Around the Bookstore: June reads

Get ready for a summer filled with books, barbecues, and beaches.


Memorial Day morning found me returning to the bookstore from an errand in Vineyard Haven, driving down Beach Road, as I do when I like to remind myself I live on an Island, the sea so close, slapping against the land in the morning wind.

It being Memorial Day, I thought of Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” not a new book, but one representative of a time, in this case the Vietnam War. I’ve gone to the Vietnam Memorial, touched the etchings for Phil Taylor, an acquaintance, and of Greg Harrigan, a friend, both dead in that war, both living in my mind as the young, vital men they were.

Memorial Day is a day of reflection and a day to embrace the coming summer, stretching out before us, still to be defined, still to be lived, almost upon us. While remembering the fallen, we anticipate a season of joy, all those summer things the Vineyard lays before us: beaches, barbecues, shopping, picnics, golf, and resting in a hammock, hopefully with a good book.

And good books are coming this summer, with June’s books about to begin their debut on our shelves, not to mention a couple from May already jumping toward summer bestseller status. Amy Tan’s “The Backyard Bird Chronicles,” a nonfiction work by the author of “The Joy Luck Club,” honors the birds who brought her solace during the chaos of the past years.

Our own Kate Feiffer’s “Morning Pages” dances off shelves, a read just started, some good laughs already. On June 8, we officially launched “Morning Pages” at Edgartown Books at the Carnegie.

We also celebrated Pride Month with Sidney Karger signing copies of his book on our porch. His new book, “The Bump,” about two men about to have a child by a surrogate who take a road trip on the way to meet their child, discovering a lot of issues with which they haven’t dealt, is both warm and funny.

Erik Larson’s nonfiction books read like thrillers; he’s out with “The Demon of Unrest,” about the fractious months leading to the Civil War. Are there lessons to be learned from that time? Probably. Thank you, Mr. Larson.

Lucy Foley, she of “The Guest List” and “The Paris Apartment,” is returning with “The Midnight Feast,” another thriller, set in a beautiful resort, everything perfect, until a body is discovered.

We have “Swan Song,” the next and last Elin Hilderbrand beach read. Rumors swirl as to what is next for the Queen of Summer Beach Reads. Will she start writing with her daughter, for a new generation? A podcast? A quiet retreat? We’ll find out. Someday. But this is her last, so grab it while you can.

Nicola Yoon is out with “One of Our Kind,” an adult novel by a young adult bestselling author (“The Sun Is Also a Star”), a novel with splashes of “The Stepford Wives,” making me want to add it to my groaning bedside table.

Tom Dresser, Vineyard historian, is out with two new books in June, “Black Homeownership on Martha’s Vineyard” as well as “A Culinary History of Martha’s Vineyard,” co-authored with his wife, Joyce. There will be, of course, book signings on our porch: “Black Homeownership” on June 23 from 2 to 4 pm, same time on June 30 for “Culinary History.”

Donald Trump is now the first former president judged a felon, while he’s the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. It’s an extraordinary situation, all beginning with television’s “The Apprentice.” Ramin Sedooteh, the co-editor in chief of Variety, a showbiz newspaper, chronicles how the program transformed the image of a bankrupt businessman in “Apprentice in Wonderland.”

Riley Sager, one of the best mystery writers, has a new one, “Middle of the Night.” Ethan and his best friend Billy camp in the backyard; come morning, the tent is cut open, Billy gone. Thirty years later, Ethan wants to know what really happened.

Frieda McFadden, a physician who treats brain injuries, is back with her newest, “The Housemaid Is Watching.” McFadden, author of more than 20 books over the past 10 years, generates despair over my time-management skills.

One of my favorite characters in children’s literature is Pete the Cat, who returns this summer with a new book, “Pete the Cat Screams for Ice Cream.” I can’t wait. And Mo Willems has a new one, “Are You Small?” joining his other books on our shelves this month.

Hammocks, beaches, picnics, swimming, rainy days, sun-splashed afternoons on the sand, barbecues, water fights — summer is in front of us, all of it to be savored, we hope, with a book on hand to make it all even more fun.

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