Every year, we at the Free For All ask the Peabody Library staff about the books, films, and music recordings that they would like to recommend to you for your summer reading/viewing/listening pleasure, and every year, we are delighted with the variety, the diversity, and the genuinely excellent recommendations that we receive. We will be offering suggestions over the course of the summer, beloved patrons, in the hopes of helping you find a new favorite story to savor over the coming summer months. Feel free to share your favorites with us, as well! As our public services desk model has changed, you’ll note the headings on our recommendations has changed, as well. Please feel free to speak with any Library staff member about finding a book to brighten your summer.
And just a reminder, the Main Library and both Branches will be open until 5pm today. We will remain closed all day on July 4 in honor of Independence Day. Our normal hours will resume on Thursday, July 5. Please feel free to call or stop by if you have any questions!
From the Public Service Desk:
The Teeth of the Comb and Other Stories by Osama Alomar, translated from the Arabic by C.J. Collins: In these delightful, eye-opening stories, inanimate objects and personified animals come to vivid life on the page, living out spell-binding, harrowing, and emotional journeys all their own, performing in Alomar’s sharp allegories that shed light on current day politics, economics, and personal relations in ways that are as funny and subversive as they are moving. These are surprisingly quick little tales, but they pack quite the punch.
Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman: Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. You see, every so often Carol descends into a death-like coma that she calls the Black Place. For two to four days her heartbeat slows way down, her breathing all but stops, and to the eyes of all she would appear dead as a doornail. Only two people know of her condition: her husband Dwight, and her former lover James Moxie–the most legendary outlaw the Trail has ever seen. Just before Carol can share her secret with a friend, she falls into the Black Place once again, only this time, Dwight begins preparations for her funeral two days hence, hoping to inherit her fortune. When a telegram arrives for Moxie, notifying him of the upcoming burial of his lost love, he rides out of retirement and hits the Trail once again, desperate to save Carol from a premature burial.
From Our Staff: This is a weird, confusing, utterly bizarre novel that I find myself loving more and more as I think about it. If you like westerns and weird fiction, this will definitely be up your proverbial alley, but there’s also stuff for historians and general fiction lovers and feminist readers alike!
From the Upstairs Offices:
Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie: This is an enchanting tale that captures the magic of reading and the wonder of romantic awakening. An immediate international bestseller, it tells the story of two hapless city boys exiled to a remote mountain village for re-education during China’s infamous Cultural Revolution. There the two friends meet the daughter of the local tailor and discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. As they flirt with the seamstress and secretly devour these banned works, the two friends find transit from their grim surroundings to worlds they never imagined.
The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers : Spiritual Insights from the World’s Most Beloved Neighbor by Amy Hollingsworth: Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood–and perhaps supplement your viewing of the new documentary featuring this great human–with an inside look on Mr. Rogers’ spiritual legacy. Eight years before his death, Fred Rogers met author, educator, and speaker Amy Hollingsworth. What started as a television interview turned into a wonderful friendship spanning dozens of letters detailing the driving force behind this gentle man of extraordinary influence. Educator? Philosopher? Psychologist? Minister? Here is an intimate portrait of the real Mister Rogers. Hollingsworth also reads the audiobook recording of this title, and her very clear love and respect for Mr. Rodgers shines through, particularly in her anecdotal memories of their conversations.
From the Children’s Room:
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi: Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur? One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?
From our Staff: This is a fun middle-grade read that’s exciting for any age. Chokshi uses Indian fairy tales, lore and mythology to weave an exciting tale of a girl who’s just trying to fit in and find her own way. In doing so, she finds adventure and unlikely companions and a better understanding of herself. Chokshi has a great sense of humor and keeps a life-or-death situation surprisingly light with a fast pace that practically begs the reader to want “just one more chapter” right through to the end.
Happy Independence Day, beloved patrons, and happy reading!