When Pine-Richland Patch noticed that Cranberry Patch had put together a summer reading list, we knew we had to get in on that action. As everyone knows, reading and summer go together like ice cream and chocolate syrup and there are few people who read more voraciously than librarians and writers.
So, for our recommendations, we turned to Diane Illis, communications coordinator for the Northern Tier Regional Library.
Patch contributors Kelly Burgess and Kathleen Sauers, both of whom are obsessive readers, wanted to share their current, and past, favorites as well.
I like fiction and non-fiction equally and my reading list is pretty well divided between the two. I like compelling books, but in the summer tend to lean toward books that are easy to put down and pick back up without feeling like you're losing track of the story.
· Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich: I always enjoy her books. This one made me laugh out loud, I thought it was hilarious. Evanovich's books are like frothy, whipped yogurt, you enjoy it while you read it but it doesn't stay with you.
· I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman: In this awesome stand –alone novel, Lippman tells the story of the girl who got away. Sentenced to death for the kidnapping and murder of two other girls, the killer reaches out to the girl who didn’t die – in the hope that she will save him. Gripping.
· Georgia’s Kitchen by Jenny Nelson: Georgia had it all, until a scathing restaurant review derails her career and her fiancé calls off the wedding. So Georgia travels to Italy and soon faces the biggest decision of her life. I love this read because Georgia is a strong, independent woman and her choices may surprise you.
· Innocent by Scott Turow: If you didn’t read this book when it was first released, grab a paperback copy and install yourself in a beach chair for an amazing read! Twenty-five years have passed since Presumed Innocent, but the characters are back. The story is captivating, the twists and turn are surprising, but the biggest treat is to enjoy an author of this caliber. This man can write!
· I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg: I love Fannie Flagg’s books! In the hands of a master, you become part of a small Southern town and all of Flagg’s quirky characters. This book features Flagg’s trademark humor, and a clear view of life and love and the decisions we make. Treat yourself to this book.
· Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff: Despite the drama and pageantry surrounding her, so few facts are actually known about Cleopatra and the portrayals of her life often seem stiff and awkward. Not so with this biography! Thank you, Stacy, for illuminating the life, loves and ultimate tragedy of Cleopatra.
I agree with Diane, I love fiction and non-fiction both, although I have to say I tend to lean toward non-fiction. For me, there's nothing better than a compelling story that's also true!
· Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: Non-stop action as the protagonist, one of the most promising Olympic runners of the 1930s, joins the Army Air Corps, is lost at sea and then "rescued" by the Japanese military. It was funny, scary, compelling and, ultimately inspiring. Almost as interesting is the story of the author herself, who is virtually bedridden due to complications of a mysterious virus. She's also the author of Seabiscuit, one of the other best non-fiction books I've ever read.
· Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King: I love short stories and I love Stephen King, so I figured I couldn't go wrong with this one and I was right. None of these four stories are the least bit predictable, only one significantly involves the supernatural (King's specialty) and all have you wondering how each story will end.
· Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story by Isabel Gillies: And speaking of horror stories. A pretty, successful New York actress gives up her career to move to Ohio for her husband's teaching position at a small college. She throws herself into perfect domesticity and bears two beautiful children. And then her husband decides he doesn’t want to be married anymore after just a couple of years. No discussion, no counseling, just, "I'm done. Bye." It's funny and sad and an easy read, but scary to think that apparent bliss can end with such a whimper.
· Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by B.K. Rowling: Or any of the Harry Potter books, for that matter. They are always a great read and I've always re-read them when the movies were coming out. I was sad when the series ended and I'll be sad to see the last movie. I don't re-read a lot of books. This is one of my few exceptions.
· Any book by Jon Krakauer: My favorite author of all time, Jon Krakauer is an incandescent writer who brings events to life in a way that gives you a feeling of being there.
o Into the Wild chronicles a disillusioned, idealistic young man who goes off to find himself in the wilds of Alaska but is tragically under-prepared.
o Into Thin Air is the story of modern Everest mountaineering and the commercialization of a potentially deadly adventure.
o Under the Banner of Heaven was controversial because of its examination of the fundamentalist offshoots of Mormonism, but it's a fascinating look at one significant aspect in the history of the American West.
o Most recently, Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman is a must-read for anyone with idealistic views of war, our military leaders, or who simply would like a better understanding of Afghanistan's violent history.
I read to relax and enjoy myself, so reading true-life (or even fiction) crime is too gritty for me. But I also don’t want stories that the characters are too silly, in my opinion, so that rules out a lot of the “cozies” that seem to be popular. As far as non-fiction, I love to knit so I will pull out a knitting book, savor the patterns and dream that I could make all the lovely knits inside!
No fair that Diane stole one of my books, so I am going to recommend it as well.
· Georgia’s Kitchen by Jenny Nelson: This is a fun read although it made me hungry every time I picked it up. Enjoyable and made me want to eat and go to Italy. Or would that be go to Italy and eat? Or both?
· Stay by Allie Larkin: I love books that have a dog as one of the main characters. In this first novel by Larkin, in a night of broken dreams and too much alcohol, writer Savannah “Van” Leone orders a puppy over the Internet. When the “puppy” arrives, her life turns upside down in more ways than one. Read this one with your favorite dog curled up next to you!
· Friendship Cake by Lynne Hinton: This book is one of my all-time favorites. I love the story of women’s friendships which made me laugh and cry. Share this one with your own female friends.
· Moon Handbooks: Pennsylvania by Anna Dubrovsky: Disclaimer here – I know Anna and I think I may know Pennsylvania as well! Moon Handbooks are well-known to travelers for their honest, down-to-earth descriptions and that is what you get in this brand new book. Read it and get to know our own beautiful state better. You may find a few day trips in here!
· 75 Birds, Butterflies and little beasts to knit and crochet by Lesley Stanfield. Knitters and crocheters, heads-up. This book will entice you to craft up a bunch of little critters for yourself or friends. I have just the yarn for a butterfly or two.
· The Knit Stitch and The Purl Stitch both by Sally Melville, the woman I call “The Knitting Queen.” These books are my reference, go-to books when I want to create something lovely and simple.
There you have it. Hopefully, you found a book or two in our list that you will want to check out of the Northern Tier Library to complete your own summer reading list.