I am excited to share my Annual Summer Reading List. I put this list together each year with the help of family and friends to provide some ‘good reads’ for your Summer Reading. This list is used year-round to help you find books to keep you company, to help you escape from the day-to-day issues we all face and allow you some downtime. Take time to review and check out the offerings.

This year’s list is diverse and poignant. I am not surprised as many of us were facing some scary times this last year.

Feel free to share the list with your family and friends who are readers. If you have a book that you read this past year, that moved you, feel free to share it with me as I add to this list as recommendations come in. Thank to everyone who contributed. Enjoy!

To kick off the 2021 list, my sister-in-law, Tricia Douville, an avid reader, shared her top books for this year. I love her recommendations as I always find new authors to check out!

The Dry by Jane Harper

Beneath a Scarlett Sky by Mark Sullivan

The House Girl by Tara Conklin

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

The Searcher by Tara French

America Spy, Lauren Wilkinson

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

Social Media Colleague Cindy Spain recommended; How the South Won the Civil War by Heather Cox Richardson. When asked why she recommend this book she said, in the age of George Floyd, it gives a lot of insight into why the country is what it is now.

New Linked In Colleague, Negar Roodsari shared a few books she has read. She said, “they are old but I cannot stop reading them over and over again”! They are, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra and The Way of the Wizard: 20 Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Want – Deepak Chopra

And these two are New!

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy and Liberation – Thich Nhat Hanh

Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, & Find Peace in Everyday – Matthew Sockolov

Connie Sunderhaus, a longtime friend, and colleague shared a few of her favorites. They were:

The President’s Daughter by Former President Bill Clinton and James Patterson. This was the second book the two have collaborated on. The first one was The President is Missing.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Lynn Rutherford is one of my water aerobics buddies. I was so glad we reunited after all classes were cancelled due to COVID as I always love her recommendations. Here is the list of books that kept her company during the pandemic.

Her Non-fiction suggestions are:

Leave Only Footprints by Conor Knighton. The writer is a correspondent/journalist who traveled to all The National Parks in the US then wrote a delightful account of his journey.

Keep Sharp by Sanjay Gupta MD. Tips on keeping and building a better brain

Her Fiction recommendations are:

The Push by Ashley Audrain. This is a psychological family drama.

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh. This book was set in Kenya in the 1950’’s as change was coming to the British Empire.

 American Eden by Victoria Johnson. This is a book about America’s first botanical garden

Hamnut by Maggie O’Farrell. This is a story of Shakespeare’s son

Mink by Brian Doyle. This book is quirky both in story and prose about a village and the people on the west coast of Oregon

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Ferrell. A strange but moving story

Washington Black by Eli Edugyan. A young black man’s adventures from the Caribbean islands to America in the 1800’s

Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. This book was set in post WW2  Europe.  It is the story of three women and the effects of the war

The Hazards of Good Breeding by Jessica Shattuck. This novel is a social commentary both sad and comical about the dying of the blue bloods of the Northeast

The Gown by Jennifer Robson. Another book set in post WW2 England. The story is about the women who made the wedding dress for Queen Elizabeth’s royal wedding.

Last but not least, a reread of an old favorite: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Suggestions from my co-workers at Athena Forum:

Rebecca Kushings highly recommended a book she read earlier this year “The Choice:  Embrace the Possible” by Dr. Edith Eva Egar

Barb Leach shared her recommendations: First are two books by John Grisham. A Time for Mercy and  “Sooley”.  She shared she is currently listening to Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (at her son’s insistence. He described it as a ‘really good book’). She also has the latest Stephanie Plumb book ” Fortune and Glory by Janet Evanovich cued up next.

Last year or the year before I read “Just Mercy” the book behind the movie by Bryan Stevensen. I highly recommend it – its non-fiction.  Oh, I might have sent this last year (2020 was a blur) but The Wonder Boy of Whistle W by Fanny Flagg who wrote Friend Green Tomatoes was also a good read.

Danae Manus, shared: We are all immersed in our professional reading and swept up in the general turmoil in our current complicated world. But this past year I read for pure enjoyment, Running Silently a book by our colleague Betsy Waterman. Here is my review, Running Silently is a lively and easy reading recount of the trials and tribulations of an eclectic extended family of six Siberian huskies and border collies and their human companions. It runs the gamut of emotions from general joy and sharing, interspersed with the logistics of bringing them together. There are acts of demonstrable love, hilarious adventures, great happiness and overcoming tragedies. I wholeheartedly recommend Running Silently to anyone who has had pet family member(s). is considering embarking down that path or for those who just do not understand why pets are family members.

Another Case Management Colleague Elaine Miller Offered three titles for 2021:

The Rose Code, Kate Quinn

Code Name: Lise, Larry Loftis*

The Nightingale, Kristen Hannah

All are set in WWII, historical fiction except the Loftis title based on the most highly decorated female spy. Lately, I have been fascinated with strong female characters serving in the 20th century wars. Just finished another title while on the beach at Kitty Hawk, NC/Outer Banks.

I sent a note to my fellow Case Management Society of America’s Past President’s colleagues asking them for their contributions.  I was so glad to hear from five of them!

Nell Ann Woolridge was someone who I have come to know over the past few years. She was the first president of the Case Management Society of America. She is now living in Napa CA and keeping busy with volunteer work. She invited all to join author O. Henry and chuckle at the surprise endings he casts on his characters. And his vocabulary had me hitting Google for interpretation on most pages: eleemosynary (?) Wm. S. Porter, “The Best of O. Henry, ” all short stories: good for a giggle or two at bedtime, with a.m. coffee, and afternoon tea. Tee Hee!!

Mindy Owen, who was the 2nd CMSA President shared her choice for pleasure reading I recommended “Finding Freedom”. The book is about the Lost Kitchen and the owner. A very personal book about how she left Freedom Maine and returned to open this restaurant. It is run by women …has a very distinct vibe…..you can only go by sending a post card for a reservation. They take the postcards in April and decide who will be coming to experience an evening there. It is a great read, as it is about a lot more than a restaurant…it really is about life.

Cynthia Whitaker was President, 1997-98. She shared “The Only Blue Door” by Joan Fallon.  The book is based on actual events during WWII.  A fictitious family in London living through the historical facts before, during, and after the end of the war.  A loving and somber book about families torn apart and then finding each other again.

Marybeth Newman was President: 2011-2012. She is an avid reader and shared a few books for the 2021 2Summer Reading List.  All are historical fiction that for me were fascinating to read, and I enjoyed learning more about the historical context/background of each.

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate. This was an amazing page-turner story about a former slave’s search for family in the Reconstructionist South intertwined with a modern-day teacher’s personal journey to self-fulfillment.

 The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. A story of two sisters in occupied France during WWII features strong character development and amazing historical detail; kept me on the edge of my seat!

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. Is one woman’s incredible strength and courage to keep her family going during the Dust Bowl years—painful to read at times and hard to believe this is part of our history.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. This is a super fun book to read about one woman (of the last of the “Kentucky Blue” people) who is a traveling pack horse librarian in rural Kentucky during the 1930s.

Teri Treiger, was the last Past President to weigh in. She was president 2010-11. She shared a few books for this year’s list. They were:

Gawande, A. (2010). The Checklist Manifesto.

Frankl, V.E. (1959). Man’s Search for Meaning.

Eger, E. E. (2017). The Choice: Embrace the Possible.

Each focuses on hope and/or reframing perspective, in different ways. Hope to improve one’s situation whether it be the hell of a concentration camp and its aftermath or one’s quality of work.

“So, let us be alert – alert in a twofold sense. Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of.  And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.” – V. Frankl

“Even the most expert among us can gain from searching out the patters of mistakes and failures and putting a few checks in place.” – A. Gawande

“Bad things, I am afraid, happen to everyone. This we cannot change… But so many of us remain stuck in a trauma or grief, unable to experience our lives fully. This we can change.” – E. E. Ever

She also suggested that I expand Summer Reading List to include music and what people are listening to. Self-care is essential and for me, it means listening to some form of music – every day. This is a great idea and will add a music section in the 2022 list!

Case Management Colleague, Deb Zeveney shared her pick for summer reading. Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen. The usual, irreverent, laugh out loud type of book that is great for summer escapism.

Stacy Batista is a new friend and someone I have come to admire while serving on the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy shared that she just read The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah and loved it. It is an epic book and a wonderful read. About the depression and specifically living through the Dust Bowl, which is a relatively uncharted terrain for me, in terms of literature. Her descriptions are vivid and powerful, the reality of how Americans treated each other (and just humans treating each other) was depressingly familiar. But ultimately, it is a story of family and strength. It is a beautiful book!

Thank you for reading the 2021 Summer Reading List…..I hope you can find YOUR Summer Read!

Have a good Summer…..I will be taking some time off to rest, recharge and come up with some new ideas! I will be back with new blog posts July 20th

Have a Happy and Safe 4th!

New addition from Dana Deravin Carr July 8, 2021

Thanks for sharing this great list. I have read a few of these and am pleased to see them on the list. Right now I am reading “The Splendid and the Vile” by Erik Larson, a candid book about Winston Churchill. It offers eye opening insights into his life with a bit of humor too.  I am sharing 2021 Reading List with friends hoping they will share it with their book clubs. Stay well and enjoy your summer 🌈🙏
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This