online colorHey look! Suddenly it’s summer! And what does summer bring to mind? Relaxing by the pool or on the beach, epic family road trips, hot, sunny days and warm, humid nights, outdoor festivals and campfires and enjoying life. Preferably with a good book nearby.

June’s Reading Challenge theme is Summer Reads, but we’re going to interpret that pretty loosely. There are lots of books that take place in the summer at the beach, but there are also lots of books set by the lake, or the campfire, or even a comfy porch. Mostly they’re fun books that recall the lazy days of summer. That’s a pretty broad guideline so make this month something you want to read!

If you are looking for a great reads with a summer feeling, here are a few suggestions.

The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer. When her husband announces that he’s leaving her for another woman, Sophie Anderson realizes she has no idea what’s next. Impulsively renting a guest cottage on Nantucket from her friend Susie Swenson, Sophie rounds up her kids, Jonah and Lacey, and leaves Boston for a quiet family vacation, minus one. Thayer has several popular books, all set on beautiful Nantucket Island.

Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen. Our very own blogging librarian Lynn wrote about this book recently and gave it a rave review.

Outer Banks by Anne River Siddons. Four young women bound by rare, blinding, early friendship—they spend two idyllic spring breaks at Nag’s Head, North Carolina, the isolated strip of barrier islands where grand old weatherbeaten houses perch defiantly on the edge of a storm-tossed sea. Now thirty years later, they are coming back to recapture the exquisite magic of those early years…to experience again the love, the enthusiasm, the passion, pain, and cruel-betrayal that shaped the four young girls into women and set them all adrift. Siddons has several other popular books, most set in North or South Carolina.

A Lowcountry Wedding by Mary Alice Monroe. Nothing could be more enchanting than a summer wedding–or two!–in Charleston’s fabled lowcountry. A centuries-old plantation, an avenue of ancient oaks dripping moss, a storied ballroom, a sand dune at sunset. Yet when a stranger arrives, a long held family secret could silence the bells ringing for the Muir sisters. Scandals surface, family bonds are questioned, and promises are broken and renewed. In A Lowcountry Wedding Monroe delves into the heart of marriage, commitment, and family ties. Part of the Lowcountry Summer series, Monroe has written lots of books set in the South.

Martha’s Vineyard mysteries by Philip R Craig. Set on the quintessential summer vacation destination, Craig’s mysteries are set on the beautiful and quirky island of Martha’s Vineyard, told by  year-round resident and unofficial private detective, JW Jackson. Bonus – the books include lots of delicious recipes that take advantage of fresh seafood. Yummm!

The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher. Although this isn’t exactly a “summer” read, it’s one of those big, engrossing books that draws you in immediately and, despite it’s size, doesn’t last long enough, perfect for the lazy days of summer. I know people that re-read this title regularly they love it so much. And while it might not be set during a summer heat wave, at its center is a valuable painting of children searching for shells on the beach. (It also takes place on an island – England!)

What about you – anything on this list or in this theme appeal to you? Have you thought about what you might read this month? (And, have you noticed – most of these books take place in the South or on the East coast – any suggestions for a summer book visit to another part of the country?!) I’m going to go with Lynn’s recommendation and read Enchanted August – it seems just right with humor and great location. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Let us know in the comments – what are you reading? And what would you recommend to the rest of us?

Happy reading!

The kids are out of school, the temperatures are topping ninety degrees, and gas prices are creeping up: it must be summer, and with it, Beach Reading Season! Even if your vacation plans don’t take you as far as a sandy beach, you’ll still need the perfect novel to get lost in while your kids play in the pool or you soak up the sun on a porch swing. These books all share engrossing, captivating stories, but they’re still light enough to be picked up and set down whenever a distraction arises.

Just Kids by Patti Smith: This engaging memoir is one of the best of the past few years. Smith’s life story, centered around her love affair with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, takes place in an exciting city (New York in the ’70s) and is a great look at the development of artistic talent. Smith’s tender authorial voice is a lovely surprise and has earned high praise – an uncommon feat in the memoir genre.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: for the fantasy fans, the perfect summer reading novel. Kvothe, the protagonist, is a brilliant boy wizard – but his journey and his wizard school are far darker and less predictable than the other Boy Wizard of recent cultural significance. And: Kvothe is much smarter and more devious than Harry could ever be, so though he isn’t as kind and endearing, he’s much more interesting. There’s plenty of action, but it’s got enough moral grey areas and gritty realism to keep it from being all fluff. If you loved Harry Potter, this is the logical next step.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: A paragon of the time-travel romance subgenre, this well-loved book is a treat. Claire, a WWII nurse, steps through a stone circle in Scotland from 1945 to 1743, where she is swept away by a dashing Scotsman. Her ensuing struggle is beautifully romantic and entirely thrilling, and has a lot more to offer than a simple love story. (If you’ve already read the Outlander series, try The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley for a similar experience)

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas: The first book of the Wallflower series, this romance tells the story of Annabelle, who is torn between the seductive charm of her admirer Simon and her need to make a respectable marriage. The friendship Annabelle shares with the other “Wallflowers” – a group of four female friends – makes this series a favorite of romance readers.

 

The Summer Reading Program is in full swing for kids, teens, and adults. Stop by any library location to sign up!