Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Reads For 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! This week's theme is summer reading! I'll freely admit my perception of a beach read is kind of like my perception of a bikini body: while the latter is a body in a bikini, the former is a book on the beach. But I recognize that most people don't plop down on a towel with Jonathan Franzen or Toni Morrison and want something a little lighter to go with their sun and sand, so here are ten books to throw into your beach bag!


Big Little Lies: Before it was an HBO smash (I still haven't watched it yet, but hopefully soon!), it was a book. There's some frothiness and mommy politics, but do be prepared for some darker stuff about domestic and sexual violence. It's easy to dip in and out of and an enjoyable read.

Chemistry: This book is fairly short and never feels heavy, even though it deals with some pretty heavy themes. An unnamed narrator, a Chinese-American Ph.D. student, drops out of her chemistry doctoral program and tries to move forward with her life while examining her past. There's a lightness to the prose and structure that makes it perfect for beach reading.

City of Thieves: A journey and adventure...usually something that makes me roll my eyes and reach for the next book, but this one is executed with charm and verve. The setting is a little grim: Leningrad during the siege, in the dead of winter, but the relationship that grows between the two main characters is lively and fun and friendship stories are a beach read basic. 

The Girls: The heat of summer is all over this book, about a teenage girl who finds herself involved in a Manson-inspired cult and the ways that experience continues to reverberate throughout her life. You can practically feel the sultry warmth of her days on the ranch.

Under The Tuscan Sun: Frances Mayes' memoir about renovating a home in Italy is NOT the same as the movie (there's no real romance element, most importantly), but it is a well-written, pleasant book about something precious few of us will ever do. It's lightweight stuff, so nothing to keep you from remembering to turn over to even out your tan.

The White Queen: Philippa Gregory's historical fiction books are kind of like brain Twinkies...it's not high quality stuff and there's a lot of fluff, but it goes down easy and tastes good. This is the first in her series about the Wars of the Roses and it's not great, but is perfect for some easy reading in the sun.

The White Tiger: For those who enjoy their humor on the dark side, we know from the outset that the hero of this novel is a murderer living in India. How he came to be one, and what became of him afterwards, is the interesting part. It's quick-paced and funny in a twisty way.

The Last One: This was one of my favorite books I read last year, a story about a woman on a Survivor-on-steroids reality show who is in the middle of the wilderness when a catastrophic pandemic strikes. She has no idea and believes the devastation she sees is the result of sadistic producers. It's great.

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine: This book follows a Bieber-esque 11 year-old pop star on his second nationwide tour and the voice that Teddy Wayne creates for his protagonist is amazing. It made me think harder about the way I perceive child stars, for sure.

David and Goliath: I do love me some non-fiction, and this Malcolm Gladwell book about the ways in which we think about strength and weakness and how and why those ways fail is intriguing. He also has an excellent podcast, Revisionist History, if you're into him.

8 comments

  1. Great list! I love Italy, so I might have to give Under the Tuscan Sun a read. =)

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    1. I spent a LOT of the time I was reading it feeling super super jealous that I didn't have an Italian country home of my own!

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  2. So many good books here! The White Queen--yes! Under the Tuscan Sun--yes! (Do Check out Carol Drinkwater's Olive Farm series, too!) Big Little Lies--on my list for summer, though not in my post. David & Goliath--I won this as an award and it's been on my bookshelf ever since. Maybe I'll read it. I'll at least look forward to your review!

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    1. I'll definitely have to check out the Olive Farm books! I actually first experienced Gladwell through his podcast, which I actually think made me like the book more...I could "hear" it in his voice, in a way. It's an interesting read and really made me think about the ways we conceive of strengths and weaknesses

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  3. Someone else said the same thing about beach bodies and beach books. Funny. Great list you have here. I love BIG LITTLE LIES (the book -- haven't seen the miniseries either). THE LAST ONE looks really good and I've been meaning to read THE GIRLS for awhile now. Just haven't gotten to it yet.

    Happy TTT!

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    1. I looooooved The Last One! And really enjoyed Big Little Lies, even though it isn't my "type" of book. Which is why I guess I should read outside my little box more often!

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  4. I've been hearing good things about Chemistry...adding to my TBR! Thanks!

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    1. I'm not quite as high on it as some other people I've read takes from, but I did definitely enjoy it!

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