Books to enjoy during relaxed summer days


Summer is here! More time to read! We’ll soon see teachers (who finally have some free time) taking out armloads of books. Summer reading programs have started, and we have many Nutmeg nominees for all to choose.
Life slows down just a little during the summer, giving us all a chance to regroup or attempt something different. Try a new author, or genre – give the teen area a try. The writing in general is superb – it has to be to attract that age group! Many adult fiction authors also write teen fiction; James Patterson and Jasper Fforde are just two examples of crossover authors.
For those who faithfully follow the adventures of Thursday Next in adult fiction, Jasper Fforde’s teen offering to watch is “The Last Dragonslayer” (FFO). With a subtitle of “The Chronicles of Kazam, Book One” we can anticipate a continuation of this delightful story about magic and teenagers. Sound familiar? Shades of Harry Potter maybe, but with Fforde’s signature quirky writing. Dragons, and dragonslayers abound along with visions and premonitions. Big magic is coming! The writing is a little simplistic – it even may be more appropriate for younger ages, but the story is still entertaining.
Back to new fiction for adults, we look at “Bellweather Rhapsody” (RAC) by newcomer, Kate Racculia. This book has the feel of a sleeper hit. Wow! What a prelude! After a murderous, chilling beginning, we are introduced to an array of characters including the now-adult witness to the murder, Minnie, who also returns to the scene to face her demons. The Bellweather hotel is hosting a gathering of high school musicians when, again, something strange occurs. A student disappears from the same room in which Minnie beheld a murder. Do you hear the theme music from “The Twilight Zone”?
“To Rise Again at a Decent Hour” (FER) by Joshua Ferris introduces us to Paul O’Rourke, a dentist who is not quite in the modern day mainstream. This is probably why it is easy for someone to impersonate him online and promote an ancient religion. The scary thing is, his online person might be a better “Paul.” The writing is unusual and inventive (he names our cell phones me-machines, for example) and the novel is humorous.
Niall Williams has written the “History of the Rain” (WIL), featuring what we believe are the last moments of Ruth Swain’s life. Bedridden and ill, Ruth is searching for her father and finds she needs to travel back much farther in her memories and family stories to know her great-grandfather and grandfather before she can find her father. Such a lovely, rambling story, sometimes interrupted by doctor visits, but with great insights and wonderful language.
Hilary Rodham Clinton details life as secretary of state in “Hard Choices” (B CLINTON HILLARY CLI). This memoir is a revealing account of a political world few are privy to at the highest levels. In more than one case, Clinton asserts world leaders are very different than their public persona. The financial crisis, foreign policy, and the hunt for Osama bin Laden were just a few of the issues facing Clinton in her term with President Obama. This surprisingly readable book is a testament to a very bright woman who seems to understand foreign policy as well as she understands our domestic world.
Are you on a perpetual diet? “The Science of Skinny” (613.25 MCC) by Dee McCaffrey is a science-based explanation of why we have trouble losing weight – and just what to do to lose those unwanted pounds. Learn how to eat so you can lose weight by eating more natural foods with no additives. You also will understand the science behind eating fat to lose fat and the importance of eating your vegetables like your mother told you. Refined sugars and flours are absolutely toxic, and we all know the importance of drinking water before we are thirsty. The author offers lots of solid scientific facts to convince you to eat and live a healthier lifestyle.
It was inevitable: “Kate: A Biography” (B KATE, PRINCESS MOO) has been written by Marcia Moody to appease the masses of people hungry for more information about the young princess. Here you can read about her childhood, school years, and finally college years and her initial friendship with William. Then the wedding and marriage are covered, as well as the numerous personal and public appearances. Even the most royal fan will be content with the amount of information provided about this engaging and stylish woman.
Lawrence Goldstone writes “Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss and the Battle to Control the Skies” (619.13 GOL), detailing the rivalry between these pioneers. Bicycles first drew the Wrights’ attention, which led to their interest in flying. This also was the route Curtiss took, but he brought bicycles a step farther by motorizing them. The two factions clashed constantly and tried to outdo each other in flight – especially Wilber and Curtiss. History buffs will certainly enjoy this book, but it is a fascinating look at a pivotal time in history for all to enjoy reading.
Adult Services Librarian Donna Hine writes Library Lines once a month. If you have a topic you’d like her to cover, contact her at the library at 203-758-2436.


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