Staff Recommendations: days of summer's past
Posted May 22nd, 2012
Mary: Nelsonville Public Library
I find it interesting that all of my memories of summer reading are library
I remember the summer I discovered Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House
books at the Carnegie Library in the small town where I grew up. Open
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; no air conditioning; stereopticons with
original prints from the late 1800s for bored kids to look. If I walked in there
today, I could walk right to the shelf where those books were. I enjoyed the
Little House series again when I read it to my children (several times!).
When my husband and I first moved to Boston in 1980, we stayed with a
friend who took me to the local library. Due to an excess of school, I hadn’t
been in a public library or read for pleasure for way too long. My friend
reintroduced me to historical fiction, which I still enjoy: like Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family series; or the Maisie Dobbs mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear - post WWI England. Excellent!
I remember the feeling of the library and have used libraries regularly ever since.
A few years ago a colleague of mine here at the library recommended Nobody’s
Fool by Richard Russo. Great book – read it! But if you read it in the summer
like I did, be prepared for an odd sort of disconnect – it’s a winter story!
Ryan: Nelsonville Public Library
Dragonlance Chronicles Trilogy
(Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night & Dragons of Spring Dawning by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman)
These books always bring my mind to summertime! The first time I got sucked into the Dragonlance world of Krynn was years ago when my wife and I were first dating. We have always loved camping during the summertime. If memory serves me right, I read most of this trilogy in one summer, and mostly outdoors while camping around five or six years ago. Even now, thinking about the storyline evokes fond memories of reading a good book in our camping chairs as the day meanders by.
Todd: Athens Public Library
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt (unabrid ged sound recording). I listened to this when traveling in my car to visit my wife after she won a fellowship in another state that forced us to be apart for nine months. There are a gazillion biographies on Shakespeare. This is the only one that made his life come freshly and authentically alive for me, and actually helped me understand how strange, rich and complex was the world that shaped his psyche and informed each of his great works. It was definitely an absorbing distraction from my melancholy sense of being apart from my wife. We shared many enjoyable conversations about it.
Amy: Athens Public Library
One summer our family read aloud the Joan Aiken Wolves Chronicles series (12 books) that begins with the book "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase". Part of the fun was that the author uses lots of vocabulary words that are unfamiliar, so we spent the whole summer carrying around the book we were reading AND a dictionary!
Jenaye: Athens Public Library
A year after we were married, we moved across the country and then had to take another business road trip. Though it wasn't new, Radiohead's OK Computer was new to us and what we had decided to purchase for this trip with the little extra spending money we had. In our little blue Nissan and the horrible tinny-sounding speakers, we fell in love with this album: quirky depth and ethereal soundscapes. After we arrived home and settled in, we played this same album on our home stereo system and we were shocked! We hadn't heard the deep layers of bass, and the album became new for us all over again.
A number of years before that, I spent part of a summer immersing myself in Richard Adams. If any of you recall that wonderful used bookstore that used to be uptown across from the old library on Court Street, the one with the piles and piles of books (sometimes topped with a cat or two), millions of paperbacks for only a few dollars? That's where I spent my extra petty cash the first summer I lived away from my parent's home. I would go to work during the day, then stop and read on a bench before heading home for the night. I loved Adams' rich storytelling, and just thinking of those quiet summer evening moments on a bench nearly twenty years ago with his words... seems like yesterday.
James: Nelsonville Publc Library
Some music can only really be enjoyed in the summer. The Beach Boys is an obvious choice, but I also really enjoy CCR and Janis Joplin more while wearing shorts. I also think of the Woodstock soundtrack and mud.
On the other hand, if you dislike hot weather as much as I do, then summer's also a good time to read a cold mystery. My current favorite is Stan Jones' Alaska books, but there's also Sue Henry and Dana Stabenow. And there's no shortage of cold, dark Swedish and Norwegian mysteries like Jo Nesbo and Lars Kepler.
Mary: Athens Public Library
This su mmer I'm reading Virgil's Aeneid for an adult reading group under the guidance of Neil Bernstein from the O.U. Classics and World Religions Department.
Having not read much epic poetry myself, I'm getting a head start. I'm amazed at how readable, concisely insightful and pertinent it is.