Summer Book Reading Suggestions, Part 2

John Hartness

Summer is the perfect time to start a new book, and if you're looking for your next page-turner we have you covered. Earlier in the week, we shared the first half of our summer reading recommendations, and below you can find Part 2 of our list. Who knows, you may just find your next favorite book!

The Martian by Andy Weir

Far from the heady stuff of Harper Lee and Annie Liontas comes the popcorn movie of our list, Andy Weir's blockbuster novel (and soon to be blockbuster movie featuring Matt Damon) The Martian. This science fiction story tells the tale of astronaut Mark Watney, who becomes separated from his team in a dust storm on Mars, and is left behind, thought to be dead. With only a few days' worth of supplies and no way to communicate with Earth or the rest of his team, Watney has to figure out how to make food, water and air on an inhospitable planet millions of miles from home.

The Martian is full of some pretty hefty science, as befits the computer programmer son of a particle physicist and an electrical engineer. But while the science is there, it never overreaches the character, and it's the spirit of Mark Watney that takes what could have been a simple MacGyver in Space story into a poignant tale of a man doing everything he can to survive, and the men and women on Earth working to bring him home. One of the best sci-fi books I've read in years, this one will keep you turning pages in your lounger long after your sunburn kicks in, so pay attention or your back will look like the surface of Mars!

Dietland by Sarai Walker

If there's anything I don't want to read on the beach, it's another book about dieting or beauty. Dietland is this year's exception. A hilarious satire of the beauty industry and America's weight loss obsession, Dietland tells the story of Plum Kettle, an overweight adult woman answering fan mail for a teen girls' magazine while she awaits her weight-loss surgery.

Plum falls down a rabbit hole of rebellion against body image stereotypes and contemporary definitions of beauty when she joins Calliope House, a group of women dedicated to living their lives their way. As she goes through various "challenges" at Calliope House, Plum becomes unwittingly involved in a terrorist group dedicated to changing the way the world treats women. Her personal journey of self-discovery and society's journey to self-destruction collide with explosive results in a conclusion that's both poignant and parody.

Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin

Delving into the darker side of antiquing is Gail Z. Martin's Deadly Curiosities, the first in a new urban fantasy series centered around Trifles & Folly, an antique store in Charleston, SC with a secret side. In addition to selling some of the finest antiques in the low country, proprietress Cassidy Kincaide is a psychokinetic — someone who can read the history of an object through touch. Cassidy works with her business partner Sorren, a centuries-old vampire and mostly reformed jewel thief, to take dangerous objects out of circulation and neutralize them before they can hurt anyone.

When an evil statue spawns a series of murders in their beloved Charleston, Cassidy, Sorren and the rest of their team have to step up and shut down the evil forces attacking their city before anyone else gets hurt. Perfect for fans of Faith Hunter or Kim Harrison, this urban fantasy features a tough female lead, a fun and interesting supporting cast, and a neat twist on magic that left me wanting more.

Fugitive Colors by Lisa Barr

History plays a huge part in Lisa Barr's debut novel Fugitive Colors, a tale of love, loss and art in Europe in the 1930's. A trio of artists and friends from France, America and Germany converge on Paris looking for inspiration, fame, and love and finding jealousy, self-destruction and pain. The warp and weft of three young male artists and the two women they love and vie for is set against a backdrop of the growing Nazi power and Hitler's destruction of contemporary German artists. Fugitive Colors is a book with enough twists, turns, romances and betrayals to keep you reading by flashlight as the high tide rolls in over the bottom of your chair.

Those are just a few of our favorites this summer, I hope you have a great vacation and read something awesome!

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