COLUMN: Lazy, hazy, crazy days of reading

Anne DeGrace gives her summer reading recommendations

Anne DeGrace

Nelson Star

Oh, summer. It’s all about the garden, the beach, the shady spots and the family excursions. It’s also all about the book — any which way.

There’s nothing to make the miles fly by faster on a family road trip than an audiobook. We have new books on CD coming in all the time: Haruki Murakami regales us with disappearing cats and other phenomena in his new audio short story collection Men Without Women.

A rivalry between paleontologists is a virtual page — and asphalt — turner in Michael Crichton’s new paleontological gripper Dragon Teeth. And for folks who want to learn, a book that might have been written for me (and maybe you, too): Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind.

Kids in the back? Adults in the front? Playaways are your friend! Playaways for kids, teens, and adults come on their own mp3 players, so all you have to do is put the earphones in and press “play.” That means that each backseat traveler can have a personal storyteller and adults might actually have a conversation. A couple of new Playaways for kids are Big Nate on a Roll by Lincoln Peirce and A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine.

People like Playaways for working in the garden and other outdoor puttering. A few new titles for adults include the warm and fuzzy: All Stories are Love Stories by Elizabeth Percer; the cold and calculating: Killer Year: Stories to Die for from the Hottest New Crime Writers; and the meditative: Peace is Every Step: the path to mindfulness in everyday life by Thich Nhat Hanh. There are all sorts of new, hot titles for our new, hot summer arriving every day.

Of course, folks with eReaders and tablets, mp3 players and smartphones can borrow books in text or audio through our download services Library2Go, Audiocloud, and OneClick Digital Audiobooks.

That means you can download from anywhere, anytime — even at 2 a.m. when it’s too hot to sleep. Of course, the library is air conditioned, so you might just want to curl up in a comfy chair here during open hours.

For me, summer was always about the new Nancy Drew, consumed in the shade of a spreading elm tree or devoured poolside. In those olden days, print was all there was. Now there are so many ways to access books, and yet I am personally squeamish about eReading — in part because I look at screens all day, in part because I like what I know, and I know what I like.

That said, there have been more than a few times I’ve taken a library book on a trip and found I didn’t like it, but still had to cart it all over the country. An eReader would have been so much better.

There’s no reason to be shy about checking out this newfangled stuff. The Library has Kobo and Sony eReaders to lend that are each pre-loaded with five books. Our Science Fiction eReader includes the Canada Reads finalist Company Town by Madeline Ashby; our Mystery eReader offers a variety of whodunits, including some Nordic noir with Stone Coffin by Kjell Erickson.

All five of the B.C. Book Prize shortlist titles are on the Fiction eReader, and the Nonfiction Kobo features fascinating histories. There’s one for fantasy and one stocked with new Teen reads. We’ll load up new titles every so often to keep things fresh.

Unfortunately, our Romance eReader walked out on us, and we are heartbroken. Come home, darling eReader, and we’ll ask no questions; whatever your erstwhile indiscretions, all is forgiven.

Summer is never really long enough, and I can never really get through my stack of books. But half the fun is trying, any which way.

Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Co-ordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week.

Nelson Star