Who better to ask what to bring to the beach this summer for a bit of light — or heavy — reading than bookstore owners?
Ellen Burns, owner of Books on the Common in Ridgefield, shares some of her recommendations for summer vacation reading. “I read a lot, everyone on the staff is always reading,” she says. Aside from the mostly new books she details below, she offers another recommendation for books.
“Summer is actually a good time to read a classic; maybe you have more time than usual. I read Bleak House by Charles Dickens one summer,” she says. “Dickens lends itself well to reading in intervals.”
Among recent thriller fiction books, Burns suggests The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn or The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. For both men and women, she recommends two: “All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage is quite a good read, and Darkness the Color of Snow by Thomas Cobb is one of my husband’s picks and one of our staff picks.”
For fans of historical spy novels, Alan Furst has this genre locked down. His newest book is A Hero of France (2016). Burns also recommends the latest books by two Canadian authors: My Darling Detective by Howard Norman and Sweetland by Michael Crummey.
For children, Burns says, “A favorite new picture book I fell in love with is Vincent Comes Home by the husband-wife team of Jessixa and Aaron Bagley. It’s a beautiful book … the story of home and what home really means.”
Books on the Common’s picks for middle readers (age 8-12) include Nevermoor: Thxe Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend; Payback on Poplar Lane by Margaret Mincks; and Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan.
Store picks for young adult (YA) books include The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; Rabbit Cake by first-time author Annie Hartnett; The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan;
Warcross by Marie Lu; and Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha) by Tomi Adeyemi.
Summer is the perfect time for kids to engross themselves in books. According to Linda Devlin, owner of Linda’s Story Time in Monroe, the best way to encourage children to read is to find the right book.
“Some children prefer adventures, some like books in which the main character has a personal challenge they need to overcome, and some want a funny story,” Devlin observes.
With that in mind, Linda’s Story Time created a Summer Reading Challenge that not only helps kids find books in their preferred genre but also encourages them to try books with themes they might not normally choose. “With categories such as ‘books that feature crowns and castles,’ ‘books that take place in another time or place,’ and ‘books that involve naughty or mischievous children,’ our Summer Reading Challenge makes the choosing of the books part of the fun!” Devlin says. Readers are rewarded with small prizes as they achieve various levels of completion, with a drawing for several grand prizes at the end of the summer.
Linda’s Story Time carries books for birth through age 18, with a small but well-curated adult section. “Some of the books I’m recommending now for grades two to three are the Geronimo Stilton series, Owl Diaries, Bad Kitty, and Princess in Black. Also, The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor, The Wonderling by Mira Bartok, Pax by Sara Pennypacker, and Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk are a few of my best-loved middle grade novels.” For kids age 13 to 18, Devlin suggests Dread Nation by Justina Ireland, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid, and Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin.
More summer beach reads:
Love by Matt de la Peña is a lyrical and wonderful story on the necessity of love in a child’s life.
The Final Six by Alexandra Monir takes place in the near future and follows a group of teens seeking to join a mission to Jupiter’s moon.
Danielle Steel’s Accidental Heroes brings together a former Air Force pilot, a pregnant flight attendant and a TSA agent when their lives — and those of everyone on the plane — converge.
In Pirata by Patrick Hasburgh, the author crafts a compelling yet emotional thriller about an American living and surfing in Mexico, his family, and what happens after he sees a murder.
Freshly released on paperback, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI was named as one of Time Magazine’s top 10 non-fiction books of 2017. It details a string of murders of affluent Osage (Oklahoma) people in the 1920s after a major oil cache was found under their land.
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand, the goddess of summer beach reading, looks at wedding season on Nantucket, or in this case murder season, when a bride-to-be is found dead and everyone in the wedding party is a suspect.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is a story of love, loss and resilience in the face of overwhelming odds — be it a 13-year-old being pulled from her home to the wilds of Alaska and dealing with her parents’ toxic marriage to her dad’s coping with life after being a Vietnam POW and the whole family’s being ill-prepared to survive life in this harsh frontier.