Not too long ago suspense writer Harlan Coben offered some summer reading suggestions on the Today show. One of his choices was Ann Packer’s new book Swim Back to Me featuring two novellas and three short stories. Initially I was surprised that he was recommending shorter fiction for summer reading. But as a long-time fan of the format and Ann Packer in particular, I decided to give it a go, and I am glad I did. Packer hits all the right notes as she examines the daily lives of characters trying to make their way in the world, whether it’s the two teens in the opening novella “Walk for Mankind,” whose relationship is complicated by their growing romantic attraction and their complicated family lives, or the mother in “Molten” who is mourning her late adolescent son while listening to his extensive music collection.
One of the great pleasures of summer is reading. Whether it's out on your backyard deck, up north at the lake, or even in a pup tent, it's the perfect time to indulge in a great read. Our staff has come up with an eclectic range of suggestions because it's not only the perfect time to throw a romance or a mystery in the beach bag, it's also a great time to tackle some challenging titles. Of course, let us know about the great titles that you have discovered. And don't miss the timely reads list that will be updated regularly as an eNewsletter.
If you are looking for a great book about Michigan's Treasures, the Great Lakes, then you must read Jerry Dennis' The Living Great Lakes. The book reads like a narrative and is extremely well researched. Dennis intertwines the natural history of the Great Lakes, their maritime history, with the likes and differences of the oceans and the Great Lakes. He covers the problems the Great Lakes faces, such as pollution, zebra mussles, and in addition, he discusses his personal experiences with the lakes. Dennis grew up in Michigan, always near the lakes, but eventually decided he wanted to know more about them. With hopes of learning more, he took a six-week voyage as a crew member on a tallmasted schooner from Grand Traverse Bay to Maine. He weaves his experiences on the ship, dealing with the captain and crew, and living through a terrifying storm while on board throughout The Living Great Lakes.
The Third-Thursday Book Discussion Group’s November selection is Pearl Buck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Good Earth. The 1931 novel is a heartfelt look at the life of Chinese farmer Wang Lung and his family’s struggle to live off the land in early twentieth-century China. The novel outlines not only Lung’s passion for acquiring and working his land amid famine and other hardships, but it gives readers a revealing look at Chinese ideas about family, women, marriage, religion, and class relations.
All books about loss and grieving are not created equal. Some are moving and heartbreaking, some are beautiful, some are humorous and wonderful, some are harsh and unforgiving, and some are all of the above. Jandy Nelson’s young adult novel, The Sky is Everywhere is one of those rare novels that manages to capture the spectrum of emotions.
In February 1986, Sweden’s Prime Minister, Olof Palme, was assassinated. Even now, 24 years later, the crime remains unsolved. Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End gives us a fictional account of the months leading up to the assassination. Written by a leading Swedish criminologist, Leif GW Persson, the novel is an engrossing story, involving both Sweden’s regular police as well as the secret police.
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