Books For the Pool, the Beach or to Curl Up With at Home

Here are some good summer reads suggested by the library and book store.

Whether lounging by the swimming pool, relaxing on a beach towel on a family vacation or just curling up at home with a good book, many people make summer a time to tackle a good mystery, suspense thriller or romance novel that has been on their "to do" list.

Here is a list of "summer reads" suggested by local librarians and a book store manager.

From Deb Morford, a manager at :

While not exactly a Top 10 list, Morford suggested a variety of different books that are popular summer reading choices.

Beautiful Sacrifice, by Elizabeth Lowell

Mayan artifacts have gone missing in this tale of an archaeologist who finds herself in the middle of an investigation into the missing items. But, finding the missing artifacts is only the beginning of the mystery.

The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros

Esperanza Cordero recollects her life living on Mango Street and all the people she meets while there. Although her family has not always lived there, it is perhaps the most important place she has lived, for it represents her heritage and upbringing. In small vignettes, Esperanza tells the tales of all the people and experiences she has with her little sister, Nenny.

1491, by Charles C. Mann

What were the Americas like in the year before Christopher Columbus landed here in 1492? The author reports on the findings of archaeologists and anthropologists to report on some previously unheard-of findings, including: In 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe and that the earliest cities in the Western Hemisphere were thriving before the Egyptians built the great pyramids.

Cronkite, by Douglas Brinkley

For decades, Walter Cronkite was in America's living rooms as "the most trusted man in America" as the anchorman of the CBS Evening News. This is his story.

To Heaven and Back, by Mary C. Neal M.D.

The author's true story of of a near-death experience following a kayak accident in South America, where she where she experienced God’s peace, joy and angels—and back to life again.

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

Story of survival from the author of Seabiscuit, this one tells the tale of a man who survived the crash of an Army Air Forces bomber, only to face the limits of his endurance as he was adrift in the Pacific Ocean, having to overcome almost insurmountable obstacles.

The Storm, by Clive Cussler

The latest in Cussler's popular series of thrillers about the the adventures of Kurt Austin, the one details a plot no less ambitious than altering global weather patterns

Driving Mr. Yogi: Ron Guidry, and Baseball's Greatest Gift, by Harvey Araton

Inside baseball from the perspective of baseball great Yogi Berra and Guidry, whose talks with the former St. Louisan and Yankee catcher, reveals a lot about the game of baseball and the game of life.

Kiss the Dead, by Laurell Hamilton

In the 21st book in St. Louisan Hamilton's "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" series, a 15-year-old girl is abducted by vampires. It’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her.

Stolen Prey, by John Sandford

The latest in Sandford's series of books about Detective Lucas Davenport, this one details an investigation of multiple murders by a killer who leaves a particularly gruesome crime scene.

Molly Pfeiffer, a librarian at the offers these choices:

Divergent, by Veronica Roth

Fans of The Hunger Games will devour Divergent. This is the first in a trilogy, set in a dystopian Chicago where young Beatrice discovers that she is dangerously different from the rest of society. This book is fast-paced; contains adventure and young romance; and presents the reader with a cliff-hanger of an ending.

Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James

This first book in the Fifty Shades trilogy led to some serious blushing when I started reading it in public, not realizing how sensual it was. Young Ana Steele finds herself smitten and overwhelmed by the dashing billionaire, Christian Grey. However, his idea of a relationship turns out to be quite different from anything Ana has seen before.  Whether you’re interested in some very adult romance, you liked Twilight but wondered what happened on Bella’s honeymoon when it ‘faded to black,’ or you just want to better understand the hype surrounding this book, it is worth taking a look at this summer. 

The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

Historical fiction, romance and Greek gods—this book has it all. Told from the perspective of Patroclus, this book is well-written and beautifully brings the story of Achilles and their companionship to life in a way The Iliad just never did.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

Pop culture fans will geek out over all of the references made in this futuristic gaming tale. Wade Watts must call upon his knowledge of video games and 1980s music and movies in order to outwit a villainous corporate entity attempting to win a fortune. A very fun read.   

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This book is beautifully written! It tells the story of Victoria, an emotionally wounded young woman who takes refuge in flowers and their meaning. This book is replete with symbology of flowers, romance and self-healing.

The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

For fans of historical characters in fiction, The Paris Wife is a must-read. It tells the story of young Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, and their ups and downs in 1920s Paris. This one is one quite a few must-read lists this summer.

The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach

This story revolves around baseball, college, friends, family and life choices.  It’s a bit on the lengthy side, but should appeal to fans of Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot. 

A Thousand Lives: the Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown, by Julia Scheeres

The story of Jonestown and the almost 1,000 people who died from ‘drinking the Kool-Aid’ is brought to life in this gripping new work of non-fiction. The author pulls on recently declassified FBI documents and interviews with survivors, to remind us that the Rev. Jim Jones’ victims weren’t members of a cult, but individuals who were betrayed while pursuing a society based on equality.

American Grown: the Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, by Michelle Obama

While written by the First Lady, this book is in no way politically oriented. Mrs. Obama talks about planting a garden at the White House, and how families across America can do the same in their yard. It includes great photos and recipes and hopes to get adults and children alike excited about vegetable gardens.

The Third Gate, by Lincoln Child.

This book is both a thriller and an adventure, sure to appeal to fans of The Da Vinci Code. Explorer Porter Stone believes he has found the burial tomb of the ancient Egyptian god-king Narmer, but when a series of alarming incidents suggests a curse, history professor and enigmalogist Jeremy Logan is brought in to investigate.

Jennifer McBride, of the St. Louis County Library, sent along its summer reading list called "Step into New Worlds" that contains both fiction and non-fiction titles.

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman

Like everyone else, high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he is admitted to a secretive college of magic. The Magicians is a dazzling and inventive coming-of-age tale where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.

 American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman’s masterpiece imagines a world where mythological gods are real, but their power depends on the belief of humans to exist. The new gods of American belief, such as the Internet and celebrity, have declared war on the old and an epic battle for the soul of America is brewing.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon

When Clare Randall touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles, she is hurled back in time to 1743 and a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans. Thus begins a work of unrivaled storytelling that has become a modern classic.

Embassytown, by China Miéville

In the distant future, humans have colonized a faraway planet. After years of uneasy peace, the colonists have yet to communicate with the natives, but they can sense that something ominous is changing. From a master of steampunk fantasy, Embassytown is a fascinating study of language and civilization.

Dune, by Frank Herbert

A stunning blend of adventure, environmentalism, and politics, Dune will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on a desert planet, Dune is the story of a young man who must avenge a traitorous plot against his noble family and bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.

Snuff: A Novel of Discworld, by Terry Pratchett

The 39th installment in Pratchett’s comic fantasy series, Snuff brings back fan favorite Sam Vimes, the cynical yet honorable City Watch commander. In Snuff, Vimes faces a particularly onerous task: a two-week family vacation. But a copper can’t stop being a copper, and there’s plenty to investigate on this space-age country estate.

Blackout, by Connie Willis

Traveling back in time into the thick of World War II was a routine excursion for three British historians eager to study the heroism and horrors of war. Now marooned in 1940 England, they must avoid changing the outcome of the war Blackout and its sequel All Clear were awarded the 2011 Nebula and Hugo Awards for Best Science Fiction Novel.


 Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, Apple founder Steve Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. Acclaimed biographer Walter Isaacson presents the exclusive biography of Steve Jobs, an amazing life story filled with lessons on character, leadership, and values.

In Other Worlds: Science Fiction and the Human Imagination, by Margaret Atwood

The author of The Handmaid’s Tale and one of our most celebrated novelists, Margaret Atwood discusses her lifelong love of science fiction. In Other Worlds also collects several unpublished essays on sword and sorcery fantasy, superheroes, utopias and dystopias, flying rabbits and more.

Packing for Mars:The Curious Science of Life in the Void, by Mary Roach

Author of the bestseller Stiff, Mary Roach investigates space without ever leaving the earth through all manner bizarre space simulations. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule, Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

An instant bestseller, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory and compete in the U.S. Memory Championship. This is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

The Wonderful Future that Never Was: Flying Cars, Mail Delivery by Parachute, and Other Predictions from the Past by the editors of Popular Mechanics

Between 1903 and 1969, scientists made hundreds of predictions in Popular Mechanics magazine about what the future would hold. Their forecasts ranged from ruefully funny to eerily prescient and optimistically utopian.

The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman

If human beings disappeared instantaneously from the Earth, what would happen? In his revelatory, bestselling account, Alan Weisman draws on every field of science to present an environmental assessment like no other, the most affecting portrait yet of humankind's place on this planet.

 Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History, by Ben Mezrich

NASA fellow Thad Roberts had an idea—a romantic, crazy idea. He wanted to give his girlfriend the moon. Literally. In this madcap story of genius, love, and duplicity, Mezrich recounts how Roberts broke into the highest security laboratory at NASA and stole the most precious objects in the world: moon rocks.


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