Compiled by Nicole Tomassi, Marketing and Conference Manager
This is the fourth annual edition of this blog post, where I ask my colleagues to share with me (and all of you) what books are at the top of their reading pile for the upcoming summer season. They consistently come through with titles across all genres, whether new releases or beloved favorites, and this list is no exception in that regard. Perhaps your next favorite read is within the list below. Scroll down below these selections to find more information about additional titles that you may be interested in.
To purchase any of the titles shown along with thousands of others while also supporting the efforts of local, independent bookstores, click on the cover image to open up the Indiebound website. I also invite you to drop us a note and tell us what book(s) you will be reading this summer.
How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi
Publisher: Viking (Penguin Random House imprint)
Why I can’t wait to read this book: When messy interpersonal drama meets adventure (and it’s not my own!) how could I resist? Plus I love the representation in this one, it’s a Muslim family, an LGBTQ+ main character, and Rome, Italy for the setting. There’s nothing predictable in that combination, love this fresh POV.
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Why I can’t wait to read this book: This year, and the last especially, have been one trauma after another for someone who looks like me as history continues to repeat itself. The Hate You Give was a powerful and cathartic tribute to this lived experience. So I am eager to give myself time to read the prequel here. Angie Thomas just has a way with words, a way of making you feel seen.
Submitted by: India Barnes, Project Coordinator, Westchester Education Services
The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Why I can’t wait to read this book: I loved the original Hunger Games trilogy but President Snow was always a character I wanted to learn more about. What made him the person he became in the trilogy? So with this book, I’ll see if I’ll get some answers.
Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Why I can’t wait to read this book: I was obsessed with the Twilight series and always wanted to know more about Edward’s past since we only got small glimpses from the books and movies. Now with the story being told from his perspective all that is out in the open to explore.
Submitted by: Kenia Gonzalez, Customer Service Representative
Keep Sharp by Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
Why I can’t wait to read this book: This book is about brain health and how we can build a better brain at any age. It is a science-driven guide from a neurosurgeon. He engages with scientists around the world as they discover the secrets to cognitive longevity. Sounds very interesting!
Submitted by: Mona Tiwary, Director of Publishing Services, Westchester Publishing Services India
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Why I can’t wait to read this book: Recently, I was talking with one of our clients about our non-work volunteer roles in small communities. When I shared that I had recently become a trustee of my local library, she said “Have you read The Library Book?!?” I’m glad I took her advice and added this fantastic bit of literary journalism to my next book order. Using the story of a fire in 1986 in Los Angeles’ Central Library as a backdrop, the New Yorker‘s Susan Orlean writes a paean to libraries and their impact on communities, weaving in personal anecdotes, character studies, and more. I’ve started this and am looking forward to finishing it as the Summer gets underway.
Submitted by: Tyler M. Carey, Chief Revenue Officer
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Publisher: Celadon Books
Why I can’t wait to read this book: Summer reading requires a good page-turner, and I’m hopeful this is the one for me. A novelist-turned-professor who is struggling steals a previous (now deceased) student’s sure-thing book plot for a bestseller—massive success results, and then the threatening emails arrive. Who could possibly know that the plot is stolen?
Submitted by: Kim Giambattisto, Senior Production Editor
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
Publisher: William Morrow, An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Why I can’t wait to read this book: After receiving a copy of The Woman in the Window last Christmas, I am finally getting around to reading it. I saw the end of the trailer for the new film on Netflix and would like to read the story before seeing the adaptation. It sounds as if it will be a fast-paced psychological thriller with many plot twists. I enjoy reading stories centered around mysterious predicaments that will keep the reader guessing.
Submitted by: Darryl Keck, Layout Specialist
The Federalist Papers by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Edited by Clinton Rossiter
Publisher: Signet Classic
Why I can’t wait to read this book: I am excited to revisit the thoughts behind the founding documents, especially concerning the presidency.
Submitted by: Tim Yetzina, Senior Supervising Editor for Science and Social Studies, Westchester Education Services
Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard by Douglas W. Tallamy
Publisher: Timber Press
Why I can’t wait to read this book: The North American bird population has declined by almost 3 billion since 1970*. Three billion birds. Gone. When I learned this, I vowed to reduce my lawn and replace the useless turf with native plants that provide shelter, nesting, and food for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. While tuning in to our local public radio station, I heard Professor Tallamy speaking about his newest book. “Nature’s Best Hope shows how homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats.”
* Bird population declines by nearly 3 billion
Submitted by: Rosemary Dannin, Project Manager, Westchester Education Services
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Publisher: Atria Books
Why I can’t wait to read this book: Buzz for this book has been circulating in my writing groups. It combines two of my favorite things—horror and publishing—and the author says Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” was one of the inspirations behind the book’s flavor of horror. I have no doubt it will be a page-turner!
Submitted by: Megan Overman, Senior Supervising Editor for Literacy and SEL, Westchester Education Services
Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan
Publisher: Random House
Why I can’t wait to read this book: A political science professor friend who was a founding team member of University of Dayton’s Human Rights Center recommended this book. He explained that in it, MacMillan deftly probes and reveals how the decisions made during the 1919 Paris peace talks that ended WWI directly set the stage for many of the world’s most enduring and complicated foreign policy challenges, including the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Submitted by: Kevin J. Gray, President and Chief Content Officer, Westchester Education Services
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Why I can’t wait to read this book: Ah…summer reading. I have a few books on my radar for this summer. I was intrigued by The Midnight Library by Matt Haig that I believe came out in the fall. I love the idea of a mystical library with curated books just for you that let you see what that path may have looked like if you took it at some point. It sounds like it’s a twist on A Christmas Carol without the ghosts, but perhaps still with some of the regrets. A little mystical wishful thinking can be a fun read for the summer.
The Sagas of Icelanders edited by Örnólfur Thorsson
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Why I can’t wait to read this book: Also on my list is a large tome that isn’t meant to be read from cover to cover, The Sagas of Icelanders. Ancient tales of Vikings! Kings! Explorers! I received this as a gift and I’m looking forward to transporting to times of old.
A Good Horse Has No Color by Nancy Marie Brown
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Why I can’t wait to read this book: Lastly, also related to Iceland, but more contemporary is A Good Horse Has No Color by Nancy Marie Brown. Here, she shares her personal journey to Iceland in search of the perfect horse to bring back home. There’s more to it than that of course – but this sounds like a wonderful book for the summer.
Submitted by: Deb Taylor, Director of Market Research
Here are a few additional resources for new titles you may want to add to your reading list during the next few months:
Publishers Weekly Staff Picks – Summer 2021 and for the children in your life, PW’s selection of the best titles for pre-readers, middle grade, and young adults releasing this summer
Vulture – Summer Books Preview 2021
Chicago Tribune – Best Summer Reads 2021