Crowdsourcing a Summer Reading List

Yesterday, I took to Twitter and Facebook to find out which books people have liked recently. I asked a simple question – "What's the best book you've read this summer?" - and got a great variety of responses. Lots of fiction, some non-fiction and some memoirs. Lots of backlist. A few books were recommended more than once. A few books were ones that I have read and reviewed. I was impressed with both the range (these weren't just EDIWTB readers, who probably tend toward fiction) and the appearance of some older books on the list. (And who is David Mitchell? FOUR of his books are on this list!)

So at the midpoint of summer, I present the full list of recommended books. Hopefully there are a few on here that will catch your eye. You still have a few weeks of long days by the pool…

Books That Were Recommended More Than Once:

Fey Bossypants, by Tina Fey (submitted by Kim, Emily, Julianna, Larissa, and Robin) (I reviewed Bossypants here.)

Open, by Andre Agassi (submitted by Vikki and Haleh). (I reviewed Open here.)

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (submitted by Ginger, Lizy, Helaine and @Blochead_Create). "Trouble putting it down."

The Invisible Bridge, by Julia Orringer (submitted by Tracy and Haleh).

Cutting for Stone, by Anthony Verghese (submitted by Mary, Krista and @LPags03). "Great."

The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins (submitted by @Kimvatpg and @centsiblelife).

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, by Anthony Bourdain (submitted by Anna and Brian D.). "Fragmented, but funny." "Each chapter is pretty self-contained, so you don't have to knock it out all at once. This book, like his other books and TV show, capture his wit, insight, and endless analogies for describing food."

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, by Gabrielle Hamilton. (Submitted by Becky and Christy). "Fun summer read."

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot (submitted by Dan G. and Krista) (I started this one a few months ago and couldn't finish it.)

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, by David Mitchell (submitted by Ryndee and Warren). "The best book I've read in a very long time." "A total knockout."

Fiction:

Maine, by J. Courtney Sullivan (submitted by Stefanie).

The House of Tomorrow, by Peter Bognanni (submitted by Tina).

The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi (submitted by Mike D.).

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein (submitted by Catherine F.) "Good summer read." (I reviewed The Art of Racing in the Rain here.)

The Last Life, by Claire Messud (submitted by Arielle).

Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell (submitted by Lilo).

Sawtelle The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski (submitted by Sarah K.).

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie (submitted by Susan W.). 

Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell (submitted by Brian S., the latter seconded by Lilo).

This is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper (submitted by Mike S.). (I reviewed This is Where I Leave You here.)

The Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon (submitted by Abby D.).

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz (submitted by Tuvana).

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers (submitted by Colin).

The Unnamed, by Joshua Ferris (submitted by Sarah S.) (I reviewed The Unnamed here).

What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty (submitted by Rebecca). (I reviewed What Alice Forgot here.)

Skipping a Beat, by Sarah Pekkanen (submitted by @greggutierrez9).

Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies (submitted by Lizy).

The Murderer's Daughters, by Randy Susan Meyers (submitted by Larissa).

Tigerswife The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obreht (submitted by Andrew H.).

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett (submitted by Ryndee) (I reviewed The Help here.)

Before I Go To Sleep, by S.J. Watson (submitted by Larissa).

The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom (submitted by Larissa).

A Dog's Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameroon (submitted by Alison R.).

A Dance With Dragons, by George R.R. Martin (submitted by @RachaelGK).

Songs in Ordinary Time, by Mary McGarry Morris (submitted by Krista).

Those Who Save Us, by Jenna Blum (submitted by Holly).

A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan (submitted by Holly).

140 Goats and a Guitar The Stories Behind Some Kind of Cure, by David Berkeley (submitted by Ryan).

I Don't Know How She Does It, by Allison Pearson (submitted by Larissa). (I reviewed I Don't Know How She Does It here.)

Silver Sparrow, by Tayari Jones (submitted by Nicole) (I reviewed Silver Sparrow here.)

Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles (submitted by Nicole).

Non-Fiction

Friday Night Lights, by Buzz Bissinger (submitted by Dan E.) "Couldn't put it down."

Lewis The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukerjee (submitted by Susan W.).

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis (submitted by Allen T.). "Best layman's anatomy of the real estate implosion I've seen thus far."

Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II, by Mitchell Zuckoff (submitted by Rebecca). "Not what I normally read, but I like the characters and the way the story has come together."

 

Memoirs:

In the Long Run: A Father, a Son, and Unintentional Lessons in Happiness, by Jim Axelrod (submitted by @blochead_create).

Life by Keith Richards (submitted by Andrew G.).

Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America With Albert Einstein's Brain, by Michael Paterniti (submitted by Amy W.).

Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Love and Loss, by Matt Logelin (submitted by Sarah S.).

Do you recommend any of the books on this list?

5 Comments

  • July 22, 2011 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Maine, Edgar Sawtelle and Bossypants are all on my TBR shelf at home. I’m totally sucked into the buzz about Maine! I read Henrietta Lacks last year as it was chosen for the UW-Madison BIG READ Program and I loved it. I have a great Bucky Badger poster in my office of him “reading” the book as a souvenir.
    I’m interested in the audiobook of Life by Keith Richards – Johnny DEPP does some of the reading!!

  • Larissa
    July 22, 2011 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Love this! And Unbroken is a GREAT book too. I’m excited to add more books to my reading list from this. Thanks for compiling – good idea. 🙂

  • July 22, 2011 - 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I meant to respond to your Facebook post – I loved, loved “Half Broke Horses” by Jeannette Walls!

  • July 23, 2011 - 2:04 am | Permalink

    Love this list, and looking forward to getting started on some of the recommendations.
    As for my loves on this list: Bossypants was every bit as good as all my friends promised. I read it on a plane and was laughing so hard people around me could see tears rolling down my cheeks. A totally fun book tha is great when you want something undemanding but with substance.
    The Big Short was my first purchase on Audible.com (which is fantastic for me because I listen to books while I walk my dog.) If you want to understand what the hell happened to our financial system, read (or listen) to this book.

  • Darby Lohrding
    August 1, 2011 - 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for doing the “poll”…interesting list and I am going to check out that author that was listed 4 times whose name escapes me now. This has been the summer where I have started more books than finished…..and that’s not how I read! So I’m not sure how this happened all I can say is “so many books and so little time”!!!
    Thanks
    Darby

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