Reading books is alive and well this summer

Penni Schewe

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Reading books is alive and well in Fairfield and our bookstore staff couldn’t be happier. Mind you, Kindles haven’t become passe, but we’re noticing that more of our customers are looking for an actual book that they can hold in their hands. This is definitely a summer of reader demand.

As the floor person at least three times a week at the Fairfield University Bookstore, I have a front-row seat to what our customers are looking for specifically. I usually have a stream of readers asking for various books at our computer look-up desk and I’m happy to direct them to the many sections with books of all kinds.

One of the important tables we created for this summer, is a large summer reads fiction table of our most popular beach-goer books and we’re definitely finding that these books are selling even better than the same titles on shelves. I can’t cover all the titles, but I’ve selected a few to acknowledge.

For instance, Colleen Hoover, who easily has written more than seven books that we consistently run out of, has my vote for leader of the author pack. We literally cannot keep her books on the table or the shelves. Most popular titles seem to be “All Your Perfects,” “It Ends With Us” and “Verity.”

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” “Malibu Rising” and “Daisy Jones & The Six” are running a close second, along with Elin Hildebrand – she has a new New York Times bestseller, “Hotel Nantucket.”

Some other popular works on the table include Nancy Thayer,’s “Summer Love,” Jennifer Weiner’s “That Summer,” and Emily Henry’s “People We Meet on Vacation” and “Beach Read.”


I am also replenishing copies regularly of Rebecca Serle’s “One Italian Summer,” “The Last Thing He Told me” by Laura Dave and Delia Owens’ “Where the Crawdads Sing,” now a major motion picture.

Mystery and suspense remain in high demand this summer with authors like the prolific James Patterson — with or without co-authors — David Baldacci, Stephen King, Lucy Foley, Clive Cussler, Michael Connelly, Preston and Child and John Grisham. I consistently replenish these additional New York Times bestseller books with fresh copies.

The non-fiction and biography/memoir side of the store is busier than ever and among the most popular authors I’ve seen this summer are Patrick Radden Keefe (true crime section and biography); Katie Couric, Dave Grohl, Glennon Doyle and Viola Davis.

“The 1619 Project” by Nicole Hannah-Jones has remained a popular history book this summer. And one of my favorites is Malcolm Gladwell’sTalking to Strangers,” “Outliers,” and a range of other books. “Think Again” by Adam Grant, a business book that has been on and off the New York Times bestseller list, and “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari are also on the list.

Kids books and books for summer reading by students has remained as busy as our other trade books and our Where’s Waldo scavenger hunt, which includes nearly 20 other stores in Fairfield, is getting a lot of interest. Our Waldo party is coming up on July 30.

While my snapshot of appealing summer reads doesn’t cover all of the authors and titles we have, my goal was to emphasize that reading is alive and well this summer and customers are coming in regularly. I’m really hoping that we get a slew of customers during the upcoming sidewalk sale this weekend. We’re well stocked and ready for even more summer readers.

Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at [email protected]

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