Book Corner: Summer Readers Soaked up Sun and Stories

Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s Summer Reading program may have come to an end, but the many books we read can be enjoyed all year long. I’m proud that more than 1,700 adults participated, and expect that number to be even higher next year. (I’m looking at you!)

So what did everyone read over the summer? Plenty of children’s books, for one. Clearly, many parents logged the books they read to their children, which is perfectly fine. Since we’re talking about books for grown-ups (including young adult fiction, because adults totally read YA, too), I’ll leave out The Itsy-Bitsy Bunny and other hot picture books.

The most-logged book of summer reading was the Bible, followed by Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, about a young girl abandoned by her family, surviving alone in a North Carolina marsh. I listened to it on audio and thought the first half slow, but then it picked up, and I’m glad I stuck with it.

The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides, was the third most-logged book for adults, a psychological thriller in which a woman shoots her husband five times in the face and then never speaks another word. Uplifting, right?

Unsurprisingly, Educated, by Tara Westover, was near the top of the list, and, if you haven’t read Westover’s memoir of her tumultuous, disturbing childhood, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. The audiobook, narrated by Julia Whelan, was fantastic.

Many summer reading participants submitted book reviews, and I’ve chosen a few of my favorites. The first one is definitely going on my TBR (to-be-read) list.

Contagion by Erin Bowman. Reviewer nsekinger19 says: Althea (Thea) is an early 20-something who is a research assistant for the expert, Dr. Tarlow, on a distant planet. She is the physical helper as Dr. Tarlow’s health declines. Suddenly, their crew is sent to help on a rescue mission far away because they are the closest crew to this fringe planet that has sent out a distress call. So this crew, ill-prepared and ill-equipped, is sent to the most dangerous place in the galaxy. With a mix of biology, space travel and space zombies, this sci-fi adventure is a fast paced read.

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 by Tim Hamilton and Ray Bradbury. Reviewer lomilia says: A perennial classic in American literature classics, but nicely condensed into graphic novel form for those of us short on time. And touching on just that idea—taking time to have real interpersonal connections, to stop, slow down and reflect on ourselves, how we relate to our world and what we genuinely feel. I can see now why English teachers feel it’s as relevant now as ever. Bradbury’s forward was very valuable, too; don’t skip it. It’s rare to have an author’s note describing how their story came about and how their relationship with it has been affected over many years.

The Key to Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo. Reviewer emilycarsonsage says: I liked this fun romantic book about three sisters who are taking over the family wedding planning business when their parents retire. I liked reading about their relationships with each other. I also enjoyed that the sisters live in Old Town Alexandria and are Filipino–American.

1776 by David McCullough. Reviewer natpat2020 says: As expected, this was fascinating. I admittedly know very little about the Revolutionary War (typically more interested in the Civil War since my home is literally adjacent to the Fredericksburg battlefield!) and this was a fantastic introduction highlighting the events of 1776 specifically. My interest is piqued and I’ll be definitely looking for more books on the revolution!

Winter by Marissa Meyer. Reviewer baboh says: Marissa Meyer definitely is an author of modern times. Her books are full of strong female leads with lots of diversity of background, characterization, appearances, and mental/physical disabilities. None of these feel forced at all as if a diversity requirement is being fulfilled, but rather moves the story and is important to each of the characters and how they develop... A lovely conclusion to the series. I do wish there was more.

I Like You by Amy Sedaris. Reviewer cfoley says: Totally was blindsided by this book. Picked it up thinking it would be a funny spoof on party planning. It was not funny. More of an actual how-to book for planning parties for eccentric friends. Lots of recipes as well and many pantyhose crafts. [Author’s note: pantyhose crafts??]

What are you looking forward to reading this fall? Join the conversation on our Facebook Book Chat group:

Tracy McPeck is the adult services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. This column first appeared in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.