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In the Field

In the Field: Summer Reading Lists

July 22, 2015 | By Lindsey Reynolds, Federal/State Partnership Intern

Summer is in full swing, and with it many families are out of school and on the road. Though it may be tempting to post up in front of the TV or computer, summer can be the perfect time to catch up on classics or discover new authors. Many state councils have compiled their own summer reading lists, so whether you’re into historical nonfiction or breezy beach reads, these books should keep you busy until fall.

The NEH has released summer reading lists since 1988, and they’ve expanded it to nonfiction for children, as well.

For a full dose of all things Texas, Humanities Texas asked writers in the Lone Star State to submit their favorite books.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council has their staff picks online.

For the past five years, the Michigan Humanities Council (MHC) has supported the Great Michigan Read, a biennial statewide program focused on humanities. The initiative aims to connect fellow Michiganians through a deeper understanding of their state and society. The 2015-16 title is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Jan Fedewa, the Interim Executive Director of MHC, says, “Station Eleven is set in a world turned upside down, but is ultimately an exploration of people surviving and remaking their lives by preserving the qualities that make us human: art, culture, and the humanities.”

In 2014, Minnesota was the first state to designate an entire month for honoring veterans. The Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC) then worked with veterans and state politicians to write a bill designating October as Veterans’ Voices Month. The MHC shared these picks from their Veterans’ Voices Month reading list:

  • You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
  • In Pharaoh’s Army by Tobias Wolff
  • The Iliad by Homer
  • Dust to Dust by Benjamin Busch
  • Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian (an anthology created by the Great Books Foundation)

The Rhode Island Center for the Book at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities recommends two books this summer--one for children, and one for adults:

The 2015 Kids Reading Across Rhode Island is a statewide initiative by the Rhode Island Center for the Book and the Office of Library and Information Services that encourages students in grades 3-6 to all explore the same book. Their summer selection is Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures—a unique novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations.

Norwegian by Night is the 2015 Reading Across Rhode Island selection for adults. It tells the story of Sheldon Horowitz, an 82-year-old Jewish New Yorker, and highlights important themes of religion, war, and growing older.