COLUMN: Charmed, I’m sure!

Goodhearted souls have forever sought a Prince or Princess Charming to carry them off into a fairy tale ending.

Goodhearted souls have forever sought a Prince or Princess Charming to carry them off into a fairy tale ending. But Charming is where you find it, and if you’re not into kissing frogs then a good summer read is your best bet.

I reached out to the Kingdom of Nelson Librarians and asked for their charming summer reading recommendations. Like the knights in shining armour they are, they all rose to the challenge of describing the books that charmed their chainmail socks off.

Says Shawna, “I was completely charmed by An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. The main character, a former child prodigy with a penchant for women named Katherine, tries to find meaning in his life and escape from his broken heart on a summer road trip with his best friend. Quirky and smart.”

In the book Soulless by Gail Carriger, Catherine describes a world of “Tea and treacle tarts, vampires, dirigibles and a never-ending supply of fabulous lines, such as ‘I may be a werewolf and Scottish, but despite what you may have read about both, we are not cads!’”

Margaret just finished Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen. “I loved the settings (Manhattan and the backwoods of New York State), the quirky, well-drawn characters (main, supporting and canine) and the (somewhat) happy ending.”

Recognizing that dogs can turn the charm volume up like nobody’s business, she suggests the Chet and Bernie detective novels by Spencer Quinn, with titles like The Sound and the Furry and Paw and Order.

“I’m obviously a sucker for canine sidekicks,” she says.

It’s hard not to gobble up a good book. Helen suggests Delicious! by Ruth Reichl. “I enjoyed the brilliant food descriptions and learning about the secret out-of-the-way little specialty shops where great restaurants procure their food in New York. Add a likable heroine with secrets and her treasure hunt for the letters of a young girl to a great chef during World War II and you have a winning combination.”

In keeping with this tasteful theme, Helen also recommends The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen, who “writes beautifully about a community of women bonded by secrets,” she says. “The hint of magic realism flavours the story with subtle and unexpected spices.”

On Heather’s list is Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson, set in a small village in an English countryside peopled with hilariously original characters, as well as The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, in which the sweet but emotionally numb Harold receives a letter from his old friend Queenie and decides to deliver his return message on foot—600 miles away. “I love being charmed by a book,” says Heather.

I’m a closet reader of charming fiction, tempted to hide a delightful, quirky novel inside something more lofty, like Joyce or Hemingway. But on a summer day, in the shade with a tall cold glass of something, you might just find me drinking in the charm.

On my list: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, for the wonderful, fresh voice of writer Juliet Ashton describing the lives and the stories of an enchanting bunch of villagers who survived — rather well! — German occupation during the Second World War.

The Rosie Project by Graham Simsion is another: who knew a fumbling relationship between the brilliant aspergian Don and a quirky whirlwind Rosie could be so utterly endearing?

There’s plenty of time to read serious books, but summer is when the frogs start singing, the better to charm unsuspecting passersby. Kiss a heart-warming book and see what happens.


— Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library.

Check This Out runs every other week.

For more information visit

Just Posted

MP Cannings’ long-awaited wood-use bill passes in House vote

The private member’s bill is his first to pass the House, a rare feat for rookie MPs in opposition

LETTER: Causing any species to go extinct is a crime

‘The earth is not dying. It is being killed’

COLUMN: A look back at May, 1968

Greg Scott: Touchstones of Nelson

Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback to play Nelson

The duo will be at the Civic Theatre on May 31

Grease comes to the Capitol Theatre

The production runs Thursday to Sunday

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

Referendum in Ireland would repeal strict ban on abortion

Voters throughout Ireland have begun casting votes in a referendum that may lead to a loosening of the country’s strict ban on most abortions.

Lava from Hawaii volcano enters ocean from 3 flows

The Kilauea volcano has been gushing lava on the big island of Hawaii for the past three weeks.

Summit talk turns warmer; Trump says ‘talking to them now’

North Korea issued a statement saying it was still “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks

Harvey Weinstein turns himself in, arraigned on rape, criminal charges

Harvey Weinstein arraigned on rape, criminal sex act charges following allegations of sexual misconduct

Explosion at Mississauga restaurant sends 15 to hospital

Hunt underway for two suspects connected to Mississauga, Ont., blast

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

Most Read