What's On Your Bookshelf? Top 10 Books to Read This Summer

1. If you want to read the book before you watch the movie (or TV series)

 

Little Fires Everywhere: A Novel by Celeste Ng

Set in a quiet suburb of Cleveland, this story follows the picture-perfect Richardson family and how their orderly lives intersect with two free-spirited newcomers, an artist mother and her teenage daughter. The book explores the power of secrets, the relationship between art and identity and the strong bonds of motherhood. This No. 1 New York Times bestseller is now a Hulu original series starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.

 

2. If you want to be inspired by the power of possibilities

 

Keep It Moving: Lessons for the Rest of Your Life by Twyla Tharp

One of the world’s leading choreographers and bestselling author of The Creative Habit shares her secrets for finding purpose as you age.  Keep It Moving is a guidebook to help you expand your possibilities throughout life with meditations on how to live with purpose as well as practical fitness advice.

According to O: The Oprah Magazine, this book is “an exhilarating mélange of sage advice and stamina-building exercises.”

 

3. If you’re in the mood for a little history with a side of romance

 

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

After the death of her grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana where she uncovers family secrets and the roots of her identity hidden since the revolution.

Real Simple magazine calls this historical novel, “the ultimate beach read,” and NPR describes Next Year in Havana as a book that “reminds us that while love is complicated and occasionally heartbreaking, it's always worth the risk.”

 

4. If you’re a thrill-seeker

 

Camino Winds by John Grisham

A new murder mystery unfolds on Camino Island with a hurricane brewing offshore. John Grisham, a New York Times bestselling author and master of the legal thriller, sweeps you away to paradise for a little sun, sand, mystery and mayhem in his latest novel.

Grisham says, “I enjoyed writing Camino Island so much that I decided to return to that island paradise with Camino Winds. Once again, the ever-resourceful Bruce Cable finds himself at the center of the storm when a writer’s murder shocks the tight-knit community.”

 

5. If you’re looking for a book that everyone should read at least once

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Set in 1939 in Nazi Germany, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up an object hidden in the snow by her brother’s grave. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind by accident. In her first act as a book thief, Liesel begins her love affair with books and words, as she learns to read. 

The New York Times calls it, “the kind of book that can be life-changing.”

According to USA Today, it “deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.” Markus Zusak is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list. 

 

6. If you want to explore wilderness from the comfort of your own home

 

The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams

Part memoir and part natural history, The Hour of Land is a meditation and manifesto on why wildlands matter to the soul of America. From Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Williams takes us on a moving, poetic expedition to explore wild places and what they mean to us.

The New York Times says, “The Hour of Land isn’t a guidebook, taking readers through the nation’s most popular or most frequently visited parks — quite the opposite. Instead Williams embarks on a journey through various landscapes (some empty, some crowded), delving, along the way, into the politics, activism, history and people that are also a crucial part of them.”

 

7. If you’re looking for a classic that’s worth rereading

 

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

In this best-selling novel Pat Conroy tells the story of Tom Wingo, his twin sister, Savannah, and the dark and violent past of the family into which they were born.

Set in New York City and the low-country of South Carolina, The Prince of Tides opens when Tom, a high school football coach whose marriage and career are crumbling, flies from South Carolina to New York after learning of his twin sister’s suicide attempt. 

The San Francisco Chronicle calls it a big, sprawling saga of a novel…the kind you hole up with and spend some days with and put down feeling you have emerged from a terrible, wonderful spell.”

 

8. If you want to remember just how good life can be

 

Life Is So Good: One Man's Extraordinary Journey Through the 20th Century and How He Learned to Read at Age 98 by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman

In this inspiring book, George Dawson, a slave’s grandson who learned to read at age 98 and lived to the age of 103, reflects on his life and shares valuable lessons in living. He also shares a firsthand view and unique perspective of America during the entire twentieth century. 

The Christian Science Monitor calls this “a remarkable autobiography…the feel-good story of the year,” and USA Today describes Life Is So Good “as a testament to the power of perseverance.”

With great advice for any age, George Dawson says, “things will be all right. People need to hear that. Life is good, just as it is. There isn’t anything I would change about my life.”

 

9. If you love animals great and small

 

How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in 13 Animals by Sy Montgomery

National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals — her friends — who have profoundly affected her in this poetic and life-affirming memoir.

Author, naturalist and adventurer, Sy has traveled the world to research her books and has encountered animals from tarantulas to tigers. She brings her adventures to life with How to Be a Good Creature and reminds us that learning to understand others, even from another species, can be transformative.

 

10. If you’re passionate about sharing great meals

 

Bread & Wine: a Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist

Bread & Wine is a collection of essays about family relationships, friendships and the meals that bring us together. Shauna Niequist describes her book as a mix of Anne Lamott and Barefoot Contessa — a funny, honest and vulnerable spiritual memoir. This book reminds us of the power of the simple act of sharing a meal.

If you’re bookshelves are getting crowded, you can also check out an app like Kindle and read your favorite books on your tablet, or you can sign up for a subscription with Audible and listen to your favorite stories. For more senior-friendly app ideas, check out this list.

Happy reading!

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