Friday, June 27, 2003
It's time to rest, recreate and read: Mosquito summer reading
School closings and summer vacations are upon us, and we're all looking forward to some long lazy days to put up our feet and read for fun. As we welcome our new library director, Angela Reddin, and Carlisle's schoolchildren flock to the library to pick up their summer reading, the Mosquito sought recommendations this year from some of the folks who work in and for Gleason Library.
Doubtless the kids will have their noses deep in the 870-page Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for a few weeks at least. If you have to wait your turn to read it, or if you don't think you can stand another minute of the Harry Potter craze, fear not! Here are some books to lose yourself in this summer:
Library Trustee Phil Conti recommends
Bonchi, by Toyoko Yamasaki.
Something old, Phil says. "A wonderful novel of Japan's pre-World War II wealthy merchant class and the power of women in a society very different from our western culture." Phil also proposes something new:
Everything's Eventual, by Stephen King.
What could be more summer fun reading than a collection of fourteen dark tales from the fantastic imagination of Stephen King? The short story format seems to expand the fun.
Daytona, by Ed Hinton.
This selection may only appeal to auto racing fans. But if you are one, this is an exciting history of the Daytona Speedway and of NASCAR auto racing. The author includes real life stories from drivers, car owners sponsors, and track owners gathered during his forty-year career as a racing reporter.
Library Trustee Mary Cheever recommends...
The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College by Jacques Steinberg.
As the mother of an incoming junior at CCHS I read with fascination admissions officer Steinberg's account of six applicants wading through the college application process. Though it is disturbing to learn that decisions can be based on factors beyond control of the applicant, it is important to note the message of being true to yourself, not some manufactured creation. In addition to the wealth of practical information learned, it is a good read for non-fiction, a tip to the storytelling skill of the author.
Quentins by Maeve Binchy.
As first-generation Irish-American, I feel at home with Binchy's stories. She masterfully weaves the lives of many characters together, while sharing traditional Irish culture with the reader. This latest effort is based on the lives of many patrons of a modern Dublin restaurant, Quentins. Like all her stories the emphasis is on family, friends, choices, and kindness. I recommend it as a feel-good page-turner, which you should consider taking on vacation.
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.
A fictional account, based on primary source material, of the three most important days of the Battle of Gettysburg. Shaara chronicles the characters, personalities, and decisions of major military players, including Lee, Longstreet, Pickett, Buford, and Hancock. You have a greater feeling for the fog of war in this story than through the reporting of modern day conflicts. I rate it a must-read for young and old buffs of the Civil War.
From a library staffer:
Lazy B, by Sandra Day O'Connor.
This book contains beautiful and amazing descriptions of the high desert country of the Arizona/New Mexico border where Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor grew up. Beginning in 1880, it portrays a fascinating picture of life on a cattle ranch through three generations of the Day family.
Kay Edelberg from the library staff recommends
Grand Ambition, by Lisa Michaels.
This is based on a true story of Glen and Bessie Hyde, a young newlywed couple who decide to run the treacherous rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The year is 1928, and Bessie was to be the first woman to make this dangerous trip, while her husband Glen was trying to fulfill his own ambition. The story stays true to the few known facts, and Michaels creates a completely credible account of the dangers · both emotional and physical · of their courageous and ultimately doomed journey.
Blessings, by Anna Quindlen.
Kay describes this as "an uplifting novel of love and redemption", examining the effect of foundling baby Faith on the people who care for her on a family estate called Blessings. As a result of contact with Faith, all the characters undergo profound changes in their lives. Central to the narrative are the secrets of 82-year-old Lydia Blessing's past, which ultimately determine her fate.
Marty Seneta from the library staff picked out several early readers...
Minnie and Moo go to the Moon by Dennis Cazet.
Minnie and Moo are an intrepid pair of cows who take a joy ride on the farmer's tractor in this adventure. This beginning reader series combines several types of humor.
Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel.
The ups and downs of the friendship of Frog and Toad are told with a limited vocabulary in short simple sentences. In this Caldecott Honor book, Lobel develops his characters with words and pictures. There are four more books in the series.
Fox and his Friends by Edward Marshall.
Early readers will laugh as they read about Fox and his friends. The situations with siblings and parents ring true to life.
Linda Dodge from the library staff recommends...
A Singular Hostage, by Thalassa Ali.
This first novel by Ms. Ali, book one of a planned trilogy, follows the journey of an unconventional young lady sent from Victorian England to make a suitable match in India. Instead, she finds herself in the midst of fierce political conflict. Ali's portrayal of the exotic beauty and danger of nineteenth-century India makes for interesting reading.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency , by Alexander McCall Smith.
Dubbed by critics as "the Miss Marple of Botswana", the main character, Precious Ramotswe, uses her powers of observation and keen insight into human nature to solve her cases. One need not be a mystery fan to enjoy the gentle humor of everyday life of the number one (and only) lady detective in Botswana.
Summerland, by Michael Chabon (for kids and families).
Reminiscent of Philip Pullman's Dark Materials, Summerland also visits alternate worlds peopled by a myriad of mythical beings, but without Pullman's sinister overtones. Little leaguer Ethan Field and his motley team of characters must try to save the universe, of all things, by winning a baseball game. Chabon narrates the story himself on CD (check it out at Gleason library), and his variety of character voices is impressive. Maybe good listening for that long car ride?
Friends of the Gleason Public Library president Paula Trebino offers three suspense novels...
Do You Want to Know a Secret? by Mary Jane Clark.
This is a debut novel written by a producer and writer at CBS news. Set in a newsroom, it has an insider's view.
The Second Time Around, by Mary Higgins Clark.
I never get tired of reading any suspense novel by Mary Higgins Clark. They are all enjoyable and fun. I have enjoyed all of Catherine Coulter's contemporary suspense novels, too. They are interesting, an easy relaxing read, and flow nicely.
Riptide by Catherine Coulter.
This novel, set on the Maine coast, features New York gubernatorial speechwriter Becca Matlock, who is targeted by a stalker.
Friends member Verna Gilbert suggests...
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd.
This book is about family, caretaking, blurring social lines, kindness, and love. Set in the racially charged atmosphere of the south in 1964, it concerns a white child named Lily, whose life is irrevocably transformed when her mother dies and she is left in the care of a black woman named Rosaleen. When Rosaleen insults some racists, she and Lily flee to South Carolina and are taken in by an eccentric trio of beekeeping sisters.
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri.
This book won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It includes nine short stories about immigrants, expatriates, and their children, and their emotional journeys seeking love and acceptance beyond the barriers of nations and generations.
Consider This, by Harriet Doerr.
This book examines the lives of four North American expatriates in a small, poor Mexican village. Doerr does a wonderful job describing rural Mexican culture from an American outsider's point of view. Her language is clear and concise, and at the same time full of beautiful descriptions that reflect her understanding of her characters and of human experience in general.
There's an eclectic collection to look into this summer. Come on down to the library, say hello to Angela and the staff, and check out a few of these books. Then try out the new benches out front and start reading!
© 2003 The Carlisle Mosquito