We had such a blast putting together last year’s summer reading list that we couldn’t wait to do it again this year. So pop open your Goodreads queue and start adding some books—a mix of literary, popular, suspenseful, and subtle—that have been the talk of the water cooler here at Fresh American HQ. Then tell us in the comments: What’s on your nightstand or in your beach bag this summer?
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
This best-seller, released in June, follows 36-year-old Cora, who is hired to chaperone a precocious young Louise Brooks around the wild world of Prohibition-era New York City, just a few years before she makes it big as a silent-film icon. If you love period fiction that brings to life both times past (the ’20s and ’30s, especially) and complicated female relationships, this one’s for you.
Eat What You Love and Love What You Eat by Michelle May
If you’re constantly trying new diets or feeling guilty about what you eat, read on. In this nonfiction selection, Dr. Michelle May helps you identify whether you’re an instinctive eater, an overeater, or a restrictive eater, so that you can start breaking those old patterns. Billed as the “antidote to ineffective dieting,” this book is about finding balance and eating mindfully, so that you can enjoy foods you love without bingeing, deprivation, or resentment.
Flat Water Tuesday by Ron Irwin
Yet another story that mines the complex class conflict and inflated expectations of boarding-school life, this new release centers on Rob, a documentary filmmaker who receives a surprising letter from a former high school classmate, John, who as part of rehab is trying to make amends for past wrongs. During a cross-continental flight, Rob reads the letter and remembers his year at the prep school and the circumstances that led to the life-changing event mentioned in John’s letter.
Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin
Determined not to be dumbfounded by the likes of another Red Wedding (thanks a bunch, HBO), a few Fresh American staffers are plowing their way through A Storm of Swords, A Feast of Crows, and A Dance with Dragons, otherwise known as books three, four, and five of George R. R. Martin’s insanely popular Game of Thrones series. Sure, Martin is sometimes a bit too flowery for his own good, but his characters are unusually rich for fantasy fiction and his plots—full of scheming, backstabbing, and sudden twists—are downright addicting.
The Taken by Inger Ash Wolfe
Released in 2010, this ambient thriller (written under the pseudonym of American-born Canadian poet, playwright, and novelist Michael Redhill) is the second in a series featuring Detective Hazel Micallef, and takes place in the soggy lake country outside Toronto. When a local fishing guide finds and then loses what appears to be a woman’s body in the lake, Micellef—rehabbing from serious back surgery and an even more serious case of wounded pride—plunges headfirst into the mystery. Safe to say, things are not what they seem, and the story takes a surprising turn that finds the tough, cerebral detective at the mercy of manipulative murderer.
A Widow for One Year by John Irving
It’s not new, but it’s a modern classic. Irving’s critically lauded, decades-spanning novel follows Ruth at three critical junctures in her life: at four years old, 32 years later, when she’s got a successful writing career but little else, and again as a 41-year-old widow and mother about to fall in love for the first time. Ruth isn’t exactly a nice character, but she’s a memorable one. And the story is deep, emotional, and almost painfully realistic in its depiction of grief and the vagaries of time.