Toss a couple of these books in your beach bag
WILLMAR -- The season of beaches, hammocks and road trips is officially upon us: why not occupy the lazy afternoons of summer with a book?
Beach chairs and car rides provide the perfect opportunity to get lost in a great read, and the Tribune asked a few local experts for their recommendations.
Chris Beyerl, head librarian at the Willmar Public Library, Forrest Peterson, local author of "Good Ice," and Susan Gronseth, manager of Book World in Willmar, selected a handful of books for summer reading lists based on popularity, sales, requests or their own personal favorites.
"The girl who kicked the hornet's nest" by Stieg Larsson
Recommended by both the Willmar Public Library and Book World, "The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," is the third book in a popular Millennium Trilogy by Swedish author Stieg Larson.
The first two books in the trilogy, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and "The Girl who Played with Fire," have already sold millions of copies worldwide.
Originally written in Swedish and later translated into English, the book's main characters expose government and business scandals, according to Beyerl from the Willmar library.
"It has a real sense of intrigue," she said. "You wonder if these things really go on or not."
Unfortunately, "Hornet's Nest" will be the last by Larsson: The author died in 2004.
"Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson
2010 could be the summer of Scandinavian literature. "Out Stealing Horses," by Norwegian author Per Petterson, was recommended by local author and Willmar resident Forrest Peterson.
The book, originally written in Norwegian in 2003, was later translated by Anne Born and published by Minneapolis publisher Graywolf Press in 2007.
According to Peterson, the title refers to the flashbacks to childhood experienced by the book's main character, Trond Sanders. Peterson describes "Out Stealing Horses" as a life journey of the book's main character, which exposes thoughts and feelings of different life experiences.
"Women, Food and God" by Geneen Roth
Peeping out of nearly every beach tote this summer could well be Geneen Roth's "Women, Food and God."
"We can't keep it in the store," said Book World's Gronseth.
According to the book's publisher, Roth shows how going beyond both the food and feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul to the bright center of your own life.
Roth also tackles issues with food in her previous novels: "Breaking Free from Emotional Eating" and "When Food is Love."
"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
"This book gave me a picture of what the everyday life in the South was like in the '50s and '60s," Beyerl said.
According to Beyerl and Book World, the book has been on the best-seller list for a long time.
Beyerl said the book was an eye-opening experience for her as a girl who led a sheltered life growing up in Minnesota.
"It was a glimpse of what it must have been like to have maids," Beyerl said.
"War" by Sebastian Junger
Written by the same author who penned "A Perfect Storm," Junger's latest novel tells the story of soldiers in Afghanistan, according to Beyerl.
"Storm Prey" by John Sandford
Readers can't get enough of Minnesota author John Sandford, author of the popular Prey series.
"It's a really popular series for men," Beyerl said. Sandford sets his thriller series in a Minnesota setting, using landmarks that many readers identify.
"Storm Prey" is the 20th book in Sandford's Prey series -- proof of the series' likeability.
"Heaven's Keep" by William Kent Krueger
Another Minnesota author worth mentioning is mystery writer William Kent Krueger. Like Sandford, the backdrop for Krueger's novels is northern Minnesota.
Also like Sandford, Krueger's novels follow a series, though Beyerl says readers don't need to read the series in order.
Peterson says Kruegers books have strong American Indian ties.
One word: vampires.
According to Gronseth and her team at Book World, Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" series is still hugely popular, and she expects a resurgence in popularity with the release of the third movie in the saga, "Twilight Eclipse," due out this week.
In case one vampire series wasn't enough, L.J. Smith's "Vampire Diaries" still remains popular among teen readers, according to Gronseth.
For those who want to steer clear of vampires, Gronseth and her staff recommend "Book Thief" by Markus Zusak.
For young readers:
Both the Willmar Public Library and Book World agree: Boys are crazy for the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series by Jeff Kinney.
Also popular among young readers is Rick Riordan, author of "Red Pyramid" and "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series.
"We get requests every day for both of these authors," said Kathy Torkelson, a librarian at the Willmar Public Library.