Thoughtful Thursday: Summer reading giveaway!

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.


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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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12 comments

  1. Oh, great list! I really want to read The Sudden Appearance of Hope, Underground Airlines and have been eyeing Infomocracy

  2. Alan Blank /

    Hoping to get my hand on Ninefox Gambit or Underground Airlines this summer.

  3. Von Berry /

    Nice collection.

  4. April /

    My summers are pretty much just like the rest of the year so I don’t generally get more reading done.

    However, I’m always looking forward to books so in addition to the Harry Potter and Nine Fox Gambit above, I’ve got these on my radar:

    Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter (first of a new series)
    The Dragon Round by Stephen Power
    Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
    The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovich (yay new Peter Grant!)
    Steeplejack by AJ Hartley

  5. margo /

    I’m planning to do more writing this summer, but I’ll keep reading as well. I’m looking forward to Kay’s Children of Earth and Sky on your list, and to NK Jemisin’s Obelisk Gate, which is not on your list. I have such a big TBR that I’m trying not to add to it. And I have Hugo reading to do! I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read 2 of the novels yet. Such wonderful problems to have, no?

  6. Nicholas Talty /

    Well, “to strike your fancy”. This term comes from old Celtic and the idea of melta-sic tunketo which roughly translates to being lucky enough to be struck by lightning; colloquially meaning being struck by something rare and beautiful. So there’s that.

    I actually have recently started Children of Earth and Sky and it is a beautiful and engaging novel. I’ve heard much about GGKay, but haven’t gotten around to reading his stuff, and I’m glad that I picked up this new book by him. I’m also incredibly excited to be starting Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell, and can’t WAIT for Mark Lawrence’s new Wheel of Osheim! :)

  7. RedEyedGhost /

    I’ve already purchased, but haven’t read The Sudden Appearance of Hope. I hope (no pun intended) that it’s more on the level of Harry August than Touch.

    I’m probably most looking forward to The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch.

  8. I’ve already read Key’s Children of Earth and Sky, and I loved it.
    Anything from China Mieville will get my attention.

    I’ve Anthony Nanson’s Deep Time to finish.

    Also, it looks like it’s going to be a summer of catching up with series/trilogies:
    – Brian Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
    – Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and the Coin
    – James S. A. Corey’s The Expanse

    And certainly some, mostly horror, great anthologies.

    Ah! I wish I had more time in my hands. *sigh*

  9. Sandy Giden /

    I actually get less reading done during the summer since we’re busy outside.

  10. Alan Blank, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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