AZ Foothills Magazine Image

Image Credit: AZ Foothills Magazine, 2012

Snotty Literati’s Summer 2013 Recommended Reads

Just about every book-related blogger, publisher, reviewer and magazine is pushing out their Best Summer Reads lists. We thought we would join the foray as booky know-it-alls and share our own recommendations. And we hope you enjoy the list!

More importantly? We hope you will read some of these, agree and tell us we were spot on!

And even more importantly? We hope you will share your favorite summer reads in the comments. Because if there’s anything we love doing more than just about everything else, it’s reading.

LARA: As everyone is packing up to hit the lake, hop on a plane or snuggle up on the couch with a big cold drink… I am asked for some good summer book recommendations. Well, here you go folks! My favorites. So you want to read…

A Memoir That Will Take You Far From Crazy Every Day Life in the Big City

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel. It’s sweet, funny and utterly delightful. Kimmel weaves a great yarn about life in a town of just 300 people that even a consummate city gal can appreciate.

A Book with One of the Prettiest Covers and Best Stories You Will Ever See/Read

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. It looks like chick lit. It’s not. I thought Jess was a girl. He’s not. I thought this would be fluff. It’s not. But it’s easy to read, perfect for a lazy summer day or two, three tops.

A Creaptastic Thriller by Mystery’s New “It Girl”

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Admit it—you thought I was going to recommend Gone Girl. Nope! Sharp Objects came first and it may be creepier than her current hit parade. If you like being weirded out, snuggle up with some Sharp Objects and don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

Historical Fiction About an Architectural Visionary and Total Asshole

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. Aren’t the visionaries typically assholes? If you are a visionary and I am wrong, whoopsie. Horan has crafted a fascinating tale of fact and fiction involving Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress Mamah Borthwick Cheney. There’s drama! Infedelity! Bad mothering! And an ending (that actually happened) that had me blurting out some expletives oh my goodnesses.

A Quirky Book About Love (And I Know You Want to Read About Love)

The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter. Baxter stars as himself, a writer with writer’s block and insomnia looking for his next book idea. Enter Bradley, Baxter’s neighbor who’s out walking his dog also named Bradley. “You should call it The Feast of Love. I’m the expert on that… You should put me into your novel. I’m an expert on love. I’ve just broken up with my second wife, after all.” So begins an elegant and lovely book about the different faces (and feasts) of love.

A Decades-spanning Family Drama by One of the Greatest Writers You’ve Never Heard Of

The Brothers K by David James Duncan blew me away when I first read it. Topping off at 645 pages, Duncan will draw you into a multilayered story of the Chance family, thrown against a backdrop of baseball, politics, religion and glaring family tensions when one son dodges the Vietnam draft and another enlists. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll love it. And if you don’t, don’t tell me.


JENNIFER: Well, summer is about world travel, globe-trotting, experiencing culture, sleeping on trains. Right? No? Uh-oh! My passport has expired! I’m broke! I have kids! For me, summer is scrambling to manage time and trying to occupy my children in meaningful ways that are both fun and educational. But, hey, here are some ways you can still see the world!

Go to Venice: Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. It’s a novella, so it’s short. I am still haunted by this one.

See the World: Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If you haven’t read this yet, what are you waiting for?

Be An Expatriate: Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. In Spain! I’m sure my own writing originated somewhere in here. While you’re at it, tangentially speaking, this is the summer you should also read Hemingway’s friend, Fitzgerald. We’re talking The Great Gatsby.

Do Not Miss Africa: Francesca Marciano’s Rules of the Wild: A Novel of Africa. Just try it.

Stay-cation: Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary. I can barely get you to the vet, let alone the world. Let’s be honest. Africa and Europe are a small fraction of the planet’s offerings. But if you make it to the beach, don’t dumb-down, okay? Try this, if you’re wanting light fare that’s still good. Plus, there’s a new Bridget book coming out in 2014. Go.

Do Some Good In The World: Matt Dojny’s Festival of Earthly Delights. This is almost as fun as sitting on my bum on the couch watching “The Office” with my husband. I felt young again, almost hipsterish, like a crazy American with a backpack.

Whatever you do this summer, find some time to read. And a little more time to tell us what you thought about all those books you dove into.