Greenwich Library’s hottest book include politics, familiar names
GREENWICH — The most popular books in Greenwich this summer are a mix of works by familiar authors and those sparked by movies or the political scene.
The hottest titles for adults this summer are two non-fiction works, “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance and “Evicted” by Matthew Desmond, and novels “The Girls” by Emma Cline and “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead.
These books have long hold queues, often with 30 or more people waiting to read them, despite the many copies the library owns. They are expected to be in high demand through the fall, the library predicted.
As people savor the scandal and tumult of election season, books like “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis, a semi-satirical political novel published in 1935 that describes the rise of a fascist zealot who seizes the presidency, and the classic totalitarian dystopian novel “1984” by George Orwell are flying off the shelf, said librarian Stephen Schmidt.
For young adults, the newest Harry Potter book — which is actually the script of a play — “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” by J.K. Rowling; the last installment to Rick Yancey’s 5th Wave series, “The Last Star,” and “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs have been popular summer reads.
For the youngest readers, the summer’s top reads are all by well-known authors. “Fuzzy Mud” by Louis Sacher, “The Thank You Book” by Mo Willems and the “BFG” by Roald Dahl are all hits. Librarians have also noticed an increased interest from children in biographies this summer, likely due to the Rio Olympics, they said.
These popular books are available as e-books and in downloadable audio editions, as well as in print.
For those waiting for the popular books, Schmidt recommended checking out the mid-list and back-list fiction that he curates for adults and shelved on the second floor of the library.
“It’s really nice when you have a community that is sort of erudite and appreciates good literature,” he said.
Popular Adult Reads
“Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis” by J.D. Vance.
This memoir, arguably Greenwich Library’s most sought after book, is by a former Marine and Yale Law School graduate who describes growing up in a poor Rust Belt town and offers an examination of the problems plaguing America’s white working class.
“This book has been really popular,” said Schmidt. “We have eight copies and there are 35 people on hold for it, which doesn’t really happen with nonfiction.”
“Evicted” by Matthew Desmond.
Through an examination of the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee, this book describes eight families living on the edge with a look at book the perils of maintaining a home and family on a limited income.
“There’s a lot of discussion from a social stand-out, regarding the haves and the have-nots, the one-percenters versus the rest of us,” said Schmidt. “I think that the sociological look of both of these (“Evicted” and “Hillbilly Elegy”) really appeals to a lot of readers.”
“The Girls” by Emma Cline
A coming-of-age work of fiction by a first-time author, the book describes a 1960s California adolescent girl who mingles with a group of outsider teens and the Manson-esque leader.
“Regardless of whether you like something super, high-faluting literary, you are still gonna like this because of how well it’s written,” said Schmidt. “But there is enough different types of action happening. It can also appeal to you on an emotional level, too.”
“Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead.
Praised by Oprah Winfrey, the historical fiction is the story of a slave woman who makes a bid for freedom and comes with a twist. The book was excerpted in “The New York Times,” prompting its early release and contributing to its popularity.
“It’s worth the excitement around it,” said Schmidt.
Titles for Young Adults
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” by J.K. Rowling.
Released on July 31, the new story is a play that describes the children of Harry Potter and his wizarding friends.
“We got a ton of copies and none have been back,” said Schmidt.
“The Last Star” by Rick Yancey.
The last in Yancey’s 5th Wave series, one of many dystopian teen novels published in the wake of the Hunger Games series, the book follows the adventures of teenager Cassie Sullivan as she tries to survive a world devastated by waves of an alien invasion and knocked back into the Stone Age.
“With this one, it’s well-written and readers are drawn to the characters,” said librarian Deirdre Sullivan.
“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs.
Rigs wrote this book after finding strange photos of “peculiar children” and decided to write the story around them. The old photos are included in the book, which has been made into a movie and will be in theaters Sept. 30. First of a series that so far encompasses three books.
Hot Children’s Books
“Fuzzy Mud” by Louis Sachar.
Another hit by the “Holes” author, this story describes a mysterious journey through the woods by two elementary schoolers which eventually involves the police and the U.S. Senate. A New York Times bestseller, the book is appropriate for middle readers, grades 4 to 6.
“This is another author where anything that comes out, the kids are drawn to it,” said Sullivan.
“The Thank You Book” by Mo Willems.
“The Thank You Book,” which came out this spring, is the last in Willem’s elephant and piggy series. Both the title and the author are on Greenwich Public School’s reading list. It is appropriate for the earliest readers, pre-kindergarten to first grade.
“The Mo Willem’s titles ... they’re hugely popular,” said Sullivan. “We can’t keep them on the shelves.”
“BFG” by Roald Dahl.
A classic childhood read, this tale of a Big Friendly Giant has been repopularized by the movie by Steven Spielberg, which came out July 1.
“The Roald Dahl titles always circulate well here and children are always drawn to his stories,” said Sullivan. “They’re fun.”