July 2014 Bookmark: What We’re Reading — An Unofficial Guide to Pelham’s Summer Reading
Last year at this time, Bookmark asked employees, trustees and Friends of the Town of Pelham Public Library what they planned on reading during the summer. This year, with the help of local Facebook groups, we opened the question up to a broader swath of Pelham and got some intriguing recommendations for young children, adolescents and adults that should keep us reading all summer long.
A few titles stood out, among them Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon, the new, eighth book in the author’s popular Outlander series. Gabaldon wrote the first in the series more than 20 years ago, and, by her own admission on her website, admits the series is hard to categorize. Pelhamite Nicki Nesi, a junior at Marist College, agrees: “It’s written very well and it’s a combination of many different genres. It’s got romance, history, drama, mystery, and greatly developed characters. It makes the reader feel attached to the people in the story.” (Adult Services Librarian Augusta Turner adds that the audiobook versions of Gabaldon’s books are also available and have an exceptional narrator.)
There is also considerable local interest in The Goldfinch, the 800-page literary novel by Donna Tartt that won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2013. Currently number three on The New York Times’ combined print and e-book fiction bestseller list, it tells the story of Theo Decker, a 13-year-old at the time he acquires—and becomes obsessed with—“The Goldfinch,” a 1654 painting by the Dutch artist Carel Fabritius.
Other novels of interest? The Signature of All Things, the first novel in more than a decade by Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert; The Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter; and Me Before You, a 2013 book by British author Jojo Myers, chronicling the relationship between a depressed quadriplegic and his hesitant assistant. Christine Sperrazza Elliott said succinctly, “If you have not read Me Before You, stop what you’re doing and borrow it now.”
One Pelham mom recommended that women of all ages read a 2013 young adult (YA) novel. Tracey Stroock McFarland said: “I fell in love with the young adult novel Eleanor & Park, a smart, sensitive, insightful story about first love and adolescence in the 80s. I gave it to my then-13-year-old daughter to read and she loved it, too. It says a lot about a novel that it can speak to women at such different ends of the spectrum!” The first YA novel from American author Rainbow Rowell, it has inspired an unusual amount of fan art with extensive galleries on Pinterest and Tumblr that give a flavor of the book.
And then there are the classics, new and old. Laura Barge O’Sullivan will be reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House series with her daughter this summer; the first book in the series was published 75 years ago. Cara SaoBento Boyce reports she’s reading Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren to her six-year-old daughter; the first of the Pippi books was published in 1945.
Penni Urquhardt says she plans on finishing the Harry Potter series this summer with her boys, who are in elementary and middle school.
On the recommendation of a friend, she also plans on reading Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon. The book is based on interviews with hundreds of families of exceptional children.
Another woman who plans to diverge from typical beach reading this summer is Eileen Rosen Miller, who said: “I always try to do one non-fiction because I usually have so much reading time and hate to get to the end and realize I only read “summer books.”’ She hasn’t picked the book yet, though in the fiction department, she plans on reading The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure. A lighthearted romp it’s not. The book tells the story of a gentile Paris architect during World War II who turns his talents to building hiding places for Jews escaping the Germans.
Whatever you choose, from historical fiction to YA novels to non-fiction, enjoy a summer full of reading, Pelham, and tell us what you’re reading this summer on the Library Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pelhamlibrary. The Library is here to help you!
FIZZ BOOM READ Summer Reading Game 2014: Sign-up continues through Thursday, July 31; for pre-schoolers through eighth graders. Pre-school kids can win their free, new book from the Library after listening to six stories; school-age children must read three age-appropriate books. There will be an end-of-summer ice cream party for kids who participated on Thursday, August 28 at 2 p.m.
(If you’re a teen and would like to volunteer to help with the program—and get credit toward the community service graduation requirement at Pelham Memorial High School—please call Lilly Hecker at 738-1234.)
Storytime: Tuesdays for ages 3-5, 10:30 – 11 a.m.; Wednesdays, two and under, 10:30 – 11 a.m. Attendance is limited to the first 40 people who sign in, children and caregivers included. Sign-in begins at 10:15 a.m..
A Visit from Mr. Energy: Tuesday, July 1, 2 p.m. Jeff Boyer—also known as “Mr. Energy”—will show that energy is what makes our world work. For children ages 4 and up, this show—which invites audience participation—entertains while it instructs, using everyday objects to illustrate how energy works. Sign-up is required.
Monday Movies at 6:30 p.m.: Come to one of the Library’s summer movie nights, and bring the family.
October Sky, July 7.
Up, July 14.
Pay It Forward, July 21.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, July 28.
(Families welcome; children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult.)
Craft Wednesdays at 2 p.m. : For children ages four and up. Sign-up is required.
Make a Thaumatrope: July 9.
Make Some Snowflakes: July 23.
Time to Make a Tangram: July 30.
Science Thursdays at 2 p.m.: For children ages four and up. No sign-up is required.
July 10: Grow a Salt Crystal Garden.
July 17: Will It Float?
July 24: Build a Straw Tower.
Join “The Battle of the Books”: Next meetings, Tuesday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 29, both at 1 p.m.; for children entering grades four through six in September. The Pelham Library is preparing a team for “The Battle of the Books” this fall, a challenge that will test readers’ knowledge of five different books in a quiz game against other libraries on Saturday, October 18. To sign up and get the list of books, call the Library. (Contestants may miss a meeting due to summer plans, and meetings will continue in September and October.)
Paws Awhile to Read: Saturday, August 9, 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. People of all ages can come and read to therapy dogs Nettie, Olivia and Charlie. No sign-up is required. PLEASE NOTE: The July 12 Paws Awhile session has been cancelled.
Individualized Computer and Device Instruction: Call the Library to make an appointment for individualized instruction in popular computer programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel, or bring your smartphone or tablet to the Library and learn how to get started with apps that give library patrons access to free e-books, e-audiobooks, e-music and more.
(All Library programs are free and open to the public. To sign up for programs that require pre-registration, call the Library 738-1234. Out of courtesy to fellow attendees, please be on time.)
The Library will be closed on Friday, July 4th. Also, now through Labor Day, the Library closes on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Reprinted from The Pelham Weekly, Friday, June 27, 2014, p. 38, with revisions. Used by permission.