What are county’s librarians reading these days?

(Posted Jan. 2, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Librarians from across Madison County were kind of enough to provide a glimpse at what they have read recently or are about to read and would recommend. Take a gander and see if any of their favorites might become your favorites, too.

Chris Siscoe, director, Mount Sterling Public Library

Chris Siscoe knows exactly what’s next on his personal reading list. Three of his favorite fiction authors recently released new books.

“I’m looking forward to getting into them over the next month or so,” he said.

Among those must-reads are “Blue Moon,” the latest in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. Jack, a former major in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, lives under the radar, taking on investigative cases in which he helps a wide variety of people in a wide variety of circumstances. In “Blue Moon,” he helps an elderly couple who has lost money in a con.

“There’s always crime or espionage or a combination of the two in this series, so anyone who likes a good adventure story will like these books,” Siscoe said.

To satisfy his appetite for mystery and suspense, Siscoe has cued up Mary Higgins Clark’s latest, “Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry.” The story revolves around Penelope “Casey” Harrison, a journalist conducting research for a piece about the #MeToo movement, including an incident from her own past. As it turns out, the man who drugged and assaulted her in college is now a powerful businessman who will stop at nothing to hide his wrongdoings.

“I’ve read a lot of Clark’s stuff, going back to the ‘70s,” Siscoe said. “There’s usually a female heroine–a normal everyday person who, by chance, gets involved in a big investigation.”

The third title Siscoe can’t wait to read is “Lethal Agent,” the latest in the Mitch Rapp series about a man recruited by the United States government to be an assassin fighting terrorism. The original author of the series, Vince Flynn, died in 2013 at the age of 47 after a battle with prostate cancer. Readers will find his name, as well as the name of Kyle Mills, the author who took over the series, on the Mitch Rapp series covers.

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


Allison Ratcliff, patron services coordinator, London Public Library

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah Maas has been on Allison Ratcliff’s to-read list for a long time. She read the first book in the series and is now on to the second, “Crown of Midnight.”

The heroine, a former assassin who is imprisoned, strikes a deal with the king, agreeing to work for him in exchange for her release. It all takes place in a fantasy world. In the second book, the inhabitants are unhappy with the king and start to rebel.

“My cousin pushed me to read this because it’s one of her favorites, so I’m finally getting to it. I love fantasy, so I really like these books,” Ratcliff said.

A local connection made “Waiting for Tom Hanks” by Kerry Winfrey a good read, Ratcliff said.

“It’s really cool because the author is from the Columbus area and the story is set in German Village,” she said.

The novel follows a woman who loves romantic comedies. When one is filmed in German Village, she gets a job on set and love blooms between her and one of the actors.

Ratcliff said she discovered another good read, “Firefly Lane” by Kristin Hannah, through a recommendation from a library patron.

“It’s about two girls who become good friends in eighth grade. It follows their paths in life: one gets married and has kids; the other is more about her career,” Ratcliff summarizes. “It’s about how they stay friends through everything, even though their paths diverged.”

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


Kathleen Yerian, information assistant/storytime coordinator, Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library

Food for thought and thoughts on food–Kathleen Yerian has recently enjoyed titles that hit on both.

When it comes to literal food, she said she is happy to have discovered “The Wellness Mama Cookbook: 200 Easy-to-Prepare Recipes and Time-Saving Advice for the Busy Cook” by Katie Wells.

“Somebody returned it, and I was the one to check it back in. I tend to eat pretty healthy, so I took a look at it and decided to check it out myself,” Yerian said. She liked it so much, she bought a copy of her own.

The Wellness Mama’s recipes feature easy-to-find ingredients, and most can be made in about 30 minutes. Yerian said she has tried many of the dishes. Among her favorites are sausage balls, good for breakfast on the go, and lettuce wraps filled with chicken, cashews and onions.

As for food for the brain, Yerian turns to suspenseful fiction that keeps her guessing what will happen next. She especially liked Liane Moriarty’s “The Husband’s Secret.” The husband has written a letter he wants his wife to read only upon his death, but the wife finds and reads the letter while he’s still alive. The secret he reveals dramatically changes their lives.

“I like the way the story moves. You wonder what the wife is going to do about it all. It’s a secret that goes back lots of years, and she knew the person involved with it,” Yerian said.

The book Yerian is reading currently is “All the Wrong Places” by Joy Fielding, another whodunit. The premise involves two friends and one of their moms. One of the women is divorced, another is looking for love, and the third has lost a spouse. The trio turns to a dating website, but women who use the site are disappearing. A serial killer is to blame.

“It has me wondering if these women are going to end up this way, too, or if they are going to get away from the killer and how,” Yerian 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.


Hilary Harlan, adult services librarian, Plain City Public Library

All three of the books Hilary Harlan recommends were published in 2018 and are fiction, and each comes with a different reason why she chose to read them.

First up, “There, There” by Tommy Orange, is about urban Indians whose lives converge at a big powwow in Oakland, Calif. Harlan praises the book for its strong descriptions and character development.

“It’s a story with characters we don’t hear much about,” she said.

As for why she picked it up, she said someone who had already read it offered it up as a possible selection for the library’s book club.

“I thought, if they were willing to read it twice, it must be good,” she said.

Harlan’s second recommendation was one whose cover caught her attention.

“There’s this woman in a white dress looking really bored and annoyed,” she said.

The book, “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” by Ottessa Moshsegh, centers on a young woman struggling with depression who takes a combination of drugs in hopes of sleeping for a year.

“There’s tension the whole time,” Harlan said of the story, which starts in the summer of 2000. “Not only are you worried she might kill herself with this combination of drugs, you also know 9-11 is coming.”

The third book Harlan recommends is one she’s getting ready to read next: “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones.

Newlyweds living in the South have it all until the husband is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. How will the couple keep their relationship alive? What does the story say about mass incarceration and its impact on people’s lives?

“I’ve been wanting to read this for a while because a good friend posted on Instagram that it was one of her favorite books,” Harlan said. “Plus, the author is coming to Columbus next fall, and it was an Oprah Book Club book.”

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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