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The Books of Summer: Part 2 June 19, 2009

Posted by Galaxy in Book Reviews.
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Last week, we posted links to other peoples’ recommended reading lists. This week, we’d like to offer our own suggestions.

First up, the books we’ve read and highly recommend:

Border Songs by Jim Lynch – Set along the Washington-Canada border, this novel tells the story of a two small communities, separated by a ditch and not much else, that are shaken up by increased pressure by Homeland Security to patrol the comings and goings across that ditch. The loveable and misunderstood Brandon Vanderkool falls right in the center of the turmoil by accidentally becoming the border patrol’s most successful agent. It’s a great story by a great author, and we’re looking forward to welcoming Jim Lynch to the bookstore on July 10!

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen – A fascinating, unusual story packaged in a gorgeous book. T.S. Spivet is a cartographic genius who has won a prestigious award at the young age of 12. During his cross-country train trip to the award ceremony, he ruminates on his life and fractured family, interspersing the story with numerous maps and notes in the margins.

Outcasts United by Warren St. John – A compelling journalistic style of writing makes this story about a refugee youth soccer team a must-read. St. John weaves historical and cultural background in with the stories of various children and their families who are trying to make a new home in a town that is unsure of how to handle the sudden influx of  foreigners into their community.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley – This little mystery is quick to read and has a wicked sense of humor, thanks to its protagonist. Flavia de Luce is an 11 year old girl with a passion for chemistry (especially poisons) who takes on the task of clearing her father’s name in a murder that took place on the family estate.

John Adams by David McCullough – A very accessible account of this fascinating early American leader. Don’t let the size of this book intimidate you–it is an absorbing read.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – This middle grade/young adult novel is a gripping story about a girl who is forced to fight for her life in a government-sponsored reality show that pits teenagers against one another for the honor of their district and the entertainment of the Capitol. Read (or re-read) it before the sequel, Catching Fire, comes out in September!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie –  This novel in journal format is about a reservation kid who defies tradition and his best friend to go to school  with white kids, 22 miles and a whole world away. Funny and poignant and discussion-provoking, this is a fantastic book for teenaged boys (or girls) and adults.

Bayou by Jeremy Love – Bayou collects the first four chapters in a webcomics series about a menacing world in which the small but brave daughter of a black sharecropper fights racism, in the form of men and monsters, and is joined by one particular monster named Bayou in her search for justice.

And now, the books that we’re looking forward to reading this summer:

My Dearest Friend – The letters of John and Abigail Adams offer a personal look at a pivotal point in our history.

The Family Man – Elinor Lipman’s latest promises to be a light, funny, and heartwarming read.

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey – The first book was delightful, and the adventures and mysteries just keep coming.

Southern Vampire series (Living Dead in Dallas, #2) – You can’t open a magazine these days without seeing those gorgeously gothic photos advertising the t.v. series True Blood. For those of us that don’t have cable, original books, by Charlaine Harris, are entertaining servings of romance, mystery, and the supernatural.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog – This translated novel about lives in an apartment building in France sounds like a good, character-driven story with the added charm of a Parisian setting.

Whiskey Rebels – Treason, deception, redemption, and a host of real-life characters make this sound like the perfect thrilling historical novel to get lost in on a lazy summer day.

Of course, this is by no means a complete list. What are your recommendations, or the books that are on your planned summer reading list? Let us know in the comments (or stop by the store–one thing we never get tired of is talking about books!)

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