Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

May 23, 2013

AROUND THE TOWN: Welcome summer with a few good books

By Jan Boston Sellers
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — Graduations. Check. Schools released for summer. Check. A long holiday weekend just hours away. Check.

The unofficial start to summer begins this weekend with the Memorial Day Holiday. Although summer does not officially begin until June, for most of us, this first warm weather holiday is the preview of about three months of boating, fishing, camping, vacationing, picnics, family reunions and cook outs.

Summer also means, for those of us who enjoy reading, time to delve into a few interesting reads while traveling, camping, and sitting at the pool or on the beach or even during a long car or plane ride. Therefore, I decided to compile a list of some reading material you may want to purchase or borrow. All of the ones I am suggesting come in either hardback or digital downloads or paperback and digital downloads or, well, just digital downloads. Peruse the list and take what you like and leave the others to someone else.

I will begin my compilation of summer books with what is being hailed as the most anticipated book of the summer. This is according to The Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly who states “The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls” is a “lush, evocative novel of family secrets and girls’-school rituals set in the 1930’s south.” The protagonist in this novel by Anton Disclafani, is a fifteen year old girl sent to an equestrian camp for the summer after a mysterious tragedy.

If you like to read non-fiction, I suggest “Waiting to be Heard” by Amanda Knox. I lack just a few pages in this book and I have to tell you, it is very difficult to read. Knox, as you know, was a carefree Seattle exchange student in Italy when she became embroiled in a murder charge, was indicted and convicted, and sentenced to four long years in a foreign prison. Hearing her account, and the harrowing details of what she and her family endured, are heartbreaking even though I now know she is safe on American soil.

If you like a fictional account of a real American period, you may want to pick up the “Orphan Train.” This book is based on the 1854-1929 fatherless and motherless children who were expedited from New York City to the Midwest in hopes of finding loving families.

I do not read the Dan Brown books, but I may be one of the few in America who do not. If you are a fan of his, you will want to check out his newest novel released just in time for summer. It is called “Inferno” and is based on one of my favorite pieces of literature: Dante’s “Inferno,” about the different layers of hell and the people who live there. Brown’s latest venture is being touted as quite possibly his best work yet and is expected to out sell his previous works such as “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons.”

A debut novel by a British author called “In the Darkest Corner” is one of the most fascinating pieces of fiction I have read in a while. The book, based on a single, female Londoner, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is both horrifying and redemptive. The book switches back and forth in time with each chapter but truly is easy to follow. I read it in a couple of evenings because I just couldn’t put it down. The author’s name is Elizabeth Haynes.

Another fictional read getting a lot of buzz is “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer. This novel centers on, yet another summer camp, this one in New York City. It chronicles the friendships made at the ritzy, arts camp from their teen years all the way into mid life.

New York Times Best Selling Author Khaled Hosseini, who wrote “”The Kite Runner,” has a new release also. It is called “And the Mountains Echoed.” This book features a narrative about families and how they “nurture, wound and betray each other.” The book is set in locales from the Greek Isle of Tinos to Kabul to Paris and San Francisco.

If so called “light” reads are what you want for those long, hot, lazy summer days check out: James Patterson’s “Second Honeymoon,” or John Sanford’s 23rd Lucas Davenport installment called “Silken Prey.” Young adults may enjoy the Percy Jackson series while horror fans may want to read Stephen King’s new book, “Joyland.”

Also, if you are like me, you may want to read a classic this summer, either for the first time or over again. Most of them are free downloads on your electronic reading devices.

While I am on the topic of books and summer reading I want to mention the Art Circle Public Library’s “Dig into Reading” 2013 Summer Reading Program. This program is open to children birth-age 11. It is free and will feature weekly themes. Registration is currently underway and will continue through May 31. Art Circle staff say “Children and their parents and/or caregivers are invited to join us for a summer full of reading, crafts, stories, songs, movies and performers.” Contact ACPL at 931-484-6790 and ask for or push extension 228 for additional information.

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Weekend travel will be heavy as motorists take off for the lakes, beaches and other destinations over this long, holiday weekend. As usual, make sure you wear your seat belts, observe the speed limits, watch out for other drivers and don’t mix alcohol with driving. Tennessee Highway Patrol will be out in full force attempting to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities .

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The public is invited to visit the Avalon Center’s open house next Friday, May 31, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The center has opened new office facilities on 196 Tenth Street. Executive Director Carmen Wyatt invites everyone to come celebrate their new home. She says ribbon cutting is slated for 10 a.m.