OFF THE SHELF: Some great reading

Maureen Curry takes a look at some suggestions from The Times of London

With warm weather finally here (hopefully for a while), it’s time to head to the beach, cabin, campsite or just the deck, to relax and enjoy a good book.

If you don’t have the time or energy to search for great reading, the Sunday edition of The Times, London’s revered newspaper, has come to the rescue.

A guide to the 100 best summer reads is included in the most recent issue, (which the Vernon branch receives every week).

While some titles are only available in the U.K., many are in Okanagan Regional Library’s collection.  Here is a sampling:


Midnight in Peking by Paul French.  The gripping true-life mystery of a young British woman’s murder in Peking in 1937 and her father’s search for justice.

What a Plant Knows by Daniel Chamovitz.  This guide to plants’ sensory abilities is both surprising and great fun to read.

Forgotten Land by Max Egremont. A beautifully written historical journey into the vanished world of East Prussia.

Explorers of the Nile by Tim Jeal.  A thrilling account of the stories of Burton, Speke, Livingstone, Stanley and their quests for the source of the Nile.

All Hell Let Loose by Max Hastings.  Mixing epic sweep with striking detail, this magnificent history is the definitive single-volume account of the Second World War.

Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale.  From the author of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, the engrossing story of a scandalous Victoria divorce case.


The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey.  A quest for a 19th-century mechanical swan lies at the heart of this richly layered tale from the double Booker winner.

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier.  This gripping account of a woman under threat in rural Carolina is the finest novel to date from the author of Cold Mountain.

Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen.  A bold debut about a 10-year-old girl growing up in a religious sect, who escapes harsh realities by building a miniature world in her bedroom.

Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton.  Assured pacing and an odd-couple double act, along with the feel of a Scandinavian crime novel, distinguish this first-rate thriller set in the Great Lakes.

The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst.  Opening in 1913, this brilliantly written novel unrolls an almost century-long cavalcade of changing social, sexual and cultural attitudes.

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan.  A compelling debut, set in 1914, about a liner that sinks Titanic-like, and grim decisions made in the fight to survive.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.  This quietly nightmarish Man Booker-winning novel about revenge increasingly takes on the momentum of a taut horror tale.