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

July 15, 2009 ( - I've spent parts of the past two weeks surrounded by vacationers (all the more distressing when you aren't one of them!).

That, in turn, has put me in mind of the need (for me, anyway) to compile a summer reading list.  

This week I asked readers for their recommendation(s) for a good summer read (or two).  

The List

Now, while I can “tabulate” the responses, since different folks are inclined to try out different genres, I’m simply going to provide a consolidated listing of this year’s recommendations:

  • 8th Confession by James Patterson
  • Angels and Demons
  • Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • Author Nevada Barr – mysteries set in the national parks – the bear one in Glacier National Park is really good.
  • Baldacci, David – Anything that Baldacci writes!
  • Birds Without Wings – Louis de Bernieres
  • Butlerian Jihad, The – first book in the “Legends of Dune” trilogy
  • Careless in Red by Elizabeth George
  • Deep Survival
  • DeMille, Nelson – anything written by…
  • Duma Key (Stephen King)
  • Evanovich’s latest – Fifteen
  • Financial Regulatory Reform: A New Foundation by the Obama Administration.
  • Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
  • FireFly Lane, but it’s definitely what has become known as Chick Lit.
  • Fool (or really any title) by Christopher Moore
  • Gate House, The by Nelson DeMille…best if you’ve read The Gold Coast but not necessary
  • GONE TOMORROW by Lee Child
  • Great Upheaval, The by Jay Winik – best book I read in 10 years
  • Guernsey Literary, The and Potato Peel Pie Society

The list continues on the next page…

  • Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult
  • Harry Potter book (any)
  • Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure
  • Horse Soldiers
  • I have Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin on my nightstand but haven't started yet.
  • Jack Daniels series by J.A. Konrath.
  • James Patterson (anything by)
  • Janet Evonovich, murder mysteries by - "hilarious and a fantastic fast summer read!"
  • John Lescroart and/or Michael Connelly (latest by)
  • John Rebus novels, by Ian Rankin.
  • Liberty & Tyranny by Mark Levine
  • Long Lost by Harlan Coben
  • Lost City of Z, The: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  • Middlesex
  • Mitford series by Jan Karon
  • Multiple Blessings
  • My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  • My Years in France by Julia Child
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  • Painting Apollo, Alan Bean of Apollo 12
  • Paths of Glory - Jeffrey Archer
  • Return to Sullivan's Island by Dorthea Benton Frank
  • Rising Tide, The and The Steel Wave by J Shaara
  • Sookie Stackhouse mysteries
  • Stand, The by Stephen King
  • Stephanie Plum book series by Janet Evanovich
  • Story of Edgar Sawtelle, The
  • Strain
  • Stumbling on Happiness
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Travel as a Political Act, by Rick Steves
  • Treasure of Khan, by Clive and Dirk Cussler
  • Twilight Series
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

And - just in case none of those strike your fancy - or maybe you've read all of them (or for when you do), I gave readers a chance to recommend another choice:

  • "Born In" series by Nora Roberts
  • The Creature from Jeckyl Island by G Edward Griffin (in that order)
  • Anathem
  • Andrew Gross's DON'T LOOK TWICE
  • Another great book is by John Wood, formerly of Microsoft, titled "I Left Microsoft to Save the World". Very easy reading and a wonderful story!
  • Anything by Douglas Adams
  • Anything by James Patterson - always a good vacation read
  • Anything by Jodi Picoult
  • anything by Larry McMurtry
  • Anything by Laura Lippman
  • Anything by Nelson Demille.
  • Anything by Vince Flynn, Jeanette Oke or Charlaine Harris
  • Are you There God?   It's Me, Chelsea - by Chelsea Handler
  • Bordeline by Nevada Barr
  • Carrying the Fire, Micheal Collins, of Apollo 11
  • Chick reads by Jennifer Weiner or Jennifer Crusie
  • Choices by Nicholas Sparks

The list continues on the next page...

  • Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult
  • How the Mighty Fall
  • I also like the "alphabet" murder mysteries by Sue Grafton. They're great.
  • Jane Austen's collected works
  • JD Robb/Nora Roberts books
  • One Second After
  • Our book club at work is reading "One Drop - My Father's Hidden Life".   The history "lesson" is a great read!
  • Same war but a non-fiction book by M. Korda - With Wings Like Eagles
  • Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
  • Shanghai Girls
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • The Education of Calpurnia Tate
  • The entire Jane Austen series, to make you feel like you're in 18th century England
  • The Friday Night Knitting club
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books are all great fun.
  • The Last Coach by Allen Barra
  • The second book in the "Legends of Dune" trilogy, "The Machine Crusade"
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • True Detectives by Jonathan Kellerman
  • Vanity Fair Magazine....some of the articles are so long that you feel like they are a book!

Of course, readers found it hard to limit themselves to just two; "There is nothing like a great, trashy romance novel, particularly on vacation.   Anything by Mary Balogh, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas or Eloisa James," noted one.

One reader had a survey's worth of recommendations:

"If you like stories whose main characters continue from one story to the next, you will like books by John Lescroart, Steve Martini , Michael Connelly and Perri O'Shaughnessy. James Patterson, John Grisham, David Balducci never disappoint, and for good clean laughs, Jennifer Crusie. Jennifer Weiner, a former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist has written some great chick books. Her first, "Good In Bed" was a hit, and "In Her Shoes" was made into a movie. Her latest, "Best Friends Forever" is in such demand that I am on the waiting list at my local library. I'll take suggestions for any fiction writer that keeps me turning the pages."

Verbatim "Time"

There were lots of verbatims - most, as in the ones that follow - bemoaning the lack of time to curl up with a good book:

"Despite my lack of time to enjoy these things, I force myself to find the time. Sadly, work will always be there tomorrow - summer's fleeting moments won't."

"Books are my passion and I will always find time to read even if it's just a sentence or two before the book hits me in the face because I have fallen asleep. Right now, my husband, mother and I are enjoying books which are stories of the sea. Mom is reading the Bolithio series by Alexander Kent; I'm reading the Isaac Biggs series (War of 1812) by William White and my husband is working his way through the Patrick O'Brian series (Master and Commander) when he isn't reading anything he can get his hands on by James Nelson. Wonderful escape novels and great historic information."

"Time and Runner's World Magazine...Who has the time for more?"

"The older I get, the easier it is for me to set aside a household chore and pick up a good book. Even if it is only for 30 minutes, it is one way that I can treat myself without any great disruption to other responsibilities."

"That's it exactly - no time to enjoy what should be a carefree time. I love to read, and I live less than two miles from the nearest beach. But this is an unusual year in that I had to use vacation early in the year. The only reason I looked forward to this summer was lighter traffic!"

"Catching up on a pile of magazines is my first priority. Then I'll think about my "to read" pile of books."

"You can read quite a bit if you give up sleeping. I've been reading and reading and reading. It's wonderful."

"The summer is going so fast!! I haven't had any time to sit down and read - but I can dream...."

"I wish I had more time to read. I'm up at 5:30 am & home between 6:00 & 7:00 pm. Then I have to find time to workout, eat, do the laundry, etc."

"I read so much email and so many documents at work that I would rather have a hot iron pressed against my forehead than to read at home!"

  "At one point early in my career, the summer was the one time during the year when things slowed down a bit at work, which made it easier to take vacation and get a real mental break. Now it seems that it is crazy all year long, and even crazier during the three months around annual enrollment. When we really, really need the opportunity to get away and take that mental break, it has become almost impossible to do so. I guess that I should feel fortunate to have a job during times like these, and I can "rest" when I retire."

"It is so HOT in Houston right now that we are hibernating in our air conditioned offices, cars and homes! So instead of reading a good book I feel compelled to clean house!"

"Unfortunately, the only time I usually have to enjoy my books is reading in the bathtub before bed.   And at 3 or 4 pages a night before falling asleep in the tub, it takes a very long time to get through just one book!"

"I don't plan my reading but go by my mood. I enjoy reading fiction (science fiction/fantasy and mysteries) because I don't need any more reality than I already have in my life. I see reading fiction as a mini-vacation."

"I read only on vacation 'cause that's the only time I have time! If I start reading a book when I'm not on vacation, it will be months before I can pick it up again, so I don't bother."

I'm sure many of us can relate to the reader who said, "I've found that having a 9-month-old cuts down on my reading time. And, somehow reading into the wee hours of the morning on a "school night" has way more side effects than it used to."

But this week's Editor's Choice goes to the reader who said, "My summer reading list is so full of guilty pleasures that I am too "guilty" to name them."

Thanks to everyone who participated in this popular survey!