Five Books to Read Before This Summer Ends

Can you believe August starts next week?

As a kid, August was always a month of doom. I used to ban family members from using the “s word” (school) during this time of year.

Ramona Ausubel sums up the August angst perfectly in Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty.

“August arrived despite their prayers that it would not. Each swim and sail meant more…They begged the days to pass more slowly.”

Even now that I work 12 months of the year with no 3-month summer break to speak of, there’s something about August that makes me want to cling on to summer for just a little longer.

In honor of August’s approach, I’m sharing five books to read before the summer is over. I’ve never been sure what constitutes a “beach read,” so my standard for this list is a book that I devoured quickly and frantically.

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Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Kerry of Entomology of a Bookworm recommended this book and it was a pageturner. The concept is odd and reading it quickly helped me keep up of where I was in time (yes, you’re moving through time here).



Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I read Ishiguro’s Man Booker prize-winning The Remains of the Day earlier in the year and my friend Melissa recommended I also read Never Let Me Go. Melissa’s description of how she reacted to the book—being devastated for caring so much for characters who were not real—didn’t really make sense until I was well into the book. I’ll leave it at that. Check this one out and don’t read too many synopses of it before so you can avoid spoilers.

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Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe

Yet another recommendation, this time from Marlene of Curious Iguana, that turned out to be a favorite. My peeps are on a roll! I read this book in probably fewer than 36 hours. I picked it up on a Friday and was done by Saturday night. I couldn’t put it down. The father / daughter relationship, the struggles with mental illness, the WWII history, the setting in charming Lithuania – it was all so delightful and smart.


Grace by Natashia Deon

I picked up an advanced reader’s copy of this book because the premise was haunting me – a woman has a child, is murdered moments after giving birth, and then lives on as a ghost to watch her daughter grow up. And this is all happening in the middle of the Civil War in the South. And the woman is black. How could I not? The bonus was Deon’s writing and nuggets of wisdom dropped throughout the novel. Check this one out.


Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

I rarely would recommend a book before finishing it, but I only have 50 pages left and can’t put it down. (It was a real struggle to type this post instead of read this book). I’ve recommended Ausubel before and I am not surprised that I also love this book. The title alone (Ease and Plenty? How perfect is that?) hooked me. Bonus points if you read this book while vacationing on the East Coast in Massachusetts.

What books are you going to try to read before summer is over?


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About Stephanie Y.

I'm a professional news writer in Frederick, Maryland. I blog at S.Y. Ciphers.

2 responses to “Five Books to Read Before This Summer Ends”

  1. Kerry M says :

    These are great! I really need to get to the Ishiguro…

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