Even though I don’t have summer homework assignments or go to camp anymore, and come June I’m more likely to spend my afternoons at my desk than by the pool, I still love compiling a huge summer reading list (then checking books off on my TBR).
Here’s what the editorial staff of BookPage is looking forward to this summer—what about you?
Canada by Richard Ford (Ecco)
The first novel in more than five years from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford is narrated by 15-year-old Dell Parsons, who flees his Montana home after his parents are arrested for robbing a bank. He ends up on the plains of southern Saskatchewan, taken in by a “charismatic” American who is more sinister than he appears. (Psst: Look for an interview with Ford in the June issue of BookPage!) May 22.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown)
Beautiful Amy disappears on the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary to Nick . . . is he really the good guy he seems? Told from both Nick’s point of view and the perspective of Amy’s journal entries, this nail-biter will make you wonder how well you really know the people closest to you. June 5.
Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes (Harper)
Police intelligence analyst Elizabeth Haynes burst onto the scene with this novel, her debut; it was named the best book of 2011 by Amazon UK. This summer, it will be available for U.S. readers. The chilling story revolves around Catherine, a woman whose charismatic boyfriend turns violent. Years later, when she finally thinks she’s free of him, her living nightmare returns. (Psst: In June, look for a Q&A with Haynes on BookPage.com!) June 5.
The Mansion of Happiness by Jill Lepore (Knopf)
Harvard professor and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore gives us a fascinating look at the human life cycle. From the publisher: “How does life begin? What does it mean? What happens when we die? ‘All anyone can do is ask,’ Lepore writes. ‘That’s why any history of ideas about life and death has to be, like this book, a history of curiosity.’” June 5.
Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank (Morrow)
Summertime favorite Dorothea Benton Frank takes readers back to Sullivans Island, South Carolina, where widow Jackie takes her 10-year-old son to reconnect with family after the death of her husband. Packed with Lowcountry charm and Frank’s trademark humor, this family story is sure to delight readers. (Psst: Look for a handwritten Q&A with Frank in the June issue of BookPage!) June 12.
Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick (Algonquin)
The best-selling author of A Reliable Wife does not disappoint with his follow-up novel, which is set in the Shenandoah Valley after World War II. Goolrick’s descriptions of small-town life are so lyrical they beg to be read out loud, and his subtle humor rewards readers who savor his prose. A Reliable Wife fans will be happy to hear that this novel also includes a sizzling love story. (Psst: Look for an interview with Goolrick in the June issue of BookPage!) June 12.
The Red House by Mark Haddon (Doubleday)
The author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has written a family drama that takes place during a vacation—one that dissolves into a “symphony of long-held grudges, fading dreams and rising hopes, tightly-guarded secrets and illicit desires.”
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (Knopf)
Shipstead’s debut novel is a social satire set on a private New England island, as a father prepares to give away his (already pregnant) daughter, and other wedding guests and family members face lust, old rivalries and obligations that come with privilege. June 12.
Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale (Bloomsbury)
Kate Summerscale captivated readers with The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, and her latest book, Mrs. Robinsin’s Disgrace is sure to be equally compelling. This nonfiction book chronicles the life of a Victorian woman who is put on trial for adultery. Her private diary was actually read in court—and is supposed to be just as explosive as Madame Bovary.
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (Random House)
This page-turner is the sensitively told story of Julia, who is just 11 years old when it becomes apparent that the world’s rotation is slowing. As the days—and nights—get longer, the world must decide how to cope. Juxtaposing this extreme situation with Julia’s discovery of her first love and other coming-of-age dilemmas makes for a compelling read. (Psst: Look for an interview with Walker in the July issue of BookPage!) June 26.
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand (Reagan Arthur)
Bestseller Elin Hilderbrand has written a tension-packed story of life after tragedy. The story unfolds after a car accident on the night of Nantucket High’s graduation, when popular student Penny dies and her twin brother is left in coma. Who is responsible? (Psst: Look for a handwritten Q&A with Hilderbrand in the July issue of BookPage!) June 26.
Gold by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster)
Little Bee author Chris Cleave’s take on the friendship and competition between two female athletes is especially timely; their story leads up to the 2012 Olympics in London, where only one can compete. They must make a difficult choice between their personal and professional goals. (Psst: Look for an interview with Cleave in the July issue of BookPage!) July 3.
The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner (Atria)
Reader favorite Jennifer Weiner is back with a novel that was surely inspired by her time in Los Angeles as a writer/executive producer for a sitcom. In her new novel, a young woman moves to LA and eventually makes it big when the show she writes is accepted for production. Expect lots of Hollywood insider scoop. July 3.
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (Viking)
The follow-up to Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches may be THE most anticipated book of the summer. It kicks off right where the first book in the All Souls Trilogy ended, when vampire Matthew and Diana, a witch, traveled to Elizabethan London on the journey to crack the code of the mysterious manuscript called Ashmole 782. July 10.
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday)
In his latest novel, New York Times best-selling author Chris Bohjalian taps into his Armenian heritage for a sweeping, layered historical love story that travels from Syria of 1915 to modern-day New York. (Psst: Look for a behind-the-book essay by Bohjalian in the July issue of BookPage!) July 17.
Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman (Little, Brown)
This debut novel sounds like what The Great Gatsby would be if it were set in the era of “Mad Men.” The story spans two decades in the lives of a wealthy family with a summer house where significant events (murder!) take place. Klaussmann is the great-great-great granddaughter of Herman Melville and has worked as a journalist for The New York Times. July 17.
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin (St. Martin’s)
As usual in an Emily Giffin story, the book puts its (successful, smart) female protagonist in a sticky situation. Marian Caldwell is a TV producer in her 30s who has put her youthful indiscretions behind her: until the most memorable of them, 18-year-old Kirby, comes knocking at the door of her New York apartment. July 24.
Broken Harbor by Tana French (Viking)
Tana French’s particular brand of psychological suspense really strikes a chord with readers. Her fourth novel in the loosely connected Dublin Murder Squad Series is narrated by Scorcher Kennedy as he investigates what seems to be an open-and-shut domestic murder-suicide. July 24.
The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway (Putnam)
We called Margaret Dilloway’s How to Be an American Housewife an “emotionally rich debut” that readers could relate to. Her latest combines fascinating details about the art of rose breeding with another uplifting story of family and forgiveness. August 2.
The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo (Morrow)
Courtney Miller Santo’s debut is about five generations of California women—including the 112-year-old matriarch—living together on an olive grove. A geneticist believes these women hold the secret to defying the aging process. August 21.