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.
From the Public Service Desk:
Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter: Dexter’s Inspector Morse is one of the most famous detectives of the modern era, and this case introduces him in all his curmudgeonly glory. It was late at night when Sylvia Kaye and another young woman had been seen hitching a ride not long before Sylvia’s bludgeoned body is found outside a pub in Woodstock, near Oxford. Inspector Morse is sure the other hitchhiker can tell him much of what he needs to know. But his confidence is shaken by the cool inscrutability of the girl he’s certain was Sylvia’s companion on that ill-fated September evening. Shrewd as Morse is, he’s also distracted by the complex scenarios that the murder set in motion among Sylvia’s girlfriends and their Oxford playmates. To grasp the painful truth, and act upon it, requires from Morse the last atom of his professional discipline.
From Our Staff:This series is one of my all-time favorites, and I’m really enjoying re-reading them this summer. Fans of Morse should check out the television adaptations of his cases, and the show Endeavour, which imagines Morse at the beginning of his career!
In Her Skin by Kim Savage: This is a twisted, dark tale about identities–those we steal, those we forget, and those for which we are willing to fight, that zips along at a unsettling, break-neck pace. Fifteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain takes on her biggest fraud yet―impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and she hopes to cash in on a little safety, some security. She finds her opportunity with the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family tied to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine. When Jo takes on Vivi’s identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household―and some secrets refuse to stay buried. When hidden crimes come to the surface and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold on to an illusion of safety or escape the danger around her before it’s too late.
From Our Staff: This book is about all the horrible things we are willing to do to survive–but still manages to be hopeful and insightful and even beautiful at times. I’m not sure I enjoyed reading, but I’m really grateful that I got to hear Kim Savage’s powerful, wholly unique voice, and can’t wait to read more!
From the Upstairs Offices:
Waking by Matthew Sanford: Matt Sanford’s life and body were irrevocably changed at age 13 on a snowy Iowa road when his family’s car skidded off an overpass, killing Matt’s father and sister and left him paralyzed from the chest down. This pivotal event set Matt on a lifelong journey, from his intensive care experiences at the Mayo Clinic to becoming a paralyzed yoga teacher and founder of a nonprofit organization. Forced to explore what it truly means to live in a body, he emerges with an entirely new view of being a “whole” person. By turns agonizingly personal, philosophical, and heartbreakingly honest, this groundbreaking memoir takes you inside the body, heart, and mind of a boy whose world has been shattered. Follow Sanford’s journey as he rebuilds from the ground up, searching for “healing stories” to help him reconnect his mind and his body.
From Our Staff: Sanford is a paraplegic yoga instructor and “Waking” is his memoir. After reading the book, I was dying to discuss it with people, so I assigned it to the library’s Mindful Reading Book Group. Even though we all agreed that it would be equally appropriate to title the book “Weeping” instead of “Waking,” the group universally loved Sanford’s story. His words deeply changed how I think about yoga, energy, and the mind-body connection, and as a yoga teacher in training, this book will change the way that I teach for the better as well. Inspiring, empowering, and healing. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
The Florida Project: A deeply moving and poignant look at childhood, this is a film that is refreshingly different, and boasts a number of talented debuts from acting newcomers. Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, the film follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinai) over the course of a single summer. The two live week to week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget hotel managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of compassion. Despite her harsh surroundings, the precocious Moonee has no trouble making each day a celebration of life, her endless afternoons overflowing with mischief as she and her ragtag playmates fearlessly explore the utterly unique world into which they’ve been thrown. Unbeknownst to Moonee, however, her delicate fantasy is supported by the toil and sacrifice of Halley, who is forced to explore increasingly dangerous possibilities in order to provide for her daughter. With an impressive 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this movie is highly recommended, and not only by us!
From the West Branch:
The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore: A novel focused on a middle-class African-American best friends trio who deal with life changes as they go through a turbulent year of middle age together. The book is relationship- and personal journey-focused, and perfect for those looking to slip into the shoes of another human being. This diner in Plainview, Indiana is home away from home for Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean. Dubbed “The Supremes” by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they’ve weathered life’s storms for over four decades and counseled one another through marriage and children, happiness and the blues. Now, however, they’re about to face their most challenging year yet. Proud, talented Clarice is struggling to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband’s humiliating infidelities; beautiful Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair; and fearless Odette is about to embark on the most terrifying battle of her life. With wit, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together three devoted allies in a warmhearted novel that celebrates female friendship and second chances.