Adult Summer Reading: Week 5

by West Bend Library on 2022-07-04 08:00:00

Welcome back to Week 5 of our adult summer reading digital displays! If you’re new to Read Beyond the Beaten Path, check out our Week 1 post here. You can also download a reading log, get more information about the program and prizes, or sign up to complete the program on Beanstack. Reminder that these posts only pertain to the adult reading program — come visit us to learn more about the youth reading program!

This week, we're sharing our July staff picks and taking a trip around the world to look at historical fiction that takes place outside the United States. After a long weekend celebrating Fourth of July, we hope you're ready to jet off and visit other parts of the world! Read all about our staff's favorite books of July, then check out the map of countries (and accompanying book list) covered in our list of historical fiction.

Next to each book is its catalog entry (so you can put it on hold), a link to a summary of the book (or our staff member's recommendation), and where you can find it as an e-book or e-audiobook, if applicable — Libby (L) and/or Hoopla (H). Also provided in the Historical Fiction section is in which country or region the book takes place.

July Staff Picks

(L = Libby, H = Hoopla)

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
( catalog entry | L )

This was a fun YA read. It's Knives Out meets Truly Devious. If you are looking for a mystery, riddle-ridden easy read for the summer, then this is your pick. Avery Grambs becomes a part of an inheritance game worth billions, but the fact that she has never met the Hawthorne family before and therefore should not even be there is one of the biggest mysteries yet! I love the Hawthorne brothers and how our main heroine, Avery, has a unique relationship with each one. Does she trust them? No. Does she befriend them anyway? Yes. This is Book 1 in a three-book series. Book 2 has been released already and Book 3 is set to release at the end of August. There is also rumor that this series will be released as a limited series on Amazon in the future. – Amber

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
( catalog entry | L )

This timeless book reiterates the basic tenets of leadership in a work environment. If you are a working professional who is, or may be placed into, a position of leadership, this book is definitely for you. Even if you do not think you need any advice, this book is priceless. It not only provides insight into your own actions, but gives you a window into the actions and choices of those you work with/for. The advice and examples given are a tiny bit dated. However, the overarching theme of each chapter and the takeaway messages are as strong and relevant now as ever. – Steve

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer
( catalog entry | L )

I love books but reading an item more than once — to me — takes a lot of effort. The exception, however, is this book by Wayne Dyer — a book that I go to often when in need of spiritual insight and balance. Dr. Dyer offers his interpretation of the 81 verses dictated by Lao-Tzu in ancient China, called the Tao Te Ching or The Great Way. This book did change my life and actually inspired me to start writing a memoir. – Sandra

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
( catalog entry | L, H )

This is a great read from Elly Griffiths, and a twist on gothic horror. It is a strong story with solid characters, all set in a school with a strange short story at its heart. It was a winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel as well. Griffiths is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Brighton Mysteries series and lives in Brighton, England. – Susan

Two Truths and a Lie by April Henry
( catalog entry  )

This brand-new book has some major teen horror flick vibes, if you like that sort of thing! A group of teens are trapped in an old motel with a murderer in this chilling YA mystery by New York Times bestselling author April Henry. – Terika

Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke
( catalog entry | L )

One of my enduring memories from the early days of the pandemic is Slack, the workplace messaging app, releasing a new ad featuring the signature notification sound. The ad got a lot of feedback from people who were working at home, notably because no matter what time of day it was, they’d hear the sound in the commercial and think it was a real Slack notification. This book takes that experience up a notch — Gerald’s consciousness is uploaded to his company’s Slack, and he not only has to reckon with what that means and how to explain to people why he’s on Slack but not at work, but also how to take care of his body left behind in his home. Written entirely in Slack conversations, this is a fascinating story and a quick read with many interesting twists. – Christine

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
( catalog entry | L )

“Many dark things are cloaked in simple stories of fairies and humble rural superstition.”

There is something lurking in the woods around Melissa’s grandmother’s house. And as Melissa tries to clear out the deceased hoarder’s home, she stumbles upon a cryptic rambling journal written by her grandfather, the confusing entries a desperate attempt to describe impossible terrors in the woods just outside the front door. This book has touches of Pet Sematery, The Ritual, and a dash of Lovecraft coming together to create a darkly satisfying folkloric horror read.  If T. Kingfisher’s other books are as bizarre and frightening as The Twisted Ones, I have found a new favorite author! – D'Lacey

Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy by Jane Leavy
( catalog entry | H )

The book offers an inning-by-inning account of Koufax’s 1965 perfect game where the losing pitcher for the Cubs tossed a no-hitter. Every other chapter details Koufax's life from his childhood in New York to becoming a college basketball star, then a perceived major league failure, before he became one of the most unhittable pitchers the game has ever seen. His life after baseball is also chronicled. The story of this enigmatic, driven, and intensely private man will make you yearn for the days when players let their game do the talking. – John

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
( catalog entry | L )

This has been popular for a while, but I always like to re-read a book right before it comes out as a movie. And if Taylor Swift likes a book enough to release a new song especially for it, you know it’s good. I loved the gorgeous descriptions of nature and poetic language throughout, and I was kept intrigued by the dark story underneath. Reading this will make you need to see the movie when it opens July 15 and also take a summer road trip to North Carolina to witness the beautiful nature in person. Basically, just because it is popular does not mean that it is overrated, so now is the time to check it out. – Meghan

Be sure to check out our past Staff Picks if you're looking for more to read in this category!

Historical Fiction Taking Place Outside the United States

A black-and-white world map with blue stars showing where each of the below listed books takes place.

(L = Libby, H = Hoopla)

The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert - South Africa
( catalog entry | summary | L, H )

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck - China
( catalog entry | summary | L, H )

Find Me in Havana by Serena Burdick - Cuba
( catalog entry | summary | L, H )

Blood & Beauty by Sarah Dunant - Italy
( catalog entry | summary | L )

Henna House by Nomi Eve - Yemen
( catalog entry | summary | L, H )

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George - Romania
( catalog entry | summary | L, H ) 

A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande - Mexico
( catalog entry | summary  )

Hild by Nicola Griffith - England
( catalog entry | summary  )

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - Ghana
( catalog entry | summary | L )

The Changeling of Finnistuath by Kate Horsley - Ireland
( catalog entry | summary  )

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini - Afghanistan
( catalog entry | summary | L, H )

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - Japan
( catalog entry | summary | L )

Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan - Indonesia
( catalog entry | summary  )

Song of the Spirits by Sarah Lark - New Zealand
( catalog entry | summary  )

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee - Europe
( catalog entry | summary | L, H )

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee - Korea
( catalog entry | summary | L )

The Thrall's Tale by Judith Lindbergh - Greenland
( catalog entry | summary  )

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay - Australia
( catalog entry | summary | L )

Leo Africanus by Amin Maalout - Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Italy
( catalog entry | summary  )

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra - Russia
( catalog entry | summary | L )

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy - Canada
( catalog entry | summary | L, H )

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain - Kenya
( catalog entry | summary | L )

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - Greece
( catalog entry | summary | L, H )

Pearl of China by Anchee Min - China
( catalog entry | summary | H )

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee - India
( catalog entry | summary | H )

A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters - England
( catalog entry | summary | L, H )

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles - Russia
( catalog entry | summary | L )


Next week, we'll share books that have been banned or challenged and our go-to list of memoirs written by women. Happy reading!