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Check It Out

Courier Articles by Sandy Schultheis
Sunday, May 30, 1999


Get With The Program

Whether you are traveling or staying home, summer is the perfect time to catch up on all those great books you've not had time to read. It's also a time to get your kids and teenagers down to the library to sign up for programs, prizes and good books.

Today I am highlighting some of the books which are suggested reading for EVPL's Adult Reading Program which is sponsored by the Public Library Friends. For complete details and a look at some of the wonderful travel-related prizes from Quest Outdoors, visit your nearest EVPL library. If you live elsewhere in the Tri-State area, contact your local library to see what they are offering for summer readers.

Classics and Literary Fiction

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (Washington Sq. Press, 1994). This great modern classic depicts life in China at a time before the vast political and social upheavals transformed an essentially agrarian country into a world power. Nobel Prize-winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life--its terrors, its passions, its ambitions, and rewards. Some other suggested titles in this category are: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

Popular Fiction

Sally Hemmings by Barbara Chase-Riboud. A national bestseller with more than 1 million copies sold, tells the touching story of the love affair between Thomas Jefferson and the beautiful slave who was his wife's half-sister. This story has been in the news recently with results of DNA testing indicating that indeed the offspring of Hemmings are related to Jefferson, a point which Jefferson's family is still questioning. Other suggested titles are: Hornblower and the Hotspur by C.S. Forester, Pretty Boy Floyd by Larry McMurtry, Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross, A Simple Plan by Scott Smith, Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks and Evening Class by Maeve Binchy.

Adventures, Mysteries and Thrillers

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (Caroll & Graff, c1959). I've become a big fan of Shackleton and am hoping to get to New York City sometime before October to see the show at the American Museum of Natural History which features photographs taken by expedition photographer Frank Hurley. Using excerpts from diaries and interviews with survivors, Lansing re-creates a story so incredible it couldn't be fictionalized, no one would believe it. A team of twenty-eight sailors and scientists were stranded in the ice at the bottom of the world. When their ship sank, they camped on ice floes and eventually rowed to a tiny island. With no hope of rescue, Shackleton and five other men made an 800 mile voyage across the Southern Ocean to South Georgia Island in a twenty-two foot lifeboat. Shackleton and two of the men had to cross the mountains and glaciers to finally reach the inhabited side of the island and start a rescue operation for the remaining party. Other titles in this category include: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, and The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger.

Non-Fiction

Adventures of a Psychic by Sylvia Browne (Hay House, 1998). For fans of New Age subjects here is the story of Browne , who spelled her name Brown when the book was first published nine years ago. In looking over comments on Amazon.com I found many fans who claimed the book changed their lives. If this is your favorite subject you will want to choose it as your summer reading entry for the non-fiction category. Otherwise there are a number of other good choices including The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley, Love and Survival by Dean Ornish, and Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose.

Sandy Schultheis is a librarian with the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of EVPL.