OT: Summer reading suggestions

Submitted by taistreetsmyhero on June 10th, 2018 at 6:33 PM

Anyone have read some good book recommendations? I've never really strayed away from fiction but I am going to start trying some non-fiction this summer. What was the last book you read?

My last few reads:

  • The In-Between World of Vikram Lall by MG Vassanji (highly recommend)
  • East of Eden by Steinbeck
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
  • The Broken Earth trilogy by NK Jemisin


Bando Calrissian

June 10th, 2018 at 7:09 PM ^

I'm now finishing David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon, the story of a series of murders in the Osage tribe in Oklahoma. It's an incredibly compelling story. On the fiction front, just finished David Mamet's new novel Chicago. Would recommend both as pretty quick summer reading.

I'd also recommend Masha Gessen's recent National Book Award winner, The Future is History, Ronan Farrow's War on Peace, and for a Michigan connection, UM professor Tiya Miles' excellent history of slavery in early Detroit, The Dawn of Detroit.

L'Carpetron Do…

June 11th, 2018 at 2:19 PM ^

You guys wanna read a good one about Ol' Uncle Vlad, check out Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Stole Russia? by Karen Dawisha an incredibly brave writer and professor (she recently died - thankfully of natural causes). Pretty dry and reads like an intelligence dossier but holy smokes there is some stuff in there. Highly recommend. 


June 10th, 2018 at 7:14 PM ^

The best book I have read in the past 15 years is City of Thieves, the second, is the Killer Angels.

City of Thieves, a WWII era story set during the siege of Stalingrad.  Two thieves are caught and the penalty at the time is death.  Or.....they can get a dozen eggs for a Soviet Colonel's daughter's wedding.  I could not put it down.

Killer Angels, is historical fiction set at the Battle of Gettysburg.  Awesome story, awesome read.

And yes, I read much more than war novels, just that these two stand out or "jump off the page" for an Mgoblog pun.

clark roberts

June 10th, 2018 at 7:44 PM ^

I would second The Killer Angels along with the successive Civil War books Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure which I believe were authored by the son Jeff Shaara? The father Michael Shaara wrote the first book The Killer Angels. Good lord, I'd actually forgotten how good those books were until reading your post.


The Fugitive

June 10th, 2018 at 7:31 PM ^

The Martian.  Best book I've read.

Just finished Devil in the White City. which was pretty good  Currently reading The Three Muskeeteers, about 1/4 of the way thru and it's very entertaining.

clark roberts

June 10th, 2018 at 7:33 PM ^

Been a lurker on the site for a long time and this thread made me jump on board. I'm from a family of Michigan fans. Shameless plug, read Deadman's Tome The Conspiracy Issue if you are into horror. It's a books of short stories, mostly horror, focused on conspiracies. I have a story featured in it. To be honest though, based on the books you listed you appreciate a little higher brow literature than Deadman's Tome. But hey, if you purchase it off Amazon you're helping another Michigan fan! Like I said, shameless. Honestly since I'm a horror writer it's also what I mostly read. A great, GREAT thinking man's horror would be any collection by Laird Barron. He is the modern day H.P. Lovecraft; I'd suggest his collections The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and Swift to Chase.

Here's my list:

Deadman's Tome The Conspiracy Issue (shameless I know, I know,)

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All or Swift to Chase both by Laird Barron (when I say Laird Barron is for a thinking man and he is the modern day Lovecraft I'm not lying; he is not a friend of mine or anything he is just that damned good.




June 10th, 2018 at 7:35 PM ^

I actually just finished "Postwar" by Tony Judt. Absolutely fascinating read.

I was going to move to a book I had bought ages ago but hadn't gotten to read yet - "The Embarrassment Of Riches" by Simon Schama.


June 10th, 2018 at 7:36 PM ^

Highly recommend Pierce Brown's Red Rising trilogy

Currently reading Mark Lawrence's new trilogy (first two are out) and they're great -  Red Sister and Grey Sister

Just added Jim Butcher's Dresden Files back onto the Kindle to give it another go through.  Best series out there.

Best new book/author I've read recently was Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames though, just a fun and funny book.  Loved it


June 10th, 2018 at 8:35 PM ^

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June 10th, 2018 at 8:02 PM ^

Last 2 non fiction books I've read were Guns, Germs, and Steel, which you probably already know about since it was really popular. Great book. And the Imjin War by Samuel Hawley. About the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 1590s. Also a really good book for an incredibly important war that I'm sure most people don't even know about. It's right after Japan unifies for the first time. The plan was actually to conquer China (and more) by going through Korea. A couple decades after the war they become a closed country until the US rolls up a few hundred years later. It absolutely devastates Korea and gives Korea its most famous military hero by far, Yi Sun Sin. He almost does literally save the country himself because he prevents Japan from taking the seas so Japan's supply routes get overstretched. And China's Ming dynasty was in decline. Cost of the war was a contributing factor to the end of the dynasty.


June 10th, 2018 at 8:03 PM ^

Good topic. I like the idea of fiction, but I usually get bored.... I guess I’m to much of a realist. I know, I’m weird. I did like “Gump and Company” though. Anyways, a great Civil War book that is NF is called “Confederates in the Attic”. It is a great read. A couple other books I recently read that are NF that I loved are.. “My Lost Brothers” by Brendan McDonagh, he was the lone survivor of the Yarnell Wildfire that killed 19 Hotshots in 2013. You may have heard of the movie called “Only the Brave” that is how I heard about the book. Watch the movie first if you haven’t. (ALWAYS WATCH MOVIE FIRST......NEVER EVER READ A BOOK FIRST.........DONT DO IT!!! Another is called “Not Without Hope” by Nick Schuyler. Crazy situation and Great read. Any book about Band of Brothers is a great read as well. There are many done by the vets who were not as involved in the original book. 


June 10th, 2018 at 8:16 PM ^

I will continue my quest to read all of John Grisham’s novels, 16 and counting. 

I used to read mostly non-fiction, but I am taking a break for a few years.


June 10th, 2018 at 8:16 PM ^

I will continue my quest to read all of John Grisham’s novels, 16 and counting. 

I used to read mostly non-fiction, but I am taking a break for a few years.


June 10th, 2018 at 8:26 PM ^

If you're interested in a history / civil rights read, I read the MLK biography 'Bearing The Cross' recently which was fascinating and am currently reading 'Devil in the Grove' which is about Thurgood Marshall. Really enjoying that one


June 10th, 2018 at 8:41 PM ^

Some books that I have enjoyed

Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman is a great book about WWI. The audiobook was amazing with an incredible narration.

Lawrence in Arabia is a recent biography about TE Lawrence. Helps give perspective about how we got to where we are today in the Middle East. 

Endurance is an incredible book about Shackleton and offers great inspiration about leadership and perseverance.

The Fall of the Ottomans is a great book that illustrates the factors involved with today’s Middle East. Good description of  the Armenian genocide.

Devil in the White City or anything by Erik Larson is good.

Richard Rhodes books are also all great. My favorite is the Making of the Atomic Bomb.

Hamilton by Ron Chernow is amazing

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow is even better than Hamilton. It inspired Chernow to write the bio about Hamilton.



Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Girl on a Train. Much better than the movie!

The Alchemist 

Mike Damone

June 10th, 2018 at 8:51 PM ^

For you younger MGoBlog-gers - You should try "If I Don't Six".  Fiction about a U-M football recruit and player, set in Ann Arbor, in the late 80's.  Written by Brian "Elwood" Reid, a former U-M lineman who got injured and became a full time novelist and screenwriter (and still is).  Very good author. - his other books are great too  Though it is fiction - believe that 80%+ of what he wrote rings and feels true about the crazy life as a D1 football player in the late 80's.

Other than that - best book I have read in last 5 years is "Ready Player One".  Put the movie to shame.



June 10th, 2018 at 8:55 PM ^

As a 37 year old, I just read Moby Dick for the first time. I have been reading all the classics that I missed in HS and college. I used to hate reading due to ADHD, but I actually have been reading instead of playing Madden.