Readers of Turner’s historical novels These Is My Words and Sarah’s Quilt will be eager to read about Sarah’s niece, Mary Pearl Prine. Mary is 17 in 1907 and lives on her family’s pecan farm in Arizona Territory. She loves to read and draw, and is invited to study art at Wheaton College in Illinois. May’s mother would rather see her get married, and Mary does have a likely suitor. Family life on the frontier contrasts strongly with life at Wheaton College, where society girls care more about parties and dresses than studying. Mary, with her horse and pistol, doesn’t exactly fit in. She discovers a talent for photography, and a photograph of lightning becomes especially valuable to her family. A personal crisis sends Mary home straight into a ranger war, with her younger brothers in grave danger. Full of drama and adventure, Mary’s coming-of-age story is a memorable, compelling read.
Family Friendly Reads
These are books kids, teens, and adults may all enjoy. Read together, by yourself, or listen to a downloadable audiobook. All titles are available from our Overdrive/Libby collection Media on Demand.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (Aven Green #1) by Dusti Bowling
The War That Saved My Life; The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The Wild Robot and The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown
Beezus and Ramona (Ramona Quimby #1) and The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
The BFG; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Matilda by Roald Dahl
Blended by Sharon Draper
The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice #1) by John Flanagan
Space Case (Moon Base Alpha #1) by Stuart Gibbs
The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz
Home Sweet Motel (Welcome to Wonderland #1) by Chris Grabenstein
Refugee by Alan Gratz
A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield
Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Longstocking #1) by Astrid Lindgren
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
The False Prince (Ascendance #1); Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
The Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key #1) by Kevin Sands
Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest #1) by Patricia Wrede
Brenda, along with Jane, Elizabeth, and Mary Ann of the Children’s Department
While the library’s building is closed, I thought a list of some of our best downloadable cookbooks and baking books would be welcome. I’ve ordered cookbooks for the library in both formats for many years, and was pleased to find such a great assortment available from our Overdrive/Libby collection, Media on Demand. If you’re not a local reader, your home library should have a similar collection.
America’s Test Kitchen. The Perfect Cookie
Berenbaum, Rose Levy. The Cake Bible
Berry, Mary. Baking with Mary Berry
Gardner, Erin. Erin Bakes Cake
Greenspan, Dorie. Dorie’s Cookies.
Hertzberg, Jeff and Zoe Francois. The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Lee, Jennifer Tyler and Anisha Patel. Half the Sugar, All the Love: A Family Cookbook
Manzke, Margarita. Baking at République
Martha Stewart Living. Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts
McKenney, Sally. Sally’s Baking Addiction
Parks, Stella. Bravetart
Reinhart, Peter. Perfect Pan Pizza.
Tosi, Christine. All About Cake
America’s Test Kitchen. The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook
Carle-Sanders, Theresa. Outlander Kitchen
Drummond, Ree. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It!
Garten, Ina. Cook Like a Pro
Greenspan, Dorie. Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook
Hall, Carla. Carla Hall’s Soul Food
Lemlin, Jeanne. Simply Satisfying
Mangini, Cara. The Vegetable Butcher
Nosrat, Samin. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
Ottolenghi, Yotam. Ottolenghi Simple
Perelman, Deb. Smitten Kitchen Every Day
Teigen, Chrissy. Cravings: Hungry for More
Yeh, Molly. Molly on the Range
Happy cooking and baking! Brenda
Real life adventure memoirs can make for wonderful reading, especially during a time when we’re staying close to home. Wildlife biologist Caroline, 33, makes an epic trek with husband Patrick, a home builder, to the Alaskan Arctic in 2012. Traveling by homemade rowboats, skiing, hiking, on inflatable rafts, and in a borrowed canoe, the pair make an incredible six-month journey. Along the way they meet with unexpected kindness from strangers and Caroline regains her love of science after completing her Ph.D. mostly in a lab. Their backstory and motivation for the journey are shared, along with glimpses of happy childhoods and their loving, supportive families. Caroline’s sister has a baby as they consider parenthood. Patrick is the optimistic adventurer and builder, while Caroline is the detailed list maker, organizing most of their food drops. Part of their journey is through areas so remote that available maps show little detail and the weather forecasts are unhelpful. The pair are often awed by the magnificent landscape and the wildlife, learning to trust the trails of migrating caribou, and encountering moose, bear, and many of the birds Caroline has studied. A compelling read, and a good readalike for Lab Girl by Hope Jahren and Sarah Marquis’ Wild by Nature, along with other adventure memoirs that can be found here. I read the print book, but listened to a sample of the downloadable audiobook I’ve just added to our Media on Demand collection.
Coming soon: a list of family friendly reads that can be enjoyed by older kids, teens, and adults, including titles suggested by staff in our Children’s Department.
What are you reading during this challenging time? While the library is currently closed, our online collections are still available, and no SWAN library cards will expire before July. I have been able to purchase new ebooks and downloadable audiobooks for our Overdrive collection, Media on Demand. Our other digital collections, eRead Illinois and Hoopla also have plenty of content. For more ideas, see our monthly newsletters of new titles from Next Reads. Here is a list of some suggestions for comfort reads, many of which are available in Media on Demand:
Allen, Sarah Addison. Garden Spells
Andrews, Donna. Murder with Peacocks
Andrews, Mary Kay. Savannah Blues
Austen, Jane. Pride & Prejudice
Bauermeister, Erica. The School of Essential Ingredients
Bivald, Katarina. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Bryson, Bill. In a Sunburned Country; A Walk in the Woods
Buck, Rinker. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey
Bujold, Lois McMaster. A Civil Campaign
Crusie, Jennifer. Anyone But You
Doig, Ivan. The Whistling Season; The Bartender’s Tale
Fforde, Katie. Wild Designs
Flanders, Judith. A Murder of Magpies
Heyer, Georgette. A Civil Contract
Jiles, Paulette. News of the World
Kelly, Sofie. Curiosity Thrilled the Cat
McCaffrey, Anne. The Harper Hall trilogy, beginning with Dragonsong
Moyes, Jojo. One Plus One
Peters, Ellis. Brother Cadfael mysteries, starting with A Morbid Taste for Bones
Pratchett, Terry. Night Watch.
Shute, Nevil. Trustee from the Toolroom
Simsion, Graeme. The Rosie Project
Stabenow, Dana. Breakup
Stewart, Mary. Nine Coaches Waiting; Rose Cottage
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit
Willis, Connie. To Say Nothing of the Dog
Vivian Dalton, a telephone operator in Wooster, Ohio, is jealous of rich Betty Miller and hopes she’ll hear some juicy gossip when she listens in on her phone calls. Devastated to hear gossip about her husband Ed, Vivian is embarrassed but determined to find out the truth. Vivian’s daughter Charlotte is puzzled by her mother’s attitude to her father, and wonders about the poems she finds in the attic and the money tucked into a hat box. Life in small town Ohio in 1952 is vividly described in this first novel inspired by the life of the author’s grandmother. While not a very pleasant character at first, Vivian, who inadvertently finds a lead in a Wooster bank robbery, gains the reader’s sympathy as the story develops, and the heartwarming conclusion is quite satisfying, especially as the snobbish Betty Miller gets her just desserts.
For a remarkable reading adventure, join Robert Macfarlane as he explores the hidden worlds underground, from Slovenia to England to Greenland. This is a book to savor, lyrically written, for readers of adventure, travel, nature, and history, except for the claustrophobic. Moving below ground, he often travels backwards in time, to see red pictographs in Norwegian sea caves, the catacombs deep beneath Paris, and the fungal network linking trees in Epping Forest. There are ancient barrows, a physics lab in a Yorkshire mine, a glacier in Greenland, and caves built to receive nuclear waste in Finland. In China there’s a cave system with its own weather system, and a river deep underground connects Slovenia and northern Italy. Receding glaciers and melting permafrost show that nothing is permanent. Awe and brief moments of terror in locations ordinary and sublime make for a fascinating look at unimagined worlds. Readalikes include Into the Planet, The Hidden Life of Trees, Frozen in Time, In the Kingdom of Ice, and Deep Down Dark. Macfarlane’s other books include The Old Ways, Landmarks, and The Wild Places.