SURVEY SAYS: What's on Your Summer Reading List?

June 10, 2010 ( - With the Memorial Day holiday behind us, and summer vacations beckoning, many readers are looking for some recommendations on summer reading. 

This week I asked readers if they had any summer reading recommendations.  And, of course they – that is, you – did. 

Before we get to that list, however – there were some comments that I thought you’d enjoy:

I’m assuming that your question was about reading for pleasure.  I’m sure I’ll also do my share of reading on health care reform, fee disclosure, and various business books, plus a few Dr.Suess books with my son.

All this talk about summer reading makes me wish I were a kid again, when I spent my summers perched on a lofty branch of our old oak tree reading book after book after book.  Think I could call in sick for a few days and just hang out in a tree reading?

Great question, Nevin.  Can’t wait for the responses!

Thank you thank you thank you! I’m about to spend some time with a family member who’s having surgery, and there’ll be lots of hospital time, so I’ll need a few good books!

Why relegate reading to summer?  Trashy romance novels work all year round!

Why waste time on reading a fictional work when there’s so much reality to deal with?

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said, “I’m assuming that your question was about reading for pleasure.  I’m sure I’ll also do my share of reading on health care reform, fee disclosure, and various business books, plus a few Dr.Seuss books with my son.”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!  You’ll find the list of recommendations on the following pages.  Enjoy!

The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

"Nancy Martin - The blackbird sister's mystery series starts with How to murder a millionaire

Stepanie Bond writes the Body Movers myster series.  The first book in the series is titled The Body Movers Both are funny authors"

The Reliable Wife

"Absolutely!  The Stieg Larsson trilogy:

""The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo""

""The Girl Who Played With Fire""

""The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest"""

Any book by Janet Evonovich--they are light murder mysteries that make me laugh out loud!

Yes, ANY and I mean ANY, of Sarah Graves' A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery series are great; they're easy reading and with mind-gripping mysterious whodunit tales!.

Game Change

Anything by Clive Cussler or Stephen King will be a page turner.  I'm reading Spartan Gold by Cussler right now (don't know when it was published but it was on display at the library).  And I read The Regulators by Richard Bachman (AKA King).  Again, it's been out awhile but I just now got around to it.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest


Tinkers by Paul Harding, winner of the 2010 Pulizer Prize

I look forward to some light reading - anything by Debbie McComber, Diane Mott Davidson and Rosamund Pilcher.

To try Men's Souls a novel by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen

The Preditioneer's Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-interest to See and Shape the Future by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

A soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin

"U is for Undertow" by Sue Grafton was a good read

They Call Me Coach by John Wooden

"The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose.  I have an emotional interest in this book. My Dad served in the Pacific with the U.S Marines during World War II. At the same time I was reading the book I watched the HBO mini -series ""The Pacific"". Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's work was nothing short of brilliant with this film."

If you like a simple, soap-opera type diversion, Roses by Leila Meacham fits the bill.  If you want something more substantive, I am enjoying Master of the Senate by Robert Caro.  It's the third in a series on the career of Lyndon Johnson.  Fascinating and scary stuff.

Not really - I read a lot, but only trashy stuff I would be embarrassed to recommend.

Anything by Michael Connelly

I just read "The Road" and found it to be a powerful book.

Anything John Sanford, Nancy Taylor Rosenberg, Stuart Woods, Philip Margolin, James Patterson.  These will keep you on the edge of your deck chair.

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

The Shack

The classics

Any of Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

"Skinny Dip" by Carl Hiaasen...laugh out loud funny (cliche, but true, so not good for a morning train commuter)

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - fun mystery

The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I LOVE anything by Alexander McCall Smith, especially his Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series, followed by his Isabel Dalhousie series.

"When the Game was Ours"

The Great Upheaval

"Final Salute

Sweet By and By"

"My Name is Memory" by Ann Brashares

Anything by Marian Keyes, that is, if you like Chick Lit.

A must-read for every 21st century American - our country's founding documents.  Get your hands on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights -- and throw in the Federalist Papers for good measure.

Any of the three Stieg Larsen "Girl..." books.  Warning: be careful - they may be flawed but they'll suck you right in and not let you go.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauemeister

"His Dark Materials Trilogy - The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass" by Phillip Pullman

"The Help"

"Lonely Bones

and any book by James Patterson"

I recommend the Sharon Kay Penman trilogy about Henry II and Eleanor of Acquitaine.  I think the specific titles are When Christ and His Saints Slept, Time and Chance and Devil's Brood.  These are fascinating, particularly if you are a fan of British history.

The Girl trilogy by Steig Larsson.  I'm really sorry to be done and envy those who aren't.

The Dome by Stephen King

The American Plague by Molly Crosby - a non-fiction page turner, I know it doesn't sound plausible and I was just as surprised once I got into it.

Waterlily by Ella Cara Deloria:  Well-summarized by the caption, "Waterlily is a singular, spirited family story of the Dakota.  The cultural scenes in this novel are as beautiful as the water lilies."  This book was fascinating and it became a treasured companion of mine on my train rides.

Anything by Clive Cussler - great breezy summer reading!

The Stand by Stephen King - the original uncut is over 1300 pages, hefty enough to survive an extended vacation.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and all its offspring. Concurrently reading all the analysis.

The Bible

The Help, but Kathryn Stockett.  It's not a "light", beach type read, but it is an excellent book!

"The book I've enjoyed the most over the past couple of years was Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. 

A shameless somewhat self promoting plug for a book which I did some minor editing and fact checking.  “But For the Grace of God” the autobiography of USAF Thunderbird and Skylab Pilot Col. Bill Pogue

The "Dexter" series by Jeff Lindsey.

Paths of Glory - Jeffrey Archer

Can't wait to see what Jack Reacher is up to next!

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson

I have a daughter, Anji, who is an author. Her latest book is "OF DEMONS, GODS, WITCHES, FAIRIES & PHANTOMS"  is a collection of five short stories. I know I am slighly prejudiced but I think is great light reading.

"Switch" by Dan Heath and Cliff Heath

I've discovered Jodi Picoult. I've already read "Nineteen Minutes" and have just started "Picture Perfect".

Anything by Louise Penny

Slaughterhouse Five

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Help

Stones into Schools"

Gone With the Wind

Any book by Jeffrey Deaver

Bill Simmons aka the Sports Guy on

Romance novels - good mindless reading.  You know you've had enough when you start rolling your eyes!

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

George Washington's Sacred Fire by Peter Lillback

The United States Constitution

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

City of Thieves by David Benioff

"I have also been reading Elaine Veits, the dead end job mystery series. Shop till you drop is one of her book titles.

and Lee Harris's Chris Benedict mystery series.  I just finished the Happy Birthday Mystery in that series.  All are great beach reads."

Sue Grafton's alphabet murder mysteries

Sue Grafton books are also great whodunit books!

Water for Elephants

I liked The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, but it was a bit predictable.  I figured out the hiding place of the object in question at the start of the book.  I merely asked myself, "If I were to hide something in Washington DC, and I had to have hidden it long ago, and it's got to be a fairly safe place that many folks would know, where would I put it?"  Think about it.  But I still enjoyed the book.


The Snowball (Warren Buffet's authorized biography) by Alice Schroeder)

I am currently reading "Dome" by Stephen King which isn't bad.

The Camel Club series by David Baldacci.

Any book NOT about werewolves, vampires, witches, warlocks or healthcare insurance reform.

With that said, I will read anything by David Weber or J. D. Robb (at least those are mainstream, bestselling authors!).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; just starting the second book in the trilogy

Having read "The Road" I now want to read "No Country for Old Men."

Deliver us from Evil - Davis Baldacci

To Kill a Mockingbird --- an old classic; I'm enjoying reliving it with my 8th grader.

Confedercy of Dunces - always a great read

Sarah's Key

Losing Mum and Pup, A Memoir by Christopher Buckley.  Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach by Meryl Gordon

Atlas Shrugged - should take you all summer, too (1000 pages)

"The Prince of Mist" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Not sure yet, but I'm looking for something seriously trashy. Think junk food in print.

It's a toss-up between all of Jane Austen's work and the Harry Potter series.

“Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend” by James S. Hirsch  - a sympathetic view of the life of the greatest player ever.  Rvived the pure joy he displayed and gave to us watcing him

Anything by Harlan Corben

"The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown

Too many.  I got my Kindle for myself as a Christmas 2009 present and currently have read 92 books.  Clearly an addiction!

A little lighter, the recently published Dome, also by Stephen King.  Also 1491 (can't remember the author).

"Tell Me Where It Hurts by Nick Trout about the daily life of a veterinary surgeon

Still Alice, by Alice Genova about a woman with early-onset Alzheimers

Candy Girl, Diablo Cody about the writer of Juno's early life as a stripper (definitely a guilty pleasure)"

Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey.  For those who don't have their finances in order Ramsey's boot camp method is a way that shows results quickly and lasts for a lifetime.

Stones Into Schools, by Greg Mortenson

"Adaptive Leadership" by Ron Heifitz

The Flavia de Luce series from Alan Bradley

Katherine Neville, although her books are not lite reading


Broken for You

Seven Events that Made America America by Larry Schweikart