Here at TGON we’re all huge book nerds, and the summer is a great time to grab a new (or new-to-you) book and devour it in your favorite spot. Could be on the beach, could be in your favorite armchair, could be on a park bench on your lunch break from work. Whatever your reading spot of choice is, TGON’s got you covered with some of our staff’s favorite books.
Ali recommends The Secret History by Donna Tartt to anyone who will listen: “This tale of dark academia is set at an elite New England college and takes the traditional campus novel to a whole new level. A group of Classics students are involved in the murder of a member of their group, but it’s not a traditional whodunit story. The central mystery of The Secret History isn’t really who did it but why and how they did it. It’s a long read but well worth the time for Tartt’s beautiful prose and characters so well-crafted that they stay with you long after you’ve finished.”
Another one of Ali’s favorites is The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. “It’s the at-times incredibly gruesome and disturbing story of the surviving victim of a serial killer of women. Oh, and did I mention there’s time travel? Because there’s time travel. The story hops between time periods in Chicago during the twentieth century as the heroine goes on a hunt to find the man who tried and failed to kill her.”
Ali also recommends The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison: “It’s been compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, but it’s definitely its own story. It is another gripping tale of the darkness that lies beneath a failing marriage. The story is told from alternating perspectives of psychotherapist Jodi and her cheating husband Todd. It’s another whydunit mystery that unfolds slowly but pays off in the end. If you enjoy reading stories about unlikeable characters, this is a great one.”
Our fearless leader Shannon recommends Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: “It’s the best SciFi/Pop Culture book I’ve ever read! Plus the trailer is amazeballs!”
Michael recommends Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero: “It’s my #1 new book of the summer. It’s an unofficial, reimagined Scooby Doo 13 years later about a case that still haunts them.”
And, as TGON’s go-to for all things The Magicians on Syfy, Michael will always peddle The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman when he can!
Jaimee recommends Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: “I came across this book a couple summers ago when I was really desperate for something new, something that surprised me, and boy did this book deliver! The writing was spectacular and the beautiful prose weaved an incredibly intricate story. There’s no easy summary for this book because there are so many moving parts, but the basic synopsis is: After a devastating flu epidemic forces humanity to reset, a girl embarks on a journey to answer the questions left over from the old world.”
Steve recommends The Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb, an oldie-but-goodie that he reads every summer.
Niles recommends The Fireman by Joe Hill: “It’s about a pandemic of spontaneous combustion and a group of people who are trying to figure out how to live with the disease”
Niles is currently reading The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King and is loving it so far.
Jesse is currently reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson: “It’s the first book in the Stormlight Archive. It’s a long fantasy epic in Sanderson’s giant shared universe The Cosmere, set on a fantasy world ravaged by frequent violent storms. It focuses on many scattered characters during a war six years after a king is assassinated.”
Jesse’s all-time favorite book is the classic Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: “I have read almost every English translation, and I prefer Julie Rose’s interpretation. It is an iconic story that spans many years in France during the early 1800s, focusing on the redemption of a hate-filled man who was imprisoned for two decades after stealing bread for his family.”
Yash recommends the classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas: “It is my favourite book of all time and the story is that a sailor gets wrongly accused for treason by a group of envious ‘friends.’ He then serves 14 years in an isolated dark island prison before escaping. But while in the cave he learns useful life skills and the location of a $9 billion (in today’s money) treasure from a priest. He then sets all the money for revenge and then… well read the book to find out!”
Yash also seconds Ali’s recommendation of The Secret History.
Jackie recommends Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern: “It’s a novel written solely using letters, emails, instant messages, and various forms of written communication as life continuously pulls two best friends apart over the decades. It’s also one of my favorite movies!”
Aaron recommends two books by John Darnielle (of the Mountain Goats): Universal Harvester and Wolf in White Van: “Universal Harvester came out in February and it’s a creepy new horror book set in 1990s Iowa about VHS tapes. Wolf in White Van
from 2015 is a novel told backwards about a guy who runs a play-by-mail text adventure game (think Zork on paper) with a face-exploding ending.”
TIFFANY WILSON SMITH:
Tiffany recommends The Spy by Paulo Coelho: “Coelho tells the story of Mata Hari (born Margaretha Zelle) in a first person narrative. It adds a personalized touch to a partial historical fictive novella. Her story is one of luck and stupidity; Coelho’s talent is in capturing the audience’s attention while Mata Hari is doing both the dumbest things and having a lot of luck, sometimes simultaneously.”
Meg, TGON’s resident Outlander on Starz expert, recommends Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: “It’s the first book is a series about a World War II combat nurse who falls through time 200 years and lives with a clan of Highlanders just before the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. It’s a book that has it all: fantasy, military history, romance, action. The first fifty pages can be a little tough to get into, but after that it’s a fast, addictive read. Don’t let the size deter you!
Meg also recommends The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel: “It’s the first in the Earth’s Children series and follows Ayla, a five-year-old Cro-Magnon girl adopted into a clan of Neanderthals after being nearly killed by a cave lion in prehistoric times. The book explores the possible interactions between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons around the time the Neanderthals are estimated to disappear. It’s a fantastic read about Ayla and her growth and journey. The difficulties she has trying to fit in with a culture that is so extremely different than she is. I love this book, my sister named her daughter after the protagonist, and I’ve read it several times.”
Meg also enjoys the Queen of Babble Series by Meg Cabot: “This is a fun and hilarious trio of books following Lizzie Nichols, a young woman whose big mouth continually gets her into trouble. It’s sweet and funny and I guarantee you will want to strangle Lizzie at least once. If you’re looking for a light, fluffy read to breeze through this summer, this series is perfect for you. The audiobook is also fantastic if you have a long drive coming up!”
So, if you find yourself in need of a good read this summer, check out some of these books. You won’t regret it!