Stumped about what to read this summer as you relax on a sunny deck or board a flight for your long-awaited vacation? Not to worry! Read on for summer reading recommendations from three authors who really know books.
Book picks from Paula Froelich
"Sex and the City" by Candace Bushnell. The one that started it all. So different from the show but brilliantly written — and it really captures New York women. It's like a time capsule.
"The Spellmans Strike Again" by Lisa Lutz. The Spellmans are the weirdest family — and so fabulous because they're just like mine! Just kidding. This is the latest in the Spellmans series and I seriously bite my nails until the next one comes out. It can put you in a good mood instantly.
"Fly Away Home" by Jennifer Weiner. Jen just writes the way we speak. The people in her books aren't perfect, skinny or fabulous. They're real. And this book — about a marriage falling apart in the headlines — well, hello Tipper!
"The Rehearsal" by Eleanor Catton. OK, I LOVE a debut novel, and this one rocks. Drama and teenagers ... is there anything more interesting?
"Bridget Jones's Diary" by Helen Fielding. Even after all these years I read it again and still laugh my butt off. It just never gets old.
Book picks from Justin Cronin
"Spies of the Balkans" by Alan Furst. Furst is always my summertime go-to. I love good espionage fiction, and Furst is arguably our greatest living spy novelist. All of his books are set in either occupied France or Eastern Europe during the early days of World War II and are so drenched in period atmospheres you can practically smell the Gaulois smoke. His latest, "Spies of the Balkans," is one of his best.
"Angelology" by Danielle Trussoni. A sleuthing nun, a hidden library and a secret society to combat angels-gone-bad — Trussoni's novel is irresistible in both its ingenious set-up and its brilliant execution. My daughter and I went to war with each other on a recent vacation for who would get to read this first.
"Strangers at the Feast" by Jennifer Vanderbes. Following up on the magnificent "Easter Island," Vanderbes has gone in a completely new direction here, telling the story of a single New England family on a collision course with history. It's also the first novel of the recent financial crisis. Funny, mordant and timely, and certain to win her many new fans.
"Lonesome Dove 25th Anniversary Edition" by Larry McMurtry. I first read McMurtry's great epic of the West many years ago on a trip to Italy. I got so lost in its pages that for three full days I lay in my hotel room reading, while outside my windows the glories of Rome went on without me. If you've never read it, now's your chance. If you have, now's your chance to read it again.
"Earth Abides" by George R. Stewart. Stewart's stately tale of the survivors of a global epidemic is a touchstone for writers of speculative fiction, just as thought-provoking and convincing today as it was when it was first published in 1949. It reads like a beautiful hymn to a vanished world.
Book picks from Lisa Scottoline
"House Rules" by Jodi Picoult. A boy with Asperger's syndrome is accused of murder in this beautifully written book about family and the bonds that tie us together — and sometimes tear us apart.
"Deliver Us from Evil" by David Baldacci. This is a straight-up page-turner with a credible and fascinating woman character, Reggie Campion, who has a secret agenda of her own.
"The Lion" by Nelson DeMille. I couldn't wait for this book because "The Lion's Game," its prequel about a ruthless terrorist, was one of my favorite thrillers of all time. You won't be able to put this one down, and you learn about the roots of terrorism to boot.
"Still Midnight" by Denise Mina. This is an engrossing read about a female detective solving a kidnapping in Glasgow, written by an up-and-coming Scottish author who is in a class by herself.
"Live to Tell" by Lisa Gardner. "Live to Tell" features a troubled heroine, Detective D.D. Warren. You'll root for her as she solves a horrible crime that echoes uncomfortably close to home.