Friday, September 4, 2015

What I Read This Summer: Fiction

For the month of September we are talking about our favorite summer reads here at the blog. I will freely admit: I am a voracious reader of fiction. I find great enjoyment and value in a good story well told, no matter the genre. However, as I devour one novel after another, I often find I have a problem: I cannot remember what books I’ve read and if I do remember then I have trouble recalling which ones I liked. Sad but true. This is why I keep a Goodreads account. There I can tally both books read and my rated response.

Checking my Goodreads list of books read this past summer revealed a season of slightly disappointing reads. There were several two stars, and this doesn’t include the books I started but didn’t finish and the book I disliked so very much that I didn’t even list it.

My only five star read of the summer was To Kill a Mockingbird. Which makes sense. Isn’t it a five star for us all? I mean, surely I don’t have to tell you to read it, am I right? But then again if you haven’t, then do. Now. Today. It’s a five star and then some. Trust me.

My love for To Kill a Mockingbird aside, here are a few notable fiction reads from my summer reading. I liked them all even if none achieved five star status…

Wolf Hall. Probably my favorite non-TKAM read of the summer. My only quibble, and at times it was a big one, was so many characters with the same names! Of course, in an historical novel I suppose the author hasn’t much freedom in naming her characters. Some have faulted the novel for its exclusive use of “he” in reference to Cromwell. So long as I could keep in mind that the story is told from Cromwell’s point of view, though in third person (“he” instead of “I”) I didn’t struggle there as much as I did with the similar names. Regardless it was a fascinating book about a fascinating character in a fascinating period of history.

We Were Liars. Trust me, the less you know about this one, the better. I knew nothing at all and I could not put it down. If you read it and want to discuss, feel free to email me and we can talk about it, the ending in particular.

A Fall of Marigolds. The stories of two women a century apart, September 1911 and September 2011, are weaved together in this historical novel. Seeing the events of 9/11 unfold in a novel was both interesting and different. A friend of mine told me she thought I would like this one and she was right. I did. How much do I love friends who know me so well to send me book recommendations?

Still Life. I’ve read the first two books in Penny’s Inspector Gamache series and I’m hooked. I love love love a good murder mystery and while these have started a little slowly they have not disappointed. I am looking forward to reading more in the series.

What about you? Do you enjoy a good story well told? Do you have any recommendations from your summer reading? Let us know in the comments! Your fellow fiction fans want to know!

Note: this post contains affiliate links.


  1. I watched the PBS version of Wolf Hall this summer. I would like to read the book.

    1. I recorded the series and have watched part of it. It's really well done. Cromwell is well cast I think.

  2. Have you read "Go Set a Watchman?" I am afraid I will be disappointed because I loved "Mockingbird" so much. Also its publication is not without controversy.

    1. I did read it. I was terribly disappointed and not because of the differences in characterization or anything like that. It's just a poorly written manuscript and I am sad it will be part of Harper Lee's legacy.

  3. Some of my favorites were:

    Emma, Mr. Knightly, and Chili Slaw Dogs by Mary Hathaway: Jane Austen’s Emma set in the modern American South. Quite fun.

    The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson, a retelling of Cinderella.

    The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Took me a while to get into it.

    Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn. Very exciting!

    The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 5: The Unmapped Sea by Maryrose Wood

    I also read Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and Little Dorrit by Dickens, and while I wouldn't list them as top favorites, I enjoyed them to a degree.

    Some of these were audiobooks - being able to listen to them has greatly increased my consumption of classics.

    I have seen the first episode of Wolf Hall but not the rest yet. Very interesting!