by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
What’s on your reading list for this summer? The lists of the best books for this summer have been coming out lately, as we’ve passed Memorial Day. I’ll give you some ideas for books we have at the Litchfield Library that are getting attention as recommended reads for this summer.
If you enjoy historical fiction, take a look at The Healing, The Song of Achilles or The Cove.
The Star Tribune described the novel The Healing as a mixture of The Help and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Jonathan Odell tells a story of three generations of female healers who are slaves on a Mississippi plantation before the Civil War. Reviewers say that the characters are unforgettable.
The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, is a re-telling of Homer’s Iliad. Reviewers say that the familiar territory of the Trojan War is made suspenseful and fresh in Miller’s version, focused on the love affair between the demigod Achilles and the awkward prince Patroclus.
The Cove, by Ron Rash, is set in rural Appalachia during World War I. A young woman named Laurel is ostracized by locals because of a birthmark they think is the mark of the devil. She lives an almost solitary life with her brother, a veteran who lost a hand in the war, until a mute stranger wanders onto their farm. The novel is described as Southern Gothic.
In mysteries, two that have been getting positive press so far this spring are The Rope by Nevada Barr and Dorchester Terrace by Anne Perry. The Rope tells the story of detective Anna Pigeon’s beginnings as a park ranger and her first case, her own abduction. Series fans have been asking Barr to write about her character’s past for years; this is the 17th in the series.
Perry’s Dorchester Terrace is the latest of her Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries. Thomas has been promoted to the head of Britain’s Special Branch of law enforcement in Victorian England. He has to try to prevent an act of terrorism directed at an Austrian duke, but he begins to discover that an even larger plot may be afoot. This is the 27th novel in Perry’s series. I learned an interesting fact in reading up on the series: as a teenager, Anne Perry was convicted of murdering her best friend’s mother. The movie Heavenly Creatures is based on that event.
Nancy Pearl, the librarian who is famous enough to have her own action figure, recommends Treasure Island!!! and A Partial History of Lost Causes, among her list for this summer. Treasure Island!!! is not the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s a humorous novel by Sara Levine about a lazy young woman who reads the Stevenson book and decides to make over her life by its values: boldness, resolution, independence, and horn-blowing. If you enjoy farce and biting humor, this may be a book for you.
In A Partial History of Lost Causes, Jennifer DuBois tells the story of a young woman who believes she has inherited the Huntington’s disease that just killed her father. She travels to Russia to speak with a former chess champion and political candidate to find out how one keeps going in the face of a lost cause.
For more reading suggestions, take a look at our display near the library’s front desk. We’ve got a table of books that our staff recommends. I hope you find great books to read this summer.