Our State's Summer Reading List

From Gwenyfar Rohle at Old Books on Front St. in Wilmington comes a summer reading list that includes old favorites and must-reads to help you fill the summer. Old Books on Front St. is Wilmington’s iconic recycled bookstore and with her list, Rohle provides a reminder that sometimes re-reading our favorite books is a wonderful way to spend the time. Read more about Old Books on Front St. in this recent Our State story.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card
This is his definitive book for good reason. Though it primarily takes place in space, Greensboro has a cameo role that Tarheels will appreciate. This is not your typical sci-fi novel, and Card uses the genre as a tool to tell a story that speaks across the human experience.
Roots by Alex HaleyRoots by Alex Haley
A fascinating saga of several generations of African-Americans beginning with a young man captured in Gambia and brought through the middle passage. Significant sections of the book are set in North Carolina, specifically Alamance County. In the 1970’s, this book and the TV mini-series captured America’s attention and imagination. It is a book worth revisiting.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya AngelouI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Dr. Angelou is a distinguished professor at Wake Forest University. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the first volume among Angelou’s memoirs, and it is a tremendous coming-of-age story told with bravery and honesty. Her remarkable use of language and penetrating analysis of the realities of life surprise and startle many people and resonating with others.
Doctors' Wives by Frank Slaughter, MDDoctors’ Wives by Frank G. Slaughter, MD
Slaughter grew up near Oxford, N.C. He wrote about medicine from the vantage point of the front waiting room and the back office. His work frequently introduced readers to new procedures and opportunities in medicine. Doctors’ Wives is a wonderfully trashy summer read about bored wives. It was made into a movie staring Gene Hackman in the 1970’s.
Walking Across Egypt by Clyde EdgertonWalking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton
Edgerton has a sense for writing comedy that can cause abdominal pain from laughing too hard. Walking Across Egypt, one of Edgerton’s earlier novels, remains one of my favorite coming-of-age novels that also speaks to the important roles of our elders and the power of relationships between different generations.
Like Normal People by Karen Bender All the Money in the World by Robert SiegelLike Normal People by Karen Bender
All the Money in the World by Robert Siegel
These two coming-of-age novels make excellent companion reads. Karen Bender and Robert Siegel remain one of my favorite writing couples. It is fascinating to see two such talented people work in the same genre. Bender’s three generations of women search for independence and fulfillment in spite of, and sometimes because of, their responsibilities. Siegel’s more autobiographical story takes the reader through the life of a privileged New York City adolescent and his nearly utopian escape to Harvard.
The Film Junkie's Guide to North CarolinaThe Film Junkie’s Guide to North Carolina by Connie Nelson and Floyd Harris
With the upswing in our film industry, it might be fun to spend a weekend touring filming locations across our state. Nelson and Harris have assembled a vast trove of information.
North Carolina in the American RevolutionNorth Carolina in the American Revolution by Hugh F. Rankin
A slim but illumining book about our state’s role in the events leading up to the Revolutionary War and the War itself. With all the emphasis upon “The War Between the States” in North Carolina, our state’s contributions to the Revolutionary War can be overlooked. Rankin writes in a clear, accessible manner about events that can be hard to untangle. A good read before visiting the Burgwin-Wright House (Cornwallis’s headquarters), Moores Creek, or Tryon Palace.

About Old Books on Front St.

Old Books on Front St. in Wilmington, North CarolinaOld Books on Front St. is Wilmington’s iconic family-owned bookstore, connecting good books with good people since 1982. With over 2 miles of books, we must be seen to be believed! Read about Old Books on Front St. in this recent story from Our State magazine.

About Asheville School

Our State‘s summer reading list is proudly presented by Asheville School. Since its founding more than a century ago, Asheville School has been preparing high school students with an education for a lifetime. An academic experience for students in grades 9 through 12 focuses on a traditional core curriculum, and challenges young men and women, while giving them the foundation to become better thinkers and communicators. As one of the nation’s leading co-ed college preparatory boarding schools, Asheville School teaches students respect and responsibility to others and one’s self. The 275 students represent 24 states and 13 countries, and learn in a nurturing, close-knit community set on a campus of 300 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, N.C. Recent graduates are attending Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Caltech, UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson, Duke, University of Virginia, Furman, Emory, NC State, and Wake Forest, among others. For more information, visit ashevilleschool.org, call (828) 254-6345, or email admission@ashevilleschool.org.

Want email notification of new Summer Reading Lists?

Simply enter your email to subscribe to any of Our State‘s email newsletters, including our Summer Reading Lists. If you currently already receive emails from Our State, upon entering your email address below below, you will receive a secure message allowing you edit your profile and change or add newsletters you’d like to receive.

Enter your email address to sign up for Our State Emails!

This story was published on

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.

×