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Action, Adventure, and Romance: Your Summer escape waits at the Library

Librarian Laura Hayworth and Library Director Linda Icenhour collected great summer reading at the Johnson County Public Library, Mountain City, TN. Photo by Dan Cullinane

By Dan Cullinane
Freelance Writer

Sunscreen, music, and an ice-cold beverage are the necessary elements of a day at the beach or the pool. But for many of us, a good book is the most important part of the mix, and Linda Icenhour and Laura Hayworth of the Johnson County Public Library have some suggestions for you.

First on Library Director Icenhour’s list is Larry McMurtry’s 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove. The epic story of two aging Texas Rangers leading a group of young, rowdy cowboys on a dangerous cattle drive from Texas to Wyoming has all the elements needed to lose yourself in a great story. “The day I finished it, it was before I had to come to work,” Icenhour said. “I remember sitting on my couch and just crying my eyes out.”

Hayworth had just finished reading West With The Night, the best-selling 1942 memoir of growing up in Kenya, by famed aviator Beryl Markham, and she recommends it highly. “I grew up in Africa,” she said. “I lived in the Congo and visited Kenya, so a lot of her experiences were similar to mine.”

A Gentleman in Moscow is another of Icenhour’s picks.

“It’s an awesome book,” she said. “In my opinion, it should have won the Pulitzer, and I recommend it to everyone.”

Amor Towles’ 2016 bestseller is a suspenseful and surprisingly charming story of an “unrepentant aristocrat” in post-Bolshevik Revolution Russia, who is serving his house arrest in the Metropol Hotel. She also urges patrons to check out the mystery/thriller series The Jigsaw Files by Sharon Sala, the fourth of which, The Last Straw, has just been released.

“I’ve read them all,” she said. “Private eye Christopher Dodge, and his very capable but damaged assistant Warwick are powerful characters.”

Hayworth says Mary Alice Monroe’s Beach House series can’t be beaten for beach reads set at the beach. Set in the low country of South Carolina, where many Johnson Countians will be spending their beach vacations, 2021’s The Summer of Lost and Found is the latest in the series and available now. 

For something a bit grittier, Stephen Mack Jones’ August Snow mystery series leaps from the page with witty firecracker dialog, nerve-shattering suspense, and a protagonist who deals mercy to those who earn it, and devastating retribution to those who deserve it. 2021’s Dead of Winter joins Lives Laid Away and August Snow in the three-book series.These titles are available through the Johnson County Public Library in a book, e-book, and audio formats. 

For more information, visit, or drop by the library at 219 N. College Street in Mountain City. Backpack or beach bag, saltwater or mountain lake, make a fantastic read a part of your summer vacation.