Summer Reading begins new chapter

Faculty and staff members share their summer reading lists

By Nancy Koeneman

The New York Times does it. So does the American Booksellers Association.

And, Inside Illinois is doing it again ­ although this book list is a seasonal version, provided by staff and faculty members at the UI. In Inside Illinois' third consecutive Summer Reading series, a handful of employees dish up their favorite titles and authors for your summer enjoyment.

Summer reading trends are much like last year's, said Yoline Chandler, manager of the general books department at the Illini Union Bookstore.

"Summer reading is pretty predictable," Chandler said. "People are buying mysteries and fiction. People do more leisure reading in the summer. The new Dilbert book is also a hot title right now."

Because summer is also vacation time, the bookstore is also selling more travel books, Chandler said.

"For travel books, it's normal to have an increase [in sales of books] for Europe mainly, but we've also seen a little increase in books on travel in Latin America.

"Another hot title, which is travel-related, is by a local author, Susan Post," Chandler said. "Her book, 'Hiking in Illinois,' has exceeded our expectations. It's a unique book in that it has a lot of information about specific trails in Illinois that other books don't have."

With children out of school, activity books for the younger set are also a hot item. Of course, certain activity books are also big for grown-ups. "We're also selling a lot of gardening books and books on puppies," Chandler said.

So whether you're looking to get lost in a good story or find out how to best make your green things grow, slather on the sunscreen, grab a glass of lemonade and dive into your own list of summer reading.

Connie R. Dillard

circulation desk supervisor, UI Library

"As a part-time student, I concentrate on required reading relating to my studies during the fall and spring semesters. Summer is the time that I read strictly for pleasure.

"Last summer I read a colorful series written by Walter Mosley. I became interested in the author's work when Denzel Washington starred in a movie based on Mosley's first novel, 'Devil in a Blue Dress.'

"If I really enjoy an author's work, I tend to read other materials written by that author. I really enjoyed 'Devil in a Blue Dress,' which turned out to be a light murder mystery. After searching the UI Library's database, I found other titles published by Mosley and discovered that the ones that had colors in the title were sequels to 'Devil in a Blue Dress.' The main character is Easy Rawlins, an amateur detective officially ­ and in some cases unofficially ­ hired to solve mysteries related to the colors in the titles.

"So, I read them all in the order they were published: 'Devil in a Blue Dress,' 'Red Death,' 'White Butterfly,' 'Black Betty' and 'A Little Yellow Dog.' Not part of the series but also by Mosley, was 'RL's Dream,' which was about an aging blues artist who wants to tell his life's story. I have not yet read Mosley's latest novel, 'Gone Fishing.'

"Other books on my bookshelf for this summer's reading are: J. California Cooper's 'Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime'; Tina McElroy Ansa's 'The Hand I Fan With,' which is the sequel to 'The Baby of the Family'; Pat Conroy's 'Beach Music'; and John Grisham's 'Runaway Jury,' all of which can be found in the UI's Library collection. As you can see, I love popular novels."

John Paul Spicer-Escalante

visiting lecturer of Spanish, department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese

"What am I planning to read over the summer? Good question and a quick response 'Anything related to my thesis that I haven't already read!'

"Now, what would I recommend to anyone looking for something to read over the summer?

'100 Years of Solitude,' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Allow yourself to be carried away to the founding of Macondo and the multiple lives of Gen. Aurelio Buendia, the rains that last four years and the ageless Ursula, the mysteries of Melquiades the gypsy and the civil war that never ends, and still hasn't ended. It's worth the time and the effort and is readily available in English at any bookstore. Read it, if at all possible, in only a few sittings. You won't want to put it down, believe me."


Comments to: Inside Illinois Editor Doris Dahl, (217) 333-2895,

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