Good Luck

January 22nd, 2022

booksELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Summer is approaching, and for many people, that will include preparing some titles for that reading list for the dog days of summer. 

With that in mind, I thought it would be cool to share some suggestions of my own of books that can be added to those summer reading lists. I like to read a lot and I’m always happy to talk about books I’ve recently read and liked. 


Greenlights (Matthew McConaughey)

I read Matthew McConaughey’s memoir a few weeks ago and it didn’t take me very long at all to decide this would be a good read for me. It follows McConaughey’s childhood and most of his film career, concluding with some of the more recent happenings in his life, including his Oscar win for “Dallas Buyers Club” and marrying his wife, Camila. It’s written very well (so much so that while reading it I could almost hear McConaughey narrating it) and like other memoirs I’ve read lately, the writing style is very straightforward and honest, and the reader learns some previously unknown stuff about McConaughey. If you’re wanting a good memoir to add to the reading list, “Greenlights” is a good one. 

cannahandle artice new feb

The Last Days of John Lennon (James Patterson)

This is another book I picked up in the library, rather on a lark, and I ended up truly enjoying it. The book is a combination biography-mystery about John Lennon’s time with the Beatles and some of his post-Beatles career until his murder in December 1980. I found the genre mashup a rather interesting choice and it lets the readers learn about not only Lennon’s career, but it also lets them into the mindset of Lennon’s killer Mark Chapman as he went through with his plot. There are several people mentioned or interviewed throughout the book, making the story very well rounded, and there are a lot of behind-the-scenes stories that might not have been heard before. If you’re a Beatles fan or James Patterson fan, this would also be a good one to add to the summer reading list. 


The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos (Judy Batalion)

This is another very recent read for me, and the Holocaust has long been a topic of interest of mine. This book follows the stories of how several female Jewish resistance fighters came together with their resistance groups during World War 2 in order to stop the Nazis’ plans. I had never heard any of these stories before, especially from the female perspective, and I was hooked into all the stories of sabotage, ranging from simply helping smuggle people out of the ghettos all the way to Molotov cocktails being thrown at Nazi tanks and personnel. The writing is tight, there’s a lot of information to learn, and each figure in the book gets a spotlight. If you’re more of a history buff, this is a good one to add to the list. 


Summer of 69 (Elin Hilderbrand)

This was a book I’d actually read before the pandemic last year closed the library, and I ended up enjoying it a lot. Set in the summer of 1969, it follows the Levin family, where everyone seems to be having some type of internal crisis – Blair, the oldest, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel, middle sister Kirby gets caught up in the civil rights movement and is determined to be independent, son Tiger is an infantry soldier recently deployed to Vietnam, and 13-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child. Each family member deals with their crises and learns something along the way, culminating in a pretty satisfying finale. The writing is done very well, the historical bits sprinkled throughout the book are done really well, and each character gets the spotlight, letting the reader get a complete story about the family. There are also a lot of topics covered throughout, including first love, independence and acceptance. If you’re interested in the more historical fiction genre, “Summer of 69” would be good for the reading list. 


Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens)

I actually reviewed this last year, and it’s a book I haven’t lost any love for. The novel follows two separate yet intertwined stories – the first timeline describes the life of Kya, who has been dubbed “The Marsh Girl” by the citizens of nearby Barkley Cove, as she grows up isolated in the marsh of North Carolina after being abandoned by her family. The second timeline follows the murder investigation (during which Kya becomes the prime suspect and eventually goes on trial for) of Chase Andrews, a prominent citizen of Barkley Cove. The story is written very well, with each of the characters having much more dimension than I expected, and the descriptions of the settings throughout the novel allowed me to imagine I was there. With so many strong points, this is another great one for the reading list. 

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