Maybe you’re heading to the beach. Or the lake. Or you have high hopes of carving out a few afternoons at home under a shady tree with a glass of something cold. Wherever the location, you’re going to need at least one good book to read this summer.
To help readers find just the right book for the hot months ahead, we’ve asked some of Utah’s most notable figures to recommend what’s on their summer reading list.
Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney is, no surprises, a reading overachiever. "I like reading at least two books at a time, one for fun and the other for learning," he told the Deseret News. "Neal Stephenson's 'Seveneves' is a sci-fi thriller I thoroughly enjoyed. David McCullough's 'Truman' revealed a president who faced challenges more daunting than I had appreciated and who navigated them with uncommon courage and character."
• "Seveneves," by Neal Stephenson, William Morrow, 880 pages (f)
• "Truman," by David McCullough, Simon & Schuster, 1120 pages (nf)
U.S. Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, who represents Utah's 4th District, keeps a busy schedule between work and family, but took time out to read — and recommend — “The Red Scarf Girl” by Ji-li Jiang, because, she said, it's a great story about the author’s experiences during the Cultural Revolution of China.
She is currently reading a Shadow Mountain's Proper Romance novel, “Edenbrooke,” by Utah author Julianne Donaldson, to make sure that it is appropriate for one of her daughters to read.
• “The Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution,” by Ji-li Jiang, HarperCollins, 320 page (nf)
• “Edenbrooke,” by Julianne Donaldson, Shadow Mountain, 264 pages (f)
Brigham Young University head football coach Kalani Sitake is hoping to find inspiration in the 1936 Olympics. This summer, he plans to read Daniel James Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.”
“I’ve had a lot of people say this is a very well-written and inspirational book about teamwork, hard work and overcoming adversity," he said. "I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and I’m looking forward to reading it.”
• "The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics," by Daniel James Brown, Penguin Books, 404 pages (nf)
University of Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham enjoyed James Kerr's "Legacy” because it has "great insight into the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team and why they are so successful," he told the Deseret News. He enjoyed reading about the "lessons (about) leadership, team building, developing a culture and turning vision into action," he said.
• "Legacy," by James Kerr, Constable & Robinson, 224 pages (nf)
Coaches Sitake and Whittingham aren't the only people on this list who find inspiration in the sports world. U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, enjoyed reading “QB: My Life Behind the Spiral,” by Steve Young with Jeff Benedict.
“We all know Steve Young for his class and talent as an athlete, yet few know of the personal obstacles he overcame on his journey to the Hall of Fame," the senator said of “QB.” "Steve’s play on the field was legendary, but his tenacity in tackling anxiety is what makes his life story truly compelling. ‘QB’ is less a story about football than it is a statement about the indomitability of the human spirit. Whether you’re an avid sports fan or a student of life, Steve’s biography is a must-read.”
• "QB: My Life Behind the Spiral,” by Steve Young with Jeff Benedict, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 400 pages (nf)
Park City resident and KSL Ch. 5 anchorwoman Deanie Wimmer somehow manages to carve out time for reading even while keeping up the state's news. She told the Deseret News, “I’d have to say my favorite (book) is 'John Adams' by David McCullough. I love the Revolutionary War period, and this book (much like my second favorite '1776') provide insights into our Founding Fathers, their human tendencies and the incredible sacrifices made by them and their families.”
Beyond these two historical favorites, Wimmer, who also leads the Read Today literacy initiative, recently read “When Breath Becomes Air,” which, she said, is a “fascinating account of how a neurosurgeon on the brink of accomplishing his life’s goals is diagnosed with lung cancer.”
When vacation finally hits, Wimmer is looking forward to reading, “Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. “I love learning from people I find interesting, both past and present," she said. "That’s why I rarely read fiction. I find the real lives of people insightful and applicable.”
• "John Adams,” by David McCullough, Simon & Schuster, 752 pages (nf)
• “1776,” by David McCullough, Simon & Schuster, 386 pages (nf)
• “When Breath Becomes Air,” by Paul Kalanithi, Random House, 256 pages (nf)
• "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy,” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, Knopf, 240 pages (nf)
Neon Trees' backup vocalist and bass guitarist Brandon Campbell has been reading about — who else? The Boss. "I've been reading 'Born To Run' by Bruce Springsteen," the musician told the Deseret News. "I've really enjoyed reading his experiences in raising his family while fostering a successful music career."
• "Born To Run," by Bruce Springsteen, Simon & Schuster, 528 pages (nf)
Matched and "Summerlost" author Ally Condie told the Deseret News, "Reading is one of life's great pleasures, and it feels extra golden in summertime. As a kid, I loved reading Ray Bradbury's 'Dandelion Wine,' which is a perfect summer coming-of-age story," and adding "as are all Bradbury's stories, wildly inventive and well-written."
"This summer, I'm looking forward to reading 'You May Already Be a Winner,' by Ann Dee Ellis, which comes out in July," she said. "I had a sneak peek at this book and it made me laugh and cry. Also, for an end-of-summer book, I can't wait to read 'Patina,' by Jason Reynolds. It's a sequel to his acclaimed novel 'Ghost,' which my kids loved as much as I did. I adore his books and think they are a great pick for any reader."
• "Dandelion Wine," by Ray Bradbury, Grand Master Editions, 256 pages (f)
• "You May Already Be a Winner," by Ann Dee Ellis, Dial Books, 352 pages (f) (to be released July 11, 2017)
• "Patina," by Jason Reynolds, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 240 pages (f) (to be released Aug.29, 2017)
KUER’s Doug Fabrizio, who may have to read more for work than anyone on this list in order to prep for his daily radio program "RadioWest," says that the book he’s most excited to read this summer is “Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich,” by Norman Ohler and translated by Shaun Whiteside.
“This is the most bizarre story I’ve heard in years and I can’t wait to read it," Fabrizio said of "Blitzed." "The German journalist Norman Ohler says the Nazis gave cocaine and crystal meth to their soldiers before they went into battle in World War II. It turns out the whole country was swimming in opiates, from civilians to the Third Reich’s highest ranking officials. Even Hitler himself was a junkie as his dreams of conquest collapsed. It’s hard to pin down the impact of all these mind-altering substances on the brutality of the Nazis or the complicity of German citizens, but Ohler says it’s an important (and weird) part of this tragic history.”
• “Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich,” by Norman Ohler, translated by Shaun Whiteside, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 304 page (nf)
While radio hosts have to read to prepare for the day’s interviews, they are often joined in their work by their producers. We also put the summer books question to "RadioWest" producer Elaine Clark, who gave us three recommendations for this list. Of the first, “Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings,” by Stephen O’Connor, Clark said, “It blew my mind. It is historic fiction partially. It’s also interspersed with Jefferson’s own writing (which reveals no end of irony given his relationship to Hemings) and a remarkable dream-like, modern fantasy sequence that weaves through the novel. Why be limited to one genre when there is so much to explore in such a complex story?”
Two other books made her reading list, one that Clark has read and one that she’s looking forward to reading this summer.
“I’ve been obsessed with the Salem witch trials for a very long time, and have read a lot of related non-fiction. Stacy Schiff’s 'The Witches' is challenging for summer fare, but well worth the effort. I’m excited that Richard Francis’ 'Crane Pond: A Novel of Salem' offers a view of the trials from a Judge’s perspective," she said. "Part of the reason I’m looking forward to reading it is that Francis wrote a 2005 nonfiction book about Judge Samuel Sewall. I appreciate storytelling with a scholar’s eye to detail. We’re working to have Richard Francis join us on 'RadioWest' as well."
• “Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings,” by Stephen O’Connor, Penguin Books, 624 pages (nf)
• “The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem,” by Stacy Schiff, Back Bay Books, 512 pages (nf)
• “Crane Pond: A Novel of Salem,” by Richard Francis, Europa Editions, 326 pages (nf)
The former “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With the Stars” dancer doesn't have a lot of reading time — especially as she's preparing for her dance summer camp in Salt Lake City. But she is hoping this summer to finish, appropriately, Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now."
"(It) has been teaching me how the past and the future are not real and that the only thing that is real is what is happening now,"Hightower said of this worldwide publishing sensation,
• "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment," by Eckhart Tolle, Namaste Publishing, 236 pages (nf)
Utah native and host of KSL's popular daily radio show "The Doug Wright Show" has a couple of books he's planning to read this summer. The first is a book he's hoping to finish this year — famed 20th century writer Thomas Wolfe's massive "Of Time and the River."
"It's been on my shelf forever," Wright told the Deseret News of this weighty classic. "I'm a huge fan of the book's editor, Maxwell Perkins, who (biographer) A. Scott Berg called the 'Editor of Genius.’"
Not content to read one hefty book this summer, Wright is also planning to read Howard Pollack's biography "Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man."
"I've always loved his music and believe him to be on the shortlist of America's finest composers," Wright said of Copland.
• "Of Time and the River," by Thomas Wolfe, Penguin Popular Classics, 1026 pages (f)
• "Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man," by Howard Pollack, University of Illinois Press, 728 pages (nf)
"The Doug Wright Show" producer Cassie Smith is looking for insights and laughs with her summer book. She's planning to read "Postcards from the Edge," by actress and writer Carrie Fisher. Fisher, who passed away last year, wrote both fiction and nonfiction, and "Postcards" will be the first memoir by Princess Leia that Smith has read.
• "Postcards from the Edge," by Carrie Fisher, Simon & Schuster, 240 pages (nf)
Book recommendation at a glance (in alphabetical order):
Branden Campbell: "Born To Run" by Bruce Springsteen
Elaine Clark: “Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings,” by Stephen O’Connor
“The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem,” by Stacy Schiff
“Crane Pond: A Novel of Salem,” by Richard Francis
Ally Condie: "Dandelion Wine," by Ray Bradbury
"You May Already Be a Winner," by Ann Dee Ellis
"Patina," by Jason Reynolds
Doug Fabrizio: “Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich” By Norman Ohler, translated by Shaun Whiteside
Senator Orrin Hatch: "QB: My Life Behind the Spiral,” by Steve Young with Jeff Benedict
Chelsie Hightower: "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment," by Eckhart Tolle
Mia Love: “The Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution,” by Ji-li Jiang
“Edenbrooke,” by Julianne Donaldson
Mitt Romney: "Seveneves," by Neal Stephenson
"Truman," by David McCullough
Kalani Sitake: "The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics," by Daniel James Brown
Cassie Smith: "Postcards from the Edge," by Carrie Fisher
Kyle Whittingham: "Legacy, by James Kerr
Deanie Wimmer: "John Adams,” by David McCullough
“1776,” by David McCullough
"When Breath Becomes Air," by Paul Kalanithi
"Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy,” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Doug Wright: "Of Time and the River," by Thomas Wolfe
"Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man," by Howard Pollack