By Heidi Simmons

The days are getting longer, and with more sunshine and milder temperatures, reading out doors is one of the great delights of spring.  There are so many wonderful new books.  Here is a list to get you thinking about what might be fun to stretch out with under an umbrella or on a favorite lounge chair.

the-arrangement-by-sarah-dunnThe Arrangement by Sarah Dunn – Fiction (Little Brown, 368 pages)

Agreeing to rules and a designated time frame, a married couple with a five year-old son decide to have an open marriage.  This is a humorous and quirky take on marital bliss. 

norse-mythology-by-neil-gaimanNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – Fiction (Norton, 256 pages)

This is a colorful retelling of the Germanic mythos reprising the powerful pagan entities that include all the best characters from Oden to Ragnarök.  Gaiman also reinserts the women gods who have been left out over the years.

a-separation-by-katie-kitamuraA Separation by Katie Kitamura – Fiction (Riverhead, 240 pages)

When a woman keeps her split with her husband a secret, it becomes a problem after he goes missing in Greece.  This compelling mystery unfolds with a fresh, anonymous narrator.

exit-west-by-mohsin-hamidExit West by Mohsin Hamid – Fiction (Riverhead, 240 pages)

A young couple try to live as fully and as normally as possible in this tragic love story set within Middle Eastern sectarian violence.  Hamid shows the reader what life is really like for those living under the horror of a fundamentalist regime.

quick-sand-by-malin-persson-giolitoQuick Sand by Malin Persson Giolito – Fiction (Other Press, 432 pages)

A high school student narrates the story of her involvement in a school shooting.  The larger picture of her life, family and friends unfolds as she recounts the events and murder from her jail cell. 

ill-will-by-dan-chaonIll Will by Dan Chaon – Fiction (Ballantine, 480 pages)

A Cleveland psychiatrist gets caught up in a mystery that may involve a serial killer.  Matters get worse as he copes with the loss of his wife, his son’s growing addiction to heroin and his brother’s murder conviction.  Chaon uses a changing narrative voice that intensifies the psychological drama.

homo-deus-by-yuval-noah-harariHomo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari – Nonfiction (Harper Collins, 448 pages)

Is there a cosmic plan for human beings on this planet? What happens next in our augmented modern world?  Harari explores the complicated future of human existence.

fraud-by-edward-j-balleisenFraud by Edward J. Ballenisen – Nonfiction (Princeton University, 528 pages)

American business practices are not always about hard work and integrity.  Ballenisen looks at the country’s infamous swindlers and the psychology of a nation that is so easily duped by bad businesses, religious charlatans and political hucksters.  This timely book details the colorful history of crooked CEOs and reveals why government was/is compelled to step in with regulations.

high-noon-by-glenn-frankelHigh Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic by Glenn Frankel – Nonfiction (Bloomsbury, 384 pages)

“High Noon” starring Gary Cooper is not only a great American film and entertaining movie, but also serves as an allegory for the battle Cooper and the filmmakers had to fight with the House Un-American Activities Committee.  Frankel details the lives of the film’s director, screenwriter and star as they work to finish the movie while Cooper stands alone against HUAC and the “Red Scare.”

These are but a few well-liked books being touted as solid, entertaining reads worth your time and energy.  

But there are so many wonderful books and excellent authors, so if nothing appeals to you or grabs your fancy on this list, I encourage you to browse a bookstore or your local library.  Please don’t hesitate to ask a librarian or seek recommendations from friends.  There is nothing better than to talk about books with friends and others who also love to read.

I regularly hear how people want to read more.  So do it!  Don’t put it off.  Reading is such a delightful pleasure; it is the perfect way to enjoy a lovely spring day.