Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category.
I wanted to tell you about a couple of books I read lately that I enjoyed very much, in different ways. Both these books capture very well (almost too well!) the awkward moments of high school and college, although one is very funny and one is more serious.
The funny book is Penelope, by Rebecca Harrington. Penelope is off to college in the fall, which is great, except for she has a dread of people, parties, and pretty much anything else her mother wants her to do. This book follows Penelope as she attempts to navigate her first year away from home. I found it hilarious, and it would be a good beach read, too!
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell also very much captures the awkwardness of being a teenager, but is more serious. It tells the story of Eleanor, who shares a bedroom with her four brothers and sisters, and tries to keep out of the way of her horrendous stepfather, and how she makes friends with Park, a cute, cool kid. Kirkus Reviews called it “funny, hopeful, foulmouthed, sexy and tear-jerking.”
Give one a try and let us know what you think! Are there any other books about teenagers that you love?
Summertime is known for “beach reads” and few books add more intrigue to a week on vacation than an exciting spy thriller. Daniel Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon book The English Girl comes out next week. Late last year, Stella Rimington, former director of Great Britain’s Mi5, released another book in the Liz Carlyle series called The Geneva Trap. Each of these authors offers intelligent main characters with a conscience. Ben Coes also writes a spy series, and his latest is Eye for an Eye: A Dewey Andreas Novel. By the way, www.fantasticfiction.com is a great website for discovering the chronological order of a book series.
NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly recently released her first novel titled Anonymous Sources. Another spy novel debut is Terror Red by Colonel David Hunt and Christine Hunsinger. Both of these books have earned excellent reviews in the industry.
Finally, in honor of James Bond’s 50th Anniversary this year, you could always try a classic Ian Fleming novel!
Jim Ryun is coming to speak at the library on May 20th! Sign up to come see him, then lace up your running shoes and hit the trails. Afterward, you can recover and relax with a good running book.
Long before “Couch to 5K” and other training programs became popular, there was Jeff Galloway. He ran in the 1984 Olympics, but has spent his post-competitive career promoting running and training for the rest of us mere mortals. Books like Galloway’s 5K and 10K Running and his website both provide quality training programs and advice.
Lopez Lomong was a “lost boy of Sudan” before emigrating to the United States, running at an up-state NY high school, and eventually representing the US in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. In Running for my Life Lopez tells his own inspiring story with both insight and humor.
Currently, the most successful distance coach in the world is Alberto Salazar. His incredible life story is chronicled in 14 Minutes, another terrific running read.
Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristin Armstrong and Kara Goucher’s Running for Women both offer training strategies, stories, and motivational ideas.
And finally, we move to fiction. John Parker’s cult classic Once a Runner is the greatest running novel ever written. Period.
Sometimes we forget that American literary classics are popular for a reason: they’re usually really good. Maybe we don’t like them because we HAD to read them in school and never recovered. Below are a few of my favorites, mostly from the 20th Century. Yes, I did make students read these when I was teaching high school English, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great reads.
A new movie version of The Great Gatsby [trailer] comes out in theatres this Friday, May 10th. Fitzgerald wrote several good novels, but he also wrote many excellent short stories. Two of his earliest and best were “Berniece Bobs Her Hair” and “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz.”
Hemingway, also famous for his novels, wrote tremendous short stories too. I like “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” which you can find in The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.
A number of southern women carved out a niche in the canon during the early part of the 20th Century, including Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Conner, Katherine Anne Porter, and Zora Neale Hurston. You can find story collections or novels by all of them in our library’s collection.
Finally, don’t forget possibly the two greatest American novels ever written: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I know you read them in school, but the themes of both books still resonate today, and the writing is still fantastic. Hemingway once wrote, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” And To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the few novels where the movie is as good as the book – both classics. Check them out at the library today!