The Ease of Summer Reading


Summer is the time to slip into something more comfortable — and one of these books might be your equivalent of sneakers and a sunhat.

“Daisy Jones and The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you glance at the cover of “Daisy Jones and the Six,” you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d spied Stevie Nicks. This undoubtedly intentional homage matches the story inside, one that will remind you of not only Fleetwood Mac but VH-1’s Behind the Music series and other rock music documentaries. Its cinematic appeal is likely why Reese Witherspoon is co-producing a series based on the book for Amazon. Our titular character, Daisy, is a wild child on the late ’70s Sunset Strip. The Six are a band of friends (and two brothers) from Pennsylvania who hit it big. When the record industry moneymakers team them up, you can expect a full plot of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Reid uses the oral history method of storytelling that’s also familiar to those who read Rolling Stone or other music history books like “Please Kill Me,” and this style adds to the speediness of the read. Listen along to the Spotify playlist to put yourself in the mood.

“The Body Lies” by Jo Baker

A totally different setting, mood and genre can be found in Jo Baker’s “The Body Lies.” Our narrator, whose name is not given, relocates to a remote English university for a faculty job with her young son and with her husband planning to join them after he wraps up his affairs. She has six students in her graduate program, all from different walks of life and concentrating on different types of writing. When one of them, the mysterious but handsome Nicholas, assaults her, then disappears, this affects not only her but the students and her fellow faculty who have their own theories as to what happened. Much like Daisy Jones, it might be a bit predictable, but the journey is a suspenseful one that will appeal to the psychological thriller crowd. Also like Daisy Jones, which uses the song lyrics to move the plot along, snippets of the students writing and various academic reports are included to advance the plot, or to throw in a red herring or two.

“The Binding” by Bridget Collins

For those of you who might have spent your summers poring over Harry Potter, Bridget Collins’ beautiful standalone fantasy novel “The Binding” is one to spend some time with. Emmett is called by the local bookbinder to be an apprentice. But bookbinding has a different meaning here. “Books” are bound by having a binder extract your memories and bind them into a book. This way, the haunting memories leave you, and are locked up safe. Sometimes people sell their books on the black market for money, though, or books fall into unscrupulous hands who sell them to those with prurient interests. What Emmett discovers is that there is a book with his name on it. What is in that book is then told to us in flashback. Again, you’re likely to guess the incident in Emmett’s book before it is fully revealed, but Emmett’s resolution will keep you guessing until the last page.

Jamie L. Watson is a collection development manager with Baltimore County Public Library.

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