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AT THE LIBRARY: Read ‘The Stranger Diaries’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in June

First, two PSAs.

The library cannot offer notary service for at least the next few weeks. That service cannot be accomplished using safe social distancing. The staff is working on a way to resume notary service as soon as possible.

To have materials copied, they must be submitted by email. If you have questions about getting personal paperwork copied, or about getting copies of library documents, please call the library about your request.

Now, what about those reading groups?

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, Pageturner’s Book Group meets using Zoom meeting software. Reference librarians Angela Turner and Jennifer Mattern will lead a discussion about “The Stranger Diaries” by Elly Griffiths.

The title is available in ebook and audiobook format via Hoopla, which can be accessed through the “Online Library” tab at www.clarkbooks.org.

“The Stranger Diaries” won the 2020 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel. It’s about Claire Cassidy, a high school teacher who specializes in Gothic fiction by R.M. Holland. Holland’s iconic story is “The Stranger.”

When one of Clare’s colleagues is found dead with a line from Holland’s story left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with her favorite literature.

The police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows.

Clare uses her diary as an outlet for her suspicions and fears.

One day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers reads, “Hallo Clare. You don’t know me.”

Death lies between the lines when the events of a dark story start coming true in this haunting modern Gothic mystery, perfect for fans of “Magpie Murders” and “The Lake House.”

To sign up for Pageturner’s and receive an email invite to the meeting, use the library’s Evanced online registration system or email jennifer.clarkbook@gmail.com or angela.clarkbooks@gmail.com.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26, Sherlock Holmes Book Club leader Tim Janes and I will lead a discussion of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.”

For the last few years, I’ve thought about discussing that play around Midsummer Day. I recently re-read it and was completely transported by the language, the characters and the ways Shakespeare mixes reality and fantasy, dream and daily life.

It’s a romantic comedy full of misdirected and illusory passions.

Some of the characters’ perspectives are woefully dated, (and were probably meant to seem so even in Shakespeare’s time), while others are strikingly contemporary.

It’s also both a satire of and a tribute to the powers of imagination.

Again, the language is brilliant. I had a little trouble adjusting to Shakespeare’s language, allusions and cadences through the first two acts. By act three, I was so enthralled by the story and captivated by the comedy. It was a pleasure to read.

You’ve probably got an old edition of Shakespeare at home. I re-read the “Dream in my 1968 Harcourt, Brace edition of the “Complete Works of Shakespeare,” which, as I told Tim, almost sprained my wrists while I tried to hold it up.

If you don’t have one, or if you want to save your wrists for gardening, there a many editions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” available through Hoopla, CCPL’s ebook platform. Hoopla also offers an audiobook version with Simon Helberg of “The Big Bang Theory” as Demetrius.

Want to elude the pandemic for a while? Escape to a wood outside ancient Athens, Greece, that is inhabited by 16th century British folk fairies. A mashup. That’s contemporary, too.

If you’d like an invitation to the “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” reading group, send an email to me, john.clarkbooks@gmail.com, and I’ll make sure you get one.

As Theseus says in the Dream: “Joy, gentle friends! Joy and fresh days of love/Accompany your hearts!”

John Maruskin is director of adult services at the Clark County Public Library. He can be reached at john.clarkbooks@gmail.com.