Tag Archives: summer reading

Confessions of a reluctant summer reader

I admit it. I never think of reading in the summer. Instead of sitting on the beach reading, I would rather be swimming, hiking, checking out festivals, or letting myself be mystified by the flames of a campfire. Summertime is generally not a time when I choose to read books.

But when a storm is thundering outside and either you’re stuck inside a cabin with little else to do, or you’re home and having electronics plugged in isn’t advised, I’ll resort to reading a book.

This is when I get really picky. I want something short and fast-paced—so I can go back to exploring the outdoors while the weather is still nice. The following are my 2019 summer reading picks:

The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

A well-crafted story of the dysfunctional Plum family illustrates the New York setting with careful details and hilarious observations. The book starts off with Leo, the eldest Plum, leaving his wife at a wedding, high on drugs and with a waitress in the passenger seat, only to crash his car and get sent to rehab. In order to hush the gossip, his mother spends the money from the Nest, a delayed inheritance for all the children when Melody, the youngest, would turn 40. With all the other siblings in dire straits, expecting the money to fix their debts and relationship problems, they eagerly await for Leo to come up with a solution. It’s a fun quick read filled with drama and ridiculous situations that are just perfect for stormy days inside.

This is also available in audiobook, which is great for long road trips!

Saturday Night Ghost Club – Craig Davidson

If you’ve ever been to Niagara Falls, you’ll recognize it immediately in this coming-of-age story. Jake Bake, neurosurgeon, reminisces on one summer growing up in Niagara Falls. At 12 years old, Jake was still scared of monsters in the closet and bullies from his school, but after meeting the new boy in town, Billy and his sister Dove, he begins exploring the city’s haunted sites with Uncle Cal, or the newly-formed Saturday Night Ghost Club. Exploring the themes of memory, nostalgia and tragedy, Davidson brings to life that summer feeling of exploring the city with nothing but your bike and your friends.

Ysabel – Guy Gavriel Kay

Looking for a getaway to the south of France? Ysabel, set in Aix-en-Provence, will sweep you into a story of adventure that will make you feel like you’re there. Ned, 15 years old, accompanying his father, a revered and professional photographer there to take some pictures of the city and landscape, stumble into a fantastical situation that spans over 2000 years. With great dialogue, well-timed humour, lyrical description of the Aix-en-Provence and a story unlike any I’ve read, this one is sure to keep you reading even after the storms outside have calmed.

Also available in audiobook!

The Key to Rebecca – Ken Follett

When I hear Ken Follett, I think of his long, sweeping historical novels. While those are great for cold winter nights, it’s not what I’m looking for when the sun sets after 9 o’clock. The Key to Rebecca gives you that historical fiction fix, but with a fast-paced, action-packed story. Follow Alex Wolf, a Nazi spy who travels through the Sahara Desert and into Cairo to get information on the British operations in Egypt during the Second World War, and William Vandam a British Army Intelligence office who picks up Wolf’s trail in the city. It has all the action, intrigue and romance you would expect from summer blockbuster, and it’s just as much fun.

So if you’re like me and hesitate to pick up a book over the summer, make sure to pick one that’s sure to be fun and fast-paced.

Rémi

Spiders, bugs, and worms…oh my!

“I take my hat off to you — or I would, if I were not afraid of showering you in spiders.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

June was an interesting month in Winnipeg – hot weather, then cool weather; dry periods with the relief of occasional rain. It sounds like the perfect Manitoba spring. But wait, what are those tiny things crawling on the lawn chair you wanted to sit on in the sun? The small black things covering your car? Welcome to cankerworm season. The time of year where getting in your car might require some serious brushing off, and where the eco-alternative, cycling, involves dodging (or not) curtains of worms!

One afternoon I tried doggedly to brave this year’s hoards and swept off my deck and, broom in hand, hauled out my laptop and sat down. This was interrupted every few minutes by a fresh sweep. By the end of the afternoon I felt like I was positively crawling. This got me thinking to a book I had read, that had me crawling in a fairly major way, The Lost City of Z.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon  is an Amazonian adventure story. It chronicles different real life searches for the mythical lost city of Z, alternating between the different adventurers. In 1925 Percy Fawcett, his son, and the rest of his party, ventured into the Amazon hoping to make a huge historical discovery. But the whole party disappeared, and over the ensuing decades, many scientists and adventure seekers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party, often coming to tragic ends themselves. The description of the natural world, especially the insect part, is more than vivid. Before I read it I had no idea you could lose a whole backpack in a matter of hours to hoards of ants!

Spiders and I are not the best of friends – I am able to sort of deal with small, non-hairy, non-creepy-with-legs-radiating-from-the-centre kind. Spiders in literature can be pretty cheerful and wise, like Charlotte, whom Wilbur befriends in Charlotte’s Web. But more often they are dark and frightening. The Lord of the Ring’s Shelob fits this bill perfectly – a sort of evil personified (If you LOVE J.R.R. Tolkien then check out Ungoliath in The Silmarillion– she makes Shelob feel almost tame). Then there is Aragog, from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. A sort of sad case, accused wrongly, and loved by Hagrid, he wasn’t quite as scary as some of his literary peers.

Stephen King apparently lists spiders as one of his top fears, but it hasn’t stopped him from including them in some of his novels – they show up in both It and the Dark Tower series. Neil Gaiman includes not one, but thousands of spiders, in his novel Anansi Boys.

 

 

Winner of the 2016 Arthur C Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time includes both ants and spiders. It is the epic story of humanity’s battle for survival on a terraformed planet, but the planet is already populated by an empire of accidentally scientifically evolved spiders!

In Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects, Stewart has uncovered the most terrifying and titillating stories of bugs gone wild. It’s an A to Z of insect enemies, interspersed with sections that explore bugs with kinky sex lives (“She’s Just Not That Into You”), creatures lurking in the cupboard (“Fear No Weevil”), insects eating your tomatoes (“Gardener’s Dirty Dozen”), and phobias that feed our (sometimes) irrational responses to bugs (“Have No Fear”).

As much as insects and other arthropods might make us squirm and crawl,  the cold hard truth is that we couldn’t live on this planet without them!

Enjoy!

~Kristie

#WPLsummertime

Going anywhere this summer? Take the library with you!

wpl summer reading

We want people to share photos of WPL materials on your summer adventures (from camping to urban hotels, and anything in between).  Tag #WPLsummertime on whichever social media platform you use and at the end of the summer, we’ll map it out and see how far we’ve travelled!

The Millennium Library is also hosting a Travel the World with your Library Card display. Write the name of a book you’ve read and the location where the book takes place on one of our “boarding passes,” then hand it in to staff and get a sticker to mark the spot on our map of the world. The boarding passes are pinned up around the map as well, should others be interested in following in your footsteps.

summer reading

Danielle

Summer Reading

“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”

Jeannette Walls

Somehow, reading in the summer is a different experience than at other times of the year. We’re more apt to do it outside, for one thing, since turning pages with mittens on is a challenge. So is seeing the page when your breath comes out as a cloud. But that’s behind us now, summer is here and the reading is easy. Beach reads have sometimes been defined as totally unrealistic escapism, and that’s not a bad way to pass some time swinging in the hammock or at the cottage. Sometimes, though, we need something with a bit more substance. Reading children’s and young adult titles provides a quality reading experience through the viewpoint of kids and teens, and can take you back to when you were a kid.

Dez and Miikan have shared a lot of experiences in their lives, both good and bad. But when Dez’s grandmother becomes ill, Dez is unable to cope, even with the help of her best friend. When Dez runs away from home, Miikan and the rest of the community do their best to help, but will it be enough to bring Dez home?

Felix is living a secret life. He goes to a good school and has great friends. But what nobody knows is  Felix and his mother have been living in a camper van, struggling to make ends meet. Trying to sneak in showers and finding enough food for the day are realities that Felix is having a hard time hiding from everyone, especially when Astrid is in her ‘slumps’

Mr. Baker’s class is ending the school year with a trip to the Carlsbad Caverns. When an earthquake collapses the tunnels during the trip, the class is sent careening into the abyss. Mr. Baker is missing, and the students are separated in a terrifying, unknown world below. Can they survive and make it back to the surface?

This two-sided novel explores reconciliation through the eyes of three children. In Lucy & Lola, the girls find out about their Kookum (grandmother) and mother’s experiences in the Canadian residential school system. In When We Play Our Drums, They Sing! Dene Cho learns about the impact of residential schools on the loss of their traditions and language.

Ethan’s dad is a famous comic book artist, so when a project at school requires expert drawing skills, his group nominates Ethan for the job. The problem is, Ethan can’t draw. Then Inkling rolls off the page of one of Ethan’s Dad’s sketchbooks and wants to help. That’s when the fun begins…

 I hope that you enjoy reading these books as much as I did. If this list has left you wanting more, check out myrca.ca  for your next great summer read.

 

-Lori

Summer Reading Challenge!

summerreading

Display at Millennium Library

While the libraries are all set with their TD Summer Reading program for the kiddies, we also have a challenge for the adults. At all Winnipeg Public Library branches you will find the Summer Reading Challenge, a large Bingo-type card with 24 themes to expand your reading horizons. Once you’ve read a book or listened to an audiobook from one of the themes listed, fill out a card and have your selection posted on or by your branch’s card. Let’s see which branch can fill up their card, and let’s see how many books from the different themes you can read during the summer. If you need help finding a book to read from any of the themes listed just ask a library staff member for suggestions, we are more than happy to help you with your summer reading challenge. To start you off I’ve included some reading suggestions for a few of the themes listed below.

Chosen by Cover

hypnotist  The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

Though the age-old saying of “don’t judge a book by its cover” can be applied to many occasions, it doesn’t always ring true. I am often attracted or intrigued by a book solely based on its cover, this is for good reason as plenty of work goes into cover design to attract a prospective reader. For many months I had seen this book returned over the counter and every time I saw the cover I would get chills. The story itself is no less chilling. A family is gruesomely murdered and with the only witness, their son, unable to remember the events inspector Joona Linna enlists the help of Dr. Erik Maria Bark, an expert in hypnotism to try and unlock the boy’s memories of that night. This novel marks the first in the series featuring Inspector Joona Linna, and true to Swedish mystery form it is dark, suspenseful and has fascinating characters. Alternate themes: Book in Translation, Book in a Series, Set in a country you’ve never visited, Mystery.

Science Fiction

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

This is an unconventional science fiction novel in that it is also a mystery/thriller featuring a serial killer. A serial killer during the Great Depression discovers a House that takes him to another time period where he finds his “Shining Girls”. He believes he will never be caught as after the murders he escapes back to his own time, but one of his victims survives and is keen on finding him and stopping him before he kills again. If you like your books with a bit of time travel, a serial killer and a strong female character, this book is for you. Alternate themes: Takes place more than 50 years ago, Mystery.

Collection of Short Stories

strange Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Depending on your typical reading genre, this book may fall under a couple themes (many of these suggestions could), it is a collection of short horror stories by Joe Hill, an author who, though he is the son of Stephen King, has been making a name for himself in the horror genre. In this collection Hill has written four short novels each as unique as the one before, though all written in a way that ratchets up the terror and horror as each page is turned. My personal favourite of the stories was the final one, Rain about an apocalyptic event where instead of water falling when it rains, it is a downpour of nails. Where does one find cover when nails are raining from the sky? Read the book and find out. Alternate themes: Title outside your comfort zone.

Book From Your Childhood

Le Petit Prince or The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I read this French classic in french when I was in school and loved it then, I read it recently and loved it even more. This short book takes place on earth with a pilot whose plane has crashed in the desert and there he encounters the little prince who asks him to draw a sheep. At first the pilot has difficulty until he decides to draw a box and tells the prince that the sheep is in the box. The little prince is delighted, much to the pilot’s surprise and recounts his life on asteroid B-612, his travels from different planets and his encounters with those on each planet. The message related in this book is accessible to children and imperative to adults. Though children will love this book and understand the little prince, it is us adults who will truly come away from this book with a new appreciation of seeing life through a child’s eyes and grasping what is truly important. Alternate themes: Book in translation, book that involves travel.

Audiobook

lincoln Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Not only is the novel the winner of the Man Booker Prize, the audiobook is also an Audie Award Winner for Audiobook of the Year, and it is no wonder. Lead by a full star-studded cast including the voice talents of Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Don Cheadle, Kat Dennings, Bill Hader, Keegan-Michael Key, Susan Sarandon and Rainn Wilson to name a few, and George Saunders himself, Lincoln in the Bardo takes place during the Civil War in a graveyard where then president Abraham Lincoln has just laid his son to rest. A fascinating setting for a unique book.

Winnipeg Author

You have plenty of books to choose from that are by a Winnipeg author, just check out the winners and nominees from the Manitoba Book Awards. This year’s list includes our very own Writer-in-Residence Jennifer Still who won the Landsdowne Poetry Award for her book Comma. The library also carries the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction winner The Water Beetles by Michael Kaan, and though there are a few requests on this book, click on the link to Award Winners on the catalogue home page and select Manitoba/Local Awards for a list of past winners that may be more likely of being available to borrow, and they’re just as good!

Best of luck to you all in completing the challenge, and happy reading!

-Aileen

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…”

This film was released the summer of 1975 and helped coin the term, “summer blockbuster.” After seeing the film people were afraid to go swimming, and they couldn’t get enough of it. What film am I referring to? Well I’m sure if I played you the titular score that won John Williams an Oscar you would know.

The film is Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, which was based on the novel by Peter Benchley. I’m certain many of you have seen the film, whether it was when it first came out in theatres (I was not yet born, however I did ask my father his thoughts on the movie when it first came out and he said he jumped many times in the theatre), or on Blu-Ray/DVD/Streaming or however you watch your movies. I remember the first time I saw the film; it was our last day at the cottage. I really was too young to have watched it, because when we went for our last swing, I was terrified that a shark would come up from the murky depths and eat me. (Never mind the fact that we were at a lake that could not possibly hold sharks.) Since then in the back of my overactive mind I always thought, “What if?” Of course someone decided to make a movie of sharks surviving in freshwater lakes so clearly I wasn’t the only one with that fear. I am proud to say that I have since swam with sharks a few times (they were small sharks of course and didn’t really come near me), and I am well aware that being bitten by a shark is extremely unlikely as they would much rather not be around humans. However, I still get excited hearing about monster movies and shark movies coming out, and this summer we have two big ones, both of which I am excited to see.

The first is The Meg which looks incredibly cool, hilarious, and full of jump scares. The film asks the question, “Could the Carcharodon megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive…and on the hunt?” (IMDB) Does a giant 70-foot prehistoric shark attacking boats sound like your cup of tea? Check out the trailer if you’re not certain, they make excellent use of the classic song Beyond the Sea.

The second big “monster” movie coming out is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to Jurassic World and part of the Jurassic Park series, which was based on the books by the late Michael Crichton. This film looks like a fun romp at the movies, with some new dinosaurs, more evil scientists and Jeff Goldblum back to reprise his role as mathematician Ian Malcolm who still believes that “life finds a way”.

In honour of these summer monster blockbusters coming out I thought I would include a few shark/monster books that will whet your appetite and give you something you can really sink your teeth into, if you get my drift.

jaws Jaws by Peter Benchley

Benchley’s first book ever to be published turned out to be a huge hit, and had a young Steven Spielberg behind the camera directing the movie. Sink your teeth into the novel the film was based on, and experience the suspense and horror in a whole new format. A perfect beach read, and perfect for those visiting Amity Island. We also have the film Jaws in our collection to borrow should you like to revisit this scary movie or experience it for the first time.

 

jurassic park Jurassic Park and The Lost World Michael Crichton

A wealthy businessman wants to create the most amazing theme-park filled with dinosaurs cloned by scientists, and tests this theme-park out on his grandchildren and paleontologist Alan Grant. Giant dinosaurs created in a lab around humans, what could go wrong? The sequel to Jurassic Park, The Lost World, continues where the first book left off six years later with more dinosaurs and everyone’s favourite mathematician. These books are both exciting, filled with suspense and asks ethical questions, some of which have come up recently with talk of de-extinction, a topic which Britt Wray explores thoroughly in her novel Rise of the Necrofauna: A Provocative Look at the Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-extinction.

cujo Cujo Stephen King

What happens when a good-natured St. Bernard becomes infected by the rabies virus? Naturally, he becomes a menace to a small town in Maine. This suspenseful novel explores the relationship one has with man’s best friend and the heartache one experiences (and terror) if that relationship changes. Leave it to Stephen King to take a sweet, loving animal and change him into a terror.

 

hatching The Hatching series Ezekiel Boone

I know I’ve written about this series before, but I just finished the last book in the trilogy, and am just getting over my spider nightmares. These books may not be for the arachnophobes out there, but they are still an exciting read. A plague of man-eating spiders descend on the world attacking, and eating those in the way, but this is just the first wave, there are more to come and it is up to spider expert Melanie Guyer and others we meet along the way to stop them before the whole world is destroyed. These books are excellent, short and quick reads that play like an action movie, which make them perfect summer monster reads.

river River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

This book is a bit of an odd duck, it is a novella nominated for the 2017 Nebula Award, set in an alternate history of the United States during the 1890s. In this alternate history feral hippos have roamed unchecked in the Mississippi River. They were originally brought over by the government to eat the invasive water hyacinth and would then become food to the humans, however now they have become wild and it is up to Winslow Houndstooth and his crew to corral them. We all know that hippos are fast and with their powerful jaws can snap someone in half, so to hunt one would be extremely dangerous, and Winslow has many to hunt. Part western, part horror, part action/adventure, this novella is the perfect summer read, and as a bonus includes wild and feral hippos.

Happy Reading!

-Aileen

Summer Spooktacle

Summer is a time of sunshine, sand, ice cream, and s’mores around the campfire. There is nothing quite like sitting around a toasty fire while staring up at the stars, listening to the rustling of the wind in the trees while someone tells a scary story.

If you want to keep the spooky times rolling even after your summer vacation is over (if you ask me, it’s never too early to start getting ready for Halloween!), check out items in the list below, guaranteed to bring that campfire feeling into your home! Maybe leave the fire outside, though.

 The Curse of the Wendigo by Nick Yancey

In book 2 of the Monstrumologist series, Dr. Warthrop is asked by his former fiancée to rescue her husband from the Wendigo, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, which has snatched him in the Canadian wilderness. Although Warthrop considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and rescues her husband from death and starvation, and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo. Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied?

If you’ve never encountered the Wendigo in your reading, it’s well worth checking this one out. It’s one of the creepiest folkloric creatures I’ve run into in my reading adventures!

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

Speaking as someone who recently missed a turn and then found herself driving on a deserted highway surrounded by marsh, and then on a lonely dirt road through endless cornfields, all under a partially cloud-covered full moon, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think that you might see a ghostly figure along the side of the road.

Haunted highways are a classic amongst urban legends. You might recognize some of these popular titles: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown.

In fact, in Sparrow Hill Road, she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom.

If you’re feeling brave, feel free to bring this along as your next road trip read!

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

Killer mermaids and ghost ships, anyone?

When the Imagine Network commissioned a documentary on mermaids, they expected what they had always received before: an assortment of eyewitness reports that proved nothing, some footage that proved even less, and the kind of ratings that only came from peddling imaginary creatures to the masses. They didn’t expect actual mermaids. They certainly didn’t expect those mermaids to have teeth.

As a novella, this book is a nice, quick read, perfect for the beach!

And if you enjoy this one, keep an eye out for the next book in the series, Into the Drowning Deep.

Gravity Falls by Alex Hirsch

Twelve year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are off to spend the summer with their gruff Great Uncle (‘Grunkle’) Stan who runs the tacky tourist trap, ‘Mystery Shack.’ The kids uncover mysterious surprises, unsurpassed silliness, and supernatural shenanigans lurking around every corner of the deceptively sleepy little town.

This is a fun series for younger fans of things that go bump in the night, and you just can’t go wrong with shenanigans!

Supernatural

This television series got its start in the folklore and myths that created all of the really great campfire tales. The main characters, brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, seek out and fight supernatural forces in an attempt to find their mysteriously missing father and the person or force responsible for their mother’s death. In the process, you’ll meet recognizable characters, some of whom have already appeared on this list, such as the Phantom Traveler and the Wendigo.

These are just a few of the spooky stories we have at the library, so don’t worry horror fans, you won’t run out!

Maybe you’ve got some other favourite tales that you like to share with friends. If so, leave a comment below, I’d love to know what they are!

Happy reading,

Megan

Summer Reads

Every year my uncle would take his kids (my cousins) on a family camping trip. He had a demanding job and these two weeks off were extra special to him. He would kick back, relax, spend some time with his family, and read. My  cousin remembers that every summer, for as long as she can remember, for all of her childhood, her Dad would be working on the SAME BOOK. Every year he would bring along his copy of Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War, and every summer he would read maybe 10 pages of it, and then it would go back on his shelf for the long cold winter. The next year, he would have forgotten what he read, so he’d start again and only get the first 10 pages read. This cycle repeated for 20 years.

I guess the moral of this story is: DON’T BE MY UNCLE. I encourage you to look over this list of popular books that are either coming out this summer or have recently been published, and pick something that interests you. Who knows? You might even get to page 11.

Giant of the Senate by Al Franken

Al Franken, who was best known as a comedian with regular appearances on Saturday Night Live, won a United States Senate seat in 2008 and was re-elected in 2014. His latest book acts partly as a memoir and partly as an “insider’s look” at how the American Federal government works (or doesn’t).

 

Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child

If politics isn’t your thing, maybe you just want to read a story about a guy accosted by werewolves. Lincoln Child, partnered with Douglas Preston for the Agent Pendergast books, has now branched off to write a few on his own. His paranormal investigator, Jeremy Logan, travels to an isolated writer’s retreat in the Adirondacks to work on his book, but guess what? Yep, werewolves.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

This book is called Norse Mythology and that’s exactly what you get. Neil Gaiman took some of the stories of Odin, Loki, and Thor and reworked them for an audience who may only know these characters through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some early reviews were a bit negative, expressing disappointment that “it’s just a book of myths”. But that’s what it is, and well worth a look.

 

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

A lot of people decide to get married in the summer, and even more people like to read about weddings and watch them and talk about them. So in that spirit, you might enjoy Sarah Dessen’s latest, Once and for All. The main character, Louna, is a wedding planner who doesn’t believe that true love will ever happen to her. I’m not going to get all spoilery on you here, but let’s just say good things happen.

 

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

Okay, I can hear some of you saying that, politics, werewolves, myths and wedding planners are all well and good, but how about something with a little SUBSTANCE into which we can sink our teeth? I’ve got you covered, friend. Before the Fall is a suspense novel about a tragic plane crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Eleven people were on board, but only two survived. The two survivors, a down on his luck painter, and a four-year old boy (who also happens to be the last surviving member of a wealthy family) form a fragile and unlikely bond as the life stories of the rest of the passengers are told through flashbacks. Poignant!

-Trevor

 

GO WILD Week 5: Voices Week

This summer, the Library is challenging you to expand your reading horizons! Hunt down titles to meet the challenge of your choice, chat with staff for help, browse our displays, or check out the picks below.

For every week you try something new, enter our prize draws at any WPL branch!

Week 5 is Voices Week, so prepare to hear from a new point of view.

  • Challenge 13: A book written for teens
  • Challenge 14: A graphic novel
  • Challenge 15: A book on LGBTTQ* issues

*All of the picks below can be requested for pickup at your closest branch! Search and place holds with our catalog.

Staff picks for Challenge 13: A book written for teens

CRANK by Ellen Hopkins

Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, but she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs and becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind.

THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp

The principal of Opportunity High School in Alabama has just finished her speech welcoming the students to a new semester, when they discover that the auditorium doors will not open. Someone starts shooting, and four teens, each with a personal reason to fear the shooter, tell the tale from separate perspectives.

TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra

Three students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet academy compete for the status of prima ballerina, each willing to sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab their way to the top.

thief.jpgTHE BOOK THIEF Markus Zusak

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution

UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld

In a world where mandatory cosmetic surgery is performed on everyone when they turn sixteen, Shay escapes to join a band of outsiders avoiding surgery, and Tally is forced to find her and turn her in.

Staff picks for Challenge 14: A graphic novel

THE EXILE: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon

Retells in graphic novel format the first Outlander novel from Jamie Fraser’s point of view, revealing events never seen in the original story.

beardTHE GIGANTIC BEARD THAT WAS EVIL by Stephen Collins

The fastidious life of clean-shaven Dave is upended on a fateful day when he grows an unstoppable, impressive beard, in a darkly comic, award-winning meditation on life, death and what it means to be different.

BLACK HOLE by Charles Burns

Seattle teenagers of the 1970s are suddenly faced with a devastating, disfiguring, and incurable plague that spreads only through sexual contact.

CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT? by Roz Chast

A loving celebration of the final years of the author’s aging (and quirky) parents through cartoons, family photos, and documents.

MARCH by John Lewis

A first-hand account of the author’s lifelong struggle for civil and human rights spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.

HABIBI by Craig Thompson

Follows the relationship between two refugee child slaves, Dodola and Zam, who are thrown together by circumstance and who struggle to make a place for themselves in a world fueled by fear and vice.

Staff picks for Challenge 15: A book on LGBTTQ* issues

BECOMING NICOLE: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

The inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother, and an ordinary American family’s extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the right to be different.

missMISSISSIPPI SISSY by Kevin Sessums

A celebrity journalist chronicles his bullying behaviors throughout his Southern youth, his friendships with such figures as Eudora Welty, and the impact of journalist Frank Hain’s murder on his career.

I’M SPECIAL: AND OTHER LIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Ryan O’Connell

Part-memoir, part-manifesto from a super popular web writer chronicles the coming of age story of a gay man with cerebral palsy in an all-wired, overeducated, and underemployed world.

ANNABEL by Kathleen Winter

Born a boy and a girl but raised as a boy, Wayne or “Annabel” struggles with his identity growing up in a small Canadian town and seeks freedom by moving to the city.

FUN HOME: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

An unusual memoir done in graphic novel format offers a darkly funny family portrait of her relationship with her father, a historic preservation expert dedicated to restoring the family’s Victorian home, funeral home director, high-school English teacher, and closeted homosexual.

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

One night, when Clementine goes with her friend to a gay bar, she becomes captivated by Emma, a punkish girl with blue hair. This event leads Clementine to discover and explore new aspects of herself.

 

 

Only one week left to jump in. What challenges have you tried?

 

 

 

 

GO WILD Week 4: Genre Week

This summer, the Library is challenging you to expand your reading horizons! Hunt down titles to meet the challenge of your choice, chat with staff for help, browse our displays, or check out the picks below.

For every week you try something new, enter our prize draws at any WPL branch!

Week 4 is Genre Week, so try out a new genre!

  • Challenge 10: A romance book
  • Challenge 11: A western book
  • Challenge 12: A science-fiction book

*All of the picks below can be requested for pickup at your closest branch! Search and place holds with our catalog.

Staff picks for Challenge 10: A romance book

THE WEDDING CHAPEL by Rachel Hauck

For sixty years, a wedding chapel sat silent, waiting for love. But times have changed and the hour has come when it just might be too late…

lighthouseLIGHTHOUSE BAY by Kimberley Freeman

In 1901, Isabella is the sole survivor of a shipwreck off the sun-drenched
Queensland coast. In 2011, Libby returns to her beachside hometown, where
strange noises and activity at the abandoned lighthouse rouse her curiosity.

SWEET TALK by Julie Garwood

When tough attorney Olivia MacKenzie stumbles into the middle of an FBI sting operation, she makes quite an impression on Agent Grayson Kincaid. But after she asks questions of the wrong people, her life is suddenly endangered.

PREY by Linda Howard

Montana wilderness guide Angie Powell wants nothing to do with ex-soldier Dare Callahan, especially as she blames him for her failing business. But she has to put her feelings aside when they are suddenly thrust together to stop an animal with a thirst for blood—of a human variety.

FOOL ME TWICE by Meredith Duran

A lady on the run, Olivia takes a position as housekeeper in the home of a notorious duke whose files might hold the key to her salvation. The only catch in her plan is the duke himself…

TRUE LOVE by Jude Deveraux

When Alix Madsen inherits a beautiful 19th century Nantucket home for one
year, she discovers the secret of what happened to her ancestor Valentina two
centuries ago. A story of the Montgomerys and Taggerts.

Staff picks for Challenge 11: A western book

HONDO by Louis L’Amour

Hondo is the epitome of a cowboy—a tough, squinty-eyed loner with an underlying gentleness—who comes upon a woman and her son struggling in hostile circumstances.

RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE by Zane Grey

The story of Jane Withersteen, a Utah rancher whose livelihood is threatened by a proposed marriage she does not want, until a lone cowboy named Lassiter comes to town. Often credited for kick-starting the Western genre.

sistersTHE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick deWitt

During the American Gold Rush in the Sierra Nevada, Eli and Charlie Sister are hired killers on their way to San Francisco to nail their latest target.

LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry

This Pulitzer Prize winner novel follows ex-Texas Rangers Gus and Call as they go on one last cattle drive.  At once a story of brotherhood and the enduring cowboy spirit, it is also pays homage to a fading frontier.

ALL THE PRETTY HORSES by Cormac McCarthy

At sixteen, John Grady Cole is the last of a long line of Texas ranchers, now cut off from the only life he has ever imagined. So with two companions, he sets off for Mexico on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey.

TRUE GRIT – Charles Portis

Wilful fourteen-year-old girl, Mattie Ross, hooks up with colourful and subtly comic U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, and heads off in seek of revenge.

 

Staff picks for Challenge 12: A science-fiction book

teleTHE TELEPORTATION ACCIDENT by Ned Beauman

Egon Loeser’s romantic misfortunes push him from the experimental theatres of 1930s Berlin to the physics laboratories of LA. A humorous, and (mostly) coherent novel about sex, violence, space, and time.

THE DISPOSSESSED: An Ambiguous Utopia by Ursula Le Guin

A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from its mother planet, war-torn yet powerful Urras. Now one brilliant physicist is determined to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart.

THE WINDUP GIRL by Paolo Bacigalupi

In a future where food is scarce, Anderson Lake comes into conflict with Jaidee, an official of the Environmental Ministry, and encounters Emiko, an engineered girl who has been discarded by her creator.

angelANGELMAKER by Nick Harkaway

Avoiding the lifestyle of his late gangster father by working as a clock repairman, Joe Spork fixes an unusual device that turns out to be a former secret agent’s doomsday machine and incurs the wrath of the government and a diabolical South Asian dictator.

REDSHIRTS: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi

A new lab tech on the prestigious starship Intrepid starts to worry about the number of low-ranking officers dying during away missions, and other goings on.

SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson

Five thousand years after a catastrophic event sends a small surviving remnant of humanity into outer space, the progeny of those survivors–seven distinct races now three billion strong–embark on a journey into the unknown to return to Earth.