Your bags are packed — sort of.   


There’s sunscreen in the side pocket. Plenty of shorts and T’s to last you the whole vacation. Flip-flops and sturdy hikers, plenty of socks and at least one swimsuit for the most important part of your day. But you’re missing one thing, aren’t you?


You’ll need a book for this summer’s vacation, so why not try one (or two, or five) of these?



Your summer vacation might actually be during the summer — which, technically, May isn’t — but there are some books just too good to miss. 


Take, for instance, “The Wright Brothers” by historian David McCullough, a great book, if you’re flying to your destination. I’m looking forward to “When to Rob a Bank” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner; they’re the “Freakonomics” guys, remember? Melissa Rivers has a new book out about her Mom, Joan, and there’s a new biography being released about the life of Ronald Reagan. 

You’ll find a whole lot of diet books out in May, and new books from Neil Gaiman, Nickolas Butler, Neal Stephenson, Lincoln Child, Jen Lancaster, Nelson DeMille and Dolen Perkins-Valdez. Oh, and for your teen, look for a huge Archie Comics anthology and “Spelled” by Betsy Schow.



What better way to start your summer than with new novels by Meg Cabot, Laurell K. Hamilton, Dorothea Benton Frank, Terry Brooks, Joseph Finder, Barbara Delinsky, Brad Meltzer, Elmore Leonard, Christopher Reich, Danielle Steel, Jackie Collins, Candace Bushnell, Jude Devereaux, James Rollins, Mary Higgins Clark, Brad Taylor, Jane Green and others.  Whew!


Wednesday Martin has a new book out about designer duds and the women who love them. Robert Kurson also has a book about riches, but of the pirate kind. And if riches of the soul are more your thing, “The Marriage Book” is what to read.


Just in time for grilling-out season, you’ll find lots of cookbooks for indoors and out. You’ll eat up a tell-all about Judy Garland by Stevie Phillips (who used to work with Judy).  And the kids will enjoy taking a bite into a new re-release of “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie.



Halfway through your summer, there’s still a full range of greatness for readers of all kinds: in July, look for new novels by Catherine Coulter, Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella, Nuala O’Connor, Linda Castillo, Stuart Woods, Alexander McCall Smith, Karin Slaughter, Ace Atkins, Julie Garwood and, of course, Harper Lee.


Former President Jimmy Carter has a new book coming out for this month. There are new biographies about Diane von Furstenburg and Bob Dylan that will be on shelves. For the science lover, there’s a new book about living on Mars, so you can plan for that next year. New cookbooks are all over the place this month. Look for a book on natural healing for pets, and there’s a new WWE book you’ll find in July. 



Hang on …. Summer’s not over until it’s over. And it’s not over until you’ve looked for these books:


Novels, novels, novels, new by Wanda Brunstetter, Alice Hoffman, Debbie Macomber, Linda Fairstein, Sandra Brown, Alex Kershaw, Sophie Hannah, Jen Lancaster, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christopher Moore, Sue Grafton and W. Bruce Cameron. 


There are a couple good parenting books out this month, just in time to send the kids back to school. You’ll also find some books on what it means and what it takes to be human. Al Roker has a fascinating book due out, about weather and storms. Look for “Smokejumper” from Jason Ramos and Julius Smith (about an airborne firefighter), a book about Hurricane Katrina from Gary Rivlin, and a few good cookbooks for planning those last-days-of-summer parties.


Now the housekeeping: Titles change. Authors change. Release dates definitely change, so if you’re desperate for the latest from your fave author, feel free to throw yourself at the mercy of those wonderful people at the bookstore or library. They’re All-Knowing and All-Seeing, when it comes to books. Really. Seriously.


And Happy Reading!  Have a great summer!