Reading Diaries: What We’re Reading this Summer

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Angel: I’ve been pretty focused on upcoming books recently, and a current favourite is The The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennett, Katie Rorick, Rachel Kiley, Touchstone, 2015Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet, based off The Lizzie Bennet Diaries webseries character. I liked it much more than Lizzie’s book, which was released last year, because Lydia felt more real and like she had potential to explore beyond the webseries.

I also recently read the first three books of Shannon Hale’s Bayern series. No idea how I’ve missed reading these, but I’m so glad I picked them up on my best friend’s recommendation. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the female friendships and character arcs in this series, and the romances enhance and never overpower the female characters.

My current reads are Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (coming out in August), In the Unlikely Time by Judy Blume, and In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne M. Valente. It’s been challenging to get back into Bray’s book, because it’s been a few years since I read The Diviners, but I love the world she’s built so I think the challenge is worth it.

Amanda: I had so little time to read this month! Sadly, I had to send some popular books back to the library just after I started them because my time was up. So, I started Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses, but didn’t finish it. I also started this fantastic non-fiction book by Jean Manco called Ancestral Journeys about the genetics, linguistics, and the prehistory of Europe. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to finish that either! Back on the library queue they go.

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison, Tor Books, 2014I had a nasty cold for several days, though, and during that time I took the opportunity to read The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (a pen name of Sarah Monette). IT WAS SO GOOD, even though my cold-addled brain had a hard time keeping track of all the convoluted elven and goblin names and honorifics. The thing I loved about it was that the titular character, Maia, approaches everyone around him with optimism. He’s not stupid or overly trusting, but he chooses to be kind and polite rather than imperially cold. Does everyone love him? No. Is there court intrigue? Yes! But Maia’s kindness pays off, and the author highlights those happy, small, shining moments. It just plain felt good to see kindness rewarded.

While I used to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy every summer, I’ve long since lost that tradition due to a simple lack of time. I am, however, going to re-read one of my childhood favorites, A Wizard of Earthsea. Summers are nostalgic, and I’m looking forward to indulging in that for at least the length of a short book.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda Becky Albertalli HarperCollins 2015Anna: This has been a month of taking WWAC book recommendations. First there was Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and then Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Both were really fun in totally different ways. Simon is just such a sweet, funny kid, and the romance has the perfect amount of YA swoon! I liked how it was sort of a coming out story, but that it wasn’t a doom and gloom coming out story with unsupportive parents or life-endangering moments. Obviously, this is a very real fear for many LGBTQ teens, but it was nice to have Simon’s biggest problem with his parents be that they were just going to be really dorky about it. I finished it and then bought two packages of Oreos within the week. Coincidence? I think not.

And Crazy Rich Asians is a great summer read if you like to read really fun, page turning books over the summer. There is some serious drama when Nick Young, the son of one of Singapore’s richest families brings his girlfriendthe American Born Chinese, and thus, not appropriate for Nick at all, according to his familyRachel to the wedding of the season.There are delicious villains, amazing fashion, and a love story to really root for. The sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, is already out and the library cannot get it to me fast enough.

Like Amanda, I like to re-read some favorites over the summer. I’ll probably read The Time Traveler’s Wife for the fourth or fifth time, because it’s been awhile since I spent a day in bed sobbing. Happy Summer!

After the Golden Age, Carrie Vaughn, Tor, 2011Jen Grogan: I recently read After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn, which is a really fun take on what the life of a perfectly normal daughter of two big golden-age style superheroes would be like. Poor Celia gets kidnapped all the time by criminals who want to get under the skin of her famous parents, and she has such a conflicted relationship with her father in particular that as a teenager she ran off to join up with his supervillain nemesis. Years later, that nemesis is on trial, and Celia’s carefully-constructed normal life (she’s an accountant) is turned upside down by her parents’ superpowers once again, and trying to solve problems her own way without powers. It’s a fun, quick read with a plot that speeds along and a really cute romantic subplot that, I’ll admit, totally hit all my buttons.

Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower was another recent read, an eerily realistic-feeling, post-apocalyptic novel by one of the greats of sci-fi, which (thank goodness) managed to both scary and uncomfortably familiar when compared to where it sometimes feels our modern world is headed, and yet hopeful enough to keep me going and to make it feel like a joy rather than a chore.

I’m also prone to nostalgia kicks over the summer, so I read Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch for the third or fourth time, and I’m planning to reread I Shall Wear Midnight (the most recent to-date of Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books) in preparation for the upcoming posthumous release of the last of the series, The Shepherd’s Crown.

Christa: I had to do a bit of traveling this month, which meant some extra reading time The Just City, Jo Walton, 2015, Tor Bookswhile I hung out in airports and on airplanes. I read Jo Walton’s The Just City, which was BRILLIANT. Seriously, if you want an engaging, thought-provoking, debate prompting, book you need to read The Just City. And then come tell me you read it because I could talk about it for hours and hours. I’m also about halfway through Above Us Only Sky by Michele Young-Stone, which is a haunting novel of one Lithuanian family’s struggle for survival over multiple generations. And I finally read Danielle Vega’s The Merciless, which is about a group of teenage girls who attempt an exorcism. It was way more disturbing and freaky than I thought it would be, and I ended up consuming the entire thing in one sitting.

Now that the weather is finally warm I’ve been assembling a nice collection of books I want to read while lounging around in the sun. I tend to go for more mysteries and contemporary novels in the summer, because they’re so much easier to relax with. I’ve got Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell all ready to go. But I also have a number of fantasy novels I’m dying to dig into as well, like the next book in Erika Johansen’s series, The Invasion of the Tearling.

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