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Summer Reads

Books to Help You Escape from Where You Are

Books and summer make a perfect combo. The Raven Book Store co-owner Kelly Barth says, "There's this sweetness to summertime. Even if you don't have more time, you make more time because there's a memory of those long summer days when you had a break from school. You just cuddled up somewhere outside or inside and read to your heart's content."

Barth recommends these titles for your summer to-read list. There is something for all ages and interests.

Tom Lake

By Ann Patchett

In the spring of 2020, Lara's three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.

Pay Dirt: A V.I. Warshawski Novel

By Sara Paretsky

This latest edition of the series takes place in Lawrence! V.I. Warshawski is famous for her cool under fire, intelligence, humor, unflinching courage, and love of good coffee. But even the strongest people sometimes need a break to recharge, so her friends send her to Kansas for a weekend of college basketball where Angela, one of her protégées, is playing. And that's where trouble finds V.I.

Seed to Dust: Life, Nature, and a Country Garden

By Marc Hamer

The author paints a beautiful portrait of the garden he's nurtured for more than two decades. He describes a year in his life as a country gardener. As he works, he muses on the unusual folklore of his beloved plants. He observes the creatures who scurry and hide from his blade or rake. And he reflects on his own life: living homeless as a young man, his loving relationship with his wife and children, and—now—feeling the effects of old age on body and mind.

Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas

By Jennifer Raff (Local Author)

A KU professor of anthropology has written the story of who the first peoples in the Americas were, how and why they crossed, how they dispersed south, and how they lived based on a new and powerful kind of evidence: their complete genomes. ORIGIN provides an overview of these new histories throughout North and South America and a glimpse into how the tools of genetics reveal details about human history and evolution.

Blood & Fury

By Tessa Gratton (Local Author) and Justina Ireland

This young adult sequel to "Chaos & Flame" picks up months after betrayal transformed Darling Seabreak into the long-lost Phoenix and every House regent into their empyreal form. Darling struggles to make sense of her destiny as a legendary creature. How can she, an orphan with no family, be the one to reunite the fractured houses and bring about peace, if she can't control the magic of her new Phoenix body? 

Belittled Women

By Amanda Sellet (Local Author)

Sharp and subversive, this delightfully messy YA rom-com offers a sly wink to the classic Little Women, as teenage Jo Porter rebels against living in the shadow of her literary namesake.

The Birchbark House

By Louise Erdrich

Omakakiins and her family live on an island in Lake Superior. Though there are growing numbers of white people encroaching on their land, life continues much as it always has.

But the satisfying rhythms of their life are shattered when a visitor comes to their lodge one winter night, bringing an invisible enemy that will change things forever—but that will eventually lead Omakakiins to discover her calling. This is the first installment in a series chronicling one hundred years in the life of one Ojibwe family and includes beautiful interior black-and-white artwork done by the author.

Violet & Jobie in the Wild

By Lynne Rae Perkins

Brother and sister mice Violet and Jobie live a cozy and comfortable life in a humans' house, where food is plentiful, and the television is both educational and entertaining. When Violet and Jobie are caught in a trap, the young boy pleads with his mother to release them, and she agrees. Now Violet and Jobie find themselves in the wild. How will they survive?

Outdoor Farm, Indoor Farm

By Lindsay H. Metcalf (Local Author) and Illustrated by Xin Li

With energetic, enchanting verse and sunshiny, colorful illustrations, discover how your food is sustainably grown both outside—and inside. Join two children as they explore the inner workings of outdoor and indoor farms. You'll see how a variety of amazing machinery like tractors and drones, along with innovative farming techniques, yield the wonderful food we all love to enjoy.