CGM Summer Book List for the Non Literary

OK, don't flame me for the "nonliterary" part in the headline, but I couldn't come up with a better (or shorter) way to put "...for the readers like me who are sick-and-tired of seeing summer reading suggestions filled with books more fitting a college course or that I need a dictionary alongside, than sitting poolside with a frozen strawberry margarita."

I mean, really, I'm sure there are plenty of readers who at this time of year like to pick up a heavy (read: high-falutin') book that has been critically praised in all the biggie places like New York Times Book Review, New Yorker, People, Oprah, etc... And I spend quite a bit of my time reading and reviewing "those" kind of books for work or if it's a particular author I love.

But there's something about this time of year that just calls to me softly, "Read the panned bestsellers...read the silly chick-lits.....read the trash..." OK, I'm sure the authors of these AWESOME books don't want their labors of love called "trash"...but I hope you know I'm being deliberately cheeky when I say that. This is the stuff that more people read than the "other" books that constantly get all the literary coverage and press (and awards). This is the stuff you can smile with because it's a straight-forward romance with a happy ending and a hot guy. This is the stuff you can laugh with because the characters and situations they find themselves in are so unbelievably unreal they're hysterical. This is the stuff they make movies that don't get nominated for Oscars, but were probably still big hits at the box office. This is the writing that is sometimes mediocre, but often very good, but the characters talk like you-and-I do and maybe the grammar ain't so correct, but whose is all the time?

Anyways, in short, here are my picks for summer reading you can just have some straight-up fun with and know at the end, you just read a dang-good book no editor would ever think of reviewing, but then again you're not exactly asking for his or her opinion anyways! I have broken them into categories so you can go straight to your flavor of choice. And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave a comment below on your picks for the summer! As I've mentioned in my podcast, I am always happy to not only gab (on-and-on) about books, but my pen is always ready to write down what others are reading. I'll be the first to admit I don't read every genre, so any I've left off are strictly because I haven't read enough to recommend them at this time...please tell us yours!

Chick-Lit/Straight-Up Fun Stories Usually with a Romantic Angle

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue

On the Island by Tracy G. Graves
(Wow. Just Wow. SO good. Upcoming podcast review!)

The Great Escape by Susan E. Phillips

These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

Fiction/Not War-and-Peace or Canterbury Tales but a Book You Can Say "Damn, That Was Good!" by the End

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
(I'm bursting to tell you about this one...upcoming podcast review!)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
(another book I'm bursting to tell you about...upcoming podcast review!)
 A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
(Book 2, Shadow of Night is out in July. I highly recommend 
sinking your teeth into this one first!)

Comedic Fiction and Non Fiction/Books To Make You LOL

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen
(pretty much anything by Carl Hiaasen will make 
you LOL, he's just THAT funny. And he writes the best 
"low-life" characters I've ever read. Hi-LARIOUS!)

Bless Your Heart Tramp by Celia Rivenbark
(OMG, if you haven't read Celia Rivenbark, run don't walk and get her books. SO funny.)

 The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost
(a classic fish-out-of-water true life comedy)

Whatever You Do, Don't Run by Peter Allison
(freakin' hilarious)

Solomon vs. Lord by Paul Levine
(I just love this funny mystery series)

Mysteries/Thrillers/Women Who Kick Ass and Take Names

1st to Die by James Patterson
(This is a series, and the 11th book just came out in May. 
If you haven't read this series yet though, I recommend starting with this one)

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
(1st book in the Rizzoli and Isles series)

The Rope by Nevada Barr
(Anna Pigeon series = awe.some!)

(Eve Dallas series, one of my faves. This is #34, but you can read these 
as stand-alones or start with #1 Naked in Death)

Restless in the Grave by Dana Stabenow
(Talk about an author who doesn't get enough credit for 
great stories/mysteries. Dana is fantastic!)

Contemporary Classics/I Saw the Movie and Been Meaning to Read the Book

 The Princess Bride by William Goldman
"My name is Tanesha Nurse...you haven't read this book, prepare to die."

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Z. Bradley
(um hello, what rock have you been under if you watched all the Harry Potters, all the Lords of the Rings, and read a crapload of other scifi/fantasy/witchy/vampy books and haven't read this one? Read.This.Now!)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(I don't care what kind of book list I pull together whatever the season - this one will always be on it!)

(Do not deny yourself the rich experience of reading this book, 
no matter the time of year! It's like chocolate to my reading soul.)

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Quilt Fiction/Knit Lit

Ties That Bind by Marie Bostwick
(#5 in the Cobbled Court series)

Monkey Wrench by Terri Thayer

How to Knit a Love Song by Rachael Herron

Tangled Up in Love by Heidi Betts

Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig

Erotica/Smut We're Now Old Enough to Read (don't just skip to the "good parts" LOL)
    Bared to You by Sylvia Day
      Gabriel's Inferno by Syllvain Reynard

       50 Shades of Grey series by EL James
      (who the heck isn't talking about these books? Yes, I've read all 3
      ...maybe a PG-13 podcast review?!?!)

      So there you go! I hope you've found a few books to consider for your summer reading list. Let me know which ones tickled your fancy, and what you're also planning to read.



        1. Thank you for putting out a *fun* reading list! :) Put me down as a non-literary type... I enjoy the fluffy stuff too!

        2. Looks like a corgi on the cover of Quilt or Innocence! I'll have to put that on my todo list.

          I'm reading the sixth book in the Wool series by Hugh Howey.

        3. hey! I like your lists & I've even read some of them already. My "non-work" reading is all the "in one ear / eye - out the other" type. You know the kind where one does not have to think too hard about it. When I want to "learn / find out about" something then I go to the "think about this" books, LOL. Reading is one of my sanity savers and has been my whole life!

        4. Thanks for the good reading list! I wrote down several of your picks, mostly the chick-lit which is my completely uncomplicated all time fave! I always read Susan Elizabeth Phillips and J.D. Robb the first chance I get too, but have to fight my husband for the J.D. Robb books. Another great chick-lit author is 'Cathy Lamb' if you've never read her.

        5. Gabriel's Inferno is more than erotica. It's soulful, dark and twisty. Excellent read and great choice!

        6. More books for my ever-growing TBR list! Thanks!

          Do you listen to the 2 Knit Lit Chicks podcast? They talk about knitting and books.


        7. Just found your blog...what talent you have. And I ADORE this summer reading list. I knew you had a good list if you started with a Jennifer Weiner book. I've read all of hers, and didn't know she had a new one out! Hooray!

          Many good ones you list. "How to Knit a Love Song" is a delightful read, as is her other book!

        8. I found Skinny Dip and The Red Tent at the dollar bookstore, and splurged based on your recommendation. Score!

        9. Wonderful list!
          I've read lately:
          Nocturne by Syrie James. Eh.
          The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom per your prior recommendation. Liked it. Took me there. Loaned it to a friend.
          The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich. A good read.
          The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. Read this on my iPad so I don't think I got out of it as much as I could have. Was hoping for more descriptions of dressmaking/sewing but did find the overall story about the dynamics behind the Titanic investigation interesting.
          Gardens of Water by Alan Drew. Reading this for a school assignment. Don't have an affinity for either of the two main characters but the story of the survival of people after the earthquake in Turkey is what kept me interested.
          As for your list:
          I'm reading through Fifty Shades - I say go for the PG-13 Podcast.
          As for the rest of your list, I want to read them all.
          School is out in a week so I'll be coming back then to begin my summer reading. :)


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