Written by Jimmie Epling   

The Library...

Making the Summer Heat a Bit More Bearable 

By Jimmie Epling

Remember winter?  You know that time of year when it gets cold and gloomy outside.  I remember talking about curling up with blanket and warm drink to read a good book or watch a DVD from the Darlington County Library System at the time.  This time of year, I would normally talk about relaxing in a comfy chair under the shade of a tree in the yard or a park and an umbrella on a beach with a cool drink.  Well…forget about that.  It has been really, really hot lately, so forget about going the outside to relax.

Growing up in Eastern Kentucky, we had hot humid days much like these, except they came later in the summer and faded away in early September.  Hot spells here are not too unusual I discovered.  Over a year ago, we collected all the Darlington County statistics we could find on the Internet and linked them to our website (www.darlington-lib.org).  Among the statistics we discovered was climate data from the South Carolina State Climate Office!  On average, from 1948 through 2006, the temperature was greater than 90 degrees for 14 days in June.  The record high of 106 degrees for the month was set on June 27, 1954 and July 30, 2012.  This June may set a record for most 100 degree days.

Tired of sitting at home during this summer’s heat wave?  Visit any one of our locations, Darlington, Hartsville, Lamar, or Society Hill, for a cool and welcoming atmosphere.  You can drop by to read a book, magazine, or newspaper, surf the net, watch a movie, enjoy a summer reading program with your children, or just to meet with friends.  The Library is a perfect community “cooling station” when temperatures reach 90 degrees or higher.  We are open to anyone who wants to escape the heat at home due to a power outage or air conditioning problems.  And don’t forget, you can use our wi-fi and charge your mobile devices at the Library!

Now that the summer heat has set in a little early, the Library can help make it a bit more bearable.  As an adult, you are not bound to read something from a preselected list.  You don’t have to read a weighty tome written decades, centuries, or even millennia ago.  There is no need to read something with “deep meaning that will resonate in your soul for all time.”  You can read a bodice-ripper set in the Scottish Highlands or follow Jack Ryan, Jr. across the Russian Federation as he foils another international conspiracy to bring down the United States.  Summer is the season for guilt free reading!

There are so many great new stories coming out this summer by new authors and past favorites.  Your only problem is figuring out which book to pick up first this summer!  There are scores of lists suggesting the books you should read this summer.  Here are a few suggestions: 

•           Finders Keepers by Stephen King.  Morris Bellamy is livid because author John Rothstein has stopped writing books about nonconformist Jimmy Gold.  Morris kills Rothstein and discovers a safe full of cash and a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

•           The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark.  Lane Harmon is called in to help decorate the home of a disgraced financier, who has absconded with his money. His wife and son insist that he’s innocent.  It isn’t long until Harmon is dragged into the mess.

•           In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume.  Set in the 1950s, this is the story of a family dealing with a shocking series of plane crashes around their home.

•           Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older.  Sierra Santiago discovers shadowshaping, a magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories.  But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one and the killer believes she is hiding their greatest secret.

•           Grey by E.L James.  See the world of “Fifty Shades of Grey” through the eyes of Christian Grey in his own thoughts, reflections, dreams, and words.

•           The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy.  A post-apocalyptic retelling of the Lewis and Clark expedition in a world rocked by super flu and nuclear war.

•           Dietland by Sarai Walker.  Plum Kettle joins a feminist guerrilla-warfare underground group attempting to strike down our society’s notion of “beauty.”

•           Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell.  PJ Wallis wants to reinvent herself as a serious novelist, but is unsuccessful because of the popularity of her famous creation Monica, the main character in a series of bestsellers that became even bigger movies.  Her only recourse is to kill off Monica.

•           1882: Custer in Chains by Robert Conroy.  George Armstrong Custer’s 1876 victory at Little Big Horn propels him into the White House in 1880.  Seeking new glories, he sets his eyes on conquering Cuba, but the U.S. military isn’t up to such a venture and it could result in a costly debacle.

•           The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler.  A hermit librarian receives a handwritten book about a strange and magical traveling carnival that tells of the drowning death of a “mermaid.”  Since then, generations of "mermaids" in his family, including his mother, have always drowned on July 24th, which is only weeks away.

•           Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.  Five thousand years after an apocalypse that nearly wipes out the human race, descendants of those who escaped into outer space have evolve into seven new races, return to a very different earth.

•           The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand.  A Nantucket writer finds the cure for her writer’s block in her friend’s affair with her hot gardener. Rich people behaving badly.

•           Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Out July 14th).  Scout, from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” returns home to Maycomb to visit her father.

•           Armada by Ernest Cline (Out July 14th).  Zack knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage video gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

•           Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner (Out August 11th).  An abandoned wife in her 40s lives alone in her cluttered house until a friend gives her a push.  “What do I do now?” “You start again,” her friend responds. To move on, you must look back.

•           X by Sue Grafton (Out August 25th).  Private investigator Kinsey Millhone is tasked with tracking down a frightening serial killer.

•           In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (Out August 25th).  A reclusive crime writer wakes up in a hospital bed unable to remember anything except that someone has died.  Now she must retrace her steps to piece together events to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers.  She must also revisit parts of her past she would rather leave buried where they belong.

This June may go down as the hottest on record.  Regardless, the Darlington County Library System is the cool place, figuratively and literally, to go this summer.  We not only offer great reads and programs, we are your “cooling station” when your air conditioner or electric goes out this summer!

June 22, 2015