Summer is nearly here, and although we at Literary Masters have been reading furiously to gather THE LIST for our 2017-18 Season, we know you need a few titles to get you through the long, hot summer months. Of course, we always save the best for THE LIST, but here are some stellar summer reads nonetheless. Enjoy! And if you feel like it, let us know what you think. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, THE 2017-18 Season LIST will be posted in late August, early September. So come back for a visit and see what Literary Masters members will be reading next!
Our Summer Reading List is here–drum roll, please!
The Leavers by Lisa Ko. Everyone is saying how timely this book is, so you can see if you agree. Dealing with issues of immigration, family, and cultural assimilation, to name a few, this debut novel won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, “awarded by Barbara Kingsolver for a novel that addresses issues of social injustice.”
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. This gorgeous and, if you’re familiar with Saunders, unsurprisingly unique book would have landed on THE LIST, but we don’t like to repeat authors too often, and we recently enjoyed his short story collection. This is his first novel, and it centers on Abe Lincoln, who is grieving the loss of his son Willie. You can read this book quickly, but you shouldn’t. You should savor it and ponder the biggest issues that life presents. Hint: life and love are two of them.
News of the World by Paulette Jiles. Why is that poets write such gorgeous novels? (Rhetorical question!) This book was a finalist for the National Book Award and we can see why. Take a trip back in time to Texas and travel with a most unlikely pair. It’s 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd is returning 10 year old Johanna, recently rescued from her Kiowa kidnappers, to her relatives in San Antonio. Johanna, however, has other ideas. Exploring issues of identity, family, and morality, among others, this book also illuminates an issue–based on true events–that you may not be aware of.
Nutshell by Ian McEwan. This is a FUN read! Narrated by a fetus (yes, we too thought this sounded weird) who is listening to his mother plot the murder of his father with her lover–who, wait for it…is the fetus’ uncle! Shades of Hamlet for sure! Are you in a brave book club? Tackle both the play and this novel in the same month and discuss them both! Laugh out loud funny with serious issues to explore.
Girl at War by Sara Novic. Another debut novel we couldn’t put down. Exploring issues of how war impacts an individual, a family, a community–and yet can go unnoticed by so many–this book is poignant and timely. Read this along with The Cellist of Sarajevo, a Literary Masters favorite.
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. Many of you know Trevor Noah from The Daily Show, and he is funny! This is his memoir, and yes, it’s funny, but it’s also serious and thought-provoking. Trevor was born to a white Swiss-German father and a black Xhosa mother in South Africa during the time of apartheid. Thus, his birth was literally a crime. And this is his story–specifically–but it encompasses so much more. Read it and ponder.
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. Not quite a collection of short stories and not exactly a novel–this book seems to encompass both. One chapter’s secondary or tertiary character shows up as the starring attraction of the next chapter. Lucy Barton, who many of you know from Strout’s previous book My Name is Lucy Barton, has a role in this new book–but you can read them discretely. Elizabeth Strout’s writing, of course, plays a dazzling role.
The Nix by Nathan Hill. What do you really know about anyone? Especially your mother? Think about it. Or, jump on board this ride, accompanying Samuel Andresen-Anderson as he tries to unravel the mystery of who his mother is–and who he is as well. Over 600 pages that fly by!
Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Almost like reading two books that converge. And two for the price of one from Zadie Smith has to be a good thing, right? Readers should enjoy the musicality and rhythm of this novel as they contemplate issues such as identity, friendship, responsibility, equality and more.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Marketed as a Young Adult novel, this book is being read by many grown-ups as well. It’s timely and thought-provoking; an unarmed youth is shot by a police officer. Read it with your teenagers and discuss.
Moonglow by Michael Chabon. We love this description from the Amazon page: “From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of New York’s Wallkill prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of the ‘American Century,’ the novel revisits an entire era through a single life and collapses a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most moving and inventive.” How could not want to read this book now?
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. Race seems to be a large theme in our list this summer, which is fitting–considering it’s a large part of our national conversation. This novel doesn’t shy away, and will keep you riveted from page one. Read it before the movie is released!
The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin. Yes, it’s TBT! We couldn’t resist putting this on our summer reading list because of the renewed interest in this tragedy due to the television drama and documentary. This is an excellent read–it explores the historical context of what happened before, during, and after the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Prepare to feel many emotions as you read.
Enjoy your summer! Read a book. Discuss a book. Share a book. Give a book.