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Dear Reader: Summer Reading


It's that time of year when we are ready to surrender to time for naps and walks, and of course, reading. Whether it is the beach or a lazy morning in bed or a comfy chair in the shade, summer is the time for reading.

I have put together a list that might help. Some legitimately qualify as beach reads - light and happy (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FineAunti Poldi and the Sicilian Lions); others are funny (Abridged ClassicsCalypso, and How Hard Can it Be?);fascinating (The Mars RoomWhite Houses); informative (Locking Up Our OwnThe Water Will Come); and philosophical (In Praise of Wasting Time,Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now) and lastly, one of my favorite genres —memoirs and biographies— all qualify as great reads about inspiring, dynamic people (Born a CrimeGrantEducatedMake Trouble and The Restless Wave).

To make this easy for you to pick from, you can: 

  • listen to a speech I gave for all of my summer reading suggestions

  • browse the list below:

    • Each title in the list links to a review from me and, in some cases, I interviewed the author for my Just the Right Book podcast so you can listen to that before, after, or even instead of reading the book (probably the least appealing choice, honestly!)

In addition, I wanted to include a few more notes before I leave you to your reading:

  • The first annual Excellence in Graphic Literature Awardspresented by Pop Culture Classroomwere recently announced.  Out of curiosity, I picked up one of the winners, for ages 8-10, called Real Friends. I am in love with this book! It is fabulous for kids and it is quite helpful for those with children or grandchildren who may be finding their way with new friendships and relationships at school. Even for someone like me, in neither of those situations, it was charming, engaging, and wonderful. Everyone should read this book!

  • Donald Hall, the preeminent New England poet, died earlier this summer. He has been to RJ Julia Booksellers a number of times over the years and his poetry is very much of place.  If you're not already in love with Donald Hall, or perhaps realized his ties to the Greater New Haven area, this smart, charming piece by Will Ginsburg, Executive Director of the Greater New Haven Community Foundation, will certainly make you fall in love. 

  • Romance books currently represent the highest sales of any genre. Over the years, RJ Julia has had a romance section and at other times, romance novels are shelved as part of the fiction section. Due to renewed interest by our readers, we will be putting together a display of our favorites (in case your summer isn't steamy enough) - stay tuned!

  • Matthew Dicks, a local Connecticut writer, is truly a state treasure. He is also a teacher and an award-winning storyteller. His new book, Storyworthy, teaches the art of storytelling. In reading this wonderful book you, of course, learn the art of storytelling in the same vein as The Moth, but more rivetingly, you understand that we all have stories and that helping those who do not feel heard, who are invisible in our world, is critical to our collective sense of humanity. I urge you to read this book as soon as possible. 

In the meantime, really the very best way to pick up a delicious pile of summer reads is to take the time to wander in the bookstore, allowing serendipity to draw you to the book that will create a moment which you will remember for a lifetime... the right setting, the right book, and hours indulging in the most delicious and simple of pleasures.

Happy Reading,

Roxanne J. Coady

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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Educated by Tara Westover
Grant by Ron Chernow
I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell
Make Trouble by Cecile Richards
The Restless Wave by John McCain & Mark Salter

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Aunti Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Trick by Domenico Starnone
White Houses by Amy Bloom

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Abridged Classics by John Atkinson
Calypso by David Sedaris
Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith, US Poet Laureate
Real Friends by Shannon Hale

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How to Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman
In Praise of Wasting Time by Alan P. Lightman
Locking Up Our Own by James Forman, Jr.
Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier
The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell
Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks
Dot Journaling-The Set by Rachel Wilkerson Miller


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