Book Bites: Books to Stay Inside With

We're headed towards another week of grueling heat and humidity—with a possible hurricane thrown in, for good measure—which makes us much happier with the prospect of another week spent largely indoors. But we know that it can get boring being confined to one space, even if the thermometer readings make it worth your while. Happily, we have just the thing: A new list of fantastic reads for all ages (YA books in a separate post, here) for you to peruse. Find your next great adventure (or memoir, or historical fiction, or...) to keep you entertained while you stay cool inside, relax by the pool, or enjoy your nighttime reading. Read on, friends! 

Ages 3-5

Mr. Nogginbody and the Childish Child by David Shannon

Mr. Nogginbody returns in another hilarious tale—he's babysitting! Readers of all ages will revel in the color palette, the page design, the fun nod to The Cat in the Hat, and—oh yeah—the HILARIOUS story.
— Cathy

READ because David Shannon is an absolute literary legend.
PASS if you don’t think being a carefree kid is any fun at all.
Order your copy on our website. 

Scared Of The Dark? It's Really Scared of You by Peter Vegas; illustrated by Benjamin Chaud 

So many kids (and adults!) are afraid of the dark. But what if the dark was really afraid of you? This wonderful picture book should put all bogey men back in the closet, far away. It's perfect for the toddler and preschool child.
— Valerie

READ if you’re looking for a humorous way to deal with common fears. 
PASS if you feel bad that you're probably terrifying the dark right now.
Order your copy on our website

Ages 4-8

Oliver the Curious Owl by Chad Otis

The only question the Owl family asks is, Who? But when Oliver is born, he wants to know more and asks Where? Why? When? and wants to explore past the big tree that serves as the family home. When a friend goes missing, Oliver uses his curiosity to find his friend and return home, full of adventures.
— Cathy

READ because we’ve all been wondering why Owls forgot about the other 4 Ws. 
PASS if you think curiosity is overblown. 
Order your copy on our website

Ages 10 & Up

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor

When Nnamdi’s father, the police chief, is killed, Nnamdi vows to find the murderer and take revenge. The only trouble is, he’s twelve years old and not a superhero like the ones in his comics. When his father’s ghost gives him an Ikenga figurine on the one year anniversary of his death, Nnamdi gains superpowers that he has to learn to control and use for good. In the process Nnamdi learns a lot about friendship, anger, and that situations can be more complex than they appear. Ikenga brings contemporary Nigeria vividly to life in a relatable story about coming of age and finding closure.
— Caroline

READ because this is a beautiful tale about growing up and realizing that you are more powerful than you think.
PASS if you're jealous that someone else always gets cool superpowers. How many more spiders do you have to let bite you??
Order your copy on our website

Adult Fiction

Betty by Tiffany McDaniel

On the other side of the Ohio River from Appalachia, but still part of the social structure of its neighbors to the south, Breathed, Ohio, is the home of the Carpenters, whose story is narrated by youngest daughter, Betty, in this moving coming of age novel. Dad is a Cherokee Indian and Mom is an abused white girl, looking for a way to leave home. Many jobs and homes and eight children later, the family settles in Breathed, where they raise their own food and Dad concocts herbal remedies for the neighbors while Betty endures taunts about being an Indian. Tragedy strikes the family more often than one can think possible, but Betty’s unflinching narrative and her father’s Cherokee story-telling combine to make this a credible, memoir-like, heart-breaking yet beautiful tale of a family. 
— Alice

READ because you’re looking for an extremely well-written book that explores the complexities of life.
PASS if you are not interested in stunning, lyrical, and unique novels. 
Order your copy on our website

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Franny Stone is a wanderer, restless even in her sleep.  At a time when climate change has resulted in extinction of most animal species in the wild, Franny has traveled to Greenland to follow the world's last flock of Arctic terns on their migration to Antarctica.  Franny is driven by devotion to her ornithologist husband and submerged elements of her past.  She convinces the captain and crew of the fishing boat Sanghani to take her onboard, using the trackers she has placed on a few terns to lead the crew to dwindling fish populations along the way.  Fishermen and sailors take to the seas driven by their own passions and histories, and Franny finds unexpected kinship among them.  In the confines of a small fishing vessel at sea, however, long-hidden truths surface.  The crew begins to wonder what Franny is truly running from, and choices must be made about how far they are willing to go.
— Jennifer K.

READ if you’re looking to read a book that expertly and beautifully explores themes of loss and hope.
PASS if you believe climate change is a myth.... We have some bad news for you. 
Order your copy on our website

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

An engrossing work historical fiction that may open your eyes to the atrocities visited on both the aboriginal people of Australia and the women "convicts" who were sent there. Kline expertly intertwines the stories of four women and the impact that this movement made on their lives. Evangeline is a wronged governess, Olive and Hazel, both street-hardened women, and Mathinna, a young Aboriginal girl. When the three women board the former slave ship, the author forces you to take the trip with them. It is a story of sadness but great hope. You will feel that you are on that ship sailing across the world, never to return. 
— Valerie

READ if you want a story that draws you in with compelling characters and an exceptional plot.
PASS if any mention of Australia reminds you of all those terrifying... wallabies. 
Order your copy on our website

A Little Bit Of Grace by Phoebe Fox

Grace, an estate planning lawyer in practice with her ex-husband, receives a bequest from a client and a letter from a great aunt who she didn't know existed. On a whim (and to get away from her ex-husband and his newly pregnant girlfriend), she flies off to Florida where her great aunt lives in a wonderful, vibrant community. She is quickly surrounded by love and has time to reflect on what to do with her life. She also learns the story of why her family never spoke about Millie. 
— Valerie

READ because this is a heartfelt tale of family and forgiveness.
PASS (temporarily) if you’ve already picked your next beach read.
Order your copy on our website

Adult Nonfiction

The Erratics: A Memoir by Vicki Laveau-Harvie

It has been 18 years since the author has seen her parents when she is called back to help her sister decide what to do when her mother breaks a hip. Her mother clearly suffers from some kind of personality disorder—and has for many years, which partly explains the estrangement. And then there is the fact that both she and her sister have been disowned by both parents, whose wills exclude them from any inheritance and who have indicated they don't want the sisters to have anything to do with making end-of-life decisions for them. The time frame for this memoir is the several years from the mother's hip fracture to her death, during which time the author makes several long trips from her home in Australia to her childhood home near Calgary. The sisters manage to rescue their father, a former oil company executive, and keep their mother institutionalized. The author writes with humor and a certain degree of snarkiness. She alludes to feelings of grief, and it may be that she has repressed a lot of her past, though she clearly has an attachment to the stark beauty of the Canadian Rockies, which is the setting for this memoir. It is a fascinating read and the writing is powerful. 
— Alice

READ because you’re a fan of Margaret Atwood or Alice Munro.
PASS if you don’t want to read a really, really, really, really good book. 
Order your copy on our website