Good Reads (& Re-Reads) To Enjoy Any Time of Year

by Caitlin Kelch

This time of year, summer reading recommendations flower across the Internet like honeysuckle vines. If I catch a whiff of that sweet, intoxicating smell in real life, I know that when I go back to a screen, I’ll be greeted with book lists from every corner of the web. This is mine.

Truth be told, summer ends up being way busier than the rest of the year for me. My daughter is out of school, friends and family are reaching milestones that call for celebrations, and the outdoors keep screaming my name. Lounging by the pool with a fruity drink and a book does not happen here.

With this in mind, I thought I’d create a “no-pressure” reading list for anyone who wants to make some time to delve into an alternate universe and come out thinking, smiling or both. From the Young Adult debut novel from a Mississippian to a non-fiction account of one of the most mysterious cases of self-identity in my lifetime, I’m ready to read these books in bed with a flashlight if I have to. I’d love to hear your recommendations, so please do share in the comments.  –Caitlin


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Author Angie Thomas is the inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books organization. Her debut novel tackles issues of racism, violence and death through the eyes of 16-year-old Starr Carter. Read or listen to an interview with Ms. Thomas here on npr.com.

Recommended by: My 11 year-old daughter & The New York Times


American Heiress, The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin

I picked this up in my local bookstore in late spring on a whim. The privilege and excess of the Hearst family has always fascinated me and I remember the Patty Hearst case vividly from my childhood, so I wanted to see how my recollection measured up to the real story. Let’s put it this way, I was very surprised and enlightened. Toobin’s historical accounts are always fascinating tales that illuminate headline events in an objective way.

Recommended by: Me


Too Much and Not In The Mood by Durga Chew-Bose

Millennial author Chew-Bose is known for hitting her subjects deep and hard, pushing aside the Internet’s “easy reading” habits of audiences. I can’t wait to dive into these essays on identity politics and culture in this crazy, mixed up world.

Recommended by: Good Reads


The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

12-year-old Loo received a rifle from her outlaw father for her birthday. Mom passed away when Loo was young, and she’s been traveling with her father ever since. There’s got to be a lot going on here. I’m anxious to see how this main character comes of age and becomes a heroine.

Recommended by: Novelist & Bookstore Owner, Emma Straub


Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene

I’ve always loved to wallow in the “days of yore” descriptions crammed into each sentence of Greene’s novels. This is one I haven’t read yet, but traveling Europe with an eccentric aunt who has a surprising past is going to be a vacation I’m sure I’ll remember forever.



The Gum Thief  by Douglas Coupland

I’m very excited to re-read this novel, set primarily under the harsh, fluorescent lighting of a Staples store. When I read this the first time around, I fell in love with the beauty of the mundane and the magic of relationships born from less-than-inspiring settings and circumstances. Read this if, like me, you need to soften the blow of the current state of cultural affairs and remember that there’s always good you just can’t see sometimes.

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  • Thank you for the recommendations! I ordered a book called A Darker Shade of Magic a few days ago and it is coming in the mail today! I am soo excited ^_^ The Patty Hearst books sounds pretty good!

    Laila from Townhouse Palette

  • For me, the book that I treasure the most and read every day is the Bible. I am aware that a great majority of individuals feel that it is an outdated, archaic book that has little relevance in today’s world. But, I would say that a great number of people do not fully understand the depth of meaning that is contained within it. I am not surprised that people detest the Bible as for too long it has been erroneously used by the churches of the world, governments and those who occupy positions of power to justify their abhorrent acts. I do not belong to nor do I attend any church/denomination. I read the Bible alone, in the privacy of my home.

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