Socorro Public Library has many great fiction titles to help you beat the heat indoors, or even read pool side. Both of these selected stories capture the joy and challenges of life, relationships, love, loss and everything in between.

Don’t miss out on these hot summer novels and sign up for the Adult Summer Reading Program while you are at it! By signing up, you are entered into a drawing to win many weekly prizes, including gift certificates for local businesses.

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

One of the books shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and for good reason. Great Circle is my No. 1 pick as a summer must-read. This is a captivating story of two women in dissimilar times.

Marian Graves was an aviator in the early 20th century, and Hadley Baxter was an actress a century later. In an army C-47 Dakota war plane, Marian disappears, attempting to circumnavigate the globe from north to south. Her journals were later found and became the basis for a movie.

Hadley is the chosen star to play the heroic and daring Marian Graves. Hadley is a young beautiful woman trying to escape her well-known character in the young-adult novel-turned-movie-franchise about love-struck vampires. She decides to take on the film that centers on Marian’s disappearance in Antarctica in hopes of becoming brave, like the real Marian.

Marian and Hadley, although unique characters, have similar childhood experiences. Marian and her twin brother Jamie are brought up by their uncle after a shipwreck separates them from their parents. Hadley is also brought up by an uncle after she lost both of her parents to a plane crash.

Both of their childhoods were spent alone, mostly raising themselves. This allows both girls to discover their passions and pursue them with great ferocity.

Marian drops out of school to deliver moonshine to pay for flying lessons, and Hadley drops out of college to become a teen movie icon.

Shipstead creates a seamless layering of time periods and characters. The spiraling nature of the plot will keep readers of all types engrossed throughout the story.

Just when the reader thinks they have a grasp of the characters and where their lives are heading, a new layer is discovered. This book was well-researched and exceptionally well-written.

It’s an epic novel with memorable characters who are ambitious, brave and adventurous. Descriptive settings in both timelines make for a highly entertaining storyline you will not want to put down.

Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart by Joyce Carol Oates

Iris Courtney and Jinx Fairchild are an unlikely pair, but fate has brought them together. Iris Courtney is the only witness to Jinx’s tragic and life-altering crime.

Their paths intertwine in a plot that excites and horrifies in a way that is so true to life. They form a permanent bond despite the challenges of the times.

It is 1950s New York during the transition from segregation, in which racism is still keeping people apart. Iris is the only child in a dysfunctional White family, and Jinx is the second-eldest child to a hard-working Black family.

Jinx is the local high school’s Black basketball star, and Iris is a studious, independent young lady. Late one night, Iris is threatened by a neighborhood bully and realizing she cannot out-run the bully, she seeks help from Jinx. This one event will shape both of their destinies and bind them together.

In the politics of race, inequality and exclusion, Oates acutely portrays the experiences of the time. This is an emotional novel chock-full of captivating descriptions. Oates’ writing transports you right into the scene, and you become the characters.

When Jinx is shooting hoops, the descriptions are so lively that you become Jinx the basketball star. When Iris is sitting alone in a diner, you are right there in her thoughts and emotions. You can almost feel what will happen next. This book will immerse you into a world that is haunting, and you will not want to leave.

SPL Book Club will discuss Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart. The next book club meeting is Thursday, June 23, at 3 p.m. Join us!

Library hours: Monday- Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.