Finding (You)the Perfect Book - theHumm March 2020
Finding (You)the Perfect Book - theHumm March 2020
By Christine Row
Libraries and bookstores offer a special service that online retailers cannot mimic: connecting people to the perfect book. In the book world, this connection is called “readers’ advisory service”. Online retailers like Amazon attempt to provide this service, but quality readers’ advisory is best done face-to-face. Fortunately, in our community the local independent bookstore, Mill Street Books, is an amazing source for great reading inspiration. Check out Mary’s List 2020 at millstreetbooks.com to get a taste of what you will encounter when you visit.
To provide good quality readers’ advisory service, staff must interpret what people would like to read and have many potential titles to suggest. In order to build a list of suggestions, staff members need to read, read, and ask people about what they are reading. As this is the Speaking Volumes column, I thought it would be a good place to share what Mississippi Mills Public Library staff members are reading and suggesting. Here we go!
I am currently reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. This is an imaginative, behind-the-scenes take on the Trojan War. I would not typically read this type of book, but it was Jill’s Staff Pick, which she discovered from Sarah. See! This is how things work among staff.
I also enjoyed Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. This is a story about two families surviving after a shared tragedy. This book covers love, loss, mental illness and addiction. It sounds heavy but it manages to be a page-turner.
Margo Hay-Goodings has just finished reading and highly recommends The Baztan Trilogy by Deloros Redondo. Translated from Spanish, this series set in the Basque Pyrenees of Navarra, Spain has become the most successful crime series to ever come out of that country. The series is full of wonderful characters, exotic mysterious surroundings and excellent plotlines, and it is absolutely unputdownable.
Monica Blackburn recommends The Birder murder mystery series by Steve Burrows, an award-winning Canadian author living in Oshawa. The series follows Canadian Dominic Jejeune’s career as a newly appointed chief inspector in Norfolk, England. His love of birding (shared by the author) leads to clues and his deductive skills lead to solutions. Lovers of Elly Griffiths, Louise Penny and P.D. James will enjoy this series because of the well-crafted mysteries, characters and sense of place.
Jill McCubbin suggests we read Gilead and Home, both by Marilynne Robinson. Jill explains: “She is marvellous and has won numerous awards. Gilead is ‘the intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart’ (Goodreads). Home is the same story but completely different — told from the perspective of a daughter, who lives down the street in the same town of Gilead.”
For non-fiction titles, Jill suggests From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Marie Doughty, who is a 30-something mortician, author, blogger and YouTube personality known for advocating death acceptance and the reform of Western funeral industry practices. The book is a series of travel writing pieces. Caitlin traveled to international locations with culturally significant and incredibly interesting death and mourning practices.
Jill also picks On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. A good synopsis from The Guardian newspaper: “The Yale historian’s important book argues that we must learn from the horrors of the past if we want to protect our democracy. A short very important book full of ideas and information everyone should be considering in 2020.”
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver is Berta Madrigal Abaroa’s choice. Berta explains: “winner of both the LibraryReads Favorites and Booklist Editors’ Choice in 2018, and described by Novelist as ‘a timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval,’ this is a great read for our times.”
Berta goes on to say: “if you don’t have too much time but still want a quality read, check out the short story collection Immigrant City: Stories by David Bezmozgis. You will find Canadian immigrant experiences told from a personal, sometimes surprising and humorous point of view.”
For the past two years, Berta has been conducting a Mississippi Mills Reads poll. Library patrons submit a list of their favourite reads for the year and the results are tallied and posted online missmillslibrary.com/mississippi-mills-reads-2019 . Following are the top picks for Mississippi Mills Reads 2019, with book descriptions by NoveList Plus:
A Better Man by Louise Penny: “Searching for a missing woman amid a catastrophic flood and blistering social media attacks, a demoted Armand Gamache bonds with the victim’s distraught father, who contemplates a murder of his own.”
Ready to Come About by Sue Williams: “Sue Williams sets sail for the North Atlantic with her husband after her sons have become adults.”
The Library Book by Susan Orlean: “The author reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution: our libraries.”
Becoming by Michelle Obama: “An intimate memoir by the former First Lady chronicles the experiences that have shaped her remarkable life, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago through her setbacks and achievements in the White House.”
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: “Viewed with suspicion in the aftermath of a tragedy, a beautiful hermit who has survived for years in a marsh becomes targeted by unthinkable forces.”
I hope these suggestions inspire some quality couch time and many trips to the library and your local bookstore.
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
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