Summer is just about over, and many of us upped our Summer Reading game this year, what with the pandemic and all. What better way to pass the time (and forget about 2020) than with a good book? Or, of course, endless scrolling on Facebook. I personally am addicted to watching animal videos on The Dodo.
Another good use for Facebook is to connect with other readers. Since we can’t see each other in person, chatting about books online is a handy—and—entertaining, substitute. Central Rappahannock Regional Library has the very active CRRL Book Chat group, in which we hold weekly book discussions and giveaways during winter and summer reading. Because the group is so active, we’ll continue the weekly book discussions even in our “off” seasons.
Recently, we asked our readers what they most enjoyed reading this summer, and their responses were wonderfully varied. I plan to add several of these to my own TBR (to-be-read) list.
Here are some of CRRL Book Chat readers’ favorite summer reads:
Unsaid by Neil Abramson
Michelle W. “thoroughly and immensely” enjoyed this novel, perfect for fans of The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. After veterinarian Helena Colden dies of breast cancer, she is unable to move on, and, through her narration, we experience the emotional struggle of her attorney husband David as he becomes embroiled in a court case to save the life of a chimpanzee.
The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen
Recommended by Terri P. After her African honeymoon, Lady Georgiana Rannock, a.k.a. Georgie, heads to Cornwall to check out the creepy old house her friend Belinda has inherited and ends up dealing with Belinda’s acquaintance Rose Summers, who is convinced her new husband murdered his first wife.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Ashley D. recommends this story based in a utopian world where monsters can thrive in plain sight while people refuse to acknowledge they exist. Says Ashley, “It’s written for to be accessible for the younger end of YA (middle grade), but that doesn’t reduce the value that adults can get out of it, too.”
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
Recommended by Mary W., this sweeping, romantic time-travel series spans eight novels, multiple novellas, and several centuries. If you don’t have the fortitude to attempt this hefty series, you can borrow the TV series on DVD from your library.
They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall
Andrew G. recommends this tale of suspense, as he loves Agatha Christie, and the novel pays homage to Christie’s island story, And Then There Were None—with something of a twist.
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Meg R. says, “I can't quite figure out author Grady Hendrix. I enjoyed The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires. It's got some gory horror bits, a whole lot of humor, AND it's a feminist manifesto!” Well said, Meg.
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
Michelle P. read out of her comfort zone this summer, including nonfiction and autobiographies, such as Hinton’s memoir of spending 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore
Recommended by Sharon F. During World War I, hundreds of young women worked hard in radium dial factories, painting clock faces with a mysterious, glowing new substance called radium. Assured the material was safe, the girls literally glowed, but then started to fall ill. As the fatal poison took hold, the women found themselves in the midst of an enormous scandal and a groundbreaking battle for women’s rights.
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Recommended by Steve H. A time-traveling history student is trapped in the Middle Ages, dangerously close to the onset of the Black Plague. Her rescuers in 21st-century Oxford battle their own deadly epidemic to reach her in time.
Tracy McPeck is the adult services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. This column first appeared in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.