16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY JUNE 27-JULY 3, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com Your neighbor’s patio. Your front porch. A hammock in your aunt’s garden. Any body of water, including the pool during your all-inclusive resort vacation, or even a bathtub. (If your chosen body of water is the Monterey Bay in the summer, pack a jacket.) All are perfect places to read your summer books. What makes a book a summer read? Many readers prepare a whole pile specially for the season. It’s usually fiction, most likely a novel, and not something very heavy—both physically and plot-wise. A perfect summer read should be filled with sun and salt and a lot of adventure. Below we have a few suggestions for you. They include our picks and local booksellers’ picks from Riverhouse Books in Carmel and Downtown Book & Sound in Salinas. Most were published this year, or are just to be published. (They are available in local bookstores and libraries.) Solid Summer This Strange Eventful History by Claire Messud Do you remember The Emperor’s Children? Claire Messud is back with another novel, this time inspired by her family history. Messud’s father was a white person born in Algeria. For the family, the presence of French in Algeria, Africa made for a perfectly innocent and comfortable life. The writer looks into this history, reexamining her ancestors’ past. Summer of Satire Lies and Weddings by Kevin Kwan The Singapore-born author Kevin Kwan returns with a fourth novel that continues the theme of his debut bestseller, Crazy Rich Asians. If you are into dramas and love issues of the international wealthy families, this one’s for you. A light read about the world of luxury. Summer Series Swan Song by Elin Hilderbrand A total beach read by design. Nantucketbased author Elin Hilderbrand plans to retire after publishing her 30th novel in the Nantucket series, Swan Song. Expect a nostalgic and lovely goodbye. Hildebrand will continue writing, she promised, with her daughter as a co-author, and move her setting to a boarding school. Indigenous History Wondery Stars by Tommy Orange California writer Tommy Orange conquered the literary scene with his novel There There that explores Native American lives in Oakland. Himself a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma, in his second novel, Orange goes to 19th-century Colorado. The main character is a survivor of the Sand Creek massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho people by the U.S. Army in 1864. Summer Memoir An Honest Woman: A Memoir of Love and Sex Work by Charlotte Shane Charlotte Shane returns to a theme with a memoir. Shane’s journey from a gender studies student to sex worker explores female freedom and aspiration to feminism in a male-oriented, deeply misogynistic society. Classics Revisited James: A Novel by Percival Everett This heartbreaking retelling of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will delight teenage readers and adults alike. James was one of two main characters in Mark Twain’s novel, a Black man escaping slavery. This story is told from his point of view. Summer Learning Natural Magic: Emily Dickinson, Charles Darwin, and the Dawn of Modern Science by Renée L. Bergland Science and art were not always two different contrary disciplines. Before the “disenchantment of the world,” a term introduced by sociologist Max Weber, science could be romantic and literature could be perceived as an exploration of the natural world. The term “scientist” was created when Charles Darwin was already an adult. Emily Dickinson read On the Origin of Species when she was 29 years old, combining deep interest in poetry and science. Witty Lit Long Island Compromise by Taffy Brodesser-Akner This novel is yet to hit the bookstores, set to be published July 9. Journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner debuted with Fleishman Is in Trouble, a witty and somewhat mean portrait of a selfish man abandoned by his wife. Determined to shutter the ideas of the American Dream and the suburban paradise, Brodesser-Akner this time introduces us to a businessman named Carl Fletcher, whose wealthy Long Island life takes a dramatic course. Listen In The Postcard by Anne Berest What about driving to the beach? Or freeing yourself to hold a chilled beverage while listening to a book? An audiobook means your hands are free. This French writer and actor, the author of How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are, tells an autobiographical story of her Jewish family who died at Auschwitz in 1942. Heavy material, but revealed through a contemporary lens. Family Vacation The Cliffs by J. Courtney Sullivan Proclaimed by critics as Sullivan’s best book yet, The Cliffs is a family drama set on the seaside cliffs in Maine. One could argue that the main character of this novel is a house, a Victorian house that Jane, the heroine, has been obsessing about since childhood. Sci-Fi Summer To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini This new epic novel from bestselling author Christopher Paolini is the first in a series called Fractalverse. While sci-fi is not a traditional light read, this is a book to immerse yourself in and pretty much disappear from the beach. Late Summer Piglet by Lottie Hazell From a young English writer, Lottie Hazell, comes the story of Piglet, as she is called by her family and friends. The story, set in Oxford, begins at the time when summer gets tiring, the heat becomes oppressive and the city is covered with filth. Piglet’s story is that of a romance that goes awfully wrong. Will she say “no” to marriage with the posh but wrong guy? She certainly says “yes” to food. Hazell has a lot of experience as a food writer, so her food descriptions will make you hungry. Hilarious, delicious and dark. Trish Sullivan owns Downtown Book & Sound in Salinas, where summer has historically been a busy season. She is reading James by Percival Everett: “It’s so good,” she says. DANIEL DREIFUSS Summer Reading issue Reader’s Season Summer reads should be relatively light, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing good literature. By Agata Pop˛eda