Summer/Vacation reading selections take me to different places in the bookstore than I go to on a regular basis. Though I am not, as a rule, a short story reader I find myself drawn to the anthology sections when I am going on vacation or looking for a new author. These edited by books contain just a taste of several author’s style and have led me to many good, longer reads . In the BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2017 I found William Kent Krueger who wrote ORDINARY GRACE. I enjoyed this book told in the first person by Frank Drum, 40 years after the summer in 1961, about spending his vacation hearing tales of frequent death while enjoying the debut season of the Minnesota Twins. There are other short stories that I enjoyed and will check out their longer works when I get back from vacation. I have never read John Sanford (who edited this short story collection) but I will definitely add him to my list of must reads because he edited this book.
I also picked up STORIES edited by Neil Gaimon who mostly writes Science Fiction. This short story collection contains short stories of every genre. I am often distracted by friends/family/sight seeing when out of town so these books offer a brief look into the writing of authors who might just become my next favorites.
Last year I chose Malcom Gladwell’s WHAT THE DOG SAW to take with me. This is a book of short non-fiction essays including the following subjects:
*Why Mustard comes in dozens of varieties but Ketchup does not
*Hair dye and the hidden history of postwar America
*Enron, intelligence and the perils of too much information
*why some people choke and others panic
*Are smart people overrated?
Every story was fascinating and so I read his other books….THE TIPPING POINT and DAVID AND GOLIATH. The titles are appropriate to the contents of each of his books. I loved them all.
The other place I go to when I am searching for an interesting book is to the miscellaneous non-fiction section. I have always loved words and word games and discovered a book called CROSSWORLD by Mark Romano who immersed himself in the crossword puzzle tournament competition while writing about it for the Boston Globe. He became a competitor himself and shares lots of insights into the game and the people who become obsessed with it. WORD FREAK by Stefan Fatsis is about the world of competitive Scrabble. That, along with STORIES will be joining me on my next vacation. There are also a lot of interesting books about the origin of words, sayings, and the English language in the miscellaneous section.
Please take a moment to check out these often missed sections..even biographies has a section at the end for books about more than one person. THE GIRLS FROM AMES by Jeffrey Zaslow can be found there and tells about the 40 year friendship of 11 girls from Ames, Iowa who are now in their forties.
We staffers have a “staff picks” shelf which we would be interested in expanding to include “customer picks” so let us know your favorite titles so we can share them with other customers. We are also offering a $25.00 gift certificate to customers who want to write an article of our newsletter. Please contact Jill for details.