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Book Review

Book Review: Summer Reading


It’s Memorial Day, and you know what that means: the official start of summer reading season.

For me, there are four categories of summertime books, and I like to draw a few from each when I compile my reading list.

First is the Guilty Pleasure. Like many people, I like to pepper my summer reading with quick reads that entertain without requiring too much brainpower. These can be a psychological thrillers, celebrity memoirs or shameless chick lit. On a plane trip recently, I devoured “The Mother-In-Law” by Sally Hepworth, a twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her husband’s mom. If you’re a fan of Liane Moriarty, definitely add this to your summer list.

My second category is the Overlooked Classic. There’s something about those long summer days that makes me feel like tackling a giant brick of a novel. Last summer it was John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” Reading about the Joad family’s hot, dusty trek to California during my hot, dusty Kansas summer was literary kismet. This year I’m reaching for Steinbeck’s “East of Eden.”

My third summer category is the Buzz Book – the latest new release that everyone seems to be talking about. This year there are several promising options, including: “The Red Daughter” by John Burnham Schwartz; “Feast Your Eyes” by Myla Goldberg; and “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert.

My final category – the Middle-Grade Book – taps into the sweet nostalgia of summer vacation, those childhood days when I’d wake up with nothing on the agenda but my stack of library books. This year I can’t wait to read “Caterpillar Summer” by Gillian McDunn, a novel about siblings on summer break in the Outer Banks of my native North Carolina. I can almost smell the ocean already.