Librarians talk about what they are reading

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(Posted Jan. 3, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Librarians are all about helping you find the right book, whether it’s for a homework assignment, vacation planning, pleasure reading, or just a curious itch that needs to be scratched.

Ever wonder what the librarians themselves are reading? Wonder no more. We made some phone calls, and local librarians were more than happy to talk about their favorite books–who woulda thunk?

Sharon Morgan, assistant director, Mount Sterling Public Library

Mysteries are the name of Sharon’s personal reading game, and one of the authors at the top of her list is Janet Evanovich.

“Her latest is Look Alive Twenty-Five, and I think it’s one of her best. I really enjoyed it,” Sharon said.

Evanovich’s heroine, Stephanie Plum the bounty hunter, is back and, per the usual, she gets herself into scrapes as she solves a mystery. This time around, managers at a local diner keep getting kidnapped, so Plum goes in as a decoy to see if she, too, gets kidnapped.

“(Evanovich) really held true to her characters, the story has a lot of action, and it’s very humorous. It uplifted you even while you were taken up with the mystery,” Sharon said.

Just before the holidays, Sharon binge-read all six of Nichole Christoff’s novels, released only as e-books. Like Evanovich, Christoff laces her mysteries with humor. She also keeps readers on their toes.

“If I’m reading a whodunnit, I don’t want to know three chapters in who did it. I want to be kept guessing. This writer is really good at that,” Sharon said. “I like her style of writing. It’s an easy read but it’s interesting.”

Christoff’s heroine is Jamie Sinclair, a security expert whose boyfriend, a member of the military police, often helps to save the day. The author’s latest release is The Kill Wire.

Also at the top of Sharon’s list this year is Clive Cussler’s Shadow Tyrants, a story that combines history and action and, like just about every other Cussler tome, heroes trying to save the world from disaster.

“His books start with a past event then he moves to the present where the characters deal with a problem them stems from something that happened in the past,” Sharon said, adding that Cussler’s jumps in time and geography aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but she likes them.

Shadow Tyrants starts out in 261 B.C. when an emperor’s people are inventing all sorts of things. Leap to the future, and those inventors’ descendants have banded together to create a supercomputer designed to take over the world’s money and people. Juan Cabrillo and his team, aboard “Oregon,” a gadget-equipped barge, must sabotage the computer.

“It’s cool because it gets into the new AI (artificial intelligence) technology, which is something that I’m not up on,” Sharon said. “The book entertains you and challenges your mind.”

Mount Sterling Public Library is located at 60 W. Columbus St. For details about services, call (740) 869-2430 or visit mtsterlingpubliclibrary.org.

Karla Arnold, patron services coordinator, London Public Library

Among Karla’s favorite books are those without a specific timeline, the kind of books one can open to any page and start reading.

“I like to pick them up, let them fall open, and read. It’s just like your day–you never know what’s going to happen,” she said. “They’re great when you have just a little time to read.”

Among the books Karla read–and loved–this year in this category are Notes from a Public Typewriter, edited by Michael Gustafson and Oliver Uberti, and Donald Hall’s A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing 90.

When Gustafson and his wife, Hilary, opened a bookstore in Ann Arbor, Mich., they put out a typewriter for anyone to use. They didn’t know what to expect.

“What they got was everything from children’s musings to the saddest thoughts and confessions to really humorous limericks and haiku,” Karla said.

Notes from a Public Typewriter is a collection of many of those anonymously written notes, combined with essays and photos. Some of Karla’s favorite snippets include: “Well-loved books always look the most unkempt; this does not seem to be true of people;” “I love Mommy,” and “I raced the snowflakes to see who would fall first.”

Karla picked up A Carnival of Losses after reading one of Donald Hall’s poems in Garrison Keillor’s anthology, “Good Poems for Hard Times.” She’s been a fan of Hall’s ever since.

Hall, a former U.S. poet laureate, died shortly after the release of A Carnival of Losses, a collection of essays on an array of topics, including his college days, politics, and life with and the death of his wife, Jane Kenyon, New Hampshire’s poet laureate.

As much as Karla likes Hall’s writings, she likes Kenyon’s poetry even more.

London Public Library is located at 20 E. First St. For details about services, call (740) 852-9543 or visit mylondonlibrary.org.

Melissa Glover, service coordinator, Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library

Melissa is huge fan of supernatural fiction. Among the releases she gobbled up this year are the latest in three series by three authors whose work fits squarely in this genre.

Anne Bishop’s “The Others” series is set in a universe ruled by elders who are elemental forces–think earth, wind, fire. Shape shifters and humans populate a planet similar to Earth, but the humans are only allowed to live because they serve the shape shifters.

The first book in the series, Written in Red, introduces the characters and explains how the government and society work. The sixth and latest volume in the series is Lake Silence. Melissa has read them all.

“The characters and town around which the story is based suck you in. You get attached to the characters and really want to know what happens on the next page,” she said.

Cassandra Clare’s “The Mortal Instruments” series is another must-read for Melissa. The stories revolve around the Shadow Hunters Society, a group of people trained from youth to go after anything from the underworld–shape shifters, vampires, demons. The heroine, Clary Fray, thinks she’s an ordinary human until she meets one of the hunters and is taken into the fold.

In City of Heavenly Fire, the sixth and latest release in the series, the hunter world is under attack. Traitors are involved. The hunters end up fighting the greatest evil they’ve ever encountered which turns out to be Clary’s brother. (Don’t worry. No spoiler alert needed, Melissa said, because it’s evident in the books leading up to this one that the brother is no good.)

“(Clare) develops the world, as well as the characters, with such detail,” Melissa said. “You don’t have to sit and imagine the world; she just describes it really well for you. And she puts in just enough angst and indecision.”

Did we mention vampires? Well, they are central to Rachel Caine’s “The Morganville Vampire Series,” another series Melissa has sunk her teeth into. She’s read all 15 books in the series.

“It’s set in modern day Texas. Claire Danvers, the heroine, is a college student who mixes with a secret vampire society on campus. One of her friends is turned into a vampire against his will. Claire must then battle vampires,” she said.

The latest in the series, Daylighters, sees the formation of a new foundation that promises a vampire-free future but turns out to be full of monsters worse than vampires.

“(Caine) keeps such adventure and excitement rolling through her stories. There’s never a dull moment,” Melissa said.

Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library is located at 270 Lilly Chapel Rd., West Jefferson. For details about services, call (614) 879-8448 or visit hbmlibrary.org.

Linda Hoover, library associate, Houston Branch Library

Co-workers can be a great source for book recommendations, especially if they are fellow librarians! Linda thanks Beth Wical, one of her co-workers, for suggesting she read Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey.

“It was a book I couldn’t put down,” Linda said.

Lovers are separated at the end of World War II. Seventy years later, Dan still thinks about Stella and writes a letter in an attempt to find her. Stella is no longer at the address; Jess, the young woman who lives there now, reads the letter. It becomes her quest to find Stella and reunite the couple before it’s too late.

While Letters to the Lost is full of yearning, Love & Lucky by Jenna Evans Welch, another of Linda’s favorite books this year, is full of yuks.

“It had me laughing out loud,” she said.

In this young adult novel, siblings go to Ireland for an aunt’s wedding. Addie hopes that touring the island will bring adventure and help to heal her relationship with her brother, shattered due to secrets brought to light. Crazy and fun things happen along the way, one of which involves Addie meeting a cute Irish boy.

“I enjoyed this book from start to finish,” Linda said.

Houston Library, a branch of the Clark County Public Library, is located at 5 W. Jamestown St., South Charleston. For details about services, call (937) 462-8047.

Brian, Cassie, Cathy and Mary, staffers, Plain City Public Library

Plain City Public Library makes it easy to follow what library staffers are reading. Just head to their website and click on “What We’re Reading.” Each week, different staff members post the books they are currently enjoying. Look for a fresh list every Wednesday.

Recent entries include Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle, founding member of the comedic tour de force known as Monty Python. Brian, patron services assistant, enjoyed reading this memoir in which Idle, whose credits include “Flying Circus” and “The Meaning of Life,” reflects on the meaning of his own life.

Cassie, circulation clerk, most recently read The Cabin at the End of the World: A Novel by Paul Tremblay. In this psychological thriller, the Bram Stoker Award-winning author finds a new way to infuse horror into home invasion. Cassie also recently turned the pages of a true crime story, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara.

Cathy, a page at the library, listed The Perfect Mother: A Novel by Aimee Molloy as her most recent read. The plot centers on a group of women who become connected after one of their newborn children goes missing.

Mary, who works in technical services for the library, recently picked up Lucky Charming in which reality television star Kate Chastain shares the ups and downs of her life working on mega yachts.

Plain City Public Library is located at 305 W. Main St. For details about services, call (614) 873-4912 or visit plaincitylib.org.

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