Jul 22

NEW! Midsummer Reads


Selected and reviewed by
YWP Book Club's charvermont

If you have a good book to add to this list, let charvermont know!


In Defense of Plants by Matt Candeias (Nonfiction)
Spend the rest of summer learning about the plants that surround you and gaining reverence for nature. Thankfully, Candeias writes in understandable terms rather than with scientific jargon, so we can all happily read this book! Think of In Defense of Plants as the perfect opportunity to become more knowledgeable in botany while still keeping your brain far away from the classroom while school’s out.

Felicity by Mary Oliver (Poetry)
Full of short, witty poems about nature, love, and religion, Felicity is a go-to for rainy summer days. Sip a cup of tea as you marvel over Oliver’s ability to say so much with so few words.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Nonfiction)
Read Braiding Sweetgrass and let your world be turned upside down. Kimmerer, who is both a scientist and a poet, combines her Native American heritage with modern-day science to write mesmerizing prose about the wonders and joys of the natural world. Though her book is fitting to read during any season, much of it praises the plants that surround us during the hottest months of the year. It’s a perfect book to read underneath the shade of a favorite tree. 


Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Realistic fiction)
Part-tragedy, part-love story, and part-mystery, Firekeeper’s Daughter will surely keep you on your toes this summer. This suspenseful novel about a young woman discovering what it means for her to be a member of the Ojibwe tribe as she tries to save everyone else is a whirlwind of feelings. Bring it with you to your favorite beach and read, read, read!

Three Summers by Margarita Liberaki (Realistic fiction)
Allow yourself to be transported to 1940s Greece this summer through the ethereal prose of Margarita Liberaki. Three Summers follows the stories of Katerina and her two sisters as they grow (or resist growing) and begin to understand their places in the world. This Greek classic is hard to put down and easy to love!

The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino (Realistic fiction)
When everything around you is green and lush, what better book to read than one that takes place within the blooming trees? The Baron in the Trees is about a young baron who angrily leaves his privileged family behind to live in the treetops. A romantic story that follows a lifetime spent among leaves, this book is a must-read.


Swing Time by Zadie Smith (Realistic fiction)
Trust me, this book will shake your world like an earthquake. Swing Time is about the relationship between two young women as their friendship falls apart and they go separate ways. One works in the music industry and gets swept up in the wake of a world-famous singer, Aimee. As she follows Aimee to Africa, she reflects on her past and present life, old friends and new friends. The other young woman becomes a dancer, fulfilling her childhood dream, but in some ways never growing up. They live two completely separate yet fully intertwined lives.

Beach Read by Emily Henry (Realistic fiction)
“A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters” (Goodreads.com). This book will put your heart on a rollercoaster ride and you have to read it. Look at the name, even – it’s perfect for summer!

The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges (Magical realism)
Borges: one of the greatest South American writers to have ever lived. He forever changed the world of Spanish literature with his short stories of magical realism, chaos, and labyrinths. Invest in a copy of his work and allow your summer to become a complex world of mind-bending ideas and the unexpected. My personal favorites of Borges’ stories: “The Writing of the God,” “Ibn-Hakam al-Bokhari, Murdered in His Labyrinth,” “Argumentum Ornithologicum,” and “The Plot.”

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (Science fiction/fantasy)

Set in the 2020s but published in the 1990s, Butler predicts an eerie future that is comparable to ours. Spend some time with Lauren Olamina, the inspiring protagonist of the Earthseed series, and discover a world of chaos, crushed dreams, and hope in the unlikeliest of places.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (Realistic fiction)

Everyone is talking about this book right now! And for good reason, too. By the author of Red, White, and Royal Blue, this time-travel romance is hot off the presses and practically begging to be devoured by every teen in sight. For real. I finished it a few days ago and wanted to travel to Brooklyn immediately to hang out with Jane and August - when you start to think the characters are real, that’s when you know a book is good. Anyways, go spend a few days reading One Last Stop and cheering August on in her sleuth adventures!

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (Realistic fiction)

A captivating, intimate story of the relationship between a young woman, Gifty, and her mother as they both grapple with the lasting effects of her brother’s life-ending drug addiction. “Exquisitely written” and “emotionally searing,” Yaa Gyasi’s “Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief” (Goodreads.com). Read it and have your heart broken, repaired, and broken again.

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