For some extremely lucky folks, summer means time off. Spend some of that time off with your brain on, reading books by local authors.
I'm linking to Amazon order pages for ease but don't let that stop you from picking these books up from your favorite indie bookstore instead.
The Whale: A Love Story by Mark Beauregard
Publication Date: June 14
Genre: Literary Fiction
A rich and captivating novel set amid the witty, high-spirited literary society of 1850s New England, offering a new window on Herman Melville’s emotionally charged relationship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and how it transformed his masterpiece, Moby-Dick
In the summer of 1850, Herman Melville finds himself hounded by creditors and afraid his writing career might be coming to an end—his last three novels have been commercial failures and the critics have turned against him. In despair, Melville takes his family for a vacation to his cousin’s farm in the Berkshires, where he meets Nathaniel Hawthorne at a picnic—and his life turns upside down.
The Whale chronicles the fervent love affair that grows out of that serendipitous afternoon. Already in debt, Melville recklessly borrows money to purchase a local farm in order to remain near Hawthorne, his newfound muse. The two develop a deep connection marked by tensions and estrangements, and feelings both shared and suppressed.
Melville dedicated Moby-Dick to Hawthorne, and Mark Beauregard’s novel fills in the story behind that dedication with historical accuracy and exquisite emotional precision, reflecting his nuanced reading of the real letters and journals of Melville, Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others. An exuberant tale of longing and passion, The Whale captures not only a transformative relationship—long the subject of speculation—between two of our most enduring authors, but also their exhilarating moment in history, when a community of high-spirited and ambitious writers was creating truly American literature for the first time.
Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet
Lydia Millet's chilling new novel is the first-person account of a young mother, Anna, escaping her cold and unfaithful husband, a businessman who's just launched his first campaign for political office.
When Ned chases Anna and their six-year-old daughter from Alaska to Maine, the two go into hiding in a run-down motel on the coast. As his pursuit of Anna and their child moves from threatening to criminal, Ned begins to alter his wife's world in ways she never could have imagined.
This double-edged and satisfying story features a strong female protagonist, a thrilling plot, and a creeping sense of the apocalyptic. Sweet Lamb of Heaven builds to a shattering ending with profound implications for its characters.
Bite by K.S. Merberth
Publication Date: July 26
Genre: Science Fiction
Kid is trying to survive in a world gone mad.
Hungry, thirsty and alone in a desert wasteland, she's picked up on the side of the road by Wolf, Dolly, Tank and Pretty Boy - outlaws with big reputations and even bigger guns.
But as they journey across the wild together, Kid learns that her newfound crew may not be the heroes she was hoping for. And in a world that's lost its humanity, everyone has a bit of monster within them...
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Publication Date: Aug. 30
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
For fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places comes Kathleen Glasgow’s debut novel about a girl who has lost everything—almost even herself.
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
A deeply moving portrait of a girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much; and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. Kathleen Glasgow's debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.
Surviving the Improbable Quest by Anderson Atlas
Currently available (and the sequel just came out, too!)
Genre: Children's Fiction
Ripped from his wheelchair by a massive flash flood, Allan drags himself through dense forest only to find himself surrounded by strange and ruthless creatures who are not from Earth. Allan can’t run away and has no means to defend himself. Instinct overcomes his terror and his cleverness blossoms, which is all he needs to survive the dark jungles, poisonous plants, Shadic hunters and the vile slave trader Killian Crow.
This adventure is so thrilling and unlike anything you’ve ever read, you’ll be hooked until the last page. Follow Allan's path of self discovery, and watch him take back what he's lost. Surviving the Improbable Quest is a spine tingling adventure, with exciting twists & turns. A perfect and inspiring read for 10 and up.
You tell me, bookworms: What else should be on our reading list?