An Avid Reader’s Guide to Best 2011 Summer Reading

As a lifelong bookworm it has always been hard for me to narrow my choices. I want to read everything and am usually reading two books at once. At the age of two, my mother tells me, I used to sit and “read” the phone book, page by page.

Many of us have favorite authors and cannot wait till their next offering becomes available. My newest favorite author is Stieg Larsson. A Swedish author whose works are wonderfully translated, they are amongst the best books for the beach. I just finished “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and found it an intelligently written thriller that I virtually devoured in two sittings. In it, a financial journalist teams up with a young computer hacker to investigate a missing person’s case that is over 40 years old. It boasts a complex plot and powerful surprise ending.

For just plain feel good inspiration, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert is probably one of my top must read books of all time. The true story of one woman’s journey to find herself, it manages to truly transport the reader. The book reminds us all that sometimes you need to just clean out all of the clutter and start over. In the space you create you might just find something truly wonderful.

A classic must read books list would not be complete without a mention of “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The novel, considered by many to be Fitzgerald’s greatest work, is a not very flattering portrait of American society during the Roaring Twenties. It’s a classic tale of a man who climbs out of poverty only to find that his “new” money doesn’t buy him the privileges enjoyed by those born into “old money.”

Anyone looking to read a biography this summer, should pick up “John Adams” by David McCullough. More than a biography, it gives the reader a look inside the mind of one of the masterminds of the US constitution. Although it reads like a novel, it is packed full of information about politics, friendship, ambition and betrayal. The more things change, the more they seem to remain the same when it comes to US politics.

Lastly, my summer reading list would not be complete without a Clive Cussler thriller. Clive Cussler began writing novels in 1965 and in 1973 began featuring his continuous series hero, Dirk Pitt. Cussler writes science based thrillers that engage the reader from the first page. My favorites include: ” Trojan Odyssey” , ” Arctic Drift”, ” The Sea Hunters” , ” The Sea Hunters II”, ” Fire Ice” , ” White Death” , ” Lost City” and ” Polar Shift”. Although this is just a shortlist, I have never been disappointed in any of Cussler’s work. On the contrary, every one of his novels deserves to be on a vacationer’s shortlist of summer reading.