Summer books: We’re making our hot list
By Mary Rogers
So here we are, beginning June in a world upended by the coronavirus pandemic. After weeks of lockdown, we long for escape. Even in normal times, we’ve turned to the most current and talked-about “beach read” to carry us away for the summer.
But finding a great read for the beach or the porch is sometimes like finding true love. We may need a matchmaker.
Here are a few titles that publishers hope will deliver everything a reader wants. I’ve also asked two Fort Worth women, a museum director and an entrepreneur, to share their reading plans for summer.
Our neighbors’ nightstands Marla Price, the director of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, is a dedicated and avid reader. I love to talk with Marla about books; she is always looking forward to cracking the cover on something new. Better yet, she has always just finished something she can recommend.
She is excited about Hamnet, by award-winning British author Maggie O’Farrell. It has a July 21 release date for the U.S., but those across the pond have already devoured this bit of historical fiction inspired by Shakespeare’s son. “Everyone raves, raves, raves about this book. It may be the book of the year,” says Price. She sold me. I’ve pre-ordered this one.
For years, Julie Hatch Fairley was a familiar name locally in public relations. Today, she runs JuJu Knits, a Fort Worth yarn store located in the hospital district; JuJu is the nickname given to Julie by her niece.
Fairley is big on following the sometimes-bumpy road that leads to your dream. She has been featured in our sister publication, 360 West, and maybe you read about her vision and her shop in The Washington Post in May.
Among her mantras are to be kind to yourself, and listen to your heart and follow its advice.
“I don’t know if it’s the coronavirus or what, but right now I can’t read anything too serious,” she says. That means letting new books wait. Her want-to-read list of just-published works includes The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd, about a young woman who marries Jesus and whose adopted brother is Judas.
“I will get to it, but right now I need something sweet,” says Fairley. So, she’s revisiting a familiar 10-book series by Debbie Macomber, one of the gentlest writers working. The series revolves around a yarn shop in Seattle, and the dream it represents for its owner. “Through the summer, I’ll be reading The Shop on Blossom Street from beginning to end.” She says these books were once a North Star for her. “I want to remind myself what I wanted to create … what I wanted JuJu Knits to be.”