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Library Talk – September 20, 2016


From the desk of Alison Gibson, Director

Selecting books is fun, frustrating, interesting, challenging and a gamble. What sounds good in the catalog or review may be a big ‘seller’ around here, or may just sit on the shelf. There are some authors you know will circulate well, some you hope will if you can get people to try, and some you just think the library needs to have, and while it might not fly off the shelf, it will steadily go out for years and years.

This week’s selection is a variety of the above. James Patterson is a no-brainer, and Monday’s release of Woman of God has plenty of holds on it. Can the world accept the concept of a female Pope? Can she escape all that want to harm her? Will she take the position if offered? A little different for Patterson, but still a guaranteed high circulation book. Karin Slaughter is another popular thriller/suspense author and she returns with agent Will Trent in The Kept Woman. Second tier (for popularity) fiction titles would be Pushing Up Daisies by M.C. Beaton, the continuation of the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series, and Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley, with spunky twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce back in England solving crimes and putting up with her insufferable sisters.

For biographies, there are many fascinating people being written about, both living and dead, but for some reason, biographies typically do not check out as often as fiction. I’m determined to continue to try, so the soon to be released titles include Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run, covering his childhood, the years playing in bars, the work, the people and the ‘why’ he does what he does, and he writes in a lyrical, conversational way that is easy and insightful to read. Not strictly a biography, but I would still consider it close to one, is Candice Millard’s Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill. As a young man, Churchill thought he needed to do something spectacular, but everything he threw himself into fame still eluded him. As a journalist, he went to cover the Boer War, but was quickly ambushed along with the soldiers he was writing about. His daring escape, and return to save the soldiers he was with, was legendary. His actions and the people he met along the way all helped shape him into one of the iconic figures in world history. Lastly, author Tracy Kidder writes about Paul English in A Truck Full of Money. Paul is a multi-billionaire, having grown up in working-class Boston, has kinetic energy, genius and an innocent approach to the world—a computer geek, pied-piper and consumed with ideas that often work. He represents the new money and new ideas of the 21st century, sometimes frivolous, yet vital to our modern society. Interesting read.

Thanks to everyone that made the Russellville Book and Bargain sale a success this past Saturday. The rain held off, the Friends and staff of the library worked hard, and thanks to the generosity of the people that came to the sale, it was a good day.