Summer Books That Will Keep You Up All Night Reading

It’s summer — a time to catch up on missed readings, turn back to old favorites, and discover new ones. A time to sit with an easy read on the beach, or read something darker on the porch late at night.

-Elizabeth Flock for PBS

Here are some recommended books in the Southfield Public Library catalog with commentary by the article’s writer. If you don’t see a copy available, contact a librarian to place an item on hold for you!

Do Not Become Alarmed
Meloy, Maile
It feels almost cruel to recommend this for summertime vacation reading, because it is a vacation gone extremely, horribly, horribly wrong. It’s about two families who go on a cruise together and they decide to disembark the boat one day and go and have a little adventure. And then the children are separated from their parents and a lot of things go really, really badly. It’s an incredibly gripping thriller, one of those books that you will stay up late to read and say: “Oh, I’ll just read one more chapter, I’ll just read one more chapter.” It’s so delicious when you get one of those books and this is definitely one of them.
–Emma Straub

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Earthy Remains
Leon, Donna
There are actually 25 of these mysteries, and they are set in Venice. Venice itself becomes a character in these books. They center on Commissario Guido Brunetti, his entire family, and the people he works with. You become so wrapped up in these compelling characters that I think you could go through all 25 this summer. Each one is better than the last.
–Louise Erdrich

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The Hate U Give
Thomas, Angie
This book blew me away in the three short days it took me to devour it. It is narrated by a teenage black girl living between the privileged and stifling world of her private prep school and the harsh yet vital neighborhood she comes from. She has witnessed police brutality, gang violence and one specific incident that becomes a catalyst for her own growth and education. The protagonist is likable, smart and funny; the story is both timely and universally important. This book does not fall prey to tropes of tragedy. It rises above. A must read for any teen or adult.
–Aza, Birchbark Books

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Bark: Stories
Moore, Lorrie
I’m rereading her books, because it was such a pleasure to read them the first time and I wanted to re-experience them the way I did before. So I started “Bark” again, and “Birds of America,” and I have “Who will run the frog hospital?” They are funny, sharp, of course she’s known for her extremely sharp wit, sharp observations, and her tremendous ability to capture the moments between couples where they grate against each other, or where they come together. Those are beautiful moments in the book and sometimes they’re very poignant.
–Louise Erdrich

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A Visit from the Goon Squad
Egan, Jennifer
It’s one of those books that when I read it I felt kind of like I’d been hit over the head with a frying pan. Stars were twirling around my head like a cartoon character. I was gobsmacked. It’s such an inventive, astonishing book. And every time I have dipped my toe back in I am delighted all over again. So I’m looking forward to rereading that.
–Emma Straub

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Chemistry
Wang, Weike
It’s a great (she calls it) “late coming-of-age” story. The protagonist is a first-generation Chinese immigrant and college student majoring in chemistry, though failing, and thus the occasion for her self-probing. She’s grappling with immigration, family, love, and chemistry in all its forms. It’s wry and witty, but tender and philosophical—searching. The narrative moves swiftly, as does the prose, which never lags, and even edges into poetry at times. It is a profound meditation on self and humanity.
—Sarah Gerard, author of Sunshine State, and bookseller, “Books are Magic”

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Difficult Women
Gay, Roxanne
The short story collection I never knew I needed until I picked it up and began reading. The women Gay highlights in her first story collection are wild, wicked, and completely difficult — depending on who’s looking. I stumbled upon “North Country,” a story in the collection, for a class and it has remained one of the very best stories I have ever read. Each anecdote follows suit in that you’ll never forget the women you come across because they’re your sisters, mothers, and friends.
–Ikwo Ntekim – Receiving/Bookseller, Books are Magic

This collection of short stories artfully pulls you in and keeps you hooked. The lives of the women remind readers of the diverse and complicated lives of women everywhere.
–Sasha, Birchbark Books

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The Master and Margarita
Bulgakov, Mikhail
This wonderfully strange masterpiece is a biting satire of 20th century Muscovite high society under Stalin’s regime in the form of an absurd, magical, hilarious fantasy. The devil and his colorful band of cohorts (including a large talking cat) sow gleeful havoc on the streets of Moscow, with special interest in Margarita, whose paramour, known only as the Master, has re-visioned the story of Jesus and Judas Iscariot in a manuscript that may or may not be lost forever. Bulgakov himself is The Master, with language that weaves seamlessly between tragedy and farce, visiting the profound and surreal, laughing all the way. Really one of my favorite books ever.
~ Nate, Birchbark Books

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The Wonder
Donoghue, Emma
Set in Ireland, a Florence Nightingale-trained nurse is hired to monitor a young girl who is proclaimed not to have eaten in four months. This a completely engrossing read–you will barely be able to tear yourself away from it. I want to tell you more, but I don’t want to give anything away!
~ Carolyn, Birchbark Books

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