Now that we’re moving into summer and have crossed off books from our Spring TBR piles, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is focused on the books we’re planning to read this summer. Let’s take a peek at some of the July and August titles I have lined up (which happen to be falling a little on the chunky side).
“Makkai returns with an ingenious novel set on an historic estate that once housed an arts colony. Doug, the husband of the estate’s heir, desperately needs the colony files to get his stalled academic career back on track. But what he discovers when he finally gets his hands on them is more than he bargained for. Doug may never learn the house’s secrets, but the reader will, as Makkai leads us on a thrilling journey into the past of this eccentric family.”
“It’s 1980 at a crowded amphitheater in Queens, New York and a nervous Josiah Laudermilk, age 12, is about to step to the stage while thousands of believers wait to hear him, the boy preaching prodigy, pour forth. Suddenly, as if a switch had been flipped, Josiah’s nerves shake away and his words come rushing out, his whole body fills to the brim with the certainty of a strange apocalyptic vision. But is it true prophecy or just a young believer’s imagination running wild? Decades later when Josiah (now Josie) is grown and has long since left the church, he returns to Queens to care for his father who, day by day, is losing his grip on reality.”
“Jess Frobisher is a botany professor at the local university. Her husband, Liam, works for a space tourism company called Spaceco, which has just become front-page news: one of their shuttles exploded shortly after liftoff, killing everyone on board. The press descends. With the future of the company in doubt, a husband-and-wife filmmaking team approaches Liam about making a Spaceco documentary. Seeing this as an opportunity to salvage the company’s reputation, Liam agrees to cooperate, allowing them access to his homelife and his family. And Jess soon becomes a focus of their film, even as—or perhaps because—she is excluded from her husband’s darkest secrets.”
“It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin. But Naamah, even wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to ever tame her, to ever make up for all that she, and they, have lost.”
“Owen Burr, a towering athlete at Stanford University, son of renowned classicist Professor Joseph Burr, was destined to compete in the Athens Olympic Games of 2004. But in his final match at Stanford, he is blinded in one eye. The wound shatters his identity and any prospects he had as an athlete. Determined to make a new name for himself, Owen flees the country and lands in Berlin, where he meets a group of wildly successful artists living in the Teutonic equivalent of Warhol’s Factory. An irresistible sight—nearly seven-feet-tall, wearing an eye patch and a corduroy suit—Owen is quickly welcomed by the group’s leader, who schemes to appropriate Owen’s image and sell the results at Art Basel. With his warped and tortured image on the auction block, Owen seeks revenge.”
“In 1922, when eleven year-old Lucy is sent to Egypt to recuperate from typhoid, she meets Frances, the daughter of an American archaeologist. The friendship draws the impressionable young girl into the thrilling world of Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, who are searching for the tomb of boy pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings. A haunting tale of love and loss, The Visitors retells the legendary story of Carter and Carnarvon’s hunt and their historical discovery, witnessed through the eyes of a vulnerable child whose fate becomes entangled in their dramatic quest. As events unfold, Lucy will discover the lengths some people will go to fulfill their deepest desires—and the lies that become the foundation of their lives.”
“The only Terrebonne who made it out, Alma thought she was done with Montana, with its bleak winters and stifling ways. But an unexpected call from the local police takes the successful lawyer back to her provincial hometown and pulls her into the family trouble she thought she’d left far behind: Her lying, party-loving sister, Vicky, is dead. Alma is told that a very drunk Vicky had wandered away from a party and died of exposure after a night in the brutal cold. But when Alma returns home to bury Vicky and see to her orphaned niece, she discovers that the death may not have been an accident.”
“In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: the North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans, although theories abounded. The foremost cartographer in the world, a German named August Petermann, believed that warm currents sustained a verdant island at the top of the world. National glory would fall to whoever could plant his flag upon its shores…On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of ‘Arctic Fever’…Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached…Facing everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and frosty labyrinths, the expedition battled madness and starvation as they desperately strove for survival.”
“Fives and twenty-fives mark the measure of a marine’s life in the road repair platoon. Dispatched to fill potholes on the highways of Iraq, the platoon works to assure safe passage for citizens and military personnel. Their mission lacks the glory of the infantry, but in a war where every pothole contains a hidden bomb, road repair brings its own danger. Lieutenant Donavan leads the platoon, painfully aware of his shortcomings and isolated by his rank. Doc Pleasant, the medic, joined for opportunity, but finds his pride undone as he watches friends die. And there’s Kateb, known to the Americans as Dodge, an Iraqi interpreter whose love of American culture—from hip-hop to the dog-eared copy of Huck Finn he carries—is matched only by his disdain for what Americans are doing to his country.”
“Through the Learys, novelist Matthew Thomas charts the story of the American Century, particularly the promise of domestic bliss and economic prosperity that captured hearts and minds after WWII. The result is a riveting and affecting work of art; one that reminds us that life is more than a tally of victories and defeats, that we live to love and be loved, and that we should tell each other so before the moment slips away.”
What books are you planning to read this summer?