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Friday, May 31, 2013

Hot books for hot days

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Every year there are articles and radio stories on the best books to read that summer.  I was telling my husband that I’m eagerly waiting to see those lists, and he wondered why anyone would think adults have more time to read during the summer.   That’s when most of us are too busy to read!  At our house, that’s when we have gardening and home improvement projects to work on in the long daylight hours.  I know that’s the case for many of you, so that’s actually why our library has a reading program for adults in the winter. 

But I know that teachers and other people who work in schools usually have more time to read over the summer.  Some people take books with them on vacation (which is why these lists are sometimes titled “beach reads”).  And others just read all the time, so news about the new books of any season is always welcome.  Here are a few of the books that I think will be big this summer:

Dan Brown has a new book out, so that has to be big.  Professor Robert Langdon from the Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and The Lost Symbol is back in the novel Inferno.  This one is about Dante’s The Divine Comedy and the art it inspired, and it is as full of thrilling conspiracies as Brown’s other books.

Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven,and Life Again by Crystal McVea is currently a big hit in our library system.  It’s a nonfiction book along the lines of Heaven is for Real and Proof of Heaven, telling the story of a woman’s near-death experience.

It seems that everyone is reading The Great Gatsby since the new movie came out.  People have been telling me that they’ve never read this Jazz Age classic by Minnesotan F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Do I dare admit that I haven’t, either?  You might need to reserve a copy to get your hands on it this summer.

If you like Gatsby, try The Other Typist, a new novel by Suzanne Rindell.  It’s described as a black comedy about a stenographer accused of murder in 1920’s New York City.  It’s being compared to The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has a new novel out: And the Mountains Echoed.  It’s a story of family and choices.  Beginning in 1952 Afghanistan, the novel starts with a folktale and a heartrending separation of siblings, then goes on to cover the stories of three generations.  Reviewers are saying that Hosseini’s writing is more beautiful than ever.

Orphan Train is a popular novel by Christina Baker Kline that has gotten good reviews.  With themes of friendship and second chances, the book is a story of a teenage Penobscot girl who is about to age out of the foster care system.  She is assigned to a community service position as an alternative to juvenile detention, and she discovers that the elderly woman she is helping had difficult, rootless growing up years of her own: she was one of the children who rode an orphan train from New York to the Midwest. 



Besides the books I’m reading with our library’s adult book club, my summer reading list mostly consists of textbooks and articles for a class I’m taking on library services for kids.  I hope your summer reading list will be much more exciting than mine, and that this article will give you a new book idea or two.  We always have fresh new books here at the library, so stop in during your busy summer to check one out.