Fight June Gloom with Sunny Books

June Gloom is upon us in full force. As the unexpectedly lovely weather of the last two weeks fades into a gray drizzle, my personal survival strategy is to stick my head in the sand and pretend it’s August. If you’d like to join me in my warm, sunny fantasy-land, your plane ticket is an afternoon with these books set in blisteringly hot locales.

The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J Maarten Troost

When Troost and his wife moved to the remote island republic of Kiribati, he expected a tropical paradise. He was very, very wrong. His true travel tales are an enlightening and hilarious trip into one couple’s culture shock.

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

In the first of the beloved Amelia Peabody series, Amelia’s studies in Egypt in are derailed when someone attempts to kidnap her travel companion.  Peters has a Ph.D. in Egyptology, so in addition to charming characters and witty writing, this book provides a fascinating peek into Egypt in the late 1800s.

Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel

Frances Ellerby falls in love with Stiltsville, a small Miami community of overwater houses, and with Dennis, one of its residents. Over the next 30 years, their marriage endures life’s joys and struggles.

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

Vacuum salesman James Wormold is happy to accept an offer to spy for MI6 in Cuba – mostly because it comes with better pay.  He is determined to collect that paycheck, despite having no information, no connections, and no plan.

The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Rochester’s insane wife in the attic is one of the most enigmatic figures not only in Jane Eyre, but in all of literature. Rhys imagines the backstory of this wealthy Jamaican Creole woman driven to madness, exploring issues of race, class, gender, and politics.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The independent nation of Biafra seceded from Nigeria in the late 1960s, sparking years of civil war. The stories of how twin sisters Olanna and Kainene navigate this time are intensely compelling and dramatic in themselves, while also providing a universal lens into the complex conditions of war, history, and humanity.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

Children and adults alike will want to spend a few hours marooned with this classic. After his ship is attacked, twelve year old Phillip finds himself disabled and stranded on a desert island with an elderly black man named Timothy. As Phillip learns to overcome his prejudices and rely on someone different from himself, he finds a new understanding of love, courage, and friendship.

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