Time for the Summer Reading List


Warmer days are here and so is This Common Reader’s 2015 summer recommendations, featuring some of the talented James River Writers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.


Dean KingConsider spending time with the “historical adventure stories” of Dean King, co-founder of James River Writers. The award winning author searches for truth in times long forgotten and faraway places, like the Sahara Desert and China, so that the rest of us can experience extreme peril from the comfort and safety of a backyard hammock.

Try Skeletons on the Zahara or Unbound, true stories filled with chance and daring-do.

Kristen Green

In June 2015, Kristen Green released her account of her Virginia hometown of Farmville, segregation and Prince Edward County school closings (1959-1964).  Both title and topic are big. Ms. Green’s Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County: A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle shines light on a dark and troubled time in Virginia’s history.


Harper LeeMy 2014 summer reading prediction that we would never see another book from Harper Lee backfired on me. Two million copies of Ms. Lee’s second novel and sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird will be released in July. The new novel, the author’s first manuscript, was discovered among her archives by her attorney Tonja B. Carter. The discovery and subsequent publication has faced much controversy in publishing circles.

Have a Finch family reunion during the coming dog days, re-read To Kill A Mockingbird, then find out what happens to Scout, as a young woman, returning home in Go Set A Watchman.

Kellie MurphyAnd speaking of second novels, James River Writer Kellie Larsen Murphy has just released her second Detective Cancini Mystery, Stay of Execution.  Great for a beach read. Ms. Murphy is destined to become Richmond’s next favorite crime story writer.



Johanna LeeTired of romance novels? Try something truly endearing. Listen to Richmond poet Joanna Lee recite two of her poems for National Poetry Month (April). She will move you.

Joanna shared with me the names of some of her favorite published poets. Joshua Poteat Ian BodkinKelly Cherry, Poet Laureate of Virginia (2010-2012) , Sofia Starnes, Poet Laureate of Virginia 2012-2014, and Angela Marie Carter

And, of course, there is always Richmond’s favorite. On June 20, the man himself reads from his works in Edgar Allan Poe – Richmond and Beyond at the Historic Hanover Courthouse.

Happy reading everyone, wherever it may happen this summer!

This Common Reader spending time with Gus and Woodrow

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