Toledo-Lucas County Public Library Humanities Department staff members recommend the following for adult summer reading:
THE ACCIDENTAL. By Ali Smith (2006, Pantheon, 320 pages, $22.95). Talking her way into the Norfolk cottage that the Smart family is renting for the summer, Amber, an enigmatic con artist, insinuates herself into the lives of Eve, her husband, Michael, and their children.
BRASS ANKLE BLUES. By Rachel M. Harper (2006, Touchstone, 304 pages, $23).
Embarking on a season at her family's summer house with her father and an estranged cousin, multi-racial teen Nellie Kincaid encounters first love, shifting family loyalties, and an emerging sense of self that raises her awareness of her diverse heritage.
DINNER WITH ANNA KARENINA. By Gloria Goldreich (2006, Mira, 368 pages, $21.95).
Six very different women, drawn together by their love of literature, get together each month to discuss their favorite novels and to rally around each other when painful truths and dark betrayals are revealed, forcing them all to examine their own lives.
DRIVE. By James Sallis (2006, Poisoned Pen Press, 158 pages, $19.95).
A professional driver (stunts for Hollywood, getaways for crooks, and more) finds himself in a motel room with three dead bodies. The mix of Tarantino and Soderbergh neo-noir, confident storytelling, and keen observations make this a thrill ride in itself.
END OF STORY: A NOVEL OF SUSPENSE. By Peter Abrahams (2006, William Morrow, 336 pages, $24.95). A young woman hopes to give up her bartending job to become a successful writer is teaching writing to inmates at a maximum security prison. She falls under the spell of Vance Harrow, convicted for a terrible crime.
MATCH ME IF YOU CAN. By Susan Elizabeth Phillips (2005, William Morrow, 400 pages, $24.95). Anabelle Granger endeavors to promote her grandmother's matchmaking business by landing sports agent Heath Champion as a client, an effort that is challenged by Heath's arrogant nature and Annabelle's own unexpected feelings.
MELUSINE. By Sarah Monette (2005, Ace, 432 pages, $24.95). Felix Harrowgate, a handsome, well-respected wizard among his aristocratic peers, finds his dark past as an abused slave coming back to haunt him. He joins forces with Mildmay the Fox, a thief and assassin, to stop the demons of darkness.
JASS. By David Fulmer (2005, Harcourt, 352 pages, $23). After four musicians' murders, Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr discovers that the only surviving member of their band has gone into hiding. He suspects that a shadowy woman is the key to solving the mystery, which is complicated by local authorities who want him off the case.
ASSASSINATION VACATION. By Sarah Vowell (2006, Simon & Schuster, 272 pages, $21).
Self professed "history nerd" Vowell goes on vacation, and presents a wacky, weirdly enthralling pilgrimage to various historical locales surrounding the first three presidential assassinations. Vowell is a contributor to NPR's This American Life.
EAT PRAY LOVE. By Elizabeth Gilbert (2006, Viking, 352 pages, $24.95).
This book traces the author's decision to quit her job and travel the world for a year after suffering a mid-life crisis and divorce. It takes her to three places in her quest to explore her own nature, experience fulfillment, and learn the art of spiritual balance.
HIS OLDEST FRIEND. By Sonny Kleinfield (2005, Times Books, 288 pages, $24).
Margaret Oliver's daughter hires teenaged Elvis Checo to look in on her elderly mother a few afternoons each week, but nobody realized that this would be the beginning of a beautiful inter-generational friendship.
PASSING GAS AND OTHER TOWNS ALONG THE AMERICAN HIGHWAY. By Gary Gladstone (2003). Humorous look at towns with unusual names, with a photo of a representative resident to explain the logic behind the name.
THE RADIOACTIVE BOY SCOUT: THE TRUE STORY OF A BOY AND HIS BACKYARD NUCLEAR REACTOR, By Ken Silverstein (2004, Villard, 209 pages, $13.95).
Growing up in suburban Detroit, David Hahn was fascinated by science. While he was working on his Atomic Energy badge for the Boy Scouts, David's obsessive attention turned to nuclear energy. Throwing caution to the wind, he plunged into a new project: building a model nuclear reactor in his backyard garden shed.
A SHORT GUIDE TO A HAPPY LIFE. By Anna Quindlen (2000, Random House, 64 pages, $12.95). A rich treasure full of simple philosophy, and a wonderful reminder to savor the journey as we approach the lazy, hazy days of summer.
THE TENDER BAR. By J.R. Moehringer (2005, Hyperion, 384 pages, $23.95).
As Vanity Fair magazine said in a review, "In his gimlet-eyed memoir, J.R. Moehringer lovingly and affectingly toasts a boyhood spent on a barstool." The author won a Pulitzer Prize for his feature writing.
A WALK IN THE WOODS. By Bill Bryson (1998, Broadway Books, 304 pages, $14.95). Veteran travel writer Bryson and sort-of old chum Katz embark on the hike of a lifetime along the Appalachian Trail, where wonders, an odd assortment of fellow hikers, and some very keen and wry observations about life and the world await.