For bibliophiles, there’s nothing better than sitting poolside during the summer months and cracking open a new book.
“I feel like great books come out in the summer,” said Shelby Gorman, manager of Turnrow Books.
She said many customers have already been coming into the bookstore requesting suggestions for summer reads.
“The biggest one for summer reading right now is probably our Grisham, because he’s a Mississippi author and this is his newest book that just came out in April,” said Gorman.
John Grisham’s “Camino Winds,” which Gorman said is more popular with men, debuted in late April and is a sequel to his 2018 novel “Camino Island.”
Gorman said some of the favorite new beach reads for women are Mary Kay Andrews’ new novel “Hello, Summer” and Mary Alice Monroe’s “On Ocean Boulevard.”
“I am reading ‘Sea Wife’ right now, which I think is really good,” she said.
Gorman said the book by Amity Gaige is not only about a family that takes to the water on a sailboat and their life at sea, but “it’s more about marriage, parenthood and domesticity.”
Another book that recently came out and is receiving a lot of buzz is “A Burning” by Megha Majumda.
When it comes to purchasing a book during the summer, Gorman said most people are looking for a feel-good novel.
“They always come in and say, ‘I want something light, and I want to feel good,’” she said.
The books by Andrews and Monroe definitely fit that category, she added.
Another feel-good read that the bookstore recently sold out of is “Summer Darlings,” a book by Brooke Lea Foster set during the summer days of 1960s Martha’s Vineyard.
A popular young adult novel this summer is “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the much-anticipated Hunger Games prequel.
“This one is a big one right now,” said Gorman.
She said it’s for middle school students, young adults and even adults who became captivated by the Hunger Games trilogy when the first book debuted 12 years ago.
For those looking for something other than fiction, a new cookbook can provide a way to get creative in the kitchen this summer.
Greenwood resident and award-winning cookbook author Martha Hall Foose teamed up with artist Amy C. Evans to deliver “A Good Meal is Hard to Find,” which features recipes, stories and artwork.
“It’s beautiful,” said Gorman. “I’m obsessed with mine; I keep it out in my kitchen just because it’s so pretty. ... It’s got some great summer dishes.”
Some people might want to use their free time in the summer to educate themselves.
In the wake of the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, activists have been calling on Americans to educate themselves about race and racism. Currently almost every book at the top of The New York Times’ nonfiction best-seller list is about race.
Gorman said there’s been an uptick at Turnrow for the same genre. Currently books such as “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo have been big sellers nationwide as well as locally. Fiction recommendations include Colson Whitehead’s two back-to-back Pulitzer Prize-winning novels “The Underground Railroad,” which imagines an actual railroad for the transportation of enslaved people in search of freedom, and “The Nickel Boys,” set during the Jim Crow era.
“We’ve had so many orders, which it’s hard right now to get them in stock. We’re having to wait,” said Gorman. “I feel like that’s really encouraging, to see people wanting to educate themselves.”
For children, Gorman said two good summertime reads are “You Matter,” by writer and illustrator Christian Robinson, and “Crocodiles Need Kisses Too,” written by Rebecca Colby and illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan.
“You Matter” is a bright picture book where many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored. “Crocodiles Need Kisses Too” is a picture book with fun rhyming text.
Whether you’re young or old, a fan of fiction or non-fiction, into Southern noir, the classics or romance novels, the feeling of opening a new book is universal. “There’s a calming effect to it, and hearing the page turn is like music to my ears,” said Gorman.
If you’re socially distancing at the beach, soaking up the sun on the river or by the pool, or relaxing indoors, here are some ideas to add to your summer reading list:
• “Camino Winds” by John Grisham: Just as Bruce Cable’s Bay Books is preparing for the return of bestselling author Mercer Mann, Hurricane Leo veers from its predicted course and heads straight for the island. Florida’s governor orders a mandatory evacuation, and most residents board up their houses and flee to the mainland, but Bruce decides to stay and ride out the storm. One of the hurricane’s apparent victims is Nelson Kerr, a friend of Bruce’s and an author of thrillers. But the nature of Nelson’s injuries suggests that the storm wasn’t the cause of his death. In the thriller, Bruce starts to investigate and makes a shocking discovery.
• “On Ocean Boulevard” by Mary Alice Monroe: It’s been 16 years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.
• “Hello, Summer” by Mary Kay Andrews: Conley Hawkins left her family’s small-town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks. When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started.
• “Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Ride from Hell” by Tom Clavin: On the afternoon of Oct. 26, 1881, eight men clashed in what would be known as the most famous shootout in American frontier history. Thirty bullets were exchanged in thirty seconds, killing three men and wounding three others. The fight sprang forth from a tense, hot summer.
• “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides: Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
• “The Glass Hotel” by Emily St. John Mandel: Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star lodging on Vancouver Island. On the night she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a hooded figure scrawls a message on the lobby’s glass wall: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” High above Manhattan, a greater crime is committed: Alkaitis is running an international Ponzi scheme. When the financial empire collapses, it obliterates countless fortunes and devastates lives. Vincent, who had been posing as Jonathan’s wife, walks away into the night. Years later, a victim of the fraud is hired to investigate a strange occurrence: a woman has seemingly vanished from the deck of a container ship between ports of call.
• “A Burning” by Megha Majumdar: Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely, an irresistible outcast, has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.
• “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo: The author guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
• “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins: It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out charm, outwit and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. But the odds are against him.
• Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.