Monday, June 24, 2013

Basking in Beach Reads

So, while the weather might not be super beach friendly at the moment, we're betting that as July approaches, many people will be hitting the shore (or will be looking for a book that sets a beach-y mood!). So without further ado, a roundup of some recommended beach reads pulled from a variety of lists from around the web.

  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. Heart-wrenching moral questions will keep your wheels turning even in bright sunlight.
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. A fictional account of the rocky romance of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. 
  • Family Pictures by Jane Green. A dark truth is revealed when two families from different coasts connect.
  • The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen. Enjoy young adult fiction? Sarah Dessen is a longtime summer favorite, and her new title is more romantic and easy-breezy goodness.
  • Let's go ahead and throw all of Nancy Thayer's titles onto our list. 
  • For those who like a little thrill with their sunblock, why not try one of the books co-authored by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer?
  • The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls. The story of two sisters whose relationship is strained when one is able to adjust easily to a new town, leaving the other behind.
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman's new novel, is a short, hugely compelling modern fairy tale.
Hope you find something to fill your tote bag in this list - give us a call and we'll put any - or all! - of these on hold for you today!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Reluctant Reader Roundup

Summer has officially kicked off here in Evansville - the library summer reading activities are in full swing, and lots and lots of people are picking up reading logs to keep track of their hours of reading this summer!

Sure, there are going to be those kids who know they're going to read for hours this summer. Reading an hour or more a day is par for the course for them. Then there are kids who like reading well enough - they may not read at a really fast pace, but they're motivated and can usually find good books that they are interested in. But what's a grown-up to do when your young person isn't enthusiastic about reading at all? Where can you find ideas and recommendations for titles to give to a young person who just doesn't ever find "that book" - the one they just can't put down?

Luckily there are lots of places to look for titles for what's known as a "reluctant" reader - too many, in fact, to list here altogether. What I'll do today is throw out some series possibilities (series are great, because if you get hooked on the first one, it's easy to say, "Order me the next one!") as well as link to some resources that I've personally used in the past to recommend titles. Note: There are a TON of places I look for book ideas - this barely scratches the surface but it'll be a start, at least!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney - this popular series is a hit with many, many readers. Its middle school setting interests older elementary students who want to "read up," while middle school readers appreciate the dry sense of humor and ridiculous antics.

Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey - rollicking, hilarious superhero story with comic book appeal and lots of (nice) potty humor - perfect for the early-to-middle elementary crowd.

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce - great for those looking for Diary of a Wimpy Kid read-alikes, the Big Nate series tells the story of sixth grader Nate who has a detention habit and a penchant for trouble. A lively cast of characters and energetic illustrations make this series appealing to a wide variety of readers.

Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm - this funny series of juvenile graphic novels  stars a spunky, vivacious mouse with a runaway imagination and a desire to be accepted into the popular crowd - but at what cost? Babymouse's voice borders on sarcastic at times, and the reference to literary classics may go over some readers' heads. The illustrative style is really engaging, and may make artistic fingers itch for a marker and some scratch paper to draw their own stories.

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett Koroscza - a crime-fighting lunch lady with an arsenal of high-tech kitchen weaponry? What's not to love? The detailed illustrations and fast-paced story line will make titles in this series a rewarding book for those who love to re-read.

Magic Treehouse: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osbourne - a great series for younger readers (early to middle elementary) to sink their teeth into (there are about forty titles!). The idea of a magical treehouse that transports kids back in time to various historical periods will capture young imaginations and inspire a curiosity about history, too.

There are SO many more books and series to choose from for those looking for ways to attract reluctant readers! Here's a short list of places to look for more ideas, including some for older readers:

  • A Pinterest board dedicated to the subject of books for reluctant readers 
  • A web resource published by the Cooperative Children's Book Center at UW-Madison on graphic novels and their use in and outside of the classroom (hint: graphic novels are a great way to engage young readers - same with anime and manga titles) 
  • For older readers, here are some "quick picks" from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) 
  • Don't neglect non-fiction! Lots of kids prefer to read true stories (think the Magic School Bus) and an engaging book on a fascinating topic can be as much a page-turner as a made-up story.
Last but not least, I'll put in a plug for your local resources, including your public library and your school district! Send us an email ( with your reading requests and questions. 

Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Reading: Stock up now!

Since Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the summer vacation (or stay-cation!) season, in June the Eager Free Library blog is going to have a "summer reading" theme. This week we'll be covering great summer books for grown-ups.

Celebrity librarian Nancy Pearl (I'm not joking - she has her own action figure!) says that her picks for summer reading are not necessarily "light" books; rather, they're titles that are engaging and thought-provoking and will keep your interest no matter if you're at the beach, in the car or on a plane, or staying at home on the porch or patio. So that's the mantra we're taking here, too. 

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. 

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

Plus some past blog posts that will help you round out your summer reading agendas:
More ideas for summer reading coming your way all month long!