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You can begin entering book titles on Monday, June 15. The program will end on Friday, August 21.
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Recommendations From Your Summer Reading Neighbors
The Good Earth
Pearl S. Buck
I liked The Good Earth. Its reputation as a classic held true. I was unsure how I would relate to the characters given our vast differences but I felt empathetic and connected to their stories. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the early 20th century when China is on the cusp of incredible change. I would recommend this book.
The main mystery is: who is sabotaging elevators in NYC? But there were other human-interest storylines that kept me engaged: Mother-daughter friction, the faithful mayor's son who is publicly derided by his father, and the cop trying to hide psychological fallout from when he had to shoot to save a life. The story flew and kept me guessing till almost the very end.
Elements of Style
This book by far is the best home decorating book. The author writes with such passion and purpose to help everyday homeowners.
How to be an Antiracist
This was an amazing book to read, especially during what is happening in the world. I feel empowered and educated as I read this.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Wonderful novel that explores the notion that we don't always understand people until they are gone. Common themes of forgiveness, love and compassion are woven through this story that remind you that we are all capable of change.
I think the Sookie Stackhouse books are a perfect summer read, and Club Dead doesn't disappoint! With the addition of some warm-blooded shifters and Weres, Sookie's life is really heating up! I could read this in one sitting if I didn't have a one-year-old!
When Breath Becomes Air
A beautifully balanced book between the clinical and personal struggles of cancer told from the perspective of a young neurosurgeon who develops lung cancer. It is a haunting reminder to do and treasure that which is valuable to you. Everyone should take time to read Kalanithi's words.
The Great Alone
I really enjoyed this book---and definitely hope to make it to Alaska someday! It is a little slow to start, but once the main characters make it to Alaska I was pretty engrossed in the story. It is well written, and does a superb job of evoking a range of emotions in the reader---from abject hatred to tears of both joy and sorrow.
The Cuban Affair
Having read several other Nelson DeMille books over the years this was a departure from the suspense and style of those books. Unfortunately I don't think it quite worked and other than some more action at the end it skirting the edge of boring and disappointing. Anyone thinking of reading a Nelson DeMille book for the first time would do much better with earlier fare like The Gold Coast or Plum Island.
I enjoy Jeffrey Archer novels and this one was no exception. It was fast paced and told a great story of a Van Gogh painting and Anna, the art consultant who does everything to make sure it does not get into the wrong hands. With the FBI and an assassin following her, Anna has to to outwit them at every step to keep the painting safe and stay alive.
Under The Dome
One of my favorite Stephen King books. I love that the while the book is inherently science fiction, he spends the bulk of it creating the characters and digging in to how they react to their situation. Re-reading this during the pandemic put everything in an interesting light as well, and made the experience totally different than the other times I've read the book.
The Last Mrs. Parrish
This book was predictable and the writing felt very hokey. I definitely would not have read it if I had known it was about domestic violence - especially since the husband does not face any justice for all the things he did. The characters were unlikable and the story was boring.
The Queen of Paris
Pamela B. Ewen
This is a novel about Coco Chanel during the years the Nazis occupied Paris in World War II. I did not know much about Chanel, and this takes you from her childhood into adulthood, exploring the obstacles along her way to becoming the famous perfume and fashion designer. It raises some interesting questions about her (possible) involvement with the Nazis and the lengths she would go to for success and to protect her name.
Christina Baker Kline
This is a beautiful historical fiction novel that brings together Irish history, generational differences, adoption, personal struggle and success and some unexpected turns. I learned a lot about a part of history I was unaware of until now. I loved it!
The Lost Girls of Paris
A good WWII novel based on a true story about British female heroines. Many parts had great suspense and I overall enjoyed how the story was entwined over several years and three different women's perspectives. However, I felt some parts were a little bit cheesy particularly surrounding their love lives as well as reasoning for action. I will say it is worth the read if you enjoy WWII era novels and/or stories about female heroics.
Waiting For Tom Hanks
My Book club read this. What a fun book! If you love 80/90 Rom Com movies this book is perfect for you.
The Hour I First Believed
This ambitious book by Wally Lamb is intriguing but tedious to get through. Multiple story lines and characters at times seem unrelated. It eventually comes together but as a reader I became uninterested and felt the ending was rushed, after all that.
Historical fiction is my favorite genre and this book did not disappoint - true story of a group of women from America and Germany who tried to bring down Hitler. It is tough to read in parts as the author really gives in-depth detail about each character and the brutality is stark. Made me really appreciate the brave and selfless lives these women endured.
The Leavenworth Case
Anna Katharine Green
Very good mystery, set in New York, published in 1878. Agatha Christie is said to have been a fan of Green's writing. Green was an American and one of the first female mystery writers to be published under her own name. This book was used in some law classes as an example regarding circumstantial evidence.
The Forgotten Room
A gothic Newport mansion with a mysterious past is the setting for this novel featuring Jeremy Logan. A top-secret research lab, scientists going insane and strange machines combine for a thrilling page turner. Highly recommend to mystery readers.
Last One Home
Great story about a woman who escapes an abusive relationship and works hard to not only build a new life for herself but actually build a new home. Along the way she helps others to heal and that inspires her to reconnect with her family.
The Engineer's Wife
Tracey Enerson Wood
This historical novel is about Emily Warren Roebling, the wife of the engineer in charge of the 14-year construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. When her husband became incapacitated during construction of the bridge, she became his messenger and stood in for him at the site. She became educated in civil engineering and math through studying her husband’s texts and his instruction. She was responsible for much of the success of the project, unheard of at the time for a woman. The story was well told and very interesting.
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
A fun, but also haunting book of short stories covering many topics as they relate to the black community. A really interesting perspective, and some fascinating world building in such short snippets.
Martha Hall Kelly
This is a unique story of the holocaust from the perspectives of 3 young women. One is a prisoner in a concentration camp, one a doctor in the same camp, tasked to preform horrible experiments on the prisoners. The third perspective being an American woman who tasks herself with helping victims of the concentration camp. It is fast paced and captivating from start to finish.
The Wife Between Us
A psychological thriller that starts off fine but it loses its grip on the reader after half the story. It is also confusing to keep track of the timelines in the book. Chapters alternate between past and present.
A great summer read. It is a great family drama mixed in with a love story and suspense novel.
Excellent story of Mexican and Central American migrants fleeing a life of terror.
The Female Persuasion
This book follows the main character, Greer, through college and young adulthood as she slowly learns to find her voice and power - first under the mentorship of a semi-famous icon and founder/editor of a 1970s feminist magazine that was the under-recognized little sister of Ms. magazine and then on her own. I found the secondary characters (Faith Frank, the editor/mentor, Cory, the high school sweetheart, and Zee, the best friend from college) more interesting than Greer, who seemed bland and undeveloped, despite the fact that the book was about her discovering her authentic self.
The Prisoner's Wife
My go-to historical fiction is from World War II, and this one did not disappoint. It’s about a young couple who meet and fall in love. The catch is he is a British POW and she is a Czech farm girl. They secretly marry, she disguises herself as a man and they are on the run. It is based on a true story which makes it all the more compelling. They have to navigate and survive all kinds of obstacles, evil and danger when they are captured and put in a POW camp.
The Book of Longings
Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd wrote this fictional account of Ana, the wife of Jesus. Her story was somewhat far-fetched, but I felt compelled to keep listening since the characters and the narrative drew me into this imaginary world. The audiobook has a statement at the end from the author that I enjoyed as much as the book.
Looking for your next summer read? Try one of these!
Washington Post Summer Reading List 2020
Vulture's Best Books to Read for Summer 2020
PBS The Great American Read