3 books to add to your summer reading list

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Book jacket photos courtesy of Random House, JamesPatterson.com and DeliaOwens.com

Here are three books to consider adding to your summer reading list, reviewed by Cullman County Public Library Director Sharon Townson.

“Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

In the 70s Daisy Jones is a well-known party girl on the Sunset Strip club scene. She is a songwriter and singer, beginning to get noticed for her talent that is being overshadowed by her beauty and untamable persona.  

The Six is an up and coming band of longtime friends led by Billy Dunne.  Daisy and Billy have an instant connection when producers put the two together to perform.  Billy is committed to his soulmate Camila, making many tough choices to do right by her and their children.  Daisy and Billy share similar struggles in the rock-and-roll world.

How hard is it to stay true to yourself when fame takes a hold of your life?

Good read that will take you back to the 70s, full of adventures and misadventures.  

“The First Lady” by James Patterson

We live in times when secrets are hard to keep, especially for those in the public eye. Those in power often feel immune to the disastrous repercussions of missteps in their private lives, but even a U.S. president can find that secrets become the stuff of nightmares when the press brings them to light. This is the setup for James Patterson’s timely novel.

President Tucker’s affair is outed by multiple outlets in the ever-vigilant media covering his re-election campaign; they catch him leaving a venue with a woman who is clearly his mistress. Tucker and his staff begin damage control only to find that the First Lady is not available to talk to the President or any of his people. Clearly, she’s angry and seeking to avoid being pulled into any coverup the President plans to put into place.

Sally Grissom, leader of the Presidential Protection Detail, is tasked with bringing the humiliated First Lady back to the White House before the press realizes she’s gone. But then the unthinkable happens, the Secret Service loses contact with the angry First Lady. It is no longer clear if she’s hiding out while the media storm rages or if she’s missing and in danger. The suspense ratchets up when a ransom note arrives with what could be the First Lady’s finger.

Patterson’s novel begins with a captivating premise, adds excitement through a couple of unexpected misdirections, then it’s pulled back together for an ending you probably won’t see coming.

“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

This book begins with a death and flashes back to give context to the events that led up to this death, raising the question: was it an accident or murder. Told in shifting sequences, “Where the Crawdads Sing” centers on Catherine “Kya” Clark, who becomes the prime suspect.

Abandoned by her mother and her siblings from age 6, Kya grows up cut off from the people in Barkley Cove, with only her father for companionship. As time passes, Pa spends more and more time away from the shack in the swamp where they live. When Kya is about 10, Pa disappears from the swamp and her life.  She learns to be self-sufficient, to love and understand the wildlife surrounding her in the marshes that both protect and isolate her.  Through necessity, Kya becomes self-sufficient, living on the land and trading with Jumpin’, an African American man who befriends her, for fuel for her skiff.  Others from the village see her as trash and call her “the Marsh Girl,” but when Kya is 14, Tate, one of the older local boys, reaches out to her and teaches her to read, even giving her his old textbooks. She and Tate fall in love, but Kya becomes disenchanted when he leaves for college and fails to keep in touch. This leaves her vulnerable to another local young man, Chase, who is found dead as the book opens.

Kya’s love and understanding of nature form one of the strongest storylines in the book. Although Kya continues to live a reclusive life, Tate reaches out to her and persuades her to submit her research to a publisher. A desire to connect with others leads to poor choices in her relationships, which sets the stage for the whispers of murder when Chase, the local golden boy, is found dead. There is a trial, reconciliation with Tate and one of her brothers, and continued recognition for her career as a naturalist. And then there is a twist at the end.

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