Turning the Page Summer Reading

A scintillating summer reading list curated by ViBe District’s Read Books

Summer is our favorite time to bask in the intellectually stimulating and simultaneously relaxing pastime of reading. Whether enjoying a beautiful love story on the beach or a mystery thriller consumed during an intense summer storm, it’s a great season to get lost in worlds other than our own. To compile this summer reading list, we looked to Kristin Hildum, proprietor of Read Books, an independent bookshop now located inside the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (fans may remember their former spot inside a vintage Airstream trailer in the VB ViBe District). In her list, Hildum avoids titles that can be found everywhere, as “we are more about introducing you to the one you may not see elsewhere,” she notes. Need more recommendations? Just ask! “We could go on forever,” Hildum says. “It’s what we do!”


Razorblade Tears 

By S.A. Cosby

(Flatiron Books)

A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance. In the latest novel from Gloucester, Virginia-based author S.A. Cosby, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, these hardened men confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.


The Homewreckers

By Mary Kay Andrews

(St. Martin’s Press)

In this essential summer read about house flipping and finding love, Andrews draws on her love of vintage thrifting and restoring a historic beach cottage to craft a novel full of wry humor and warmth.


The Violin Conspiracy 

By Brendan Slocumb

(Anchor Books)

A timely, riveting thriller! You’ll be on the edge of your seat rooting for Ray to solve the mystery of his missing priceless violin, piece his life back together and take his rightful place as a talented classical musician, even when everything is stacked against him!


When We Were Birds

By Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

(Doubleday Books)

A masterwork of lush imagination and exuberant storytelling, this spellbinding and hopeful novel is about inheritance, loss and love’s seismic power to heal.




(DK Publishing)

This stunning, authoritative and comprehensive pocket guide to shells is for anyone who fills a bucket each summer or just marvels at their beauty.


Still Upright & Headed Downstream: Collected River Writing

By John Lane

(Mercer University Press)

Poetry and prose written over a lifetime on the water remind the reader the importance and beauty of rivers.


The Invisible Husband of Frick Island 

By Colleen Oakley

(Berkley Books)

In this pitch-perfect beach read, bestselling author Colleen Oakley delivers an unforgettable love story about an eccentric community, a grieving widow and an outsider who slowly learns that sometimes faith is more important than the facts.


What the Fireflies Knew

By Kai Harris

(Tiny Reparations Books)

A dazzling and moving novel about family, identity and race, this book poignantly reveals that heartbreaking but necessary component of growing up—the realization that loved ones can be flawed and that the perfect family we all dream of looks different up close.


The Candy House

By Jennifer Egan

(Scribner Book Company)

An intellectually dazzling, extraordinarily moving testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for real connection, love, family, privacy and redemption.

Lady Sunshine

By Amy Mason Doan

(Graydon House)

Beautiful and atmospheric book about a young girl coming of age in 1979 on her bohemian uncle’s sprawling estate on the California coast.


A Prayer for the Crown-Shy 

By Becky Chambers


A science fiction story full of optimism and hope, this Monk and Robot book follows the beloved characters from “A Psalm for The Wild-Built” as they consider if having more matters.


Read Books offers new books, an online bookshop, audio options, three active book clubs and monthly events.


Learn more at ReadVB.com or on social media: @readbooksvb.

Angela Blue
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