Around the Bookstore: Get caught reading

Here are some options for this month’s celebration.


As I write, the day is gray, again, promising rain, again.

Everyone is scurrying around, pressure building, racing to beat the clock. May is upon us — vacationers will follow. Luckily for me, BTB, Behind the Bookstore Café, has opened, coffee and pastries now, full-time by Memorial Day. It means caffeine is closer — and better.
Summers are generally caffeine-fueled for most of us.

May is “Get Caught Reading Month.” So, get caught reading this month! What follows are some book ideas to get caught with.

May brings an anniversary this year. May 2 marked the 50th anniversary of the beginning of principal photography for “Jaws,” the first summer blockbuster, the one that defined the genre, filmed here, changing the Island forever.

We have a shelf of “Jaws”-related books, including Peter Benchley’s, the one that started it all, plus others around the filming of “Jaws.” Matt Taylor’s wonderful “Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard” is here, as well as the late, great, fabulous Edie Blake’s “On Location, on Martha’s Vineyard.” A favorite memory is of the days Edie would sign books in the store or on the porch, scrawling the word, “Enjoy!” before signing her name.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the film’s release, so we will probably need more shelves.

I’ve been thumbing through Publisher’s Weekly, the bookseller’s bible, catching up on back issues, and making notes on books, especially ones for this summer.

John Grisham will be back with “Camino Ghosts,” set on Camino Island, where bookseller Bruce Cable always manages to find trouble, this time with a deep-pocketed resort developer.

Carley Fortune returns with “This Summer Will Be Different.” It is getting a lot of love. Alas, not set on the Vineyard but another island, Prince Edward. Lucy is determined to not, once again, fall into Felix’s arms. Yes, you can guess where this is going.

Veronica Roth, who wrote the Divergent series for Young Adults, has been writing adult novels the past few years. Her newest is “When Among Crows.” A knight teams up with a cursed girl to track down a witch. The novel will be out in mid-May, just about when Main Street and Water Street, North and South, will be crowded with painters armed with buckets of white, restoring buildings to pristine shape after the onslaughts of winter.

A fun fact I learned while flipping through PW: the average age of the “young adult” reader is 28, which doesn’t, actually, surprise me. “Young adult” is one of the most creative areas of fiction happening today.

Not summer-related, but if you can, read Ruth Sepetys’ “Salt to the Sea,” one of the most incredible books I’ve read in my life. Meant for young adults, and definitely a crossover book, it is set at the end of WWII, the story of young Germans fleeing west as the Russians advance. It has never left me.

Also, mid-month will bring Christina Lauren’s new book, “Paradise Problem.” Lauren is always a good romance read, and this time a couple feigns romance to help Liam inherit. You can guess where this one is going too, though that doesn’t hinder the enjoyment.

Elle Kennedy is rising up the ranks of romance writers, past being a discovery, now a writer readers seek out. She has a new book out this May, “The Dixon Rule,” another fake romance book, enemies to friends to lovers, another rom com that sounds really fun. Great for packing in the bag as you head toward South Beach for sun, a swim, and a read on the sand.

And if there is a moment for something serious, interesting, Brittany Griner, the women’s basketball star who languished in a Russian prison for 10 months tells her story in “Coming Home,” also in time to be on the shelves for June’s Pride Month.

I think the short story gets short shrift in today’s literary environment though that might not be the case this summer as Stephen King, master of the macabre, is out with a new collection of short stories, “You Like It Darker.” Truthfully, I don’t, though if you do, this one must be on your list, bite-sized bits of Stephen King, perfect for summer, between dips in the pool or ocean, before or after cocktails, just a little bit of fear to infuse into your summer.

About the time you finish reading a couple of books in May, it will be Memorial Day and it will be, we hope and pray, as if God turned on the spigot and onto Vineyard streets pour tourists. It will be wild, wonderful, and hopefully full of good books to help a good summer be better. Get caught reading one of these or any of the others packing the bookstore shelves.

Mathew Tombers is manager of Edgartown Books, and an advocate for all things literary.