As I was looking back at old posts I was reminded that Tanya did a Summer (H)oliday Fiction Reading Guide back in 2016 and gave recommendationss for some of our favorite holidays from July-Sept. I thought it was such a fun post and decided to put up an updated version. Even if a lot of our summer holiday plans have been cancelled due to Covid, we can still celebrate through books, right?!
US Independence Day – July 4. This day marks the celebration the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Our recommendation:
Red, White, & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides – namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.
Video Games Day – July 8. Sure you could actually play video games, but that’s not all you can do. Read a book that’s heavily influenced by game play. Our recommendation:
Slay, Brittney Morris
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.” But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”
Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?
Summer Olympics – July 23 – Aug. 8. It’s not a holiday you say?! Well, I wish it was, and although the 2020 games have been postponed let’s celebrate this international coming together by reading a book set in a foreign country (i.e. not the one in which you live). Our recommendation:
Augustown, Kei Miller
Ma Taffy may be blind but she sees everything. So when her great-nephew Kaia comes home from school in tears, what she senses sends a deep fear running through her. While they wait for his mama to come home from work, Ma Taffy recalls the story of the flying preacherman and a great thing that did not happen. A poor suburban sprawl in the Jamaican heartland, Augustown is a place where many things that should happen don’t, and plenty of things that shouldn’t happen do. For the story of Kaia leads back to another momentous day in Jamaican history, the birth of the Rastafari and the desire for a better life.
National Book Lover’s Day – Aug. 9. The best way to celebrate is to spend as much of the day reading as you can. Our suggestion: Re-read a past favorite.
Labor Day – Sep. 7. This day honors the American Labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country. Our recommendation:
Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, David von Drehle
Triangle is a poignantly detailed account of the 1911 disaster that horrified the country and changed the course of twentieth-century politics and labor relations. On March 25, 1911, as workers were getting ready to leave for the day, a fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York’s Greenwich Village. Within minutes it spread to consume the building’s upper three stories. Firemen who arrived at the scene were unable to rescue those trapped inside: their ladders simply weren’t tall enough. People on the street watched in horror as desperate workers jumped to their deaths. The final toll was 146 people—123 of them women. It was the worst disaster in New York City history.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?