No summer would be complete without a good old conversation about what we’ve all been reading lately. In previous years, we would have no doubt had these conversations with you as you visited to return and borrow your Summer Reads but this year, things are different so we’re doing things differently.
Today, we bring you ‘What Warwickshire Libraries Staff Have Been Reading This Summer Part One’. There are so many fantastic books that we want to shout about and share with you that Part Two will follow next week. We would also love to hear what you have been reading this summer so please share your recommendations in the comments.
Where we have copies either on BorrowBox or available through our ‘Click and Collect‘ libraries, we’ve included the links so that you can also discover what we’ve been enjoying lately. And for those that we don’t have, where we have found interesting content, we’ve included some links about the books if you want to find out more about them.
I’ve just finished ‘Diary of a Young Naturalist’ by Dara McAnulty and I completely loved it. Dara is a 15 year old nature lover who is autistic and not only is his depiction of wildlife eloquent and beautifully described, it is the way he expresses how it is to be autistic and how levels of noise and colour affect him that left the biggest impression on me. You get the sense of someone strong but unsure of themselves as many teenagers are and someone who is determined to fight for conversation. I hope he continues to write. I found it inspiring and I really enjoyed it. [This book is currently on order so will be on our shelves in the future. In the meantime, read a review here and you can listen to a podcast featuring Dara here].
I also read ‘Clap When You Land’ by Elizabeth Acevedo (eBook, eAudio, physical copies) which I thought was very well written. It’s a novel told in verse. I downloaded it on Borrowbox. I’m always amazed at how much emotion can be conveyed in a verse novel.
‘Beastie Boys Book‘ by Mike D and Adam Horovitz
Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell……….
I picked up this book from my local library
All about the Beastie Boys and how fly they be
From the Upper East Side, Brooklyn and Manhattan
When I read this book I put my kangol hat on
Ad-Rock, MCA and Mike D ain’t wack
This is the ill communication and I ain’t given it back
‘The Wild Remedy’ by Emma Mitchell (physical copies) is a book about someone who has suffered with depression for a long time. While this may not sound like a summer read, in this beautifully illustrated book, Emma charts her year walking in the ‘wilderness’. She focuses mainly on the woods at the back of her home but she also travels to capture nature at its finest.
When you find yourself googling ‘nightingale song’ to share her experience a little you know it’s a good book! It was also, in current climes, a reminder of how nice it is to go for a walk in nature one way or another.
I have just finished my annual re-read of my favourite book of all time – ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by J.R.R Tolkien (eBook, various editions available in physical copies – search here). Admittedly I am a fan of all things Tolkien and I know that the novels are a ‘marmite’ read in that you either love them or loathe them but, if you have never entered Middle Earth, I urge you to make the acquaintance of one of the original and master writers of Fantasy as soon as possible.
Once you are hooked, there’s a wealth of other material to explore from comic poetry through ‘Letters from Father Christmas‘ to the ‘Annual Tolkien Lectures‘ on Fantasy Literature. You can even graduate with a degree in Tolkien Studies or indulge in writing/reading Fan Fiction, (try StoriesofArda.com).
I did say that I am a big fan but, after all, Tolkien got married in Warwick so he can be classed as a local writer and leafy Warwickshire might easily be ‘The Shire’.
As self help books go, this is one that I would highly recommend. An engaging read or listen, Richard’s style is light, fun and very accessible. This book sets out to look at the science surrounding what makes us happy or not. In and amongst the gems of observation, advice and conclusions Richard quotes a lot of impressive research.
At the end of each short chapter, there are a number of questions to ponder, meditations to try or journalling ideas. For this reason I will be looking to buy my own copy now that the local independent book shop is open again. I don’t do that with many books! In the meantime I am happily delving into the podcasts and guided meditations that Richard has made available online.
I also highly recommend ‘Woman of God’, a standalone novel by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (eAudio, physical copies). I have just finished listening to this on Borrowbox. A riveting story which deals with equality and the intriguing question of whether there could ever be ‘pink smoke over the Vatican’ signalling the advent of a female Pope. The story revolves around the life and experience of the main character, Brigid Fitzgerald. My first foray into James Patterson’s huge back catalogue but it won’t be my last.
This summer I have been reading with sheer and unapologetic indulgence ‘The Name of the Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss (physical copies). This is the first of an epic fantasy trilogy, ‘The Kingkiller Chronicle’, featuring former wizard and musician Kovothe, retelling his escapades from his present anonymity as an incognito innkeeper.
The characterisation is absorbing and the unfolding narrative utterly compelling. I found myself increasingly enthralled with each new chapter and every twist and nuance in Kovothe’s story. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a substantial and well crafted tale. It’s not just for the fantasy fiction fanatic.
I have just recently finished reading ‘The Bees’ by Laline Paull (eBook, physical copies) . It is not a book I would have chosen for myself but I read it as part of my book group, and what a delightful read it was!
It is quite an adventure story, set in the complicated hallways of a hive and has beautifully detailed descriptions of our countryside. The lowly born bee ‘Flora’ observes the roles and magic of how a hive works whilst harbouring her own dreams and wishes. Her adventures and quiet sedition end up saving her hive.
Brilliant and beautiful!
I’ve read four very different books that were all fabulous. I couldn’t put each of them down. They were:
- ‘The Woman in the Window’ by A J Finn (physical copies)
- ‘The Bookshop on the Shore’ by Jenny Colgan (physical copies). This was great and she is always like a cup of hot chocolate when you need one.
- ‘The Nightingale’ by Kristin Hannah (eBook, physical copies)
- ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens (eAudio, physical copies)
I also read ‘The Giver of Stars’ by JoJo Moyes. This started slowly but picked up pace just as I was about to give up on it. The ending was a little too neat, and it didn’t stay with me in the same way the other books did.
LOVED this one, I didn’t think I would but it was so beautifully written I couldn’t put it down. Next on my list to read is ‘Honour’ (eBook, eAudio, physical copies) – hoping it’s as beautiful as this one.
Still think about the characters in this one, even though I read it a couple of months ago.I tend to avoid the ‘popular’ books for a while but I’m glad I didn’t with this one. Definitely deserving of all its praise.
This is one of my faves as it has completely changed how I run – Lisa Jackson doesn’t care about speed, she runs to meet people, chat to people, for the overall experience. I used to be focused on speed/time but after reading this, I slowed down. I enjoy running more now and since I’ve slowed down, I listen to eAudio instead of music. I’m currently listening to ‘Heartland‘ by Sarah Smarsh about working class poverty in America. Really enjoying it, narrated by the author. She’s a similar age to me and it’s really interesting. (Not sure I’d enjoy reading it though)
‘The Girl With The Louding Voice’ by Abi Dare (physical copies)
Just amazing really, heartbreaking yet full of hope. Written in a very distinctive style too. I was hooked right from the start. I always recommend this one to anyone who asks.
One book I did not enjoy was ‘Lost Children Archive’ by Valeria Luiselli (eBook, eAudio, physical copies). I found it so heavy and a real effort to finish. I wanted to like it which it why I persevered, but I should have given up after the first chapter!
I’m currently reading ‘The Rise Of The Ultra Runners’ by Adharanand Finn (physical copies). A nice easy read about a bonkers subject which I don’t know anything about!
I’ve just finished reading ‘Crescent City’ by Sarah J Maas (Book 1 – ‘House of Blood and Earth’ is available on eBook, eAudio and physical copies). What an amazing achievement! Over 700 pages of wonderful fantasy adventure which races along at a mind-blowing pace. If it hadn’t been so heavy, I’d have never put it down.
If you are already familiar with her ‘Court of…’ series and others, you’ll know what a remarkably fertile imagination she has and the ability to put it to good use in her storylines. I might just borrow this one again to read it more slowly and savour the experience!
Peter Crouch, the England footballer who has played for many teams including Aston Villa has so far written two books. His first, ‘How To Be A Footballer’ looks at what it’s really like to be a top level footballer. From the dressing room to post match interviews, juggling home life with the demands put on you by your manager, this is an insider look at the world of football. It’s available on BorrowBox as an eBook and on eAudio and you’ll also find physical copies.
And if when you’ve finished ‘How To Be A Footballer’, you still want more, then Crouch does not disappoint. In ‘I, Robot’ (a tribute to his famous (or should that be infamous) goal celebration style, we learn even more about the behind-the-scenes world of professional football. We will learn about Gareth Bale’s magic beans, the Golden Rhombus of Saturday night entertainment, and why Crouchy’s dad walks his dog wearing an England tracksuit from 2005. What more could you want? Find it in eBook, eAudio and physical copies.
- ‘The House in the Cerulean Sea‘ by TJ Klune. A lovely cast of characters. I didn’t want it to end.
- ‘Get a Life, Chloe Brown’ by Talia Hibbert. I don’t usually read romance novels but this one was great fun and I loved the relationship between Chloe and her sisters. (Physical copies)
- ‘We Are The Weather’ by Jonathan Safran Foer (Physical copy)
- ‘The City of Brass’ by S. A. Chakraborty (eBook, physical copy)
Hope to read
- ‘Do You Dream of Terra-Two?’ by Temi Oh (eBook, physical copy)
- ‘Black and British’ by David Olusoga (eBook, physical copies)
Join us in Part Two next week for even more reading suggestions for your summer reading from Warwickshire Libraries’ Staff and feel free to leave us any recommendations of what you’ve been reading this summer in the comments below.
Some of the titles mentioned above will currently be available from our ‘Click and Collect’ libraries – find out how to request these physical copies here, including all you need to know about making an appointment to collect your items when they are ready.
If you’re new to using our eBook/eAudio service, BorrowBox, we have a ‘Basics‘ video available here and a ‘Tips & Tricks‘ video to make sure you’re making the most of our eBooks and eAudio titles. You can also get in touch by email if you need any further assistance with our digital resources – email firstname.lastname@example.org.