100-Mile Book Club: Summer reading activities in Penticton

Heather Allen outlines some fun activities for bookworms to check out during the summer.

Events, clubs, book signings and new works by local authors offer up a variety of reading pleasures over the summer of 2016.

Library reading clubs offer incentives to keep kids checking out books over the summer months. But new this year, the Penticton Public Library has started a club that will keep adults reading as well. Penticton Reads is a summer reading club that runs from July 2 to Aug. 29.

Anyone 19+ can fill out a ballot at the library information desk (or online), and be entered to win prizes for reading books. The more you read, the better your odds. Participants can read books, ebooks or listen to audiobooks to qualify. To find out more, visit the library information desk or call 250-770-7782.

From July 22 to 31, the Penticton Chamber Theatre is presenting A Toast to Shakespeare: a tapestry of scenes from Shakespeare plays. I doubt many readers will find time to crack open the original texts. To brush up before the show, my personal favourite quick reads are the No Fear Shakespeare graphic novels published by Spark Notes.

Graphic novels are perfect for plays, and these spectacularly-drawn editions modernize the language without destroying Shakespeare’s ideas. All ages in our house love them. For more information about A Toast to Shakespeare, visit the Penticton Chamber Theatre Facebook page.

If you’re looking to crack open a volume of poetry this summer, look no further than the just-released collection How to Be Eaten by a Lion by Penticton poet, Michael Johnson. While it mostly features subject matter further afield than the Okanagan, it is an exceptional work.

In an eclectic variety of poems, Johnson writes about everything from Sri Lanka to mushroom picking on the west coast. The writing is spare, yet evocative, reminding of one of my favourite poets,Ted Hughes.

A sample from the title piece begins with a description of being stalked by a lion:

“If you hear the rush, the swish of mottled sand and dust kicked up under the striving paws, its cessation, falling into the sharp and brittle grass like the tick of a tin roof under sun or hint of rain that nightly wakes you, try to stand your ground.”

Johnson has had his works appear in numerous literary journals, has been nominated for several awards and has won the Dr. Sherwin W Howard Award for best poetry. Published by Nightwood Editions, How to Be Eaten by a Lion is a must-have for your local poetry collection.

Happy Reading and Happy Summer!