Writing

10 Summer Book Recommendations From Independent Bookstores – Forbes

If you’re looking for summer book recommendations, here are 10 from independent bookstores across the United States that booksellers are looking forward to offering their customers. These 2019 titles range from fiction to thriller to poetry to memoir, and are listed in order of their release date (the final three are forthcoming).

The River by Peter Heller (Knopf)

Hillary Taylor, bookseller at Lemuria Books in Jackson, Mississippi: “The River by Peter Heller is a fantastic book by an amazing author. It has all of the elements you need for a great summer read: friendship, adventure, outdoor, survival, canoeing. Set against a Canadian backdrop, it has a great mystery element that keeps it fast paced. I couldn’t put it down.”

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane (Scribner)

Jennifer Battles, Co-Owner of Bookish: An Indie Shop for Folks Who Read in Fort Smith, Arkansas: “Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane is exactly the kind of family-story-spanning-decades book I love. Two families on the same street, the fathers in the same profession, experience the same event from two different perspectives resulting in very different consequences and implications for the individuals affected. Love and loss, separation and reconciliation, perseverance and passivity—all of these themes weave their way into this beautifully crafted tale of regular people who become our neighbors on the pages of the book.”

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Penguin Press)

Rick Simonson, Buyer at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle: “This debut novel by acclaimed poet Ocean Vuong was highly coveted by numerous publishing editors, and for good reason. It’s beautifully written, in the form of a young man’s letter to a mother who cannot read it, the story of their family’s journey and travails in fleeing Vietnam, eventually settling in Connecticut. He writes of that journey, and also of his own, the breaking of boundaries to become adult, to survive in a place that doesn’t necessarily want you to, to know his own love and ways of loving. All of this in a voice that’s singular, true, and yes, gorgeous, gorgeous in a way that itself is enduring.”

1919 by Eve L. Ewing (Haymarket Books)

Ashanti Muniz, BXseller (pronounced bookseller) at The Lit. Bar in the Bronx: “This summer, I’m looking out for 1919 by Eve L. Ewing, who’s had my attention since Electric Arches. Ewing experiments a lot with time in her poetry. In 1919, she references official historical documentation and responds to them by writing dialogue over the fine line of past and present, extending a voice to the everyday black experience on a continuous timeline. A necessary conversation for our time.”

Places and Names: On War, Revolution and Returning by Elliot Ackerman (Penguin Press)

Pat Cawiezell, Buyer and Author Event Coordinator at Magic City Books in Tulsa, Oklahoma:. “Amid all the talk of millennial snowflakes, it is easy to forget that there are members of my generation have fought in wars and many of them never returned from war. We as Americans are lucky that Elliot Ackerman fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and we as readers are lucky that he survived to write about those experiences. In his new, deeply personal book, Ackerman writes of returning to the Middle East and to a war that never really ended. Places and Names should be at the top of your summer reading list.”

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo (Doubleday)

Erika VanDam, Owner of Chicago bookstore RoscoeBooks:This big, absorbing story of the Sorenson clan—parents Marilyn and David and their four adult daughters—is so intelligent, and features such well-written characters, that I didn’t want it to end. Lombardo gets so many things right about what marriage is like and how siblings relate both to each other and to their parents; it really is the perfect book for anyone who loves a good family drama. I can’t wait to see what Lombardo does next, but in the meantime, this is the book that I’m going to be gushing about all summer long.”

Kingdom of Exiles (Beast Charmer #1) by Maxym M. Martineau (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

BrocheAroe Fabian, Owner of River Dog Book Co. in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin:. “I recommend this title because with all that’s happening in our world today, engaging, well-written escapist reading can help provide a brief reprieve from our own harsh reality and a smile at a happy ending. Kingdom of Exiles is witty and sexy, featuring a diverse range of people and beasts living in a fully-imagined world. It is an exciting beginning to a debut author’s new series.”

The Chain by Adrian McKinty (Mulholland Books, July 9)

Barbara Peters, CEO of mystery bookstore The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona: “Global publishing has brought us fascinating characters and landscapes of other cultures and countries. But I’m fascinated by international authors who craft quintessentially American thrillers such as Lee Child (British). Northern Ireland-born Adrian McKinty, who’s done a stint in Australia, really nails it with The Chain. The engine of the kidnapping plot is brilliantly conceived—which of us hasn’t at some time received a chain letter tagged with dire consequences for breaking the chain? —but it’s the vivid characters and their wrenching dilemmas that lift this chiller above the ordinary. Not to mention the true sociopath(s) running the chain. Grab a copy, then turn off your phone.”

Supper Club by Lara Williams (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, July 9)

Lacy Simons, Owner and Operator of Hello Hello Books in Rockland, Maine: “I’m looking forward to this one because of the (sadly subversive) idea of women being gluttonous and performing gluttony in front of each other, and because Library Journal framed it as an ‘homage to female rage,’ which I am all about.

Devotion by Madeline Stevens (Ecco, August 13)

Heather Lefebvre, bookseller at Austin, Texas feminist bookstore BookWoman: “I devoured this debut novel in all of a weekend. Madeline Stevens has written a perfectly creepy story of obsession that digs into the most central relationship of many women’s lives—their closest friendship—along with the nuances of class, identity, art, and family.”

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