Satisfying Fiction to Add to the Summer Reading List

Jul 11, 2018

Summer vacation is the ideal time to catch up on leisure reading. Here with some suggestions to whet a literary appetite, The SandPaper’s resident bookworm, Morgan Turner, reflects on a few of her favorite titles released in recent years that have a long shelf life, whether read for the first time or fondly revisited.

Few things are more satisfying than settling into a beach chair with a new book to read. Stores like The Book Swap in Beach Haven and The Bookworm in Surf City are packed with titles eager for their moment in the sun. While making a selection can be a daunting task, some are bound (pardon the pun) to appeal to readers across the board.

No day at the beach is complete without a romantic comedy. Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project provides the perfect blend of romance and humor, which keeps the pages turning. Although brilliant, geneticist Don Tillman is socially inept and lacking in emotional intelligence. With a down-to-the-minute schedule and standardized meal plan, Tillman goes through life much like a hyper intelligent robot – that is, until Rosie Jarman enters his life. The complete antithesis of Don, Rosie is disorganized and incredibly careless in her approach to life. Despite their apparent unsuitability for one another the pair become increasingly involved by way of Rosie’s search for her biological father. The Rosie Project embraces the most popular trope of the romantic comedy genre, that love conquers all, through innovative plot twists and abstract characters.

Those inclined toward feel-good comedies will find Fredrik Backman’s debut novel A Man Called Ove to be an ideal fit. Best defined as a “sleeper hit,” Backman crafts a novel brimming with humor and poignancy. Ove can only be described as grumpy; following the death of his wife, he has taken to yelling at his neighbors and arguing with repairmen. However, when a chatty young family moves in next door, Ove is forced into an unexpected friendship. Through a series of unfortunate events, Backman’s main character reveals himself to be a lovable, albeit misunderstood, curmudgeon. Although lighthearted, A Man Called Ove asks valuable questions regarding relationships and life as we know it. Well written and wickedly hilarious, the story of Ove speaks to readers of all backgrounds.

For the reader who craves depth, there is no better place to turn than to M. L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans. After returning from World War I seemingly impassive and strictly principled, Tom retires to a remote island off the coast of Australia to tend to the region’s lighthouse with his wife, Isabel. As the years pass, the couple suffer through two miscarriages and a stillbirth. Just when all hope for their family seems lost, a small boat washes up on their island carrying a parentless baby; thus begins the moral dilemma that permeates the novel. Interwoven throughout the pages are Isabel’s attempts to rationalize her controversial decisions and Tom’s battle with his principles. Elegantly delivered, Stedman encourages the reader to build a relationship with her novel’s characters and to question their own moral compass. With its depth and uncanny approach in observing human nature, The Light Between Oceans will stick with its reader long after the book has been closed.

— Morgan Turner

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