Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunday June 24, 2012 Summer Reading @ Your Library

It’s officially summer in Thunder Bay! With the recent Summer Solstice and the launch of Summer in the Park, it’s time to start planning your summer reading for home, camp, and travel. After a brief survey of library staff, here is a short list of possibilities to get you started:

You may know this author from his earlier work, specifically PILLARS OF THE EARTH (1989), but Ken Follett’s recent book FALL OF GIANTS (2010) proves he hasn’t lost his touch. According to a colleague currently reading it, he isn’t really into drama but this book is awesome. It is a historical epic set around the First World War. Featuring the struggles of five families, the book brings into focus the reality of war, family, class, love and loyalty at that time.

THE ALMOND PICKER (2002) is a long time favorite for some here at the library. The first novel by Simonetta Agnello Hornby, it  provides a literary vacation to small town Italy. The story revolves around unravelling the life and character of a woman called Mennulara, a maid for a wealthy family in western Sicily. Questions rage over the nature of her role within the families affairs and the impact on the town’s fabric.

For a more recent book, I would suggest THE HOUSE OF VELVET AND GLASS (2012) by Katherine Howe. According to one of the library’s resident fiction lovers this is part historical fiction, part mystery, part supernatural and all around a fantastic read. Set in Boston in 1915, it weaves together the grief of a family still reeling from losing their mother and sister on the Titanic with the societal struggles of the time. Moving from the opium dens of China Town to mediums, professors and an underlying love story, The House of Velvet and Glass is tightly written and well worth some time outside on the deck, or dock.

It seems that historical fiction is somewhat of a trend with library reading right now, so to round out the historical suggestions try THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE (2012) by Adriana Trigiani. This is the latest in a line of stories inspired by the author’s family history. If you’ve read VERY VALENTINE, BRAVA VALENTINE or LUCIA, LUCIA you will love this book. Settings spread from the Italian Alps to Manhattan and finally northern Minnesota. It follows the meeting and continual separation/reuniting of Enza and Ciro throughout their youth and adult years. It is a moving love story with rich details that make you feel as if right there in the Italian sun or in the thick of costume production for the Metropolitan Opera House. I’d recommend reading this one when you don’t have much in the way of distraction since once you start reading you won’t want to put this book down. Also consider having a tissue or two on hand for some of the more intense moments.

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN (2012) by Katherine Applegate may, at first glance, look like a story book strictly for children but it is so much more than that. This book is based on the true story of Ivan, a real gorilla, who spent 27 years living alone in a cage and made headlines when featured in National Geographic. The written story of Ivan sends a powerful message about the treatment of animals living in captivity and reminds readers of the social needs of those animals. It demonstrates the need for all creatures to grow, be free and live a fulfilling life. This would be a wonderful choice for a family to read aloud together this summer.

Jesse Roberts

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