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The Need for Read

We keep hearing that the publishing industry ain’t what it used to be, but it’s still turning out some pretty amazing product. This year, our nightstands, beach totes, Kindles, and iPads doth overflow with stuff we’ve read, are in the middle of reading, or can’t wait to get started on—whether it’s E. L. James’s ubiquitous 50 Shades of Grey trilogy (you know who you are, Fresh American staffers), a lush period drama, or a skin-crawlingly creepy thriller. So if you’re on the prowl for a summer read, look no further. (Note: Not all of these are just-released new, but some weren’t lavished with popular attention the first time around. Be the cool kid and share them with all your friends now.)


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This sneaky, sinister, original thriller about a marriage gone terribly wrong is told from two different—and completely believable—points of view. It’s also so engrossing that you’ll want to sacrifice several nights’ sleep just to keep the pages turning.

The Manual of Detection by Jebediah Berry

A nameless, rain-soaked city is the backdrop to this ambient mystery novel about clerk-turned-detective Charles Unwin, who, armed only with an umbrella and a handbook, tries to solve a series of crimes committed through people’s dreams.

















Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Prepare to be really, really, ridiculously envious of Brunt, a fresh talent who’s penned a remarkable debut novel about an unlikely friendship and love found following a devastating loss.


Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

When cousins Nick and Helena’s marriages begin to unravel, they return to the idyllic Martha’s Vineyard setting of their youth. But when their children stumble upon the victim of a brutal murder, everything starts to spiral out of control.


A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Tight plotting, epic Medieval settings, steamy sex, bloody battles, distinctive characters, and more double-crosses than you can shake a royal scepter at—Martin’s five-book series has it all. It’s an addictive read, but as our photo stylist, Melissa, cautions, “Don’t get too attached to any of the characters.”


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Forget the snooze-inducing 2011 film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon and the Pasty-Faced Vampire Guy and pick up the original novel, in which a former veterinary nurse for a traveling circus reminisces about his affair with two beautiful ladies—one human, impossibly glamorous, and married, and the other sweet and wrinkly and who always carries her own trunk (har har).


The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons 

Our resident Downton Abbey expert Chris recommends this period romance, about nineteen-year-old Elise, a wealthy Jew who is forced to leave her life of privilege in Vienna for the meager existence of a parlor maid on the English coast. Her budding friendship with the son of the estate’s master changes the game—for good.


What’s on your summer reading list? Tell us in the comments below and you’ll be entered to win a book lover’s prize package—featuring the Dash & Albert Nantucket tote bag and Margarita throw and Annie Selke’s Fresh American Spaces—valued at more than $150! The contest runs from now until 11:59 p.m. EST on July 21, 2012. View the full details. 


Congratulations to our winner, Jenna from Massachusetts! 




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Debra Lee July 19, 2012 at 11:14 am

I have some easy reading with some Dixie Cash books!

Jamie July 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

I am a voracious summer reader. I just added several of your suggestions, too! I am picking up Anna Karenina today (on Kindle) – I make my kiddos read at least one classic a summer, so I feel that I need to do the same. Thanks for the suggestions AND the opportunity to win such a fabulous giveaway!

Linda D July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I just finished Gone Girl and found it fascinating! I’m so amazed at the author’s imagination! I have a book in me, it just hasn’t found its way out yet! I have a couple of the others you have shown waiting on my bedside table. Right now I’m reading True Believers: A Novel by Kurt Andersen – it too is un-putdownable!

I hope I win!!!!

Cheryl July 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Just finished The Night Circus. Wonderful! Love getting your reading list!

Susan Gosman July 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I’m currently reading Middlemarch, and loving it. Next up is Death Comes to Pemberley and then Gone Girl. After that – sky’s the limit!

Pattie July 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I’m on the wait list for Gone Girl while I’m finishing A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, it’s very good so far.

Victoria July 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I just finished The Language of Flowers. It was very good. So excited to see your list to add some books to my “to read” folder on Goodreads.

Jennie July 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Just finished Gone Girl and Heft (loved them both). Next on my to read lost is The Prisoner of Heaven and The Age of Miracles…

Pam Lapere July 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm

My bubble bath read is The Help. Suzi pblapere@att.net

Katy July 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Thank you for this post! I just started to read Anna Karenina. I have always wanted to read it and the Kiera Knightly and Jude Law movie coming out in December inspired me!

Michelle July 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I loved this book! Really stuck with me.

Laura July 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm

A friend recently recommended “The Shoemaker’s Wife.” Any novel that permits armchair travel to Italy is bound to be fun!

Sandra July 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I just finished reading “The Shoemaker’s Wife” by Adriana Trigiana. Very, very good read. Read “Water for Elephants” a few years ago and agree that the book was far better than the movie … as is usually the case.

Renee July 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm

“My Year with Eleanor: a memoir”
The Flavia deLuce Mysteries
“The American Heiress: A Novel”

A little bit of everything for a summer’s worth of swim team practices.

Michelle July 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I have read a few of the novels above and they are great recommendations. I am in the middle of reading “Sempre” by JM Darhower and I can’t put it down. The ratings for this book are 4 1/2 stars out of five. I can’t wait to get off work to get home and finish the book. I highly recommend!

jenna July 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm

So many good ones….Gone Girl, Beautiful Ruins, The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D, The Baker’s Daughter, Wife22. Just starting The Chaperone tonite.

L Weber July 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Great suggestions! My “to read” list is a mile long now!

I usually read fiction but, right now, I’m enjoying “Season to Taste” by Molly Birnbaum. It’s subtitled “How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way” and includes wonderful descriptions of food, cooking, baking, scent and flavors.

gretel July 20, 2012 at 12:51 am

Next on my list is “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach.

Nicole Flaherty July 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Wish I could manage to read more, especially in the summer! “The 5 Love Languages” is on my nightstand but am definitely going to pick up one of these for my next novel. Thanks for your list!

Rachel July 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm

My summer reading list is miles long. Classics and new stuff as well. I’m kicking it off with Kelle Hampton’s “Bloom”

Monica Flegg July 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Island Practice by Pam Belluck about Nantucket’s eccentric, brilliant Dr. lepore and bizarre (true) stories of his medical practice on Nantucket. before that I rereading Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Maddening Crowd and next up Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee. This is my favorite contest yet, and the prizes rock!!

Merlyn Bost July 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm

A great beach read, page turner, “Gone Girl”. Loved it!
Also finally read Anna Quindlin’s “Too Many Candles, Not Enough Cake” A great tribute to ageing and appreciation of our moms.
Timely for us females in their 60’s.

Sharon Hornecker July 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm

The Fountain of Age by Betty Friedan. I have had this book for a long time ,just picked it up again and am skipping around. It has been very helpful in regards to my aging parents.Betty intoduces us to ”ordinary men and women discovering extraordinary new possibilities’

Betsy July 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

Just finished The Red House by Mark Haddon and would love to read anything by Barbara Kingsolver.


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