Sunday, January 20, 2013

Girls Night Out Book Club! Favorite Books Edition

Along with my fellow librarian and good pal Sarah, I  have been hosting a Mother - Daughter Book Club once a month since September.  We've read some great books and some not so great books and each time we have had some really interesting and fun discussions.  I am continually surprised by the thoughtfulness  each of these young girls brings to our talks and how eloquent they are.

For January, we decided to change things up a bit. Each girl was to bring in their favorite book tell the group about it.  While I loved this idea, it presented me with quite the dilemma. Due to time constraints we limited the girls to one book, two tops.  How was I to choose only one? I have hundreds of favorite books, across so many genres.

I carefully weighed my options, I developed a list and culled it.  I thought of all of the wonderful books I had the opportunity to read both as a girl, and as a librarian. And while it was hard, I did narrow it down to one.

Drum roll, please! 
Lois Lowry's Summer to Die is a simple and wonderful read. And in my opinion often over shadowed by Lowry's other work.  I took this book out of the Haverstraw Library when I was in 7th or 8th grade and kept it out for a long time.  I would dread those overdue notices when I pulled them out of the mailbox.  I couldn't give it back, it would be like giving away a family member.

Summer to Die, chronicles the Chalmers family and the year they leave their comfortable University town for rural Vermont, as Dad needs the peace and quiet to finish his book.  The story focuses on Meg & Molly- sisters who couldn't be more different.  Molly is a bubbly, popular cheerleader.  Meg is taciturn, fears she has no real talent and is tired of constantly being compared to her vivacious sister.  Vermont life brings many changes to their family- its always cold, and the girls have to share a bedroom. It also brings new relationships. Molly acquires a boyfriend and makes friends with the couple down the road, preparing for the birth of their first child; Meg befriends Will, their landlord, who teaches her about photography and more.

 This is the story of sisters, a story about growing up and a story about learning how to cope when someone you love is sick, and possibly dying. I fell in love with Ms. Lowry's storytelling and her characters.  This is a book I look forward to re-reading every year or so.

  Eventually, I did have to give the Haverstraw Library their copy back.  But not before I bought my own copy, which I am proud to tell you Lois Lowry herself signed when I saw her at NYPL's Bookfest!

Runners Up!

Here in no particular order are some of my other favorites.  This list was so hard to cull.

Little House Books-  by Laura Ingalls Wilder-
I loved them so much as a child, but couldn't get through the first one as an adult reader.  Must remember to try again.

Baby Island- By Carol Ryrie Brink-
Another book I very nearly stole from the Haverstraw Library.  Two tween sisters stranded on a deserted island with 4 young babies after their ocean liner sinks.  Of course they do great taking care of their young charges and of course there is a happy ending!

All of A Kind Family-  by Sydney Taylor
Five sisters growing up on the lower Eastside of New York just before World War I.  I was fascinated by their simple lives- trips to Coney Island, dressing up for Purim, visits from the iceman.   


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