7 summer reading picks for the grown-ups

Posted June 6, 2016

Whether you’re lounging on an exotic beach or just chilling in the backyard while the children run through the sprinklers, summer is better with a great book to read. Here’s a well-rounded list of options, fiction and nonfiction, and all hard to put down.


1. “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Victoria Jones grew up in foster care, always moving, never loved. Now she’s 18 and "aging out" of the system. The only thing she’s ever cared about is flowers. But can she make a living and heal her past with bouquets? “The Language of Flowers” is a marvelous story, the kind you get completely lost in and never want to finish.

Content note: Occasional foul language, including a few F-words, mild sexual references, and a very brief, mildly descriptive sex scene.

2. “The Night Sister” by Jennifer McMahon

From New York Times best-selling author Jennifer McMahon comes a riveting tale of mystery, secrets and murder. The Tower Motel was once a thriving business in a small town in rural Vermont. Two sisters grew up among the guests, playing in the Tower of London replica. But when one sister goes missing, things fall apart. Incredibly atmospheric and fiercely gripping, you’ll read at breakneck pace just to know what happens.

Content note: Occasional foul language, with one or two F-words, a few sexual references, a kissing scene between two teenage girls, and moderate violence.

3. “The Hatching” by Ezekiel Boone (available July 5, 2016)

If you’re looking for something dark and twisty, this is the book. A black, mysterious mass in Peru consumes an American tourist. A plane crashes in Minneapolis. Strange earthquakes rock India. China "accidentally" drops a nuclear bomb in a remote part of its own country. And a package arrives at a lab in Washington, D.C. What does it all mean? Read “The Hatching” and find out.

Content note: Frequent use of foul language, including lots of F-words, and plenty of gore and violence.

4. “The Weekenders” by Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews, known as the queen of the beach read, offers lots of drama and summertime adventure in her brand-new book “The Weekenders.” Riley Griggs has problems. Her beach house is about to foreclose, her friends won’t talk to her, and her husband has disappeared. When a body washes up on shore in Belle Isle, North Carolina, Riley’s hometown, the mystery and her problems deepen.

Content note: Occasional foul language, mild violence and some sexual references.

5. "Forever and Forever: The Courtship of Henry Longfellow and Fanny Appleton" by Josi S. Kilpack

If you crave a sweet romance to enjoy in the summer heat, this new book from local author Josi S. Kilpack is a fun choice. In 1836, Franny Appleton is the daughter of a wealthy Boston industrialist. While traveling in Europe she meets author and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He's much older, and from a lower social class, but they soon fall in love. Will his poetry be able to bridge the gaps between them?

Content note: Clean


1. “The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” by Sy Montgomery

Sy Montgomery, a naturalist and author of 20 acclaimed books of nonfiction, delves deep into the mysterious world of the octopus in her new book. This "astonishingly complex, spirited creature" shows intelligence, problem-solving and even emotion. With humor and love, Montgomery pulls the reader into this fascinating world. “The Soul of an Octopus,” a finalist for the National Book Award, might even teach you a thing or two about your own consciousness.

Content note: Clean

2. “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” by Michael Pollan

In our modern world, most of us rarely stop to think about where our food really comes from. Michael Pollan illuminates the simple yet profound question of what to have for dinner with a detailed look at today’s food industry. Am eye-opening, compelling read for foodies and nonfoodies alike.

Content note: Clean

What other great books do you have on your summer reading list? Share in the comments.

Teri Harman, author and book enthusiast, writes a column for and contributes book-related segments to "Studio 5 with Brooke Walker." Her novels, "Blood Moon," "Black Moon," and "Storm Moon" are now available. Visit her at


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