The End of a Long, Hot Summer

Is it just me, or did this summer season seem especially dramatic? Ebola outbreak! Russia invades! Marches in the street! People trapped on a mountain surrounded by madmen! The world is burning up, and drowning at the same time!

To forget about all these real-life crises for a few hours, I’d like to find a great, end-of-summer read. What’s the best book you’ve read this year? I need something I can down in one big, escapist gulp of reading. Let me know in the comments. Thanks, and Happy September! 

34 thoughts on “The End of a Long, Hot Summer

  1. I’ve got two for you:
    “Odd Thomas” by Dean Koontz. Now, I normally don’t read supernatural stuff and this was my first Koontz. It was nothing like I thought it would be. The plot is compelling but the characters are truly memorable. It has horror, humor, and a deep sense of humanity. I loved this book. Also a terrific twist at end!

    The other is T. Jefferson Parker’s “The Blue Hour.” It’s a police procedural with a dual protag: a edgy woman cop teamed with a 65-year retired vet, who has terminal cancer, brought back to work one last case. Could not put it down…great characters! I love anything by T. Jeff.

  2. The news is so bad that I don’t watch it anymore. I’ve just started Severed Souls by Terry Goodkind. It’s the umpteenth book in his Sword of Truth/Richard and Kahlan series. He’s one of the only authors I will buy in hardcover…and part of that reason is because his new releases in ebook are too expensive.

    • I even have to avert my eyes on Facebook these days–somehow the FB algorithm has set me up with an endless stream of tales of woe. Doesn’t feel like a pleasant social visit anymore.

  3. It’s more like a sip than a gulp, if it takes more than half an hour to read your kitchen must be on fire or something. But Neil Gaiman’s “Fortunately the Milk” is a hoot. More of a romp than a read. If you want something with more substance, his “Anansi Boys” is terrific.

    Loved “Odd Thomas,” but I found the sequels increasingly less satisfying – rambling and unfocused. And the characters all seem to talk the same. It’s funny when Odd talks that way. It’s a lot less so when everyone does.

    And Spencer Quinn’s fourth Chet and Bernie Book, “To Fetch a Thief,” was delightful, featuring the most unlikely and lovable buddies in the animal kingdom, when Chet and Bernie track down a stolen pachyderm.

    • John: I agree about the sequels…I tried one and it didn’t work for me. The original is just so fresh. He should have let it go…but the series was hugely successful.

  4. I’m not going to make any promises, but I just purchases 3 books by Marian Keyes from our Goodwill Bookstore. I read the back cover of one and I was hooked. Where had these sorts of books gone? Have I been missing out all along?

    The first I just started, Rachel’s Holiday, so can’t tell you much, but this author is funny as hell. I was laughing on the first page. This is going to be a lovely read, I can already tell. But like I say, I’m not promising just yet.

  5. This summer I have loved The Awakening of Miss Prim; The Storied Life of AJ Fikry; Dear Committee Members; the next installment of the Outlander series; the final book in the Magicians trilogy (by Lev Grossman); the next in the Maggie Hope series and the Royal Spyness series. I have also been recommending The Golem and the Jinni to everyone–loved that one!

  6. Kathryn–
    Long, maybe, but our summer here in southeastern Michigan has been anything but hot.
    If you get a hoot out of things British, I recommend Alan Bennett’s novella, The Uncommon Reader. What do you suppose would happen, were the very unbookish Elizabeth, Queen of England to become a big reader? Trust me, it’s hilarious.

  7. The Signature of All Things, by Elisabeth Gilbert. Before this book I thought long descriptions in a book are boring and sometimes complained about too long ones. But this one has so many and every one of them draw me inside and I couldn’t stop reading. Her descriptions in themselves are full of life and discoveries. Amazing! I highly recommend it!

  8. There are so many good books coming out right now my TBR pile is threatening to squash me.

    The sequel to DEAD THINGS by Steven Blackmoore came out a few weeks ago. It’s called BROKEN SOULS and it’s crazy good. Crime noir set in L.A. with a dose of urban fantasy. Eric is a necromancer who returns to L.A. to solve his sister’s murder. Things go quickly downhill from there.

    John Hornor Jacobs just came out with a weird genre mash up called The Incorruptibles. It’s high fantasy meshed with weird western. It’s hard to explain but the story has sucked me in right away.

    Lastly, Matt Wallace is writing a novella series called SLINGERS. It’s about gladiators battling to the death over a live wormhole, and trying to solve a conspiracy when they’re not in the area. It’s so so so so good, and the writing style is unique and perfect for the story. The fourth installment just came out, and the fifth one should release in a few weeks. They’re short, but pack a lot of punch. One of the best things I’ve ever read.

  9. I’m just finishing up HILD by Nicola Griffith, very interesting book about the girl that would become one of the pivotal figures of the Middle Ages: Saint Hilda of Whitby during the post-Roman/pre-Saxon British Isles.

    It is not a short book by any means, 560 pages, but if you like historical fiction and trying to read ancient English names it is pretty deep fascinating story. Or at least it was to me.

  10. Gerald Durrell – my family and other animals is a fantastic read. It covers several years when his family where in Greece, and is hilarious and bitter sweet in equal measure- a bit windy a points when he describes botany but his animals and the people he and his family meet make up for it in leaps and bounds. Also includes his two dogs widdle and puke ( no prizes for guessing why they where named)

  11. The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion. If you haven’t found this one yet, check it out.

    I posted this, and the comment never appeared, so it may be on the thread twice. If so, sorry…

  12. James lee burke – wayfaring stranger
    Jo nesbo – the Son
    Both are brilliant and include engaging romance arcs in the midst of thrilling action. Two of the best

  13. This summer I read “The Testing” series by Joelle Charbonneau. If you think this summer was dark, wait till you read the world of this book! Post apocalyptic horror with a dash of Bad Educational Problems and Hunger Games. The first book isn’t the best written book, but the author really hits her stride later and I left the series on the edge of my seat.

    It does make you appreciate the world we have now and the things we can take for granted. Education, shelter, food, safety, that kind of thing. Good series.

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