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Updated by Stephen Perry on Jun 27, 2017
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This is a list of some of the best summer reading possibilities for 2017 -- - they are all guaranteed to make your summer more fun, educational, and entertaining!

According to librarian friends, these books are literally flying off the shelves.

The books will appeal to the YA crowd, Sci Fi fans, Adult readers, and includes serious books as well.

Here are some of the best (IMHO) summer reads for 2017

A list of all my reviews:

What We Lose

From a debut author of rare, haunting power, this is a stunning novel about a young African-American woman coming of age—a deeply felt meditation on race, gender, family, and country.

An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman’s understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, and, according to one review, "What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction."

If you loved Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, and I most certainly did, you are sure to love What We Lose.

Just a side note: Nigerian Fiction, like Nigerian Music, and more broadly, African Fiction, or novels with an African theme, are finally coming to the fore; having lived in West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone) for three blessed years, I am so very happy.

Please do read this amazing novel.


Nikki Tate is infamous, even by Las Vegas standards.

Her dad is sitting on death row, convicted of killing his best friend in a gambling dispute turned ugly. And for five years, he’s maintained his innocence.

But Nikki wants no part of that. She’s been working on Operation Escape Vegas: an illegal poker game she designed, so she can save up enough money to get out of Vegas and escape her family craziness come Graduation day.

Will she make it?

This book is compelling and fast-paced. Teenagers -- especially the skateboard set-- all over the U.S.A. specifically requested this book.

Saint Death

A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords, human trafficking and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by prize-winning novelist, Marcus Sedgwick.

The writing in this novel is simply fantastic and Sedgwick really pulls you in.

I found Saint Death to be engaging and thrilling; and, I learned more about the U.S. Border than I ever thought possible!

Dragon Teeth

Michael Crichton's recently discovered novel— is an adrenaline fueled adventure set in the Wild West during the golden age of fossil hunting. You will, of course, remember Crichton from his book Jurassic Park.

The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution.

Against this backdrop, two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.

An exciting book -- almost the perfect summer read! Yes, a Book to take with you to the Beach!

Hue 1968

*Booklist *called this book "an epic masterpiece" and so it is.

Mark Bowden is the author of Black Hawk Down and in his skillful hands he narrates the story of this pivotal battle of the Vietnam War.

This is (again) not your typical Beach Read, but this book is important in our understanding of a war that plays a feverish part in the American imagination of how to win and lose wars.

The New York Times review noted:

"With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam, and interviews with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple points of view.

Played out over twenty-four days of terrible fighting and ultimately costing 10,000 combatant and civilian lives, the Battle of Huế was by far the bloodiest of the entire war.

When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave.

In *Huế 1968, *Bowden masterfully reconstructs this pivotal moment in the American War in Vietnam."

A riveting book and one of great import to students of world events.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

A New York TImes **review noted that "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness ** transports us across a subcontinent on a journey of many years.
It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety - in search of meaning, and of love."

A Novel that will transport you to another realm. It is haunting, mysterious, filled with beautiful and shimmering prose.

A Beach read par excellence.

Defy the Stars (Constellation, #1)

Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars.

If you are a fan of Science Fiction, you are sure to love this book.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Goodreads described this book as:

"Smart, warm, uplifting, the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open her heart."

Weird, it was! And, I loved it!


Yes, there’s something a bit guilt-inducing about even wanting to know exactly how the Clinton campaign imploded.

How Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump is the story of a sure thing "gone off the rails. "

“Shattered” promises chapter and verse on all the Election of 2016, and it ruefully, even chillingly delivers.

An illuminating book; while it is one person's perspective, it is also true that you will never think about politics in quite the same way again.

The Force

Goodreads notes:

"The acclaimed, award-winning, bestselling author of The Cartel—voted one of the Best Books of the Year by more than sixty publications, including the New York Times and Choice—makes his William Morrow debut with a cinematic epic as explosive, powerful, and unforgettable as Mystic River and The Wire.

An unforgettable read; mesmerizing, almost impossible to forget.

The Dinner Party and Other Stories

Eleven stories by Joshua Ferris, many of which were first published in The New Yorker, on topics such as the modern tribulations of marriage, ambition, and the fear of missing out.

Everything comes mordantly alive in the priceless imagination of Ferris, who can describe an onion being diced and think of the other vegetables near it as “bright and doomed.”

Here’s a welcome chance to read stories that have appeared in publications from The New Yorker to Prairie Schooner, and his perverse short narratives do not disappoint.

Ferris’s view of the human condition is somewhat akin to David Sedaris, falling somewhere between Woody Allen’s and Franz Kafka’s.

A Ferris story, like a David Sedaris short story, can comically chart the way from bad to worse to the totally risible.

We are Never Meeting in Real Life.

This is a book you might have your son or daughter read, as long as they are over 18!

The author notes that in Social Media, with all its perils, you just have to laugh, even when life in this Medium can become a "raging dumpster fire."

With We Are Never Meeting in Real Life blogger (and comedian) Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form.

Her opening essay alone is enough to make this collection a winner.

It starts with a fake application to become a “Bachelorette” contestant, and then, well.. you have to read it to believe it!

Her description of the loot she bought in a forlorn Costco store, and the random conversations she had with total strangers, in the almost deserted Costco aisles, demanding her Facebook profile, are just too rich and side-splitting to describe here.

Her writing and her emotional tone in these essays are sterling; as is her excellent advice to never meet that stranger in real life, no matter how tantalizing their social media posts may be.

Magpie Murders

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Alex Rider series, this fiendishly brilliant, and riveting thriller weaves a classic whodunit, worthy of Agatha Christie, into a chilling, ingeniously original modern-day mystery.

In its review, *Goodreads *noted that:

"Masterful, clever, and relentlessly suspenseful, *Magpie Murders *is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction in which the reader becomes the detective."

Ernest Hemingway

This thorough reexamination of Hemingway shows the writer to be "a more troubled, complex and tragic figure" than most previous biographies have allowed. This biography fully reveals the man behind his carefully cultivated image of hyper-masculinity.

American War

Yes, yet another Dystopian novel for our parlous times.

This is an audacious and powerful debut novel that has as its theme a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle. The novel asks a powerful question we all should reflect upon: what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself?

This novel has received glowing reviews from THE ECONOMIST, to the NEW YORKER, to the NEW YORK TIMES.

Not an easy read, but an important one.




For those who love Sci Fi, and I count myself a fan, this book has also received very powerful reviews.

The Plot?

In a ruined city, littered with discarded biotech experiments (here, the discerning reader will pick up definitive motifs of Margaret Atwood's ORYX and CRAKE) a young woman finds a strange, new, life form that she decides to raise.

What would be -- what could be -- the consequences of such a rash action?

Read this amazing novel to find out!

Homo Deus


Harari presents three possibilities for the not too distant future:

In one, humans find themselves to be expendable.

In a second, the elite upgrade themselves, becoming yet another species that sees everyone else as expendable.

In a third, well, read this book to find out what the third option might be.

An amazing book; you will find yourselves ruminating and perseverating about the themes in this book for months to come, and yes, you *will *ponder if any of this might come to pass.

So, will any of these possibilities come to fruition? Hmmm...

Killers of the Flower Moon

From the Washington Post review:

"From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, comes a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma.

After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. "

What happened?

No One Is Coming to Save Us

This is the one book I have not read-- yet the reviews keep pouring in.

It was named one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by Entertainment Weekly, Nylon, Elle, Redbook, W Magazine, and The Chicago Review of Books

Allow me, please, to give you a flavor of these reviews:

From Goodreads:
"The Great Gatsby brilliantly recast in the contemporary South: a powerful first novel about an extended African-American family and their colliding visions of the American Dream."

“Watts writes about ordinary people leading ordinary lives with an extraordinary level of empathy and attention...The novel’s intricately plotted relationships pay off satisfyingly in its final chapters.” — *New York Times Book Review*

“Watts is so captivating a writer. She’s unusually deft with dialogue…[The novel is] conveyed in a prose style that renders the common language of casual speech into natural poetry, blending intimate conversation with the rhythms of gossip, town legend, even song lyrics...An indelible story.” — The Washington Post

“Watts’s book envisions a backwoods African-American version of The Great Gatsby. The circumstances of her characters are vastly unlike Fitzgerald’s, and those differences are what make this novel so moving.” — Janet Maslin, New York Times

“Imagine The Great Gatsby, only set in the contemporary American South, and retold with black characters, rather than the lily-white Long Island set. Watts’ retelling is smart, unsettling, at times hilarious, and a wonderful update to this classic American novel.” —
Nylon Magazine

“This universally resonant story of the American Dream is a poignant examination of family and human nature.” — The Chicago Review of Books

An awesome book; one that I am dying to read!

The Girl From Aleppo

Not exactly a bracing, fun Summer read, nor, a book you would take with you to the Beach.

Still, given current world events, this will make you look at the crisis in the Middlhe East, specifically Syria, with new eyes, and a fresh and altogether human perspective.

I read the book on my Kindle and learned more about the war in Syria than all the podcasts and news accounts combined.

A harrowing read, most certainly; but an important one.

Our Summer Book Recommendations Are Perfect For Staying Inside

Even more Summer 2017 Book Recommendations may be found at this link