Summer reading is almost over! It’s the final countdown!
Don’t get me wrong – I like summer reading programs. Well, at least I like the library programming aspect of it, I’m not always too keen on required reading lists. I think students should be allowed and encouraged to read whatever they want instead of choosing from a predetermined list. In a perfect world where everyone loves to read and they can easily find and have access to the types of books they want to read, this works. I know that we don’t always live in that whole, but I can dream, right?
I digress. Summer reading is almost done and I’m excited because we do a LOT over the summer at my library. Most days we have a program a day, and often two programs a day. We have a once a week movie, craft programs, book/media-related parties (Doctor Who party today! 3pm! See you there?), a sci-fi tween book club, and our Volunteen program. All of these have varying degrees of preparation that must go into them. Even between my YA colleague and I, it’s a lot of work. And that doesn’t even take in account our regular book ordering duties – between the two of us Clare and I order YA, and big portions of mystery, science fiction, large print, and book club books – and time on the reference and teen desks. It’s a little crazy around here! In many ways, I don’t mind. I like being busy and I’ve only really felt frazzled a few times. We do a decent job of planning – Clare is better than I am – so that helps us keep on top of it all.
If you want to see some more of what we did this summer, check out our newly launched Instagram! Some of the pictures are from our Volunteen program that worked okay this year but we are hoping to simplify next year. We had three different groups of teens doing three different things: demonstrating science to younger kids; reading with younger kids; and helping out around the library. It was so much work to plan programs and then corral both teens and younger kids. Another program I really liked was the Star War thumb art craft. We used this book as a guide and it turned out so cute!
Also, I was so excited last week to see Lev Grossman at the Brookline Booksmith and finish his Magicians trilogy with The Magician’s Land! I’ve lent out both my library copy (shhh! don’t tell!) and my personal copies to friends to read, so I’m going to wait to do a better write up of it, but it’s great. I loved the way the trilogy ended and there were even two parts that made me cry! I allowed myself to stretch out the reading a bit because I really didn’t want it to end! It might be the best of the three, but there are some parts at the end I want to re-read before deciding that.
The New York Times has a great review and Edan Lepucki says, “The same thorny consciousness that can make us miserable also enables us to forgive, to connect, to change. “The Magician’s Land” casts human identity as a ritual of storytelling. We struggle against prescribed narratives, and too often stories don’t properly portray life as it’s truly lived. But stories also enable us to celebrate and comprehend the human experience. It’s in stories that we find ourselves. It makes sense, then, that as a boy, Quentin Coldwater read a series of books that led him into a life of magic. He fell in love with those books.”
Go read it and the series if you haven’t already. Grossman has great thoughts about the nature of books and how we relate to them.
In other books, the last book in the Last Policeman trilogy – where a Concord, NH detective soldiers on in his work despite the fact that a world-ending asteroid is headed straight for Earth – is out and I’m looking forward to reading that. I’m also currently reading Starglass by Phoebe North, which is reminding me of Salvage, which I also read recently. Both feature oppressive, male-dominated societies on spaceships leaving or orbiting around a dying Earth, with awesome, feminist, female main characters. I hope it’s a trend in YA literature!
And last but not least, because I have a delightful boyfriend who leaves presents at my door, I’ve been really into comics. Right now I’m reading Rat Queens Vol. 1 and looking forward to Sex Criminals Vol. 1 (not about creepy sexual offenders but rather about two people who can stop time when they have sex, so they decide to rob banks. Obviously).
Tell me about your summers! Read anything good? Been anywhere amazing?