August 15, 2019 - Summer Reading Program Results

All the books have been counted, all the pages and minutes read accounted for, and I can finally give you all of the amazing numbers about how many people read how many books! Every year, for more years than I care to remember, I have been reporting the number of pages read in concrete terms. I have converted the number of pages read (or pages listened to, or time spent reading) into inches, then converted those inches into miles, and then plotted that number of miles on a map. Since I have been doing this annually for enough years for this to have become a tradition, and since I’m wise enough not to tamper with a fine tradition, here goes!

This year 568 people signed up for the Summer Library Program. 499 finished some books or challenges and read a grand total of 21,929 books. 3,037 prizes and 4,711 badges were awarded and 150 book reviews were written. Before I can start mapping the results, I have to convert all those books to pages read. So go make yourself a cup of coffee while I do the math.

Participants managed to read 1,876,300 pages (last year a paltry 952,944 pages were read) which is quite an impressive number! Now, on to the calculations which begin with this question: “If you laid all the pages of the books that were read end-to-end how many miles would they stretch?” The average size of a page is 9 inches tall which gives us (1,876,300 times 9” or 16,886,700inches—always show your work if you want to receive full credit.). Then we take those inches and divide by 12 to give us 1,407,225 feet and then divide by 5,280 to give us 266.5miles. And, voilà! If you laid all the pages read during the Summer Reading Program end to end and drove north and west via I90/ 94, you would end up outside of Minneapolis at Crane Lake near Minnetonka. Heading south via I 90 E and US-41 you’d end up in Otterbein, Indiana. Any way you look at it, that’s a whole lot of reading was done this summer! Congratulations to all the Summer Reading participants.

New Non-Fiction

“American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century” by Maureen Callahan. An award-winning New York Post investigative journalist documents the story of enigmatic serial killer Israel Keyes and the efforts of the Anchorage PD and the FBI to capture him, discussing what his case reveals about 21st-century law enforcement.


“Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects” by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. An enthusiastic, witty and informative introduction to the world of insects explains why we—and the planet we inhabit—could not survive without them.


“The Last Leonardo: The Secret Lives of the World’s Most Extensive Painting” by Ben Lewis. An epic quest exposes hidden truths about Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the recently discovered masterpiece that sold for $450 million—and might not be the real thing.


“Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe” by Laura Lynne Jackson. The certified medium and author of “The Light Between Us” counsels readers on how to recognize and interpret life-changing messages from loved ones and spirit guides on the other side for more relevant life purpose and direction.


“Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark” by Cecelia Watson. An engaging, existential chronicle of the polarizing punctuation mark traces its emergence in the wake of 19th-century grammar books and the ways it has been embraced or reviled by forefront authors.


“The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America” by Jim Acosta. From CNN’s veteran chief White House correspondent comes an explosive, first-hand account of the dangers he faces reporting on the current White House while fighting on the front lines in President Trump’s war on truth.


“Never Play Dead: How the Truth Makes You Unstoppable” by Tomi Lahren. The Fox Nation host and social-media personality challenges convention wisdom about women keeping their heads down, citing the lessons of her own difficult setbacks to challenge readers to become empowered self-advocates.

New Fiction

“A Dangerous Man, No. 18 (Elvis Cole and Joe Pike)” by Robert Crais. Rescuing a bank teller from an abduction attempt, Joe Pike tackles the most perilous case of his career when the would-be kidnappers are found murdered and the bank teller goes missing. By the best-selling author of “The Wanted”.


“Growing Things and Other Stories” by Paul Tremblay. An anthology of psychological suspense tales by the award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts includes such entries as "The Teacher," "The Getaway" and "Swim Wants to Know If It's as Bad as Swim Thinks."

“Chances Are” by Richard Russo. One beautiful September day, three 66-year-old men convene on Martha’s Vineyard, friends ever since meeting in college, and must puzzle out a lingering mystery from the summer of 1971. By a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.


“The Chelsea Girls” by Fiona Davis. A 20-year friendship between a playwright and an actress with Broadway ambitions is tested by the impact of McCarthy-era witch hunts among the creative residents of New York City's Chelsea Hotel. By the best-selling author of “The Dollhouse”.


“A Capitol Death, No. 7 (Flavia Albia)” by Lindsey Davis. Stepping in for her ailing husband in the wake of a political assassination, private informer Flavia Albia uncovers unsettling truths about the victim and a disturbing number of suspects against a backdrop of an erratic emperor's ill-advised military celebrations.


“Knife, No. 12 (Harry Hole)” by Jo Nesbo. Learning that a serial rapist and killer he helped put away has been released from prison, Harry Hole wakes up from a drunken blackout with mysterious blood on his hands. By the best-selling author of “The Thirst”.


“The Pawful Truth, No. 11 (Cat in the Stacks)” by Miranda James. Enrolling in a medieval history course, librarian Charlie Harris bonds with fellow adult student Dixie Bell, who is found dead days later in the aftermath of an angry exchange with the class's charismatic professor.