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Rachel’s Reads – June 2018

Summer always seems to hit me like a freight train. The heavy, hot air condenses around me and knocks the wind from my lungs. The stickiness infuses a sense of lethargy and I’m suddenly brought back to a line from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, “the air was oppressive even in the early morning hour, hot with the scorching promise of a noon of glaring blue sky and pitiless bronze sun.” Summer seems to have a secretive and sultry quality about it. The heat exacerbates that mystical quality because it’s inescapable and makes the days seem longer than they are. Summer heat in Kansas City can take on an almost visual experience as it shimmers around the ground and leaves the taste of the sun on your tongue. It’s no wonder that the pools are constantly full and many people want to travel to the beach to enjoy that first singular moment of relief as their bodies plunge into the cooling depths. 

“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.” – Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

Reading on vacation is one of my favorite pastimes. I have met so many new friends as well as characters who have taught me life lessons. In fact, the only part of packing I look forward to is deciding what books to bring with me (it’s also the most difficult as well). So with that in mind, roll out your beach towel and get lost in a summer read, just don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen. 

  • Tangerine by Christine Mangan
  • Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
  • The Vacationers by Emma Straub
  • The Starside of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain
  • Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  • Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  • Limelight by Amy Poeppel
  • Fly Me by Daniel Riley
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr

As for me, I’m currently enjoying Marvelous Possessions by Stephen Greenblatt, Still Lives by Maria Hummel and Lost Empress by Sergio De La Pava.

Happy Reading!


Rachel became the publisher of The Independent in March of 2017 and then married her husband Jake in May. Their goldendoodle Einstein joined the family in 2019. Rachel is an avid reader and loves to share book recommendations. (Don’t miss her column, Rachel’s Reads in the Magazine!) She can always be found with a book nearby, especially while traveling (another of her favorite things).

Bailey Pianalto Photography



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