Sundog books in Seaside

Favorite Fall Reads at Sundog Books

It’s back-to-school season again, a period where we trade in our beach reads and light-hearted romps for educational and informative books that prepare us for the rigors of the upcoming academic year.

This shift doesn’t necessarily mean a departure from the joy of reading. At Sundog Books, we’ve long believed that educational books and fun can coexist.

Working with the beloved family-owned bookshop for over five years, I’ve noticed a particularly strong relationship between the back-to-school season and an increased interest in historical fiction. It’s fascinating to see readers of all ages turn to this genre as a way to explore different periods in time and gain insights into our shared past.

Historical fiction serves as a bridge between education and entertainment. It can make the ancient world come alive, turn abstract events into deeply personal narratives, and give us a newfound appreciation for the people who lived through those times. It’s a time-travel ticket and a history lesson rolled into one, wrapped in the magic of storytelling. While textbooks give us the facts, historical fiction allows us to experience the emotional and human aspects of history.

There’s something indescribable about wandering through shelves of books, each one promising a unique adventure or a nugget of knowledge. With every turn of the page, we’re granted a peek into someone else’s world. The pleasure we derive from reading isn’t diminished even when we’re learning something new – in fact, it’s often enhanced.

This back-to-school season, let’s lean into this power of books to both educate and entertain us. Remember, learning doesn’t have to be confined to the classroom. Whether it’s a young student picking up a new book for their school project, or an adult reader delving into a historical fiction novel for a fresh perspective, the pursuit of knowledge continues to be a driving force for readers of all ages.

We look forward to welcoming you at Sundog Books, your partner in the wond

erful, ever-evolving journey of learning. Let’s turn the page to this new chapter together.


“The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride

Selected by Sundog Bookseller Kathy, Release Date Aug. 8, 2023

James McBride invites readers to the 1970s Pennsylvania town of Pottstown in “The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store.” Through the eyes of Moshe and Chona Ludlow, the novel delves into the community’s secret past, juxtaposing ambition with sorrow, and the ethereal with the earthly. The genuine pulse of human connection reverberates through McBride’s prose as he unveils a skeleton at the bottom of a well, making “moldy bones dance.” McBride’s craftsmanship as a “storyteller-in-chief” presents a novel brimming with compassion, inventiveness, and the ever-present duality of despair and vitality. This work further solidifies his mastery in blending the subtle nuances of human existence.

“The Vaster Wilds” by Lauren Groff

Selected by Sundog Bookseller Bryan, Release Date Sept. 12, 2023

Strap in for a breathtaking wilderness escapade in Lauren Groff’s “The Vaster Wilds.” A story that teeters on the brink of adventure and allegory, it’s a journey into a world that is raw, riveting, and seemingly boundless. The novel resonates with a sense of urgency and imagination, engaging both the adventurer and thinker. It’s a literary expedition beckoning readers to pack their bags and embark on a transformative exploration that promises to stretch beyond the borders of the ordinary.

“This Other Eden” by Paul Harding

Selected by Sundog Bookseller Tamara, Release Date Jan. 24, 2023

Embarking on a journey to the coastal beauty of Maine, Paul Harding’s “This Other Eden” unearths the secrets of Malaga Island’s racially integrated community. Through the perspective of a young Black woman, readers are invited to explore dreams, identity, and a history marked by both dignity and destruction. Harding’s eloquent storytelling weaves a narrative as captivating as the waves, as profound as the island’s legacy. Dive into this tale, history aficionados, for it promises an immersive experience, rich with lessons echoing across time.

“Chenneville” by Paulette Jiles

Selected by Sundog Bookseller Kathy, Release Date Sept. 12, 2023

Paulette Jiles, the luminary behind the lauded “News of the World,” delivers a poignant exploration of justice, vengeance, and courage in “Chenneville.” Following the haunting journey of John Chenneville, a Union soldier, Jiles paints the lawless post-Civil War American frontier with bold strokes. This is a novel etched in grief, driven by an unrelenting quest for redemption. The landscape, as shattered as the nation itself, becomes a vivid canvas for characters sculpted with Jiles’s unmistakable finesse. Every emotional twist plunges the reader deeper into Texas, where reckoning may exact a price beyond what Chenneville has already lost. The soul of this gripping narrative lies in its raw portrayal of a man’s odyssey to right irrevocable wrongs.

“Bessie” by Linda Kass

Selected by Sundog Owner Linda White, Release Date Sept. 12, 2023

With “Bessie,” Linda Kass paints a portrait of Bess Myerson, a figure of triumph, turbulence, and resolute strength. The first Jewish Miss America transcends her beauty queen image, emerging as a musical virtuoso and staunch warrior against discrimination. The prose takes readers on a riveting promenade down history’s runway, crafting an experience rich in historical texture. The echoes of applause are felt in every line, offering front-row seats to the remarkable women of our shared past. Readers will find themselves captivated by this vibrant blend of cultural celebration and personal resolve.

About Michelle Hayes Uhlfelder:

Take a “page” from Michelle’s book and discover the story of Sundog Books as she spearheads the branding of the bookshop. From WaterColor, where she has resided with her family for over 15 years, Michelle’s an avid reader of pretty much all genres and always loves swapping book recs with visitors and locals of all ages. If you can’t swing by, check out her “favorites shelf” full of instant must reads or visit her Instagram book account @thebookdarling.


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