What local librarians are reading this winter


(Posted Jan. 4, 2016)

Here’s a look at what area library staffers are reading and what other books they hope to curl up with this winter.

Amanda Warner, Youth Services Librarian, Plain City Public Library

One of my favorite books of the year was the young adult dystopian novel, “The Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard. The story is set in a future in which Reds, commoners, are ruled by the elite Silvers, a class of “silver-blooded” individuals with superpowers. Mare, a Red, finds herself in the middle of a scandal which threatens the Silver regime when she discovers she possesses a superpower of her own. Dystopian novels have been rampant following the success of “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent,” but this is one series that is well-written, unique and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Some fantastic historical fiction hit the library’s shelves in 2015. Among my favorites was “At the Water’s Edge” by Sara Gruen, author of “Water for Elephants.” Three wealthy American socialites travel to Scotland during World War II with the intention to hunt the Loch Ness monster. What follows is a novel full of romance, suspense and social awakening.

I also greatly enjoyed “The Hired Girl” by Newbery award-winning author Laura Amy Schlitz. This is the diary of 14-year-old Joan who runs away from her demanding father and family farm during the summer of 1911 to seek an education and a better life for herself. “The Hired Girl” offers strong female characters as well as fascinating insight into oppression, religious persecution and early 20th century society.

Chris Siscoe, director, Mount Sterling Public Library

I am reading “The 6th Extinction” by Alexander Rollins. In it, scientists are working to genetically improve animal species so they will have a better chance of survival. A mysterious paramilitary group sabotages the laboratory, releasing a virus into the environment that threatens to kill off animals and vegetation.

If you like Clive Cussler and Steve Berry, you’ll like Alexander Rollins. All three authors usually tell stories of historical mysteries that come forward into modern day. They are action adventure and have a little bit of a James Bond-type formula to them.

Another author along these same lines is Raymond Khoury. He uses the knights templar as the focus of his novels. One I recommend is “The Templar Salvation.”

Mike Hensel, director, London Public Library

I’m going to start off with a classic in children’s literature that I had a wonderful time reading alongside my daughter this fall. I found “The Mystery at Lilac Inn,” part of the Nancy Drew series by author Carolyn Keene, to be pleasant and engaging. The story follows Nancy as she visits one of her girlfriends who is soon to be married and is the new owner of the Lilac Inn. During Nancy’s visit, several mysterious events occur that lead her into a new sleuthing adventure. The Drew series is a great way to introduce young readers to the mystery genre. Yes, the series does include mild criminal activity but the content is very age appropriate. I recommend this series to any young reader who likes varying plots and has a curiosity to discover who did it.

I also recommend “The Secret Place” by author Tana French. French’s novel takes place at a prestigious all-girls school in the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland.  The story follows Detective Stephen Moran, a hardworking officer, who’s been striving for a chance to work with the Dublin branch of the elite Murder Squad. Moran finally gets his shot to work with the head detective when a male student in a neighboring preparatory school is found brutally murder at the all-girl school.

It’s a thread of twisted stories and multiple plots that leads to an array of suspects. The larger mystery is, will Moran find the real killer and earn the respect of the top detective or push the case too far and let the killer escape?

My last recommendation is the World War II story, “All the Light We Cannot See” by Pulitzer Prize Winner Anthony Doerr. The novel begins with two stories, one of a young girl named Marie-Laure in Paris, France, and the other of a young German orphan boy named Werner.

Both characters travel a road of self-discovery that leads them to a small ocean town called Saint-Malo during the height of a Nazi occupation and the fierce fighting of the approaching Allied Forces. There, their paths converge and their lives are forever changed because of a radio signal and a mysterious jewel, both sought by the Nazi Reich. It’s a compelling novel that leaves you hoping that after all of the violence of war, there’s someone still left to tell the story.

Cathy Allen, director, Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library

Jim Butcher’s “The Aeronaut’s Windlass” is the first book in his Cinder Spires series. For fans of the Dresden files, he does not disappoint. The book takes place in a steampunk world with a navy/pirate feel. The main characters are varied, flawed and wonderful—and one of them is a cat! Lots of action, monsters and intrigue. Loved it!

Hugh Howey’s “Sand” is set in the United States in the far future. The entire country is covered by hundreds of feet of sand. Divers wear special suits that allow them to swim through the sand as if it were water. The suits send out vibrations that move the sand away from the body; the divers breathe with tanks of air. The story follows a family that was affluent until the father left one night without warning. The family members left behind live in a very poor shanty town and scour under the sand, looking for “treasures.” Sketchy characters hire the oldest brother to dive farther than he has ever gone to find the mythical city of Danver. He finds it, and he wishes he hadn’t. This book was a page turner!

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