Summer book recommendations with Antoinette Kuritz

Sunny summer days are here, and what better way to spend them than relaxing in the shade – or at the beach – with a good book!

Ginger Jeffries sat down in studio with Antoinette Kuritz, Founder of La Jolla Writer’s Conference, to talk about the best books to read this summer.

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner
Local author Susan Meissner’s As Bright As Heaven is a great choice for your summer book group choice or to just read on your own. Often highlighting historical events and moments in her fiction, In As Bright As Heaven Susan begins her story as WWI is coming to a close. The Bright family leaves their small town life behind when they are offered a new start in Philadelphia, wanting a better life for themselves and their family. But soon after their arrival, the Spanish flu pandemic begins – and because they have taken over a relative’s undertaking business, they are overwhelmed by its effect. Told from the perspectives of the mother and her three daughters, As Bright As Heaven is about the strength and resilience necessary to hold a family together in the worst of times, and how sometimes the brightest light emerges on the darkest of days. Beautifully written, this is a book to enjoy on your own, in your book group, or with your older children.

And I Darken by Kiersten White
And I Darken by Kiersten White is the first book in a three-book series for adolescents sixth through ninth grade. Set in the Ottoman Empire, it is the story of the survival of a brother and sister. The sister is fierce – a warrior by nature, while her brother is at first meek – clever and resourceful, but someone who avoids conflict. Their mother is weak, and when their father abandons them, they are forced to use their wits to make a new life for themselves. Set in Transylvania, this is a story that will engage both boys and girls. And with three books in the series, it will help fill those lazy summer days. Like Katniss from the Hunger Games, Lada is a character who will both inspire and amaze, and like The Hunger Games, this is a series parents will enjoy as much as their kids, providing a wonderful excuse to start your own family book club.

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
Questions about money, privilege, entitlement, and how far we might go to protect our children are at the heart of Emily Giffin’s compelling new novel, All We Ever Wanted. A member of Nashville’s elite, Nina’s only son has just been accepted to Princeton. The child of a middle class single father, Lyla is a scholarship student at the same high school as Nina’s son. When Nina’s son circulates a photo of Lyla passed out on the floor at a party – with a disturbing caption – the futures of both teens are in jeopardy. When Nina tries to make things right for Lyla and her father, she begins to see the problems in her own family. Compelling and relevant, All We Ever Wanted is a book you won’t want to put down – a perfect summer read.

Turtle Summer by Mary Alice Monroe
Written for children grades K – 3, Turtle Summer by Mary Alice Monroe is a delightful foray into the parent and child relationship and a wonderful way of educating children about and endangered species, sea turtles. Vetted for accuracy, this book is a wonderful resource for studying and identifying life on the coast – and for elementary school educators looking for something to add to their repertoire this fall, this is a great book to check out. For those of us in San Diego, we can use this book to start a discussion with our kids about the differences – and similarities – between the coasts on the southwest and the southeast. And the For Creative Minds section at the back of the book will give parents lots of ideas for activities with kids. Just a wonderful book for parents and kids to share!

Hired to Kill by Andrew Peterson
In Hired to Kill, the seventh book in Andrew Peterson’s Nathan McBride series– a series I just love – simultaneous terror attacks on both Washington, DC and San Diego are not random events. They target Nathan’s family. And a third attack is imminent. With the US Border Patrol and the CIA supporting his mission, Nathan sets out to stop the terrorists, knowing he must take the leader alive. Whether he can do so without sacrificing his own life is the question. What I – and most of you will love – about this series is that Nathan, while incredibly capable, is a reluctant hero. He has been through the mill on behalf of his government, and yet, when called upon, he steps up, regardless of danger, going into situations where traditional enforcement is not possible. At the end of each book in this series, I find myself cheering Nathan on. He is one of those characters so fully drawn you can believe he really lives among us. This is a great read for guys, but women will love these books, too. And with seven books already in the series, you can fill the whole summer.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable
There is possibly no more famous family in the United States than the Kennedy Clan. And with all the media coverage they have received throughout the years, we Americans think we know all about them. But Michelle Gable’s new novel, The Summer I Met Jack, just might make us rethink that. Based on real events, The Summer I Met Jack is the story of Alicia Corning Clark, nee Darr, a Polish refugee who becomes a maid in Hyannisport and meets the young congressman, Jack Kennedy, by chance. The two fall in love, but his family’s ambitions for Jack donot include someone like Alicia – and they are forced to part ways. And the question remains about whether or not there was a child. Brilliant at weaving true stories into novels, to write The Summer I Met Jack Michelle Gable read nearly 200 books while researching the story. And once again, this talented author provides readers with a premise – and a story – that will leave them pondering, and perhaps doing a bit of research of their own.

Antoinette Kuritz is a literary publicist, book project manager, the founder of the La Jolla Writers Conference, and the host of Writer’s Roundtable Radio Show.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego