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A few suggestions after starting a reading log

By Marissa Creamer

Rowan Public Library

I have been a voracious reader from an early age, devouring picture books, the Nancy Drew series, horse stories, Ranger Rick magazine — pretty much anything I could get my hands on.

I’m not sure why I developed this passion for reading, as my parents weren’t really readers. But they did read to my sister and me, and my father told the most wonderful bedtime stories. Unfortunately, since he made them up as he went along, he couldn’t remember them later, so, disappointingly, we never did get a repeat performance of the hilarious tale of “The Warts on the Warthog.”

Even before I could read, I loved books, and I couldn’t wait to start school so that I could finally learn to read them on my own. I was expecting that I would learn this amazing secret on the very first day, and was very disappointed to discover that it would take more time.

I can’t imagine how many books I have read over the years — it never occurred to me to keep a list of them anymore than I would keep a tally of breaths. But 15 years ago I decided to start a reading log. I find it useful in helping me remember titles and authors that I have especially enjoyed, and where I am in a particular series. It’s also encouraging to see that each year I read more and more books, and reviewing the titles in the log is like visiting with old friends. I only wish that I had started it earlier in life.

One of my favorite recent entries is “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe” by Romain Puertolas. This farcical tale follows the adventures of a professional con artist from India who travels to Paris in order to buy the latest top-of-the-line bed of nails from Ikea. Things go very wrong, however, when Ajatashatru is accidently trapped in a wardrobe and shipped to Britain.

On the bright side, this should keep him out of the clutches of the Parisian taxi driver who has pledged to kill him. (Or will it?) This begins a madcap adventure across Europe and North Africa. As Ajatashatru begins to move in a world of refugees and illegal immigrants, the shallow fakir learns from the lives of others, and his own life is changed by the experience. Written by a former French border guard, this comedic novel has become an international bestseller.

Another recent entry in my reading log is the story of a detective with an unusual sidekick: a baby elephant. The first in the Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation series by Vaseem Khan is “The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra.” This book introduces Ashwin Chopra, who, on the eve of his retirement from the Mumbai police, finds that his late uncle has bequeathed to him a dispirited baby elephant.

In addition, his final case, a suspicious death no one seems to want solved, continues to trouble him. Concerned that the case will not be adequately investigated in his absence, he decides to take on the case as a civilian.

Chopra is an honorable detective, his wife Poppy is delightfully strong-willed, and once he perks up, baby Ganesh turns out to be a very useful partner. Readers of Alexander McCall Smith should enjoy this series, which continues with “The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown,” followed by the recent release, “The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star.”

Come to Rowan Public Library for these books and other titles to add to your own reading log.

Programs for children and teens on hiatus in August.

Adult Summer Reading: Monday, Aug. 7, 6:30 p.m., headquarters, Water Smart — Rowan County Cooperative Extension Service agent Danélle Cutting discusses how to  conserve water and care for the earth locally. At this final event, Adult Summer Reading grand prizes will also be awarded.

Summer reading film series: “Hidden Figures,” rated PG, with a run time of two hours and 6 minutes; 5:30 p.m., Aug. 7, East branch, Rockwell, and 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at headquarters.

“How to Train Your Dragon 2,” Aug. 9, 2 and 6 p.m., South Rowan Regional. Rated PG, with runtime of 101 minutes.

All showings free, open to the public, all ages welcome; an adult must accompany children under 9. Free popcorn and lemonade.

Friday film series: “Gnomeo and Juliet,” Aug. 11, 10 a.m., East branch. 2011 G-rated film with runtime of 84 minutes. Free, open to the public, all ages welcome; an adult must accompany children under 9. Free popcorn and lemonade. Call 704-216-7842 for more information.

Solar eclipse: Aug. 15, 6 p.m. Kaylan Petrie of Discovery Place will do a presentation for all ages about the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

Join us and view the solar eclipse at 1 p.m. on Aug. 21. Partial eclipse starts at 1:13 p.m.; total eclipse starts at 2:42 p.m. Free solar glasses will be given to the first 800 people.

Friends of RPL and Cheerwine Concert Series: Logie Meachum, Aug. 29, 7 p.m., headquarters. Lorenzo “Logie” Meachum, a native of Greensboro and pioneer of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society, will perform. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Free, open to the public; all ages welcome.

Displays: Headquarters, Communities in Schools and Anime Club; gallery, Waterworks Visual Arts; East, Glenda Hunsucker photography; South, golden bobbins textile display.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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