Summer reading is about choices, says Beth Golay.
“For younger minds, that’s the time you get to explore subjects that interest you rather than something you’ve been told to read,” said Golay, founder of Books & Whatnot, a website and newsletter for independent booksellers.
“It’s unrequired reading. You’ve been assigned texts all through school, and those have a purpose and are important as well. But in summer, you get to choose what you want to explore.”
Even if you’re not a student, even if your summer months aren’t blissfully free of work and worry, summer reading can scream potential.
Maybe you’re the trashy-paperback type: Throw some chick lit into the swim bag for poolside reading, and who even cares if it gets crinkled, wet or caked with sunscreen? Coconut-scented Sophie Kinsella is Eau de Relaxation.
Or perhaps you like packing a book or two (or seven) in your carry-on to read while on vacation.
“Too many suitcases are far too heavy because it’s so tough to choose,” Golay said. “But what can you do? You have to have options.”
No matter your summertime inclination, there is bound to be a book or two – or dozens – that pique your interest. Here are a few recommended by Golay and by employees of Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita:
• “The Hundred-Year House,” by Rebecca Makkai
• “The Untold,” by Courtney Collins
• “The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards,” by Kristopher Jansma
• “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr
• “Burial Rites,” by Hannah Kent
• “The Wives of Los Alamos,” by Tarashea Nesbit
• “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry,” by Gabrielle Zevin
• “Fourth of July Creek,” by Smith Henderson
• “The Black-Eyed Blonde,” by Benjamin Black
• “Flying Shoes,” by Lisa Howarth
• “My Wish List,” by Gregoire Delacourt
• “My Salinger Year,” by Joanna Rakoff
• “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” by Michael Lewis
• “Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir,” by Frances Mayes
• “Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of an American Fortune,” by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr.
• “Dirtbikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly,” by Conrad Wesselhoeft
• “The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender,” by Leslye Walton
• “The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy,” by Kate Hattemer
• “The Geography of You and Me,” by Jennifer E. Smith
• “Out of the Easy,” by Ruta Sepetys
Beginning and middle readers
• The “Timmy Failure” series, by Stephan Pastis
• The “Penderwicks” series, by Jeanne Birdsall
• The “All the Wrong Questions” series, by Lemony Snicket
• “Lord and Lady Bunny – Almost Royalty,” by Polly Horvath, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
• “Stay Where You Are and Then Leave,” by John Boyne