Staff Book Suggestions Summer 2013
The Interestings: A Novel by Meg Wolitzer
A “sly” coming-of-age novel following the relationships (both competitive and romantic) of a group of teens who meet in 1974 at an arts camp.
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
(Library of Congress PZ3.M13884 Me)
The isolation, dissatisfaction, and intensity of adolescence is brilliantly captured by McCullers in her wistful and darkly comic tale of 12-year-old tomboy Frankie Addams during the waning days of summer in a small Southern town.
The Lollipop Shoes (U.K.; U.S. edition is: The Girl with No Shadow) by Joanne Harris
(Library of Congress PZ4 .H313797 Lo 2007)
A little summer magic. A sprinkle of confection, a bit of bewitchment, and a dash of spice in The Lollipop Shoes returns us to the story of Vianne Rocher, Anouk and Roux, the characters that originally appeared in Harris’s Chocolat. The restless wind has blown them all to a new life in the Montmartre district of Paris. New adventures await! The saga continues in Peaches for Father Francis. I enjoy Harris’s off-beat characters and the flavor of her unusual storytelling, and of course there is France and chocolate!
City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte
(New Books, Library of Congress PZ4.F6496 Ci 2012)
This book is a fun and imaginative read, pure and simple, featuring an engaging female protagonist, a musicologist who hails from South Boston but ends up in the middle of a kind of mystery when she takes a project cataloging Beethoven artifacts in Prague for the summer. It will win over many mystery buffs, history buffs, classical music buffs, and fantasy buffs as it pays homage to each one while managing to spin a fantastic tale with a good dose of humor thrown in. It was impossible to put down from start to finish… perfect for a summer read.
The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes by Carolyn Keene
(Children’s Library, Library of Congress PZ7.K24 Clw 1965)
It may be that the last time you picked up a Nancy Drew mystery, Petula Clark was urging you “Downtown” and zip codes were still a novelty; and perhaps a little while later you thought you’d put the girl detective down for the last time. Think again! Nancy Drew in all of her incarnations from 1930, when she made her debut in The Secret of the Old Clock, through her no-longer-blonde but “titian-haired” years, can be counted on for clear thought, decisive action, an enviable wardrobe, impeccable manners, and a refreshing reluctance to search her soul for questionable motives. A modern sleuth of the sensitive and tortured variety she is not, and this happily frees up her time for traveling to fascinating parts of the world and refusing to return to River Heights USA until she’s put a few dents in international crime. In The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes, Nancy chases villains in rented cars (while driving, carefully, on the left), deciphers codes, puts out wildfires, and pipes “Scots Wha Hae” to surprising effect—all while learning more about Scotland’s history, geography, and culture than a lesser person would in a whole summer’s holiday. For a “PZ7” it’s a genuine ripsnorter, and one you needn’t be embarrassed to read in the train since, as you’ll soon discover, Nancy has friends everywhere!
Dummy by R. J. Wheaton
(Library of Congress ML3470 .T54 no. 85)
A very in-depth analytical history of one of the best trip-hop bands to ever come out of England.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
The delicious awkwardness of being sixteen. Punk rock. Mixed tapes. Trying father figures. Clueless moms. Discovering the humanity of others via comic books. This young adult novel provides plenty of serious social commentary, combined with jokes that will have you chuckling out loud on your commute. It also contains what is being hailed as the most intense hand holding scene in young adult literature—if not all literature. Still not convinced? It just won the 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction.
(Library of Congress PZ4.F69877)
Ford’s novels are always excellent. The latest is Canada.
The Flavia De Luce mystery series by C. Alan Bradley
(Library of Congress PZ4.B79957)
Just the ticket for summer reading: a crumbling English country house, a dead body, and a wickedly precocious young sleuth. Meet Flavia de Luce, an eleven year old girl with an interest in chemistry—particularly poisons. Flavia’s escape from the torments of her two older sisters is a Victorian chemistry lab that she inherited from her uncle, or a ramble in pursuit of clues on her bicycle which she has named Gladys. The books are for adults but could also be enjoyed by precocious eleven year olds! There are now six titles in the series (the first being The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie). Enjoy!
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
(New Books, Library of Congress PZ4.G1475 Cu 2013)
A terrific debut crime novel by an author using a pseudonym, which makes it even more of a mystery! Set it London, it follows detective and wounded war veteran Cormoran Strike as he investigates a case, with the help of a new temp secretary who jumps into the case with enthusiasm and provides invaluable support. Hopefully the start of a series!
**News Flash!! The author is really J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books!** 7/16/13
The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity by Robert Louis Wilken
This book has received positive reviews. It is a survey for general audiences, not specialists, and assumes no previous knowledge of Christian history, though it is clearly written from the point of view of a practicing Christian scholar. The text covers the major figures and developments in the early centuries of Christianity with special attention to the early eastern churches in Iran, India, and China and Christians living under Muslim rule, both topics not especially well covered in other histories of the Christian Church.
The Devil’s Cave by Martin Walker
(New Books, Library of Congress Classification PZ4.W183 Dev 2012)
Many of the non-fiction books I read sound like mysteries: Riddle of the Labyrinth, Tomb of Agamemnon, etc. I’m not ashamed of this coincidence. I enjoy reading mysteries and enjoy it all year long, but come summer, there’s something special about gobbling a good mystery. It’s often not about solving the crime. I knew that in 8th grade when the know-it-all nark in class disparaged my Trixie Belden mystery. “They’re so easy to solve, it’s not a challenge.” Duh, you can solve it by reading the synopsis on the back cover. I realized it was no wonder she had no friends; she didn’t understand that the characters–their thoughts, dreams, and relationships–were the source of pleasure. I am not sure if I am still looking for vicarious friendships, but I am looking for vicarious travel. If, like me, you wish you were in Europe right now, buy a ticket on the daydream airline (seats suitable for every budget). Martin Walker’s books about Bruno have it all. An intelligent author who knows French history and the region he writes about. Bruno, the detective, is a sensitive ex-soldier who makes his women gourmet dinner and breakfast and stays friends with all of them while foiling all criminals (petty and political). The latest, Devils Cave, is on the new book shelves; however, if you care about the relationships of these characters (and you know I think you should) start with Bruno, Chief of Police. There are a total of five in the series, enough to last the summer.