We Ask a Book Blogger: What’s Your Favorite Summer Read?
Each month, we present a panel of book bloggers with a question relating to children’s books and we share their views here on the blog. If you missed our previous posts, you can find last month’s post on what children’s book our bloggers would give out on World Book Night here, whether or not the picturebook is dead here, or our first post on trends in teen fiction here.
Today’s question: What books scream summer to you?
For picture books, there are two that shout “SUMMER!” to me. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey reminds me of the blueberries that we picked in my grandmother’s yard in childhood summers; the “kuplink kuplank kuplunk” of the berries in the pail is so evocative. Ladybug Girl at the Beach by David Soman and Jacky Davis also brings back summer memories– the mix of fascination and fear when confronted with the vastness of the ocean.
Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder is my favorite essence-of-summer middle reader novel. It perfectly captures that sense of having the whole day to fill and finding serendipitous adventures with the neighbors. I think the kids in the book are literary proof of my mother’s summer refrain: “Only boring people get bored.”
The teen book I can’t wait to give to teens and adults for a summer thrill is The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman. Atmospherically, it doesn’t feel particularly summery (it takes place over a school year in the US and in Europe), but with a combination of smart writing, great pacing, complex characters, and a fascinating historical puzzle, it is the perfect thriller to read all in one delicious, decadent gulp. For me, the perfect summer day would be this book and the whole day to read it– no matter what weather.
I’ve never been one to change my reading habits with the season, but the long, hot days of summer do seem to call for lighter fare. A few kids’ books that stand out for me are:
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm- Set in the epitome of summer locations, Key West, this book features a spunky heroine that kids will love.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney- No one does summer like Greg Heffley, and adding a dog to the mix just adds to the hilarity.
As far as adult books go, I just turn to favorite authors who always seem to have a new book out just before the summer – Dorothea Benton Frank (Porch Lights), Elin Hilderbrand (Summerland), and Mary Alice Monroe (Beach House Memories). Their books are set on the coast and I can count on them to entertain and soothe me.
-Kathy, Bermudaonion’s Weblog @bermudaonion
For me summer is all about the romance! I love curling up with a book that leaves me with a sigh of contentment. My favorite authors for summer romance reads are Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Echols. I also love Jenny Han’s summer series (starting with The Summer I Turned Pretty) and Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling books (starting with Sloppy Firsts.)
-Heidi, YA Bibliophile @hmz1505
I just read Mary Kay Andrews’ Spring Fever which is her latest release — it was cute; and I really liked last year’s Summer Rental. As far as Elin Hilderbrand goes, I am getting ready to read her latest Summerland, but I’ve also enjoyed Silver Girl and The Island. These books usually take place during the summer (and often times at a beach) and I think they are ideal to include in your beach and pool bags.
-Julie, Booking Mama @bookingmama
There’s something about summer that makes re-reading particularly luscious and decadent. Outside, warm, sleepy, nodding over a book, hoping someone will bring you something to drink so you don’t have to get up. It’s the time of year I read just for me, not for a store or to sell to a customer, just for pure pleasure.
Knowing already what a book is about and being able to fall into it with anticipation, having the time now to truly enjoy the unwinding of the story since you know how it ends, this is a summer thing.
My favorite books for summer reading are big, epic-y kinds of books, piles of them. I love settling in to read a whole series, one after the other like eating peanuts, pop pop pop; getting lost in the descriptions of places and the psychologies of the characters I never had time to do that first time through.
This is the list of books and series I most often choose from when summer finally arrives: Dune, by Frank Herbert, most of The Vicky Austin series, by Madeline L’Engle, the Beekeepers Apprentice series, by Laurie R. King, Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier, The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart, and Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury. Almost all of these are books I’ve re-read since junior high, they’re still on my shelves, dog-eared and sandy.
However, there are four newer books I’d like to add to that list this summer. I was so swept away by the storytelling the first time that I have to read them again: The Storyteller, by Antonia Michaelis, The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey, Liesl and Po, by Lauren Oliver, and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne Valente. They are all exquisitely written books about lonely people finding adventure and love and someone to share their lives with. They read like fairy tales, their words sing, and they’ll be perfect for a summer’s day.
-Rene, Notes from the Bedside Table
Now we’d like to ask you: what books do you pack in your summer vacation bag? We’d love to hear!