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Summer Reading
 
by
Hilma Wolitzer
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Summer Reading

2.68 of 5 stars 2.68  ·  rating details  ·  617 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Light subject, but complex structure. Very well done.
Published 2007 by Ballantine
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,037)
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Suzanne Macartney
Jul 14, 2007 Suzanne Macartney rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my friends
Shelves: fiction
More serious in tone than Karen Joy Fowler's bookclub novel, but asks unflinchingly about the role of literature in our lives. How's that for light summer reading? And yet it is. Not overlong, not overserious and kept me up late to finish it. Privileged women meet & lives intersect with the book club. Women who work for a living (gasp!) are also featured. Wolitzer touches lightly on social class & the choices women make. A lot of bang for a little summer reading.

------------------------...more
Michelle
This story follows a group of people in, or surrounding, a book club.
Angela is retired English professor who is hired to run the book club. Lissy has become it's unofficial leader. Michelle is Lissy's maid, she picks up bits and pieces of the book club but isn't a member.

Each woman's story is told, each is complicated in it's own way. Lissy is a rich, paranoid, newlywed. Angela has a scandal in her past that she wants forgiveness for. Michelle is hoping for a commitment from her longtime boyfrie...more
Elizabeth Quinn
Heading off to a weekend far from screens of any kind -- tv, computer, cell phone, etc. -- I picked up a couple of beach reads from authors I'd never tried before. Last up, Hilma Wolitzer's Summer Reading: A Novel. I added Wolitzer's latest book to my Amazon wish list after reading a review in the NYTimes, so I snapped up this novel because it seemed a perfect fit for my objective of finding beach reads, and am I ever glad I did! Wolitzer's novel is set in the beach towns of the Hamptons and tol...more
Anna
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book...would it be fluffy like a lot of beach books I read in the summer with sultry characters and tawdry premises or would it provoke thinking about the dictum "art as life" or even "life as art" and examining philosophically the role books play in our lives? It was i-n-b-e-t-w-e-e-n, neither serious, nor light, but rather straddling both worlds of gravitas and mindless escape. I read this book in between writing a paper and completing a project for two g...more
L
There has been a lot of books written lately that have you reading about reading itself, and that explore the idea that there is a greater purpose behind the books we read. "The Jane Austen Book Club", "The Thirteenth Tale" are just the first two such books that come to my mind. "Summer Reading" gives you a reading list at the end that makes it seem that to throughly understand the book you must do a little background reading. After reading "Summer Reading" and seeing how the characters; for the...more
Christi
Maybe if I had read the books the book club was reading, I'd be able to draw more comparisons or see more parallels to the character development. The three main characters have very little interaction and mostly live in three distinct worlds that only cross paths during the meeting of the book club where Angela is the leader, Lissy is the hostess and Michelle is the caterer/housekeeper.

This book was just meh.
I guess it's supposed to show the differences in the classes living on Long Island duri...more
Lola
Two words sum up my feelings about Summer Reading: God-awful. I mean, does it get any worse than this? Not only is there no plot at all, but there are three completely boring view points! Not one of these woman managed to interest me in any way at all. To be worse, there was no point to having these three woman narrate. Sure, their lives are all connected somehow, but they barely interact! Angela was just a crazy old lady. Lissy was your typical woe-is-me rich wife. Michelle was the disgruntled...more
M
How could I pass up a novel with a title like that? Again, the author seems favored by the NY Time which I often find to be more of a guarantee than the Pulitzer which gave us such winners as Shipping News and other pleasurable reads that I couldn't stay awake thru. Well, this one totally stank - her other book which was a cut above mediocre was definitely better than this one, which might be why the Times said "triumphant ... her best book yet" if they're working relatively. Anyway, it was trit...more
Heather
1 1/2 stars. Easy to read, but painful at times. The author chose three connected women in vastly different stations of life, but all in the Hamptons in summer. A chapter apiece type of set-up. Which is fine. Not so fine was how everything had to be tinged by sex. It pervaded every aspect of the story but was completely unnecessary. As if it was really the author who has sex pervade every part if her life. Weird. And the older retired professor woman was really so pathetic that I can't imagine a...more
Elizabeth Bullock
Aug 17, 2007 Elizabeth Bullock rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This book was horrible. The characters are shallow and poorly developed. The plot was lame.

The story follows three women, of different social classes, during a summer in the Hamptons. The characters' stories intersect through the meeting of a book club that is run by a former literature professor.

By the end of the book, I could barely stomach any of the characters. Trophy wife Lissy continues to be a shallow snob, grasping for any contact with the more famous Hampton-ites. Angela, the professor...more
Lorraine
Jan 02, 2008 Lorraine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: book club readers
If you liked The Jane Austen Book Club, you'll probably enjoy this book, too, which follows three different women who are of different stations and classes of life. It's easy reading, but with more substance than I expected, making it very enjoyable.

Yes, the three engaging storylines are all tied up neatly by the end, but the book asks and ponders some decent questions about literature and its affect on our lives. It uses a number of classic novels (and Harry Potter) to propose that 'literature...more
Kathleen
I almost put this book down, but having enjoyed two previous books by the author, I decided to continue. Several characters tie in to the summer reading group started by a retired professor in the Hamptons. Angela's life was worth following, some of the other trophy wives and working people were less intriguing. I liked the roll of the dogs, and the summer pace.
Katie
If your idea of summer reading is beach- or pool-worthy fare of the romance, drama, adventure, or chick lit variety then this book is not for you. Yes, it's story arcs over the course of one summer - with ample flashbacks/memories - but that's it in terms of warmth & sunny attitudes.

Of course, if you prefer a humid slog from the doldrums right into the summertime blues, then this is the book for you. It's a tepid torpor of unrequited everything. A few sparks of lightning are quickly drowned...more
Stephanie
Comparisons with The Jane Austen Book Club are probably going to run throughout the reviews, so I will keep it to a minimum and say that this book, while similar in what it is trying to do (weave together the lives of characters through books), is done in a completely different manner. I thought this book was smarter, and while I enjoyed reading it, I basically forgot everything about it when I finished. I hope this happens to other people sometimes. It was good, but not a book I would recommend...more
Diana P
Fun read that takes place in the Hamptons. It interweaves three characters, a retired literature professor who runs book clubs, a Hamptons housewife and her maid.
Amy
Unfortunately, the plot and the characters just couldn't come together for me- also, not a "beach read" as I originally thought it might be as it was a bit darker than i anticipated
Annie
This book was light and fluffy yet very enjoyable. I wouldn’t classify it as “literature”. It is what the title claims- summer reading. A few days after finishing it I’m having a hard time remembering the characters- there was the bisexual, older female English professor who leads the book group, a beautiful, young woman married to a successful businessman who has a summer place in the Hamptons (he commutes by helicopter!) who hosts the book group----she’s dyslexic. Shocking!--, there’s the work...more
Joanne
The title says it all - Summer Reading!

Light chick lit based on a group of women in the Hamptons and their book club The Page Turners. There are three main characters: Lissy, Angela and Michelle. Lissy is the socialite trophy wife wth inherited stepchildren; Angela the bookly scholar with an interesting sexual past and Michelle is the local girl who has dreams. Her character reminds me of a combination of the girls from "Mystic Pizza". Some personal past demons are tossed in with the summer imag...more
Lisa
I enjoyed this while I was reading it, and then a few days later, I'd forgotten half the details...it's entertaining, but less than gripping. From a book titled "Summer Reading," I'm not sure why I expected anything else. The book is reasonably well written, and it gets off to a promising start, but the characters are for the most part thinly developed and some of the key plot points feel forced (including the who-could-believe-this? happy ending). Take it to the beach, enjoy with a few umbrella...more
Cynthia
On page 91...not as good as I'd hoped it would be. Will stick with it, though, in hopes that it will pick up. After all, there's a "Lissy Snyder," a "Cynthia Ann," and a "Charlotte." Those closest will understand the significance. :-D Holy cow...there's even a Miranda! It's about a retired English professor and a book club...

Final report: A serious yawner. Slow, not much of a plot, some action at the end, some good connections to other books. Disappointing to say the least. Don't waste your time...more
Patty
I am not sure I ever read one of Wolitzer's novels before, although I know her name and have read positive reviews. What I had read about this book made me curious enough to pick it up

I enjoyed this book, but I am not sure it has inspired me to read another one by Wolitzer. This is partly my fault: this is the third novel I have read about rich women and I just couldn't take it. But Wolitzer did not make me care much about the characters in this book.

So I have no idea who to recommend this to.
Andrea
THIS NOVEL LOOKS INTO THE LIVES THE 3 MAIN CHARACTERS. MICHELLE, THE LOCAL - CLEANS HOUSES AND DOES ODD JOBS FOR THE SUMMER PEOPLE. SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND THAT WON'T COMMIT. ANGELA IS THE RETIRED BOOK GROUP LEADER FOR THE SUMMER PEOPLE - SHE LIVES WITH REGRETS OF AN AFFAIR. LISSY IS A SUMMER PEOPLE - MARRIED TO AN OLDER MAN WITH CHILDREN AND A LEARNING DISABLILITY. SHE HAS NEVER TRULY FELT LOVE EXCEPT FROM THE NANNIE WHO RAISED HER THEN DISAPPEARED.

THIS WAS A QUICK, ENJOYABLE READ.
Meaghan
disappointing story. i kept waiting for something exciting or interesting to happen and at the end just didnt care.
Joan Colby
I’m a little conflicted about this novel which I wanted to like more than I do. There are three main characters, Angela,a retired teacher and leader of the book club, Lissy, a socialite with a reading disability and Michelle, a part-time maid in Lissy’s home. Each has a compelling story, with perhaps too much exposition, each is influenced by one of the books that the Page Turners club is reading. The happy endings are both satisfying and too coincidental.
Lauren Curran
Not worth a read. Random plot twists at end and no real character development. Flat characters that don't evolve
maggie
A well written weaving of three women's lives over one summer. An enjoyable page turner but nothing profound and somewhat forgettable.
Holly
This was ok. I wanted it to be a really great novel about friendships and good literature and the fact that it was set in the Hamptons definitely made me want to read it -- but it was really none of those things. It was about 3 sort of disparate characters who all lead sort of mundane lives. There was nothing really intriguing going on until the last 35 pages when everything happened and then was wrapped up neatly.

It just wasn't my favorite.
Jane
A self-proclaimed beach read, but quite a good one. The story follows three characters who connect through Lissy. She's the one who hosts a weekly summer book club and Michelle is her house keeper. Angela, a former professor, leads the book group. Their stories are all interesting; Angela's perhaps the most. One nice feature is that the classics they read are echoed (obliquely) in the character's own lives. A well told story and great escape reading.
Rebecca
I don't think I can finish this. The characters are underdeveloped. Also, the book is set in the Hamptons, which begs for the place / setting to be a character unto itself. I should at least feel that I've been in the Hamptons while reading this - Author failed here. However, I have enjoyed hearing some of the literature teacher's comments about some of her required books - Will check those out.

Had high hopes for this book. Disappointed.
Sharon Archer
Although this was a very complex book, the overriding theme for me was how living with no purpose is a very dangerous thing. We tend to think that our purpose has to be "great" or "noble", but in reality being a positive voice to those around you is the greatest purpose. There will always be those people that rise to the top and fall to the bottom, but the folks in the middle-now that is where the real work of humanity happens.
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Hilma Wolitzer (b. 1930) is a critically hailed author of literary fiction. She is a recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and a Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award. She has two daughters—an editor and a novelist—and lives with her husband in New York City, where she continues to write.
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“My adrenaline started pumping anytime I was within a hundred yards of a bookshop. I loved books nearly as much as I loved clothes. And that's saying something. The feel of them and the smell of them. A bookshop was like like an Aladdin's Cave for me. Entire worlds and lives can be found just behind that glossy cover. All you had to do was look.” 16 likes
“Only reading, she knew, could distract her from her obsessive thoughts and restore her sense of peace.” 7 likes
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