Summer Reading Recommendations

by Katy on June 23, 2009 · 22 comments


This question from Judy C. was languishing in the comments section of the Ray Bradbury post from a few days back. I thought it deserved it’s own post.

Katy (and others);

Would you list a few – or a couple dozen – of your favorite “reads” for your followers? I’m looking for some summer recommendations since, I, too, after a haitus of many years intend to rediscover our local public library. Thank you!

I am usually reading a number of books at a time. Some are books I deliberately put on hold at the library, others were pulled off the shelf. Here is a post I wrote last year about a few of my fave books.

I am currently reading:

Mindless Eating:  Why We Eat More Than We Think, by Brian Wansink.

Don’t Get Caught With Your Skirt Down: a practical girl’s recession guide, by Jill Keto.

WordPress for Dummies, by Lisa Sabin-Wilson.

Lincoln’s Daughter, by Tony Wolk.

My husband is reading:

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, by Dave Ramsey.

I also read library audio books that are usually mindless fun while doing the drudgery of housework.

Let’s do each other a favor and recommend some of our favorite books to each other.

Please write your book picks in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris June 23, 2009 at 10:45 pm

I’m currently reading ‘To Kill A Mockingbird” which I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve never read before… but it seems wonderful so far, can’t wait to finish it.


Jinger June 24, 2009 at 5:06 am

wild water walking club..a very light, engaging summer read.


Laura June 24, 2009 at 6:00 am

I am reading “The Soloist”, which is a great book – much better than the movie!


'Aunt Amelia' June 24, 2009 at 6:38 am

Thank you much. I’m always on the look out for more reading ideas… to request from my library, that is. -grin-

Just thought I’d throw that in here… To show that I do believe in using my public library system. Which translates into – less buying. ,-)

Aunt Amelia


LisaPie June 24, 2009 at 7:20 am

Some good authors to check for at the library for not only good reads, but GREAT ones:

1. Isabel Allende – I love her! She has a new series (3 so far) that is geared for just older than the Harry Potter audience, and they are also fabulous.

2. Barbara Kingsolver – I honestly didn’t think there could ever be a book as good as The Poisonwood Bible, till she wrote Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

3. Patricia Cornwell – I really like the whole Kay Scarpetta series. These are great summer reads, good to take on a trip, that sort of thing. However, you have to read them in order. Things happen to main characters as they grow, age, etc. and it would throw me off to read them non-sequentially.

4. Jill Connor Browne – The Sweet Potato Queen. This woman is a hoot. She is a genius, she will make you want to be her best friend. Hilarious stores, great advice and recipes to boot!


Emily June 24, 2009 at 5:27 pm

I love Cat’s Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut) and The Brothers K (David James Duncan) and can easily read each over and over. I’m just about to pick up The Time Traveler’s Wife from the library for a re-read (loved it the first time) and I also really enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl (much MUCH better than the movie!). I just recently finished The Dishwasher (see for more info), which I also loved and highly recommend. Hurray for great books!


Kristin June 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I tend to find an author I like and then try to read all their books. Some of my favorite authors and a few examples of their titles:

Barbara Kingsolver, some titles mentioned above but also the rest (ie The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, Prodigal Summer especially)

Alice McDermott: Charming Billy, Child of my Heart, Of Weddings and Wakes

Anne Tyler: Breathing Lessons, The Accidental Tourist

Pat Conroy: Beach Music, Prince of Tides (he has a new one out this summer, do I buy it or wait for a library copy 😉

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: The Yearling (one of those I didn’t read until adulthood)

The Big Stone Gap series (by Adrianna something?), read in sequence

I hope a lot of other people submit comments because I’m always looking for a new author to read. Thanks!



Miss Blueberry June 24, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Katy, I’ve been reading your blog since J.D. Roth had a link a month or so ago and love it! Maybe it’s a girl-to-girl thing?!?! Anyway, because the topic is books, I’m motivated to comment since they’re my passion!

Give these a try for some great reads:
Prayers for Sale and Tallgrass, both by Sandra Dallas
Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith
Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (read for the great title if nothing else!)
People of the Book, March, or Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
Lottery by Donna Wood

I could go on and ON, but I won’t. Thanks for the great blog! I look forward to your musings everyday!


Tara Morrison June 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm

I love the Alexander Mccall Smith No. 1 Ladies detective club series and am saving Tea Time for the Traditionally Built for my upcoming hospital stay. I am also reading Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel this one will probably take a while but so far is very interesting.


Rebecca June 24, 2009 at 7:10 pm

No sci-fi or fantasy recommendations? I hope I’m not the only nerd reading The Non-Consumer Advocate!

For fantasy, I recommend The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie for some gritty fantasy that will make you think (it’s definitely meant for older teens and adults, though. When I say gritty, I mean gritty, and there’s a LOT of moral ambiguity in the books). Sunshine by Robin McKinley is an amazing fantasy/vampire novel that knocks the Twilight series out of the park. For that matter, anything by Robin McKinely is a good bet!

Sci-fi recommentations are the Foreigner series by C.J. Cherryh for some of the best-imagined, most convincing, most thought-provoking aliens that I’ve ever read about (anything else by C.J. Cherryh is a good bet, too, but the Foreigner series is probably the most accessible). Hitchhiker’s Guide is always fun to re-read, and Hyperion by Dan Simmons can be pretty heavy, but it has elements of detective fiction, a cautionary tale, romance, and all sorts of other genres, so it’s really, really interesting and keeps you on your toes.

I, too, “read” audio books I check out from the library, but I listen as I’m driving. Normally I listen to humorous short story collections because I don’t like having to stop in the middle of a story, and I don’t want to tear up as I’m driving! Right now I’m on a David Sedaris kick and am partway through Me Talk Pretty One Day. It’s funny stuff!


Wendy June 24, 2009 at 7:14 pm

“The Seige” by Helen Dunmore. This is a book Katy recomended a while ago.


Melody June 24, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Totally agree with tons of these book recs (especially Barbara Kingsolver), but here are two more:

–Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I’m reading it right now and LOVING it. Anything by Atwood fits the bill.

–We Were the Mulvaneys, by Joyce Carol Oates. Great read.


Annie June 24, 2009 at 8:17 pm

I love the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear about a female detective/psychologist in post-WWI England. Fabulous!! Also, Anne Perry has a 5 book series about the Reavley Family during WWI. For pure fun and easy reading you can’t beat the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I also agree about Barbara Kingsolver books–they are great.


Angela Barton June 24, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Just off the top of my head, some of my favorites are:
1.Margaret Atwood- esp. The Lady Oracle
2. Barbara Kingsolver- all, esp. Poisonwood Bible
3. all Jane Austen
4. Atonement- Ian McEwan
5. Anne Lamott- esp. Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird
6. I Know This Much is True- Wally Lamb
7. The Confessions of Max Tivoli- Andrew Sean Greer
8. John Updike’s Rabbit series
9. John Irving- Widow for A Year or A Prayer For Owen Meany
10. The Road- Cormac McCarthy

Some favorite sci-fi:
Childhood’s End- Arthur C. Clarke
The Dispossessed- Ursula K. LeGuin
Day of the Triffids- John Wyndham
Man in the High Castle- Philip K. Dick


Catherine June 25, 2009 at 1:37 am

I’m currently reading Flinx Transcendent, the last in a series by Alan Dean Foster. It startled me a little to read on the inside cover that the series started 35 years ago as I read that first book when it was new. I really enjoy light sci-fi adventure for relaxing reading.


Non Consumer Girl June 25, 2009 at 4:52 am

Amy Tan- “The Bonesetter’s Daughter”


Deb June 25, 2009 at 10:00 am

What a great post – I’m always on the hunt for book recommendations & suggested reading, thank you!

Some of my particular faves have been:
Amy Tan – The Joy Luck Club (so much better than the movie)

Frank McCourt – Angela’s Ashes

Bernard Schlink – The Reader: I read it several years ago before the film came out, it is fascinating and gripping!

Larry McMurtry – Lonesome Dove

Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta Series, and Sue Grafton’s Alphabet/Kinsey Milhone Series

I’m currently reading The Secret Life of Bees and The Kite Runner

Financial Books:
The Millionaire Next Door – this book completely changed my attitude about wealth accumulation

Your Money or Your Life

9 Steps to Financial Freedom

Thanks again to everyone for all of the recommendations – I’m updating my read list.

And don’t forget about the website – great way to exchange second hand books via mail for just the cost of media postage. Library/thrift stores are always my first choice, but paperbackswap has been a lifesaver too!


Kelsey June 25, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I’m a librarian and avid reader and I LOVE recommending books!

Some great ones I’ve read lately are:
People of the Book
The Red Tent
Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Super in the City
Digging to America
The True Story of Hansel and Gretel
Mother of Believers

And don’t overlook or discount young adult literature! There’s some *great* stuff out there written for a younger audience that’s still highly enjoyable for adults!

The Second Mrs. Gioconda E.L. Konigsburg
Nathan Fox: Dangerous Times
The Hunger Games


Kim June 25, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Just found your blog via frugal girl. For sci fi I LOVE Lois Mcmaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan books. So much fun to read…..


Linda June 25, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Another great post!

I love the James Herriot books writing about his experiences as a country veterinarian in England.

All Creatures Great & Small
All Things Wise & Wonderful
All Things Bright & Beautiful
The Lord God Made Them All
Every Living Thing
Dog Stories
Cat Stories
Favourite Memories of a Country Vet


sandy June 26, 2009 at 8:05 am

I’m also a science fiction and fantasy fan. I love the Bujold books, including the Vorkosigan series and the fantasies. I also love the Amber series by Roger Zelazny.

Right now I’m enjoying The Alchemist’s Pursuit by Dave Duncan. After that I have the latest in the The Merchant Princes series by Charles Stross–The Revolution Business.


Judy June 26, 2009 at 11:13 am

I’ve been on a non-fiction kick lately:
Three Cups of Tea- Greg Mortenson & David Relin.
Enriques’ Journey- about the experiences and
hardships of the tens of thousands of children
coming from Central Am to find parents in US.
The Freedom Writer’s Diary and the follow up book but can’t remember the name.
Fiction by Jodi Picoult- right now I’m reading Nineteen Minutes, and Jonathan Kellerman mysteries.


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