Are you looking for some ideas for good reads for your summer vacation? Here are 22 of the hottest summer reads for parents for 2015:
Summer Reads for Parents
#1. Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell
In Killing Monica Candace Bushnell spoofs and skewers her way through pop culture, celebrity worship, fame and even the meaning of life itself, when a famous writer must resort to faking her own death in order to get her life back from her most infamous creation – Monica.
With her trademark humour and style, Killing Monica is Bushnell’s sharpest, funniest book to date. This is Bushnell at her best – full of mordant wit, casual sex and highly conspicuous consumption.
#2. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
In this New York Times Bestseller, The Vacationers, two weeks in a remote island villa with America’s most dysfunctional family – what could possibly go wrong? It was set to be the family vacation of a lifetime. From Manhattan to Majorca, two weeks in a remote island villa, with the sort of relaxation, culture and cuisine that only Europe can offer.
At least, that was Franny’s plan. She wasn’t counting on the extra baggage… Warm, wry and glowing with life, The Vacationers is a glorious novel of marriage, friendship, secrets, lies – and love.
#3. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters
The No. 1 New York Times Bestseller Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins is a gorgeous, glamorous novel set in 1960s Italy and a modern Hollywood studio. The story begins in 1962. Somewhere on a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and views an apparition: a beautiful woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an American starlet, he soon learns, and she is dying.
And the story begins again today, half a world away in Hollywood, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot searching for the woman he last saw at his hotel fifty years before. Gloriously inventive, funny, tender and constantly surprising.
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#4. Stoner by John Williams
William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father’s farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely. Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value.
Stoner tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life. A novel to be savoured.
#5. X by Sue Grafton
For Sue Grafton fans, the 24th book in her alphabet detective series starring Kinsey Milhone is due out this August. X is described on Sue Grafton’s website as “Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes.
Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim.”
#6. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
One of the most hotly anticipated novels of 2015, and a true historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.
Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her. Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.
#7. In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
In her highly anticipated new novel, The Unlikely Event, Judy Blume, the “New York Times” # 1 best-selling author of “Summer Sisters” and of young adult classics such as “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” creates a richly textured and moving story of three generations of families, friends and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by unexpected events.
In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling.
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#8. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
freida and isabel have been best friends their whole lives. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions – wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative – life as a concubine – is too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty – her only asset – in peril. And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known…
#9. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller. A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life, as she sees it, is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
#10. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
At twenty-six, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s rapid death from cancer, her family disbanded and her marriage crumbled. With nothing to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to walk eleven-hundred miles of the west coast of America – from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, and into Washington state – and to do it alone.
She had no experience of long-distance hiking and the journey was nothing more than a line on a map. But it held a promise – a promise of piecing together a life that lay in ruins at her feet. Strayed’s account captures the agonies – both mental and physical – of her incredible journey; how it maddened and terrified her, and how, ultimately, it healed her. “Wild” is a brutal memoir of survival, grief and redemption: a searing portrayal of life at its lowest ebb and at its highest tide.
#11. Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson
Two sisters are suddenly sent from their home in Brooklyn to Barbados to live with their grandmother, in this stunning debut novel. This lyrical novel of community, betrayal, and love centers on an unforgettable matriarchal family in Barbados. Two sisters, ages ten and sixteen, are exiled from Brooklyn to Bird Hill in Barbados after their mother can no longer care for them. The young Phaedra and her older sister, Dionne, live for the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah.
Dionne spends the summer in search of love, testing her grandmother’s limits, and wanting to go home. Phaedra explores Bird Hill, where her family has lived for generations, accompanies her grandmother in her role as a midwife, and investigates their mother’s mysterious life. This tautly paced coming-of-age story builds to a crisis when the father they barely know comes to Bird Hill to reclaim his daughters, and both Phaedra and Dionne must choose between the Brooklyn they once knew and loved or the Barbados of their family.
#12. Circling the Sun by Paula Mclain
From the author of The Paris Wife, Paula Mclain’s new novel will be out in July. As a young girl, Beryl Markham was brought to Kenya from Britain by parents dreaming of a new life. For her mother, the dream quickly turned sour, and she returned home; Beryl was brought up by her father, who switched between indulgence and heavy-handed authority, allowing her first to run wild on their farm, then incarcerating her in the classroom. The scourge of governesses and serial absconder from boarding school, by the age of sixteen Beryl had been catapulted into a disastrous marriage – but it was in facing up to this reality that she took charge of her own destiny.
Scandalizing high society with her errant behaviour, she left her husband and became the first woman ever to hold a professional racehorse trainer’s licence. After falling in with the notoriously hedonistic and gin-soaked Happy Valley set, Beryl soon became embroiled in a complex love triangle with the writer Karen Blixen and big game-hunter Denys Finch Hatton (immortalized in Blixen’s memoir Out of Africa). It was this unhappy affair which set tragedy in motion, while awakening Beryl to her truest self, and to her fate: to fly.
#13. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of “autotheory” offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author’s relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson’s account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.
Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson’s insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.
#14. Finders Keepers by Stephen King
A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far–a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in “Mr. Mercedes.” “Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel. Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime.
Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years. Not since “Misery” has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. “Finders Keepers” is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life–for good, for bad, forever.
#15. The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera
Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism–that’s The Festival of Insignificance. Readers who know Kundera’s earlier books know that the wish to incorporate an element of the “unserious” in a novel is not at all unexpected of him. In Immortality, Goethe and Hemingway stroll through several chapters together, talking and laughing.
And in Slowness, Vera, the author’s wife, says to her husband, “You’ve often told me you meant to write a book one day that would have not a single serious word in it . . . I warn you: watch out. Your enemies are lying in wait.” Now, far from watching out, Kundera is finally and fully realizing his old aesthetic dream in this novel, which we may easily view as a summation of his whole work. A strange sort of summation. Strange sort of epilogue. Strange sort of laughter, inspired by our time, which is comical because it has lost all sense of humor. What more can we say? Nothing. Just read.
#16. The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
From the Top Ten bestselling author of The Dovekeepers, to be a television mini-series in 2015, comes a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St Thomas about one of history’s most captivating ‘invisible’ women: Rachel Pissarro, the rebellious, headstrong Jewish mother of impressionist painter Camille Pissarro – who in 1825 defied her insular religious community to follow her heart. Inspired by a true story, this sweeping romance follows the course of one woman’s dramatic life. The daughter of a merchant, Rachel is married off as a teenager to a local widower whose business will help her father’s; she finds herself suddenly running a household and stepmother to three children.
When her husband dies unexpectedly, his 22-year-old nephew, Frederick, arrives from France to settle the estate, only to fall passionately in love with both Rachel and the glorious island of her birth.Their love sparks a scandal in the little town – one that has reverberations halfway across the globe. One of the children of this union is Jacobo Camille Pissarro who, inspired by his mother’s iron will and faith in her own heart, will grow up to become the Father of Impressionism.
#17. The Green Road by Anne Enright
A darkly glinting novel set on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, The Green Road is a story of fracture and family, selfishness and compassion – a book about the gaps in the human heart and how we learn to fill them. The children of Rosaleen Madigan leave the west of Ireland for lives they never could have imagined in Dublin, New York and various third-world towns. In her early old age their difficult, wonderful mother announces that she’s decided to sell the house and divide the proceeds. Her adult children come back for a last Christmas, with the feeling that their childhoods are being erased, their personal history bought and sold.
Anne Enright is addicted to the truth of things. Sentence by sentence, there are few writers alive who can invest the language with such torque and gleam, such wit and longing – who can write dialogue that speaks itself aloud, who can show us the million splinters of her characters’ lives then pull them back up together again, into a perfect glass.
#18. Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman
From the acclaimed author of “Birds of a Lesser Paradise,” a dazzling new collection that explores the lives of unforgettable women in history. The fascinating characters in Megan Mayhew Bergman’s new stories in Almost Famous Women are defined by their creative impulses, fierce independence, and sometimes reckless decisions. In “The Siege at Whale Cay,” cross-dressing Standard Oil heiress Joe Carstairs seduces Marlene Dietrich. In “A High-Grade Bitch Sits Down for Lunch,” aviator and writer Beryl Markham lives alone in Nairobi and engages in a battle of wills with a stallion.
In “Hell-Diving Women,” the first integrated, all-girl swing band sparks a violent reaction in North Carolina. Other heroines, born in proximity to the spotlight, struggle to distinguish themselves: Lord Byron’s illegitimate daughter, Allegra; Oscar Wilde’s wild niece, Dolly; Edna St. Vincent Millay’s talented sister, Norma; James Joyce’s daughter, Lucia. “Almost Famous Women” offers and elegant and intimate look at artists who desired recognition. The world wasn’t always kind to the women who star in these stories, but through Mayhew Bergman’s stunning imagination, they receive the attention they deserve.
#19. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
“It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.” This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets.
From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor. Brimming with all the insight, humor, and generosity of spirit that are the hallmarks of Anne Tyler’s work, “A Spool of Blue Thread” tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.
#20. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
New York Times Bestseller and named one of the 10 Best Books of the year by Michiko Kakutani, this hilarious, wise, and fiercely candid collection of personal essays establishes Lena Dunham—the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’s Girls—as one of the most original young talents writing today. In Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself in a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.
Exuberant, moving, and keenly observed, Not That Kind of Girl is a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the struggle that is growing up. “I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you,” Dunham writes. “But if I can take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile.”
#21. At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen
The new novel from the best selling author of Water for Elephants. A gripping and poignant love story set in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands at the end of the Second World War. After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1944, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already ashamed of his colour-blind son’s inability to serve in WWII. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favour (and generosity) is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces.
In January 1945 they hitch a ride on a ship across the Atlantic while the war is still raging all around them. And Maddie, now alone and virtually abandoned in a foreign country, must begin to work out who she is and what she wants – the vacuous life she left behind or something more real? What she discovers – about the larger world and about herself – opens her eyes not only to the dark forces that exist around her but to the beauty and surprising possibilities of life.
#22. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
#1 New York Times Bestseller. From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the “Lusitania” On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone.
For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the “Lusitania” was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”–the fastest liner then in service–and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of “Unterseeboot”-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the “Lusitania” made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small–hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more–all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, “Dead Wake” brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.