It is time for summer and summer reading. Recently I presented some fun summer titles for people to consider for their vacations, staycations, and other incidental reading experiences. For the full list of titles go here. What follow are some of the evening’s highlights. Oh! And don’t forget to sign up for our summer reading program. You could win prizes, and you will definitely be encouraged to read in a tree and find a ladybug. When was the last time someone encouraged you to do that?
What Nora Knew, by Linda Yellin
This is a lovely homage to Nora Ephron, that great romantic comic of 80’s and 90’s cinema. Holly is a journalist for an online magazine whose job is to put herself into ridiculous situations then write about them. With her newest assignment, her boss wants her to write about love in the style of Nora Ephron, but Holly doesn’t trust love. All she wants from a relationship is safety. To add to Holly’s troubles is Cameron Duncan, a charming mystery author that she can’t NOT run into. Yellin’s romantic comedy has fun recreating scenes from When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. She also fills the book with fun dialog and loads of charm, making this a perfect light summer read. Available as a book.
I am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes.
The titular Pilgrim is a former top secret agent who has written a widely read tomb on DNA evidence. Pilgrim’s nemesis is Saracen, a man bent on Jihad who is developing a terrible small pox virus to release against the US. Hayes does a good job developing both characters and uses the political angle to great effect. This looks like a door-stopper, but don’t be fooled. It reads quickly and is pretty tough to put down. Available as a book or CD.
The Martian, by Andy Weir
A routine mission to Mars is interrupted by a terrible sandstorm that sweeps away one of the crew. His vitals are dead. The astronaut, Mark Watney, wakes up a few hours later, certain of three things. First, his team has left him for dead and aborted the mission (which is just standard operating procedure). Second, he has no way of communicating with Earth. Third, there isn’t enough food left in his “hab” to survive until the next mission arrives. How Mark Watney fights against those three facts is an amazing story – and an incredible one as Weir uses problem solving to propel the plot of this completely engrossing novel. This is hardcore science fiction starring a loveable and funny protagonist facing the worst odds ever. If you are a fan of books on CD, the reader here is particularly good. Available as a book or CD.
Little Demon in the City of Light, by Steven Levingston
A bit of historical true crime a la Devil in the White City. In 1889 Gabrielle Bompard is arrested for murder. She insists that she didn’t know what she was doing, and that she was, in fact, mesmerized into committing this vile crime. The trial that followed was a complete sensation as journalists re-hashed the gruesome crime and experts on both sides of the question argued whether it would even be possible to hypnotize a person to kill someone else. Levingston lovingly re-creates Paris of La Belle Époque. His research is spot on and he tells a page-turner of a story. Available as a book.
Northanger Abbey, by Val McDermid
Loving Jane Austen may be a sign of good taste, but often admitting that you love her first novel, Northanger Abbey, will open you up to a certain amount of ribbing. So now I will confess that this is one of my favorites by Austen. I love Catherine Morland’s naivety and how her pre-occupation with Gothic romances leads her to worry about all the wrong things. McDermid seems to love Catherine, too, and makes the most of her chance to modernize Cat’s story. A film festival replaces Bath as THE place to be for fun, and The Twilight phenomenon gives McDermid the perfect modern hook for a young girl who longs for romance and gets reality. Available as a book
~Amy H. Adult Services Librarian - PA branch