2017-07-12 / Arts & Entertainment News

Librarians suggest

What you might like and what they’re looking forward to reading this summer
BY NANCY STETSON

IT’S A GIVEN: LIBRARIANS ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT BOOKS.

They love reading them, love discussing them, love suggesting them to others.

“I always love talking about books,” exclaims Judy Domzalski, library technician at the Mid- County Regional Library in Port Charlotte.

“I’m a voracious reader. I’m always with a book,” says public services librarian Tracy Williams, who works at the Collier County Headquarters. This summer, she plans to work her way though most of the books on the current New York Times Bestseller List.

“If I’m not working, I’m reading,” she says. “I read two or three books a week, without a doubt.”

Florida Weekly was curious what books librarians (and librarian associates and technicians) would recommend for the summer, and what they were personally looking forward to reading, so we talked to a number of them in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

Their suggestions were as diverse as the people themselves.

Here’s what they had to say:

¦ Kevin Wells

Reference librarian at the Lakes Regional Library, Fort Myers

Recommend:

One of the books I just finished is the NY Times Bestseller “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s very short, and it’s very good. It’s a very complex subject, but he’s able to bring it down to a level where someone like me, a history major, can understand the basic concepts. It’s small enough to whet your appetite. He’s not just bright, he can communicate too.

Personally looking forward to:

I’m looking forward to “Testimony” by Scott Turow. It’s a little different, because a lot of the action takes place overseas. So even though it’s a legal drama, it departs from his other works in that respect. It’s an international drama having to do with The Hague.

¦ Tracy Herman

Librarian supervisor at the Port Charlotte Library

Recommend:

I’ve been recommending, “My Brother is a Superhero” by David Solomons. It’s a cute story, for grades 3-5. It’s humorous, and I think it will really attract the kids’ attention. It kept mine. It opens with a kid up in a tree house with his older brother. He leaves the tree house to use the bathroom in their house. It opens with the line, “It all happened because I had to pee.” When he’s not in the tree house, a UFO comes down and an alien from another planet beams up his brother, the one who’s going to save the world, and gives him super powers.

Personally looking forward to:

I’m looking forward to reading “Drowning Tides” by Karen Harper. She’s the author of a series set in Florida. She’s going to be a guest speaker here in our library in upcoming season, after the first of the year.

Bill MacDonald

Reference librarian and head of adult programs at Mid-County Regional Library, Port Charlotte

Recommend:

The “Big Little Lies” book by Liane Moriarity is now an HBO series — that’s pretty popular. It’s got a cast of characters, mainly female. I think it’s set in Australia in the book, but the HBO mini series relocates it to Los Angeles. It’s a dark comedy, a social commentary on suburbia. And it’ll be the subject of a discussion group here at the library in October.

Personally looking forward to:

I plan to read some biographies, one on John F. Kennedy and one on Lyndon Johnson, but haven’t selected the exact books yet.

¦ Judy Domzalski

Library technician Mid-County Regional Library, Port Charlotte

Recommend:

The one I just finished is “A Gentleman In Moscow,” by Amor Towles.

It’s set in Russia, right after the Revolution.

The subject of the title is an aristocrat that’s been put under house arrest at one of the grand hotels in Moscow, the internationally famous Metropol hotel. It’s (about) how he manages to survive in post-Revolution Russia. Most of his material goods have been taken from him. But the part of him that is the strongest is his strength of character, and his relationships. His strength of spirit is so strong, it’s endearing.

Personally looking forward to:

I’m currently reading “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir” by Jennifer Ryan. It’s such an odd title, but the book itself is amazing. It’s really good. It’s all told through journals, diaries, and letters, set in WW II.

And I’m looking forward to reading the new Jennifer McMahon book, “Burntown.” She’s a suspense writer and some of it is on the supernatural side. She had written a book called “The Winter People” that got a lot of attention, an eerie book. So we’re all looking forward to her new one.

Lynda Citro

Interim regional librarian for the Charlotte County Library System

Recommend:

I’d recommend a new series I’m reading, called “The Gender Game” by Bella Forrest.

If you liked “The Hunger Games,” you’d like “The Gender Games.” Six books are already out.

It’s (set in) a post-apocalyptic world; something happened, the world sort of ended, yet people are surviving. So they decided, instead of setting up like it used to be, one society is the matriarchal society where women are rulers, then on the other side of the river is the patriarchal society. (It looks at) how when you go to one extreme or the other, it’s not going to work. I find them interesting.

Personally looking forward to:

I’m looking forward to book 7 in “The Gender Games” series.

Bryan Watt

Public services librarian for the Collier County Library System

Recommend:

I’d recommend a couple of books: “The Identicals” by Elin Hilderbrand and “Camino Island” by John Grisham, his latest. Those are two of our top requested books from our patrons. Definitely popular reads for the summer. And I’d recommend the last book I just read, an autobiography by David Ortiz: “Papi: My Story.” He’s a retired baseball player, a designated hitter, who played for the Boston Red Sox. They just retired his number at Fenway a few weeks ago.

He was one of the best designated hitters to play the game of baseball. He was a good player and a good human being. It’s more about his character than about baseball.

And I’m a Yankees fan too! I’m not a fan of the Red Sox, but it was good book and I enjoyed reading it.

Personally looking forward to:

A book I’m just starting to read now, Lisa See’s “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.” It’s her latest. It’s good. It’s more of a drama, but the reason it’s appealing, is that it’s based on a true story about the life of a Chinese mother and daughter, and the daughter’s been adopted by an American couple. I plan on doing a book discussion about it in the fall.

¦ Matt Hardy

Library associate at Lakes Regional Library, Fort Myers

Recommend:

Paula Hawkin’s “Into the Water.” She wrote the NY Times Bestseller “Girl on a Train.”

Personally looking forward to:

Personally, I’m looking forward to reading “The Force” by Don Winslow, set in the NYPD. I believe it’s about the rise and fall of one officer on the special task force. He’s the author who wrote “The Power of the Dog” and “The Cartel.”

Tracy Williams

Public services librarian at Collier County Library Headquarters

Recommend:

I just finished “The Women in the Castle” by Jessica Shattuck, which I really enjoyed. The story’s set in post WW II, with strong female characters. The main character took in others and in the process realized in the end that her life was not what she thought it was. She wasn’t as strong as she thought she was. “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Lisa See was also really good. I liked reading about the class system, the very patriarchal society in China, and how women were subjugated, but how the main character overcame that, and wound up running her own business, and traveled to American and broke out of that mode.

Personally looking forward to:

I am looking forward to Philipa Greogry’s book “The Last Tudor.” I’ve read everything she’s ever written. And I plan to read most everything on the current New York Times Bestseller list.

¦ Rose Dunn

Reference library associate Fort Myers Regional Library

Recommend:

I’d recommend anything by Elin Hilderbrand, who’s from Massachusetts. She writes about Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and I’m from that area. So I identify with that. I know where she’s talking about. I recommend all of her books. I’d call them beach reads.

I also recommend Harlan Coben. He has a series, and some stand-alones. And then my absolute favorite author is Karin Slaughter. Her name is very fitting. It’s gory, gross, “Oh my God, I can’t read this when I’m alone,” that kind of stuff. And I love it! I have read every single thing she’s written. She also has series and stand-alones. When I read one of her books, I drop what I’m doing, and my husband doesn’t get supper all week or for a few days, until I’m done. I can’t wait for her next book. And then I’m afraid the entire time I’m reading it.

Personally looking forward to:

I’m waiting for the new one by Elin Hilderbrand, called “The Identicals.” It’s set at the beach, and it’s definitely a beach read.

¦ Laura Cifelli

Reference librarian Fort Myers Regional Library

Recommend:

This year, in April, our book discussion group read a non-fiction title called “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea” by Barbara Demick. It turned out to be very timely considering what happened with Otto Warmbier from Ohio, (the student who was tortured by the North Korean regime.) Barbara Demick was a Los Angeles Times reporter who was in Korea, so she went to North Korea and (did) research. The book was astounding. We were just so flabbergasted at the conditions of the people in North Korea. One of the most remarkable things was that they don’t have adequate electricity, so at night, if you look at a satellite map, in the middle of Asia, it’s pitch black. After just the first few sentences, I was saying, “Wow, I had no idea.” I read it on an audio book. It’s just brilliant, absolutely amazing. It’s hard to realize that it’s going on today. It’s real, it’s not a dystopian novel. I would highly recommend it.

Personally looking forward to:

A book I’m looking forward to reading this summer, is “Thirsty Dragon: China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Best Wines,” by Suzanne Mustacich. It’s about China’s lust for Bordeaux. They now have this very large affluent consumer class, they’ve moved into wine. There was just a story (the other) week on NPR on China trying to buy up vineyards in Australia.

And a manga version of that Marie Kondo book, called “The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up,” was just released. It’s a graphic novel version. I’m really curious what that’s going to be like, and how her philosophy translates. I think that’s going to be really neat. ¦

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