Scorching hot reads for summer

As summer winds down, there’s better reason to curl up on a beach towel than to read a good book. Looking for an engrossing selection to fill a sunny afternoon? Local libraries have you covered. Just make certain to apply sunscreen because you will get lost in these stories while basking in the sun.

The “Astronaut Wives Club” by Lily Koppel is the first title to consider reading. Joe Bongers, adult services supervisor at the Menasha Public Library, manages the non-fiction book club, and selected this title for discussion.

Bongers says he featured the book because it provides a female perspective on a topic that is normally derived from a male viewpoint, and it appeals to readers who appreciate a behind-the-scenes look at history.

“These women had a very high profile at the time during the space race — some were almost as well-known as their husbands — but in many ways they have been forgotten,” he adds.

Bongers also recommends “Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown.

Many people envision summer reading as light, easy fiction, but the title falls into the camp for people who possess the time to read a book, which is more challenging, says Bongers. The selection is included on the top 25 book list the club compiled.

Bongers notes that “Boys in the Boat” is about nine American college students who were on the rowing team in the 1936 Olympics, which were held in Germany while Hitler was in power. He says readers will be attracted to the book whether they love the sport, are fascinated by history or love an engaging story with compelling characters.

The next title cooks up light-hearted memories of childhood.

“Apple Betty and Sloppy Joe” is a cookbook written by Susan Sanvidge, Diane Sanvidge Seckar, Jean Sanvidge Wouters and Julie Sanvidge Florence. The sisters grew up in Oshkosh during the 1960s.

It is not just an ordinary cookbook, however, Elizabeth Eisen, adult programming librarian at the Appleton Public Library, says. In addition to recipes, stories of the Sanvidge sisters’ childhoods are woven into the book.

Apple Betty book

Summer allows time for people to reminisce about their childhood, and this book triggers those setiments. “‘Apple Betty and Sloppy Joe’ is like a trip back in time. It looks back at a more innocent time, and there is a lot of nostalgia,” Eisen says.

This summer read also is designed to enliven readers’ memories and inspire them.

Jean Sanvidge Wouters, co-author of “Apple Betty and Sloppy Joe,” says she encourages people to be inspired to write about their own childhood. Wouters says memories are wonderful things to pass down to and preserve for younger generations.

In addition to reminiscing about childhood, a common summer memory is the family vacation.

The novel, “Vacationers” by Emma Straub, made it to the top five of the Neenah Public Library’s summer reading list.

The Neenah Public Library staff collaborated together on compiling book titles. Nicole Hardina-Wilhelm, assistant director of the Neenah Public Library, remarks, “The cover of this book draws even the most reluctant reader to its pages.  This is a perfect summer read for all who are embarking on a vacation, and even those opting for a stay-cation.”

Another book, recommended by library staff, which made it to the movie screens, is “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green.

Hardina-Wilhelm comments, “‘The Fault in our Stars’ is another young adult novel that has become a hit for teens and adults alike. The June release of the movie adaptation only continued to draw fans to this modern day love story of chronically ill teens.”

These titles are just a few of the selections available now. Explore your local libraries for more books to consider. Immerse yourself in a riveting story this summer. Take time to transport yourself to another world through the pages of these summer reads and other ones you stumble upon. They will be worth adding to your must-read list.

— By Emily Showers   

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