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Best Beach Reads Summer 2012

It’s summertime, and you know what that means. Sending your kids away to camp so that you can enjoy a few peaceful weeks to yourself.

Kidding! (Well, maybe not).

The lazy days of summer are the perfect time to catch up on your reading, even if your vacation involves floating on a noodle in the E. coli contaminated (albeit picturesque) Lake of the Ozarks. My TBR list involves a little bit of everything…chick lit, romance, thriller, serial mystery, YA novels, comedy, and Jewish historical titles that will make you laugh, cry, contemplate the meaning of life, or all of the above, depending on your mood. Google these titles to find out more, and get ready to escape reality for awhile, at least long enough to forget how many days left until school starts again. With these page-turners, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen.

Here goes…in no particular organized manner, I have to start out with the much-anticipated titles written by the award-winning authors who I recently met at BEA.

These include:

Jennifer Weiner, Then Came You. Funny and sharp, the lives of four women come together in an unexpected way.

FYI, Weiner’s personal summer reading list includes Kate Christensen’s Trouble, Anne Tyler’s Ladder of Years, Beaches by Iris Rainier Dart, Andrew Vachss’ That’s How I Roll, Stephen King’s The Wind through the Keyhole, Sere Prince Halverson’s The Underside of Joy, Jen Lancaster’s Jeneration X, and Sarah Pekkanen’s These Girls.

So back to my BEA favorites:

Lois Lowry’s, Son, the long-awaited conclusion to The Giver; John Green’s YA love story; The Fault In Our Stars; Michael Chabon’s, Telegraph Avenue. A Novel, explores the intertwined lives of two families; J.R. Moeringer’s, Sutton, uncovers the mystery of an infamous bank robber; Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior, is a suspenseful tale about a catastrophe in Appalachia; and James Patterson’s Confessions of a Murder Suspect, is his first teen mystery series.

Other recommendations from moms include Leslie Daniels’ Cleaning Nabokov’s House, a witty story about a mom who surprisingly rediscovers herself when she loses her husband, home, and children; Rebecca Land Soodak’s Henny on the Couch is about an affluent New York woman and her turbulent relationship with her own mom; Good luck putting down Temptation, by Douglas Kennedy, which is about what happens to a struggling artist and playwright when he gets his big break. Jessica Spotswood’s Born Wicked is a YA novel about sisters who grow up as witches; Jodi Meadow’s Incarnate intertwines reincarnated souls with romance, fantasy, and danger; Holly Black’s Black Heart is the ending to a beautifully dark trilogy; Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass is about a young assassin who discovers her destiny; and Heather Anatasui’s Glitch gives readers lots of thrills, romance, and twists.

As reviewed in Amazon, check out these chick lits: Love The One You’re With, by Emily Griffin, which is about dangerous flirtation; Jessica Brody’s Love Under Cover is a follow up to The Fidelity Files, a sexy plot about the “fidelity inspector;” Remember Me, by Sophie Kinsella, takes you on the funny journey of a heroine with amnesia; Secrets of a Shoe Addict, by Beth Harbison, asks how far will you go to keep a secret; Chasing Harry Winston: A Novel, by Lauren Weisberger reads like Sex in the City and Devil Wears Prada; The Beach House, by Jane Green, is about the bond between mothers and daughters; One Fifth Avenue, by Candace Bushnell, chronicles the lives and sex romps of New York snobs; and Queen of Babble Gets Hitched, by Meg Cabot, is about a dream wedding that becomes a nightmare.

If you like serial mysteries, Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, is a psychological thriller about vampires, while Alison Larkin’s first novel The English American is a charming story about an adopted women’s search for her birth parents, and
Savannah Breeze, by Mary Kay Andrews, is about a southern belle who gets into hilarious jams.

Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is a collection of witty and insightful columns that women can relate to. No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel, is a story about a remote Romanian Village whose citizens try to save themselves from the Holocaust;

A Good American by Alex George, tells about an immigrant family finding a place to call home. Can’t wait to read about a young grandma who enters a new and unexpected chapter in her own life in Anne Lamott’s Some Assembly Required; You can’t miss this cover of John Irving’s In One Person , which is about desire, secrecy, and sexual identity; and although I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan, I’m curious about J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel, The Casual Vacany.

So many more enticing Jewish titles, as recommended by the Jewish Book Council, include The Sweet Relief of Missing Children, by Sarah Braunstein, which is about three young people with bad childhoods who vanish without a trace.

After reading Rich Cohen’s The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King I’ll never look at this fruit the same way again. The Forgetting River: A Modern Tale of Survival, Identity, and the Inquisition by Doreen Carvajal is about an American journalist who uncovers her family’s Jewish ancestry in Spain.; and The Invitation: A Novel by Anne Cherian is described as “an Indian version of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.”

Zoe Fishman’s Saving Ruth is a character-drive drama of a college student who comes home from the summer and faces a near drowning, family issues, and racial tensions in Alabama.

For laugh-out-loud funny, don’t miss Justin Halpern’s I Suck at Girls, a deeply touching collection of personal stories about relationships with the opposite sex.

Two Rings: A Story of Love and War, by Millie Werber and Eve Keller, is an engrossing, beautifully written memoir about the Holocaust.

A revitilization of the classic, The Age of Innocence, debut author Francesa Segal’s The Innocents is an irristable loves story that takes place in a close-knit Jewish community in London.

And I like the title on this one, You Are Not Like Other Mothers, by Angelika Schrobsdorff, which is about the author’s mother, a pioneer for social and sexual freedom spanning two world wars.

And, finally, with the recent death of famous Jewish author/screenwriter Nora Ephron, you might want to revisit her collection of stories in I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman; I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections; Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women; Wallflower at the Orgy; Heartburn; and Scribble, Scribble: Notes on the Media.

Her sister Delia Ephron, who was recently in St. Louis as part of the Jewish Book Festival, wrote The Lion Is In, an unforgettable story of friendship, courage, love, and learning to salsa with the king of the jungle.

So, tell me where your bookmark is!