Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: Each year around this time, as the longer days of summer beckon with the promise of afternoons on the beach or in the hammock immersed in a good book, we start to compile our list of summer reads. Which books are on your list this year, and – for bonus points – what are the attributes of a perfect summer read?
Lisa J. Jackson: I don’t have any particular books in mind to read (yet), but my idea of summer reads are those that I can devour in a couple of hours and move on to the next book. Historical romance falls into that character, or quirky fun books like Janet Evanovich’s. Now having said that, I’m on vacation this week and plan to finish Idyll Threats by Stephanie Gayle and Death Troupe by Vincent H. O’Neil!
Julie Hennrikus: My summer reading list is also New England Crime Bake homework. I am going to be interviewing Elizabeth George, and need to reread her books. I am also planning on catching up on friends’ mysteries. I’d love a good “can’t put it down” book for vacation, and am more thank open to suggestions!
Jamie Wallace: Oh, summer! You tease me with visions of long afternoons stretched out on the beach or the deck, book in hand, mind miles away in the throes of a good tale. Lately, I’ve found my summers to be just as chaotic (perhaps more so) than the rest of the year, so these lovely expectations do not often come to fruition. However, a girl can dream, right? Of course! SO, with that in mind, here are a few books that are on my radar for the summer:
Because I recently read (and loved!) her most recent novel, A Darker Shade of Magic, I am really looking forward to reading Victoria Schwab’s earlier work, Vicious. Hoping it’ll hold me over until the second book in the Darker Shade of Magic series comes out next February. Here’s the blurb for Vicious from Goodreads:
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
I am also excited about a book called The Grace Keepers by Kirsty Logan. I heard about this book from the lovely Jen Campbell, whose blog, This is Not the Six Word Novel, is a fabulous resource for good reads of all kinds. This sounds to me like the kind of book that will take you away to another world, but one that seems to real you end up lbelieving you could really go there. We’ll see. Here’s the blurb for The Grace Keepers from Goodreads:
As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, laying the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.
In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.
Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.
And, while I’m at it, Logan’s collection of fairytales, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, also sounds fabulous.
Finally, on the nonfiction side, I’m a huge fan of Ursula K. Le Guin’s novels, short stories, and essays, so I know I’m going to enjoy her collection, The Wave in the Mind: Talks & Essays on the Writer, the Reader & the Imagination. Once again, the blurb from Goodreads:
Join Ursula K. Le Guin as she explores a broad array of subjects, ranging from Tolstoy, Twain, and Tolkien to women’s shoes, beauty, and family life. With her customary wit, intelligence, and literary craftsmanmship, she offers a diverse and highly engaging set of readings. The Wave in the Mindincludes some of Le Guin’s finest literary criticism, rare autobiographical writings, performance art pieces, and, most centrally, her reflections on the arts of writing and reading.
I do hope this summer holds time enough to read more than three books, but these three are definitely at the top of my list. Looking forward to hearing what everyone else is reading this summer!
Diane MacKinnon: I don’t have a summer reading list but I do have a stack of books in my office waiting to be read. I was lucky enough to meet Robin Cook a couple of years ago at Crime Bake, and I bought his newest book, called Nano. When I caught sight of it the other day, I immediately added it to my pile of things to take camping with me this weekend.
Deborah Lee Luskin: One of the fun things about a summer is the freedom to not know what I’ll read next. That said, for work I’m reading Northern Woodlands magazine, The Mindful Carnivore and Girl Hunter. I’d welcome any suggestions for great narratives about fishing, hunting, and living in the landscape – particularly in the northeast.