GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The summer is winding down and fall is here -- it's time to pick up a good book.
Bryan Uecker, co-owner of the Book Nook and Java Shop in Montague shares his top 5 picks for readers of all ages.
Adult Fiction – Book Club Book: "Virgil Wander" by Leif Enger
The first novel in ten years from award-winning, million-copy bestselling author Leif Enger, "Virgil Wander" is an enchanting and timeless all-American story that follows the inhabitants of a small Midwestern town in their quest to revive its flagging heart.
Midwestern movie house owner Virgil Wander is “cruising along at medium altitude” when his car flies off the road into icy Lake Superior. Virgil survives but his language and memory are altered and he emerges into a world no longer familiar to him. Awakening in this new life, Virgil begins to piece together his personal history and the lore of his broken town, with the help of a cast of affable and curious locals—from Rune, a twinkling, pipe-smoking, kite-flying stranger investigating the mystery of his disappeared son; to Nadine, the reserved, enchanting wife of the vanished man, to Tom, a journalist and Virgil’s oldest friend; and various members of the Pea family who must confront tragedies of their own. Into this community returns a shimmering prodigal son who may hold the key to reviving their town.
With intelligent humor and captivating whimsy, Leif Enger conjures a remarkable portrait of a region and its residents, who, for reasons of choice or circumstance, never made it out of their defunct industrial district. Carried aloft by quotidian pleasures including movies, fishing, necking in parked cars, playing baseball and falling in love, Virgil Wander is a swift, full journey into the heart and heartache of an often overlooked American Upper Midwest by a “formidably gifted” (Chicago Tribune) master storyteller.
Adult Non-Fiction: "We Are the Weather by" Jonathan Safran Foer
Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the reality of human-caused climate change truly believe it? If we did, surely we would be roused to act on what we know. Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warming and those who said they accepted the science but failed to change their lives in response?
In "We Are the Weather," Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way. The task of saving the planet will involve a great reckoning with ourselves—with our all-too-human reluctance to sacrifice immediate comfort for the sake of the future. We have, he reveals, turned our planet into a farm for growing animal products, and the consequences are catastrophic. Only collective action will save our home and way of life. And it all starts with what we eat—and don’t eat—for breakfast.
Local -- Book Club Book: "This I Know" by Eldonna Edwards
Set in a small Midwest town in the late 1960s and helmed by an unforgettable young protagonist—compassionate, uncannily wise Grace—"This I Know" is a luminous coming-of-age story from an astonishing new voice.
Eleven-year-old Grace Carter has a talent for hiding things. She’s had plenty of practice, burying thoughts and feelings that might anger her strict Evangelical pastor father, and concealing the deep intuition she carries inside. The Knowing, as Grace calls it, offers glimpses of people’s pasts and futures. It enables her to see into the depth of her mother’s sadness, and even allows Grace to talk to Isaac, her twin brother who died at birth. To her wise, loving Aunt Pearl, the Knowing is a family gift; to her daddy, it’s close to witchcraft.
Grace can’t see into someone’s thoughts without their permission. But it doesn’t take her special talent to know that her small community is harboring its share of secrets. A young girl has gone missing. Within Grace’s own family too, the cracks are widening, as her sisters Hope, Joy, and Chastity enjoy the normal life that eludes Grace. It’s Grace’s kinship with other outsiders that keeps her afloat—Lyle, a gentle, homeless man, and Lola, a free-spirited new girl at school. But when her mother lapses into deep depression after bringing home a new baby, Grace will face a life-changing choice—ignore her gift and become the obedient daughter her father demands, or find the courage to make herself heard, even if it means standing apart . . .
Young Adult: "My Jasper June" by Laurel Snyder
Laurel Snyder, author of "Orphan Island," returns with another unforgettable story of the moments in which we find out who we are, and the life-altering friendships that show us what we can be.
The school year is over and it is summer in Atlanta. The sky is blue, the sun is blazing, and the days brim with possibility. But Leah feels... lost. She has been this way since one terrible afternoon a year ago, when everything changed. Since that day, her parents have become distant, her friends have fallen away, and Leah’s been adrift and alone.
Then she meets Jasper, a girl unlike anyone she has ever known. There’s something mysterious about Jasper, almost magical. And Jasper, Leah discovers, is also lost.
Together, the two girls carve out a place for themselves, a hideaway in the overgrown spaces of Atlanta, away from their parents and their hardships, somewhere only they can find.
But as the days of this magical June start to draw to a close, and the darker realities of their lives intrude once more, Leah and Jasper have to decide how real their friendship is, and whether it can be enough to save them both.
Children: "The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister
"The Rainbow Fish" is an international best-seller and a modern classic.
Eye-catching foil stamping, glittering on every page, offers instant child appeal, but it is the universal message at the heart of this simple story about a beautiful fish who learns to make friends by sharing his most prized possessions that gives the book its lasting value.
The Rainbow Fish Musical
This month, youth from the White Lake Community will put on the musical. It's taking place Oct. 18 from 7 until 9 p.m. at the Playhouse, located at 304 N. Mears Ave. in Whitehall.
Adult tickets will cost $7 and children and student tickets will cost $5. Children age 13 and under can receive FREE TICKETS when accompanied by at least one paying adult. Free tickets are only available at the Arts Council of White Lake-Nuveen Center, 106 E. Colby St., Whitehall
Information courtesy of Bryan Uecker. Find these titles and more at the Book Nook & Java Shop, located at 8744 Ferry St. in Montague or online at www.thebooknookjavashop.com.
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