What I’ve Been Reading This Summer

Dear Friends Who Read and Readers Who Are Friends,

DSC_3278I’ve been asked a lot this summer what I’m reading, especially from readers who are either devastated that Lin-Manuel Miranda has left “Hamilton” or devastated that he has left “Hamilton” and chosen not to run for political office – any office.

I feel their pain. I really do.

In any case, these are some of the books that I have absolutely loved so far this year. In no particular order:

* Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. A private plane crashes and two people survive, only to confront the inevitable media madness. Hawley is the brilliant mind behind the “Fargo” TV series on FX, and he is one heck of a novelist, too.

* Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield. A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in Cincinnati. Jane Austen would be pleased with the sly humor and deep characterizations that mark every page.

* Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. A magisterial three-century epic about Ghana and America. This is a debut novel with sentences so luminous and perfect I would read them aloud.

* Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben. Another smart, gripping page-turner. This one has already been snapped up by Julia Roberts for the movie.

* The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Four siblings await their share of the family fortune. Their behavior ranges from horrible to hilarious, but it always rings true.

* City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin. The third and final volume of Cronin’s masterful, often terrifying vampire trilogy.

* The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close. An often laugh-out-loud novel of ambition and marriage and politics – and whether one young couple’s marriage can survive both the nation’s capital and Texas.

* The Girls by Emma Cline. It’s 1969 and Evie, a California teen, is attracted to a cult reminiscent of Charlie Manson’s. It’s a gripping coming-of-age novel.

* Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola. This is a memoir about drinking and recovering from drinking, and page 214 is so exquisitely beautiful that it will break your heart.

And here are three novels arriving this autumn and winter that I am looking forward to immensely:

* The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. A pair of slaves head north from Georgia on the Underground Railroad in antebellum America. Moving and thoughtful and magnificent.

* Little Deaths by Emma Flint. It’s 1965 in Queens, New York. Did Ruth Malone really murder her two adorable children? A lush, moody, film noir of a novel.

* Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. White supremacists, a heroic nurse, and a courtroom drama: a gripping exploration of race and class and justice in contemporary America.

Of course, you can always see exactly what I am reading right here on Goodreads. (I’m sometimes asked why I give every book I list on Goodreads a five-star rating. The answer is simple. I know a lot of writers, so I only list the books that I enjoyed on Goodreads.)

You may have seen on the social networks that I have been riding my beloved bike a lot this summer. I also have been writing. They’re connected: I do a lot of my best work on two wheels. So, you’ll see a brand new novel soon. Stay tuned for details.

Happy reading. Fingers crossed my work never disappoints you.

All the best,

Chris B.

Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is the author of nineteen books, including his forthcoming novel, The Sleepwalker. His other novels include the New York Times bestsellers Midwives, The Sandcastle Girls, The Guest Room, and The Double Bind.