Enjoy previous picks from

Summer Reading Guides

Over ELEVEN years of Summer Reading Guides
have produced some great reads we think you’ll like.

History Comes Alive

Novels that mess with history in the best possible way.

Dreamland Burning

Dreamland Burning

This well-crafted YA release smoothly bridges the divide between present-day Tulsa, Oklahoma and the little-known race riots that occurred there during two terrifying days in 1921. During renovations of seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase's historic family home, a skeleton is unearthed in the backyard. The police don't care who the bones belong to, but Rowan sure does. Unbeknownst to her, this skeleton links Rowan with another teen, Will Tillman, who lived in Tulsa nearly a hundred years ago. Latham flips back and forth in time, between two teens facing their own kinds of crossroads, to give her readers a page-turning history/mystery mash-up, as her young protagonists wrestle through issues of family, friendship, identity, and belonging. I read this in an afternoon—I couldn't put it down. Publication date: February 21.

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Wholly Unexpected Love Stories

Not at all what we were expecting

Time After Time: A Novel

Time After Time: A Novel

On December 5, 1937, Joe first meets Nora, a beautiful woman who seems to have appeared out of nowhere in the concourse of Grand Central Terminal. She seems a little disoriented; her dress is endearingly out of style. But she’s witty and warm and fun, and Joe is instantly smitten. There’s just one problem: when Joe tries to walk Nora home, she vanishes, seemingly into thin air. When he calls the number she gave him, well, that’s when things get really strange. Don’t worry, readers, he’ll see her again, and puzzling out the how, where, and why it’s so complicated is half the fun of reading. This novel inventively combines history, mystery, and love story, and Manhattanhenge. A must-read for fans of The Time-Traveler’s Wife and The Masterpiece; it also has interesting parallels to A Gentleman in Moscow.

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Families Are Complicated

Tension drives a good plot forward, and these families have plenty of it

Mr. Rochester

Mr. Rochester

In this work of historical fiction, Shoemaker imagines a backstory for Brontë's timeless hero, and it is not what I expected. She begins in his youth, with his education and increasingly complicated family history, then moves onto his troubled coming of age in Jamaica, his father's shady business dealings, and how he became entangled with Bertha Mason. This feels a little like Brontë, but even more like Dickens. Publication date: May 9.

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Gripping Suspense
Glittering Images

Glittering Images

Some might try to categorize this as “religious fiction,” but that wouldn’t be quite right—unless your religious fiction typically comes with lots of romance, psychoanalysis, and sex. Glittering Images is the first book in the Starbridge series, set in the Church of England in the 1930s, and later, the 1960s. That may not sound like your idea of a page turner, but the characters are rich and engaging and the stories suck you in. Each of the series’ six books is self-contained, but is told from the perspective of a different character: taken together, they make a magnificent composite. Recommended by the likes of Anna Quindlen and Jacqueline Winspear. Now that's high praise.

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Only Ever Her

Only Ever Her

In small-town Ludlow, South Carolina, Annie Taft’s wedding is set to be the social event of the year, and maybe even the decade. Everyone knows and loves Annie; they’ve looked out for her ever since her mother was killed when she was three years old, and they’re eager to turn out for her big day.  But then the bride vanishes, three days before the wedding. Those close to her know Annie needs her space, and they don’t worry much—in the early hours. But as the wedding draws ever nearer they begin to fear that she’s not simply dealing with cold feet. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Annie went missing right after her mother’s alleged killer was released from prison due to problems with his trial—problems for which Annie herself shares responsibility. Rotating perspectives and a slew of uncovered secrets keep you on your toes, and you won’t find out what really happened until the final pages.

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Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever

Jackson’s latest Southern story feels both exactly like the books her long-time readers know and love and like a total departure—and I am here for it. Her new domestic thriller (yes, really!) begins at a book club meeting in a quiet suburban neighborhood. These women live quiet lives revolving around family and sometimes work; they know each other well, and everything unfolds as usual … until a new guest arrives, one who has a score to settle based on long-buried secrets, and who won’t rest until she makes the woman pay for her crimes. But what happened back then, and why does it matter now? I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough in my quest to discover the truth for myself. An absorbing, rewarding mystery that will delight her loyal readers and entice new fans. Publication date: July 30.

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Twisty Mysteries

Engrossing novels that keep you guessing till the end

The Perfect Stranger

The Perfect Stranger

$12.99$3.99Audiobook: 11.49 (Whispersync)

After botching the biggest case of her career, journalist Leah Stevens needs a fresh start. After a chance encounter with an old roommate, both girls decide to make a new life for themselves in an unlikely place—rural Pennsylvania. Leah is desperate to avoid any attention that might resurrect the deadly mistakes of her past, and she succeeds—until a girl who looks unnervingly like her is found, bludgeoned, in a nearby ravine. And her friend has disappeared. The ensuing hunt to discover what really happened left me reeling—I had no idea who was at fault, and what would happen next, and I loved it for that. From the author of All the Missing Girls. Publication date: April 11.

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Hit the Road
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A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods

Renowned travel writer Bryson takes to the Appalachian Trail in this laugh-out-loud travel memoir. After returning to America after 20 years in England, Bryson reconnects with his home country by walking 800 of the AT’s 2100 miles, many of them with his cranky companion Katz, who serves as a brilliant foil to Bryson’s scholarly wit. A superb hiking memoir that skillfully combines laugh-out-loud anecdotes with serious discussions about history, ecology, and wilderness trivia. Droll, witty, entertaining.

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Badass Women

Stories with gutsy leading ladies

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Backlands

Backlands

Shorr puts a fictional spin on real-life Brazilian folk heroes Lampião and Maria Bonita in this lyrical debut. After enduring 6 years of a loveless in-name-only marriage to a man she couldn’t stand, Maria Bonita leaves to become the wife of Lampião, Brazil’s beloved bandit, whose vigilante justice is indisputably more fair than the official kind. Soon Maria earns renown as the fiercest woman in Brazil, the queen of a band of merry outlaws. A well-paced novel, if not a page-turner: don’t give up when the going is slow in the first two chapters. It gets better. Evocative and moving.

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Beachy Novels

Easy-reading stories perfect for the backyard, beach, or pool

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies

Moriarty’s particular talent is to write novels that read like the fluffiest fluff … but have a depth that will stay with you long after you turn the last page, thanks to her sharp insights into human nature. This story follows three moms who have children in the same kindergarten class in an idyllic Australian seaside community. Parents behaving badly provide plenty of fodder for wicked humor. This is Moriarty at her finest, right up there with What Alice Forgot. Darkly comic: this is summer reading with an edge.

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"The SRG is my official kick off to summer-can’t wait!"

Thoughtful and Funny Memoirs
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Surprised By Oxford

Surprised By Oxford

Weber's memoir of how she converted to faith while studying at Oxford is sincere and smart. Weber clearly intended the book to be as much Christian apologetics as memoir, and the writing often has an academic, rather than a personal, feel. I’m afraid the dialogue suffers a bit for it, but it’s definitely worth a go if spiritual memoirs are your cup of tea.

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Flights of Fancy

Wildly imaginative novels

Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Dystopian novels abound, but they’re not usually this fun. It’s 2044 and the world is in shambles, so who can blame Wade Watts if he’d rather live in a virtual reality than the real one? Like many of his peers, Wade spends his waking hours by himself, logged into a virtual reality game, racing through a computerized scavenger hunt in which his success depends on his knowledge of obscure ‘80s pop culture references. Sounds like geek heaven, right? But here’s the thing: I couldn’t care less about video games or John Hughes movies, but this exceptional book hooked me from page one. The audio version (read by Wil Wheaton) is fantastic. Suspenseful, funny, and insightful.

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Get Smart

Dad books for everyone

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

The concept couldn’t be simpler: this compendium holds the daily routines of 237 writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, philosophers, sculptors, filmmakers, and scientists. We glimpse the creative processes of drinkers and drug takers, early risers and exercisers, nap takers and night owls. Some schedules are mundane, others are wildly eccentric. With their contradictory routines, you’ll be assured there’s no “right” way to work. While you could read it straight through, it’s best enjoyed dipping into again and again, slowly over time. A perfect laid-back read: you don’t even need a bookmark.

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Intense emotionally resonant

Stories that keep your pages turning and your heart pounding

Do Not Become Alarmed

Do Not Become Alarmed

Liv and Nora are cousins, close as sisters. After a rough year and lots of family drama, they're in desperate need of a low-key family getaway. The cruise was going to be perfect. And it is, for a while. But then on a normal—almost boring—Central American shore excursion, a series of misunderstandings and misjudgments ends with terrifying confusion—where are the children? Soon enough, the adults realize six children have vanished—and from alternating points of view, we discover where they went, and why, and who's to blame. (There's lots to go around.) Readers take note: this is messy, and a little racy.

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Southern Fiction

Tales with southern charms and wiles

Bel Canto

Bel Canto

This oddly structured pageturner from Nashvillian Ann Patchett fuses opera and a hostage crisis–and surprisingly, it works. Japanese businessman and opera buff Katsumi Hosokawa is celebrating his birthday in an unnamed South American country, in the company of diplomats, government officials, and businessman. Mr. Hosokawa knows he's being shaken down for a large donation, but he can't resist attending, because the South Americans have secured a performance by legendary soprano Roxanne Coss. The country's president is unable to attend (he's much too interested in what happens on his favorite soap opera on Tuesday nights), and his fixation spares him from being taken hostage when the militant group La Familia storms the gathering. Intriguing, highly readable, and loosely based on a true story.

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The Funeral Dress

The Funeral Dress

$9.99$1.99

Skip the publisher's description on this one: you'll enjoy it more if you come to it without expectations. But I will say this: Emmalee Bullard is a young, unwed mother who is all alone in the world, and has suffered one hard knock after another. Just when she thinks she's found a way out, something tragic happens, dashing Emmalee's hopes—possibly forever. This story about the the resilience of women and female friendship is moving, heartwarming, and Southern to its core. For fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Sue Monk Kidd.

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The Lost Husband

The Lost Husband

Center's novels read as easy as the fluffiest chick lit, but they run surprisingly deep, and are emotionally wise. Libby is attempting to rebuild her life, and that of her two kids, after her husband died in a car crash two years ago. But she's finally had enough of living with her crazy mother, and moves out to the Texas hill country to try out a new life on her crazy Aunt Jean's goat farm. This short and easy read has a familiar arc: girl in a mess, girl sees the light, girl finds happiness, yet its themes of family, forgiveness, and redemption make it worth your while. Recommended reading for Brené Brown fans.

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Foodie Memoirs

Stories of life in and around food services will leave your mouth watering

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life Of A Critic In Disguise

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life Of A Critic In Disguise

When Ruth Reichl takes the plum job of New York Times food critic, she’s determined to let ordinary diners know what the city’s great restaurants are really like. What's so hard about that? But she soon discovers that the Times food critic is no ordinary diner: her headshot adorns the wall of every kitchen in the city so the staff can spot her—and wow her. Not you. So Reichl goes undercover, enlisting the help of an old theater friend to become a sultry blond, a gregarious redhead, and a tweedy brunette, each with her own backstory. Her mission: to experience the city's great restaurants as just another diner. A fascinating read for any foodie, or student of human nature.

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Meet Anne

Anne Bogel is an author, podcast and book club host, and the creator of the blog Modern Mrs Darcy. Anne approaches old, familiar ideas from new and fresh angles and she is well known by readers, authors, and publishers as a tastemaker. Her podcast What Should I Read Next? Is a popular show devoted to literary matchmaking, bibliotherapy, and all things books and reading. She also helps people learn to read better, together in Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club. Anne lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband, four children, and a yellow lab named Daisy.