Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow



Trying to work in a quick beach trip before students are back in class? That’s just three weeks from today for Hamilton County Schools. If you’re planning an escape to the sand and surf, have one of these suggestion­s in hand for a great beach read.

THE INDEPENDEN­T BOOKSELLER Star Lowe, store owner, and Katie Garaby, Star Line Books, 1467 Market St. “THE ESSEX SERPENT” BY SARAH PERRY Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890s, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery t hat def i ned the era, “The Essex Serpent” has at its heart the story of two extraordin­ary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way. Released in 2016 in Europe, this is one of the most- anticipate­d novels of the summer stateside.

Why we chose it: If you are looking for something a little more literary, “The Essex Serpent” is your book.


When Eva Ros e Babbitt, mother of daughters Lizzie, 1 5, and Elvis, 10, drowns while sleep-swimming, her daughters are left to fend for themselves emotionall­y while their father tends to his grief by wearing his wife’s bathrobe and lipstick.

Why we chose it: Annie Hartnett’s debut novel is Star Line Book’s July Book Club selection. It’s a fantastic debut novel that tackles loss and grief with wit and humor, making this a truly original new voice in fiction.


For 40 years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention — overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observatio­ns are the source code for his newest book, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.

Why we chose it: If you are looking for an absolute laugh-out-loud book to read while laying poolside, Sederis will not disappoint you. “TOUCH” BY COURTNEY MAUM Sloane Jacobsen is the most powerful trend- forecaster in the world ( she was the foreseer of the swipe). Global fashion, lifestyle and tech companies pay to

hear her opinions about the future. Soon, though, she concludes that the next trend will be a return to intimacy and interperso­nal, in-person interactio­n. Why we chose it: The book captures the midlife crisis of a woman at the top of her game, resulting in a perceptive, thought-provoking read.

"HE LIBRARIAN Cathy Royal, acquisitio­ns manager, Chattanoog­a Public Library. "CAMINO ISLAND” BY JOHN GRISHAM John Grisham has a passionate readership, grown over decades starting with his trademark l egal thrillers. This summer’s offering fits squarely into the suspense genre. “Camino Island” tells of stolen manuscript­s by F. Scott itz gerald, a Florida island bookstore owner how might or might not be involved with theft, and the unemployed university professor hired to get them back. Why I chose it: Grisham’s latest crime drama has suspense, killing and physical attraction in just the right amounts for an ideal beach book.

THE IDENTICALS ” ELIN HILDERBRAN­D Twin sisters Harper and Tabitha, divided by vorce in childhood and ocean strait as adults,

uneral.ekdivin d le val ry at their Theytheir dormant father’s decide heir swap own lives problems,to escape with unpredicta­bly precable results. Why I chose it: Hiller brand is known for stories centering on milies, and this novel nails the trials of sing relationsh­ips.


Not all time travel is science fiction — the best authors can take you to any time they want, like the South Philadelph­ia setting of Adriana Trigiani’s current release, “Kiss Carlo.” Post-World War II is the time of this Shakespear­e-flavored novel of two Italian families, an accidental romance and one man’s discovery of his life’s path. A romantic comedy skirting dangerousl­y and hilariousl­y close to farce frames this tale of family love and life.

Why I chose it: This novel is escapism at its finest, with characters who are believable and likable.


New to best- seller lists is actor and comedian Kevin Hart, who shares his life’s story in “I Can’t Make this Up: Life Lessons.” Beginning with his birth i nto a dysfunctio­nal family, through a failed first marriage and into a meteoric comedy career, Hart uses his experience­s to illuminate lessons he’s learned for a funny and thought-provoking read.

Why I chose it: Hart’s no stranger to success, with top- grossing action and comedy films in his resume. If you’d rather watch one of his movies than read his book, the library can help with that, too; several of his movies are part of its collection.


Kelly Flemings, community business developmen­t manager, Barnes & Noble Hamilton Place, suggests Young Adult fiction that adults will enjoy as well. “DUMPLIN’” BY JULIE MURPHY Willowdean Dixon is a 16- year- old self-proclaimed fat girl who doesn’t ask for or expect forgivenes­s for being fat – she’s completely comfortabl­e in her skin. While working at a local fastfood joint, she meets Bo, a private- school jock. She finds herself attracted to him – and discovers that the interest is reciprocat­ed. But instead of increasing her confidence, the new relationsh­ip makes Will start to doubt herself. To recover her confidence, she enters the Miss Clover City Beauty Pageant. She, along with other unlikely contestant­s, prove they deserve their place onstage. Why I chose it: Willowdean is an amazing character that you would love to know in real life. She is strong, self-assured and very self-aware without being self-conscious. “Dumplin’” had me smiling, tearing up and laughing out loud as I read Will’s observatio­ns on life, self-esteem, love and Dolly Parton.


This is an Urban Fantasy series with 16 books currently. Gin Blanco is smart, funny, strong, sexy — and an assassin. After her family was murdered when she was 13, she l ived on t he streets until she was taken in, trained as an assassin and became the Spider. When Fletcher Lane, her handler and father f i gure, is murdered, she vows revenge and uncovers a conspiracy that will lead her back to her parents’ killers.

Why I chose it: What sets Estep’s world apart is that Gin, and many other characters, are Elementals, with abilities to use stone, fire and ice. Fans of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series should definitely check this out.

It can be brutal at times, with some steamy scenes that definitely make this series for adults, but Estep has created a great multidimen­sional character with Gin Blanco.


This is Harry Potter meets Hunger Games. The citizens of Quill are put into categories: Wanted, Necessary and Unwanted. The latter are those who show creativity and imaginatio­n. Alex finds himself listed as Unwanted and sentenced to eliminatio­n on the “death farm.” Alex leaves behind his twin brother, Aaron, a Wanted, with great difficulty.

With his fellow Unwanteds, Alex discovers Artime, where all of their creative talents become magical abilities. After a threat to Artime rallies Alex and his friends, he finds himself pitted against his twin brother in an ultimate magical battle.

Why I chose it: Although written for middle-graders, McMann’s superb storytelli­ng has created an outstandin­g book that appeals to everyone. “The Unwanteds” is not just a well-written novel, it is also about common issues that everyone deals with: responsibi­lity, love, loss and finding your place in the world.


Verity is a city divided over power and survival. It is a place where human sins, like murder, create actual monsters that prey on the lives of its citizens. August Flynn, a young man who wants to protect the innocent like his father, and Kate Harker, a young woman who wants to be as ruthless as her power-mad father, must find out what it means to be human, and what it means to be a monster, before the city falls.

Why I chose it: Schwab’s writing is beautiful, efficient and gripping. Fastpaced yet still deeply styled and crafted, it is thrilling and unpredicta­ble.

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