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Summer Hours at the Robbers Library: A Novel

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library: A Novel


Summer Hours at the Robbers Library: A Novel

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4/5 (30 evaluări)
Lungime:
10 hours
Lansat:
Feb 27, 2018
ISBN:
9780062799357
Format:
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Descriere

From journalist and author Sue Halpern comes a wry, observant look at contemporary life and its refugees.  Halpern's novel is an unforgettable tale of family...the kind you come from and the kind you create.

People are drawn to libraries for all kinds of reasons. Most come for the books themselves, of course; some come to borrow companionship. For head librarian Kit, the public library in Riverton, New Hampshire, offers what she craves most: peace. Here, no one expects Kit to talk about the calamitous events that catapulted her out of what she thought was a settled, suburban life. She can simply submerge herself in her beloved books and try to forget her problems.

But that changes when fifteen-year-old, home-schooled Sunny gets arrested for shoplifting a dictionary. The judge throws the book at Sunny—literally—assigning her to do community service at the library for the summer. Bright, curious, and eager to connect with someone other than her off-the-grid hippie parents, Sunny coaxes Kit out of her self-imposed isolation. They're joined by Rusty, a Wall Street high-flyer suddenly crashed to earth.   

In this little library that has become the heart of this small town, Kit, Sunny, and Rusty are drawn to each other, and to a cast of other offbeat regulars. As they come to terms with how their lives have unraveled, they also discover how they might knit them together again and finally reclaim their stories.

Lansat:
Feb 27, 2018
ISBN:
9780062799357
Format:
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Despre autor

Sue Halpern is the author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, New York Review of Books, Rolling Stone, and Condé Nast Traveler. She lives in Vermont with her husband, the writer and environmental activist Bill McKibben, and is a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College.

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  • (3/5)
    Thanks to edelweiss and the publisher for this DRC.
    This was a nice story with lots of endearing characters. I looked forward to spending time with them each day. Sue Halpern weaves their lives together seamlessly which results in a pleasant, easy book to enjoy. It will be a good addition to a public library fiction collection.
  • (4/5)
    When teenaged Sunny is caught trying to steal a dictionary, the judge decides to make the punishment fit the crime - she is sentenced to 40 hours of community service at the local Riverton library. She is assigned to shadow Kit, the librarian, a very private woman who has no desire to form personal relationships and certainly not with Kit. And then there's Rusty, a new patron who has arrived in Riverton on his own quest and with no intentions of staying once he finds (or doesn't find) what he's looking for. The three of them thought they were fine, perhaps even better, alone and had no plans to form friendships but, as Robbie Burns once said 'the best laid plans...' Okay, I'm a sucker for books about book or libraries or, well, anything book-related and Summer Hours at the Robbers Library is this in spades. It is a well-written tale about relationships with quirky characters who made me care about them. If I had any quarrel with it, it was that it seems to wrap up a bit too quickly and smoothly at the end but this didn't make me enjoy the story any less. Loved it!Thanks to Edelweiss+ and Harper Perennial for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
  • (5/5)
    Sunny is sentenced to 40 hours per week service at the library in Riverton for stealing. She shadows Kit, the librarian. Kit has secrets she tries to hid. Sunny learns secrets she, maybe, did not want to know. Rusty, a daily library patron, lets his secrets be known. They collide and form a bond none expected.I loved this book. I liked how it was set up by Kit's secrets and by the weeks Sunny worked at the library. I also liked the story told from the different points of view. The secondary characters were quirky and fun. They were honest in their actions and words. I would like to know what the future holds for all of them.
  • (4/5)
    I actually liked this book despite the fact that the OverDrive audio files were completely out of order. That made it a bit challenging to figure out where I was a some parts. Libraries and quirky characters are high on my list of favorite things and this didn't disappoint.
  • (4/5)
    Artfully spun tale that interweaves the stories of several characters. Granting that the frequent transitions can at times be a bit choppy, the overall impact is effective, and the narrative engaging. Backgrounding these stories is a realistic portrait of a public library in a declining rural town.
  • (4/5)
    When home-schooled Sunny is assigned to volunteer at the local library, her world expands dramatically -- through her growing friendship with the reclusive librarian Kit, the former Wall Street trader Rusty, the children for whom she does storytime, and "the Four," a group of retirees who regularly meet at the library. Give this to readers who enjoy Billie Letts or Fannie Flagg.
  • (4/5)
    I spent the first 2/3 or so of this book just hoping that when the big reveal(s) came I wouldn't be too disappointed. It becomes clear early on that something, probably something tragic, happened to Kit at some point, and that something shady is going on with Sunny's family, but for quite some time there really aren't any clues as to what. In Kit's case, I wasn't disappointed at all. What happened to her is sufficiently dramatic to make her current circumstances realistic, but not overblown. Not only that, but the course of learning her backstory side-by-side with her ongoing story made her a more sympathetic character.Sunny's story isn't as well done, unfortunately. After being half revealed, the mystery is left to lie fallow until nearly the end of book, at which point it is hastily revealed and even more hastily resolved. In Sunny's case, though, the mystery has more to do with her parents, and it's really her journey of learning who her parents really are and figuring out how to deal with that knowledge that makes for compelling reading.None of the characters in this book are particularly three-dimensional, but Halpern writes so well about how they fit together, that it almost doesn't matter. Every time I opened this book a felt like I was walking into the grand old library in washed-up Riverton, NH, about to meet my own good friends.
  • (4/5)
    A quiet novel, a character driven novel where I just fell in love with these characters. Plus, it takes place, mostly in a library, and in a state where not many books are set, a small town in new Hampshire. Three people from disparate backgrounds, seeking a new start in their lives, come together hoping to find the something of which they did not know they were looking. Kit, librarian, has made a new, quiet life for herself in this small town. Sunny, a young teenager girl, with unorthodox parents, find herself sentenced to a summer of community service at the library, for attempting to steal a dictionary. Rusty, once thought he had it all, but finds himself with virtually nothing, but an old bankbook. There are four elderly men who once held different positions in this small town, and now come daily to the library, to read the newspapers and other things. I think all small town library probably has characters such as these. I enjoy books like this, watching how over the course of the summer these different characters come to mingle, and affect his other lives. We learn their back stories, and see how they change and grow.Families one puts together, as opposed to those which we were given. A book that reminds us that behind every closed door, there is an open window if we allow ourselves to reach out and discover what's there. A good, touching story, one I took to heart.ARC from Edelweiss.
  • (4/5)
    Summer Hours at the Robbers Library was an interesting read. While it's not a plot-driven novel, it had wonderful characters that you enjoyed getting to know. I've spent my life working in a library, and these are just the sort of people you encounter there. Everyone has a story--most not dramatic or earth shaking, but interesting in their own quiet ways. I love character driven novels, and this was like meeting a room full of people you could enjoy having around for years. Well-written and satisfying in a quiet way.
  • (5/5)
    This story entwines the lives of Summer, a young teen sentenced to full-time community service work in the library over the summer, and Kit, her supervisor, an emotionally scarred woman who has fled her former life and withdrawn into her small town job, hiding out from both her past and her emotions. Together they draw the reader into this well-crafted narrative which slowly reveals the challenges both face in moving on with their lives, supported by an excellently devised cast of characters who are all perfectly ordinary but who embue the town with warmth and personality. A satisfying pleasure to read. Due out Feb. 2018.
  • (4/5)
    Sue Halpern has written a quick, lighthearted read but with a background of serious issues slowly revealed as the main characters alternately unveiled or in some cases uncovered the secrets in their lives. The library in the small town of Riverton, New Hampshire became the focal point of the lives of fifteen year old Sunny, child of off-the-grid parents who seemed to be on the run, Kit, the reference librarian who was hiding from her past, and Rusty the flashy ex Wall Street charmer looking for easy money. I enjoyed the characters and their interactions even though the story dragged at times, but this was a pleasant way to spend a few hours in a small town library.
  • (5/5)
    I read this as an ARC won from LibraryThing and what a wonderful novel! The book had great characters, and they meet among the books at the local public library, one of my favorite places. It shows that even when bad things happen, or we make mistakes, sometimes the best happens because of it. Good job Sue Halpern, please write more soon
  • (3/5)
    Kit is in Riverton because she needed to get away from everything that happened before, including her name. Sunny is at the library because she tried to steal a dictionary. Rusty is in pursuit of a fortune that may or may not exist. However it is they found each other, the road to their friendship seems destined, but not smooth. This was a little bit of a slow start, but the story picked up as the back stories for each character developed. Riverton is well-represented as one of those tiny New England towns that time forgot. Well written and relatable.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this read because the characters were likeable; sweet, smart, caring but vulnerable as we all are to the circumstances and events of our lives. Using a small town library as the nexus for most of the characters to meet, learn about and communicate with each other was brilliant. I believe libraries should help connect the people of the community, help us learn and care about each other and the world. And offer books, other media, and programs which support a more direct and less impersonal approach. Riverton, New Hampshire is portrayed as both the town you grew up in and the town one happened upon after leaving a previous (usually unpleasant) life behind. Halpern cleverly makes this deteriorated town a character in its own right; further emphasizing the importance of community and caring. (Perhaps sending a message to those that leave not to give up on their home towns.)I love that there were no villiains just regular folk trying to make the most of their lives. Not surprisinly the one person who is fleeing the law is not a villain... in my book.Read and enjoy!
  • (4/5)
    I read this Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for a fair review. I liked this book. I expected it to have a cast of somewhat crazy characters which it did not. It was a thoughtful novel on small town life, finding our way, and finding a way to belong to our fellow humans. The preface tells the story of Kit falling in love with the man who became her husband. Kit has been working in the library of a small town in NH for 4 years, escaping from her previous life as a wife and compliant mate. The isolation and privacy she surrounds herself with is her way of facing the rest of her life. The focus of the book is the relationships between Kit and other regulars who use the library. Interspersed, we learn the details of Kit's marriage and divorce. We also learn about the lives of a young girl, Sunny, and a man named Rusty, both of whom work their way into Kit's orbit through their daily visits to the library. The characters are very introspective and interesting, each in their own way. I thought the book got off to a slow start but Sue Halpern did a wonderful job of character development and I became invested in all their lives. For me, that's a sign of a good book.
  • (4/5)
    I actually liked this book despite the fact that the OverDrive audio files were completely out of order. That made it a bit challenging to figure out where I was a some parts. Libraries and quirky characters are high on my list of favorite things and this didn't disappoint.
  • (3/5)
    Entertaining novel about a small-town library, small town librarian with something to hide, a 15 year-old convict (convicted of stealing a dictionary from the book store) whose parents believe in no-schooling and is given community service at the library as punishment, a washed up Wall Street big wig, and a group of old men called The Four. Fast, pleasant read.
  • (4/5)
    A librarian, a shoplifter and an unemployed former Wall Street high flyer connect with each other in a small, historic town library. Librarian Kit is hurt and damaged and just needs peace to lick her wounds. 15-year-old home schooled/no schooled Sunny tried to steal a dictionary (“a dictionary is every book written and every book that will be written, just in a different order. And it seemed magical. You could own every book just by owning one book”) but was caught and sentenced to community service at the library. Having sold most of his possessions, destitute Rusty is living in a motel but still wearing a suit every day and driving a flash car to the library where he spends all day 'researching' on a computer. There are also ‘The Four’, four elderly men who meet daily in the library to read the newspaper and are interesting characters. Sunny is a great character too, her parents Willow and Steve are trying to fly under the radar. Libraries bring people together so of course I liked it, I’m a librarian!
  • (4/5)
    Digital audiobook performed by Josh Bloomberg, Dara Rosenberg and Allyson Ryan4**** Three people running from their past (or present) find the help they need at the library. Kit is the head librarian at the Riverton, NH library; she likes the peace she finds there and the ability to hide from her disastrous past. Fifteen-year-old Sunny has been home-schooled (or “no-schooled” as she sometimes refers to it), and assigned to work for the summer at the library in lieu of a sentence for shoplifting a dictionary. Rusty is a former Wall Street hedge-fund star, now out of work and seeking answers to his mother’s past as he laboriously researches the libraries historical archives. Slowly they are drawn together and help one another unravel their pasts and seek their futures. I confess that I hadn’t really read the jacket blurb so I was expecting a chick-lit, light romantic story. This is definitely NOT that. Halperin drew me in, however. The secrets are revealed every so slowly throughout the book, much as you might only reveal such information to a friend over time as you got to know and trust her. Kit’s is the most troubling to her. She was fully aware of the events that led her to flee to Riverton with a new name and to make a new – QUIET – life. But she’s a strong, determined woman and as closed off as she appears to be, she is compassionate and caring. Rusty spends his days at the library researching the town’s history. He’s a stranger in town and an enigma: driving a fancy car, with obviously expensive clothes, but living in a small motel and in obvious need of a haircut. An old bank passbook he had found among his deceased mother’s possessions, is what has brought him to Riverton, in hopes of perhaps finding a nest egg of cash to see him through, and possibly some answers to his questions about his mother’s past. In Sunny’s case, of course, she doesn’t even know there is a secret that her parents hide with their “hippie” lifestyle. But once she gets a glimpse at a different possibility, she is tenacious in ferreting out the truth, facing it and forcing her parents to face it as well. I really loved her character and how she developed over the summer. The novel is told in alternating view points as each of the three central characters reveals his or her back story and experiences in current time. The first time there was a “flashback” it caught me off guard, but I quickly grew used to the style. Halperin gives us a wonderful cast of supporting characters as well. From Sunny’s mother, Willow, to a group of octogenarians known collectively as “The Four” and the rest of the library staff, these characters help and support one another. There are moments of humor and love to counterbalance the stress and heartache. I’d love a sequel to find out how they all fair in coming years. The audiobook is performed by a trio of talented voice artists, each voicing one of the central characters. This was very effective for the changing view points in narration. Job well done!
  • (5/5)
    As the voracious reader I am, there are certain groups of books I cannot pass up. Novels about books, libraries, and bookstores are one of the most important of these groups. Sue Halpern has been widely praised for her journalism and criticism. Sue has appeared in an impressive range of publications from Condé Nast Traveler to The New Yorker. She is also a scholar in residence at Milddlebury College, and she was a Rhodes Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow. Her latest effort is a novel, Summer Hours at the Robbers Library, which I found most entertaining.Solstice, known as “Sunny,” is a teenager who tries to steal a 532-page dictionary by slipping it between her belly and her jeans. She is caught, arrested, and finds herself before a judge, who is reluctant to send a teen to jail for petty theft. Sue writes, “Solstice Arkinsky, for the crime of stealing the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, I hereby sentence you to forty hours a week of community service at the Riverton Public Library, to be carried out every day during summer vacation until the new school year begins” (27). One minor detail is revealed when she says, “I don’t go to school” (28). Sunny is home-schooled by her hippie parents. At first, Sunny is sullen and resentful. She is assigned by the director of the library to serve her time under the watchful eye of a librarian, Kit. The story carries two distinct plot lines. In addition to Sunny’s narrative, Kit tells her story in sections labeled “The Marriage Story.” The story of these two characters is quite interesting. One of the better aspects of Kit’s story are her occasional visits to her therapist. Halpern writes, “‘I’m a misanthrope,’ she told Dr. Bondi. ‘Being alone suits me’ // He was skeptical. ‘Maybe,’ he said. ‘Maybe now, but I don’t think it’s in your nature.’ / Kit laughed. ‘If it’s nature versus nurture, in this case nurture wins.’ ‘Like I said, I don’t think it’s a permanent feature.’ // But it was. That’s what I had become. And Kit had come to think of herself as a loner, at home in her solitude, like one of those self-reliant spinster women from literature. By the end of the workday she craved nothing more than to hear the creak of the floorboards underfoot and the hum of the refrigerator that suffused the house. By the end of the week, she was content to putter, to speak only the occasional greeting to passersby if she happened to be on the porch, to ask little of others and be asked little in return” (115). Sunny and Kit become close friends. Kit invites Sunny to stay overnight on occasions when her parents were out of town.Before her divorce, Kit was a teacher, “It was books I was drawn to—the smell of them, the feel of them, the way they invaded and captured me—not talking about books. I enrolled in library school and got a part-time job at a used book store, taking orders over the phone” (195).A trifecta! What could be better-- English teachers, books, and libraries! Anyone interested in these three pillars of knowledge will surely find Sue Halpern’s novel, Summer Hours at the Robbers Library a delightful read! 5 Stars--Chiron, 5/3/18
  • (5/5)
    Summer Hours at the Robbers Library by Sue Halpern is the story of a dying New Hampshire small town, and a group of very lonely people that meet at the town’s library as each is dealing with a personal trauma. Kit, the reference librarian, is recovering from something devastating that happened in a marriage. 15 year-old Sunny longs for structure and stability her hippie parents are unwilling to provide; and Rusty, a refugee from Wall Street during the Great Recession, is searching for a new identity and a new start. As their pasts are slowly revealed, the trio’s present becomes slowly entangled. It is my experience as a reader that stories of this sort - where hurt people come together in a unique setting are either hit or miss. Done well, they provide insight into the human condition, and are a pleasant way to pass your reading time. Done poorly, they are overly formulaic and sappy - requiring the willing suspension of belief. Happily I place Ms. Halpern’s work into the former category. Recommended for fans of “cozy literary”novels, like The Storied Life of A. J. Fikery, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and The Rosie Project. As an aside, if you enjoyed Summer Hours at the Robbers Library, I would also recommend reading works by Joshilyn Jackson Rachel Joyce, Fredrick Backman and Billy Letts.