When summertime rolls around I like to have a big stack of books on the ready for trips to the beach, the pool and and just hanging around the house. If you do, too, then you’re in luck today. Whether you want a fast beach read, an inspirational tale or a best-selling page turner, we’ve got the low down on this season’s best summer reads, in a range of available formats, from local book expert Carrie Rollwagen of Church Street Coffee and Books. Here are her top 10 picks for summer reading. (Click on the hyperlinked book title to purchase online.)
Girls of the Atomic City by Denise Kiernan
This best-selling non-fiction book reads like fiction, telling the story of a secret city hidden in Appalachia during World War II. A group of young women from small Southern towns were recruited to do top-secret work in this sprawling factory. Their project turned out to be atomic weaponry, and their story is told in their voices. This summer, it’s just out in paperback.
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
In the late 1880s and early 1900s, orphan trains carried thousands of children from the American East Coast and Midwest to uncertain fates in the rest of the country — some were adopted, but many faced lives as servants or hard laborers. This fiction book tells the story of Vivian Daly, an orphan whose past on the train is hidden away in her attic, uncovered by a teenager named Molly who finds much more to connect with from elderly Vivian than she’d ever imagined.
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
So many of us loved Silver Linings Playbook, both as a book and as a movie, so we’re excited for the newest novel from author Matthew Quick. This time we follow a man named Bartholomew as he tries to find meaning in his life by writing letters to actor Richard Gere. Quirky? Sure. But that’s what Matthew Quick writes best.
One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
Since this novel is being turned into a movie produced by Lost creator J.J. Abrams, we think it’s safe to say it’ll be a hit. It doesn’t hurt that this book, the story of a man who becomes just enough of a rock star to alienate everyone in his life, but never hits it big enough to really call himself a success, is a fun, fantastic read. It’s a perfect paperback for the beach.
Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani
A beautiful book set at a riding camp for wealthy Southern girls in the 1930s, this is the story of Thea Atwell, a strong-willed fifteen-year old struggling to understand her place in her family and her world. She’s been sent away from her family, punished for a secret shame that the book takes its time revealing, but that truly pays off in the end.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
This book is gorgeous in every way: The writing is lovely, the story is compelling and interesting, and the characters draw us into the dazzling, glittery world of late 1930s New York. Katey Kontent falls in love, fights with and bonds with her best friend, and learns to ultimately trust only herself in the fast-paced world that holds as much danger as glamour.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling, a writer on The Office and The Mindy Project, wins us over in the first few pages of her memoir as a new best friend and the funniest person in the room. The book is true-to-life and hilarious, and you’ll be laughing out loud the whole way through. Perfect pool-side or on a plane.
Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
If you haven’t started the Discovery of Witches trilogy yet, prepare to be entranced. Sure, we’ve heard this story before — stoic vampire falls in love with headstrong witch — but that doesn’t mean it’s not a whole lot of fun. The first in the series, Discovery of Witches, was intensely addictive, and we’re excited to devour Book of Life, the final book in Deborah Harkness’s magical series.
Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison
Ever rolled your eyes during Down-Facing Dog? You’ll love this book. It’s like Eat, Pray, Love crossed with Chelsea Handler — Suzanne Morrison sets off for Bali looking for contentment through yoga, but she gets a little more than she bargained for from the intense practitioners. Striking just the right balance between admiring yoga and making fun of it, this book is just as funny as its title implies.
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior
This is the book every parent at our coffee shop is talking about. We all love our kids, and we know life feels more meaningful with them. But sometimes — okay, all the time — the business of raising kids feels overwhelming, and we can’t help but think life is out of control. Author Jennifer Senior explores the phenomenon of modern parenting brilliantly in this non-fiction book that’s helped us realize we’re not alone.
Thanks for these fabulous recommendations, Carrie! For more information or other great book suggestions, stop by Church Street Coffee and Books! www.churchstreetshop.com