THE LIBRARY SHELF: Summer Vacation Shelved | Local columnists


The words “summer” and “vacation” go together like peanut butter and jelly. When summer arrives, our thoughts turn to travel and memories of summer trips. Yes, we are already in July, but summer is not over yet! With my travel plans being limited in recent years, it reminds me of the years when I couldn’t afford to travel. In college, I spent several summers working, dreaming of wonderful travels and escaping through books.

Sometimes memories of trips taken via books ended up being better than the actual vacation I had taken. Examples of such incidents include a disastrous camping trip that resulted in the end of a romantic relationship and a missed Christmas flight where I spent eight hours with a newborn baby at Newark airport. I suggest we take a summer vacation with little chance of ending badly by finding getaways on the shelves of the Stillwater Public Library.

Let’s start our trip with the beaches. Nothing says summer like a beach house, the roar of the ocean, and sunsets or sunrises over the water. “Fodor’s Florida,” a travel guide, is packed with information on things to do and see in the sunshine state. Reading on the Keys turns thoughts into snorkeling or scuba diving in this clear azure water. Follow these thoughts on JEN Veron’s “Reef in Time” and transport yourself underwater to Australia. You can discover all the fantastic sea animals and plants while staying dry! From there to a beach in Maine, check out Megan Miranda’s “The Last House Guest.” Not only are there beaches, but also lots of intrigue, boats and parties. If you need more thrills on your beach vacation, check out William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. His memoir will take you to beaches all over the world, complete with bushwhacking, camping and wave surfing.

Maybe driving on the freeway is more your speed for a summer vacation. The combination of “Frommer’s Germany” and Charles Piddock’s “Porsche 911” will take you there, hugging the curves in a beautiful car. Or maybe slowing down and admiring the Alps through John Kaag’s “Hiking with Nietzsche” or Tim Moore’s “The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Riding the Iron Curtain” is more your style. If so, you can slow down the holidays even further and pick up “Around the World in Eighty Wines” by Michael Veseth. Follow that as you sip your way through Italy with a romantic adventure about a food writer and his bulldozer with Alexander McCall Smith’s “My Italian Bulldozer.”

Since this is a stay in a book, we are not limited by time or even the world. Experience thrilling moments of love, hardship, and decadence with New York City theater girls circa 1940 in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “City of Girls.” Follow that with a jump to 100 years later and a moment to find out how to beat death in Cory Doctorow’s “Walkaway.” Or dive into a more dystopian world by reading “The Power” by Naomi Alderman. This sci-fi novel explores how the world changes when women develop the power to send electrical impulses to others, causing bodily harm. Then, to lighten up the holidays a bit, let’s explore Neil Gaiman’s “Stardust,” a magical tale of true love and fantasy.

If thrills are on your must-do list, travel to Arizona and uncover the political intrigue surrounding a senator’s family in Kelsy Dimberg’s “Girl in the Rearview Mirror.” Follow a real-life adventure as astronaut Michael Collins describes his career as an Air Force test pilot during his time on the Apollo 11 mission in “Carrying the Fire.”

Phew, looks like we have a busy holiday schedule! Feel free to follow the route I created or create your own with books from our library shelves or the OK Virtual Library. In any case, I hope you enjoy your literary vacation and the rest of the summer


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