Summer is here and we at Martial Rose Library will miss you all working hard, reading our books and filling up our library so we wanted to come together and create a whole new Staff Picks for you all. This one is Summer Reads and all, save for one, can be found in the library so be sure to give us a visit in between your sun bathing, travelling and boxset-binging to check them out! Happy Reading!
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Set in a future where citizens of Earth escape the humdrum of their daily lives by entering the virtual utopia of the Oasis, this tells the story of Wade Watts – a nobody in both the real and digital world, where he goes by the avatar Parzival. Like many inhabitants of the Oasis he dreams of being the one to solve the riddles, left by its creator James Halliday upon his death, and which lead to three keys and ultimately ownership of this world.
You may think you already know this story, having seen the Steven Spielberg helmed adaptation that came out in cinemas earlier this year but as is often the case, the book offers so much more depth and detail, especially for those with an interest in 1980s geek culture. There’s action, romance, philosophy, intrigue and bucketloads of nerdy references that will keep your interest fully piqued and your fingers unable to stop turning pages.
Ready to read it? Find it at 813.6/CLI.
Tokyo Cancelled, by Rana Dasgupta
Thirteen passengers are stranded at Tokyo airport and fill the time by telling stories. The stories are hugely varied: a young and mute Turkish girl living in the house of a German who tries to map the world; a Japanese businessman risking his lifestyle for a life-size doll; a woman eats a magic cookie and turns into a clothing store. Every story has a magical element, and every story has insight into the human psyche, leaving the reader feeling amused, amazed and disturbed in equal measures.
Find Tokyo Cancelled at 823.92/DAS.
Revival by Stephen King
After a new minister moves into a new New England town, the townspeople are impressed. Charles Jacobs is engaging, exciting and, almost best of all, young. No one loves the new minister more than Jamie Morton, a young boy who formed a deep bond with the minster through his fascinating experiments with electricity. However, things quickly change after a tragic instance in the town that causes Charles to leave James, and the town, forever.
Decades later, the pair find themselves together again as Jacobs’ passion for electricity has turned to obsession and he attempts to awaken something that humanity was never meant to awaken.
A solid, exciting read from the author of Misery, The Shining and It, it brings chills as it explores a fear that plagues everyone’s mind. Not for the fainthearted but a definite recommendation for Summer Reads!
Find Revival at 813.5/KIN alongside our expansive collection of King’s works.
Small Steps by Louis Sachar
A sequel/spin-off to the 1998 book Holes, Louis Sachar’s Small Steps follows Armpit and X-Ray as they attempt to build a stable, law-abiding life following their stay at Camp Green Lake. Sachar shows particular talent here, fleshing out two relatively minor characters in his original novel who were also portrayed to be rather antagonistic and boisterous to our main character. There’s also some fantastic commentary on the rehabilitation of young offenders in America with particular praise for Armpit who is so likeably relatable, honest and flawed.
Filled with heart, wit and engaging characters, Small Steps is a perfect read for those warm, summer days.
Think you’ll give it a try? You can find Small Steps and Louis Sachar’s other work at CF/SAC.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
This humorous but moving memoir by Marjane Satrapi uses the graphic novel medium to depict her childhood in Iran from the age of 10, when the Islamic Revolution took place.
Written and drawn with a childish innocence the book covers Marjane’s difficulties in trying to make sense of what is going on around her including the political environment. Satrapi’s style not only helps to reflect her experiences as a child growing up under the Islamic regime but also helps the viewer process some of the more difficult aspects of the book.
There are many teenage experiences in this novel that we can all relate to such as trying to belong, questioning of authority, teenage romances and striving for independence. Although Persepolis focuses mainly on Satrapi’s experiences in Iran it also makes sure to highlight key moments of Iran’s history that helps the reader understand more about this country than what the media represents.
You can find Persepolis in our Graphic Novel collection at 714.5/SAT.
Sloth by Gilbert Hernandez
In the small town that troubled Miguel Serra resides, there is a lemon orchard, seemingly haunted by murder and a sinister urban legend known as the Goat Man. Miguel has awakened from a year long coma that he “willed” himself into, simply by not waking up. But now his behaviour has changed: he is slow, sloth-like. He and his girlfriend Lita and best friend Romeo decide to seek the truth of the lemon orchard and its macabre secrets…
Sloth is a dreamy tale which highlights the dark underbelly of a typical small town and the teenagers and young people who live there but with Lynchian undertones permeating throughout the pages. The artwork is simple and yet combined with the eerie tale will leave you feeling haunted.
You can be entranced by this story at 741.5/HER.
And one for the road…
A Change in Climate by Hilary Mantell
Mantell was an established writer long before the success of Wolf Hall in 2009 and Bring Up the Bodies in 2012. She is an ambitious and fearless writer. Her story range is huge, which is one of the reasons I so admire her. You are never allowed the comfort of a familiar plot line when you read her work.
A Change in Climate maps the marriage of Anna and Ralph, from their rather naïve early life as missionaries in South Africa, to the isolation of Bechuanaland (later known as Botswana) where the unspeakable happens, to Norfolk in the early 1980s where they try to save “good souls and sad cases” in a desperate attempt to pave over the cracks in their own fragile and fragmented lives.
It is a demanding and immensely rewarding book which looks at the destruction wrought by lies and lives lived in denial, and makes us question whether we might do better.
For this one, you can check your local library or find Hilary Mantell’s other work at 823.91/MAN.