Summer Reading

June 3, 2012

A few of you kind souls have shared with me that you visit Bedside Table Books on your phones when you’re standing in front of the bookshelf in a store or library … that you drop in to the site to find a few recommended titles. If this sounds like you, then bookmark this entry. I dedicate the following list to the shelf-stalkers!

It’s that time of year again – the Summer Reading Lists are emerging everywhere in the media, on-line and off. I’ve been collecting titles that have piqued my interest in some way for months now and thought I’d just post the whole darn catalogue here for you to ponder along with me. Now a few of these are sooo fresh off the press that they haven’t quite made it to the shelves yet so be patient – a list this long is going to take us a while to get through, maybe until next summer! Some seem plain old fun (beach worthy) and some seem thought-provoking (for rainy days) – the whole gamut. So dust off ye olde beach bag and start packing!

Please feel welcome to add your own recommendations and discoveries in the Comments! (As always, click on the cover to learn more about the book)



Remember Beachy Book recommendations from last year? Refresh your memory here.

Beachy Books

June 17, 2011






These new releases or new-to-paperback releases are just itching to be read this summer – they’re clearly suited up to fit in at the beach! Even if a sand and surf locale isn’t in your travel plans you can vicariously be there in these pages. If you want to know more about each title just click and be taken to its description.

Summer is officially on the horizon and you will have noticed the newspapers and magazines launching their annual “Best Summer Reads” issues. I am working on my own personal summer reading plan and my boys have received their school summer reading lists … what books are on your beach bag agenda?  Send along your thoughts and we’ll put together our own recommendation list in a future post.




Thank you to those of you who shared some of your summer suggestions (posted last time). Today I am sharing my stack of  paperback hope-to-reads-by-end-of-the-summer.  As I see them all together I realize the covers don’t look particularly chipper considering this is the season for light and bright! Better send me your bubblegum coloured chick lit suggestions to perk things up around here …

Meanwhile, here’s my list and why each one made the cut:

Silas Marner by George Eliot – A classic. I’m hearing quite a bit about a return to reading the classics missed (or avoided?) through the years. This was a gift from a dear English friend and I’ve harboured great guilt in not yet having given it it’s due attention.

The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser – On the night of March 18, 1990, a pair of thieves disguised as Boston police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and roamed the Museum’s galleries, stealing thirteen works of art. The stolen works include some of the most important in art history. I visited the museum around this time (not guilty!) and absolutely loved it. Am intrigued by this unsolved mystery.

Same Kind Of Different As Me: A Modern-day Slave, An International Art Dealer, And The Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall and Denver Moore – A wealthy businessman is encouraged by his wife to volunteer with the Union Gospel Mission. He meets a homeless man there who becomes deeply intertwined in his life. “A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.”

The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee – A tale of love and betrayal beginning in war-torn Hong Kong of 1942 and carrying on to a decade later when “impossible choices emerge-between love and safety, courage and survival, the present, and above all, the past.”

At Least in the City Someone Would Hear me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life by Wade Rouse.  Wade Rouse captured my heart at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference and I’ve been looking forward to the guaranteed combination of laughs and poignancy in this newly released paperback.

The Various Flavors of Coffee by Anthony Capella – The worlds of business and romance and coffee in end of the 19th Century London and beyond.  I’m thinking an entertaining recipe! 

The Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick – A  “man of means” from Wisconsin seeks a wife through newspaper ads in the late 1800s and selects one who is not all that she says she is.   

The Secret Daughter by Shalpi Somaya Gowda – A Globe and Mail bestseller for many weeks now. The story of a child born in a small village in India and given up for adoption to a woman doctor in America. “The story moves between the two families, one struggling to eke out an existence in Mumbai, the other grappling with the challenge of raising a brownskinned child from another culture.”

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, And Madness At The Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson- I ended a recent visit to Chicago with a desire to read about some of the lively characters that populated its history. “Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, this spellbinding bestseller intertwines the true tale of two men–the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World”s Fair, striving to secure America’s place in the world; and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death.

What are you reading this summer?

    Here are the most popular responses to Bedside Table Books’ request for summer reading recommendations – they either appeared on your wish list or you wished to share them with others…

  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, otherwise known as The Millennium series by Stieg Larsson – overwhelmingly the choice of the summer. One devotee among you has located another Swedish writer with a thrilling series on the go: Death Angels and others in the Erik Winter series by Ake Edwardson. She aims to compare the two.

   Another huge hit of this summer is unfolding: Justin Cronin’s The Passage. This is apparently the first in a series yet to be entirely released. Described as a thriller, post apocalyptic, and featuring some of the scariest monsters ever – enthusiastically cheered by those who’ve read it. Stephen King is a fan and writes: “Read this book and the ordinary world disappears”.

      The Help by Kathryn Stockett –  Another candidate for most-talked about book this summer. “A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope.” I have personally been encouraged to read this numerous times and can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Many of you are reading this and unanimously telling me it’s a great read.  The House at Riverton is another of Kate Morton’s popular reads.

     Open by Andre Agassi. The tennis great reveals all … and more! Eye-opening I’m told.

     Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream  both by Barack Obama. Immensely readable, timely and inspiring. Politics aside, Mr.Obama has a gift for words worth considering.

   New York by Edward Rutherford (also London, Sarum, Russka etc) Reminiscent of James Michener – long sagas of fictionalized history. Great characters spanning generations as history unfolds. Huge dedication to research here.

    The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay is a classic and yet his newer works, Whitethorn for instance, are also coming to be considered classics. A fantastic storyteller who fills thousands of pages with captivating characters and adventures. Trivia note: Courtenay didn’t start writing until he was fifty-five! Love him already.

More summer reading recommendations next time!

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