TBF Team Summer Reads: the pets edition

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One thing we all have in common here at Texas Book Festival is, of course, our love of books. Despite how much we read and talk about books on a daily basis, we never quite get tired of it. Whether we’re eagerly cracking open a brand-new title or diving back into a long-time favorite, we love telling each other (and you) about it.


The TBF team recently realized another thing we have in common: we all have fantastic rescue pets who love nothing more than to join us on the couch, the porch, or the bed while we read. As many of you already know, reading with a pet is a great way to get a few more chapters in while your furriest family member gets some quality one-on-one time. You can even go a little further and try reading aloud: we guarantee they’ll make an appreciative audience.


In the interest of combining these two great loves, we’re giving you our summer reads recommendations with input from our pets.


Lois and Pete: Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee

I’ll let Pete tell it from his perspective: “Ever since my family adopted me, I’ve been interested in the mother’s background, which is Korean. She’s not my favorite member of the family (that would be the tall girl who lets me sleep on her bed), but I think the mom’s okay. She and I have been reading this book, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, and we like it for different reasons. The mother likes that it is set during the years when Korea was colonized by Japan and she is learning about the country’s history by reading a novel—which I know she loves because she is always reading these long Russian and English novels from the nineteenth century. I like it because the characters live a really tough life, but are kind, resilient survivors, something I can relate to from my early years on the streets. Even though people mistreated me, I stayed sweet and nice. It’s a little hard to read now that my eyesight isn’t so good, but I can if the book is really close to my furry face.”




Claire and Ash: The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach

My baseball knowledge is limited to baseball films (Field of Dreams, Sandlot, A League of Their Own) and yet, my recommendation is Chad Harbach’s Art of Fielding. Surprisingly, I love this book because of the baseball, and how it pitches each character along their own trajectory (see what I did there?). This is a very readable story of young men stumbling and fumbling until finding their stride.



Lea and Daisy: Our Great Big Backyard by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager

Our Great Big Backyard is a great way to introduce your kids to the idea of camping and exploring nature—especially if they have been more inclined toward screen time. The illustrations and the characters’ exploration of our National Parks encourage kids to research our country’s landscape, parks, and animals. Daisy especially loves planning all the different places she can go to chase wildlife she’s never chased before. I highly recommend this book not only as a great family read but also as a springboard for new family adventures!




Lydia and Asher: Magic for Beginners, by Kelly Link 

This month we’re revisiting one of my favorite-ever short story collections, a book Asher is very familiar with from my frequent re-reads: Magic For Beginners. Kelly Link’s brilliant stories are fantastically weird and absurdly wonderful. Whether she’s playing with the conventions of a dark fairy tale or building off the tropes of a haunted house story, her imagination is sure to confound you. And, when you’ve finished Magic for Beginners and think you’ll never find any book quite as perfect, don’t worry: Link’s Get in Trouble is just as good. 



Maris and Ivan: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I’m excited to FINALLY read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It’s been on my to-read list for so long, and I finally chose this summer to dig into it. Ivan is happy because a big book like this means lots of lap time for him.



Charley and Ophelia: When the Cat’s Away, by Kinky Friedman

This summer we’re reading When the Cat’s Away. Kinky’s 80’s + 90’s mysteries are my favorite go-to for fun, easy summer reading. His quirky music is a nice companion to the hilarious books.


 Julie and Sam (and Nate in the back!): 11/22/63 by Stephen King