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Reader name: Lisa
Hometown: New Westminster, BC
Favorite genre: Fiction/Literature
Favorite authors: Miriam Toews, Ian McEwan, Barbara Kingsolver
Favorite books: The Time Traveler's Wife, Middlesex, The Corrections, Memoirs of a Geisha

This is a reader after my heart, as I, too, love thick literary novels filled with epic stories (doesn't hurt if there's a love story thrown in, too).

Lisa: If you're trying to build a summer reading list, I'd recommend you check out Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife, Jonathan Dee's The Privileges or any of the historical novels by Isabel Allende (my favorite is The House of the Spirits, followed by Daughter of Fortune).

The concept of American Wife is titillating; the main character, Alice Blackwell, is based on Laura Bush. (Politically liberal Sittenfeld has often confessed her admiration for the former First Lady.) Though at first it's hard to differentiate between Bush and Blackwell, Sittenfeld delves so deeply into Alice's mind that she becomes entirely her own person, without her real-life counterpart's shadow. Readers will appreciate Alice's humor and passion for books. Along the way, they'll wonder: Is a life of love worth compromising values? When are we responsible for our partner's actions?

As I wrote on The Book Case a while back, The Privileges was #18 on our Best Books of 2010 list. The novel is a sexy page-turner about a young couple serious about starting their adult lives and being as successful as possible. They marry young, start having babies and the husband—Adam—takes to working on Wall Street. They eventually accumulate so much wealth that they’re able to start a foundation—which is great, except for a couple of dirty words that enable the whole lifestyle: insider trading.

Finally, you just can't go wrong with Allende, who writes best about spirituality, motherhood and love. Her stories are infused with magic, and her strong female characters will stick with you for days.

I hope this list helps you add to your summer reading list!

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