Summer Reading: Cool Reads for Hot Days

Of all the joys that summer brings including ball games, gardening, and swimming, one of my favorites is quietly relaxing and slowing down with a good book, preferably in the shade of a tree. Like me though, you’ve likely heard the saying, “So many books, so little time” and you wonder not only when you’ll find that elusive quiet time to read, but you also find yourself asking the age old question, “What should I read?” Though I’m sorry I can’t help you find the quiet time, I and a host of fellow library folks love to read, and we can help you find some enjoyable summer reads to bury yourself in during those precious quiet moments you find squeezed in between your kids’ ball games, the pool, and pulling weeds from your vegetable garden. Still think you’re strapped for time? Consider listening to one or more of these titles and many more on an audiobook or a downloadable version for your portable device. They’re all available at your library. Really, you can read all summer long!

Here are a few reading suggestions by our staff to get you started:

For Adults

15 Seconds by Andrew Gross. An adrenaline ride as Henry goes from “respected doctor to desperate fugitive in less than an hour.” (Kathy)

Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride by Sandra Bricker. Sherilyn has landed the ideal job as a wedding planner, but why does everything go wrong when she plans her own wedding? Is she allergic to the groom? (Crystal)

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. First in a series about an Episcopal priest, his parish, and the small fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. Quirky, loveable characters reminiscent of television’s Mayberry. (Amanda B.)

Caught by Harlan Coben. A missing teenager, a sexual predator, and an ambush journalist – all combine for a chilling adventure of twists and turns. (Kathy)

The Edge of Recall by Kristen Heitzmann. In this high-stakes, action-packed thriller, landscape architect Tessa Young has suffered from nightmares since she was a child, but designing and building complicated labyrinths has a healing effect on her. (Jennifer Z.)

Night Passage by Robert B. Parker. Jesse Stone comes to a charming town to be the next police chief, but soon discovers that bedlam lurks under the town’s sweet façade. (Kathy)

Rosemary and Rue: An October Daye Novel by Seanan McGuire. Gritty fantasy and mystery set in San Francisco with a strong, independent, main character who doesn’t take no for an answer. (Jennifer B.)

Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks. Who knew traveling around Ireland with a fridge as a companion could be so hysterically funny? Be careful what bets you make when you’re less than sober. (Kathy)

Sisterchicks Do the Hula: A Sisterchicks Novel by Robin Jones Gunn. The islands beckon, and best friends Hope and Laurie make the dream of a Hawaiian getaway a reality, complete with pineapples, sunshine, and a stowaway. (Jennifer Z.)

Snobs by Jullian Fellowes. For Downton Abbey fans! Can a ‘commoner’ manage to land the title Lord? Has society progressed beyond the old snobberies? An intelligent look at the type of marriage that can facilitate social climbing while still asking if that’s a desired goal in this day and age. (Holly F.)

Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym. Visit a small English village where two spinster sisters express their devotion to their clergymen by knitting them socks and helping with the missionary slide shows. (Giny)


For Teens

Chime by Fanny Billingsley. Quirky with interesting language and characters set in early twentieth century Swampsea where strange creatures lurk. (Diane)

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This sci-fi classic about a group of genius children conscripted by the military to fight real life ‘video games’ has been an enduring favorite for decades. (Holly F.)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Jacob explores an abandoned orphanage and discovers disturbing facts about the children who once lived there. (Jennifer Z.)

Divergent by Veronica Roth. Sixteen-year-old Beatrice must make a decision that will define her identity for the rest of her life. (Jennifer Z.)

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Classic story of three brothers and their quest for identity. (Corbie)

Take Me to the River by Will Hobbs. Ride the rapids of the Rio Grande and outsmart an evil kidnapper in this adventurous survival story. (Diane)


For School-aged Kids

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. A dog that needs a home, a young girl who needs a friend, all in a small town in Florida; what more do you need? (Amanda B.)

Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood. Enter the Bliss bakery and find enchanted confections passed down for generations to a long line of kitchen magicians. (Jennifer Z.)

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen. A loopy Floridian eco-adventure meets the world of reality television. Careful you don’t get chomped! (Jennifer Z.)

Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka. Growing up in a family of all boys made for some rather exciting days in the childhood home of favorite children’s author Jon Scieszka. (Jennifer Z.)

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer. Alex and Conner accidentally fall into their grandmother’s cherished book and leave their own world behind to meet up with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. (Jennifer Z.)

Little House books by Laura I. Wilder. Classic tales of Laura and her family as they head west as pioneers into the great frontier. (Dotty)

Scepter of the Ancients (Skullduggery Pleasant series) by Derek Landy. Meet a walking, talking skeleton who aims to save the world along with his 12-year-old sidekick. Harry Potter style, flare, and highly entertaining. (Corbie)

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt. A lonely dog and a mama cat and her kittens are safe, if only they can stay underneath. Magical and suspenseful. (Kristen)

For Pre-school Kids

The Animal Boogie ill. by Debbie Harter. The jungle animals are wiggling, flapping, and grooving to the beat of the Animal Boogie. Kids can dance along with the accompanying CD. (Jennifer Z.)

Don’t Squash the Sasquatch by Kent Redeker. A really fun book that combines animals to make new names. Sasquatch himself is fun and appealing. (Vicky)

The Frogs and Toads All Sang by Arnold Lobel. A charming and imaginative collection featuring recognizable animal characters. (Amanda B.)

How to Clean Your Room in 10 Easy Steps by Jennifer Larue Huget. A hilarious look at cleaning your room. Step 1 – Make sure your mother hollers, “GET UP THERE AND CLEAN YOUR ROOM—NOW!” using all three of your names. Great for kids and parents alike! (Kristen)

It’s a Book! by Lane Smith. Think picture books are going the way of the dinosaurs? Check this book out for kids, but also for all those wired and non-wired adults! (Kristen)

Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el. On his seventh birthday, Crispin Blaze tries to breathe fire. Read this funny book to see what he does breathe out in all kinds of situations. (Vicky)

Now I’m Big by Karen Katz. A little girl can do an amazing number of things by herself that she needed help with as a baby. (Jennifer Z.)

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox. Rhyming text compares babies born in different places and in different circumstances, but they all share the commonality of ten little fingers and ten little toes. (Vicky)

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. What’s going on with George? When his mother says to bark, he quacks like a duck and moos like a cow. (Vicky)


Enjoy these titles, and be sure to visit the library this summer for more great ideas, and sign up for the Summer Reading Program beginning June 1 too! In the meantime, what are some of your favorite books?

By Jennifer Zachman

Jenny at Banff 2010

Jennifer Zachman is a lifelong reader and a librarian with Poudre River Public Library District. She enjoys sharing stories with others and loves baseball, camping, scrapbooking, and watching her daughter dance.