by Alison Kuchta
Location, location, location! Plunge into these books that take place in or near the water for inspiration and summertime escape.
The Three-Year Swim Club
by Julie Checkoway
What do a bunch of Hawaiian children swimming in a muddy irrigation ditch in the 1930s have in common with Olympians? More than you’d think when a visionary and unorthodox teacher seizes the opportunity to train and inspire them. Carefully pieced together from records and personal testimony decades later, this richly-detailed story about dreams, identity, sacrifice, and human rights is a great read for those who enjoy issue-oriented, historical reads.
The Color of Water in July
by Nora Carroll
Busy, know-it-all, New Yorker Jess just found out she inherited the family lake cottage. Though, rather than being overjoyed, she can’t wait to sell it and forget about a painful past and long-buried family secrets. However, while rummaging through remnants of bygone eras, she starts to construct an alternate family history, and begins questioning the accuracy of what she knows. What she unearths could change her life forever. The restful location and relaxed pace of this book, contrast nicely with an ominous and mysterious undercurrent.
The Charm Bracelet
by Viola Shipman
Having lost touch with each other over time, grandmother Lolly, daughter Arden and granddaughter Lauren seek to reconnect before it’s too late. While each of these dynamic women struggles with their own unique trials, together they begin to find hope, love and peace; and their journey starts with a charm bracelet conveying generations of family stories and advice. This sweeping, character-driven tale is amusing, bittersweet and heartwarming. The setting and season also factor largely in this book. Michiganders will relish the accurate, often times humorous, descriptions of the regionally-inspired locales and summertime events.
Before the Wind
by Jim Lynch
Once tight-knit, Josh Johannssen’s family of sailing savants has both literally and figuratively drifted apart, leaving him behind to ponder it all. Years later we find Josh still musing about what went wrong and everything he’s learned from his offbeat family. Lessons include many scientific theories passed down from his mother that he applies to the mysteries of everyday life, relationships with women, and how his chaotic clan might be reunited. When his sister proposes they sail in one last a race as a family, he does everything in his power to make it happen. While the story occurs in a detail-filled world, it is also romantic and lush with amazing description and funny dialog. Pick this up even if you’re not interested in sailing. Jim Lynch’s writing style ranges from lyrical to irreverent, and there’s a little something here to engage everyone.
The Guest Cottage
by Nancy Thayer
Shocked her husband Zack is having an affair and is leaving, Sophie Anderson proposes they take a family vacation. She reasons it will give them an opportunity to mend their relationship, but she finds Zack unwilling to try. Suddenly, the idea of a summer getaway for her and their two children takes hold, and she rents a cottage from a friend on Nantucket. However, before they settle in, or even get to the beach, a young man with a little boy asks them what they are doing on the property. They are both booked for the same time, so they come up with a trial plan to share the house; though they may each get more than they bargain for in the deal. Read this book for a bit of romance and a fantastic backdrop.
Alison Kuchta, a collection development paraprofessional at Kent District Library, loves talking with people about great stories. She loves the water, and thanks her grandma MaryLou for teaching her how to swim.