The summer months will be here before you know it. But before you pack up your sweaters and pull out your bathing suits, make sure you stock up on the latest books that are simply must-adds to any woman’s library.
Here’s a short list of the most talked-about titles that you can be sure to be seeing being pored over on every beach and at every poolside you will encounter as the mercury continues to rise:
1. “Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy” by E L James: Let’s face it. This book shouldn’t work. It started off as “Twilight” fan-fiction and has been repackaged after complaints that the content of the material was too graphic for the “tween” set that had flocked to the original vampire/werewolf novels. Now, with the supernatural elements removed, and the erotic content pumped up to 11, there isn’t a female reader out there who hasn’t had her interest, ahem, aroused by these books. From all reports, though, most people who have picked up this book have been more than satisfied.
2. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins: With the success of the movie adaptation of this book, many of those who first encountered Katniss Everdeen on the silver screen are now going back to the source material to find out more about the strong female lead character. As visually stunning as the film was, the book is far more cerebral, going in depth into the inner thoughts and motivations of the title character as she attempts to survive a battle to the death from which her odds of doing so are slim-to-none.
3. “Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948″ by Madeleine Albright: This memoir from Albright, the first woman to hold the position of Secretary of State is more than just a collection of stories. As a young girl, Albright lived through the horrors of World War II, witnessing the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia firsthand. However, it wasn’t until many years later that she discovered that she actually had Jewish ancestry. It’s a compelling tale of what the true meaning of identity is, and how far someone can go in sacrificing it in order to ensure survival.
4. “The Lucky One” by Nicholas Sparks: Fate and destiny are the subject of Sparks’ novel about a Marine names Logan Thibault who ends up surviving the Iraq War thanks to what he considers to be a good luck charm, a photograph of a beautiful young woman that he finds while on duty. After he returns stateside, he decides to track down the face he had considered to be his personal guardian angel. Not surprisingly, love blossoms between the two, but how long will that love last when the truth of how he found his angel is revealed?
5. “The Shoemaker’s Wife: A Novel” by Adriana Trigiani: This epic novel begins in Italy, with two brothers left at a convent orphanage by a mother who can no longer care for them after her husband dies tragically. Eventually, one of the brothers meets a young girl and falls in love, yet become separated by fate, only to meet again years later after each has made the journey to the United States. Can their love survive or is it forever doomed? Based on the stories told to Trigiani by her own grandmother, you are sure to enjoy this sweeping romantic tale.
6. “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” by Jennifer E. Smith: Don’t worry, there’s no math in this tale about how happenstance can forever divert the course of your life. When Hadley Sullivan misses her flight to England by mere minutes, she simply waits for the next plane to depart. On that flight, she happens to sit next to Oliver, who changes her life in ways that she could never have imagined. It just goes to show, you never know when a door might unexpectedly open. Are you going to step through it when it does? You will once you read Smith’s sweet tale.
7. “Lone Wolf” by Jodi Picoult: This heart-wrenching tale of morality and the decision of whether or not to pull the plug on a dying loved one is sure to spark debate as well as pack an emotional punch. Regardless of your personal stance on the issue, you will feel for both Edward and his sister Cara as they go back and forth as to whether or not to remove their father from life support. Nature lovers will also enjoy Picoult’s amazingly detailed research into the family structure of wolves, used throughout the book as a metaphor for the situation in which our protagonists find themselves trapped.
8. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green: Few things are as fragile as love and life. When Hazel Lancaster discovers she has cancer, she is ready to give up on both. However, her parents press her to fight on and she soon meets a soulmate who, in remission himself, knows all too well how precious the time they have together can be. Far from depressing, this is a life-affirming tale of hope and how we can all learn from Hazel’s determination to not let her disease control her ability to experience happiness.
9. “The Night Swimmer” by Matt Bondurant: A married couple from Vermont wins an Irish pub in a contest and pack up their lives to dive into running the place. Making such a dramatic change in one’s life may seem drastic, but the Bulkingtons feel they have nothing to lose. While they may have won the contest, their marriage is far from a winning relationship, and by the time this novel is over it might not even exist anymore. The gothic novel captures the beauty and mystery of the Irish coast in such a way that any reader is sure to get lost in the environment he creates.
10. “The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey: What better escape from the summer heat than a novel that takes place in 1920′s Alaska? Jack and Mabel have been trying for ages to have a child with no luck. Finances and fate are driving the couple apart, but they truly believe a family would make their problems go away. Then one day, in a fit of whimsy, the couple make a child out of the first snowfall of the season. Imagine their surprise when the next day, their creation has disappeared and a living little girl appears on their doorstep in its place. Is this a miracle? A trick? Or is it something else entirely?