Summer Book Recommendations: Year 2

Summer has officially come around again, and since we’ve all been stuck at home, some may be running low on books to read.  Just like last year, we have compiled a list of [7] books to read during the summer.  We tried to provide a wide variety of options so regardless of your tastes, hopefully you’ll find something that appeals to you.

–  Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Last year we recommended Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by the same author, and this one is just as good.  This book follows Lois, a woman who is beginning to feel very uninspired by her new job.  In fact, the only bright spot in her daily routine is her regular order of soup and sourdough from two brothers who have started their own take-out service.  After some trouble with their visas, however, the brothers have to return to their home country.  Before they leave they gift Lois their strange sourdough starter, sending her on a wild adventure in which she learns to combine her knowledge of computer programing with baking bread.  This is such an odd yet fun story, particularly for lovers of invention and baking.

–  Desperate Remedies by Thomas Hardy

This is a great option for those who are interested in mysteries and want to get into classics.  This story follows Cytherea Graye, whose father recently died in an accident, leaving her and her brother practically penniless.  The siblings are forced to move in their search for jobs, with her brother getting a job in an architect’s office and Cytherea finding a job as a lady’s maid for a woman who may have a connection with their father.  In a story full of romance, self-discovery, mysterious deaths, and social commentary, Cytherea is a wonderful heroine who is easy to fall in love with.

–  Entwined by Heather Dixon

For lovers of fairytale retellings, Heather Dixon brings the story of twelve dancing princesses to life.  Azalea is the oldest of eleven sisters and works hard to provide them a good example.  When her mother dies in childbirth, however, Azalea struggles to find comfort.  Her greatest connection to her mother lies in dancing, her mother’s favorite pastime.  However, with the castle in mourning she and her sisters are not allowed to dance as they please.  That is until they discover a secret passage that leads to the realm of the Keeper, a mysterious man who seems pleasant at first, but may have a more nefarious purpose than they realize.

–  Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

For those who prefer a more tragic story, Salt to the Sea offers a beautiful set in World War II Germany.  This story follows four characters, each from a very different background, as they participate in Operation Hannibal, an initiative set in motion by the Nazis when the Russians began to pool into eastern Germany.  Though the journey to the coast was difficult, the maritime disasters that came as a result of this hurried operation were some of the largest in history.  This is a beautiful option for those who are interested in World War II historical fiction.

–  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Many have likely read this already, but with the release of A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel following President Snow, those who have yet to read this series have the perfect opportunity to give it a chance.  This story follows a dystopian world in which every year, two children from each of twelve districts are selected to fight in the annual Hunger Games as punishment for previous rebellion.  The games are a fight to the death, with the last boy or girl standing being titled the victor.  Katniss Everdeen is a young girl from District 12 who is just trying to keep herself and her family from starvation.  However, when her younger sister Prim is chosen to be District 12’s female tribute in the next Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to replace her.  This is an incredible, brutal tale of survival, political corruption, and love that will be an easy binge for first-time readers and re-readers alike.

–  The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

What reader doesn’t love a book about books.  This is a gothic tale following Margaret Lea, a young woman struggling to come to terms with her past as she assists her father in running their antique bookstore.  One day Margaret receives a letter from Vida Winter, a popular author notorious for making up stories about her past during interviews.  Though they have never met, Vida is intent on Margaret being the one to tell her true story.  Perfect for lovers of gothic tales, such as Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier,or The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

–  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This is a beautiful historical fantasy following the enigmatic Night Circus.  It comes without warning and is full of wonders and mysteries it would take a lifetime to discover.  Few know the true purpose behind the event.  Two children were chosen at a young age to compete in a magical competition.  The rules are not explained, how the victor will be chosen in unclear, but one will rise above the other.  But, what if the two players fall in love?  This is a beautifully written, atmospheric story that will be easy to fall into.