Richard and Judy’s Summer Reads – The Eight chosen Gems

I have to say that every year I feel slightly indebted to Richard and Judy for their wonderful summer book club and the brilliant recommendations it throws up. It’s a great source for reading material, my bookshelves have been a little heavier each year since.

So the announcement of this years 8 chosen titles for the summer reads 2011 was greeted with excitement for this blogger, and here they are;

When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman – I feel like I see and hear about this book everywhere at the moment. So it’s arrival on the R&J Summer read list is yet another sign that perhaps I really should read this book. I have to admit that until now I hadn’t even read up on the book so it’s content was a little mysterious to me. Why haven’t I at least read up on it? Well my TBR list is getting higher than me so I’m trying to restrain myself from adding too much. This book is clearly going to become even more topical though so I think it’s time to give it a go.  It certainly promises to be a thrilling read.


The Death Instinct by the wonderful Jed Rubenfeld is also on the list. I read his novel The interpretation of murder, also recommended by R&J years ago and loved the masterful plot line; I found it both compelling and ingeniously original. If it’s anything like an interpretation of murder then surely I’m in for a treat?


The Confessions of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn. I think this might have to be my first read from the R&J  Summer Reads collection, I can’t tell you how much it sounds like my idea of book perfection. 12-year-old Katherine goes to live in the duchess of Norfolk’s home and sparks fly, drama ensuing. Being a huge fan of books set in the past with grand homes packed full of secrets is my idea of book heaven. Fingers crossed this lives up to my now very high expectations.

The Novel in the Viola by Natasha Solomons – I haven’t read too much about this book yet but reading up on it on Richard and Judy’s site I’m certainly interested. It’s a war book and I’ve read, like I’m sure all avid readers have, many of those. So I hope it’s an original and unique plotline as the synopsis certainly promises to be.


The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller – Another author new to me, and another book set around the time of the war. Well two years on but still the theme will be there. Reading a very interesting description of this book I must confess to be being highly interested. I think this will have to be my second book choice from this years 8. The book includes suicide, war poets and secrets unravelled; sounds to me like the ingredients for some perfect summer reading.

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly – The more I read about Richard and Judy’s selected summer reads the more I remember why I always love their recommendations so much. Another book promising secrets, mysteries and complex relationships. These are the elements of books I always devour so The Poison Tree looks like another book sure to enthrall.

The Summer Of The Bear by Bella Pollen – Is it just me or is the title of this book oddly intriguing? It is for me anyway, perhaps that’s because it doesn’t give very much away and sounds so very original? After a little investigative reading on this book I’m still very intrigued. Father Nicky Fleming passes away leaving behind a devastated family who must learn to survive without him. But with Nicky’s promise that he would always return, is he really gone for good? I got goose pimples just reading about it, lets hope the actual book has the same effect.

And lastly Every Last One by Anna Quindlen – I’ll be totally candid with you all and admit that off all the books on this years list this is probably the one I’m least excited about. That’s not to say that the plotline doesn’t intrigue. The book is a about a seemingly perfect family who appear to have it all, but then events occur and things fall apart and secrets promise to come out of the surface.  I’ll certainly be giving it ago but maybe not straight away…maybe I’ll totally kick myself for this later?

So there you go, that’s what Richard and Judy recommend and that’s my thoughts. So what about you? Have you read any of these titles? Do you intend too? Do any really grip you? What do you think of the Richard and Judy Summer reads? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


11 thoughts on “Richard and Judy’s Summer Reads – The Eight chosen Gems

  1. Thank you for posting the list. I’m so glad you find recommended lists and add your own comments. It makes choosing my next books so much easier. I’m sure I’ll be adding a few to my own TBR shelf too.

    I’ve started reading a few from the Orange Prize for Fiction shortlist you wrote about, so thanks for that list too! I couldn’t put Room down until I finished (and consequently missed 2 meals.)

  2. I’m glad you found it useful Sammy, there’s so many great sounding books out there sometimes you need a little list just to help you decide.

    I loved Room, I couldn’t put it down either, haven’t been so engrossed in a book for a while. I’ve just finished Grace William’s Says it Loud and I think the next one I’ll read from the Orange Shortlist is Annabel. Which other one’s have you read?

    Thank you for passing on the Ian Banks books, can’t wait to start them. I think I’ve figured out how to send you an e book so I’ll send that this evening. Hope it works!

  3. Annabel is highest on my list right now, followed by Grace Williams says it Loud. I’m umming and arring over The Tiger’s Wife so I don’t think I’ll buy it just yet.

    On a different note, have you read anything by Khaled Hosseini? I cried throughout The Kite Runner. You’ve probably read it already, but if you haven’t, you must. 🙂

  4. Annabel is the same for me, I’ve heard people praise it as a worthy winner for the Orange Prize, can’t wait to read it. I’ve got mixed feelings about The Tigers Wife too, read some varied reviews, it’s on my list but not at the top.

    You can check out my thoughts on Grace William’s if your interested:

    On the note of Hosseini I loved The Kite Runner, amazing book. Also equally loved his second novel A thousand Splendid Suns, have you read that?

  5. Not yet, but it’s high on my list!

    My website really doesn’t reflect my taste in books does it? I only register books I’m willing to give away… Then along came the Kindle…

  6. I really think you’d like it, I might even be tempted to say it was slightly better but then they were both so good.

    I rally like your website. I know how you feel though, I haven’t properly set mine up yet but I’ll only register books I’m willing to give away as well no doubt and I really like to keep my books. Another point to the e book and kindles ey?

  7. It is certainly a different list, but I have two coming in the post this week. Not sure when I will get round to reading them.

    The Novel in the Viola and The Return of Captain John Emmett, because I have read good things about them before they were on their list.

    The only thing I wish R and J did do is a programme about the books, and also not to have sold out to WHSmiths and then let all good bookshops get a look in. Like they used to. But that is all probably just business!

  8. To me this feels more interesting list than many in the past. Fewer books to fit particular criteria, I think.

    I loved The Novel in the Viola and The Return of Captain John Emmett. Plus I have The Poison Tree and When God Was a Rabbit in progress and am enjoying both.

    But on a more negative note, I’m afraid I have been unimpressed by Suzannah Dunn’s historical fiction in the past though.

  9. Hi Jo, you’ll have to let me know how you get on with them, I’m really keen to read Captain John Emmett and The Novel in Viola sounds great too. Hope you enjoy them. Are you keen on any of the others? A TV programme would be great, they could get the writers on to talk about their books, I’d love that.
    It is a shame that they sold out really, I like their 3 for 2 offer but it does seclude other shops.

    Hi Fleur glad you found the list interesting, I’m definitely more intrigued by this one than ones in the past. Glad to hear you enjoyed The Novel in Viola, seems to be getting a lot of good praise, maybe it will be a potential winner?
    Hope you enjoy the other two, Captain John Emmet seems to be really popular as well. Please let me know how you get on.

    Sorry to you hear you didn’t enjoy Suzannah Dunn’s books, I haven’t actually read any of her books yet but this story really appealed to me so hopefully it wont be a let down.

  10. I did a little inward laugh when I saw the list because I have thoughts on three of the books all scheduled to go up this week. How random is that? I have shifted them around a bit (was worried would look like I was on the R&J bandwagon or something) but ‘The Novel in the Viola’, ‘When God Was A Rabbit’ and ‘The Return of Captain John Emmett’ are all going to be appearing on Savidge Reads in the next week. Will I read any of the others??? Maybe though the Rubenfield I tried and failed with last year, which was odd as I loved his debut, and the Dunn are the two I have very, very little interest in.

  11. Really?? I can’t wait to read them, I’m interested in all three books so excited to see read your thoughts as we usually like the same stuff : ) I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

    Sorry to hear you couldn’t get into the new Rubenfeld book, that’s firmly at the top of my TBR list partly due to being interested by it, partly because I loved his debut and thirdly because I just don’t read enough books by male authors at the moment, although I’m not sure why that is.

    Is the Suzanna Dunn just not your thing? I haven’t heard great things about it yet, ekk! It was going to be my first pcik from the list…I’ll let you all know how I get on with it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s