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Labor Day Reading: Grab a Book for the Long Weekend

Cindy Burnett
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Labor Day reads

Grab a page turner for the Labor Day weekend.

The long Labor Day weekend is almost upon us, and I selected some fun reads that will keep readers turning the pages over the holiday weekend. Whether you are sitting at home, by the pool, or someplace else entirely, each of these books will transport you to another locale. Enjoy!

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano - Dear Edward is one of the most beautifully written and poignant tales that I have read in a long time. This book tells the story of Edward, a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash, and his attempt to carry on in the aftermath of this horrific event. The story alternates between the lives of the passengers on the doomed plane and Edward’s life following the crash. While the subject matter is obviously sad, the book itself is ultimately uplifting, life-affirming, and just plain fantastic. I cannot say enough good things about this wonderful and unique tale. 

Dovetails in Tall Grass by Samantha SpecksDovetails in Tall Grass brings to life the events that led up to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 in Minnesota through the eyes of two young women, one a settler and the other a Dakota-Sioux. Houstonian Samantha Speck’s meticulously researched and vividly depicted historical fiction tale follows one brutal instance of the disintegration in U.S./Native American relations that played out all across North America as whites displaced the indigenous people, moving the native populations to reservations and continually breaking the promises made to them. The story slowly builds to a sad and inevitable conclusion that pays homage to those who needlessly lost their lives. The book kept me on the edge of my seat until I turned the last page.

Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss by Jenna Bush Hager - Hager’s heartwarming and emotional collection of essays honors her beloved grandparents, President George and First Lady Barbara Bush and her mother’s mother Jenna Welch, who died within 13 months of each other creating a void in her life. To find comfort, she shared their words and wisdom with friends, family and others she encountered in her everyday life, and they urged her to memorialize these anecdotes in a book. Hager uses various formats including letters to her grandparents imparting stories that she wishes she could tell them personally; my favorite was the letter Jenna wrote on her 37th birthday to Barbara Bush where she recounts the stark absence of Barbara at the family’s summer home in Maine. Before you start reading, grab tissues – Hager’s tales are charming, moving and touching and will have you contemplating what matters most in your world.

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead – This dual timeline psychological thriller toggles between present day and 10 years prior when a woman was murdered in her dorm room, a crime that remains unsolved. The murder broke apart a close group of friends, and in the present day the individuals are returning to the Duqette University campus for the first time since graduation. But while some people are happy to leave the past behind, someone wants to catch the killer and make them pay. This page turner by Houstonian Ashley Winstead kept me up late into the night madly reading to get to the end!

The Survivors by Jane Harper - Jane Harper returns with another stunning and well-paced Australian mystery, this time choosing Southern-most Tasmania as her setting. After a long absence, protagonist Kieran Elliott returns home to Evelyn Bay for a visit to help care for his ailing father. When he was 12, an accident led to the death of Kieran’s brother Finn and his friend, and the town blamed Kieran for the tragedy. His arrival is met with disdain and when a murder occurs, Kiernan is dragged back into the tragic events of the past. Part character study, part mystery, The Survivors showcases Harper’s stellar writing style, and her vivid imagery helps to immerse the reader in the atmospheric and gloomy setting. 

I am working on my readers’ “Best of Summer Books” article so please drop your favorite book(s) of summer in the comments below and feel free to tell me why you liked it!

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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