● By Emily Miranda
Top 10 Best Summer Reads
By Emily J. Miranda
We’re in the thick of it—summer, that is! And as enjoyable as the sunny days have been (always giving me an excuse to hit the lake, or go for a refreshing swim), there are some days that are simply too hot for comfort. This is my queue to take a break, cool down, and revive myself with a good book. Time to hit the summer reading lists, but with so many great classics, riveting romances, and newly released novels, it’s hard to narrow down the choices, so I asked you for your favorite summer reads, and here’s what I came up with:
Reads for All Ages:
1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Movie adaptions: Cel-animated (1973) & Live-action (2006)
It’s Zuckerman’s famous pig! But how did this lonely little pig named Wilbur become famous? With the help of his friend Charlotte, an expressive spider who describes Wilbur as: ‘Some Pig’, ‘Humble’ and ‘Radiant’ all by using her web. Charlotte is not the only one who loves Wilbur, but also a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur's life when he was born the runt of his litter.
2. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Movie adaption: Expected later this year (2018)
Willowdean Dickson is a self-proclaimed fat girl full of confidence. She is dubbed Dumplin’ by her former beauty queen mother, and has Ellen, her all-American beauty best friend. With Ellen by her side, everything seems in place . . . until she meets Bo, a hot former jock. She isn’t shocked by her attraction to him, but is surprised that the attraction is mutual. Rather than finding self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will begins to doubt herself, and so sets out to regain her confidence by facing the most horrifying thing she can think of—entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant.
3. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Movie adaption: Simon Birch (1998)
Owen Meany is the most heartbreaking hero John Irving has yet created. The plot of A Prayer for Owen Meany is set in 1953 New Hampshire, centering on eleven-year-old boy. Owen hits a foul ball in a Little League Baseball game that ends up killing his best friend's mother. He doesn't believe in accidents; he believes he is God's instrument. And what happens to Owen after that 1953 foul is both extraordinary and terrifying.
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Movie adaptions: Two live-actions (1960 & 1993)
In this classic sequel to Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a nineteenth-century boy from a Mississippi River town recounts his adventures as he travels down the river with a runaway slave. Huckleberry Finn encounters a family feud, two nefarious scoundrels pretending to be royalty, and Tom Sawyer's aunt who mistakes him for—none other than—Tom.
5. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Genre: Historical Fiction
Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died. But an unexpected inheritance sets Cassandra on a mysterious bequest from Nell. Having inherited a book of dark and intriguing fairytales, written by a Victorian authoress having mysteriously disappeared in the early twentieth century, Cassandra takes courage to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past.
Reads for Ages 13+:
6. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fictional Autobiography
Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during WWII. After Allied bombs destroy his family home, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps. In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—believing it will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers. Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret.
7. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Reporter Camille Preaker faces a daunting assignment: she must return to her roots to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Back in her hometown, Camille finds herself living in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, and having to deal with both the half-sister she barely knows and her neurotic, hypochondriac mother she hasn’t spoken to in years. It’s not long before Camille begins to identify with the young victims—a bit too strongly.
8. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
Genre: Novel/Historical Fiction
Set in 1939, this book was inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II. A family determined to persevere, survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.
9. Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Movie adaption: Film to be released in 2019
When the notorious Bernadette Fox goes missing, her fifteen-year-old daughter Bee does all she can think to find her mother. She compiles email messages, official documents and secret correspondences. For, Bernadette’s intensifying allergies to Seattle—and people in general—make it unlikely she’s run away to the ends of the earth. Which begs the question: where’d you go Bernadette?
10. Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky
Movie adaption: Live-action film (2014)
By the early 1940s, when Ukrainian-born Irène Némirovsky began working on what would become Suite Française—the first two parts of a planned five-part novel—she was already a highly successful writer. But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, dying a month later.
Her book opens with the chaos of the massive 1940 exodus from Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion, forcing families and individuals together under circumstances beyond their control. In the second part, these villagers find themselves living in a Nazi-occupied France. Having to coexist with the soldiers billeted among them, the aristocrats, shopkeepers and peasants cope as their community transforms. Some choose resistance, others collaboration, but all are affected by the consequences.