Phone: 612-624-5551
24-hr number: 612-293-0831

Advanced Search

Expert Alert.

Expert Alert

summer reading 300

Image courtesy awottowa (Stock Xchng).

U of M experts on what makes a good summer read

June 15, 2011

It’s summer time in Minnesota, a time to get lost in a good book. What makes for a good summertime read and how do I find it? Two University of Minnesota experts who have advice are:

John Watkins, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts
Watkins says some readers like to organize their reading around a topic. “If you are off to Washington, D.C., with the kids, what better time to bone up on American history and literature alike? Start off with a great biography like David McCullough’s ‘John Adams’ or Arthur Schlesinger's ‘The Age of Jackson.’ Then read a classic American novel like ‘The Scarlet Letter’ or ‘Huckleberry Finn.’”  

If you're staying close to home, Watkins says there might not be a  better time to read novels focused on particular houses. “‘Wuthering Heights,’ ‘Howard's End’ and Daphne Du Maurier's ‘Rebecca’ come immediately to mind,” Watkins says. “A lot of people who love to garden may not realize there is a whole genre of classic writing about gardens, including Vita Sackville-West's ‘In Your Garden’ or the many wonderful books by Christopher Lloyd, the garden columnist for The Guardian.”

Kari Erpenbach, marketing manager, University of Minnesota Bookstores

Erpenbach offers some good tips to help you browse your way into the perfect page turner. “Check out the latest New York Times best-sellers to see what’s hot across the country, don’t forget the local best-sellers and, next, browse the subject categories of your favorite bookstore,” Erpenbach says.

“Most bookstores post staff favorites and this can be a treasure trove of great reading material that often features books and authors that may not have occurred to you,” Erpenbach says. “Remember, book sellers are big book readers, so never be afraid to ask for some suggestions or recommendations.”

To interview Watkins or Erpenbach, contact Jeff Falk at (612) 626-1720 or; or Tessa Eagan at (612) 625-3781 or

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts

Share This Story