Recently, some of the Library staff gathered to discuss favorite authors and books read during the past year: note…books “read” and not “published” in. We were looking for the best reading experiences of the year gone by. Take a look at our choices. You’ll find some old favorites, but we hope you’ll discover some new ones as well.
Agree? Disagree? Write us back. We’d love to know what’s on your list!
Maeve Binchy ~ Great story teller who creates a wonderful sense of place and lovable characters.
Do you enjoy stories about knitting? Then try Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek Quilt Series set in Pennsylvania. These gentle, entertaining stories can be considered historical fiction with a touch of mystery and lots of information about quilting and the world of women. There are eleven titles in the series and it is not necessary to read them in order.
Monica Ferris’ Needlecraft Mysteries are cozy novels set in Minnesota. Betsy Davenport owner of the Crewel Shop and sometime sleuth always manages to become involved in solving a murder case. Ferris offers solid information about needlecrafts, and her quirky characters add to the richness of these delightful tales.
Benni Harper, ex cowgirl turned quilter is featured in Earlene Fowler’s award winning mystery series set in California. The thirty-four-year old widow is the curator of San Celina Folk Art Museum and often finds herself embroiled in mysterious events. These carefully plotted stories contain a bit of romance, some humor and each includes a quilt pattern. The reader will enjoy meeting Fowler’s lively characters in her Benni Harper Series.
Sister Chicks in Gondolas ~ Robin Jones Gunn
Stories that will appeal to women aged 30-50 age ~ Recently divorced Jenna receives an invitation to cater a mission retreat in Venice ~ Though not a great cook she asks sister-in-law Sue, who is a terrific one, to accompany her. The women are housed in a fifteenth century palazzo and soon begin to enjoy wonderful experiences that will last a lifetime. An inspirational story that intelligently explores the subtleties of women’s relationships.
The Glass Castle ~ Jeanette Walls
Though Walls’ story of parental neglect is not for the faint of heart, she renders her childhood experiences (at times funny and harrowing) and those of her three siblings with pathos, humor and not one shred of bitterness. Walls’ parents are irresponsible, brilliant, nonconformists whose eventual betrayals force their children to set out on their own in order to survive. Upon finishing this disturbing narrative, the reader is left feeling the author’s unconditional love for her family.
A Miracle for St. Cecilia’s ~ Katherine Valentine
If you are looking for gentle series similar to Jan Karon or Philip Gulley’s books, be sure to try Valentine’s Dorsetville Series set in New England. The town has endured serious economic losses with the closure of its woolen mills; this does not seem to bother Dorsetville’s inhabitants for they are rich in faith and compassion.
Warm-hearted, funny, inspirational stories that are treat to read.
Garden Spells ~ Sarah Addison Allen
Read this wonderful, enchanting story and fall in love all over again! Claire is a successful caterer and somewhat eccentric among the town folk of Bascomb, North Carolina. A member of the Waverly clan, it is believed that she possesses certain magical gifts. Claire’s quiet, predictable life is suddenly disrupted by two events: her new next-door neighbor and the return of her long-lost sister Sydney. The reader will enjoy unusual, interesting characters and savor the wonderful sense of place that Addison’s writing evokes.
Life as We Knew It ~ Susan Beth Pfeffer
In this thoroughly absorbing tale, young Miranda and her family struggle to survive a natural disaster when a giant asteroid collides into the moon. Though her family is better off than most (due to her mother’s foresightedness), their situation becomes critical as new disasters arise. The story is revealed thorough journal entries and though it is lengthy, it will hold your attention to the end. Life for Miranda has drastically altered and she is forced to evaluate and treasure what is truly important.
The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story ~ Diane Ackerman
Using the diary of Antonian Zabinski and other historical sources, Diane Ackerman explores the world of the “zookeeper’s wife” who sheltered and saved over three hundred people from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II ~ Ackerman is a scientist, and her recognition of the beauty and savagery of nature set in juxtaposition to the horrors of Hitler’s regime is powerfully revealed.
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