Take a Shelfie! – A Glimpse of What We Are Reading this Summer

Las Cruces readers have put their money where the books are. Thanks to your contributions, Children’s Reading Alliance will deliver 9,000 new books to children this summer. This week Claud Gobble and Wells Fargo Advisors added the crowning donations allowing us to buy the additional 1,000 books we need to achieve our goal. All of us at Children’s Reading Alliance and Las Cruces Public Schools thank you for helping us provide books that will keep struggling readers reading this summer. Starting this week volunteer Book Buddies are making their first of four visits to each K-3Plus summer school site to share children’s literature and the joy of book ownership with children in grades kindergarten through third grade.

All of the wonderful volunteers who have been hitting the pavement for donations can finally come inside to cool off and read. And we sincerely hope that you will do the same this summer. The best way for our children to learn to love reading is to see all of the adults in their lives enjoying books too.

It’s time to take a shelfie, a glimpse at what we are reading this summer.

I asked CRA board members about the books that are open on their night stands, patios, next to the recliner, and on the bathroom counter. Ambitious readers all, no one had any trouble naming books to recommend. Here is our eclectic selection to whet your appetite for a reading picnic of your own.

George Mulholland is armchair hiking in Coyote America by Dan Flores, a book that provides the author’s personal observations along with scientific research.

At Claudia Billings’ house there are open books in every room as her whole family passes around their new favorites. Recommendations run the gamut.

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, a reimagined history.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders takes the reader on a non-linear path in and out of the bardo where people who are dead are still connected to the living. “Not the easiest thing to read but very rewarding,” says Billings.

Louise Erdrich’s  LaRose is a contemorary tale of justice and atonement with ancient roots in Native American culture.

Louise Penny mysteries follow Chief Inspector Gamache on his crime fighting adventures in Canada.

Claudia is preparing for summer reading at Mesilla Park and Mesilla Elementary Schools with an old favorite, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and her new fav, Bunny Loves to Write by Peter Bently.


Clay Doyle ventures into the virtual world of the future in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, a science fiction novel.

Marcus Crawford is reading Drift by Rachel Maddow, a look at how the U.S. has entered its current era of perpetual war.
Maria Flores is a fan of the New York Times and The New Yorker. This summer she looks forward to catching up on her books with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith; Confesssions of a Berlitz-tape Chicana, essays and poetry by Demetria Martinez; and a gift from her daughter, All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister , a portrait of contemporary American life.

Mary Helen Garcia, is reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and Against All Odds by Danielle Steele.

Susan McDaniel is reading Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya when she isn’t busy preparing Stellaluna; Pete the Cat; Coyote, a Tale from the American Southwest; Giraffes Can’t Dance,  and What do you do with a Tail Like This?  for her Summer Book Buddies at MacArthur Elementary School.

At my house, Haruki Murakami novels of magical realism have really caught on. Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow is creating plenty of conversation, although I have to say I prefer Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

My newest fav children’s book is Michael Hall’s Red, A Crayon’s Story. I am conducting an experiment by reading it to adults as well as children because of the surprising range of interpretations it seems to elicit.