Celebrate Books & Authors in July 2024



Classic books, the ones you read for school or because they are on some list. Are they any good? Why are they considered a classic? Find out for yourself. Here are some classics that have publication anniversary dates in July. Have you read any of these classics?

July 4, 1855: The first edition of the poetry book Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman contained just 12 poems. Whitman would spend the next 37 years rewriting and revising the book so eventually, there were nine editions and over 400 poems in the collection.

July 11, 1960: In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Scout Finch learns life’s hard lessons during her childhood in Depression-era Alabama. Prejudice, racial injustice, and friendship are themes in this Pulitzer Prize-winning international bestseller. 

July 16, 1951: An immediate popular success The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger delves into the loss of innocence when leaving adolescence behind. Holden Caufield, a 16-year-old currently in a mental hospital, recounts his short time in New York City trying to make it on his own after being expelled from his prep school. 



These authors are celebrating birthdays in July. Have you ever read their books? If not, give one a try. If you have, make sure you've read their most popular book or series. Have you read all their books? Make sure you've read their latest.

Lisa Scottoline by Jeff Wojtaszek
book cover of "The Truth About the Devlins" by Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline was born in Philadelphia on July 1, 1955. Her father was an architect, and her mother was a secretary. Scottoline pursued an English degree and then went to law school. She clerked for state and federal appellate judges and was a litigator for a large Philadelphia firm. Scottoline married Peter Tobey and they had a daughter, Francesca. The couple divorced when Francesca was a year old and Scottoline worked part-time clerking so she could spend time with her daughter. With bills piling up, Scottoline turned to writing. She wrote her first novel, a legal thriller, Everywhere that Mary Went in 1994. This was the beginning of the Rosato & Associates series of 13 novels and featured strong female Italian American characters, like Scottoline herself. Her books transformed into the Rosato & DiNunzio series and then into stand-alones on various topics. Scottoline collaborates with her daughter on non-fiction books and a weekly column originally in the Philadelphia Inquirer, called Chick Wit. Scottoline has taught at her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and appeared on Court TV. She has won numerous awards, including the Edgar Award, and has written over 40 books. In 2021, Scottoline wrote her first historical novel, Eternal. It takes place in Rome and showcases Scottoline’s Italian heritage. Her latest book, The Truth About the Devlins is about the seemingly perfect Devlin family of lawyers except for TJ, the one son who’s been to jail and rehab. When the ‘good’ son confesses to murder, TJ tries to save his brother without losing his new life. (author image from her website by Jeff Wojtaszek)


Dean Koontz at ALA
book cover of "The Bad Weather Friend" by Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz was born July 9, 1945, in rural Pennsylvania. He began writing in college, winning an Atlantic Monthly contest for a short story called “The Kittens” in 1966. He married Gerda Cerra and became a high school English teacher while writing at night and on weekends. Gerda made her husband an offer he couldn’t refuse. She agreed to support him for five years, while he tried to become a successful writer. By the end of their deal, she was able to quit her job too and run the business side of his career. His first novel, Star Quest was published in 1968 and he publishes several books each year. Koontz also wrote under several pseudonyms: Brian Coffey, Deanna Dwyer, K.R. Dwyer, Leigh Nichols, and Owen West. His first commercial, mainstream success was with Whispers in 1980. Several of Koontz’s books have been turned into films or television movies. His best-known series is the Odd Thomas books, which include several graphic novels and a novella. His books are often recommended for those who enjoy Stephen King, as they are fiction with elements of horror and suspense. Koontz’s works include over 100 books, in 38 languages, with over 500 million copies sold. He has won numerous awards and had multiple books on the New York Times Bestsellers lists. He loves golden retrievers and has donated millions to animal charities. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife and their golden Elsa. His latest book is, The Bad Weather Friend. His next book, The Forest of Lost Souls, will be published in late 2024. (author image from Flickr)


Author Lauren Groff holding an oversized library card
book cover of "The Vaster Wilds" by Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff was born July 23, 1978 in Cooperstown, N.Y. Her parents are Dr. Gerald and Jeannine Groff. She has one younger sister, Sarah, who is an Olympic triathlete. Groff was a shy and quiet child. She went to Amherst College and decided to become a writer. While there she was on the rowing team, where she met her future husband, Clay Kallman. After graduating, Groff moved to Philadelphia. She bartended, leaving enough time to write. During that time, Groff wrote three novels but couldn’t get them published. She decided to continue her education to hone her writing skills. She earned her master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Wisconsin. In 2006, Groff moved to her husband’s hometown, Gainesville, Fla. Over the next several years, they had two sons, Beckett and Heath. In 2008, Groff’s first novel was published, The Monsters of Templeton. The next year, she published a book of short stories, Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories. Groff has had many short works published in anthologies and literary magazines, such as The Atlantic Monthly. Her third novel, Fates and Furies was shortlisted for the National Book Award – which has happened twice more. It gained popularity after President Obama declared it his favorite novel of the year. Groff is a New York Times bestselling author and has won several awards including the Joyce Carol Oates Prize in 2022. In 2024, she was named to Time’s 100 Most Influential People list. In April 2024, Groff and her husband opened a bookstore in Gainesville called The Lynx. The bookstore has regular events and several book clubs. It also emphasizes books that are currently challenged or banned in Florida and highlights BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and Florida authors. Groff has published five novels and two short story collections, which have been translated into 36 languages. Groff’s most recent novel is The Vaster Wilds.


Factual information from Gale In Context: Biography and the authors' websites Lisa Scottoline, Dean Koontz, and Lauren Groff.

By BethN on July 8, 2024