By David Steinberg
Summer reading programs, anyone? In New Mexico, the big push for them starts in May, about the time school is out.
So you’d assume the programs are strictly for young kids. Yes and no.
They’re aimed at children, but the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library’s program also targets tweens (ages 9-12) and teenagers (13-18). The current ABC Library’s summer reading program began May 31 and runs through July 26 and it’s called “Spark A Reaction … Read!”
Young patrons are encouraged to read and tell librarians what books they’ve read through a reading log of titles they’ve read. Young readers are eligible for a weekly prize and an end-of-program grand prize. Plus there are many events for readers in those age groups. (Go to abclibrary.org)
The New Mexico State Library also has its own summer reading/events program, “Fizz, Boom, Read.”  Associated events are in cities around the state. (Go to nmstatelibrary.org and hitchhiker.nmstatelibrary.org) Events under the umbrella of “Makerspace” are still going on for several more weeks – e.g. July 9-11 at the Socorro Public Library, July 16 at Albuquerque’s Erna Fergusson Branch Library, July 17 at the Edgewood Community Library, July 18 at the Corrales Community Library and July 19 at Rio Rancho’s Esther Bone Memorial Library.

Adults aren’t left out in summer season reading promotions. In Albuquerque, they can sign up at an ABC Library. But it works differently. Adults keep track of the number of hours they’ve read books. When they’ve reached 10 hours they turn in the card to qualify for a weekly prize. Those prizes also qualify them for one of four grand prizes given at the end of the program – a $100 gift card to the GAP, a $100 gift card to Bookworks, a pair of ABQ Trolley “Breaking Bad” tour tickets, and a $300 gift card to Southwest Airlines. There’s no limit on the 10-hour cards.

Also, many major publishers traditionally link summer book titles for adults with so-called beach reads, i.e. light stuff.

I don’t live near a beach (Maybe Albuquerque’s riparian Tingley Beach would qualify). But I want to share with you, dear readers, some of the titles I’ve been reading this summer in my own self-assigned program.
“Pagan Lord” (a recent title set in early medieval England) and “Gallows Thief” (an older title, a murder-mystery set in 1817 London) both by Bernard Cornwell. The descriptions of life in those times are as engrossing as the plot lines.
“One Kick” by Chelsea Cain. I read an advanced reader’s copy of this novel that won’t be out until Aug. 8. It’s a hot, well-crafted thriller about child abductions. Protagonist Kick Lannigan was herself abducted. I was moved to read it by the words of Marysue Rucci, Simon & Schuster’s editor-in-chief: “‘One Kick’ is one of the freshest, most original, and most chilling thrillers I have read in years.” I second that emotion.
“1954” by Bill Madden. The sports world knows the dramatic story of Jackie Robinson as Major League Baseball’s first black player in 1947. Fast-forward seven years. Madden’s book tells of MLB’s new black superstars who built on Robinson’s landmark presence and changed the face of the game. Which superstars? Willy Mays of the Giants and Larry Doby of the Indians. The year 1954 also witnessed the first World Series featuring black players on both teams – Mays vs Doby.
“Police” by Jo Nesbo, Norway’s premier author of crime fiction. It stars police detective Harry Hole, protagonist in many of Nesbo’s earlier titles. “Police” came out last year. Nesbo’s newest is “The Son.”

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