Arts and Entertainment

It’s time to ‘fall’ back into reading

Librarians Karen Rogers and Lou Pray pick their favorite fall reads - Contributed photo
Librarians Karen Rogers and Lou Pray pick their favorite fall reads
— image credit: Contributed photo

By librarians Karen Rogers and Lou Pray

Island summers are glorious  – packed with biking, crabbing, gardening, boating and so many other fun activities that it can be hard to find time to read. Now that the barbecues and family reunions are over, we all have time to catch up on our reading. There are many new books by best-selling and popular authors arriving at the library weekly.

Here are Karen’s suggestions:

“How Should A Person Be?: A Novel From Life” by Sheila Heti. As the title suggests, this is the story of a young woman’s search for herself.  If you like funny, character-driven stories about 20-somethings, you’ll like this book.

“The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green.  This book will make you laugh, cry, and want to read Green’s other books.  Jodi Picoult fans might like this – she has a blurb on the cover.

“The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How A Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Home Cooks” by Kathleen Flinn. This Seattle writer taught non-cooks how to cook and eat healthfully and economically.  I learned that I’ve been holding my knife incorrectly, and what “flavor profiles” are.

“Hark!: A Vagrant” by Kate Beaton. This collection of comics about history and literature from a Canadian point-of-view is laugh-out-loud funny. My favorites feature the Bronte sisters trash-talking each other.

“Sweet Tooth: A Novel” by Ian McEwan. The master of the finely-drawn psychological portrait has a book coming out in November. It is described as, “a witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.”  Can’t wait!

Lou’s picks – a couple of non-fiction titles

“End of your life book club” by Will Schwalbe. I loved this book. The author and his mother talk about the books they are reading while waiting for her doctor appointments and chemotherapy sessions.  But reading isn’t always just a way to pass the time, is it?  Communicating about the painful and joyful is often easier with books as the conduit. Check out the book list included for your future favorites.

“Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal and the Real Count of Monte Cristo” by Tom Reiss. Ever wonder who inspired all the great Alexander Dumas adventure stories: “Count of Monte Cristo,” “Three Musketeers,” etc.?  His dad!  Born of a Haitian slave and rogue French aristocrat, Dumas Senior went from bondage to become sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. He went eyeball-to-eyeball with Napoleon, rose to command over 50,000 men through his superhero-like strength, smarts, and skill with the blade, was unfairly jailed, escaped and – I could go on and on but this historical account proves the old adage, “truth is stranger than fiction.” It’s not just comics that have super heroes.

And a few fun fiction:

“May We Be Forgiven” by A.M. Holmes. Imagine Larry David crossed with John Updike but with a more compassionate world view. If you like your humor black, spicy and irreverent, here is the fall book for you. With a shocking underlying premise that is so rare these days: stop blaming everybody else (parents, your genes, the government, your lack of this or that) and take responsibility for your actions, already. A hilarious, scary, yet oddly loving look at the nature of family responsibility and what family actually means.

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. My favorite book this season. Wife goes missing. Was she abducted, murdered or what…?  In alternating chapters, we hear first person accounts from the husband and then the wife. I’ve read hundreds of mysteries but nothing prepared me for this novel’s psychological reveals. A jaw-dropper. I just heard Reese Witherspoon bought the film rights.

“Working Theory of Love” by Scott Huchins – very funny, contemplative novel with this unlikely premise: a young man secures a job attempting to create artificial intelligence using his late father’s 5,000 page diary as the source material. As he queries the computer using the banal minutiae of the diary entries, does the computer become self aware?  Can you get family closure with AI?  Read to find out.

“Dog Stars” by Peter Heller. I read this book in one sitting. That hasn’t happened since “The Last Werewolf” by Glen Duncan. Although it falls into the currently popular “dystopian future” genre, this one is a humane tale about the power of emotional connections, human-to animal and person-to-person. Can you fall in love with a narrator? I did. After a devastating epidemic wipes out large swatches of the population, two men and a dog named Jasper “secure the perimeter” against wandering barbarians at their “home” in a rural airport in Colorado. Except for forays into the nearby mountains with his dog for his beloved fly fishing trips and hunting, small aircraft pilot Hig flies only as far as he can safely return on one tank of gas. Until one day … no, you better read it for yourself!

So what literary gold have you got on your bedside table? Inquiring Lopezians want to know. Take part the Winter Reading Program starting in January. Send  your reviews and you have the potential to win great prizes weekly.

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