By CASSIE KOLDEWYN
May gray and June gloom are long gone. August embraces La Mesa’s true summer weather with toasty temps and bright days.
With sun-loving succulents and breezy backyards to be enjoyed, why not lean into the heat in these final days of August? And maybe even enjoy a little armchair travel, while you’re at it.
La Mesa Branch Library has a selection of scorching summer reads that’ll whisk you away to the world’s sunniest settings.
Moloka’i by Alan Brennert kicks off our journey with its historical setting on one of Hawaii’s smaller and more sparsely populated islands. Set in the late 19th Century, this true-to-historical accounts story follows a young Hawaiian girl from Honolulu to the isolated shores of the Kalaupapa leper colony. Torn from her family and friends, seven-year-old Rachel must learn to lean on her fellow exiles and make her own way in the world. Dive into this beautiful tale of finding happiness along the bumpiest journey.
Perhaps your sights are set on a little more intrigue and mystery, though? If so, sail across the South Pacific to New Zealand.
In Nalini Singh’s A Madness of Sunshine, tension roils just under the surface of Golden Cove, a tiny fictitious town with lush forests and quaint cafes. Anahera, a recently returned widow, confronts old wounds and buried violence to find the truth behind the disappearance of a beloved local. As mistrust abounds between neighbors, friends, and newcomers, you’ll question each motive and every alibi in this thriller.
If you enjoy the prodigal child returning to their troubled hometown trope, check out The Dry.
Reminiscent of our own parched hillsides and looming peril of wildfires, this Australian title by Jane Harper brings that threat to life. Amid the worst drought in a century, Aaron Falk is called back to his rural hometown, despite having been run out years before after falling under suspicion for murder. Under the townspeople’s harsh gaze, Falk must investigate his estranged best friend’s death. Enjoy this exciting tale set against an extreme landscape.
Our last stop, in steamy central Florida, tackles some challenging themes.
Beneath a Ruthless Sun, a true crime title by Gilbert King, describes the injustice and racism of a corrupt southern town in 1957. In the throes of a disastrous cold snap, a citrus town is sent reeling when a local woman is assaulted in her home. A young, disabled man is railroaded for the crime and endures years in the horrifying Florida State Hospital. A determined and outspoken reporter, Mabel Norris Reese, champions the accused’s case while investigating the corrupt Sheriff, Willis McCall, who has made every effort to cloud the water in this and other cases. This factual account is hard to stomach but worth the effort.
In addition to offering these hot reads, the La Mesa Branch Library is also a Cool Zone, so come chill out and enjoy our air-conditioning, seven days a week.
If you have any questions or are interested in any of the titles above, call the branch at (619) 469-2151 or visit sdcl.org.
— Cassie Koldewyn is the branch manager at the La Mesa Branch Library.