You know the last-day-of-school refrain: No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks. But wait — lose the pencils, fine, but summer isn’t a time for no books; it’s a time for more books than ever. And we’re here to help. We have recommendations for 45 new novels (love stories, adventures and powerful family sagas), mysteries (thrillers and whodunits from Michigan to Ireland) and young-adult books (fresh, thoughtful novels from China to Detroit) to savor over the next three months. We also asked a group of Twin Cities teachers, who (it must be said) were quite happy to make suggestions, what they like to read on their summer vacation. Not a dirty look in the bunch. So grab a book (or two, or three) and a cool beverage, and settle in for a good, long read to fill summer’s good, long days. – LAURIE HERTZEL
Summer: A time to read
The curse of becoming an English teacher, said Ursula Becker (top, left) of St. Paul’s Highland Park High School, is that you love to read, but you don’t have the time to do it anymore. So it might be that teachers value summer — and its long days wide open for reading — just a wee bit more than the rest of us. We asked six Twin Cities teachers to talk about the importance of having time to read, as well as what they will be reading this summer. Their thoughts are broad and deep: from Isabel Wilkerson’s book of narrative journalism, “The Warmth of Other Suns,” to Kao Kalia Yang’s memoir “The Song Poet” to David Sedaris’ “Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002.” Reading, said Chong Yang Thao (top, middle) of Como Park High School in St. Paul, is “going away and then being able to come home.” As a child, she said, books took her by the hand and showed her the world. That seems like a wonderful way to spend a summer.