Adult Summer Reading: Read Outside the Box

Every week this summer the OWL blog will focus on a different challenge category with reading suggestions to pique your interest. This week is all about fulfilling your “Protagonist of Opposite Gender” challenge. Here is a list of my 10 favorite dual/multi narrative novels–because each books has male and female protagonists any of these choices will work for any reader regardless of gender.

summerlongshotgun lovesongskitchensgonegirlodds

lifedrawinghistoryoflovehowtopartytimetravelershininggirls

1. Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulos

In the sweltering heat of one summer in a small Midwestern town, Claire and Don Lowry discover that married life isn’t quite as they’d predicted.

2. Shotgun Lovesongs by Nikolas Butler

Welcome to Little Wing.

It’s a place like hundreds of others, but for four boyhood friends―all born and raised in this small Wisconsin town―it is home. One of them never left, still working the family farm, but the others felt the need to move on. One trades commodities, another took to the rodeo circuit. One of them hit it big as a rock star. And then there’s Beth, a woman who has meant something special in each of their lives.

3. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by Ryan J. Stradal*

Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal’s startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity.

4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. 

5. The Odds by Stewart O’Nan

Valentine’s weekend, Art and Marion Fowler flee their Cleveland suburb for Niagara Falls, desperate to recoup their losses. Jobless, with their home approaching foreclosure and their marriage on the brink of collapse, Art and Marion liquidate their savings account and book a bridal suite at the Falls’ ritziest casino for a second honeymoon. 

6. Life Drawing by Robin Black

Augusta Edelman—Gus to her friends—is a painter, a wife, and not always the best judge of her own choices—one of them bad enough that she and her husband, Owen, have fled their longtime city home and its reminders of troubling events.

7. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Leo Gursky taps his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he’s still alive. But it wasn’t always like this: in the Polish village of his youth, he fell in love and wrote a book…Sixty years later and half a world away, fourteen-year-old Alma, who was named after a character in that book, undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family.

8. How to Party with an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings

When Mele Bart told her boyfriend Bobby she was pregnant with his child, he stunned her with an announcement of his own: he was engaged to someone else.

9. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger*

A most untraditional love story, this is the celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course.

10. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes*

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

*Two-for-one books–these will also fulfill your Science Fiction/Fantasy/Western category.