Although it got cold and rainy for a few days here in Mid-Michigan, we are expecting temperatures in the 70s and 80s for the rest of June. That means it’s summer books time!
I like my summer reading to match the summer movies, light, funny, and full of action. For the past several years Janet Evanovich has had a new Stephanie Plum book come out in June. This year she switched it up so I don’t have a new bounty hunter adventure filled with sexual tension. Instead I’m rereading Hot Six, an older book in the series, but a good one. I always need a box of doughnuts and the promise of fried chicken when I read this series, which makes for excellent summer eating.
I’ve put Wuthering Heights on hold for the summer. The heaviest reading I plan on doing is the second book in N. K. Jeminsin’s Dreamblood series. I hope there will be as much intrigue and betrayal in The Shadowed Sun as there was in The Killing Moon. The setting for those books is an imagined Egypt, and it’s nice when my summer reading has a hot climate. I’m also putting A Dance with Dragons on hold, I have trouble taking George R. R. Martin seriously when he says “winter’s coming” and I’m sweating through my t-shirt.
I’ve also started Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim and can’t put it down. I’ve had the book for a while and when I was heading to bed the other night I thought I’d start reading it, maybe for 10 minutes, before going to sleep. An hour later I had to force myself to stop by turning out the light midsentence. It was one of the few times I wanted a book to have those stupid short chapters that most mystery authors throw at you. “82 chapters in one book! I must be such a fast reader! This plot moves so quickly!” It’s a ridiculous ploy to get you moving through a book, but I would have liked a better stopping point in Kadrey’s book than in the middle of the action. But there was always action. I loved how he threw words and ideas at you that only pertained to the world in the book and either let you figure out the meaning or gave it to you a few pages later instead of holding your hand and explaining too much. That is usually the sign of a good science fiction book for me — the author immerses you in the world and lets you sink or swim. There are three books right now in the Sandman Slim series with a fourth due in August. I may plow through the entire series this summer. The books will be covered with popsicle drips and smell like Coppertone and it will be amazing.
Last summer I had a theme to my reading, quite by accident. I read three different novels about women from Asian countries making their way in America. Girl in Translation was fantastic, something I would definitely read again; How to Be an American Housewife was good right up until what I found to be a very disappointing end; and Short Girls was a touching story about two Vietnamese sisters entering adulthood in very different ways while taking care of their father.
This year doesn’t have a theme. I might need a funny book to lighten the mood after all of the sci-fi/fantasy seriousness. I’m not much for the typical female-oriented “beach reads” about sisterhood and falling in love and last year’s Oprah Summer Reading List was far too dry for my light reading standards.
Does anyone have a suggestion? I’ll take nonfiction as well as fiction. And while I teased about the mystery authors and their overabundance of chapters I do enjoy a good detective novel. Tess Gerritsen writes great stuff. The Rizzoli and Isles books are always fun. I might even be tempted to read the Richard Castle books based on the TV show Castle. They have a ghostwriter penning the Nikki Heat stories the character in the TV shows writes. They look awful, in a good way.
In the fall I’ll start on the more serious stuff again. Diane Keaton’s Memoir, Then Again, has been pulling at me. But with all the fun and brightness of a Michigan summer I don’t want to read anything that will produce real emotions. Light, fun, silly, and stupid are my goals while the sun bakes me and the humidity slows my brain to a crawl.