Shelbi Hoover
Shelbi Hoover
What do the words summer reading mean to you? Languid hours stretching across a day as you enjoy a new book? Hunching over the last few pages of a story late at night, breathlessly moving through the finale? Possibly even marching cheerlessly through assigned school reading (and then someday realizing that the reading changed your life)? If it’s been a while since you’ve had a positive reading moment, we hope to turn summer reading into something fun for you again at CDPL!
This summer, we’re celebrating all kinds of stories featuring animals and other creatures and if you’re one of the adventurous readers working on a Tails & Tales Grand Prize Bingo Card, you’ve probably noticed quite a few animal-themed challenges that await you. If you’re feeling stumped about a category, fret not! We’re rolling out lists of reading suggestions for the hardest topics and you can browse our top recommendations for fiction and nonfiction titles featuring animal friendships on our website now.
One of my favorite books on display this summer, and a truly unique romp of a tale, is “Hollow Kingdom” by Kira Jane Buxton (FIC Bux). Humanity is experiencing a pandemic which causes the afflicted to become zombies, yada yada, but the truly interesting part about this tale is that it’s told by the animals left behind after ‘the apocalypse.’ The narrator, a cheeto-loving crow named S.T., lives in Seattle with his human owner Big Jim and trusty canine friend Dennis… until one day when Big Jim’s eyeballs fall out and S.T. develops a hunch that something strange is happening. Thus begins the truly witty adventure/horror story of what happens after the end of humanity. If you’re looking for something very, very funny to keep you laughing as you read this summer, or want a great friendship story, or are looking for a unique science-fiction/horror/fantasy book, this is definitely one you should check out.
If speculative tales aren’t to your taste, there are plenty of other stories being highlighted that will still check off our Tails & Tales reading prompts. If you’re looking for fiction with a stronger literary influence, take a look at “Perestroika in Paris” by Jane Smiley (FIC Smi), “Fifteen Dogs” by André Alexis (FIC Ale), or “The Travelling Cat Chronicles” by Hiro Arikawa (FIC Ari) - and bonus, this book fulfills the ‘non-European book in translation’ prompt.
More of a nonfiction reader? We have unmissable picks for you, too! I myself am intrigued by
“Mozart’s Starling” by Lyanda Lynn Haupt (780.92 Hau) which explores the story of how Mozart met an enchanting little bird in a Viennese shop whom he brought home as a pet (who knew?). If you’re looking for something slightly more scientific in nature, try “H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald (598.9 Mac) or “The Soul of an Octopus” by Sy Montgomery (594.56 Mon). Just want a snuggly tale to “Aww” over? There’s a plethora of options for you--start by looking at “A Street Cat Named Bob” by James Bowen (636.8 Bow), “Oogy” by Larry Levin (636.7 Lev), or “Unlikely Loves” by Jennifer S. Holland (591.5 Hol).
This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the exciting variety of books we have available that fulfill our reading prompts this summer--and I haven’t even mentioned our awesome movie collection! Genuinely unmissable DVDS include PBS’s “Animal Odd Couples” (DVD 591.5 Ani) and “Animals With Cameras” (DVD 590 Nat).
Still on the search for that perfect book to fulfill a prompt? Let us help! We’re happy to provide individualized recommendations based on your personal reading preferences and tastes, just drop by the reference desk and be prepared to share a little about what you like to read.

Shelbi Hoover is the Library/Digital Communications Assistant at CDPL