Out-of-Genre Summer Reading List 2017

Earlier this week I talked about the importance of reading for writers.   Plus… it’s almost Summer.  What does all that mean?  Summer reading list!  I could sit down and outline my reading list for y’all, but that would be… long.  So instead, here are three books, from three totally different genres, which I think you might enjoy.

Your challenge?  Read the one that’s way out of your left field.  Which one sounds he least like something you would read?  Give it a shot.  You might be surprised that you love it.


YA Historical Mystery: The Lost Girl of Astor Street, Stephanie Morrill


Lydia has vanished.

Lydia, who’s never broken any rules, except falling in love with the wrong boy. Lydia, who’s been Piper’s best friend since they were children. Lydia, who never even said good-bye.

Convinced the police are looking in all the wrong places, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail begins her own investigation in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. With the reluctant help of a handsome young detective, Piper goes searching for answers in the dark underbelly of 1924 Chicago, determined to find Lydia at any cost.

When Piper discovers those answers might stem from the corruption strangling the city—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.


If not for the needs of a sleep deprived, calculus-wreaked human body, this book would have been a ‘read it in one night’ story.  As it was, the clock struck two before I got put down.  Stephanie’s lead character is wonderful and human, even if you’re not her type and strong without being in your face.  Her plot is gripping, and even when it slows down for a breather, the character’s journey and interaction with others is genuine and touching.  The Lost Girl was one of my favorite spring reads.  You’ve got to check it out!


Classic Speculative Fiction: Frankenstein, Mary Shelly

Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.


Wait, what?  Yeah, yeah, I know.  It’s like a horror book.  But it’s not, really.  It’s actually a very interesting read which deals, (however erroneously) with some deeper issues.  This isn’t the white washed horror flick that movies make it out to be… and it is worth a read.  And if you want a positive spin on what is kind of a depressing book, spend some time thinking about how great our God is, compared to the kind of god that Dr. Frankenstein was to his creation.  Trust me, we have the better end of the deal.  (But seriously, if you haven’t read it, give it a look.  Besides… it’s a classic.)


Non-Fiction: Notes from a Tilt-A-Whirl, N.D. Wilson

In these sparkling chapters, Wilson gives an aesthetic examination of the ways in which humanity has tried to make sense of this overwhelming carnival ride of a world. He takes a whimsical, thought-provoking look at everything from the “magic” of quantum physics, to nature’s absurdities, to the problem of evil, evolution and hell. These frequently humorous, and uniquely beautiful portraits express reality unknown to many Christians-the reality of God’s story unfolding around and among us. As the author says, “Welcome to His poem. His play. His novel. His comedy. Let the pages flick your thumbs.”


Okay, so we are fiction writers here at the woodland, so this should be out of genre for all of us.  N.D. Wilson’s Notes is fantastic.  The entire book is dripping with fresh narrative voice, authenticity, and down-to-earth discussion of deep philosophical issues.  But don’t be afraid, this book is still a super-easy read.  Wilson is a fiction author first, and his ability to entertain the reader shines through here bright and sunny.  This book is one of my all-time favorites.  Do yourself a favor and grab it off the shelf.


There you have it, three completely different books.  I have read and enjoyed all of these, maybe you will too.  What books are on your Summer list?  Have you read any of these three?  What is your favorite genre to write?  Don’t be a stranger!  Let me know in the comments below!


Photo: Two stacks of books, Horla Varlan, CC BY 2.0

Was This Post Helpful:

0 votes, 0 avg. rating



Raised on C.S. Lewis and matured (to whatever extent) on Tolkien, Brandon Miller is a huge fan of Christian speculative fiction. His favorite stories artfully bend the physical reality to reveal spiritual realities which apply to all realms, kingdoms, districts and solar systems (including our own.)
When not writing fiction Brandon spends his time tending his blog The Woodland Quill, sportsing, or just struggling through that last-year-of-high-school/first-year-of-college which is really neither but is definitely both.

Leave a Comment