Books for the Beach

Independent Booksellers Provide Their Summer Reading Lists

Rona Brinlee, owner of the Book Mark

Rona Brinlee, owner of the Book Mark in Atlantic City, Florida Courtesy of Buford Brinlee hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Buford Brinlee
Jim Harris, owner of Prairie Books

Prairie Books owner Jim Harris. Courtesy of Deb Barber/Iowa City Press Citizen hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Deb Barber/Iowa City Press Citizen
Lucia Silva, manager of Portrait of a Bookstore

Lucia Silva manages Portrait of a Bookstore. Courtesy of Julie von Zerneck hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Julie von Zerneck

Summer means vacations with plenty of time for reading on the beach, on a plane or on the porch. To help you decide on a summer reading list, NPR's Susan Stamberg talks with independent booksellers across the country and gets their summer reading suggestions.

Rona Brinlee, The Book Mark: Atlantic City, Florida

The Clearing by Tim Gautreaux (Pub: Alfred A. Knopf). Brinlee tells Stamberg, "It's got all the elements of good southern literature: beautiful language, amazingly interesting characters and a strong sense of place and that redemption at the end that's so important."

Waiting for April by Scott Morris (Pub: Algonquin Books). A recounting of the tale of Sanders Royce Collier, who enters the town of Citrus in the Florida panhandle and changes everyone. Brinlee says, "It's the classic American tale where [Collier] gets to reinvent himself. He makes himself into somebody who he isn't."

Other than these titles, Brinlee also suggests:

Reunion by Alan Lightman (Pub: Pantheon Books).

The Light of Day by Graham Swift (Pub: Alfred A. Knopf).

The Kite Runner by Kaled Hosseini (Pub: Riverhead Books).

The Wife by Meg Walitzer (Pub: Scribner).

Jim Harris, Prairie Lights: Iowa City, Iowa

Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles by Anthony Swofford (Pub: Scribner). Jarhead, Swofford's memoir of the first Gulf War, says Harris, is, "As honest as it can be, it has the sounds and the tastes of the desert and what it's like being a Marine."

Harris also suggests:

The Cutting Room by Lousie Welch (Pub: Canongate Books).

Black and Blue by Ian Rankin (Pub: G. K. Hall & Company).

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (Pub: W. W. Norton & Company).

The Teammates by David Halberstam (Pub: Hyperion).

Lucia Silva, Manager, Portrait of a Bookstore: Studio City, California:

The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimel (Pub: Anchor Books). Solace is, "Strange in both its lyrical prose and in the directions of its story and the strength of its characters," says Silva, "but it reads like a 'can't stop reading' novel." She says that The Solace of Leaving Early contains, "Some of the fullest characters that I've read in a long time."

The Odes: New Translations by Contemporary Poets by J.D. McClatchy, editor. (Pub: Princeton University Press). "I think it's perfect for summer reading because it's these little bits and pieces on a page or two," says Silva, describing the new translation of Horace's work.

The Pharmacist's Mate: A Story of Birth, Death, Guitars and Goldfish by Amy Fusselmen (Pub: McSweeney's Books).

Silva also recommends:

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller (Pub: Random House).

The Paris Review Book Edited by the editors of the Paris Review. Introduction by George Plimpton. (Pub: Picador).

Getting Mother's Body by Suzan Lori-Parks (Pub: Random House).

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