My summer reading list

I ask you what you’re reading many a Tuesday in the SPEEDY BD SURVEY, and you have every right to ask me back.  The answer?  I can’t read much when I’m working on a book, but now that Sweet Salt Air is done and summer here, my to-read pile is growing.

At the top is Toni Morrison’s newest, Home.  I would read anything of hers, if only to experience the feeling and flow of her work.  She doesn’t get bogged down in the heavy prose used by so many other literary writers, which makes her totally readable.

After that comes The Red House, by Mark Haddon, who was so successful with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  I was drawn to this new one by a piece about the author in The Wall Street Journal.

Next in the pile, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, was recommended by a friend.  I don’t usually read murder mysteries, but she swears that the book offers the study of a marriage as well, and relationship stories I do do.

Finally, I want to read The Art of Fielding, which is the summer buzz in a lot of book groups.  It isn’t really about baseball, simply uses the game allegorically.  Or so I’m told.

I did just finish one book.  It was Anne Tyler’s The Beginner’s Goodbye.  I’ve been a fan of Anne Tyler for years.  Her stories are mostly set in Maryland, and her main characters are eminently quirky, if loveably so.  The Beginner’s Goodbye isn’t long (9 chapters, 208 pages), but it’s a gem.  The story unfolds through the eyes of 38-year-old Aaron, whose wife died the year before but whom he swears he has seen several times since.  Oh, he hasn’t told anyone that she comes back to see him, though he has plenty of explanations for it.  Most, of course, have to do with understanding his life with her and accepting her death.  Ms. Tyler nails that, tackling each stage of grief in a way that is totally entertaining.  Yes, entertaining.  There’s much humor here.

Being a writer, I have always envied Anne Tyler’s knack for description.  Take this example.  Of his wife, Aaron says, “She had a broad, olive-skinned face, appealingly flat-planed, and calm black eyes that were noticeably level, with that perfect symmetry that makes the viewer feel rested.”  Do you see her?  I do.  The words are simple but used freshly, and the rhythm is … level and rested.

Or this one.  In describing their early days together, Aaron says, “The first time she rode in my car, she didn’t so much as glance over, not even at the very start, to see how I was driving.  She was too busy huffing on her glasses and polishing them on her sleeve.”  Trust me, this perfectly describes the woman.

Anne Tyler first hit it big with books like An Accidental Tourist and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant.  If you’ve never read her before, you could start with one of those, or skip right ahead to The Beginner’s Goodbye.

Or, if that isn’t your cup of tea, you could try The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson.  I’ll be reading it at the beginning of September for my own book group’s first fall meeting.

Okay.  So I’ve given you my list.  What’s on yours?  Or, alternately, what book would you like me to read and review?

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  1. Kathleen O on July 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I don’t know where to begin with my summer reading.. The TBR shelves are full of great books. But two good summer reads I have read already are The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri and Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer.. Both great reads. Also Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins…

    I have all of Susan Mallery’s next Fool’s Gold books to read, books by Sherryl Woods on the shelf, plus so many many more wonderful authors… I will never run out of books to read.

    Thanks for all the good recomendations…

  2. Mandy McGuire on July 13, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Your friend is on the money with Girl Gone, it is a wonderful book and very different from anything else that I have read; and I read a lot!!! If you are a dog lover, you must add “A Dog’s Purpose’ to your reading list. It is honestly one of the sweetest stories that I have ever , told entirely from the dog’s point of view, with the dog as narrator! It is a wonderful, quirky, quick read that will make you smile and cry in turn!

  3. Anne on July 13, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Diana Gabaldon’s third book in her Outlander series. I’m not sure of the title. I’m not usually entertained by stories that take place ages ago (in this case, mid 1700’s Scotland), but this set has me entranced. Primarily it’s her writing style: first person with excellent, excellent portrayal of what day to day life back then was like. I’m holding off, using it as my reward for getting procrastinated things done…

    • Paula Scott on July 13, 2012 at 8:19 am

      Voyager. I”m rereading her 4th book, Drums of Autumn. I am rereading in preparation for Book 8 coming out next year.

  4. Debi on July 13, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Two of my recent favs are Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle both by Jeannette Walls. I just couldn’t put them down. I am also enjoying the Fifty Shades series. The Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin was really good and so was Anna Quindlen’s first book from way back, Object Lessons.

  5. Shirley on July 13, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I just finished Unsaid – it was a wonderful book. If you are an animal lover it’s a must read. Also The Goodbye Quilt. For those that have a daughter , you can sure relate. Happy reading Barbara now that your latest book is finished.

  6. Mickey on July 13, 2012 at 10:10 am

    One of my top favorite reads this past year is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I haven’t read a Stephen King novel for a few years, mostly because it appeared that they were series books. Anyway, this book is huge, but it grabbed me from the moment I started it. As you can see in the reviews, it’s about a guy who can go back to a specific date in 1958 through a ‘pigeon-hole’ which is in the storeroom of a small cafe. Whenever crossing into the past it is the exact same date and time in 1958 and erases all previous visits. The goal: to prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from shooting President Kennedy. I enjoyed it because it’s so creative, getting the reader to think outside of the box. Very intriguing and excellent read.

  7. Ose on July 13, 2012 at 10:16 am

    This is not about summer reads. Sorry about that.

    Barbara Delinsky, (I’m sure it feels strange when people you don’t know call you by your first name only), I just finished your novel, Looking for Peyton Place.(Yes, I know, old old book).!
    When I was much younger, I didn’t really like your books so much, because I never really knew what to expect and that was upsetting, for someone like me(I guess you’d rather not know). But I’ve grown older and wiser; I’d say, and I’ve been reading you again.
    First off, I love your quirky sense of humor, I think that’s one of the most important elements of a good book. But lately, I find that I love your building up of your secondary characters. It’s refreshing and makes your book stand like a town all on its own.
    Then, of course the way you tug at my heartstrings with those poignant moments. Its all so beautiful.
    I’m a 28 year old doctor who’s newly married and living in Nigeria(West Africa), never left my country, but I have traveled all around the world in my mind, reading books like this. I could literally taste the chocolate pennies and see the clothes at Miss Lissy’s Closet.
    I have read thousands, literally, of novels, starting with the Mills and Boon series when I was 10years. I have never written to an author. You are my first, laughs.
    I doubt you’ll read this, as I’m sure you have people whom its their job to read and respond to your mail. But I had to write this on the off chance that you would get it to let you know that you did it, if your goal, when you write is to reach out with both hands and pull your reader into your mind so deeply that they can’t find their way out.
    So thank you for 2 days of fun and moments of quiet laughter. I appreciate.
    By the way, I like the Grace Metalious touch in your picture behind the book.(Your own Pandora in Blue Jeans, huh?) There must be a lot of Annie in you.
    Thanks again.

    • Barbara Delinsky on July 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Ose, I certainly DID read this and am deeply pleased that my books have drawn you in. And thanks for noticing the Grace Metalious look of my photo in LOOKING FOR PEYTON PLACE. Not all readers make the connection between the two shots.

  8. Louise Jolly on July 13, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Barbara: You definitely to read: The Dovekeepers and The Song of Achilles!!!!

  9. Norma Parker on July 13, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Have read all 7 in the Outlander series…can’t wait for number 8. Also am a fan of Luanne Rice.. currently reading one of her older books, Cloud Nine

  10. Michelle Reeves on July 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Barbara!

    I’m reading Suddenly. Yeah, I’m slightly behind, but oh well.

    My fave authors are:

    Belva Plain, LaVyrle Spencer, Barbara D., Barbara Taylor Bradford, Kristin Hannah, Debbie macomber, Judith McNaught, Susan Sometimes (Wiggs).

    Tell us if you loved Home Front or anything by Debbie. Right now, I’m reading Just Trust Me by Judith Markey. I give a book 3 days and if I don’t love it, I move on.

  11. Linda Wefler on July 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I suggest TIME IS A RIVER by Mary Alice Monroe. To me, the main character isn’t even a person. I would love to see what you think it is, Barbara.:-)

    Also, Elin Hilderbrand and summer read go together. I particularly liked THE BLUE BISTRO.

  12. JD Richardson on July 13, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I’m delighted to know that we’re many steps closer to reading Sweet Salt Air and I am eager for the precise countdown of days to begin. You know how I enjoy those countdowns!!

    A few years ago, I stumbled upon an author who has joined you in my very exclusive, carefully chosen favorite authors list. His name is Charles Martin. Several of his books remind me of yours in that they truly satisfy my appetite for a great book from the first page to the last and left me closing the book wishing I could sit across from the characters in the book and find out how the rest of their lives went… to talk to them, interact with them. The kind of book you close, look around you in bewilderment and say “Oh, I’m here…! I forgot that I was here in this room, in this world!” Like your books, the ending can’t be predicted, and the characters are well developed.

    I’d enthusiastically recommend When Crickets Cry. His latest, Thunder & Rain, was great too, as was The Mountain Between Us. When Crickets Cry, though, I have read several times and listened to it in audio format on long road trips. Gets me every time. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book.

    Since I’ve read all your books to date, even going back to oldies but favorites such as Jasmine Sorcery, I often go back and re-read them, and get something new from them every time. Do you do that as well? I’m sure you answered this in your blog somewhere… speaking of blogs, do you read blogs?

  13. melissa on July 14, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Ditto on Elin Hilderbrand, I so need to visit Nantucket! I just read her latest, Summerland, and it’s brilliant. Also I read Veronica Henry’s latest, called The Long Weekend. I guess, being stuck here in New Zealand in the throes of winter, I am leaning towards any summery, beachy read I can get my hands on!! 😀
    I also bought your book Within Reach, which I’d never read before, again, set on the beach and just wonderful, I loved it!

  14. Pam Lord on July 14, 2012 at 7:09 am

    I just finished “Eternal on the Water” by Joseph Monninger. Loved it. Some reviewers felt there wasn’t enough conflict between characters. I happen to feel that the conflict doesn’t necessarily have to be between characters; it can be with life (or, in this instance-death). It’s a love story between two emotionally mature people and a refreshing change from the usual chic-lit, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a New Hampshire author who sets his plots in New England.

  15. Beth on July 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Hi…Im looking for some help….i have only 3 authors that i like to read 1. is you 2.danielle steel and 3. is nicholas sparks and i have read all the books by all 3 authors…i would like to read 50 shades of gray but its not out in large print yet….i have lost about 80% of my vision in the last 2yrs and im only 34yrs old….have you read 50 shades of gray and if so what do you think….i also love to knit ,crochet and my new love is loom knitting….how long have you been knitting and have you ever tryied loom knitting???? thank you so much for all the hard work you put into all your book i trully love them and i love you…..thank you Beth:)

    • Barbara Delinsky on July 30, 2012 at 8:46 am

      Hey, Beth, I personally loved Fifty Shades. (Check out my blog of April 5.) And I’ve been knitting since childhood. No loom knitting. Am just experimenting with beading, though. BD

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