Friday, May 22, 2009

Kicking Off Summer (Reading)

The smartest thing Entertainment Weekly ever did was convince Stephen King to write for them. Whether or not you like his books, you have to admit Uncle Stevie is an interesting guy. Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, King gives us seven books that he thinks we should read this summer. And heck, because I'm a librarian, it's my blog, and frankly, because I can - I'm going to provide some commentary on his selections. Here we go:

Shatter by Michael Robotham

Uncle Stevie Says: "Gideon Tyler, the deranged villain of this exceptional suspense novel, is a devil so persuasive he's able to talk his victims into killing themselves."

Wendy Says: I don't drop the F-bomb on this blog very often, but what the hell? This sounds fucking fabulous! Suspense in the summer is like chocolate and peanut butter. They just go together.

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson

Uncle Stevie Says: "Swashbuckling pirates with candles in their beards, a smart and beautiful young woman liberated from slavery, kinky sex, sword fights, double-dealing...and a stirring account of how rational scientific thought was born. All told with a sense of humor. Very cool."

Wendy Says: It's ambitious, over 900 pages and not my thing. But Stephenson has quite a loyal following, so no arguments here.

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer

Uncle Stevie Says: "Here's the best spy novel I've ever read that wasn't written by John le Carré."

Wendy Says: A coworker read this recently and told me at a meeting that he frickin' loved it. It strikes me as a thinking man's beach read. If my Dad read fiction (which he generally doesn't) this is one I'd get for him.

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

Uncle Stevie Says: "His most sentimental, absorbing, delightful novel...and yes, you will like it....explains the whole Bernard Madoff mess. If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'."

Wendy Says: OK Uncle Stevie, you've lost me. The two best things about graduating from college? That I was finally done and that no one would be able to force me to read Charles Dickens ever again.

Drood by Dan Simmons

Uncle Stevie Says: "Simmons is always good, but Drood is a masterwork of narrative suspense. It's a story of Egyptian cults, brain-burrowing beetles, life-sucking vampires, and an underground city beneath London...or is it?"

Wendy Says: Historical thriller starring Charles Dickens (him again?) and Wilkie Collins. Got fabulous reviews. Strikes me as a bit "dense" for a summer read though. But that's just me.

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

Uncle Stevie Says: "Fans of both Marley & Me and The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency are going to fall head over heels in love with this hard-boiled detective novel, which is narrated by the PI's smart (if sometimes forgetful) mongrel sidekick, Chet."

Wendy Says: Outside of children's picture books I don't "do" talking animal stories. I mean, how bloody precious can you get? That said, I ordered a lot of copies of this for work. Excellent reviews and anything with what I call "The Dog Gimmick" seems to be circulating well these days. To each his own.

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

Uncle Stevie Says: "You men out there who think Ms. Picoult is a chick thing need to get with the program. Her books are an everyone thing, and the current offering — about a little girl whose bones are so brittle that they break almost at a puff of wind — is her best since My Sister's Keeper."

Wendy Says: Kudos to King for recommending this book to a male readership, whom I suspect would rather be boiled in oil than pick up a Picoult title. That said? Picoult sets off my "weepy" alarm. And while "weepy" is OK - it's typically the last thing I want to read during the summer. I want all the good stuff - sex, violence, fun, fast, flirty....not weepy. Yes, it's true. I really am that shallow.

So there's King's list. Gotta say the only one here that truly excited me is the Robotham title (I am so requesting an audio copy from work). What about you? Any of these look interesting enough to add to your summer reading list?


Lori said...

Oooh... noting both Shatter and The Tourist. It's nice to buy a book every now and again that both me and my hubby might like :)

Lana said...

I recently finished Drood - and I wouldn't call it a summer read. It is dense, and while it's interesting, it's the sort of book best appreciated in dreary creepy fall weather, I think...

Barbara said...

Robotham's book does sound good. I still have Koontz's Your Heart Belongs To Me waiting in the TBR. I'm thinking this weekend would be the perfect time to read it. Hopefully. If time allows.

Enjoy your weekend Wendy!

Kwana said...

You crack me up with your Uncle Stevie. Great post!

Kati said...

Ummm, no. Not for me. But I'll be eternally grateful for King last year saying: "Nora Roberts is cool. I don't make the news, I just report it."

So, he can recommend whatever he wants. The last Jodi Picoult book I read, I literally had snot running from all of the crying. This is why I love romance. I might tear up occasionally -- but it's not a Bataan Death March of sadness.

Amie Stuart said...

I"m thinking SHatter is a must pick up!!

BUt Picout - I love me some women's ficiton but i want a happy ending of some sort. I've managed to avoid the kool aid and probably will continue to do so. I actually had a cousin with a bone disorder like that. He wasn't supposed to live past his teens, but did.

AnimeJune said...

I read "Quicksilver" and I agree - well-researched, intricate ideas - and I was so incredibly bored with it. Someone told me, "Oh, he gets better in the second book," and I couldn't help but think, "Honey, if you can't grab a reader within the FIRST 900 PAGES that's a failing on your part."

SarahT said...

Thanks, Wendy. I hadn't seen that list. My husband has 'Drood' and loved it. I've made a note of 'Shatter' and 'The Tourist' as they sound interesting.

Sarah said...

The Tourist sounds really interesting to me, as does Shatter. Very outside my normal romance or YA genre, but I need to branch out more.

The Picoult... ugh. I know she has a great following, but I have gorged myself on all the Picoult I can take for a long time to come.

Lil Sis said...

Did I NOT just tell you that Dorritt would make a comeback?!?! Damn! I need to write for a magazine. :)

Oh, and the Dog On It sounds like my cup of tea...might have to pick that up. Oh, and finished the first Gerristsen - not bad for romantic suspense but there are NO twists/surprises...but not bad for a beach read.

Samanthadelayed said...

Quicksilver has been on my TBR pile for a while, I have put it off for so long because not only is it a huge book, the writing is tiny! The eyestrain and carpal tunnel I would acquire might not be worth it. I may have to wait til I have an ebook reader.
As for Jodi Picoult, I read one of her books and really wasn't very impressed. Not sure I could do another one.

Wendy said...

Thanks for all the comments everybody! I've put my name on the waiting list for the audio copy of Shattered at work. I'm toying with the idea of The Tourist. Spy thrillers aren't my normal cuppa, but it did receive excellent reviews before King's recommendation.

And LOL at Kati for "Bataan Death March of sadness."

nath said...

Hey Wendy :)

Saw your post, decided to give a try to the Jodi Picoult because I want to read My Sister's Keeper, but it's been out of the library so I have to wait.

Anyway, you're absolutely right that the book IS NOT a beach read. Seriously, I read the blurb and some spoilers on the net and I don't think I'm going to read it at all ^_^;