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Help a Mom: Favorite summer beach reads for moms

Posted June 18, 2013

I thought I'd throw this one out there as I've been looking for great books for me to read lately.

I checked in with staff at Quail Ridge Books & Music, who recommended these four (descriptions courtesy of the store):

  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. If you have a poet's heart, you'll be awed by the spiritual connections to rowing expressed by both the crew members and the master boat builder whose philosophy weaves through this historical drama.
  • The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani. It may be the most mispronounced title of the summer, but it'll be one of the most sought after. "Lush" in every sense of the word: exquisite period details, forbidden love, beautiful N.C. mountain setting, and, oh yes, horses. Thea's contributions to a family tragedy (slowly revealed over the course of the novel) have altered her present life with a speed and ferocity that leave her unmoored. But it's the profound effect this year of change will have on her future that propels her (and us) along.
  • The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley. Kearsley credibly moves between the 21st and 18th centuries to unravel the mystery of the Firebird and to tell the stories of two fascinating young women. This intriguing novel of historical fiction, romance, and parapsychology was impossible to put down.
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Unlikely Pilgrimage has the quiet pleasures of an English village novel, and something more. Harold Fry, recently retired and underfoot, receives a letter from Queenie, a former co-worker who proved herself a friend log ago, writing from hospice to say goodbye. At the postbox, where his journey should be over, it begins. Harold starts his 600-mile walk the length of England to say goodbye, and in walking, keep Queenie alive. This story is deep and tender and engrossing and opens up the truth of many lives.

I've heard great things about that last book, "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry." And I've just read a couple of books by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Tyler, who spent part of her childhood in Raleigh and graduated from Duke at age 19. "Digging to America" and "Back When We Were Grownups" were both great reads.

What books can you recommend for summer reads? Please share your tips in the comments box below. (If you don't see the comments box below, you'll need to log in or sign up for a WRAL account. You can do that by going to the top of the page and clicking on either "log in" or "register").

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  • slpmom2 Jun 19, 2013

    Thank you JAT, you gave me a lot good suggestions!

  • JAT Jun 19, 2013

    Strollin' - I liked Wed Sisters, too, and considered getting Light Between the Oceans last time I was at B&N. It looked good!

  • JAT Jun 19, 2013

    Yes, I read alot! :)

  • JAT Jun 19, 2013

    slpmom2 - also, the Seeds of America series by Laurie Halse Anderson. I think there are now 3 in the series, maybe 4. Best if read in order, but not absolutely necessary.

  • JAT Jun 19, 2013

    Forgot these!!! Heather Gudenkauf's books: These Things Hidden; the Weight of Silence. And our local Diane Chamberlain does great books - can't forget her!!

    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet; Still Alice; What Alice Forgot (I think that's the name of it); Lisa Patton's books are good southern books, too.

  • JAT Jun 19, 2013

    slpmom2 - some of the ones I suggested, girls that age would like. Sadly, some of the ones that feature girls that age are not ones that you'd wang girls that age to read! The Forest of Hands and Teeth was great - Carrie Ryan has written several good ones and has 3 in this series. Hands/Teeth is the first. Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. The City of Embers series is GREAT!!! Best - Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. AWESOME book. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

  • JAT Jun 19, 2013

    Anything by Patti Callahan Henry; The Wisdom of Hair by Kim Boykin; Anything by Anne Rivers Siddon. Henry and Siddon both write great southern novels with real-life characters and you hate to put them down. I just finished And Then I Found You by Henry - read it in 4 hours at the beach!!! The Color of Tea is a great one by Hannah Tunnicliffe. I think The 100-year-old Man Who Jumped Out The Window and Disappeared was wonderful but you'd probably have to have a whole week to finish this one. And Young Adult books are always good for a good quick beach read: A Wrinkle in Time; The Missing Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix but read them in order so they make sense and then share with your kids; When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead; The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford; The Giver/Gathering Blue/Messenger by Lois Lowry; Number the Stars by Lois Lowry; Boy in the Blue Pajamas; The View from Saturday by E L Konigsburg. All GREAT books!!

  • slpmom2 Jun 19, 2013

    Anyone have recommendations for female teenagers (14-17years)

  • xo_cuppycake_xo Jun 19, 2013

    I recommend anything by Jodi Picoult

  • babbleon1 Jun 19, 2013

    I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Peters (mystery, history, humor) and Georgette Heyer. For Peters, start with _The Crocodile on the Sandbank_ and follow Amelia Peabody through the "mad pursuits" of the next thirty years, or dabble with the one-offs, like _Summer of the Dragon_ or _Legend in Green Velvet_. All have a nice blend of humor, romance, and archaeological fever.

    From 1921 to 1972, Georgette Heyer wrote mysteries, romances and historical novels. Heyer's historical romances remind me of romanticized Austen; her _Cotillion_ and _Sylvester_ are masterful. Her mysteries are usually set in the early 20th century, because that's when they were written. While most are Agatha Christie-ish, _Penhallow_ is darker and as good as _And Then There Were None_, Christie's best.