Off the Shelves – June 30

The following items are available at the Hancock County Public Library, 900 W. McKenzie Road. For more information on the library’s collection or to reserve a title, visit

Adult Fiction

“Fever at Dawn,” by Péter Gárdos

In July of 1945, Miklos is a 25-year-old Hungarian who has survived the camps and has been brought to Sweden to convalesce.

Story continues below gallery

His doctor has given him a death sentence; his lungs are filled with fluid and in six months he will be gone. But Miklos has other plans.

He didn’t survive the war only to drown from within, and so he wages war on his own fate. He acquires the names of the 117 Hungarian women also recovering in Sweden, and he writes a letter to each of them in his beautiful cursive hand in hopes that one of them will become his wife.

His letter reaches Lili, and she decides to write back. For the next months, the two engage in a funny, absurd, hopeful epistolary dance and eventually, they find a way to meet.

Based on the true story of Péter Gárdos’s parents, and drawn from their letters, “Fever at Dawn” shows the death-defying power of the human will to live and to love.

Adult Nonfiction

“Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka,” by John Gimlette

No one sees the world quite like travel writer John Gimlette. He travels to Sri Lanka as it emerges from 26 years of civil war.

Delving into the nation’s story, Gimlette provides us with a multifaceted portrait of the island today. Beginning in the capital, Colombo, he ventures to the dry zones where the island’s 5,800 wild elephants congregate around ancient reservoirs; through cinnamon country with its Portuguese forts; to the “Bible Belt” of Buddhism; to the tsunami-ravaged southeast coast; then up into the green highlands; and to Kandy, the country’s aristocratic Shangri-la.

Along the way, the history of the country takes shape: Arab, Portuguese, British, and Dutch colonies and cultural differences that still divide this society.

During the journey, Gimlette meets farmers, war heroes, ancient tribesmen, world-class cricketers, terrorists, survivors of great massacres, old planters and a former president.

Teen Materials

“Salt to the Sea,” by Ruta Sepetys

At the close of World War II, thousands of refugees trek toward freedom, many with something to hide.

Among them are Joana, Emilia and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage and trust in each other tested as they move closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, culture or status matter as the ten thousand people aboard must all fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view, this work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy, the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff.