Our State's Summer Reading List presented by Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Our fourth Summer Reading List of the year comes from Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh. Scroll down to see what their staff recommends for a great summer read.

Fiction

From Nancy

Little Green by Walter MosleyLittle Green by Walter Mosley
I loved Walter Mosley’s new Easy Rawlins mystery — Little Green. Easy’s life is in his friends’ hands, and after a two month recovery from an automobile wreck (no accident), Easy is asked to help people in trouble. Easy’s friends are fascinating — one (Mouse) is a cold-blooded killer with a big heart (except toward his victims) who will do anything to help his friends.

From Sarah

The All of It by Jeannette HaienThe All of It by Jeannette Haien
Haien has produced a small gem about fishing, love, lies, and morality, set in a small Irish village. A book to savor, reread, share, and discuss.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel JoyceThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
When very shy, retired Harold receives a letter from Queenie, a former colleague he hasn’t seen in 20 years, who is dying of cancer, he sets off to walk the 600 miles to see her and ends up on an extraordinary journey.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled HosseiniAnd the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
This rich and engrossing story starts with a poor family in rural Afghanistan in 1952 and branches out into interconnecting lives in Kabul, Paris, Greece, and California before coming back home again. Hosseini’s writing craft and storytelling have only gotten better since his previous two novels (The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns). The characters’ choices and influence on each others lives, as well as the effect on them of world events, is profoundly moving.

From Tony

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben FountainBilly Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
Climb inside the head of young Billy Lynn as he and his squad of Iraq War heroes go down the rabbit hole of American popular culture in this satiric yet heartfelt coming of age story.

From Samantha

The Firebird by Susanna KearsleyThe Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
Nicola possesses the gift of psychometry: divining facts about an object through touch. Reluctantly, she embraces her ability in order to help authenticate a wood carving thought to have belonged to Empress Catherine of Russia. Kearsley credibly moves to and from the 21st and 18th centuries to unravel the mystery of the Firebird and to tell the stories of two fascinating young women. I was particularly moved by her development of the historically based 18th century characters. This intriguing novel of historical fiction, romance, and parapsychology was impossible to put down.

From Rene

City of Women by David GillhamCity of Women by David Gillham
“You avert your eyes enough times, and finally you go blind. You don’t actually see anything any longer.” Sigrid is forced to look outside of the walls she has put up around herself and must make decisions about what is right, what is wrong, and where she will stand. This debut novel is a thriller, a love story, a story of courage and the many unknown heroes who made life and death decisions in the face of the horror that was Berlin in 1943. Gillham’s language is stunning and his characters are real, with all their flaws and all their bravery. This is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time.

Nonfiction

From Sarah

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David SedarisLet’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
This is classic David Sedaris, our modern day, quirkier Mark Twain, not afraid to take on any subject, regardless of whom it offends or how personally embarrassing it may be, from the pleasures of a colonoscopy to the childraising errors made by today’s parents. As usual, my favorites are the stories of David’s family (Memory Laps is worth the price of the book and then some) which are simultaneously hysterically funny and painfully true (emotionally, if not factually!). David Sedaris is a national treasure (tell his dad if you see him).
Cooked by Michael PollanCooked by Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan is a master at examining American culture, history, politics, and, especially, science, through our food. In Cooked he takes the four elemental cooking methods and explores all of the above. He starts with Fire and a trip to Ayden, North Carolina to learn from the pit master at the Skylight Inn, then accompanies Ed Mitchell (the first pit master at Raleigh’s the Pit) on road trips to Wilson and Manhattan. Equally fascinating are his investigations into Water (braising), Air (in search of the perfect loaf of bread), and Earth (fermentation). Reading a book by Michael Pollan is always informative, thought provoking, and lots of fun.

From Helen

The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 by Rick AtkinsonThe Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 by Rick Atkinson
This long awaited third volume of Atkinson’s World War II trilogy is full of memorable scenes, from Eisenhower standing on a rooftop watching the ships launch across the channel on the morning of D-Day, to wounded soldiers, unable to move, drowning on the beaches when the tide came in, to Roosevelt, thin and gray at Yalta, trying to craft a peace for the future. Vivid portraits of generals emerge — Eisenhower, Montgomery, Patton, Bradley, and more. But the heart of this book are letters soldiers wrote home. A monumental history book.

Childrens

Look Up! Bird-watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc CateLook Up! Bird-watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate
Written with humor and intelligence, this picturebook is bursting with details and surprises about our feathered friends. Colorful illustrations are full of personality. Wonderfully engaging for kids 5 and up.
The Dark by Lemony SnicketThe Dark by Lemony Snicket
Afraid of the dark? It comes alive here and has the perfect solution for a little boy. Expressive, understated illustrations by a master, Jon Klassen, complete the picture. This is a gem for ages 4-7.
Poems to Learn by Heart by Caroline KennedyPoems to Learn by Heart collected by Caroline Kennedy
A most beautiful collection enhanced by the breath-taking watercolor illustrations of Jon Muth. A volume to be enjoyed by the whole family.

Quail Ridge Books & MusicQuail Ridge Books & Music is an independent shop with a friendly, knowledgeable staff dedicated to providing the best in customer service. Founded in 1984 by Nancy Olson, the store provides a wide variety of carefully selected books, events, discussion groups, and town hall meetings. Our staff reads voraciously, and we hope you enjoy some of our recommendations for good summer reading, which we believe is any really good book you haven’t had the time to read yet.

Quail Ridge Books & Music
3522 Wade Avenue
Raleigh, N.C. 27607
(919) 828-1588

About Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Great Smoky Mountains RailroadSit back, relax, and let us do the driving! Hop on board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad and adventure through a remote corner of western North Carolina into river gorges, across fertile valleys and through carved tunnels. In the spring the mountains bloom with extravagant color and wildlife lasting throughout the summer. As the season fades into fall a dramatic display of fiery sugar maples, buttery poplars and crimson oak begin taking center stage. As the mountains burst with color the cool crisp winter air ushers in the quiet and calm season of restoration, all in preparation of the cycle of beauty to begin again! The Smokies are a great place to be, and the best way to see it is by train!

Choose from a variety of excursions; including a Raft & Rail or Zip & Rail combinations, BBQ & BREWS Dinner Train, or one of our Premier Special Events like the DINOSAUR TRAIN™ coming this July! Travel in comfort and style with our First Class service on a vintage restored dinning car! First Class passengers receive a delicious lunch served by the car’s private attendant, a souvenir tumbler with unlimited fountain sodas and a GSMR embroidered gift tote bag. Ride in the Open Air Gondolas and take it all in as you breathe the fresh mountain air!

It’s time to ride the rails, and we are saving you a seat! All Aboard!

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
226 Everett Street
Bryson City, N.C. 28713
(800) 872-4681

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Bonney is the marketing manager at Our State. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University and an active member in the Junior League of Greensboro.

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