Take the Plunge: Swim Reads

It's summer: the perfect time to grab a book and head to City Park Pool. Why not pair your poolside lounging with some books about swimming? Whether you want to stick to the shallows with a light read or are prepared to dive deep, here are a few titles to consider for your pool bag.

Swimming in the dark : a novel

Jedrowski, Tomasz, author.

FICTION Jedrowsk Tomasz

When university student Ludwik meets Janusz at a summer agricultural camp, he is fascinated yet wary of this handsome, carefree stranger. But a chance meeting by the river soon becomes an intense, exhilarating, and all-consuming affair. After their camp duties are fulfilled, the pair spend a dreamlike few weeks camping in the countryside, removed from society and its constraints, Ludwik and Janusz fall deeply in love. But in their repressive communist and Catholic society, the passion they share is utterly unthinkable. Once they return to Warsaw, the charismatic Janusz quickly rises in the political ranks of the party and is rewarded with a highly-coveted position in the ministry. Ludwik is drawn toward impulsive acts of protest, unable to ignore rising food prices and the stark economic disparity around them. Their secret love and personal and political differences slowly begin to tear them apart as both men struggle to survive in a regime on the brink of collapse.

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If star-crossed lovers, summer camp, and historical fiction all align with you, pick up this romance.
- Anne M

The swimmers

Otsuka, Julie, 1962- author.

FICTION Otsuka Julie

The swimmers are unknown to one another except through their private routines (slow lane, medium lane, fast lane) and the solace each takes in their morning or afternoon laps. But when a crack appears at the bottom of the pool, they are cast out into an unforgiving world without comfort or relief. One of these swimmers is Alice, who is slowly losing her memory. For Alice, the pool was a final stand against the darkness of her encroaching dementia. Without the fellowship of other swimmers and the routine of her daily laps she is plunged into dislocation and chaos, swept into memories of her childhood and the Japanese American incarceration camp in which she spent the war. Alice's estranged daughter, reentering her mother's life too late, witnesses her stark and devastating decline.

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Ever wondered about the lives of everyone using the pool? This book explores how important one pool is in the lives of its swimmers. Grab a tissue, though!
- Anne M

Same time next summer

Monaghan, Annabel, author.

FICTION Monaghan Annabel

Sam has the perfect doctor fiancé (tho Jack is a little OCD), a great job in Manhattan (unless they fire her). She's about to tour a wedding venue near her family's Long Island beach house when she runs into Wyatt-- the guy who broke her heart when she was seventeen. As the sounds of Wyatt's guitar float across the night air as if no time has passed, Sam's memories come flooding back. Their connection is undeniable-- and Sam will have to make a choice. -- adapted from back cover

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Sam and Wyatt fell in love as teenagers while swimming. Perhaps this nostalgic second-chance romance is your perfect poolside read.
- Anne M

Swimming lessons

Fuller, Claire, author.

FICTION Fuller Claire

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. Then she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan. Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father. She tries to discover what happened to Ingrid, not realizing that the answers are hidden in the books that surround her.--

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Family secrets are revealed in this clever and heartfelt book.The way the story in this epistolary novel unfolds is extraordinary. Each letter is a revelation into the marriage of Ingrid and Gil, yet each letter also seems to muddy the waters as well. As some things clear up, others become more obscure.
- Anne M

The mermaid of Black Conch

Roffey, Monique, author.

FICTION Roffey, Monique

"The Mermaid of Black Conch spins the enchanting tale of a cursed mythical creature and the lonely fisherman who falls in love with her"--

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Layered and beautifully written, The Mermaid of Black Conch takes you deep into history, fantasy, and romance.
- Anne M

Swimming in Paris : a life in three stories

Schneck, Colombe, 1966- author.

FICTION Schneck Colombe

"A woman's personal journey through abortion, sex, friendship, love, and swimming"--

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Colombe Schneck is dabbling with biographical fiction here—each novella (there are three) from a different stage in her life (?) or her alter-ego's life (?). I’m not going to speculate on how closely these events follow Schneck’s life—because the focus should be on how good these stories are.
- Anne M

The pisces : a novel

Broder, Melissa, author.

FICTION Broder Melissa

Bottoming out after a dramatic breakup, doctoral student Lucy accepts her sister's invitation to dog-sit at her home on Venice Beach for the summer, where she meets an eerily attractive swimmer whose Sirenic identity transforms her understanding of what real love looks like.

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Need some off-beat humor (and an off-beat romance)? Look no further than The Pisces. While this book is humorous, it also dives deep in examining desire and dependency. It is a "full-length of the pool" kind of book when it comes to depth, so to speak.
- Anne M

Florence Adler swims forever

Beanland, Rachel, author.

FICTION Beanland Rachel

"Atlantic City, 1934. Every summer, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house out to vacationers escaping to "America's Playground" and move into the apartment above their bakery. The apartment is where they raised their two daughters, Fannie and Florence, and, despite the cramped quarters, it still feels like home. Now Florence has returned from college, determined to spend the summer training to swim the English Channel, and Fannie, pregnant again after recently losing a baby, is on bedrest, leaving her young daughter Gussie in Esther's care. After Joseph insists they take in a mysterious young woman whom he recently helped emigrate from Nazi Germany, the apartment is bursting at the seams. Esther wants nothing more than to keep her daughters close and safe but some matters are beyond her control: there's Fannie's risky pregnancy-not to mention her always-scheming husband, Isaac-and the fact that Stuart Williams, the heir of a hotel notorious for its anti-Semitic policies, seems to be in love with Florence. When tragedy strikes during one of Florence's practice swims, Esther makes the shocking decision to keep the truth about Florence's death from Fannie-at least until the baby is born. She pulls the rest of the family into an elaborate web of secret-keeping and lies, forcing to the surface long-buried tensions that show us just how quickly the act of protecting those we love can turn into betrayal. Told with humor and tenderness and based on a true story, Beanland's debut is a breathtaking meditation on the lengths we go to in order to keep our families together. At its heart, it is an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure-and even thrive-after tragedy"--

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Family history, secrets, and tragedy abound in this historical fiction drama.
- Anne M