Summer readin’: South Lake Tahoe Library staff picks top books for the season |

Summer readin’: South Lake Tahoe Library staff picks top books for the season

Autumn Whitney
Rear view of woman reading outdoors in wooden chair
Getty Images | OJO Images RF

There’s nothing quite like lying out on the beach under the sun or lounging in a hammock in the shade of a tree with a good book in hand. Summer officially began on Tuesday, June 20, and with it came the ideal setup for getting lost in a story.

Depending on your tastes, the South Lake Tahoe Library has something waiting for you on its shelves. Consider one of the following recommendations, submitted by the library staff, when choosing your seasonal reading material.

Classic Mysteries

For those a little more sensitive to suspense, summer is the perfect time to curl up with a tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat — the longer days won’t have you shirking away from the shadows.

“Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie — A true classic from the master of mystery herself. Follow detective Hercule Poirot has he searches for a killer aboard one of the most luxurious passenger trains in the entire world. Bonus: The fourth motion picture adaptation of the story makes its way into theaters in November later this year.

“The Thin Man” by Dashiell Hammett — This 1933 novel centers on rich and glamorous couple Nick and Nora Charles, who solve homicides. Witty and romantic, Hammett’s story is both a murder mystery and commentary on social class.

“The Postman Always Rings Twice” by James M. Cain — An iconic mystery about a woman conspiring with her lover to murder her current husband. Romance, drama… what more is needed?

New Mysteries and Fiction

For the classic mystery connoisseurs who have already dove deep into the ‘30s catalog, it’s time to expand your tastes with some fresher stories that draw find inspiration in your favorites.

“The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn — In this historical novel, a female spy who was part of France’s Alice Network during World War I and an American socialite come together in a search for courage and redemption.

“Defectors” by Joseph Kanon — CIA member Frank Weeks was exposed as a Communist spy in 1949 and escapes to Moscow. Over a decade later, he writes a memoir and asks his brother, Simon (a publisher), to edit the manuscript. When Simon arrives in Moscow, he discovers that Frank is a man of two personalities and gets caught in a grander scheme.

“Party Girls Die in Pearls” by Plum Sykes — In 1985, Ursula Flowerbutton is ready for her first term at Oxford University. But something unexpected happens. After discovering a classmate with her throat cut, Flowerbutton gets wrapped up in a murder investigation she never saw coming.


If you’re looking for your next summer hike, gardening project, or just want to learn more about the world around you, this is your section.

“Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California” by Tracy Salcedo-Chourre — This book covers a variety of waterfall hikes found in Northern California. Considering the record-breaking winter the region experienced this year, the falls will be roaring — making it a great time to check out some iconic landmarks.

“Theft by Finding; Diaries (1977-2002)” by David Sedaris — For four decades, Sedaris recorded every attention-grabbing aside he heard and wrote it in a diary. In the first of two volumes, Sedaris provides commentary on some of his most unusual observations.

“Harvest; Unexpected Products Using 47 Extraordinary Plants” by Stefani Bittner — Learn how to make everything from fragrances to beverages, beauty products, gifts, cocktails and more in this photographed guide to using your garden for unexpected projects.


Not a fan of reading, but still love a good story? Search no further.

“Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman — From the beginning of the nine worlds to dwarves and giants, Ragnarok and more, Gaiman covers it all.

“I Can’t Make This Up; Life Lessons” by Kevin Hart — Laugh along with the renowned comedian as he recounts stories from his early childhood and how he became the celebrity he is today.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood — This dystopian novel (now also a Hulu series) is funny, satirical and terrifying all at the same time, and centers on Offred, a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead who is only able to leave the home she works at once a day.

Audiobooks — Family Road Trip Edition

If you have a handful of road trips planned for the summer and need a way to occupy your kids, these are for you.

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling — A young boy finds out he’s a wizard, attends a school of magic and gets caught up in a battle against the darkest wizard of all time. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a must.

“The Mercy Watson Collection” by Kate DiCamillo — These stories are perfect for all ages. Follow Mercy Watson, a marvelous pig, as she goes through a variety of adventures.

“A Bear Called Paddington” by Michael Bond — Who doesn’t love this one-of-a-kind bear? Arriving in Paddington Station from Peru, Paddington meets the Brown family and none of their lives are the same.

New for Teens

Whether your tastes lie in adventure, romance or somewhere in between, there’s a recommendation for you.

“Thick as Thieves” by Megan Whalen Turner — The next installment of Turner’s “Queen’s Thief” series is finally here. In this stand-alone story Kamet, a secretary and slave, wishes to gain more power in the kingdom but is taken on a much different, and unexpected, path.

“A Court of Wings and Ruin” by Sarah J. Maas — The author’s story, the next in her series A Court of Thorns and Roses, is focused on a game of deceit — and Feyre must figure out which of the High Lords she can trust.

“Zenn Diagram” by Wendy Brant — Eva Walker isn’t normal for more than one reason: Not only is she a math genius, but when she touches a person or their belongings she sees a vision of their emotions. And she’s only 17 years old. When a new student arrives at the school, she bonds with him like she has with no one else.

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