I have no real definition of a “summer read.” Whatever I happen to read is a summer read to me. But I do find that in the summer, I read a wider variety of genres. I hop from one to the other and back again, which feels like a far richer experience.
Here’s what I read in June:
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Arthur Less, an author of limited renown, receives an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. Instead of going, he decides to accept every other invitation he’s received. While traveling the world, he turns fifty and figures out his life isn’t over yet. This novel is gentle, charming, and satisfying.
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
College friends meet up for a New Year’s getaway at a remote estate in Scotland in the midst of a storm. Like any good homage to Agatha Christie, one friend ends up dead. Which person is the victim? Who is the killer? An intriguing locked-room mystery with plenty of cold weather to counteract the summer heat.
The Killer You Know by S.R. Masters
I checked this book out of the library because I thought it was something else, but I ended up reading it anyway. Childhood friends meet up as adults (for New Year’s–I’m sensing an accidental theme in my reading). When Will doesn’t show up, other three friends remember that he once told them he was going to murder three people and nobody would ever know it was him. They start digging and discover that maybe Will has already killed twice. They have to stop him before he gets to three. Of course, nothing is quite as it seems.
The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
This book is terrifying. I’m glad I read it, though, and not just because Lewis is an incredible reporter and writer. It’s a great resource for learning about what U.S. federal government agencies do. (Answer: a whole lot.) The Trump administration, in typical fashion, has either filled agencies with unqualified people who are destroying years of important work (either by design or by incompetence), or the departments are just languishing with nobody at the helm. It turns out that I can still be surprised by how many ways the Trump administration is destroying America.
Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly
Billed as a psychological suspense novel, Stone Mothers is about a woman who is still reckoning with decisions she made as a teenager. Told from different voices in different time periods, the narrative weaves threads of a mystery into a larger commentary about mental health treatment.
The Remains of the Day by Kizuo Ishiguro
I read this years ago, but I decided to re-read it after seeing it on a list of summer reading for AP English. I’m not sure I would have appreciated this as a teenager. It’s quietly brilliant because it’s so contemplative. As a high school reader, I would have been too focused on finding the plot. It’s a lovely portrait of a middle-aged man, Stevens, taking a motoring trip to visit a former friend while he reflects on his life as a butler and his work supporting a so-called great man.
My favorite book of June was, hands-down, The Remains of the Day.
Happy Reading in July!