I always go into a slight period of mourning when Summer Reading Club ends. It’s something we spend a lot of time planning and looking forward to all year long, and it always seems to go by too quickly. I love how busy the library is and how excited people of all ages are to be reading. And the adults sure did read! This year, we had 225 participants who read a total of 10,740 hours. And because I like really big numbers, that comes out to 644,400 minutes! Our top reader read 330 hours, and we had a very close runner-up with 320 hours. I want to congratulate, and thank, everyone who participated this year, in all of our clubs. You are what makes our summer so fun and rewarding! Check out some pics from our Adult Summer Reading Club Finale Party! You came. You answered trivia questions. You ate. We had a blast!
Monthly Archives: July 2014
Here’s one from a new favorite author of mine: Neil Gaiman. He always has beautiful things to say about literature and reading and is always very supportive of libraries.
“Stories you read when you’re the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you’ll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.”
I sometimes feel as if there are any number of books, too many to count really, that are simply amazing and just waiting for me to finally get round to reading them. The more I read about books and talk about books, the longer my “to be read” list becomes. So how does a book on that list jump to the head of the line? Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a certain book. Oftentimes it’s a matter of convenience – this one has been on my mind, it’s on the shelf right in front of me, so I’ll grab it. In the case of the book I most recently read, it came very highly recommended to me by a dear friend. It’s one of her favorites. I always enjoy reading the books that close family and friends love because it’s fascinating to see what kinds of worlds and characters enchant them. Plus, as the person who chooses the books for the library’s two book clubs, I feel as if I’m often forcing books on others. It’s nice to have the tables turned every once in a while. Thus began my journey with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
It’s an epic story about a woman, Claire Randall, who travels through time, from post-WWII England, to 18th century Scotland. She travels by accident, leaving her husband, Frank, behind. She is thrust rather brutally into a world of clan wars, spies, and witchcraft. Luckily, she is a trained combat nurse, and her skills come in handy throughout the book, as she and her traveling companions suffer the effects of swords, guns, and torture. Of course she is quickly befriended by a roguish, charming, exceedingly attractive young man, Jamie Fraser, who soon pledges to love and protect her. There are several obstacles to their union, not least of which is the love and loyalty she still has for her husband, Frank. They’re also being hunted by the English, in particular one officer, Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall.
This book worked for a variety of reasons. I loved the two main characters. Jamie is very much a man of his time, which is refreshing, and I appreciated the realistic depiction. I will admit to now having a bit of a literary crush on him. I enjoyed Claire even more, though. She is not one of those whiny, can’t-get-my-hands-dirty heroines, but she also isn’t one of those unbelievable, unrelatable, I-know-kung-fu types, either. She’s intelligent and resourceful and courageous. Also, Gabaldon is detailed – she knows how to construct a world that the reader can clearly picture. The book starts off a little slow, but the pace picks up and is consistent throughout the rest of the book. In fact, there’s not really a dull moment after Claire time travels.
If you haven’t begun this series, you’re in for a treat! The 8th book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, was just released. Plus, they’re bringing the series to TV on the Starz network on August 9th. I clearly have some reading to do!
I apologize for missing last week. We were closed for the holiday, so I didn’t get a chance to write a post. But, good news! There will be two quotations today to make up for last week. And I think they’re especially good.
“So many people are shut tight inside themselves like boxes. Yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.” – Sylvia Plath
“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” – Italo Calvino
We couldn’t let everyone else have all the fun, so a few years ago, the staff here at the Azle Memorial Library started our own summer reading club. We keep track of how many hours we read, and then at the end, whoever has the most hours read gets a small prize. This year, we’re doing our own “pinterest” board of the books we’ve read by taping up pictures of the various book covers. I suppose only readers will understand this, but there is something intensely gratifying about ticking off those boxes for the hours I’ve read and getting to print out a picture of another book. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see a board like this after a lifetime of reading? I wish I had kept a book journal with my very first book because I know there are countless books I’ve forgotten over the years. It would be wonderful to be able to look back at the thousands of books we’ll have read by the time we’re older and think of the lives we’ve encountered, the places we’ve visited, and the knowledge and sympathy we’ve gained along the way. We hope that the summer reading club not only encourages you to read more, and read more widely, but that it also helps you remember what you’ve read and be more conscientious and deliberate in your reading.
And speaking of reading more widely, if you received the five-hour prize, you should have noticed some different colored slips of paper in your bag. Each slip represents a different genre of literature and another chance to earn a raffle ticket. Keep track of the different genres from which you read by noting the book title and author and bring them to the Information Desk. Also, be sure to check out our display in the library if you’re looking for different genre suggestions! The last day to turn in reading hours is Wednesday, July 23rd by 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 3rd, will mark the 5th meeting of our newest book club, Non Fiction Addiction! If you haven’t been joining us, I can promise you that you’ve been missing out. We’ve discussed topics from prison camps in North Korea to lavender fields in France to architecture during the World’s Fair in Chicago.
This month we’re reading Daniel James Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat.” It’s about a rowing crew at the University of Washington that competed for gold during the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin. It’s fascinating because, much like “The Devil in the White City,” you have two stories running side-by-side, with a stark contrast between light and dark. Because while you’re learning about these young men and their rowing, you’re also learning about the rise of Hitler to power during the early and mid-1930’s. It’s chilling and heart pounding, and you won’t be able put it down! Here’s what a reviewer from the Associated Press had to say: “This riveting and inspiring saga evokes that of Seabiscuit…Readers need neither background nor interest in competitive rowing to be captivated by this remarkable and beautifully crafted history. Written with the drama of a compelling novel, it’s a quintessentially American story that burnishes the esteem in which we embrace what has come to be known as the Greatest Generation.” And what better way to celebrate the upcoming July 4th holiday than by learning more about some great Americans? Please join us Thursday, July 3rd at 6:00 in the Library Community Room. As always, there will be food, friends, and plenty of discussion.