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.
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!