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Summer Reading List

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

What are you reading this summer? A simple question, but often, can lead to discovering

a whole side of someone you never knew - a reader’s secret identity, if you will. Are you into

mushy romance, rigid historical fiction, or nail-biting horror? Do they enjoy local authors who

know this region and call it home, and do they like cramped used bookstores filled with readers

of all ages looking for a deal? Are they up to date with the latest tech and enjoy ebooks instead of physical pages? I figured I would first share what's on my summer reading list, and maybe you

find something new to explore...or stay away from. Hopefully, you’ll find the motivation to pick

up something you’ve told yourself repeatedly, “I am going to read that someday.”

Regarding rice, its cultural impact on the Lowcountry, and why it matters to this day, I am

rereading for the fourth time, Down by the Riverside by Charles Joyner. The three previous times

I’ve read the book, it was listed as required reading for classes either at Coastal Carolina

University or the College of Charleston. But this time, I am reading it to cover some necessary

research and data for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant we are working on at

Middleton Place. Every time I read Down by the Riverside, I become more familiar with our

shared local history, and the dots become more interconnected. And I have told other colleagues

of mine that its depth of resource material and readability has made it stand the test of time,

which, most often, historical works fall short of in some way. While Charles Joyner is no longer

with us, his presence and impact are still felt among history students and faculty at Coastal

Carolina, including myself.

Now what about a piece of fiction? Not everyone finds a 300-page historical work the

most entertaining read on the planet. Fiction can often pull the emotional heartstrings and subtly

shares a message that needs to be heard. One book that covers that well is the second book I am

reading The Summer of Lost and Found by Mary Alice Monroe. While some categorize her work

as “beach reads” or “chick-lit,” I find it to be a story that we can all relate to with the recent

covid-19 pandemic and how many of us had to turn toward our closet friends and family to

survive a critical moment in our community. I work full-time at a historic site, and reading

fiction helps me with my writing and research; overall, it’s a great way to disconnect from the

surrounding world’s stress. While this book, and Mary’s work, are new to me, I know she was a

great friend of Dorothea Benton Frank. And to get to the point, any literary friend of Dottie is a

friend of mine!

Finally, what about those who want to look at beautiful illustrations and grab an

impressive, solid coffee table book simultaneously? Well, I have a recommendation for you, and

of course, I am constantly reading this work as it inspires me to slow down and take a watercolor

Caroline Palmer and Anne Tinker are one of the most physically beautiful books I have ever held. It was printed at Evening Post Books in Charleston, South Carolina. It features some of Alice's

most famous works and includes private family pieces that have been treasured for generations. I

bought copies of the book as presents for my parents, mother-in-law, and sister, and they all

shared it was a hit with their guests who came to visit.

I hope your peak into my summer reading list has inspired you to pick up that book you

have always wanted to read or one you have always intended to revisit. Even talking about what

we are reading gives you some perspective into how someone spends time expanding their

horizons. If I recommend one more thing, and it is not another title, please check out your local

library, museum, or bookseller to purchase your next book. While it may be a little more

expensive, it will also help a local institution, and it might get you out of your shell and into a

world of new beginnings of curating a new relationship with a friend, family member, or even

just a stranger in your community.

Enjoy other books from our online store.

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Jul 13, 2023

People interested in the lowcountry should read Julia Peterkin -- carefully.

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