Becca's Summer Picks
I am genuinely obsessed with The Secret History. Like truly obsessed. The story follows a close-knit group of classics majors at a small liberal arts college as they undergo one of the most harrowing experiences of their collective lives. Donna Tartt is a literary god and this is the only recommendation that has never failed me, not even once. Everyone I've ever gifted this book to has loved it just as much as I do.
If you like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Eurovision, or Glam-Rock in general, you'll go wild for Space Opera! When the human race is entered into the Metagalactic Grand Prix, its up to Decible Jones, washed-up genderqueer rockstar, to sing for the sentience of all humankind! Heartwarming, hilarious, and genuinely moving, Space Opera is a fantastic summer read!
There is nothing I love more than a good gothic romance and nobody does it better than Daphne Du Maurier. My Cousin Rachel follows Philip Ashley as he falls in obsessive love with his cousin's mysterious and beautiful widow, Rachel, an Italian contessa. The book is gorgeously written and the chilly English countryside setting serves as delightful escape from the summer heat. When you've finished reading, give the film adaptations a go! The 1952 Olivia de Havilland version and the 2017 Rachel Weisz version are both great for a summer movie night!
Susanna Clarke's debut novel gives me the best possible writer's envy. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is an alternate-history set in 19th-century England that asks the question: "What if magic existed in England once, and then it came back?" Centering on the relationship between the title characters and exploring tons of facets of English culture, this is one of the most all-encompassing alternate histories that I've ever read! It may look intimidating at first, but I promise it flies by!
It's hard to blurb this book without spoiling it, but I'll do my best! The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O follows the members of a top-secret highly classified U.S. government agency,D.O.D.O, as they use magic and science to travel back in time. They bend (and sometimes break) history and time in some really fascinating ways. This book makes my linguistics-obsessed heart sing. Galland and Stephenson are a literary duo to be reckoned with and a fantastic comedic team! I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
This is my favorite book that nobody in the States has heard of. I'm hoping to change that with this pick! An exploration of postmodern deconstruction theory (which is a lot more exciting than it sounds, I promise...) The End of Mr. Y follows PhD student Ariel Manto, a lit student who's been researching Thomas Lumas, a 19th century writer. When she finds a rare copy of Lumas' book The End of Mr. Y in a used bookshop, she finds more than just evidence for her dissertation. If you like weird speculative fiction, you'll love this book. Get ready for the most killer ending you'll ever read!
The novella that started it all! All Systems Red is the first book in Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries. Join Murderbot, the oddly loveable self-described "heartless killing machine," as it protects a group of scientists conducting an exploratory mission on a distant planet. Equal parts thriller and classic science-fiction social commentary, this book will have you clamoring for more Murderbot!
Possibly the best beach read of all time and a must for any Tudor history nerd. The Other Boleyn Girl tells the (albeit not totally historically accurate) story of Anne Boleyn's sister, Mary Boleyn who was the first of the Boleyn girls to be a mistress to Henry VIII. Chronicling the rise and fall of the Boleyn family through Mary's eyes, Phillipa Gregory crafts a seductive and compelling portrait of social climbing, cruel ambition, and romance in the Tudor court.