Nothing makes me happier than curling up in the corner of the couch with a good book. I give myself bonus happiness/enjoyment points for nobody being home, roaring fire (chilly days), balmy breeze (warm days), having a few chores to do but nothing so pressing that they can’t be ignored for an hour or two.
Here are a few good reads I thought I’d share in case you too find yourself with a pocket of time this summer, whether it be at home, on the beach, or out on a lawn chair. Enjoy!
The Truth About Unicorns, Bonnie Jones Reynolds (1974): Saw this gem in a catalog I mysteriously began receiving this winter, Bas Bleu. Set in the 20s, it deals with the occult, red-headed women and small town gossip. I found it totally engrossing.
The Help, Kathryn Stockett (2009): Everything you’ve heard about this book is true. I disappeared into its pages and didn’t come back out to reality until it was done. Excellent, excellent book. Note – the author writes a lot of the dialogue phonetically. The sooner you figure this out and accept, the faster you’ll be drawn in.
In The Woods, Tana French (2007): Fantastic read. One of those I read in one sitting, oblivious to everything around me. Set in Ireland, it’s not only a solid mystery, there are all sorts of interesting bits and pieces of Irish culture. Also read her others, “The Likeness” and “Faithful Place.” Can’t wait for her next!
The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown (2009): A follow-up to The DaVinci Code that I really enjoyed. Fast-paced and compelling. As good as DaVinci, and better than his other efforts.
Interred With Their Bones, Jennifer Lee Carrell (2007): Shakespeare lovers, here’s a DaVinci code for you. Interesting and catchy plot. I really enjoyed it. Her latest effort, Haunt Me Still is waiting for me at the library. I’ll update you once I’ve read it.
China Bayles Series, Susan Wittig Albert (1990s on): Another Bas Bleu find. Entertaining mystery series that revolves around the owner of an herb store in a small town who used to be a criminal attorney. Interesting facts about herbs are liberally sprinkled throughout. Strong writing, good plots.
Amelia Peabody Series, Elizabeth Peters (1970s on): Set in England and Egypt from the 1880s to the 1920s, this is one of my all time favorite series. If you’re interested in pharaohs, pyramids and other things Egypt, you’ll love these books. Great writing, interesting plots, strong characters.
Troubleshooters Series, Suzanne Brockmann (2000s): If you ever feel the need to read about super macho Navy SEALs who are completely in touch with their feelings and not afraid to show it, try these books. Tons of action, implausible plots (especially once you read a few), but somehow I still connect with and care about the characters. Good for turning off your brain.
Regency Romances, various authors: My secret guilty pleasure. Don’t judge me. Who hasn’t fantasized about a titled gentleman of unlimited means sweeping us off our feet and giving us everything we’ve ever dreamed of? I do have some standards – actual plot, snappy, witty dialogue, etc. Try Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas (she writes contemporary fiction as well), Stephanie Laurens (although don’t read two of hers in a row or her template becomes glaringly apparent) or Teresa Medeiros.