Summer’s here and the time is right for reading on the beach. But, what to read? To find out, we checked in with our local book experts, the librarians in our communities.

Elizabeth Meszaros-Bardoczi
Dunwoody Branch Library

Educated: A Memoir
by Tara Westover

This biography shows how one woman, Tara Westover, who comes from a humble background, decides to educate herself in order to leave her home in Idaho and to become the person she is today. She becomes a student of prestigious universities, dedicates herself to education and transforms her life. This inspiring story teaches us that no matter how bad or insignificant one’s circumstances can be, we can overcome them by educating ourselves, not giving up, and keep going forward.

Sunset Beach
by Mary Kay Andrews

We are all ready for a summer vacation to the beach and sunshine. The book’s setting takes place in Belle Isle, North Carolina, and the story focuses on Riley Griggs, who gets more than she expects on her vacation, and not always happy memories. This novel has surprises and secrets, and the mystery deepens as you read on.

The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library
by Edward Wilson-Lee

This non-fiction book tells the story of Hernando Colon, the son of Christopher Columbus, who has traveled with his father on his final voyage to the New World. The journey ended in disaster and shipwreck. After his father’s death, Hernando continued his father’s vision and he wants to build a library that would collect everything that was ever printed, a library of universal knowledge held all in one place. The book contains a lot of interesting information about Hernando’s quest and his life; booklovers will enjoy the insights and perspectives of the 16th century information revolution.

Madigan Mirza
Sandy Springs Branch Library

The Star-Touched Queen
by Roshani Chokshi

Lush, beautiful prose makes this Indian retelling of the Persephone tale a treat. After Maya’s father, the Raja of Bharata, makes a politically convenient arranged marriage for her, she runs away with her new husband Amar to the land of Akaran. She soon realizes that being Akaran’s queen is no easy task, as it is a magical realm where fates of the living are decided and uneasy dead souls are put to rest.

Rogue Lawyer
by John Grisham

I just read this with one of our book clubs. Everyone loved it! It’s a fast-paced, noir thriller with a hyper-masculine hero. Sebastian Rudd is a hard-drinking, rebellious lawyer who attempts to stay on the right side of the law… sort of. Mostly.

The Belles
by Dhonielle Clayton

Camellia Beauregard is a beautiful young woman in a decadent French-inspired court who has the magical ability to transform courtiers from gray and boring into dazzling beauties. There’s a slow build that all is not what it seems (of course!) leaving our protagonist to wonder if all the sacrifices she’s making for beauty are really worth it.

by Kwame Alexander

Seventeen-year-old Blade is the son of a rock ‘n’ roll legend and he’s used to being the responsible one, seeing his father in and out of rehab and dodging paparazzi. When he finds out that he’s actually adopted, it throws everything he thought he knew about himself and his family into question, so he goes to Ghana to find himself and get answers about where he came from. An amazing read!

Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff
by Myquillyn Smith

This book may be helpful for moderate minimalists, a.k.a., those who want sleeker looking homes but aren’t willing to completely KonMari it. Smith’s advice to ditch any decorative objects smaller than a pineapple and stick to a few larger statement pieces is quite sound. Seeing her household objects photographed in multiple different arrangements was inspiring as well.

Kate Whitman
Atlanta History Center

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee
by Casey Cep

Cep masterfully interweaves the true crime story of the Reverend Willie Maxwell, who was accused but never convicted of murdering five family members for insurance money; the trial of the man who murdered Maxell, bringing his crime spree to an end; and of Harper Lee’s fascination with the case. A riveting nonfiction that offers an intimate portrait of the great author and will leave readers feeling the loss that a true crime book from Lee never saw the light of day.

The Nickel Boys
by Colson Whitehead

Whitehead, author of “The Underground Railroad,” has done it again with a devastating novel inspired by the real-life horrific events at Florida’s Dozier School for Boys. The book introduces us to Elwood Curtis, ready to enroll in a black college when a simple mistake lands him in a juvenile reformatory, the Nickel Academy. What follows is a hard look at the harsh realities of the Jim Crow South and the heartbreaking impact it has on the main characters in the story.

The Most Fun We Ever Had
by Claire Lombardo

This dazzling debut tells the story of the four adult daughters of Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson in 2016, a year of tumult and unrest for each of them that plays out over the course of the novel. While a 550-page book does not immediately scream “summer read,” this compulsive read will leave you wanting more and anxiously awaiting Lombardo’s sophomore effort.

Three Women
by Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo’s “Three Women” is a groundbreaking look at female sexuality explored through the lives of three women over the course of eight years. It is thought-provoking and heartbreaking and, in my opinion, a very important book, one I hope is widely read by men and women alike.

Heather Maddux
Youth Services Librarian, Dunwoody Branch Library

What is NASA?
by Sarah Fabiny

If you like the “Who Was…” series of biographies, you’ll love “What is NASA?” This book is filled with cool information about the United States’ space program. It is a perfect companion to the DeKalb County Library’s Universe of Stories Summer Reading Program!

Charlotte the Scientist finds the Cure
by Camille Andros

This book is not only STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) based, but empowering too! It tells the story of a young rabbit named Charlotte who solves a medical mystery when others doubt her.

Welcome to Wonderland #4: Beach Battle Blowout
by Chris Grabenstein

This funny novel by the author of the “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” series continues the story of P.T. and Gloria from “Welcome to Wonderland” with plenty of summery fun, contests, and secret weapons!

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.