It’s already August. If you’re looking for a book to take with you on vacation or you’d just like another good book to read before the summer’s over, our library has some good summer reads. These titles have come up on lists of this year’s best summer books, from CNN to Oprah to NPR. The Litchfield Library owns copies of all of these books, and a few are available to download from our new e-book and audiobook service.
One of this summer’s big hits is In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson. Larson is the author of the bestseller Devil in the White City. In the Garden of Beasts is a nonfiction book that reads like a thriller. It’s the story of the first American ambassador to Nazi Germany and his daughter, who gets involved with Nazi high society and has an affair with the head of the Gestapo. This is a title we have available as an e-book, as well as in print at Litchfield.
Another of this summer’s big books is State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. A pharmaceutical researcher goes into the Amazon jungle in search of the remains of a colleague and to find her former mentor, who is studying a tribe’s ability to bear children at an advanced age. This novel is described as a serious work of literature with a strong sense of place and plenty of adventure and suspense.
Like Larson’s and Patchett’s books, The Year We Left Home is on multiple lists of the best summer reads of the year. This novel, by Jean Thompson, is the story of an Iowa farm family over the span of three decades, from the 1970s to the 2000s. Chapters are narrated by a variety of characters, all searching for happiness and meaning in their lives. Many reviewers praised the realism of the characters.
Another literary adventure novel that came out this summer is Once Upon a River, by Bonnie Jo Campbell. Her 16-year-old main character is described as a female Huckleberry Finn, who sets out on the Stark River in Michigan to find her missing mother after the death of her father. The story is described as violent but inspiring.
The HBO series Game of Thrones has renewed interest in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. The first novel in the series, A Game of Thrones, came out in 1996, and the newest installment, A Dance with Dragons, just came out this month. It’s topping the best-seller lists. We have this title available as an e-book, too.
Sister is the debut novel by Rosamund Lupton, an experienced screenwriter. It’s a thriller about a woman investigating her sister’s supposed suicide, which she is sure is really a murder. Reviewers say it’s both a page-turning, fast-paced mystery and a heartwarming story about the bond between sisters. This, too, is available as an e-book on our Overdrive website.
The newest version of the Wyatt Earp story is Doc, by Mary Doria Russell. Russell researched Doc Holliday’s life from his aristocratic beginnings in Georgia. She based her idea of Doc’s character on the evidence that he was very close to his mother, who died of tuberculosis when he was fifteen. The novel is a blend of fact and fiction, humor and action, set in Dodge City. This is a title that we have available as a downloadable audiobook on our Overdrive site.
As for my own summer reading, now that I’m done with textbook reading for my summer class, I’ve started on The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. I think I’ll move on to The Hunger Games next. I like young adult fantasy; there are so many good books in that genre these days. I’d love to re-read Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows now that I’ve seen the last movie, but there are so many interesting books I haven’t read yet! Whatever you enjoy reading, I hope you’ll find a book that interests you before the summer is up.