Chick Books

Ladies, what could be better than a bathtub, a beach, or a hammock, and a book?  Some might add chocolate.  My preferred reading snack is an apple.  Whatever the setting, take time this summer to get comfortable and do some escape reading.  Some of my favorite authors for escape are:

Alan Bradley is no chick but he writes one of the most charming female protagonists, Flavia de Luce.
Ellis Peters – The Cadfael Mysteries. 
(Her historical fiction is fabulous, accurate, but not light.)

Sharon K. Penman – She does a series of cozy historical mysteries.  They are OK but her best work is the well-researched historical fiction.  It is not light but is very well done and a pleasure to read.
  • Here Be Dragons
  • Sunne in Splendour 
  • Cruel as the Grave
Earlene Fowler – Cozy mystery, Benni Harper series.
  • Fool’s Puzzle
  • Mariner’s Compass
Susan Wittig Albert – Cozy herb shop mysteries
  • Thyme for Death
  • Wormwood
  • Nightshade

Jacqueline Winspear – WWI detective

Jeanne Ray – Her latest:  Calling Invisible Women is a fun read and gives you something to think about.

Anne Tyler – a bit more substantial and I personally like her more recent books better than her early titles. Her most recent is Beginner’s Goodbye.

Digging to America is also great.

I love the Bertrand Russell quote, “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Take time to read for fun and PLEASE share the titles you most prefer.


Summer Reading - No Shame: My Summer and the Voracious Consumption of Young Adult Fiction

Anna Downs works in General Books and wrote this  for the blog to share what books she's got her head in this summer. Enjoy! - Hillary

Every year after school ends I am overcome with the desire to keep my intelligence from dwindling into a summer oblivion, and form what I like to call “The Ultimate Reading List” filled with biographies, classic novels and self-help books. Yet inevitably I fail to finish my list, and my downfall can be blamed on that ever-enticing genre called Young-Adult Fiction.
Stacked in the corners of my parents’ house, lining the shelf of the bookstore I work in everyday, Young Adult novels tempt me from all sides. Though at times reading fiction meant for a 15-year old when I am myself well into college and my twenties can be shameful, this summer I have come to the realization that I like teen fiction, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s a genre that is given a lot of flak, but contains some of the best writers and the best books. So here is my new summer reading list, containing the best of the best when it comes to Young Adult Fiction. I have confidence I will have no problems completing it.
1.       The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
2.       Delirium - Lauren Oliver
3.       Gone (series) - Micheal Grant
4.       Monster - Walter Dean Myers
5.       The Fault in our Stars - John Green
6.       The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian - Sherman Alexie
7.       Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore
8.       Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
9.       Divergent (series) - Veronica Roth
10.   Where She Went - Gayle Forman
If you want to find me over the summer you will have to recognize the back of my head, because my face will be buried in a deliciously enjoyable Young-Adult novel.
Happy reading to you all!
-Anna Downs, General Book associate

Beach Reads

Picture yourself in a hammock in the shade, on a warm beach, on a boat with a book in your hands; no demands; no deadlines just comfort and escape.  Not on your summer schedule?  If the best you can hope for is stolen minutes with a book between tests and homework; on a bus or in a car pool, snatches of reading between responses to countless demands and requests then you need a beach read more than ever.

Here are some books that will fill the bill:
1.       Watership Down by Richard Adams
2.       Maisie Dobbs (series) by Jacqueline Winspear
3.       Bess Crawford Mysteries by Charles Todd (a mother/son writing team)
5.       At Home in Mitford (series) by Jan Karon
6.       Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters
7.       Eyre Affair (Thursday Next series) by Jasper Fforde
8.       Death At La Fenice ( Guido Brunetti series) by Donna Leon
9.       The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon K Penman
10.   The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
11.   Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
12.   Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

First - share your escape reads so I can relax with something new.

Second – Relax and READ!!


School’s Out– Make Time for Family Read-Aloud Time!

Some of my happiest memories involve books.  When my children were young, an eagerly anticipated camping trip turned into days of torrential rain and we spent much of our time snuggled in the back of the covered, dry, pick-up truck reading aloud The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars.  We would hop out, cook our dinner, then hop back in to read, hike a very little bit, when the sun peeked through, and then snuggle and read.  I have to say we spent more time reading than anything else and it is still one my happiest camping memories.  For such a long time we talked in headlines like Petie Burkis, one of those sweet inside jokes born through bonding with a book.

These are some of my favorite read-alouds:
  1. Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  2. Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
  3. Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry
  4. The Limit by Kristin Landon
  5. Masterpiece by Elise Broach
  6. Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart (Read the recently released prequel first - The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict)
  7. The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander (a bit slow starting but don’t give up!)
  8. On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells
  9. Frindle by Andrew Clement 
  10. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Let’s hear it for reading aloud.  I could go on and on listing my favorites.  Please share some of yours.


Children's Literature for Every Age


Lloyd Alexander is one of my favorite authors and I heard him say one time that the only difference between books for kids and books for adults is: “in children’s books you always find hope.”   I sometimes wonder if he would still say that if he were alive today given the darkness in recent Young Adult titles.  The point, however, is that you will find the same excellent, mediocre, or poor writing; the same need to be discriminating, the same possibilities for wonder and captivating reading.  And who doesn’t need to “find hope!" 
Some titles sold for children and adopted by adults as their own are:


Realistic Fiction
  1. The Agency Series by Y.S. Lee (Victorian mystery series)
  2. Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan
  3. Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
  4. Pie by Sarah Weeks
  5. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
  6. Close to Famous by Joan Bauer
  7. Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings
  1. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  2. Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky etc. by Terry Pratchett
  3. The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
  4. Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Inkheart Series by Cornelia Funke
Try them out for your summer reading.