Locals pick books for education, distraction

Some popular titles on sale at Walmart feature familiar authors and timely topics.

Summer is here, and in normal years, the topic of popular beach reads would be trending. But now, with many people staying home more often, local bibliophiles seem to be digging into books that educate or distract them.

"I'm diving into my cache of 500-plus unread books. Seems like the perfect time to get caught up," said Barbara Fuller, director of Robotics Academy of Critical Engagement at Northeastern State University. "And I'm adding anything about setting up monarch butterflies habitat and beekeeping."

Pam Davis, Hulbert Community Librarian assistant manager, said she is a mood reader.

"Sometimes when I just need to get away, I read a juicy paperback romance. But right now, nonfiction is on my book table. I have been reading how to grow your own fruits, vegetables and herb gardens," she said. "I'm starting a series of nonfiction books by Deloris Cannon. She was a very famous hypnotist. She worked with patients to help them overcome problems, but discovered much more of an underlying esoteric part of the patients. She worked all over the world and received connecting information."

Becca Crofford Brant, Sequoyah High School librarian and science teacher, just finished "The Overstory" by Richard Powers, which she said is a very powerful book about the relationship between trees and humans. Now she's reading two books: "An Absolutely Remarkable Thing" by Hank Green - he does the Science Crash Course videos on YouTube - and "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo.

Author and high school teacher Faith Phillips is rereading a popular writer who some people prefer to listen to rather than read.

"I'm reading David Sedaris because he gives me a little escape from reality. Just when I start to laugh, he punches me in the mouth. He breaks your heart and makes you laugh about it. I love that kind of writing," she said.

Phillips and her Stilwell High School senior class are releasing a book based on their journals from the last part of the school year: "2020 Visions."

HCL Manager Cherokee Lowe has a line by Sedaris tattooed on her leg: "The words still warm from being read."

Lowe has also been reading nonfiction, including "Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death" by Caitlin Doughty, and "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel Van der Kolk.

"'The Body Keeps the Score' is heavy, but very informative. 'Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs' is a much quicker read, in short chapters to answer each question, and is hilarious, as well. The author is actually a mortician, which makes it all the more interesting; she's seen it all," said Lowe. "I also love learning things and reading is a good way to do that."

Her to-be-read pile includes "Dear Girls" by Ali Wong and "Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman" by Lindy West.

The New York Times Best Sellers lists offer a good reference for learning what's popular in different categories, and they are released weekly and monthly depending on the category. Along with a couple fiction and nonfiction lists, NYT also ranks genres such as young adult, children's middle grade, picture books, business, and graphic books and manga.

The top five nonfiction in print and e-book bestsellers listed by the New York Times for the week ending June 28 are: "The Summer House" by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois; "Daddy's Girls" by Danielle Steel; "Tom Clancy: Firing Point" by Mike Maden; "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens; and "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett. The first three were new to the list this week, and Bennett's was on for the second week. Owens' book has been on the list for 92 weeks. "Camino Winds" by John Grisham is No. 2 on the hardcover fiction list.

The NYT top five print and e-book nonfiction list shows the topics of the times: "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo; "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo; "How to Be an Antiracist" and "Stamped From the Beginning" by Ibram X. Kendi; and "Countdown 1945" by Chris Wallace with Mitch Weiss. Included on the hardcover nonfiction list are: "Untamed" by Glennon Doyle; "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates; and "Becoming" by Michelle Obama. Wallace's book was the only one new to the list this week.

Books on Amazon include: "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" by Suzanne Collins, a Hunger Games novel; "28 Summers" by Elin Hilderbrand; "The Room Where it Happened" by John Bolton; and "Too Much and Never Enough" by Mary L. Trump.

The Eastern Oklahoma Library System website, eols.org, has some of the NYT lists so bestsellers can be reserved for checkout. Links to platforms offering e-books and audiobooks are available.

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