The Reverend Dr. William A. Evertsberg

If you wanted to describe my summer reading list in a kind way, you would say that it is eclectic. If you wanted to be unkind, you would say that it looks like it was put together by someone with ADHD. Maybe it was.

John Irving’s The Cider House Rules and Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible are both in my Top Twenty of All Time, so I chose these 40-year-old and 25-year-old (respectively) classics for our Desert Island Books discussion group in the fall.

Both splendid American artists have new books—The Last Chairlift and Demon Copperhead—so they’re on my list too. An Appalachian retelling of David Copperfield, Demon Copperhead is supposed to be spectacular.

You could say that The Cider House Rules is a retelling of David Copperfield too: “Good night, you Princes of Maine, you Kings of New England!”

Martin Luther King, Jr., is my minister hero, so I try to read one new book about him every year. Jonathan Eig’s King is supposed to be the most definitive biography of Dr. King since Taylor Branch’s magisterial trilogy from 20 years ago, so I have to read King by next Martin Luther King Day in January. Surely the titular pun is intended, right?

I was born and raised in Michigan and may die there, so I try to read as many books set in Michigan and around the Great Lakes as I can. There are three new ones this year.

Ryan Stradal, who previously wrote Kitchens of the Great Midwest, among others, recently released Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club, set at Bear Jaw Lake in northern Minnesota.

Thriller writer Megan Abbott’s Beware the Woman is about a young couple’s road trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

I spend every August in Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula, so the Chapel where I preach is essentially in the middle of a cherry orchard. Ann Patchett’s new novel Tom Lake, set to be released August 1, takes place in just such a Northern Michigan cherry orchard.

Remember you promised not to fire me if I told you I like Elin Hilderbrand’s yearly novels about Nantucket. The 2023 installment is called The Five-Star Review. In the dictionary under “beach read,” it says “See Elin Hilderbrand.”