Ideas on reading over the summer of 2021

originally posted June 9, 2021; 
no text revisions to date— 

I suspect that many of you—like friends I know—read so much last year, during pandemic lockdowns, slowdowns, and other stay-at-home orders, that you may not be in the mood to sit long enough to read this year! However, summer reading lists are coming out and I have to say, I’ve seen some good titles and teasers in the ones I follow. In case you need a few gathered into one place, here are my favorite annual compilations:

Goodreads: The hottest new books of this season
One of my favorite regularly published compilers of book lists, the suggestions from not only come from news reports and early reviews but also from a count of the titles that Goodreads members add to their “‘Want to Read’ shelves”—a unique range of differing viewpoints. Not that you’re interested, but my picks here would likely be The Other Black Girl, by Zakiya Dalila Harris, and How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, by Clint Smith. Ultimate Beach Reads 2021
Compiled by two moms who love to read and who wish to inspire the love of reading in their children, this list “features all the books we’ve read in the past year that we think are perfect for the beach . . . engrossing enough to hold our attention but not so complicated that we need to think too hard. . . . Also, no tear-jerkers!”  Their list is arranged by genre, and is long, with some repetitions from other lists but several new suggestions, too.

School Library Journal: Top picks for summer 2021
Whether your reading level leads you to early readers, to chapter books, or to middle-grade and young-adult titles, this list of curated lists provides countless suggestions for fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, or multigenerational-themed “read alongs”—all things for all! Most titles were published over the past two years, and many are available as e-books. If you know of children (pre-K through grade 8) who are more checklist oriented, the American Library Association publishes annual reading lists that are printable.

Two best-selling authors recommend different genres and age groups
In case you’re tired of reading lists, here is a quick video review of nine books recommended by authors Kiley Reid (a short-story writer and graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received the Truman Capote Fellowship; her debut novel was Such A Fun Age) and Emily Henry (New York Times Best-Selling Author of Beach Read, People We Meet on Vacation, and more) that aired on Good Morning America during the June 9th program. My picks from this list are Kindred, a 2004 title by Octavia E. Butler, and 2014’s Men We Reaped: A Memoir, by Jesmyn Ward.

2021’s “most anticipated” historical fiction
This isn’t really a “summer” reading list, but it was published in time for beach or mountain getaways and it is an annual list. The photo gallery of covers and reviews, from (posted on Apr 29 by culture editor Elena Nicolaou), is a little difficult to work through, but the list is strong and provides a look at fictional history from several different eras. Since this genre is one of my passions, I should refrain from favorites; however, if I had to pick two, I might check out The Children’s Blizzard, by Melanie Benjamin, or Vera, by Carol Edgardian—or even The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn.

I hope you enjoy the variety of lists and whatever titles they lead you to—as well as your summers.

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image information: Featured image, via PennToday, University of Pennsylvania, where it was used as artwork for a 2020 summer reading list of book recommendations from Penn faculty and staff.