her writing style similar to Elizabeth Jenkins, have you read Tortoise and the Hare? It’s wonderful.

    I haven’t read any of Jackie Kay’s poetry, but I loved her debut novel, Trumpet. Such a unique story and I’m sure my Nanny played the part of her grandmother.

    Neil Gaiman is a favourite of mines, in fact I’m currently reading Coraline! It’s very whimsical and eerie. I’m so glad I didn’t read it when I was younger, I’d have been terrified!

    I’d thoroughly recommend Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (I missed Harold long after finishing… sad, I know), and The Guilty One by Scottish writer Lisa Ballantyne.

  9. Untethered by Katie Hayoz, an amazing ya novel and The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain team it with watching Midnight in Paris.


  10. Thank you for the reading list. I’ll definitely be looking them up. I highly recommend Carry Yourself Back to Me by Deborah Reed. Great story, beautiful writing. I started rereading it as soon as I finished.

  11. too late, no doubt, as you are orf to italy, but i have an advance copy of the next tim winton by my bed and it’s WONderful.

    want to read ‘son’ by phillip meyer, but slightly put off by comparisons to william faulkner. (who scares me in the same way that cormack mccarthy does) loved ian mcewan’s sweet tooth. loving patti smith’s ‘just kids’ and wishing i was young and groovy again. well, i was never quite that cool…

    i’d reccomend anything else john greene, too. devouring them all! oh, and re-re-re-reading the wide sargasso sea by jean rhyss and thinking that i should, one day, actually read jane eyre. feel i’m more of a practical austen-girl than a meloramatic bronte-type.

    have a great holiday darl. i hope marco is being well-loved in your absence! xx

  12. I’ve just finished The Accidental Tourist . I have to say the slow start and the unlikeable Macon made me think about giving it up…but after about 200 pages, along with Sarah… I started liking Macon and enjoyed the book. Thank you…!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s