Mar 2, 2009

Summer Reading

by Ellen Wilson

We're too grown up to do the type of summer reading where you get a sticker for each book and then an ice cream sundae in August. However, just because we're old enough to read from the Adult Section doesn't mean we have to- it's summer! We think you can indulge a little beyond textbooks and the classics. Try our mix of summer reading books for a variety of literary pleasures mingled with some of our own delicious recipes.

Adult Fiction
Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
Recipe: Honey Barbecued Chicken

Set it both New York City and Willow Springs, an island off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, Naylor's novel incorporates a love story, racial issues, southern mystics, family history and supernatural events. Woven through three narratives, Naylor lets you personally examine the whole of each relationship the characters experience. The story appropriates material from several of Shakespeare's plays, most notably The Tempest. While knowledge of Shakespeare is not necessary to enjoy the novel, familiarity with his plays will deepen your appreciation of Naylor's prose and symbolism.

Young Adult Fiction
The Schwa was Here by Neal Shusterman
Recipe: Stuffed Burgers with Gorgonzola Cheese and Bacon

Schwa: the symbol used to represent an unstressed neutral vowel. Calvin Schwa is an eighth grader who has a knack for going completely unnoticed. When new friend Ansty Bonano discovers The Schwa, the two boys explore the extent of Calvin's invisibility. However, when Calvin is dared to enter the home of the local eccentric, the two get caught and then forced to come back and walk the man's 14 dogs and spend time with his blind granddaughter. The friendship between these three characters culminates with the phrase written on the bathroom stall in their favorite burger joint: "THE SCHWA WAS HERE."
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Recipe: Thin German Puff Pancakes

Narrated by death, this novel about a young German girl during World War 2 presents a different view on Nazi Germany. Abandoned because of war events, young Liesel Meminger is sent to live with foster parents in Molching, a small town near Munich. Silently revolting against the Nazis, Liesel collects stolen books to save them from the book-burnings. Hidden within the house of her foster parents, the Hubermanns, are not only her books but also a Jewish refuge, Max. Max and Liesel become close friends and chronicle their experiences by whitewashing a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf to use as their own storybook. However, Death as the narrator and character doesn't remain far off in this novel of human relationships, war, and death himself.

Adult Nonfiction
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Recipe: Tuscan Style Steak

Malcom Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point and Blink, returns with a book answering the question as to why some people succeed while others never seem to move beyond mediocrity. Gladwell proposes that these successful individuals, or outliers, have certain advantages and he explores how some of these advantages are earned, while others have just plain luck.
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
Recipe: Pineapple Salsa

Following the life of physician and anthropologist Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains illustrates the extraordinary vision Farmer creates of what can be done to help impoverished individuals in need of medical care. Founder of Partners in Health, Farmer's example of dedication to cure the world of its diseases presents a view of what the world could be if we maintained the hope that change can be accomplished in situations where it seems most insurmountable.

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