Summer 2019 Reading Recommendations

Need some title suggestions for the warmer months? Here are my reading recommendations for Summer 2019.

By Michelle Walch

Summer is here! Time for beach reads even if there is no beach. None of the books on this list are really beach reads; they are interesting and informative. I’ve included a couple of titles for kids since I have a ‘tween out of school until September.

Book rating: 1 star for don’t bother; 5 stars - page turner.

Includes affiliate links to Amazon to purchase books.

For Grown Ups:

  1. Becoming by Michelle Oboma. This is an engaging read. From her upbringing on Chicago’s South Side, to meeting and marrying Barack, and being the first African American First Lady. At first I though i would be a mom read, but it is more than that. Reading about how she and Barack set the tone for the White House almost made me misty-eyed for their relaxed approach. Her decision to include normal people in White House events and encouraging community service with the Senate and House of Representatives wives is heartening to read.

    Oboma writes with no-nonsense approach about her life’s journey. She describes herself as a pragmatist, checking boxes, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Sometimes her way of doing things is markedly different from her husband’s more casual tone. But she gives, in my opinion, and honest account of how they make life as a couple work.

    Self-advocacy comes up frequently in Becoming, something she has been doing since kindergarten. Even if you have a good support network, you still need to make yourself heard. Take a page from Michelle Oboma and remember to advocate for yourself, because often if you don’t, no one will.

    5 stars. Listen to this on AudioBooks from Amazon.

  2. Natchez Burning by Greg Illes. Oh Em Gee! An adrenilne rush! Using journalist Stanley Nelson’s real-life research into a series of unsolved murders of black citizens by a renegade Ku Klux Klan group, Greg Iles creates a modern-day thriller trilogy that takes a brutal look at race relations in Louisiana with his lawyer hero Penn Cage. A former nurse, an African American woman named Viola Turner, has been murdered and Penn Cage’s physician father appears to be the suspect. Cage has to dig into a mystery that traces back to the bad old days of the 1950’s and 60’s when racial tensions were volatile, violence toward black citizens was brutal, and the Klan was still a force to be reckoned with. Good to have a mind like an Excel spreadsheet; plenty of characters to keep track of. It’s up there with another favorite book series of mine, the Milenium books by Steg Larson. Books 2 and 3, The Bone Tree and Mississippi Blood can be found at your local book store or on Amazon, which is currently getting the books into production as a TV series. 4 stars. Get it on Kindle. (Thanks to John Maddin for adding to this review.)

  3. Dream Hoarders by Richard Reeves. This one is depressing, but gives a bit of hope towards the end. Think the system sets up up to fail? Well, yeah. Reeves offers some solutions that will take some effort to lobby. 4.5 stars. Buy it on Amazon here.

For girl ‘tweens:

  1. Dork Diaries by Renee Russell: It’s girlie and middle America with not-to-pressing problems. Not quite a graphic novel, but enough visuals to break up the text. That’s actually a perfect combination for my kid who is not quite an enthusiastic reader and very visual. 3.5 stars. Get the complete set on Amazon here.

  2. Baby Mouse: by Jennifer and Matthew Holmes: We love Baby Mouse! She lives in an elaborate fantasy world, watches scary movies with her friend Wilson, and makes feeble attempts to befriend mean girl Falicia Furrypaws. Funny and sweet. 5 stars. I like Baby Mouse #19: Bad Babysitter.