When you’re out socializing, a sure-fire conversation starter is a book with lots of buzz. It’s one reason librarians love our job, because people are constantly asking us what we’re reading and what we’d recommend. Everyone on the staff at the Barrington Area Library likes taking a peek at what YOU, our local patrons, are enjoying right now. No, we do not snoop on your personal account! We can use our automated system to tell us which new titles are hot in Barrington at any given time. Let’s take a peek right now.
If you haven’t heard the story of The Cuckoo’s Calling, you must have been out of town a lot this summer! What started out as a quiet but well-reviewed “brilliant debut mystery” went skyrocketing when some clever sleuths discovered that author Robert Galbraith was a pen name for J. K. Rowling, the woman behind the blockbuster Harry Potter books. This revelation was originally disastrous for libraries like ours, because our few copies were immediately checked out and finding new books to purchase became an impossible dream. I’m happy to report we now have 29 print copies, 5 e-book copies and an audiobook version here at BAL, but the wait list is still LONG. Nevertheless, it was one of the most talked about books of the year, in which a down at heel private investigator looks into the death of a supermodel.
Another title people are talking about this year is We Need New Names by an author who really is making her print debut (unlike Rowling), NoViolet Bulawayo. The story begins in a Zimbabwean shantytown called Paradise, where life is a daily struggle for sustenance as the brutal regime destroys homes and closes schools. Ten-year-old Darling and her friends roam the streets, turning their quest for food into a game, and where Darling’s gift for observation and wry commentary is sharpened. When she receives the opportunity to move to Michigan to live with an aunt, she uses those same gifts to help her adjust to a life of ostentatious excess – where people live with refrigerators stuffed with food but diet to fit into designer fashions.
If you favor lighter reads, you might enjoy the sequel of the summer Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns by Lauren Weisberger. The book picks up more than a decade from where The Devil Wears Prada left off, and heroine Andy is running her own bridal magazine and planning a wedding. Needless to say, nothing goes quite as planned, so be prepared for another gossipy, thinly disguised look at the publication and fashion worlds. The original is notoriously despised by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, but she’s not saying why…
A movie release always puts an older book back into circulation and this summer it was a real oldie, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless classic The Great Gatsby. It is currently in the top five circulating titles here, pretty amazing for a story originally published in 1925. I have to confess, it’s one of my favorite novels of all time, and I tend to revisit it every few years. I love the sheer glamour of the 1920s social lifestyle, and yet I’m also compelled by what the story tells us about the dangers lurking within The American Dream. The Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio film version comes to DVD on August 27, and rest assured we’ll have copies for you to check out.
The Great Gatsby has some shocking and dramatic scenes, but if you really love a dark, twisted thriller, another book doing well in Barrington is The Burning Air by Erin Kelly. In this tension-filled suspense novel, members of the MacBride family gather in Devon to scatter the ashes of wife, mother, grandmother, and magistrate Lydia, after her agonizing death from cancer,. It soon becomes clear there are lots of unhappy secrets underneath the family’s veneer of upper class privilege. And speaking of thrillers, readers who got onto Gillian Flynn’s runaway smash Gone Girl have been digging into her back catalogue, including the titles Sharp Objects and Dark Places.
Want more suggestions for what’s hot to read right now? Here’s a really cool list of Summer 2013 reads from National Public Radio. Oh, and if you’re reading taste leans heavily toward romance, check out our new Romance section the next time you visit. We’ve put all those popular titles together so you can easily browse – we’ll also feature displays with our favorites and with themed selections, like the current grouping of Hot Highlanders!
Somewhat ironically for a librarian, I rarely read fiction these days, and we have a terrific selection of non-fiction books at the Barrington Area Library, too – from world history to home decorating. Looking at the most popular magazines in Barrington, I also know what interests our community: travel, gardening, cooking, business, fashion and architecture and interior design. Whatever your passion, we’ve got you covered, so stop in this week and ask us what’s hot in Barrington!