Summer Holidays and Summer Reading.

I saw this at the shops on Tuesday last:

Ladies! Try to contain thyselves!

Ladies! Try to contain thyselves!

And it inspired me. I mean … how could it not have, right?

How did it inspire me, you ask while finishing your giggle fest at the cover I have just presented you with?

Well, my dear – I am giving you a summer reading list. My summer reading list. Populated by all the books I intend to finish before Autumn knocks out the summer sunshine with pumpkins and jackets.

In Ontario, this weekend is Simcoe Day Weekend. For those in the know (i.e. history students) Simcoe was some older British gentleman who dragged his family to the new world and established this and that for the empire, leaving behind a bunch of diaries, a body of water named after him, and a holiday for those of us in Upper Canada. As the current Beer Store radio commercial states – no one really knows what this holiday’s about, but we’re sure glad we have it!

Anyways, this weekend being a holiday, I get to run up to the cottage with the family (The Boy is ditching me for the weekend – yes, shame him …)! Which means a healthy amount of sequestering myself on a dock, in a tree or on a Muskoka chair, reading.

I do love to read.

Currently on my handy dandy, beautifully wallpapered and very versatile and light first generation Kobo, I am reading the sequel to Martin Millar’s 2007 hit Lonely Werewolf Girl, that swept me off my feet: Curse of the Wolf Girl.

On  my nightstand, I am alternating between two other novels: Melissa de la Cruz’ Witches of East End and Christine Trent’s Lady of Ashes.

And then, on my iPod, while I am driving, was Christina Dodd’s Thigh High … until my iPod mysteriously gave up working a couple of days ago …

But all these will be finished by the weekend – so here’s my Rest-of-the-Summer-Reading-List 2013:

(I read an average of 2 books a week. There are technically 7 1/2 weeks of summer left … that makes it 15 books)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

        This one came highly recommended to me by my bestie, McPolski. Both she and her husband read it and loved it, which is high praise given that they usually read very different things. It’s about the disappearance of a wife on the eve of her fifth anniversary, Rather, it’s about the fallout, particularly for the husband, after his wife goes missing. It’s gotten great reviews from the brief look I gave on Goodreads and I do love a good twist-and-turn story, so I will be picking this up soon!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

This one has been on my To-Read List for a while. The Boy got it off my list for my birthday in April, and it has sat in its pretty minty coloured cover on my night table stack of books since, much to my chagrin. It’s taken from a daughter’s perspective, after her mother disappears. It looks like it will be cute and meaningful – a hard combo to pull off, but satisfying. I like stories about mothers and daughters – possibly because I’ve never had any brothers, though my Mom keeps telling me that if she had boys, they’d treat her better … Anyways, this book looks like it will be a fun investigation along the lines of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

     Neil Gaiman is probably one of my favourite authors. When I was 17, a friend of mine let me borrow Neverwhere and I was hooked. I devoured American Gods and Anasi Boys and Coraline. Winded my way through Stardust and then savoured the movie version, then took my time with his short story collections. I just love his writing. So, you know I have to pick up his latest. It’s about a middle aged man who returns home for the first time in years, and is drawn to an old farmhouse at the end of the street he used to live on. There, he remembers the girl he knew as a child, and all the terrifying events that he’s not thought of in years. It looks very intriguing, and knowing Gaiman, there will be a fair bit of magic and depth to it. I can’t wait to start!

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

As near everyone else in my age bracket – I loved Harry Potter. I came to the series late – I was already in highschool – but I picked it up with gutso and read it quickly, crying at the end for all the great characters I had lost. No, it’s true – whenever I think of separated twins, missing parents with strange habits and hair, and godfathers, I tear up. Anyways, The Casual Vacancy was J.K. Rowling’s first attempt to break out of the mold she so successfully made for herself – it’s an adult novel, very English-like, and it got limp reviews from near everyone. Now … I am not one to trust these reviews, I have to see for myself – for one, they`re banking on her name, and maybe expected a bit more magic and mayhem than quiet English countryside politics, which will sour your taste for it, but oh well.  As it is, I think she realized this which is why she released The Cuckoo Calling under a different name. Anyways, as a committed Anglophile, I will happily read through this adult debut!

Timeless by Gail Carriger

      Oh … this one will be tough. This is the last installment of a 5-part book series that can best be classified as a Paranormal-Steampunk-Romance with elements of Hilarity and true genius. It follows Alexia Maccon (nee Tarabotti), a soulless half Italian, English woman who takes no nonsense from anyone, befriends vampires and Lycans alike, and who, in the last book, was able to give birth to a most fascinating specimen named Prudence. I can’t get into the whole series (it would take a while) but suffice it to say that this book has been out for a long while. And I have read about a chapter a month, then put it away and told myself I was not ready for the end of the Alexia and Lord Maccon story just yet … But I am determined that this month, I will finish it – I have to … in order to justify buying  Etiquette & Espionage

The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman

These books have been described to me as “Harry Potter for an older crowd” and “Every Geek’s fantasy”, so you know I’d have to pick them up … The Boy got the first one for me for my birthday and the other one I picked up recently when I decided I had to read it. The blurb on Goodreads reminds me of The Fionavar Tapestry in a way – sort of a fantasy land you can’t forget that eventually sucks you up into it, though the main characters in that were older … and they went to my Alma Mater … so I had to love it regardless … Anyway, these two books look pretty cool and I look forward to reading them!

The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson

       Confession: I saw the tv series. The BBC adapted this book into a tv series this past spring, and I got a chance to watch it and I fell in love with the story, so I picked up the book (as well as a few others by Dorothy Koomson) recently so I could read it with the series fresh in my mind. I always worry about adaptations, but the BBC is pretty rock solid at adapting, so with any luck, it did a good job with this book too. The story revolves around two women, who have been separated since they were teenagers, after the professor and lover they shared was killed. One girl testified against the other, leading to her release and the other girl’s imprisonment, but not all is as it seems …

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

This is another one from my Birthday haul … sigh. I need to read faster. Anyways, I saw an interview with Alice Hoffman on why she wrote this book, and I was intrigued so I put it on my wishlist. It’s about women – something I have always loved about Hoffman is her focus on women, Practical Magic, anyone? – whose lives are interrupted by the Masada massacre in 70 CE by the Romans, If it is anything like Hoffman’s other works, I will cherish this one, too.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

     Because I love a good serial killer rampage and I love a good survival story – I mean, I think I am one of very few who liked Amanda Seyfried’s Gone. Also, I have heard such amazing things about this book! The concept is interesting – a serial killer who has found a doorway into other times, so he could kill these girls who “shine”. One of these girls escapes – and so begins the cat-and-mouse game that they both play. I can’t help it – I like this sort of intense chase.

The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig

Another favourite author of mine. After I read The Radleys I knew I’d found my go-to author for when I was between Neil Gaiman and Terry Pretchett books … This book is not about vampirism, but instead a take on Hamlet – and I do so love new editions of Shakespearean tragedies (see The Lion King). This time Hamlet is 11, the setting is not so much a drafty northern European castle but a car wash, and the throne is the family pub. And yet, there is still a bloody ghost, in fact a whole club of them, a twisted uncle and a son thrust into the middle of it all with no clue what to do next. I have high hopes for this!

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel by Samantha Clarke

      I have had this book for a good long while. Like before I went to law school, long while I think. I must have started reading it a million times before (okay, at least 3). But somehow, I get to about the part where our titular characters meet, and I get distracted and move onto something else. But Neil Gaiman loves this book … and so does everyone else. I must read it! I must! And I have chosen this summer to do it! In my defense, it’s really heavy. Not emotionally – physically, But the concept is really cool – a world where magic is understood to be real, but the physical practice of which is pooh-poohed as layman and not academic. I love it. I just need to finish it now …

Me and Deborah Harkness!!

Me and Deborah Harkness!!

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

   I read the first of this series, A Discovery of Witches, in 2011. Well, I listened to the Audible of it in the car on one of my trips (my final?) home from law school. I instantly fell in love with the characters and the setting – even though it was a long book that dragged a little in the middle, it was a great read and I could not wait for the sequel to come out. And then it did – last year. I even saw Deborah Harkness and had her sign it for me at the Indigo on Bay & Bloor. But I didn’t read it. I am not sure why … I do really want to know how Diana and Matthew will navigate an England from the past, but I guess I know I will love it, and that means it will be that much harder to wait for the third book. Nevertheless – I will finish it! Mostly because someone asked to borrow it and I just have to finish it beforehand …

In the Woods by Tana French

Another one that’s been on my list for a while – this one concerns a man who is now a police officer, but whose story begins when the police find him, as a boy, terrified and gripping a tree trunk in the forest. With a start like that you know I’d have to be crazy not to read more! I have heard wonderful things about Tana French and look so forward to unwrapping this!

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

I will admit – the first thing I noticed about this book was the cover and it made me want to pick it up, It’s divine. Anyways, past that – this story is about a strange mix of a family in 1912 England with plenty of secrets they want to keep hidden and a trainful of survivors that need shelter. It seems like an odd book that also appears very well written and it will be the feather of my cap of my summer reading!

What’s on your summer reading list?

Cheers!

AmmyB

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