From Mother Nature Network's Matt Hickman:

Now that I have my first official sunburn of the season — a 5-mile bike ride followed by a few rounds of skee ball on the boardwalk will do that to you — I thought it would be appropriate to feature a few items that I'm eyeing for one of my favorite non-biking/skee ball-related summertime activities: catching up on my reading.

Below you'll find a dozen freshly (or fresh-ish) released or soon-to-be-released summer books covering sustainable home design, building and architecture, gardening, and renovation/remodeling. I've also included hotly anticipated releases from both the first lady of the United States and the first lady of home decor catalog snark, Molly Erdman (seriously, if you've never met "Gary" and "Elaine" before, than this summer is the perfect time to do so). While they may not be ideal beach reads in terms of physical size and subject matter, there's nothing stopping you from settling down with these inspirational and informative tomes out on the porch swing, backyard hammock, or from the comfort of a bench in a local park.

Is there a green home- or garden-centric book that you're looking forward to plowing through spending some quality time with this summer?

List and captions courtesy of the Mother Nature Network

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  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/American-Grown-Kitchen-Gardens-America/dp/0307956024/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338235272&sr=8-1" target="_hplink">American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America</a>" by Michelle Obama</strong> (Crown)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Houses-Century-Earth-Friendly-Design/dp/0847838455/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338231816&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Handmade Houses: A Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design</a>" by Richard Olsen</strong> (Rizzoli)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Design-Like-You-Give-Damn/dp/0810997029/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338231465&sr=1-2" target="_hplink">Design Like You Give a Damn: Building Change From the Ground Up</a>" by Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr </strong>(Abrams)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Eco-House-Book-Terence-Conran/dp/1840916028/ref=tmm_pap_title_0" target="_hplink">Eco House Book</a>" by Terrence Conran</strong> (Conran) (Paperback edition) (7/4)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Vegetable-Gardening-Colonial-Williamsburg-Way/dp/1609611624/ref=pd_sim_b_1" target="_hplink">Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th Century Methods for Today's Organic Gardeners</a>" by Wesley Greene</strong> (Rodale)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Humble-Simple-Cottages-Ramshackle-Retreats/dp/0762771461" target="_hplink">Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts: And Whatever the Heck Else We Could Squeeze in Here</a>" by Derek Diedricksen</strong> (Lyons Press)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Catalog-Living-Its-Most-Absurd/dp/0452297818/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338237450&sr=1-2" target="_hplink">Catalog Living at It's Most Absurd: Decorating Takes (Wicker) Balls</a>" by Molly Erdman </strong>(Plume) (6/26)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Food-Grown-Right-Your-Backyard/dp/1594856834/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338236164&sr=1-4" target="_hplink">Food Grown Right in Your Backyard</a>" by Colin McCrate and Brad Halm </strong>(Mountaineers Books)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Small-Space-Container-Gardens-Transform-Balcony/dp/1604692413/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338230760&sr=1-4" target="_hplink">Small-Space Container Gardens</a>" by Fern Richardson</strong> (Timber Press)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Architecture-Now-Landscape-Philip-Jodidio/dp/3836536765/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338231268&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Architecture Now! Landscape</a>" by Philip Jodidio</strong> (Taschen)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Eco-house-Renovations-Green-Home-Conversions/dp/076433929X/ref=sr_1_20?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338236337&sr=1-20" target="_hplink">Eco-House Renovations: 45 Green Home Conversions</a>" by Lucy D. Rosenfeld </strong>(Schiffer Publications)

  • <strong>"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Inside-Prefab-The-Ready-made-Interior/dp/1568989873/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338232579&sr=8-1" target="_hplink">Inside Prefab: The Ready-Made Interior</a>" by Deborah Schneiderman</strong> (Princeton Architectural Press)

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