Today’s the last day of school for my kids, which means that summer is here! Even though it’s a little chaotic around here with the kids home for the next couple of months, I am out of the classroom and teaching only one online course, so my schedule is lighter than usual and I’m planning to get a lot of reading done.

Click to embiggen.

Click to embiggen.

I took a good long look at what will be landing on our bookstore shelves soon when Woman’s World Magazine asked me to contribute to their Summer Reading issue (it was in your grocery store check-out line this past week!).

There are several important sequels coming out, but for the magazine article, I focused on books that didn’t have any prerequisites.

They only printed two of my suggestions, probably the two they thought would be most appealing to their readers:

Children of Earth & Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay. Bill has already reviewed this. It’s awesome, as I expected.

Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine. I love his short fiction, so I can’t wait for this debut novel which drops on July 12.

Here are the others the others I mentioned to the Woman’s World editor (click covers to view the books at Amazon):

The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North. I’m reading this now and will have a review out soon. It’s about a girl who everyone has forgotten. She exists physically, but mentally leaves no trace in anybody’s brain. This is totally my thing and is very enjoyable so far. I love everything I’ve read by Claire North. Her stories are powerful, thoughtful, clever, and beautiful.

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (June 14). Yoon Ha Lee, a mathematician, is well known for his innovative and elegant short stories, but this is his first novel and I can’t wait. The story is about a spaceship captain who has been disgraced but gets the chance to redeem herself. Forget your preconceived ideas about space opera. Ninefox Gambit should be super cool, super smart, and superbly written.

If a blend of crime fiction, social commentary and alternate history sounds like your speed, one to watch for this summer is Ben H. WintersUnderground Airlines (July 5). Imagine a modern United States in which Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated before the Civil War started and slavery was still legal. In what ways would America be different today and in what ways would it still be the same? Ben H. Winters writes brilliant speculative fiction and I have a feeling that Underground Airlines is going to be disturbing in all the right ways.

Another historical fantasy to recommend is China Miéville’s The Last Days of New Paris (August 9). Miéville is known for his weird fiction, so expect this one to be really bizarre. Set during World War II, it’s about a group of Parisian Surrealists who are trying to fight off Nazi occupiers, so they build a bomb that creates an explosion of psychedelic chaos on the city. Like I said, it’s going to be weird.

If you like ghost stories, take a look at Mary Robinette Kowal’s Ghost Talkers (August 16). This historical fantasy set during World War I is about a woman who helps her country fight the Germans by gathering strategic information from soldiers who’ve been killed in battle.

Another debut novel that I’m really looking forward to is Malka Older’s Infomocracy (June 7), a Sci-Fi political thriller about global political experiments and Big Data. I may be asking too much, but I’m hoping that Infomocracy is the new Neuromancer. I will let you know.

The biggest seller of the summer will almost certainly be a new HARRY POTTER book coming out on Harry’s birthday, July 31. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II is actually the screenplay of a new Potter story being presented on stage in London this summer. The story takes place 19 years after the events of book 7 when Harry is working at the Ministry of Magic and raising his three kids.

So what about YOU? Do you have more reading time in the summer? What will you be reading in the next couple of months? What are you particularly looking forward to? Do any of the novels I mentioned strike your fancy? (And does anyone know what “strike your fancy” literally means? If so, please inform me.)

One commenter wins a Kindle copy of any of the books mentioned here, or a book from our stacks.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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