Last month in the newsletter we asked people what their plans were for reading during the Summer.

Here were the responses:

Denise: We do quite a bit of camping in the summer and there is nothing better than spending a warm summer afternoon reading a good book. I was reading book 14 of Jack Higgins – Sean Dillon series and finished it sooner than expected. The rain decided to arrive for 12 hrs and no book to read. I went to the camp store where they loan books and found 2 books by Harlan Coben – Hold Tight and Just One Look. Finished them both and now looking for more from this new author. (to me)

Fredericka: I tend to stay with my year-around reading program regardless of the seasons. My goal is to read a one fiction and one non-fiction per week. The fiction always goes fast and I’m usually ready for another before the end of the week. However, it is not always the same with the non-fiction. If it is biography I can fly through it. But, if it is what I call a “soul” book it might take me more than a week and with some exception, those are also books that I tend to go back and re-read.

I enjoy your emails, as always – thanks!

April: I keep reading all the same books – whatever comes out new from my authors and then always searching for new series.

For your recommendation corner: the Miss Fortune series by Jana DeLeon are fabulous – good stories, great characters (incl two older women who were spies in Vietnam) and LAUGH OUT LOUD funny. I have been sitting at a restaurant reading and been laughing my butt off while everyone stares at me. Lent them to a friend who was recovering from surgery and she had to stop reading or risk her sutures.

Pam: Hi Graeme, I’ve been reading a new author, for me, Jen Blood, and her 5 books in the Erin Solomon mystery series. I’m on my 4th book already and I can’t put them down!

I also read the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan as they came out over a long period of time…much better to read them now that you can go from one to another right away!

William b: summer reading Waffen SS divisional historys

Tom: Hi. As far as summer reading, it doesn’t matter to me. I likely have well over 100 books, mostly western paperbacks, that need reading. I still go to the library once in a while and check out a few every month. I sometimes feel that since I am retired (older) I need to be more picky about what I read. Still, there never seems to be enough time. Great site.

Stephanie: HI there, you’ve given me pause for thought – it actually has it never occurred to me to plan summer reading, per se, as I read continuously. Right now I am finishing the Greg Iles trilogy, “Natchez Burning”, “The Bone Tree”, and “Mississippi
Blood”. This series is not for the faint of heart; the timeline begins in the 1960’s in the racist South (Mississippi) with a group of ‘elite’ Ku Klux Klanner’s” (don’t mistake the descriptive term ‘elite’ as praise), and then moves into current time with the main protagonist/hero, Natchez mayor, Penn Cage. Iles writes in fairly graphic detail and more than once I’ve had to remind myself I’m reading fiction, not fact. On the other hand, I believe that most of us in this country have no idea of the scope of the horrors visited on black Americans during those times. Iles is quite an incredible and gifted writer. I didn’t mean to get on a soap box, but this series has evoked strong emotions.

As far as my reading list for the balance of summer, even though I’ve read most of Iles books, I ordered used copies of his four books which feature Penn Cage. Also, his trilogy reminded me of another 60’s book which was excellent and almost as painful to read: “Five Smooth Stones”, by Ann Fairbairn; I ordered it along with the Iles books and will read it when I’ve exhausted the Penn Cage series.

I’ve finished reading all of Finder’s books and am on a list at my library waiting for “The Switch” . Finder knows how to ratchet up the suspense, but I have to say many of his books followed the same outline which, to me, somewhat reduces the element of surprise at the end. Still, it’s hard to criticize someone who can concoct, with panache, such a variety of characters and stories.

I really enjoy your newsletter, your take on various authors and your recommendations.

Teresa: I usually read a “beach book” by Dorothea Benton Frank, Elin Hilderbrand, or another author in the contemporary women’s fiction genre. Then back to thrillers and mysteries.

Lynne: I read anything I can find in the various I enjoy Ellery Adams and
John Sandford.

Stephanie: HI there, you’ve given me pause for thought – it actually has it never occurred to me to plan summer reading, per se, as I read continuously. Right now I am finishing the Greg Iles trilogy, “Natchez Burning”, “The Bone Tree”, and “Mississippi
Blood”. This series is not for the faint of heart; the timeline begins in the 1960’s in the racist South (Mississippi) with a group of ‘elite’ Ku Klux Klanner’s” (don’t mistake the descriptive term ‘elite’ as praise), and then moves into current time with the main protagonist/hero, Natchez mayor, Penn Cage. Iles writes in fairly graphic detail and more than once I’ve had to remind myself I’m reading fiction, not fact. On the other hand, I believe that most of us in this country have no idea of the scope of the horrors visited on black Americans during those times. Iles is quite an incredible and gifted writer. I didn’t mean to get on a soap box, but this series has evoked strong emotions.

As far as my reading list for the balance of summer, even though I’ve read most of Iles books, I ordered used copies of his four books which feature Penn Cage. Also, his trilogy reminded me of another 60’s book which was excellent and almost as painful to read: “Five Smooth Stones”, by Ann Fairbairn; I ordered it along with the Iles books and will read it when I’ve exhausted the Penn Cage series.

I’ve finished reading all of Finder’s books and am on a list at my library waiting for “The Switch” . Finder knows how to ratchet up the suspense, but I have to say many of his books followed the same outline which, to me, somewhat reduces the element of surprise at the end. Still, it’s hard to criticize someone who can concoct, with panache, such a variety of characters and stories.

I really enjoy your newsletter, your take on various authors and your recommendations.

Pat: For the last few summers I have enjoyed “visiting” the Deep South. I have fallen in love with all Karen White books, most currently, The Night the Lights Went Out. There is a tenderness in her writing that exposes feelings not always naked. Her presentation of southern life with diplomacy and dripping decorum washed down with Sweet Tea provides a wonderful escape for this Northener.

Sandy: I usually read the extra long books(1000 pages or more) in the summer. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet……..Leon Uris……The Haj……Doris Kearns Goodwin…..The Kennedys and The Fitzgeralds…..Ken Follett….trilogy Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, The Edge of Eternity.
With summer just around the corner , I have to start looking.

Pam R: I managed to miss out on last month’s topic, but I’m in total agreement with those that chose One for the Money as the worst book-to-movie. I’ve read all of the Stephanie Plum series and Katherine Heigl was a terrible choice to play Stephanie. The rest of the cast was just as bad. Talk about a huge disappointment. I’m surprised that Janet Evanovich went along with the casting. Oh well, on to this month’s topic.
I really don’t vary my reading during the summer. My absolute favorite genre is mystery. Right now, I’m making my way through Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series. I had read #1 and then jumped around, finally deciding to go back and read them in order. I’m waiting for #8 City of Bones. I do try to read “new” authors during the summer. Love to read your recommendations, Graeme, and your newsletters. Thanks!

Pam: Yeah, it’s almost summer, but wait, I’m retired so that’s not as much of an issue as it was when I taught for forty years. I pretty much read, read, read and it all depends on what strikes me as something I need to read. I love your Newsletter and have added several authors to my must read list because of you and the comments from your readership. The first six books of Wheel of Time have been on my shelf for several years on the recommendation of one of my students. They just sit there and wait for the right time to be read. Sadly, there are many, many books around here in the same situation. I have a bad habit of picking up a book at the library, reading the first chapter or two, checking it out, and then waiting until it is due to actually read it. By then, there are many, many more books sharing the same fate.

I use Amazon for recommendations, your newsletter, and some sites online that guide me toward new authors. I swear I’m not adding new authors, but then, whoops, there they are. I added Rot and Ruin just now and told my great nieces that they might enjoy it as well. Also, at the end of the newsletter, Phoenix Hocking recommended The Diviner’s Chronicle which looked intriguing. It’s not available at the libraries around here, so it is now waiting its turn on the Kindle.

I’d “talked” to you before about audio books and how much I prefer just having text to speech on my kindle read to me. You were interested for your dad, I believe. I just listened to The Dry by Jane Harper for an excruciating nine hours and 49 minutes. It’s a good book, but I wanted to see the words and look back at a thing or two. I couldn’t do any of the usual things I do when I listen to my Kindle, which include watching TV or a movie. I had to pay attention to the story. I did spend most of the time listening and knitting an afghan and if not knitting, riding my exercise bike so I wasn’t just “trapped” listening to the story. I don’t need dramatic effects to increase the pleasure of books, I just want the story and my own brain takes care of the special effects. I wasn’t sure if you’d tried the plain Jane variety or if you and your dad liked the audio books.

Thanks for the great job you do. I recommend your site to all my reading friends. Actually to non-readers as well in my continuing hope that they will see the light and become readers.

Lindi: My Summer reading list doesn’t vary much from Winter, I just read less in the Summertime. I’m outside more and away from home doing different activities in the Summer. Thus, less time is available for reading. When I feel I’ve been too deprived of reading time, I will have a binge reading weekend. Nothing gets accomplished and I don’t feel one bit guilty.

Kenicia: I tend to read the same type of books in the summer as I do the rest of the year. I am looking forward to reading three new books this summer: “The Painted Queen” by Elizabeth Peters, finished by Joan Hess; “Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz; and “House of Spies” by Daniel Silva.

Katrina: After discovering Outlander as a television series, I hit the books by Diana Gabaldon, of which there are eight. They are around 900 pages long. I am on Book 5 presently and will surely not be finished with them by the end of the summer. They are VERY good!

Judith: Interesting to think of traveling with books and how specific titles become identified in memory with the trips.

I used to photograph archaeological sites and did many long flights to remote locations.

While I never had time to read once on the ground, the long flights were perfect for reading.

My first trip to Peru is connected in memory to the Hamish MacBeth books of M.C. Beaton. Egypt with Jacq Christian’s Ramses series. Greece, James Lee Burke.

I traveled light, so this meant paperbacks.

My summer reading is little different from the rest of the year (I live in Phoenix) other than that there are more new releases noted on sticky notes on my calendar.

I start checking my library about two months out and get on the hold list as soon as the titles appear. I am now #1 for Donna Andrews new mystery, Gone Gull, which is to be released Aug. 1 st.

I have trouble holding large hardbound books, but make the effort with special authors.

I just finished The Marathon Conspiracy in Gary Corby’s wonder mystery series set in the Athens of Pericles and am eagerly awaiting his upcoming Death on Delos. I am #2 on that HOLD list.

I read in a variety of genres but do not like horror, dystopian futures, silly romance (which is most of it), or people shifting into animals.

I enjoy the challenge in good mysteries and interesting characters, and if there is some archaeology or history involved, all the better.

Any cover with a pyramid or sphinx gets my attention, just as I never bother with a book with an over muscled naked male chest, especially with tattoos.

Perhaps someday I will be challenged by a cover with the Great Pyramid in the background and an overly muscled naked male chest sporting a sphinx tattoo.

Katherine: Hi Graeme,

I enjoy your newsletter and use your site often. Thank you so much for this valuable service!

If you haven’t already read them, I think you’ll enjoy the DI Nick Dixon series by Damien Boyd. They’re great AND if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member they’re free. He even has a new one coming out very soon.

Merrie: Hi Graeme,

Love reading your monthly newsletter with great ideas for new authors and series to read.

I like to read new and old books which are available at our local library but not many are available as a Ebook so that limits what I read for free. I’ve read most of the Wheel of Time books up to book 7 or so. I’ll have to start over to reacquaint with the characters and finish the series through large print hardback books since they are not available on Ebook in our library system. That should last most of the summer! Thanks for all you do.

Bren: Alright I just finished David Baldacci’s latest Amos Decker book The Fix – exciting from first page to last, amazing. Jo Nesbo sooo very exciting The Thirst. Now on to
Stuart MacBride A Dark & so Deadly thought it was a continuation of Logan McRae
series but its a different group of constables – we will see as I carry on.

Jackie: Not sure why but during the summer months I find myself re-reading old favorites: James Patterson, John Sanford, Nora Roberts, etc. I do make a point to check out new reads.

I look forward to your monthly newsletter.

Jan: Hi Graham! Been there, done that! But, when the kaos dies down (and the kids go home) its “me time.” Enjoy your book (and a lovely beverage of your choice.)
This summer I have stocked up on all my “old friends”. A new Craig Johnson (Longmeir), CJ Box (Joe Picket), Anne Hillerman (Leaphorn/Chee), Susan Wittag Albert (China Bayles), Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow) and ……my long awaited Dana Stabanow (Kate Shugak)!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t think there would ever be another book from her, it was a few years since the last one. I sincerely hope she continues this series as she has over the past (many) years.
Being retired I thought I would have so much time to read. Boy, was I wrong! My calendar fills up faster than it ever did. My reading time is sacred to me so I have to find a place where no one bothers me (especially my husband) and I can get some quiet time. But when I do I can really get into a story.
So, enjoy summer! Enjoy your books!

Fran: My summer reading does not change much, and depends on how many books my friends and I swap. The only thing I do do, when traveling is I take my kindle as I am older and night vision has lessened. Motels have horrible reading light and I can brighten the screen and enjoy myself. Much better than TV. Otherwise I prefer the written word on paper. I find myself picking books to put on my kindle that I want to read uninterrupted, so a good history etc, or what I call a ‘non think’ book. Just an enjoyable book that doesn’t require much brain matter and is well written. I used to use John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series.
I am a volunteer librarian at a small community library without tax funding and I would hate to tell you the amount of times I recommend Order of Books.com. Patrons love the concept and I have helped many people with it. Would you hate me if I printed your newsletter and left it on our desk?
One item we do is our reading group, we call it the “Senior Book
Break”, does not pick a book. Each month we pick a topic, or genre and each chooses a book relating to our topic. Our moderator then writes them all down and e mails them to everyone afterward so if a book sounds interesting you may pick it up for yourself. What is interesting is if two people pick the same book and get two opinions, such as “Art” had two people read “The Girl With the Pearl Earring” with two opinions or “Bucket List” had two people who wanted to go to Iceland. For June we have chosen “1917, a world of change”. Even my husband goes and we have several men who enjoy the concept of Genre.

Elizabeth G: Hi
I love to read novels set in the city or state where I will be vacationing. I also like to pick a new topic to learn since it is the summer and school is out. Usually it’s related to my career as a school librarian. One year I studied executive functions in children. I’ve also learned about introverts. I also read the Georgia book award books for middle grade readers because they are the books for our reading Bowl.

Elizabeth: My summer reading will consist of cozy mysteries
I prefer the older authors I recently discovered British Library Crime Classic
Two authors are Miles Burton and John Bude
These are great reads for old time cozy mystery fans

Diane: I’m a new subscriber to your site and am really enjoying your recommendations! I’m retired
now, so my entire life is like an endless summer. But this summer I’m focusing on reading books from two of my favorite authors: James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club) and Sara Peretsky.
I’m saving them for my beach vacation. Can’t wait!

Brenda: Graeme
I have to say the most exciting series I have just finished reading was the Greg Iles trilogy beginning with Natchez Burning, Bone Tree & just finished with Mississippi Blood. I could hardly wait for the last book to come out such a thrilling group of stories beginning back in the KKK groups to present day, very very exciting, sad, “oh no” out loud to the end.

Now I am continuing with Jo Nesbo The Thirst, while I await Stuart MacBride, Peter James & Lars Kepler continuing series such an exciting summer of reading!

Deb: Love your site; use it frequently, and have recommended it to members of the four book discussion groups I’m in.

Just discovered a light yet engaging series: Cypress Cove Mysteries (winery-related) by Carlene O’Neil.

Christine: Just finished reading three great mysteries. In their own way they were full of twists and turns and surprising outcomes. As I drew nearer to the end, I couldn’t put the books down. They were Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama, The thirst by Jo Nesbo and an older book, The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. Each book had their own spin on mystery. Great read.

Christine J: I read about the same kinds of books from one month to another. Right now I’m trying to plow through 30-odd library books before they get overdue–mostly Westerns and assorted nonfiction.

Celeste: Two of your authors sound interesting Graham Hurley and Joseph Finder. I am reading the third of the trilogy by Greg Iles, Mississippi Blood, very good so far, but I am a big Greg Iles fan.

Alan: I’m retired so “summer” makes no difference to what I read.
I have recently come across some authors that are new to me, and that I like very much!
Barbara Cleaverly has a police series, with the lead character Joe Sandilands…..its set (the first book) in the early 1920’s in India, (the author and her characters are British) when India was still part of the British Empire, known then as the raj……the first three books are set in India, in that era, and Joe is a detective charged by the British administration with investigating strange things, deaths, etc, that are going on…..these books are fascinating….they’re in a place and a time that hasn’t been “done to death” and so everything is really new to the reader! The characters are believable and the plots are well constructed….of course, like any other young man of that era, Joe is a veteran of WWI, and that colors so much of his thoughts, his life, his dreams, his memories….Then with the fourth book we are back in London, and Joe is working as a detective, but a high level one, there……due to the huge number of deaths in WWI, which is certainly true, many men younger than the average are promoted to positions they would not have normally filled, and Joe is one of them….the remaining four books in the series all remain in England, and the last one is set in the 1930’s with the coming of Hitler and Naziism just beginning to be felt…..I certainly HOPE Ms Cleaverly is going to continue on with this series, its wonderful!

(One thing the three books set in India made me do, was to re read Kipling’s wonderful “Kim”, set in the late 1800’s in India! Just a fantastic book, ignore the outdated language, it was a part of the times.)

Then, based on a review I’d read in the New York Times Review of Books (you can subscribe to JUST that, and it comes out once a week) I read “The Long Drop” by Denise Mina. It is a true crime book, but far, far better than almost any of the others, except Truman Capote’s groundbreaking “In Cold Blood” (also highly recommended!)…..”The Long Drop” is about a serial killer in Scotland in the mid 1950’s…..Ms Mina really “gets inside his head” and also is very sympathetic to his old parents…who can’t understand him. He’s a true psychopath, but not the “modern American” type, no really gruesome torture killings at all…..It is a very, very good and thoughtful book, I’d highly recommend it!

Finally, I read Denise Mina’s two series, both set in Scotland, where she is from. The first and by far (in my opinion) the best, is a detective series, with the main character being Alex Morrow, a female detective…..the books take place in the 1980’s-1990’s…..and are very good, with excellent characterizations and plots.

Denise Mina’s other series has as it’s main character, a young Scottish woman of Irish descent, named Paddy Meehan, who works for a newspaper in the 1980’s when they were all beginning to lose readers to the internet, and thus have to let go large numbers of staff. She becomes involved in crimes, as part of her work in the crimes section of the newspaper. Interesting look at the now dead and gone culture of the old newspapers, and at the relationship between police, criminals and journalists!

I also TRIED to re read all the Peter Robins books about Inspector Banks, in order, but its a HUGE list! I hadn’t remembered how huge! Got through most of them, however, and have to recommend them to anyone who hasn’t read them. They are set in England in “modern” times.

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Summer Reading Plans
  • Thérèse

    This summer I will wait anxiously (as usual) for the August release of the newest Louise Penny book about Armand Gamache et al in Three Pines. I am constantly amazed at the depth and empathy portrayed by Gamache and how real a person he and so many of those in this series are. The food described always makes me hungry and the characters are now old friends whom it’s easy to care about and want to see what happens next. Penny’s easy humour travels throughout the books and I think this year I’ll begin by reading the first book Still Life and following the series from there until the release of her newest Glass Houses. My only fear is that she’ll eventually stop writing these books! They are such an enjoyable presentation of mystery books with an excellent balance of depth and humour.