Summer is well underway and I haven’t even blown the dust off of my TBR (to be read) pile, yet. I only have about a month to go, but I’m determined to make it through at least the five on this list. I don’t have any planned vacation time scheduled, but I like to use the time during my commute for reading. (Yayy for public transportation! I’ll bet you don’t hear that often, huh?)
1. Blankets by Craig Thompson
I discovered Craig’s blog, while he was working on Blankets. I really enjoyed seeing his process in action and loved the pages that he showcased on the blog, but promptly forgot all about him after closing my browser. That is, until I came across Blankets at a local bookstore. From what I understand, it is an autobiographical coming-of-age graphic novel that delves into the themes of spirituality, friendship, and surviving a dysfunctional family. It looks like it’ll be an interesting book. It’s a hefty book, so while I probably won’t be able to finish it by fall, I definitely plan to get through a good portion of it.
At 592 pages, Blankets may well be the single largest graphic novel ever published without being serialized first.
Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith. A profound and utterly beautiful work from Craig Thompson.
2. Wildwood by Colin Meloy
I have a soft spot in my heart for kid’s lit. I love the silly ones as well as the more serious tales among the genre. (I feel the same way about movies geared toward kids. I think I may have a case of the Peter Pan Syndrome…) I like to buy a physical copy of these books, because, generally, I’ll read the book first and then pass it along to a kid that I think will enjoy it. Some books don’t quite make it to that second step, however. I end up falling in love with the book and including it in my personal collection. I have a feeling that Wildwood will be one of those books. I love the idea of secret worlds hiding in ordinary places. I know that it’s a common theme, but I’m a perpetual daydreamer and this plot line gets me every time.
In Wildwood, Prue and her friend Curtis uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call impassable.
3. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Hoarding yummy sweet things? Secret crushes? Books that suddenly appear when you need them? A fairy godmother and a world where red is a magical color? Sign me up! The Sugar Queen seems like it will be a perfect version of a grown-up fairy tale. I originally picked up this book because I liked the cover (I know, I know), but the synopsis on the back drew me in.
Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey’s narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that magical appear when she needs them — and who has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where he color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartoons. And that’s just for starters.
4. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
By now you’ve noticed a definite theme in my summer reading picks. I never outgrew my love for fables and fairytales, so any book that includes a twist on that plot-line is usually a win for me. The Book of Lost Things seems like it will be such a book. Instead of exploring the light, sweet side of things, it seems to take a darker of turn. I can’t wait to see what twists and turns the author has in store for me!
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him. David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.
5. The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
The last book on my list is one I’m excited to start. The synopsis promises a flawed, but lovable main character, a crack-pot family, and an unsolved mystery. Those are the hallmarks of a really fun book, IMO. I also love that it’s an old series. This way if I like the book, I’ll have something to look forward to when I finish it, but I won’t have to wait for the next book to be published.
Meet Isabel “Izzy” Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors—but the upshot is she’s good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people’s privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.
Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who’s become addicted to “recreational surveillance”); and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed “Lost Weekends”). But when Izzy’s parents hire Rae to follow her (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy’s new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there’s a hitch: she must take one last job before they’ll let her go—a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life.