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Beat the Heat With These Summer Book Club Picks

Julianna Haubner joined the editorial team at Simon & Schuster in September 2014. A lifelong reader, she is most drawn to literary fiction, biography, cultural history, and narrative non-fiction; it’s her firm belief that every human should own a copy of Cheryl Strayed’s TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, and EMPIRE FALLS is the book that changed her life. When Julianna’s not reading and reviewing, she’s downloading podcast episodes as if there are more than 24 hours in a day, watching Bravo, baking, and running the Off the Shelf Instagram. You can follow her on Twitter @jhaubner2.

The sun is shining, the flowers are abloom, and summer reading is here! Now’s the time to sit out on the porch and catch up on all of those great books you’ve been meaning to read. These summer reads will leave you laughing, crying, and feeling everything in between—and give you plenty to discuss with your book group, of course! Don’t forget to bring the sunscreen, though: you might just lose track of time as you turn page after page.


The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd has crafted a masterpiece of hope, daring, and the quest for freedom. Set in the years just before the Civil War, this exquisitely written novel is an unswerving look at a devastating wound in American history through the eyes of two sisters whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

The Invention of Wings
Sue Monk Kidd

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd has crafted a masterpiece of hope, daring, and the quest for freedom. Set in the years just before the Civil War, this exquisitely written novel is an unswerving look at a devastating wound in American history through the eyes of two sisters whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

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Everything I Never Told You
by Celeste Ng

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this dark but exquisite novel about a Chinese-American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, but when her body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, and the family is forced to come to terms with their struggles and secrets.

Everything I Never Told You
Celeste Ng

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this dark but exquisite novel about a Chinese-American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, but when her body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, and the family is forced to come to terms with their struggles and secrets.

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I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head after she refused to be silenced or give up her right to go to school. Her memoir is the remarkable story of a family uprooted by global terrorism. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

I Am Malala
Malala Yousafzai

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head after she refused to be silenced or give up her right to go to school. Her memoir is the remarkable story of a family uprooted by global terrorism. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

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We Are Not Ourselves
by Matthew Thomas

The promise and tragedy of post-war America is charted in this riveting portrait of an Irish-American family as they chase the American Dream. It is at once expansive and exquisitely detailed, but what readers will remember most is the huge heart at its core. It heralds the arrival of a major new talent in contemporary fiction and is destined to be an American classic.

We Are Not Ourselves
Matthew Thomas

The promise and tragedy of post-war America is charted in this riveting portrait of an Irish-American family as they chase the American Dream. It is at once expansive and exquisitely detailed, but what readers will remember most is the huge heart at its core. It heralds the arrival of a major new talent in contemporary fiction and is destined to be an American classic.

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The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion
Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant but socially inept genetics professor who designs “The Wife Project,” an evidence-based survey to find the perfect mate. But the art of love is never an exact science. Charming and unconventional, this bestselling debut novel is laugh-out-loud funny and overflowing with heart.
The Rosie Project
Graeme Simsion

The protagonist of Graeme Simsion’s romantic comedy THE ROSIE PROJECT is the most refreshingly unique, honest, and hilarious character I have read in a long time. I don’t generally read romantic comedies, but this one stole my heart right from the first paragraph.

Read Sarah Jane Abbott’s review here.

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By Julianna Haubner | June 30, 2015

A Hilarious, Fresh, and Unconventional Romantic Comedy

By Sarah Jane Abbott | June 26, 2015

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The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt

The novel that took the world by storm and won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is (finally!) out in paperback. A mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, it is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt

The novel that took the world by storm and won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is (finally!) out in paperback. A mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, it is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

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Orphan Train
by Christina Baker Kline

This unforgettable story highlights a little-known but significant movement in America’s past—between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children. Rich in detail and epic in scope, this is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience and the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Orphan Train
Christina Baker Kline

This unforgettable story highlights a little-known but significant movement in America’s past—between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children. Rich in detail and epic in scope, this is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience and the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

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Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel
With an acclaimed PBS Masterpiece Theater adaptation and a two-part Tony Award–winning Broadway play, this winner of the Man Booker Prize is a veritable phenomenon. Hilary Mantel introduces readers to Thomas Cromwell, the close advisor of King Henry VIII, and reveals the man behind the myth: a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, Cromwell was a man shaped not just by ruthless ambition, but also by pain and humble beginnings.
Wolf Hall
Hilary Mantel

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only Thomas Cromwell dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power. Wolf Hall re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.

“At New Year’s he had given Anne a present of silver forks. . . . He hopes she will use them to eat with, not to stick in people.” —Hilary Mantel

Claire: “What should we server the Walkers?”
Frank: “Cyanide.”
Claire: “I’m saving that for dessert. . . .”

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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry’s life is not going according to plan. Unmarried, alone, and running a bookstore on the brink of collapse, he has just discovered that one of his most prized possessions, a rare folio of poems written by Edgar Allen Poe, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears one morning at the store, its unexpected arrival gives him the chance to see everything anew.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry’s life is not going according to plan. Unmarried, alone, and running a bookstore on the brink of collapse, he has just discovered that one of his most prized possessions, a rare folio of poems written by Edgar Allen Poe, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears one morning at the store, its unexpected arrival gives him the chance to see everything anew.

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A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
A lighthearted yet deeply moving novel about a grumpy but loveable curmudgeon who finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. This quirky debut is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the impact one life has on countless others—and it’s an absolute delight.
A Man Called Ove
Fredrik Backman

“If you like to laugh AND feel moved AND have your heart applaud wildly for fictional characters, you will certainly fall for the grumpy but lovable Ove (it’s pronounced “Oo-vuh,” if you were wondering).”  

Read Ariele Stewart’s review here.

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The Steady Running of the Hour
by Justin Go

This mesmerizing debut contains both an impossible quest and an epic love story. When a young American discovers that he may be the rightful heir to the unclaimed estate of a wealthy English alpinist who died attempting to summit Mount Everest in 1924, he is drawn further and further into the past, and into an obsession that could change his life forever.

The Steady Running of the Hour
Justin Go

This mesmerizing debut contains both an impossible quest and an epic love story. When a young American discovers that he may be the rightful heir to the unclaimed estate of a wealthy English alpinist who died attempting to summit Mount Everest in 1924, he is drawn further and further into the past, and into an obsession that could change his life forever.

MENTIONED IN:

A Novel of Adventure, Romance, and a Long-Lost Family Fortune

By Elaine Wilson | October 9, 2015

Beat the Heat With These Summer Book Club Picks

By Julianna Haubner | June 30, 2015

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