My lovely wife has a saying: “Be like Nob Hill Road; Always be working on things.” She’s so funny. So with her words echoing in my head, one day between novels I cracked open Atlas of the Heart. I’d gotten the general impression that Brene Brown was a writer to take seriously in the self-help and Psychology world and so I looked past the kitschy name to see what was up.
My verdict? There are two books that anyone seeking self awareness should read and this is one of them. Yes. It’s that good.
Robbie Couch is a breakthrough author in the young adult genre, publishing his debut novel in 2021. In 2022, Couch published the novel Blaine for the Win. I am always skeptical about contemporary novels, especially when the story takes place in a high school. However, I was utterly blown away by this story. The writing is humorous, playful, and charming, while still capturing the obnoxiousness that is the high school experience.
This story follows Blaine, a junior in high school who does not get the best grades but makes up for it with his big heart and passion for art. His (now ex) boyfriend is especially popular, the senior class president, and rich, which Joey explains is why they are incompatible. Blaine is crushed and spends his spring break laying in bed, despairing at the loss of his dream boyfriend who dumped him on their one-year anniversary at the fanciest restaurant in town.
There’s a joke about immunology which appeared in an article I read a few years ago. The author of the
article, Ed Yong, credited it to Jessica Metcalf, a professor and researcher at Princeton. To (very) roughly
paraphrase the original joke, “a cardiology and an immunologist are kidnapped. Their captors promise to
spare whichever doctor can prove they’ve made a greater contribution to society. The cardiologist tells
them of his work in creating a life-saving heart drug that has been used by millions. The kidnappers,
impressed, turn to the immunologist, he begins, “well, let me start by saying that immunology is a very
complex field,” to which the cardiologist interjects, “just shoot me now!”
Get ready to be swept off your feet into a fantastical world with dragons and magic; a
world that is split between the East and the West. It has been almost a thousand years
since the Nameless One was defeated but the fear of him and his evil still haunts the
people in this world. In the West, Ead is on a secret mission to protect the Queen,
Sabran. Queen Sabran’s bloodline is said to be the only thing keeping the Nameless
one at bay. In the East, Tane has the ambition to become a dragon rider but risks it all
when she saves a man from the West. The narration switches between 4 characters as
this ensemble cast slowly through many twists and turns find their fates intertwined.
Loyalties are tested, and tragedy awaits yet hope remains.
Sixty miles northwest of Yakima, in the heart of the William O. Douglas Wilderness lies Bumping Lake: picture north of Rimrock and east of Mt. Rainier on the map. Artist, biologist, and writer, Susan Summit Cyr’s book Tanum: A Story of Bumping Lake and the William O. Douglas Wilderness, tells the exciting and memorable story of the area’s human and natural history. (The lake was known to native peoples by various names, including Tanum, which means “home.”) Cyr has not only rigorously researched her first book, she spends summers at Normandie, the former Bumping Lake Resort’s lodge built in 1933.
Inklings Bookshop is proudly named after the literary discussion group that informally met at Oxford University in the 1930’s and 40’s to talk about their latest work and share ideas. This group included the renowned authors J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis among many others. Tolkein, who wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, are probably the best known in the Inklings group. At our store we have a whole section devoted just to works from these authors and are always interested in new editions of their books or books about them. This is where I found my new favorite book, The Dictionary of Tolkien by David Day.
A Proposal They Can't Refuse has a wonderful selection of themes I adore in a book: food, family, culture (in this case hispanic), and two main characters impossible not to love. Oh, and some Irish Whiskey!
Ask an elementary or middle school teacher what they would like to see their students do to keep learning during the summer. The resounding answers would be: READ! KEEP READING! READ SOME MORE! READ EVERY DAY!
But summer is also for fun. How do you make reading fun for those who don’t enjoy it? Reading is a skill and we humans have more fun with a skill when we are successful. And how does one master a skill? Through practice, of course. As skills improve, so does the satisfaction of success. Remember learning to ride a bike? Pretty scary at first, but through practice came success and increased enjoyment. We need to provide opportunities for reading practice while maintaining the essence of a child’s summer: sun, fun, and family.
Where the Crawdads Sing was originally published in 2018. It was on the bestseller list for over a year. The book was very popular with both women and men because of Owens' universal themes. The book takes place beginning in the 1960s, in a small North Carolina coastal town named Barkley Cove. The central character is named Kya Clark. Because she lives alone in a marsh, the town's people call her Marsh Girl.
Maybe you have already seen the trailers for the soon to be released movie of the book. The trailers I've seen are about a murder mystery and a trial in a marsh land. There is so much more in the book. It is a story of a very young Kya who is abandoned. by her mother who is fleeing an abusive and drunkard husband. Kya's older siblings have already left the home, leaving six-year old Kya with their father, in a shack, in the North Carolina swamplands.. She cleans and cooks for her often absent father. Eventually, he doesn't return at all and she is left alone to raise herself.