Kick up your feet and pick up a book: DC-area booksellers’ recommendations for the summer

Whether you’re catching a long flight or kicking up your feet on a beach this summer, there’s nothing better than doing it with a good book.

If you’re looking for new reads this season, look no further! Here’s what D.C.-area booksellers are recommending:

Thrillers, lovers and more

Morgan Harding, events manager at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Chevy Chase, Maryland, recommends “While Justice Sleeps,” a thriller by former Georgia Rep. Stacey Abrams, who is now based in the District.

Morgan Harding, events manager at the Politics and Prose bookstore recommends “While Justice Sleeps,” a thriller by former Georgia Rep. Stacey Abrams. (WTOP/Ciara Wells)

“Avery, the main character, is a clerk for a Supreme Court Justice and suddenly he’s in a coma, but she’s his beneficiary and is the only one who can call the shots when it comes to his medical prognosis, his fortune … and of course, things go awry,” Harding said. “It’s also pretty fun for us who live in D.C. because there’s a lot of D.C. scenery discussed in the book as well. When (Abrams) isn’t running for office, she’s writing novels.”

Harding also recommends “Seven Days in June” by Tia Williams, a second chance romance between two authors, one — a single mother suffering from an unknown medical issue and the other — a brooding, long-lost lover from her past.

“I feel like you have to read romance in the summer, at least one book,” she said. “I think it’s the perfect genre for the summer because it just kind of mimics what’s going on — it’s warm outside, you’re meeting people, you’re going out more, mingling.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re jet-setting or mouse-wielding this summer, because you’re sure to enjoy “The Guest,” a new burgeoning adult fiction by Emma Cline.

The book is about a young woman who gets kicked out of her rich, older lover’s Long Island beach house after embarrassing him at a party and follows her as she wanders from “home to beach to car during one week in summer,” manipulating her way into other people’s homes.

Keith Vient, manager of the adult floor recommends “The Guest,” a new burgeoning adult fiction by Emma Cline. (WTOP/Ciara Wells)

“It’s propulsive, enthralling, seductive,” said Keith Vient, adult floor manager of Politics and Prose. “It’s a different read than you might typically read on the beach, but it goes great with that beach town setting.”

He also recommends “Chain Gang All Stars” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, a dystopian fiction that pulls notes from “The Hunger Games” and “Gladiator,” with added social commentary on the prison industrial complex.

“It’s very violent, a lot of action, but it ends with a lot of heart. You really come to love these characters, who are murderers, but they’re fighting for their lives,” Vient said. “It’s a futuristic society but it’s not too far off from where we currently are.”

Wendy Wasserman, the bookstore’s director of marketing, says she’s really into historical and cultural fiction. If that sounds up your alley, she recommends “Did You Hear About Kitty Karr” by Crystal Smith Paul.

The book takes place in the golden age of Hollywood and follows movie star Kitty Karr’s ascent to fame while hiding a big secret — she’s a Black woman passing as white, and has “to choose between her culture, home, family and career.”

For the intellectual reader

If you’re looking to get into more intellectual reading, especially something that will keep you mentally stimulated on even the hottest of days, Anton Bogomazov, chief adult buyer at Politics and Prose, recommends “Shakespeare Was A Woman And Other Heresies” by D.C. author Elizabeth Winkler.

Anton Bogomazov, chief adult buyer at P&P, recommends “Shakespeare Was A Woman And Other Heresies” by Elizabeth Winkler. (WTOP/Ciara Wells)

Bogomazov said it’s perfect for a longer flight if you’re planning a getaway and if you’re interested in debates within the literary and theater world. The audacious nonfiction examines why questioning who might be behind some of the world’s greatest plays can be seen as taboo in literary discussions.

“It’s a great nonfiction read, even if you’re not a nonfiction reader,” he said. “It’s not so much that she has any particular theory that you should agree on, but she does try to break this silence about Shakespeare’s identity in current Shakespearean field of study. There’s a lot of fascinating information in it.”

For younger audiences

If you’re looking to keep the younger ones occupied, though, Leah Meadvin, assistant manager of the children’s and teens’ department recommends “Pardalita” by Joana Estrela. It’s a slice-of-life graphic novel translated from Portuguese about a young girl’s messy life.

“I can picture myself just laying out in Rock Creek Park and getting lost reading this,” Meadvin said. “I feel that there are so many opportunities for crossover and while they are marketed for teens, I feel that (adults) get something out of it in every kind of read.”

Meadvin also recommends “Kings of B’More” by Baltimore native R. Eric Thomas. The book pulls notes from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” depicting two best friends who have their last hurrah before one moves away before their junior year of high school.

“They have this epic day,” she said. “They do end up in D.C., so while reading it, you’re going to spot some places you’ll recognize. It was so delightful and fun, and such a beautiful story. I can’t speak any higher of it.”

Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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