Midtown Reader’s Summer Reading Picks

By Abby Cloud | Photo: Patrick Tomasso

Book lovers, rejoice! We have some new recommendations from Tallahassee’s very own independent bookstore, Midtown Reader, for what should be up next on your reading list. With the help of bookseller Whitney Gilchrist and Midtown Reader owner Sally Bradshaw, The Tally Wire has created a diverse list of what books are for Tallahassee readers. Here it is.

The Nickel Boys,” Historical FictionColson Whitehead, a New York Times best-selling author, seeks to tell the story of Elwood Curtis, a black high school senior aware of the fragility of his actions in a “Jim Crow South.” Elwood is sentenced to the Nickel Academy, a juvenile reformatory school, and endures a “vicious environment” that tests the ideals preached by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom Elwood admires greatly. Whitehead’s novel begins in Frenchtown, a section of Tallahassee, and concerns the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida, and the impact it leaves on those who suffered through its horrific history.

A Woman of No Importance,” Non FictionAccording to Gilchrist, this particular nonfiction piece has been well-anticipated by Midtown Reader’s customers. Sonia Purnell’s book tells the story of Virginia Hall, an American spy “who changed the course of World War II.”  Purnell captures Virginia’s “persistence” and “heroism” that played a crucial role in creating a spy network throughout France. 

Trust Exercise,” FictionIn her fifth novel, Susan Choi writes about a competitive performing arts high school within an American suburb in the 1980s where students David and Sarah fall in love. In this school, students maintain a barrier between the “outside world” and the walls of the school, but a “shocking spiral of events” leads to a shift in time and remarkable twists about the fates of David, Sarah, and their friends.

The New Girl,” Fiction —  Highly recommended by Bradshaw, Daniel Silva’s latest mystery and thriller is a “page-turning tale of entertainment.” After the revered-turned-despised prince of Saudi Arabia’s daughter is kidnapped, he turns to Gabriel Allon, “the legendary chief of Israeli intelligence.” With more at risk than just his daughter’s life, these two unlikely allies balance the outcomes of what their partnership risks for one another. 

Furious Hours,” Non FictionIn this New York Times bestseller, written by Casey Cep,  you are able to navigate the flawed deep south and catch a glimpse of Harper Lee, “one of the country’s most beloved writers.” Harper Lee attended the trial of Reverend Willie Maxwella preacher accused of murdering his family for insurance moneywho wound up escaping any convictions until being shot dead at the funeral of his last victim. Thanks to Cep, Harper’s years of reporting and revisioning the case have not gone unnoticed in this “true-crime thriller,” courtroom drama, and miniature biography.

The Summer Guests,” FictionMary Alice Monroe’s latest book narrates the story of a group of evacuees that take shelter in North Carolina from an incoming hurricane on Florida’s coast. As this “eclectic group” spends time together, they realize the issues within themselves and the group are in dire need of resolution as they spend weeks in the mountains. A story concerning “human nature” and the”natural world,” Monroe’s storytelling ability ensures that her summertime fiction is appropriate year round. 

Family of Origin,” FictionAn alumni from Florida State University, CJ Hauser’s newest book touches on the ideas of “nature and nurture…progress and forgiveness” as she writes about the Grey family. Nolan Grey learns of his father’s sudden death and decides to reach out to his half sister, Elsa, whom he hasn’t contacted in years. Under the circumstances, the two half-siblings use the time to discuss their differences, but are concerned when the island starts to come between them again.

Get Up, Please,” PoetryThis poetry collection is David Kirby’s, a Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University, most recent publication. In these poems, Kirby discusses the human condition by bringing forward the commonalities of our daily lives in a contrastingly “darker” manner than his previous works. Kirby brings forward ordinary life with a new perspective for his readers. 

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