Books of Interest Part 9: 2023 Summer Reading Recommendations

For the past few years, we have curated a list of our employees’ favorite reads. We are excited to be back again with Part Nine of our “Books of Interest” recommendations list. If you are looking to be captivated by a story or have already binged your way through your streaming watch list, here is a list of 8 books recommended by our employees.

To check out even more recommendations, here are parts 1-8 of our Books of Interest blog posts: Books of Interest Archives | Stillman 2 Cents

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 

The Nightingale is about 2 sisters in World War 2, who are a part of the French resistance in their own ways. They risk their lives again and again to help others. It’s such a beautifully written story.

–  Recommended by: Cristy M.


The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell is book 1 of a 13-book historical fiction series, which has been adapted into a very good Netflix show. It follows the adventures of Uhtred of Bebbanburg in 9th Century England, before there was an England. A Saxon, raised by Danes, Uhtred becomes a fierce warrior who fights to reclaim his home which was stolen from him.  His story mixes with important people and events from early English history as different races, cultures, and kings fight for dominance. This is a great read for anyone who enjoys history and fantastic battle scenes.

–  Recommended by: Chris L.


The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss by Nancy L. Mace, MA  & Peter V. Rabins, MD, MPH

This book is more informative-not a ‘fun’ read but if anyone has someone in their life that is suffering from dementia ‘The 36-Hour Day’ A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias’ is a must!

–  Recommended by: Jeani C.


Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson 

Join this multigenerational story about 2 estranged siblings not only dealing with the death of their mother but the fact that everything they thought they knew about her life was, in fact, a lie. Follow as brother and sister travel through the life and choices of their mother and how it changes the history they had always known. The use of the non-linear timeline and multiple points of view only helps enhance the way this story is expressed. I do not think I have been this engrossed in a book in a very long time. By the end I found myself wondering what course of history for my family may have been changed that resulted in leading us to where we all are. Also, I found myself ravenous to make this famous family recipe for the black cake myself! Do yourself a favor and get a little lost in this book, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

–  Recommended by: Lindsey S.


The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in New Jersey, four teenagers working late at the store are attacked. Only one inexplicably survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again. Fifteen years later, more teenage employees are attacked at an ice cream store in the same town, and again only one makes it out alive. In the aftermath of the latest crime, three lives intersect: the lone survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive the horrors of her tragedy; the brother of the fugitive accused, who’s convinced the police have the wrong suspect; and FBI agent Sarah Keller who must delve into the secrets of both nights―stirring up memories of teen love and lies―to uncover the truth about murders on the night shift.

I gravitated towards this thriller initially for the 90’s nostalgia but was soon hooked into the gripping, intertwining storytelling of our three narrators. Each chapter provides readers with mini cliffhangers, taunting you to just read “one more chapter.” The author (Alex Finlay) does an incredible job providing each narrator with the opportunity to unfold a part of the whodunit thriller, making each storyteller’s unique perspective important to the story.

–  Recommended by: Jennifer K. 


Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I recommend Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. It’s an engaging fantasy novel set in Russia in the Middle Ages with interconnected stories and plenty of twists and turns until you reach the end that draws it all together!

–  Recommended by: Allie C.


Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn 

My recommendation is Ella Minnow Pea! The story is effective and interesting but what really makes this story stand out is the format. It’s a story told in the form of letters sent between people of the town Nollop (named after the man who created the sentence ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”). It’s a book about the importance of expression told in such a unique and clever way – as the letters of that sentence fall off of the Nollop memorial stature, the council bans those letters on the island. As letters are banned on the island, they disappear from the book. It’s written so well that it’s hard to notice the lack of letters until you’re pretty far into it! This book uses the English language in such a new, exciting way that it’s hard not to admire the author’s skill (especially if words and semantics interest you!)

–  Recommended by: Kayla A. 


The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

A beautiful book that is set in a fantasy, post-King Arthur, Britain.  It starts out confusing, but the author does a great job of slowly and steadily tying threads together.  The narrative flows well, and it evokes a lot of emotion and sentimentality based on loss, grief, and the tolls of time.  It is very different from the standard fantasy science fiction but hits a lot of the same notes.  A great summer read.

–  Recommended by: Keith A.