Good Books for Summer Reading?

It’s summertime, so I’m looking for a bunch of fun books to read. I just ordered two books by John Scalzi (Fuzzy Nation and The God Engines), two books by Dean Karnazes because I’m training to run a marathon (Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss and Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner), plus Zero Day: A Novel by Mark Russinovich. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

I’ve gotten some great suggestions for good books to read in previous years. Here’s how I expressed my summertime reading preferences early on:

Okay, I’m looking for fun, light reading for my vacation. I don’t want search stuff, I don’t want heavy reading, I don’t want geopolitics or history.

Things like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Or Terry Pratchett. Or early William Gibson. Cheesy cyberpunk if they don’t get the computer stuff too wrong. Neil Gaiman. Transmetropolitan.

Based on that, what books would you recommend for fun summer reading?

194 Responses to Good Books for Summer Reading? (Leave a comment)

  1. In The Plex by Steven Levy

    someone had to say it

  2. I just finished a fantastic book – 50 Psychology Classics. It lays the groundwork for a lot of fun future reading too. You can never learn too much about yourself and human behavior.

  3. Have you tried Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You? interesting read, if a bit overstating things.

  4. for the marathon i recommend http://www.amazon.com/What-Talk-About-When-Running/dp/1846552206 great book from a great author about … marathons – it changes the way you think about running

  5. I highly recommend Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Start with the original trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. If you like them then keep going.

  6. Survivor – Chuck Palahniuk – FANTASTIC book, very funny taken the right way
    Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts – epic, but very fast to read

    Have a great summer!

  7. Matt..

    You could try Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell. It’ll show you how little diferences become a great advantage.

  8. Adam

    The Hyperion Cantos are an awesome 4-book sci-fi set: http://www.amazon.com/Hyperion-Dan-Simmons/dp/0553283685

  9. Oh, fun!

    1. The Hunger Games (I know it’s a kids book…but, amazing!)
    2. Watership Down (bunnies at war. Need I say more?)
    3. Water for Elephants (the story of a young man who runs away to join the circus…much more realistic than I anticipated)
    4. American Gods (what if the gods from our ancient lands came with us to America?)
    5. Something Missing (about a dopey thief that steals household items from the same people over and over again and then starts meddling in their lives)

    Have fun!

  10. Christian Leonard Quale

    Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson is great for light summer reading. Observations on general aspects of living in Amarica by a British-American travel-writer, and one of the few books that has actually made me inadvertently laugh out loud in public.

    Also, Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams is one of my favourite books, and manages to be interesting and thought-provoking, but at the same time very funny and “light.”

  11. My best read last summer was The windup girl. OK, it is more Biopunk than
    Cyperpunk, but still a very book.
    http://www.amazon.com/Windup-Girl-Paolo-Bacigalupi/dp/1597801577

  12. Richard Bach,
    Jonathan Livingston Seagull ;)

  13. I would suggest anything by Neal Stephenson. Snow Crash or Cryptonomicon are great; Anathem is some really fun hard SF.

  14. Hi Matt, I’d recommend the book Bounce by Matthew Syed. I read it in Mauritius a few weeks back and it was a cracking read if you like sport and are curious about children with apparent ‘natural born talents’? He’s a UK writer but looks at examples across the globe and it’s packed with some fascinating observations. Anyway, I found it an easy read (and I am not a good reader!) and thoroughly interesting so if you’re training for a marathon, I’m sure this can only help to spur you on and help your brain want to rack up the hours of training (and miles pounding the streets) & the importance of adapting your running style to get better as you do (as long as you want to!): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bounce-How-Champions-are-Made/dp/000735052X

  15. If you haven’t read Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson yet, I’d highly recommend that one.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash

  16. well if you like CP try reading some of the precursors to Cyber Punk.

    Babel 17 and Nova by Samuel Delaney
    Shockwave Rider By Brunner
    Tiger! Tiger! By Bester
    and really Old School Fury by Cl More and Kutner (Cl more is the SF writer alluded to in the blind assassin by Atwood)

  17. Let’s see:
    - Eli Pariser, I have a copy and have skimmed through it.
    - franz: thanks for the suggestion!
    - Foundation: I’ve read 1-2. Now I’d probably have a hard time figuring out where I left off. It’s a bummer to pick up a book or series halfway through..
    - Chuck Palahniuk: I’ve read about half his stuff. I either love it or hate it. :)
    - Shantaram: someone else recommended that–thanks for the reminder!
    - Outliers: read it, liked it pretty well
    - Hyperion: YES! These books were so good. I wish I hadn’t read them, so I could read them again. :)
    - Hunger Games: great series of books! Watership Down was good, but a bit long. I liked American Gods, too. Great taste, Gigi. :)
    - Douglas Adams: I’m playing around with the idea of just reading everything of his again. It’s been 20+ years or so since I read some of it. I liked A Walk in the Woods, but I haven’t liked every Bill Bryson book.
    - Jonathan Livingston Seagull: read it a long time ago. It’s all a tapestry, man. :)
    - Neal Stephenson: yup, I’ve read almost all his stuff. Anathem was really good.
    - Bounce: thanks for the recommendation!

  18. Have you read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series yet? If not, this would definitely fit into the fun summer reading category. Super fast read, and if you like the first one you still have two more to go!

  19. Jason

    I’ll second The Windup Girl, it’s terrific fun.

    Read any Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels? I’d recommend The Player of Games or Use of Weapons.

    On the light cyberpunk front maybe Charles Stross? Read Halting State and if you like it the sequel Rule 34 (yes, really) comes out in a week or so.

  20. I’m assuming you’ve already read the Scalzi back catalog, but if not – DO!

    I also enjoyed Ender in Exile from Orson Scott Card. It’s a nice “sequel” that didn’t require re-reading ender (though that wouldn’t be a bad thing IMHO) and some new ideas and story ideas from that old, tired arc.

    The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell was good, light and fast, but you really are committing to 6 novels in a row if you start, so be warned.

    Otherwise thanks for the list, I’m going to use the comments here to guide my own summer buy list :).

  21. Oh, and one more great one to add: Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey – Society divided into castes based on which colors you can see (when the majority of the population can only see in grey). Very interesting! Reminded me of Hunger Games in a vague way (but maybe only because I read them back to back).

  22. CFMcG

    Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization by Ian Gately is a fascinating read, even for non-smokers like me.

    http://www.amazon.com/Tobacco-Cultural-History-Seduced-Civilization/dp/0802139604

    Cheers,
    Clayton / @CFMcG

  23. TSC

    Moneyball or any other book by Michael Lewis for that matter.

  24. Hi Matt,

    Highly recommend “Youth and Revolt” by C.D. Payne. Super readable, incredibly funny and kicks ass stylistically.

    And David Foster Wallace’s non-fiction essays are always a quick, fun jam. Try “Consider the Lobster.”

    Happy reading!

  25. Matt B

    Based on “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” I would very strongly recommend “The Art of Racing in the Rain”.

    Also fun so far, at least 20% of the way into the first book, is the Dresden Files sci-fi/fantasy series.

  26. I second The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, recommended by Victoria.

    Some others:
    - Replay, by Ken Grimwood
    - Maybe the Moon, by Armistead Maupin

  27. I’m reading Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. If you haven’t read it already it’s fantastic.

    The Road and also Child of God by Cormac McCarthy – both are good but pretty dark.

  28. If you can find his stuff translated into English, Erland Loe – especially Naive. Super – is one of those writers people often seem to be glad they finally found. Good luck!

  29. Chris

    Since you;re training for a marathon, I would recommend “Born to Run” by Christopher Mcdougall. It will definitely get you motivated, and it’s a great story.

  30. If you happen to speak German, the blog I maintain with my girlfriend might be interesting for you. We ask people with interesting backgrounds – authors, blogger, editors, actors – this question: “Which five books would you never give away?”. The most recommended book so far is The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy (Douglas Adams) followed by Ulysses (James Joyce) and The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen)

  31. Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel

  32. I’m a big fan of Chad Klutgen. His latest is out and here’s the the 1st 30 pages are available.

    http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Men-Women-Children-Chad-Kultgen/?isbn=9780061657313

    (text can be kinda raw)

  33. Durf

    I recommend the Night’s Dawn’ trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton: The Reality Dysfunction , The Neutronium Alchemist and The Naked God.

  34. Emily W

    I was just going to recommend The Art of Racing in the Rain but I saw someone else did – so I’ll just second that recommendation! Also, Little Bee by Chris Cleave is excellent if you haven’t read it.

  35. I think you’d like Connie Willis if you enjoy Pratchett and Gaiman. Try Bellwether or ‘To Say Nothing Of The Dog’ as introductions to her.

  36. Matt – have you checked out anything by Jesse Ball? He has a new book out called The Curfew, it’s light, fun and quick reading, but still thought-provoking…you can go through a lot of pages and it feels like no time has passed at all. His other books are Samedi the Deafness and The Way Through Doors, all enjoyable in a quirky, dream-like way.

  37. Ernie Hershey

    I second Shantaram. I just started reading it and it’s great so far, a good easy read but not too shallow.

  38. Eric

    After i read Zeroday I read this book called Kingpin written by Kevin Poulsen http://www.amazon.com/Kingpin-Hacker-Billion-Dollar-Cybercrime-Underground/dp/0307588688 its a very good read and based on facts and true people for characters.

  39. Liam Hegarty

    I’ll second the Charles Stross recommendation. However I’d suggest the Merchant Princes series. Paul Krugman likes them. The link to Krugman’s original post seems to have disappeared, sorry.

    If you eat, Cod, a biography of the fish that changed the world by Mark Kurlansky might interest you.

  40. Ilf and Petrov: The Twelve Chairs. Have fun!

  41. I’ll second what Chris said: “Born to Run” is an amazing book. Great stories about ultramarathons along with discussions on the benefits of barefoot running. I bought Vibram’s and haven’t used my running sneakers since reading this book.

  42. Hi Matt,

    Richard Bach’s Illusions is one of my all time favorites and a very quick read.

    Heard today that Henry Winkler’s I Never Met an Idiot on The River is out and sounds like a really fun read, so just added it to my list.

    Have a great vacation!

  43. I’m also reading and would like to second Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Amazing read.

  44. Ken Aston

    I second Franz’s suggestion: What I talk about when I talk about running by Murakami. After reading it you can’t wait to get your running shoes on.

  45. Ben Graham

    Read the first three books of the Richard Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. You’ll never be so engrossed as you are when imagining being in the front lines with a Highland regiment on the plains of India during the Napoleonic era.

  46. Robin Hobb – The Farseer Trilogy / The Liveship Traders / The Tawny Man Trilogy (all kind of tie-in but three great separate series)

  47. Mary Foreman

    The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls (mind boggling)
    The Snowman – Jo Nesbo (an easier read that the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
    Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro (one of my all-time favorites)
    Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan (absorbing)
    Bossypants (if you like Tina Fey)

  48. Amar Rama

    No suggestions but the overlap is neat. I am a big fan of Transmet, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet as well. In other words please share what you end up doing :-) I would love to try that. Warren Ellis was working on an awesome steampunk novel but I don’t think it ever made it into print, it was online only.

  49. Death of a Thousand Cuts -Barbara D’Amato is a good read..

    If you get burned out on running try doing an xterra http://www.xterraplanet.com. I started doing them about 5 years ago and got seriously hooked. They have the mental and physical challenge of a marathon but are a little easier on your lower back and knees.
    Good luck!

  50. Some classical music picks for wide audience

    THE REST IS NOISE by Alex Ross of the New Yorker. Alex went on Colbert and successfully resisted efforts to make him say that America has the best classical music in the world (because it’s the best country in the world).

    WEEP, SHUDDER, DIE by Robert Levine. Demystifying opera for popular entertainment. Very chatty.

    New York Times Tech journalist David Pogue has cowritten Classical Music for Dummies and Opera for Dummies. Very readable, but they get some of the specifics wrong on the (sorry) castrato tradition.

  51. Josh Bloch

    James Gleick’s “The Information” is a great book. Amazingly, it’s equally appropriate for hardcore techies and lay people.

  52. Dubliners is a great classic for summer reading. Snippets of short fictions with the realistic component, though lacking the high brow humour of the larger Ulysses, although it sounds as though that’s something you would like to read with Wikipedia open, I advise you to avoid searching up terms and enjoy the humanity of the writing of the latter work I mentioned. Else, the poetry of Lord Byron; specifically Don Juan.

  53. David Minor

    Sharpe’s Tiger by Bernard Cornwell – first in his Richard Sharpe series, good writing and fun reading.

    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre – great spy novel, and a fast read.

  54. Adrian Merrall

    A few favourites at the moment.

    The Thought Gang – Tibor fischer. Some love it, some hate it but one of my all timers.
    The name of the rose – Umberto Eco
    A Month in the Country – JL Carr – just beautiful – read the book then watch the film.
    Pig Perfect – Peter Kaminsky – all you wanted to know about the best pork.

  55. Hey Matt,

    Born to Run is a great read, especially since you are doing the marathon. It’s entertaining and has some useful information mixed in. Good luck at the marathon – I’m also running my first one in October except mine’s on the East Coast. It’s called the Wineglass Marathon and it’s in Upstate, NY. Wine at the finish – talk about motivational! :)

    Brian

  56. Anything creative and related to fantasy! “The Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin and/or “The Stolen Throne” by David Gaider. You can never lose if you decided to engross yourself in the “Sword of Truth” series by Terry Goodkind. Or, just give up on reading and enjoy the great outdoors!

  57. Check out my post on summer reading: http://20somethingfierce.com/

    Room and How did you get this number? are my two suggestions

  58. Hi Matt,
    Assuming you’ve read everything by Douglas Adams, I would recommend Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips (funny stuff).
    Glad to hear you’re a Terry Pratchett fan – he rocks!

  59. Jeremy

    Here’s the real question Matt; how do you read your books? Physical copy? Nook? Kindle? iPad?

  60. JH

    Hi Matt,
    I just finished Zero day, and liked it a lot. If you like that – you might want to check out Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson. I’m only halfway through but like it a lot.

    Regards,
    Jeff

  61. Bryan

    I would recommend anything by Kurt Vonnegut, but particularly “Cats Cradle”.

  62. Which book?? Before!! you and google must learn be human and humanity. You or google stoled my ideas. http://twitpic.com/5emnj2 http://twitpic.com/5emndl First of all, To be intellectual is to be human. I dont believe you have any sense. Don’t read any book Matt! I suggest that holybible book. Shame on you.

  63. Lexi Baugher

    the Dresden Files series, by Jim Butcher

  64. I spend most of my days immersed in technology and business, and a few months ago I found a thought-provoking antidote.

    It’s called ‘Shop Class As Soulcraft’ by Matthew B. Crawford. It’s a light read, an eulogy to working with physical things, and how we can reconnect to the ‘real world’ of material objects.

  65. AysegulYuksel

    Which book?? Before!! you and google must learn be human and humanity. You or google stoled my ideas. http://twitpic.com/5emnj2 http://twitpic.com/5emndl First of all, To be intellectual is to be human. I dont believe you have any sense. Don’t read any book Matt! I suggest that holybible book. Shame on you.
    Dont be evil

  66. Just skimmed the other comments (although whoever described The Road as “pretty dark” had a more solid constitution than I, that book destroyed me) so apologies if they duplicate:

    Good call on the Murakami What I talk About When I talk about running. Terrific sideways route into running as a subject and neatly gets the zen of running.

    On a similarish tip, I think everyone should read Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynmann? It’s almost certainly the best Transcribed conversations between a nuclear physicist and his bongo teacher. It’s also a very male book and teaches well about achievement.

    I’m really enjoying Black Man by Richard Morgan, cyberpunk meets Agatha Christie, sort of.

    And because no reading list is complete without a graphic novel…there’s been some very enjoyable 2000AD graphic novels. Mostly they’re collections of the issues and the quality therein differs wildly but things like Shakara and the recent cowboy underworld one (Icarus something?) are worth a browse.

    Happy holidaying.

  67. Matt,

    I can highly recommend the action adventure novel Ring Of Daggers, not least because I wrote it! :-)

    Mark

  68. I’d strongly suggest reading “True Names” by Vernor Vinge. It’s a short cyberpunk story depicting the Internet before people even heard the term “personal computer”. Get the book published by Tor (ISBN: 0-312-86207-5). This version has about nine essays about computing that precede the story that are related to how virtual reality and the Internet were depicted from different perspectives and give a good insight into the background of “True Names” so you get a greater feeling of just how revolutionary this story was before you even read it.

    I’ve also been reading Ray Kurzweil’s book “The Singularity Is Near” and it is a really interesting speculation on the future of technology, how it is meant to be the next step of evolution, and how artificial intelligence will start to make vast improvements within the next two decades.

  69. Ray

    I can’t comment on good books I’m more of a tv and movie guy. But, if you are training for a marathon I wish you luck with that. Don’t jump into one of those big 10+ k/mile ones unless you have some good workouts and endurance built up. I would take up reading before running marathons, but that can be an awesome accomplishment and good feeling to complete one.

  70. Thank’s Matt,
    and…
    Private London and/or Judge and Jury by James Patterson?

  71. I just finished reading Nation by Terry Pratchett, really thought provoking stuff. A bit lighter, also from the same author The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents and, last suggestion, the Inheritance Cycle. Hope that helps, SY

  72. If you haven’t read Daniel Suarez’s books Daemon and Freedom™ I can highly recommend them!

  73. Luis

    I strongly recommend for a summer reading: The elegance of the hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, an excellent french book.

    http://www.amazon.com/Elegance-Hedgehog-Muriel-Barbery/dp/1933372605

    It’s amazing and fast to read.

  74. If you’ve not already, you should definitely read ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher MacDougall – essential for any budding or experienced marathon runner.

  75. Jennifer

    fun, right? Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut by Rob Sheffield

  76. “Le Non-Faire, ecole de la respiration” by Itsuo Tsuda. A book on motivation and different kinds of human beings, written before “motivation” was an hot keyword :-)

  77. The Once and Future King (T. H. White) (okay, so I assume you’ve read this, but in case you haven’t, it would be a shame to put it off any longer)

  78. I’d recommend you any of the books by Donna Leon. The action is situated in Venice, so you also do some tourism while your read.

  79. although I am having problems with keeping focused – I have decided to finish Jay Abraham’s book

    Matt, have you’ve read it? If yes, many of us would be happy to read your thoughts on it.

  80. Hey Matt on the non fiction side I think you would definitely appreciate “The Singularity is Near” by Ray Kurzweil. Its an AWESOME, pretty mind blowing book about how technology is merging into biology. I’m half way through it and by far the chapter on nanotechnology and how we will be able to create virtually any physical product using JUST information has had my head spinning with ideas for the last week!

  81. Hey, what about “Chicken soup for the soul”??. Hehe, just kidding. I’m just finished with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and it’s great.

  82. Another thing I want to add google must have build links from low quality or their content quality is low or paid links from yahoo or bing or punishment for giving headache to a lot of webmasters after panda update :)

  83. Yay for marathon running! I do halves.

    Check out The Beautiful Miscellaneous by Dominic Smith (teenage computer/science genius and his relationship with his dad) or Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell (mobster turned doctor gets caught up in trouble). Both are well-written but fun.

  84. China Melville’s Kraken is a lot of reading fun.

  85. Oliver

    Check out “The Raw Shark Texts“. Sort of a fun, quirky metaphysical thriller

  86. Hi Matt,

    “Delivering Happiness” is interesting, I’ve also recently read and recommend “Blink” and “The Tipping Point.”

    I know you are a big contributor to the community and I would like to get your feedback about this new payment method for outsourcing:
    http://bit.ly/kSa1Iz

    What do you think?

    Thank you,
    Steven A. | Atmcash.com

  87. Kavit

    Hi Matt,

    Would definitely recommend reading a James Patterson Novel…particularly a novel featuring Alex Cross…try perhaps I, Alex Cross…

    A caution though, you won’t be able to put it down too quickly once you get started. It’s a very captivating thriller series of books.

  88. I always love reading John Grisham books when I am on leave…

  89. I recommend you read the famous Canada children book “Anne of Green Gables”

  90. Suresh

    One of the funniest books I have ever read: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
    The book is soooo good that you will be compelled to sit all through the night and complete it, and you would be ROFL.

  91. Lindsey M

    Hummingbirds by Joshua Gaylord – it’s about the battle for attention between two male teachers at an elite, all-girls prep school. It’s a really fast read; perfect for the beach!

  92. Think my comment got lost in the e-mist, can’t remember my long-winded but no doubt brilliant thoughts but here are some recommendations:

    Black Man – Richard Morgan. Cyberpunk meets police procedural. Neato.

    Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynmann – arguably the best transcribed conversations of a nuclear physicist and a bongo player.

    Check out some of the 2000AD Graphic Novels if you want something different.

  93. Mark Tempest

    Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 – Michio Kaku

  94. Matt

    Feed by Mira Grant. It’s a zombie tale set in a world that’s actually heard of George Romero. It’s a lot of fun: Shaun and Georgia are bloggers who have been invited to follow a presidential campaign as part of the candidate’s press pool. It’s not a tale of how the zombies rose up; it tells about life in a society that has adjusted to zombies as a fact of life.

  95. Hi Matt,

    If you like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams try “Armageddon: the musical” by Robert Rankin, or alternatively “Falling Sideways” by Tom Holt.

    Cheers

    Matt

  96. Do you like urban fantasy? If so, at the risk of sounding self serving, can I recommend FROST MOON? It’s about magical tattoo artist Dakota Frost facing off with a serial killer and it’s set in my hometown of Atlanta. FROST MOON got good reviews and even won an ebook award. The sequel, BLOOD ROCK, is coming out in a month or so, so you wouldn’t have to wait too long to follow up with Dakota Frost if you liked her and her universe.

    -Anthony
    P.S. Also, I’m pretty sure if you want a physical copy signed, the author would be willing to walk over to your office do it. :-)

  97. Chriskos

    I have to recommend a former co-worker’s series… cheesy series about a programmer becoming a magician: The WizBiz, not un-entertaining: http://www.amazon.com/Wiz-Biz-Rick-Cook/dp/0671878468

  98. I, Avatar
    The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil
    Hackers: Heroes of the computer revolution
    Papillon

  99. Hi,
    maybe this one, great book: http://books.google.com/books?id=WJA_uL4cpSoC&printsec=frontcover&hl=ru#v=onepage&q&f=false
    P.S.
    I couldn’t find your e-mail here, Matt, can u contact me, and I want to help in researching algorithm which determines paid links…

  100. I always like to read books to better myself…. “The millionaire next door”, “How to win friends and influence people”, etc.

  101. Have you read Digital Fortress by Dan Brown?

    Dan Brown always does his research so all the facts will be right. It’s been a little while since i read it and i can’t remember it that well but i just remember enjoying the book, good luck finding something you’ll enjoy :).

  102. I think you’ll remember that last summer I recommended that you check out The Hunger Games trilogy, and as I recollect you loved it.

    In a similar vein – dystopian trilogy – I highly recommend that you check out The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask And the Answer, and Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, the three books in the Chaos Walking trilogy. I loved The Hunger Games, but this series is better. The first book is about a boy named Todd, who is the last boy in his town, but as his 13th birthday approaches, he’s about to become a man. He lives in New Prentisstown on a planet where all the women have been killed off by a virus, and all the men can hear each other’s thoughts like a wall of noise.

    Please let me know if you check it out, and enjoy it! (@YABookShelf on Twitter)

  103. For a good lasting dose of sci-fi, I can highly recommend Dan Simmons’ Hyperion.

  104. Summer is the time for a good memoir:

    Riding Rockets – Read this before space shuttle Atlantis retires.
    The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas – Funny. Latin American classic.
    My World Line – George Gamow was the Carl Sagan of his day. Look for it at your library.

  105. I also like to recommend Delivering Happiness if your into reading business books. Someone with you knowledge and experience can start up a kick *** biz. If you want a driven biz partner hit me up :)

  106. mathi

    I like “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”,
    This book is partly a science book recounting the medical advances HeLa cells have made possible. But the heart of this book is a biography of Henrietta Lacks and her family, particularly her daughter Deborah.

    The book is a fascinating and heartbreaking account of medicine and American family. I like this a lot.

  107. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

    But you’ve probably already read it.

    “Even though it doesn’t exist …”

  108. aaron wall

    Tim Wu’s Master Switch…it shows how companies like AT&T, RCA, and other such monopolies destroyed markets for the promotion of the interests of their company. It is a particularly relevant piece of information giving the shape the web is currently taking, with a few big players corrupting & destroying markets to fit their business models. :D

  109. Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky or A Fire Upon the Deep.

    Later this year Children Of The Sky will be published. I intend to camp out in front of the bookstore the night before… if there are any bookstores left by then. Maybe I’ll order it online instead.

  110. Ben

    I’ll second Rule 34 by Charlie Stross. Especially with the two Scalzi books.

  111. Haruki Murakami, especially “Dance, Dance, Dance” (might want to read “A Wild Sheep Chase” first, although I didn’t but it’s a predecessor) or for something heavier “Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World”.

    For a very light romp, “Grumby” by Andy Kessler. It’s a fun “Bonfire of the Vanities” of the Silicon Valley tech culture.

  112. Oh yeah, and Max Barry if you haven’t read him; “Jennifer Government” is a good start.

  113. Here are a few lesser known Sci-Fi classics that you may not have read yet:
    - The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
    - The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
    - Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
    - Gateway by Frederick Pohl

    I’m trying to blog my way through the top 100 science fiction novels of all time, so if you need some other suggestions you can check it out here: Top Science Fiction Novels

  114. Forget reading this summer. Go to the beach for 1 month, and relax… Waste your time doing nothing at all. Some times you have to stop working like a machine.. You have to let your batteries to get full capacity again.. :)

  115. Daemon, and after that Freedom, by Daniel Suarez. Great fiction in the vein of Bruce Sterling/William Gibson. Total pageturners, hard to put down, and he essentially gets the tech part _right_. Was a consultant, knows his way around a linux box & basic networking . . Makes the fantastic nature of the story much more fun because it feels more like it’s rooted in familiar/knowable technology.

  116. Zero day by Mark Russinovich and Daemon/Freedom by Daniel Suarez

  117. Harry Davies (@harrydavies)

    The book of Dave by Will Self – here is a quote ‘Djoo wan me 2 cumman gé Runti wiv U?’

    You have to learn a dialect to understand half the book!

    London, UK focussed so access to google maps is handy when reading.

  118. Try “Mistaken” by Neil Jordan. Intriguing story, Dublin background, even includes Vampires (of the Bram Stoker variety) !

  119. john andrews

    Born to Run was worth reading.

  120. Simon O'Keeffe

    Hi Matt,

    Maybe too late and you have your books already, but an author I did not see mentioned, and rarely ever do actually is:

    Jim Dodge

    A modern American fiction author of only 2 novels, a novella, and a book of poems, he defines the saying “the light which burns twice as bright, burns twice as fast”.

    The novels Stone Junction and Not Fade Away are hard to describe as they are part mysticism, coming of age, road movie, comedy, and thriller. I’ve heard him likened to Pynchon, but I would say he is more accessible, and harder to put down.

    Enjoy your summer!

  121. Darrell

    Hey Matt

    I am concerned about some recent developments from Google with new emails being sent out to website owners by you and your team. I was over at search engine land and read a generic email that is going out to owners of sites that have been penalized by Google because of bad incoming links.

    Here is a sampling of the email letter over at that site:

    Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.domain.com/,

    We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

    Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

    We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.

    If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request. So, some person could send thousands of bad links to my site and I am supposed to send Google a detailed message with all the links….Seriously – I would shut my sites down, rather than waste hours upon hours sending stuff to Google, in the hope someone would actually care about my site.

    If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support. Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team

    So, if we are reading this correctly, people can and are slamming other site owners with all kinds of bad links to knock them off the top spots. You once mentioned that would not happen in some video. How could you and the other people that are supposed to be so smart, add something like this to your algo’s?

    If would seem counter productive and essentially, this could lead to an all out war with people spamming the hell out of each other. I read over at another forum, where someone did send bad links and knocked the person off page 1. So, since Panda update, how is this actually making search and rankings better for all of us?

    Its not in my opinion. I really wish you would take the time to answer this in a youtube question or on your blog. Since, you seem to be the only person, who will ever answer questions from Google.

    Regards and have a great day

  122. Sadik Moldauer

    Matt,

    It’s great to see you getting ready for a marathon. I had been running ‘only’ marathons for the past 15 years with a total of 85 marathons and still going on…. I’d be happy to share my experiences and help you with any questions you might have during your training. I’ve helped many to achieve their marathon goals as I enjoy helping people with no expectations.

    I’m also getting ready for Chicago and New York (and maybe a few more) this fall season.

    Just remember, “It’s not a race, it’s a lifestyle”

    –Sadik

  123. Jeff

    Recently watched your TED talk and enjoyed it. Since you seem to like the same authors I do, I’d recommend THE GUN SELLER, by Hugh Laurie — the same Hugh Laurie from “House.” It’s got Wodehouse-like humor and some fantastic, fun writing.

  124. I don’t know what particular genre you like Matt but my two favorite books of all time are The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan and White Oleander by Janet Fitch. Like I said, I don’t know for sure if you’d like them or not but they are definitely worth a read!

  125. Jo Kasunic

    Based on your Ted Talk, how about Remember Newvember by Jennifer Bogart? Sure, it’s chick lit, but it was written during NaNoWriMo AND it’s about trying a new thing every day for a month!! What more could you ask for?? amazon.com/Remember-Newvember-ebook/dp/B0052UAG70

  126. Kirsty

    Recommended inspirational running book:
    Just a Little Run Around the World: 5 Years, 3 Packs of Wolves and 53 Pairs of Shoes. by Rosie Swale Pope

    Obligatory viewing before doing your marathon is Run Fat Boy Run featuring Simon Pegg.

    Good luck with the training.

  127. The Witch Series by Terry Pratchett, which I have read 1000 times and will read 1000 times more. Also, “Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins. An oldie, but totally brilliant.

  128. James Tyler

    Matt, I am writing here after coming from another slew of Youtube ads, this time in the MIDDLE of videos. That was the final straw.

    I can’t help but think it *Extremely* hypocritical of your corporation that you emphasize quality content and not over-monetization (e.g. MFA sites) yet since Google has taken over YouTube almost ALL I see is ads. They are everywhere: on the homepage, in the top right, and at that point, even, I could deal with it. It’s acceptable monetization. But what is intrusive and detracting from the user experience is interrupting videos with adverts. I might even accept ads on longer television programming from certain television networks that choose to offer their shows via Youtube, but it seems almost every video, even user generated, I get an advert of some kind.

    I am sick and tired of this ad spam so can you please get it under control, or forward my request to the appropriate department. Millions of Youtube users are frankly getting extremely pissed off with it. This will, in the end, lead to a far kinder competitor taking over.

  129. I can recommend Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It is 1300 pages of wisdom :)

  130. Quitter by Jon Acuff. Really excellent book about how to quit your day job and when to do it to pursue your dream.

  131. I liked “Moonwalking With Einstein” – The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. it’s a fascinating read about people with fantastic memories, as well as strategies to increase your ability to remember things. It’s not a fluff book at all; it’s filled with all kinds of interesting stories backed by top-notch research. I couldn’t put it down… and I bet you’ll love it too Matt.
    Andy :-)

    http://www.amazon.com/Moonwalking-Einstein-Science-Remembering-Everything/dp/159420229X

  132. I’ve been reading “Rework” and “4 Hour Workweek” lately which are some great books for business.

  133. You’re a guy so you might not like these choices but for light reading there is none better than any Sidney Sheldon novels; lots of intrigue, money, power, glamor, exotic locales. They are NOT romance novels but story line based.

    If you ever had an interest in acting when you were younger you could read “The Power Of The Actor” by Ivanna Chubbuck. It’s very interesting.

    I find the “For Dummies” and “For Idiots” line of books also very entertaining and fun light reads. “How To Invest For Dummies” etc. There’s a book for just about every interest out there.

  134. “The Legend Of Bagger Vance” by Stephen Pressfield is great. A movie was made about the book, but Pressfield is a fantastic writer and this is a very entertaining book.

    If you like baseball, try “The Baseball Codes”. A hilarious look behind the curtain of the unwritten rules of baseball. Great stuff on sign stealing to bench clearing brawls. Really funny.

  135. Joe Amadon

    Long Distance: Testing the Limits of Body and Spirit in a Year of Living Strenuously by Bill McKibben. Good writing that takes us through a year of a man’s life as he trains for a long distance cross-country ski race and deals with the terminal diagnosis/passing of his father.

    Everyday Survival by Laurence Gonzales. It’s a little heavy for summer reading, but a great piece of non-fiction with good stories. It’s the one book I would recommend to everyone.

    The Complete Short Stories of Amy Hemple. Some of the best writing ever in usually very short stories.

  136. Unfortunately, I only read books about business and finance. Sometimes I will read a good autobiography. Looks like you got plenty of solutions above.

  137. my fav. book this summer: montaigne, essays
    500 years old, but still top news to the world ;-)

  138. live4life

    Summer Reading……………

    One flew over the Cukoos Nest

  139. I recently finished THE WISE MAN’S FEAR, perhaps the best novel I’ve read in the past several years. Sequel to THE NAME OF THE WIND, which is good, but not the same level of great.

  140. Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel.

  141. I run too. If you want a really good running book whilst training for a marathon read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I couldn’t put it down. I gave it to my girlfriend and same story.

  142. I would definitely recommend “Maps of the Ancient Sea kings” It covers the evidence for a much more knowledgeable and well travelled civilisation existing at around the time of the last ice age, and along the way covers the hints that the accepted view of the way in which the world was discovered and populated by human beings is largely incorrect. Even if you filter out the occasional tenuous conclusion there is a lot to think about, especially when you consider how recently historians had to change accepted knowledge to account for the Viking discovery of the North American Continent, long before Columbus set sail.

    On a lighter note the X-wing series of Star Wars books are great fun to read and heart warming and harrowing in equal measure – especially the Wraith Squadron books.

    Rich

  143. I know I’m a little late to respond to this thread but I’ve always been a Neil Gaiman fan. Two books I’d recommend are American Gods and Neverwhere.

  144. dodge

    Good book to read when you want to run a marathon: Comrades Marathon – The Ultimate Human Race
    And then maybe run the comrades? ;-P

  145. Matt – I did a challenge where I read 13 books in a single month. Of those, here’s the two I’d recommend for you:

    Good Omens – Terry Pratchett. Hilarious book about the apocalypse.

    The Lies of Locke Lamora – okay – so it IS a bit long. But it’s fun as heck. One of the best (if not THE best) fantasy novels I’ve ever read.

    Happy reading!
    (P.s. I actually laughed at “no search”. No duh, if I was you I’d want to distance myself from that stuff the moment I left the office.)

  146. Ann

    I second ‘Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey’. It’s absolutely brilliant! (And witty, relaxing, LMAO great! ;))

  147. How about the Bible, that’s a pretty good book.

  148. Oh, and the one book I would definitely take to the desert island, Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. About the eternal fight of good vs evil, God and Satan. Also happens to be pant wettingly funny.

  149. rob

    I highly recommend ‘the magic mountain’ by thomas mann- great thoughts in this. if you need someghing ‘lighter’ harlan coben is fantastic writer!

  150. I recommend reading Thinkertoys, it is a book that teaches you about creative thinking. It contains a bunch of exercises on making you think creatively. Definitely worth the read.

  151. Heather

    I’ve enjoyed lots of those books. But seriously, best book I’ve read this year was Passionate Marriage by Dr David Scharnarch. You’re married. You’re a busy guy. Your wife may appreciate you taking some time for this awesome part of marriage. Sorry – it’s not light reading.

    Any book by Malcomn Gladwell is interesting and always makes me laugh too. He either is a brilliant writer or has the best darn editor in the business.

  152. Hey Matt!

    Both Dean books are fun to read. Just finished Run. Very cool that you are training for a marathon. Good luck brother!

    Noah

  153. The God Engines is the best pick for fellas who are science-fantasy afficionados. It will surely suit the taste buds of those who crave for “dark” stories.

  154. If you haven’t visited the “Honorverse” – i.e., David Weber’s Honor Harrington SF universe, you have a great treat ahead of you!

  155. Matt,

    Try “Idea Man” by Paul G. Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft. A great book for those who are thinking of getting into business partnership.

  156. The Art of Racing in the Rain

  157. Im loving psychology books at the moment and in particular:

    INFLUENCE: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSUASION by Robert Cialdini

    Gives you an awesome understanding of how the advertisers work….for good or bad

  158. Any of the Foundation books by Isaac Asimov. I just read Prelude to Foundation and it was an exciting fast-paced adventure. It was probably one of the best books I have read in a few years.

  159. Has anyone ever mentioned “The Incarnations of Immortality” or “MythAdventures”?

  160. Matt, check out “The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage” by Cliff Stoll. It’s a very good book all the tech is accurate, well worth a read!

    James

  161. Summertime: A.S. Pyshkin – the stories, not poetry (impossible to translate without loosing the deep meanings and expression)
    Dostoevsky !
    Winter – break (if you get one):
    Bulgakov – you will feel the spirit

    After all google does have some strong bonds with the “Motherland” so why not read some of the great Authors that she brought to light

  162. Brian R

    How about “Callous Disregard” by Andrew J. Wakefield.

  163. I’d second Franz below with the Murakami…in fact…if you make it to the murakami section you really should buy the lot…certainally don’t leave without ‘wind-up bird chronicle’

  164. Go for the classic Catch-22 by Joseph Heller it’s extremely funny.
    When you don’t feel like reading listen to Bosypants byt Tina Fey

  165. 1. “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” – story of 20 entrepreneurs who where management students made it big.
    2. “Connect the dots” – story of 20 entrepreneurs who never studied management but still made it big.
    3. “I have a dream” – story of 20 entrepreneurs who went on social entrepreneurship path and made it big
    Written by Rashmi Bansal.

  166. Dont forget to let us know how you do in the Marathon I’m sure you’ll be on this list
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marathon_world_record_progression

  167. Zero Day is on my list as well. Busy summer so far so I haven’t had a chance to dive in. Let us know what you think if you read that one next. :)

  168. “as she crawled accross the table” or “girl in landscape” by jonathon letham
    FUN!

  169. Hi Mr. Cutts.

    Since you’ve mentioned Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman i think you might like (really like) Connie Willis, that’s if you dont already know her. one of her greatest books is definitely “To say nothing of the dog”. its light, and bright and funny, and you wish it would never end. And while we are on the subject of great books, have you tried Don Quixote? its one of the funniest ever written.

    Have a great summer!

  170. Good book by a well known author is Creating Trust by Dan Kennedy. Love this book on marketing and creating a good trust factor in your business.

  171. Try with something from Charles Portis is you like westerns. I just read True Grit.

  172. Hey Matt,

    I’m a running coach for half and full marathons (and a web designer / online guy by day). The books you listed and that have been recommended are great reads – but are more on the inspirational and motivational front. While inspiration is highly needed to train for a marathon, you’ll definitely want to also follow a structured training program – either on your own or with a training group.

    Hal Higdon is a great coach and has alot online http://halhigdon.com/ and some good books http://amzn.com/1594861994

    Jeff Galloway is another highly respected coach with alot of programs, books, etc. http://amzn.com/093607048X and http://www.jeffgalloway.com/

    I personally like Jeff’s better. Many runners who do not follow a program find themselves not making it through due to too much, too quick that leads to injury, burnout (mental and physical) and fatigue. Do it gradually and consistently and get through the first 8-12 weeks of your training and you’ll be set for the rest of the journey. Or join a club and follow the advice of a coach, and run with others that will help the motivation side of things!

    Good Luck!

    Coach Blake
    http://www.vavirunningclub.com

  173. Read anything by James Patterson. I just finished Tick Tock. Very scary serial killer stuff. Just when you think it’s going to be over…

  174. I realize we are quickly approaching the fall but I’d like to add The Tipping Point to the list of great reads.

  175. M-A

    I am probably very late in giving you any tips for summer reading, seeing as how half of the summer’s already behind us. There were some great suggestions in here; I hope you don’t mind if I also take them for my own summer reading list.

    Did anyone suggest ‘Life of Pi’? I know it’s so 4 yrs ago, but I had thee best time reading it during the summer; it is full of suspense, cool facts about animals, and felt like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ meets ‘Lost,’ to me at least.

    You should take advantage of this summer to take a break from Google and SEO-related readings, and try to read things that speak to your inner-child! He might be starved for fun.

    Cheers

  176. Here is a fantastic modern-day parable about being “in the box.” It’s called “Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box.” It has many implications and applications beyond just leadership. Solutions and innovations are hard to come by when our thinking is “in the box.” (And it’s a fun read.)

    http://www.amazon.com/Leadership-Self-Deception-Getting-Out/dp/1576751740

  177. I really like Fuzzy Nation!

  178. Matt I have been on a waiting list for Betheny Frankel’s new book. There is a 6 week wait list at the library. I know it probably won’t interest you, but maybe your wife would like it.

  179. I’d echo Luis’ recommendation above: The elegance of the hedgehog by Muriel Barbery is great choice for summer reading.

  180. I received “Work the System” by Sam Carpenter as a gift and it has been great reading thus far. I am about a third of the way through and it’s definitely more organized and actionable than a lot of business books I have read in the past.

  181. You have great taste in books Matt!!!!

    I love Terry Pratchett. Not too sure about the Marathon running though!

  182. Hmm not sure I can recommend any books but I’ll take your recommendations and check out some of the ones you’ve read! Although I do have to say that “The Hunger Games” is a great read!

  183. Oh! To preparate the marathon you can see “The Miracle Mile” and “Chariots of Fire” :)

    Good summer!

  184. I like to read books by Jane Austen and Dreiser. Really interesting and useful from my point of view. Life is everywhere in these books…

  185. Hi Matt
    It’s not always about what we would like to see Google do but sometimes it’s what we would “not” like to see Google do, i understand that Google wants to deliver the correct information and give the user a good experience but one thing i think Google should drop is ranking sites based on the URL of that site, it seems like a good idea and was until so many people manipulated the Google algorithm by buying and using manipulative domain names, i propose that Google at least drops some importance of the URL when indexing. Mike Matthews

  186. gaurav

    Happy birthday Google.

  187. Just finished – Stephen King / Full Dark, No Stars and The Lincoln Lawyer (Mickey Haller Series #1) by Michael Connelly…both were great !!

  188. Already have lot of books on my shelve but not getting to to read them :| some of them are “What color is your parachute?”, “Leadership secrets of Genghis Khan” and some other on change management and Entrepreneurship.

  189. Hi Matt!

    First of all thanks for sharing these titles of book for summer reading. Well, I have just read ‘The Apologist a novel by Jay Rayner and Blackberry Wines by Joanne Harris.

    Regards!

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