Think back. What were the simple pleasures of your childhood summers? Remember those sultry nights when Mom said we could stay up as long as we wanted—provided we were reading? When our flashlights lit the sheets tented over our heads while we read, camped out in the backyard? Can you hear the whir of the window fans at the county library as you chose favorite books as well as books by authors you’d never read before?
Even though I’m all grown up, those days aren’t far away. With my newly-minted master’s degree in my hot little hand, and some serious school work behind me, this Memorial Day truly feels like the start of summer. And I’m ready for the simple pleasure of fun summer reading.
Here are the top five titles in Nic's Summer To Be Read stack:
5. The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning by Hallgrimur Helgason
If you’ve fallen prey to Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Henning Mankell’s Wallander series, you know all about the Scandinavian Invasion. Dark and brooding, raw and relentless, these mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels from the far north are great reads now finding a following in English-speaking markets—but they can be too much depending on your frame of mind. So if this year’s offerings, like The Boy in the Suitcase, seem a little daunting, follow my lead. Give Icelander Hallgrimur Helgason’s Hitman, and his lighter shade of Nordic Noir, a try.
4. The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
I confess. I’m one of the four million grown-ups watching the television incarnation of Shepard’s first brain child, Pretty Little Liars. Though geared toward teens and tweens, the show is deliciously addicting even for adults. That said, the Liar books tend to fall flat for the mature reader. Now, enter The Lying Game. It’s a YA novel as well, but unlike its TV adaptation it features a twisty mystery, a blossoming romance, and a touch of the paranormal that are perfect fun for summer reading. Game on!
3. Taken by Robert Crais
Robert. Crais. Nuff said. Ask me why and I’ll say, “Tell me why not.” If Raymond Chandler were alive today, I’d bet money he’d read Taken. Crais is a master of characterization, plot, pacing, the reversal, and the reveal. Rather than a summer picnic, his work is as satisfying as a winter feast.
2. The Witness by Nora Roberts
Since 1980, Nora Roberts’ work has become the heart of the American Romance novel. Now, with The Witness, she presents her 200th book. And it’s already waiting for me on the back porch. After all, what could be better on a hot summer evening than fighting crime and finding love from the comfort of my wicker chaise? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
1. A Study in Sherlock edited by Laurie King and Leslie Klinger
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s sleuth has been a staple of the stage, screen, and bookshelf since Mrs. Hudson first rented rooms at 221B Baker Street to a couple of misfits over a hundred years ago. What is it about Sherlock Holmes that continues to tickle our collective fancy? I’m not sure I can put my finger on it, but I can’t stop trying. This new collection features short stories by Lee Child, Neil Gaiman, Laura Lippman, SJ Rozan, Dana Stabenow, and Jacequline Winspear—just to name a few of the fabulous mystery writers with whom I’ll be celebrating Sherlock, story by story, this summer.
Ah, summer… It’ll be gone before we know it even though Memorial Day is still with us. In the days ahead, enjoy the season’s simple pleasures—like reading. Now, with that said, what’s in your To Be Read stack this summer?