What Will You Read This Summer?
It’s safe to say that summer has arrived: our thermometers are hovering in the balmy neighborhood of 80 degrees, schools will let out this week for summer vacation, and Memorial Day Weekend is only a few short days away. Here at the library, that means that summer reading has begun. This year the Friends of the Library have donated a host of great prizes: from weekly Barnes & Noble gift cards to grand prize gift cards from a variety local restaurants and businesses and even a Kindle Fire. All you have to do to participate is pick up a reading log from the Fiction or Nonfiction departments and keep track of the books you read this summer. (Audiobooks, print books, and e-books are all fair game!) For every five titles, you earn one entry into that week’s drawing, which will be combined with previous weeks for the grand prize drawing at the end of July. As a special bonus, after you’ve read 15 titles, you earn a free Hoover Library tote bag.
Even though I’m a grown up now, and two months of “summer vacation” filled with endless days of reading no longer figure into my life, I still feel a twinge of excitement as I plan out which books or series I’d like to read during the summer months. While I may not actually have any more free time than the rest of the year, the back porch, the neighborhood pool, and a few weekend get-a-ways to the beach routinely beckon me to ignore everything else I ought to be doing and instead relax with a rather ambitious stack of good books. (The lure of our staff summer reading program doesn’t hurt either…) A sucker for historical fiction, I’ve lately spent a lot of my reading-time in British Colonial Africa. Looking over my just-read and to-read lists, it definitely shows:
The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig
Love, loss, and family secrets abound in this multigenerational saga set in pre-WWI England, interwar Kenya, and present day New York.
The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh
After her father’s death leaves her penniless, Frances Irvine travels to South Africa to marry a distant cousin she despises, but falls in love with someone else en route. Upon arrival, neither of the men nor South Africa itself is what she expected.
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Coming of age tale of a young boxer set in South Africa during the 1930’s.
A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn
After causing a scandal in Paris, exuberant flapper Delilah is exiled to her stepfather’s estate in Kenya.
The African Queen by C.S. Forester
Recounts the escape of a surly trader and a spinster missionary from WWI in Africa on a rickety old steamboat, The African Queen.
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
Memoir of a Danish woman and her life in Kenya on a coffee plantation during WWI and the interwar years.
Trade Wind by M.M. Kaye
Historical Romance set on the Zanzibar coast between a roguish slave trader and a young and zealous Boston abolitionist.
Death in Kenya by M.M. Kaye
Reminiscent of Agatha Christie, a murder mystery set to the backdrop of the Mau Mau revolt on a plantation in British Kenya.
A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve
American newlyweds in Kenya agree to climb Mount Kenya with their British landlords, where events will irrevocably change their lives and their marriage forever.
The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason
Classic British adventure story in which the young Harry Feversham resigns his military commission for fear of disappointing his illustirous family. After being given four white feathers by his closest friends and his fiancée as a mark of his cowardice, he tries to redeem himself in the Sudan.
Perhaps one of those titles might jumpstart your own list? If you need help making those precious summer reading selections, stop by the Fiction Desk or check out our series of staff-picks displays for recommendations. Be sure to tell us if you’ve read anything particularly fantastic, too, as we’re always interested in hearing about a good book (and I for one could probably stand a push in a new direction). Also, if you’re on the go this summer, don’t forget about our downloadable collection: with over 11,000 titles, it’s perfect for travelling and it’s accessible anywhere there is an internet connection. If you have a tablet device or a Smartphone, we even offer an app for that.