Books of the Summer

So this summer, I was able to get back into my "reading groove" - living back home with such a great library has done wonders for me. This summer I read A LOT. But these ones were my favorites and I hope that you guys will think about checking them out!

Incendiary by Chris Cleave - If I had to pick a favorite author, Chris Cleave would certainly make the short list. I love his ability to tie multiple story lines together and explain in depth what characters are feeling, without going overboard and Incendiary is no different. A story about a family of three, living a working-class life in London and how the mother/wife character is able to go on after losing her young son and husband by the hands of notorious criminals in an event that shakes London to the core. This summer I also so the movie based on this book and I must say, it sucked...just read the book.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker - When I first picked up this book I was very skeptical about whether or not I'd like it because it seemed very "end of the world" and "unreal" to me, which I'm usually not a fan of. However, although it does have speculative fiction, it's a beautiful coming of age novel that is written beautifully and has a believable story line. This novel is from the point of view of Julia, a middle-schooler growing up in an average American suburban lifestyle, whose world is totally altered when it has become obvious that the Earth's rotation is slowing. This book is stunning.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - Alright, this was THEE book of the summer. Gone Girl is fantastic. I was hooked to every word and was in love with it from beginning to the very last word. This book is about a marriage gone horribly wrong between Nick and Amy Dunne, and all it comes unraveling on the fifth wedding anniversary. The characters are rich and the plot is thick and surprising. You just must read this one for yourself.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - This one is also a must read. Especially if you're a total nerd. There is an odd subculture revealed to Clay when his life of a web-designer ends and he begins to work the overnight shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Mr. Penumbra is an interesting character who Clay cannot get enough of and soon he his immersed in a secret code-breaking club run through the way-back shelves of the bookstore. Along with this club, Clay finds true friendship and love and something much larger than his humdrum life that he'll never forget. Also, the hardback book cover glows in the dark, so there's that.

Office Girl by Joe Meno - Since this book is so different then any others I've read and there is no better way to explain it, this is what the back of the book actually says: No one dies in Office Girl. Nobody talks about the international political situation. There is no mention of any economic collapse. Nothing takes place during a World War. Instead, this novel is about young people doing interesting things in the final moments of the last century. Odile is a lovely twenty-three-year-old art-school dropout, a minor vandal, and a hopeless dreamer. Jack is a twenty-five-year-old shirker who's most happy capturing the endless noises of the city on his out-of-date tape recorder. Together they decide to start their own art movement in defiance of a contemporary culture made dull by both the tedious and the obvious. Set in February 1999—just before the end of one world and the beginning of another—Office Girl is the story of two people caught between the uncertainty of their futures and the all-too-brief moments of modern life. ...andddd pretty much, read it. It's certainly interesting and unlike anything I'm sure you've read.

Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith - If you're a hopeless romantic, you need to read Trains and Lovers. This novel is about four travelers heading from Edinburgh to London who all meet on the train and have beautiful love stories that tie them all to the locations of where they are coming from to where they are going. This book is just lovely. It's something you can finish in a few day and if you're a sappy girl like me, then you'll be smiling and possibly crying the whole time. It's a great book about how wonderful love can really be. 

I was told there'd be cake by Sloane Crosley - This book of personal essay's had me laughing the entire way through. Sloane's writing really is profoundly genuine and honest and I loved every minute of this book. These essay's are of Sloane's twenty-something lifestyle while living and working in the big city. I loved it all. She is the more "family friendly" version of Chelsea Handler's book(s) of essays and just as witty. After so many novels over this summer, it was good to end the summer with a hilarious book of essays by an extremely relatable woman. 


  1. Hi, Chelsea! I'm so glad that you read and liked Gone Girl! I'll need to check out some of your other recommendations!

  2. These books sound great! I read Gone Girl and oh my was it good! I definitely want to read Trains and Lover, Mr. Penumbra's and Office Girl!

    1. Sara, I'm sure you'd love Mr. Penumbra's and Trains and Lovers! I won't put that guarantee on Office Girl, because although I liked it, I'm not sure that it's widely loved, but check it out and decide for yourself!


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