Do you know what I love? I love the fact that it’s been nine years since the OP began publishing Book World. And I love that there are so many readers out there who are willing to share their literary experiences with us and to participate in this forum of ideas. These are the readers who take us on adventures down unknown paths of mystery, romance, self-help, history, sci-fi, even politics. Book World is a veritable menu of delights, whatever our choices.
And here we are again. Although Mother Nature has been fickle (as usual) with spring—cold one day and hot the next—summer weather will eventually settle in and our favorite time of year for reading will cast its usual spell. This ninth year of Book World has many surprises in store, thanks to our devoted OP friends who enjoy sharing favorite books with us. So read on. Open your minds, turn those pages and stir up those creative juices. You’ll be a better person for it.
It is my pleasure to kick off this new season with suggestions all the way from Austin, Texas. My friend Laurie Drucker, an avid reader and participant in this column, highly recommends the works of Celeste Ng, an Asian-American of much acclaim. Laurie cites two of her works, Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere, both best sellers for their richness of character development and for their insight into the chaos and craziness of what makes a family. They sound like ideal, toes-in-the-sand beach reads to me.
Murder mysteries are a passion for our friend Karen Joyner, CEO of Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula. She estimates that she has read all of Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, John Sandford, Stuart Woods, Jeffrey Deaver and Michael Connelly, all Olympians in the world of mystery literature. Her current rave is The Theory of Death by Faye Kellerman. Think The Big Bang Theory without the comedy. This is a story of math geniuses and their professors at an elite college confronting two similar deaths, and the reader doesn’t know “who done it” until the end.
Our final contributor for this premier issue of Book World is Douglas Fry, who serves as executive director of state, regional and national community paper associations: Texas Community Newspaper Association, the Southeastern Advertising Publishers Association and Independent Free Papers of America. And his contribution to this column is as unique as his credentials. He has established a “book club” with his two granddaughters. They have recently read works by Newberry Medal Award winner Katherine Applegate, whose youth-oriented books delve into difficult topics. He especially recommends Crenshaw, which highlights homelessness as seen through the eyes of a child, and Wishtree, which focuses on dealing with strangers, xenophobia, longing for a place in strange environs and wishing to belong. These are all difficult themes handled in a straightforward yet funny, deep and warm way. He cites this book club with his young granddaughters as “a rewarding and enriching experience.”
So there you have it—your reading suggestions for the month of June 2018. I look forward to sharing this column with you because it’s full of exciting and entertaining ideas for your summer down time. Take some advice from me. Skip your chores, chill a chardonnay or prosecco, find a comfortable lounge chair and read ’til your heart’s content. That’s what summer is for. And it’s good for your brain.