Tuesday kicks off summer reading at the Joplin Public Library. Everyone is used to summer reading programs for children and teens, but the library also holds a program for adults. The unofficial motto for Adult Summer Reading is “Why should kids get to have all the fun?”

This year’s theme is Unmask with a superhero bent to it. During the summer you’ll see masks and capes galore at the library. There will also be lots of interesting and entertaining programs for the whole family. For the adults, programming will cover a variety of topics, all with a hero theme.

You can listen to retired MSSU Professor Dale Simpson talk about heroes, and good vs. evil, as seen in the Lord of the Rings books and movies. Marsi Archer, also a MSSU Professor, will discuss about forgotten female scientists.

For local heroes, we have Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges and a representative from City of Joplin Animal Control doing presentations on their jobs. Both of these are jobs that we rarely think about until we need them. I’m sure both presentations will have some interesting stories shared.

The Joplin Humane Society will also be here to show how we can be heroes through donating, volunteering or adoption. They will also have some of their animals on display that are available for adoption. The Joplin Public Library will also be collecting food and supplies for the Humane Society leading up to the program.

What’s a superhero summer reading program without actual superheroes? Wonder Woman will be the focus of a presentation, with a look at her creation in the 1940s and her many changes throughout the years. As a little bit of a Wonder Woman fanatic I’m very excited about putting together this program. I’ve even tried to convince my husband that buying more comics for my collection was necessary for research.

A Superheroes Murder Mystery Finale caps off our summer long program. The Finale will have limited spots so we’ll start taking reservations in July. All in all, there will be different topics to hopefully appeal to everyone.

But I don’t call it Adult Summer Reading with just those programs. By reading books fitting a wide range of topics, participants will have a chance to win a multitude of prizes over the summer. This year books can be chosen from thirty-three different areas. Some of the choices include a classic romance, a trilogy, a book with more than 500 pages, or a book you can finish in one day. You also have a book with superheroes as a choice.

A book I read recently fits that perfectly. “After the Golden Age” by Carrie Vaughn is not your normal superhero book. It takes the superhero genre and tells it from the viewpoint of a non-superpowered family member.

Imagine growing up with your city’s most famous superheroes as your parents. Celia thought having crime-fighting parents was hard enough, but it got even harder when her parents’ secret identities were blown. Afterwards Celia felt like she was more professional hostage to every villain in town than loved daughter to her parents. The feelings of inadequacy got even worse when it become apparent that she didn’t inherit any superpowers from her parents. Now, years later Celia has cut herself off from her parents and made a life of her own as a forensic accountant. But when Commerce City’s worst super villain is finally arrested and Celia is asked to help examine his finances for the upcoming trial, her past issues threaten to destroy all she has built. What’s a girl to do when she has no cape or costume of her own?

The author, Carrie Vaughn, did a great job of creating a book that grabbed me from the very beginning. So many comics and books look at the people behind the masks and the issues they face. But very few picture the difficulties encountered by their loved ones. What would it be like to have parents born with superpowers, grow up in their shadow, and then face a life without powers of your own? This book also had lots of adventure and intrigue with some romance thrown in to create a plot that had me eagerly turning each page.

“After the Gold Age” is just one book out of many available to gain entries into our prize drawings during summer reading. Fly on down to the Joplin Public Library anytime starting Tuesday, May 26th, and pick up a flyer to get started reading. This promises to be a “Super” summer!