Page Turners
Pack your beach bag with locals’ picks

Remember when you were in school and teachers would give you lists of boring books to read over summer break?

This is so much better than that!

Wake County Public Libraries kicks off its third-annual Summer Reading Program for adults this month.

The theme: “A Garden of Great Reads.”

You can register for the program at any branch to receive a bag filled with lists of suggested titles and other goodies.

Every time you finish three books, record your name and the book titles on a ballot and deposit it in the Adult Summer Reading Ballot Box to be entered in a drawing for prizes.

Here’s a rundown of library-staff favorites:


“Butterscotch Blues”
by Margaret Johnson-Hodge
Troubled with low self-esteem, a woman meets Mr. Right but discovers he has a secret.

“The Art of Mending”
by Elizabeth Berg
A family reunion leads to unpleasant discoveries.

“Mr. Perfect”
by Linda Howard
Things heat up for a group of friends when their list of qualifications for the perfect man leaks to the press.

“The Lady and the Unicorn”
by Tracy Chevalier
A charismatic tapestry designer creates havoc among the ladies in a French nobleman’s house and his images change lives in the workshop where the tapestries are to be woven.

“Slow Walk in a Sad Rain”
by John McAfee
An unnamed American Army captain narrates the story of an infantry unit in the Vietnam War in this darkly humorous book.

“Empress Orchid”
by Anchee Min
A trip through 19th-century China illuminates the life of the last empress.

“Not All Tarts Are Apples & The Widow Ginger”
by Pip Granger
A little girl in 1950s London is protected by the shady characters who live on her street.

by Graham Swift
Set in the Fen country of East Anglia, this gothic family saga explores the meaning of history.

“The Monk Downstairs”
by Tim Farrington
A single mom with a surfer ex-husband seeks happiness with an ex-monk.

“The Known World”
by Edward P. Jones
This novel details the life of a slave, the perils of being a free black in Virginia shortly before the Civil War and the world of slave-owning blacks.

“Eat Cake”
by Jeanne Ray
Baking cakes along the way, a woman learns to cope when her mother and estranged father move in with her.

“Bless Your Heart, Tramp”
by Celia Rivenbark
This book takes a funny look at what makes Southern women tick.

“The Outside World”
by Tova Mirvis
Two Orthodox Jewish families collide as their children fall in love and get married.

“P.S. I Love You”
by Cecelia Ahern
A woman gets over the death of her husband and learns about herself through the lists of things he has left her to accomplish each month.

“The Birth of Venus”
by Sarah Dunant
In 15th-century Florence, the daughter of a wealthy merchant seeks freedom from marriage in order to paint but discovers she may have bought her liberty at the cost of love and true fulfillment.

“My Sister’s Keeper”
by Jodi Picoult
A 13-year-old, who was conceived as a bone-marrow donor for her leukemiaicken sister, sues her parents for the right to make medical decisions about her body.

“Big Stone Gap”
by Adriana Trigiani
Crazy characters come together to help Virginian Ave Marie find her real father in Italy.

“Boy’s Life”
by Robert McCammon
Funny, surreal and sobering, this tale shows how mystical and mundane a boy’s life can be.

“American Gods”
by Neil Gaiman
A war among forgotten gods sends main character Shadow on a journey through a mythical, hidden America.

“Mississippi Blues”
by Cassandra Darden Bell
A best-selling author, trapped in a loveless marriage, looks for more out of life when she returns to her hometown to deal with a family tragedy.

“Haunted Ground”
by Erin Heart
An Irish archaeologist and an American pathologist investigate historical mysteries in a remote corner of Galway.

by Joseph Finder
Secrets are at stake when an employee of a technology company makes a mistake that puts him at the mercy of his ruthless boss.

"Bears Discover Fire"
by Terry Bisson
Several weird and witty short stories feature talking meat, confrontational ATMs and Great Britain's migration.

"Good Omens"
by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
This comical account of the apocalypse includes the four horsemen riding motorcycles.

"The Time It Never Rained"
by Elmer Kelton
A Texas rancher strains to maintain his ranch and his dignity during a six-year drought in the 1950s.

"Four Past Midnight"
by Stephen King
Storylines in four frightening novellas take place after midnight with different characters and different plots.

"Midnight Mass"
by F. Paul Wilson
Catholic priest Joseph Cahill enlists the help of a rabbi to defend his parish from vampire attacks.

"Mixed Blessings"
by Danielle Steel
Three separate California couples, married on the same day, all struggle in their quest for children.


"The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised Ten Kids on 25 Words or Less"
by Terry Ryan
Evelyn Ryan, a jingle writer, rises above hardships and teaches her ten children to enjoy life.

"Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter"
by Adeline Yen Mah
Adeline chronicles the changes in China and Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution through the story of her journey from a lonely childhood to a successful adult life.

"No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the Homefront in WWII"
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Goodwin follows the presidential couple's story during World War II.

"A Mighty Heart"
by Mariane Pearl
Mariane Pearl, the wife of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, combines their tender love story with that of her husband's horrific kidnapping.

"Swimming to Antarctica"
by Lynne Cox
This swimming legend was able to span miles in icy water.

"The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family"
by Mary S. Lovell
Noted for their beauty, wit and eccentricity, these six siblings were placed in the paths of the famous and infamous figures of their time, including Winston Churchill, Oswald Mosley and Adolf Hitler.

"Name all the Animals: A Memoir"
by Alison Smith
The author's life was drastically altered at the age of 12 when her 18-year-old brother was killed in a car accident.

"Rogue Warrior"
by Richard Marcinko
This autobiography provides an unconventional look at how the Navy Seals and Special Operations were formed.


"Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris"
by Sarah Turnbull
An Australian woman humorously grapples with love and culture shock after moving to Paris with her French boyfriend.

"Ghost Soldiers"
by Hampton Sides
The story of the troops sent to rescue 500 prisoners of war in the Philippines in January 1945 reads like a dramatic novel.

"The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life"
by Twyla Tharp
The legendary choreographer encourages creativity, relates her personal experiences and provides inventive exercises.

"Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point"
by David Lipsky
Selected as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's summer reading book, this story follows the Rolling Stone reporter's experiences writing about West Point .

"Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship"
by Jon Meacham
The two key leaders of World War II had a unique relationship, which explains the connection between Great Britain and the United States during this volatile time.

"The Accidental Buddhist"
by Dinty W. Moore
This narrative shows one man's journey from traditional Catholic to American Buddhist and includes information about the contemporary practice of the Eastern religion.

"The Devil in the White City : Murder, Madness and Magic at the Fair That Changed America"
by Erik Larsen
An account of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, this page-turner describes the great men behind the event and the madman ran amok there.

"A Right to Be Hostile: The Boondocks Treasury"
by Aaron McGruder
Two African-American boys move from inner city Chicago to a white, suburban world in this frank and funny look at race in America .

"Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded"
by Simon Winchester
Winchester gives a rigorous historical account of the eruption of the world's most dangerous volcano.

"Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers"
by Mary Roach
Useful for the living, human cadavers serve as medical mummies and crash-test dummies.

"The Sexy Years: Discover the Natural Hormone Connection and the Secret to Great Health, Fabulous Sex and Vitality in the Second Half of Life"
by Suzanne Somers
Former TV star offers inspiration for conquering the perils of menopause and aging, including emotional swings, fatigue and lack of libido.

"Spirit of Harlem"
by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry
Compelling text and photography paint an affectionate portrait of one of the country's most well-known neighborhoods.

"All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror"
by Stephen Kinzer
A New York Times correspondent tells the history behind the birth and growth of anti-Western terrorist groups in the Middle East .

"Not Without My Daughter"
by Betty Mahmoody
Michigan housewife Betty Mahmoody was coerced into traveling with her husband and 4-year-old daughter to Iran , where she was held prisoner.

"Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America"
by Amy Sutherland
This fascinating tour of the culture of cooking contests in America includes a smattering of winning recipes.

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game"
by Michael Lewis
The Oakland A's general manager, Billy Beane, creatively solved the problem of building a winning baseball team without the funds to offer multi-year contracts.

"Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch"
by Julia Cameron
Essays and exercises illustrate this creativity coach's blend of motivation and exploration.

"So Many Books, So Little Time"
by Sara Nelson
A reviewer and reporter recounts the year she spent reading a book a week and explains how books choose their readers.

"Wanderlust: A History of Walking"
by Rebecca Solnit
This leisurely account details the history of bipedal motion.



by Henning Mankell
The events unfold from the perspectives of both a police officer and a criminal in this story of a serial killer.

"A Bloodhound to Die For"
by Virginia Lanier
Dog trainer Jo Beth Siddons finds herself in a hostage situation at the local high school after her stalker ex-husband, Bubba, dies.

"The Canterbury Papers: A Novel of Suspense"
by Judith Healy
Based on letters written by Eleanor of Aquitaine in Canterbury, this suspenseful historical fiction revolves around the whereabouts of an illegitimate child.

"Rendezvous Eighteenth"
by Jake Lamar
Social commentary on the Parisian community of African-American expatriates enriches this mystery novel.

"Death Gets a Time Out"
by Ayelet Waldman
Juliet Applebaum juggles work and her three children in this humorous murder mystery.

"The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency"
by Alexander McCall-Smith
Detective and Botswana native Precious Ramotswe uses wisdom and humor to help her clients.

"Shoofly Pie"
by Tim Downs
Cary Resident Tim Downs shows the small-town adventures of a N.C. State University forensic entomologist known as "The Bug Man."

"The Monkey's Raincoat"
by Robert Crais
Los Angeles detective Elvis Cole discovers Hollywood 's dark side while investigating the disappearance of a woman's husband and young son.

Visit any Wake County Public Library location or www.wakegov.com/county/libraries/default.htm for more information.