Students and teachers share their summer book list

By Anna Kerr / Arts & Entertainment and Opinions Reporter 

Photo by Priyanka Chiguluri / Editor-in-Chief.

During the summer, many Harpeth Hall students and teachers alike immersed themselves in captivating books. Whether spending time at the beach, in the mountains, on a family vacation or just relaxing at home, reading is a popular pastime. This summer, there has been no shortage of trendy books that have kept members of the Harpeth Hall community busy. 

Two of the most popular genres this summer for students were mystery and romance. The New York Times Best Selling Novels of authors such as Jenny Han, John Green and Delia Owens have been among their favorites. When asked which books they read this summer, the overwhelming majority of students said “The Summer I Turned Pretty” by Jenny Han was their favorite summer book. The book stars a teenager, Isabel “Belly” Conklin, who spends her summers at her family’s beach house where all the romantic drama of the story happens. 

While the trilogy has no doubt been a Harpeth Hall favorite this summer, its popularity grew after the release of its eponymous TV show on Amazon Prime in June. Whether watching the show, reading the books or both, some students would recommend it to anyone looking for summer romance novels. 

The author Jenny Han continues to capture the attention of some students with  her other series, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” While the movie for this book was released on Netflix in 2018, its popularity has continued to grow. Whether students are reading this book for the first or fifth time, it is a fan favorite for the summer. 

Similarly to Jenny Han, John Green’s romance novels have continued to capture the attention of students over the summers. Students have enjoyed reading “Turtles All The Way Down.” This novel has kept readers intrigued as the main character, Aza Holmes, works as a detective along with her best friend to find the fugitive billionaire who is on the run. 

John Green blends the genres of romance and mystery while Delia Owens writes a mystery and romance novel that has gained popularity after its movie was released this summer. Produced by Harpeth Hall graduate Reese Witherspoon, “Where The Crawdads Sing” is on everyone’s watch list and book list. 

The mystery of “the marsh girl” captivates the small town of Barkley Cove in North Carolina, where young Kya Clark has lived peacefully for years. However, she eventually finds herself at the center of a criminal investigation. The mystery novel has become a must-read for many students this summer and has kept them on the edge of their seats. 

While Harpeth Hall students were captivated by the aforementioned books and series, the Logos Editors-in-Chief have also been reading some intriguing books. From memoirs to murder mysteries, Olivia Majors, Ava Sjursen, Priyanka Chiguluri and Hallie Graham have delved into some fascinating stories.

Majors spent her summer learning about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes in Janet Malcolm’s book “The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.” Altering the traditional structure of a biography, Malcolm creates a depiction of Plath’s afterlife. She goes into detail about Plath’s husband, Ted Hughes, and his life after his wife’s death. 

Majors’ study of individuals continues with  “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, a memoir that explores Smith’s life through adulthood. Smith most vividly describes the years of 1967-1974 when she was an underground artist in New York City. 

Like Majors, Sjursen also read a realistic historical book “All The President’s Men” by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, two reporters who uncovered the break-in at the Watergate office building in 1972. The break-in of this office resulted in a large scandal for The Washington Post.

Chiguluri read a historical fiction novel by Ruta Sepetys, “The Fountains of Silence,” set during the rule of Spain’s General Francisco Franco. Based on a true story, this book centers on the post-war struggles of Spain. 

Lastly, Graham read “In the Dark, Dark Wood” by Ruth Ware. In this intense psychological murder mystery novel, the main character Nora Shaw tries to remember the events of a bachelorette party where the groom was murdered. Full of many twists and turns, this book is a great option for anyone who loves mysteries. 

Horror, nonfiction, and romance kept our faculty engaged this summer. 

Upper School World Languages Teacher Dr. Amy Miller explored several Kristin Hannah novels, reading “Firefly Lane,” “Home Front” and “Magic Hour,” some of the author’s most famous books. With themes of friendship, hope and honor these books are a unique mix of multiple genres. 

Similarly to Dr. Miller, Upper School English and Math Teacher Ellen Sevits read some novels with themes of inspiration. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah shares the message of hope and perseverance through the Apartheid that overtook South Africa from 1990-1994. This novel recounts a difficult story through a comedic lens, while still reflecting historical accuracy. 

Many people in the Harpeth Hall community this summer read a variety of different genres that kept them busy. The school is full of avid readers, both students and teachers, who appreciate a variety of themes and ideas. All of these books are great recommendations for anyone looking for a relaxing read during this school year.

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