Baltimore County Now
Daisha Smith, BCPL Marketing Assistant
The Baltimore County Public Library’s annual Summer Reading Club (SRC) for all ages, is a great initiative that offers students a chance to earn exciting prizes all while improving their reading skills. It is designed to prevent achievement loss and encourage early literacy.
Each year, more than 50,000 Baltimore County children participate. Studies show that kids who do not read over the summer fall behind in school. Studies also show that children who participate improve their reading skills by a third of a grade, show more of a desire for school and are empowered to face their challenges.
The Summer Reading Club offers individual activities set to match the needs for all ages. This year’s theme is Every Hero Has a Story! This theme motivates readers to be as confident as a superhero and take on everyday challenges.
SRC features the Read-to-Me Club, for newborns to 5-year-olds; the Elementary Reading Club for students in kindergarten through the Fifth Grade; Middle School Reading Club for students in the sixth grade through the eighth grade; and the High School and Adult Reading Club for high school students and up.
Registration is quick and simple. First, visit the SRC BCPL website (http://www.bcpl.info/summerreading) and select the “Sign Me Up Button.” Next, visit your respective branch to receive a game board to start reading.
Once you’ve registered, the Summer Reading Club asks students to read for one hour or read one book until they’ve reached four books or four hours of reading time. Once completed, visit your local branch for a sticker. Once you have read sixteen books or read for a grand total of sixteen hours, visit your branch to pick up your prize!
So what are you waiting for? Visit your local BCPL branch today and start reading!
Baltimore County Public Library’s Collection Development Staff Members
Baltimore County Public Library has recommendations for your summer vacation reads, no matter what your taste!
First are two novels set in traditional summer settings, the Jersey Shore and Summer camp:
“All the Summer Girls” by Meg Donohue
Travel to the Jersey Shore as three childhood friends who were supposed to be meeting in Vegas for a bachelorette weekend regroup when the bride-to-be is dumped by her fiancé. Instead, the three young women head to the familiar comfort of Avalon and its stretches of glorious beaches. The happy memories shared by Kate, Dani and Vanessa are overshadowed by the specter of Kate’s twin brother’s tragic drowning eight years earlier. What the three don’t know is that each harbors secrets that could impact the others’ lives, and each is at a crossroads in her life.
“Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer
This book follows a group of teenaged friends (who call themselves “Interestings”) from their 1974 meeting at an arty summer camp through to middle age. The novel skips back and forth over time, revealing more about the friends’ triumphs and tragedies over the years. Of course, there are secrets kept and long-harbored resentments over the years as their lives diverge and reconnect. “Interestings” is an ambitious, sprawling and insightful novel.
Like the summer destination, the amusement park, summer is a great time for thrills and chills. Below are some suggested books that range from thrilling to downright scary:
“Out of Range” by Hank Steinberg
Charlie Davis is a political reporter for the Los Angeles Times, but becomes an investigator in search of his wife, Julie, when she goes missing. This action-packed thriller by the creator of the television show “Without a Trace” leads Charlie and readers to Uzbekistan, the country where Charlie and Julie fell in love. As he frantically pursues his missing wife, he becomes embroiled in international intrigue and also finds disturbing clues pointing to his wife’s possible infidelity and secret life.
“Crime of Privilege” by Walter Walker
Twelve years earlier, when he was in college, George Becket sees his preppy friends rape a young woman at a Palm Beach party. Now an Assistant D.A., he risks everything investigating his powerful and connected friends in the unsolved murder of a girl in Cape Cod. Crime of Privilege is a page-turning, twisty adventure into the world of the rich and powerful.
“The Execution of Noa P. Singleton” by Elizabeth L. Silver
Six months before her execution date, death row inmate Noa is approached by attorney Marlene Dixon, who offers to petition the state for clemency on Noa’s behalf. Marlene is the mother of Noa’s victim, and she wants to know why Noa killed her daughter. This gripping debut novel will appeal to fans of legal thrillers, and the complexity of the characters and moral issues at stake also make it a perfect pick for book clubs.
“The Shining Girls” by Lauren Beukes
A time-travelling serial killer and the only survivor of his attacks are on a collision course toward each other in this grisly, pulse-pounding thriller.
There are no Olympics this summer, so let’s go back to one of the most famous Olympic events of all time:
“The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics” by Daniel Brown
The 1936 Berlin Olympics are most memorable, due in large part to the tense international climate and the performance of Jesse Owens. However, another remarkable story from the same Games involved the rowing team from the University of Washington, who defeated elite rivals on Hitler’s big stage. These sons of farmers and loggers were able to first defeat the cream of the crop from Britain’s finest universities before triumphing over the team from Germany. Readers will enjoy this irresistible and inspirational story about the little guys beating the odds in dramatic fashion on the world stage.
Romance is great for summer reading for adults and teens:
“Just One Kiss” by Susan Mallery
When Justice Garrett moves back to Fool’s Gold, California, he gets a second chance at love with his childhood friend, Patience McGraw. This is the first of three new entries in Mallery’s popular Fool’s Gold series.
“The Moon and More” by Sarah Dessen
Emaline is in that awkward summer between the end of high school and beginning of college, waiting for the next stage of her life to begin, when young indie-filmmaker Theo arrives in her small North Carolina beach town. Reconsidering the options for her future, Emaline comes to a surprising decision.
Finally, a road trip is perfect for an engaging listen:
“Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” by David Sedaris
NPR commentator and humorist Sedaris is back with a collection of essays steeped in his trademark dark humor and insights into our human condition. His slightly nerdy tone has always made these essays great on the page but even better as a listen.
by Jamie Watson
Collection Development Coordinator
Baltimore County Public Library
A trip down the ocean is part of every Baltimore County resident's summer routine, but what's the point of going to the beach without a good book to read? Before you make your way to the beach this summer, swing by your local branch of the Baltimore County Public Library and get some great beachside entertainment, free of charge.
The newest Jack Reacher novel comes out in September, and the first Jack Reacher movie, starring the ubiquitous-this-summer Tom Cruise, will be out in December. If you’ve not read this thriller series, about a former military policeman, Killing Floor is his first, although you can jump into this series anywhere. Baltimore County Public Library has volumes of the series in print, large type, book on cd, Playaway, downloadable audiobook, e-book, and even one volume in Russian!
Another hot genre for summer escapes is paranormal romance. Melissa de la Cruz began her series, The Witches of East End, last summer. Set in the Hamptons, it features two sisters and a mother who have been alive for hundreds of years, but are currently forbidden from practicing their magic – until now. The first volume ended on a cliffhanger, but never fear, Serpent’s Kiss, the follow-up, came out this summer.
Fiction written for teens remains hot, especially on the heels of The Hunger Games, but don’t write it off as “kids books.” Many of the hottest teen books can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. John Green’s The Fault in our Stars tells the story of two teenagers, Hazel and Gus, who are suffering from terminal cancer. All the tropes of a teen novel are here – growing up, life’s purpose, the opposite sex, friendship, your family, but at an accelerated speed – because unlike most teenagers, Hazel and Gus don’t think they’re going to live forever. This is one to read in an air-conditioned room, not the beach or pool, unless you’re ready to shed a few tears in public.
Finally, it’s almost Olympics time! It’s also the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team – the US Olympic basketball team made up of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and more. Sports journalist Jack McCollum was “embedded” with the team from their inception to their Gold Medal, and he has lots of tales to tell!
None of these strike your fancy? Come check out Baltimore County Public Library’s newest blog, Between the Covers. Recent posts on cozy mysteries, small-town romance, and even books for kids will have suggestions to keep the whole family busy for the rest of the summer!