The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
Earlier this year, City Paper chatted with author Grady Hendrix (who grew up in and around Mount Pleasant) about his latest novel, The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires. The fast-paced Southern thriller follows an Old Village book club and a new neighbor — a neighbor who one book club member suspects may just be a vampire. Fun, funny, and spine-tingling this book has all the makings of a juicy beach read. Don't believe us? Kirkus Reviews' verdict should help you out: "Fans of smart horror will sink their teeth into this one."
On Ocean Boulevard
It's not truly beach season until beloved local author Mary Alice Monroe releases her latest novel. This year, Monroe fans are blessed with On Ocean Boulevard, part of her popular Beach House series. As always, this book grapples with an environmental concern, this time the endangerment of loggerhead sea turtles during nesting season. The turtles are the backdrop of a story featuring the Rutledge family as they navigate new beginnings. Take NYT-bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand's advice: "I start my summer with Mary Alice Monroe's enchanting novels … I'm a devoted fan."
Self-educate with audiobooks
Now is the time for our society to learn more about anti-racism and how we can better amplify black voices. Goose Creek's Turning Page Bookshop has a helpful list of audiobooks (perfect for summer car trips) that you can find on their website. From Ijeoma Oluo's So You Want to Talk About Race to Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow to Layla F. Saad's Me and White Supremacy, there is plenty of listening to be done this summer.
How to Read a Book
Gorgeously illustrated and layered with literary references any bibliophile would love, Kwame Alexander's kid's book, How to Read a Book is a refreshing pick for you and your kids. Best known for his 2014 verse novel, The Crossover, Alexander has visited Charleston several times in recent years, including a stop at 2017's Black Ink Book Festival. At the time he told City Paper: "The mind of an adult begins in the imagination of a child."
The Birth of All Things
Charleston's poet laureate, Marcus Amaker recently released The Birth of All Things, a 104-page poetry book about everything from battle droids to the black experience. Amaker describes the book: "The Birth of All Things is about creative freedom. These poems take chances — in form and subject matter. This collection is my most personal and professional work, and the reader will come away with a more complete view of who I am after experiencing the book."
Looking for some more book recommendations? We always turn to our friends at local bookstores like Itinerant Literate, Blue Bicycle, Buxton Books, Turning Page Bookshop, and Main Street Reads, for suggestions on what to pick up next. —Connelly Hardaway