CH Booth Library Representatives Share Top Picks For A Good Read

Published: January 27, 2018 at 12:00 am


C.H. Booth Library staff shares its picks for 2017 and what to consider this calendar year. Pictured are, from left: Andy Forsyth, Lucy Handley, Anne Mastroianni, Frances Ashbolt, and Margaret Larsen.  (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
C.H. Booth Library staff shares its picks for 2017 and what to consider this calendar year. Pictured are, from left: Andy Forsyth, Lucy Handley, Anne Mastroianni, Frances Ashbolt, and Margaret Larsen. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

If you are looking for a book to read, the library is the place to go. In need of some pointers on what to check out? Look no further.

"You can come to the library for suggestions," said Margaret Larsen, of the C.H. Booth Library circulation department, one of several library representatives to offer ideas through the C.H. Booth's staff picks for 2017, along with suggested reads for 2018.

Whether you or the reading enthusiast in your life wants to thumb through pages the traditional way or listen to a story, there are plenty of options.

"We have books that are hardcover and paperback. We also have audio books and we have downloadables and ebooks," said Andy Forsyth, head of reference services.

Killers of the Flower Moon is a book Ms Forsyth recommends.

"I'm a big reader of nonfiction. It was a really gripping nonfiction book. It reads like a fast-paced suspense novel," Ms Forsyth said.

Lili de Jong is "a remarkable account of a single, pregnant woman set in 1880s Philadelphia. The sacrifices made and hardships endured by this heroine are extraordinary and inspiring. Although historical fiction, it is a timely read in light of current equal rights issues. A very well researched first work of fiction by author Janet Benton," said Ms Larsen.

Golden Hill, set in 1746 Manhattan, and written in the style of the period, this novel has a surprise ending and the book is enjoyed by Circulation Supervisor Anne Mastroianni.

"It was a very interesting and different type of historical fiction. It made me more immersed in the time period," Ms Mastroianni said.

Pat Martin, who works in circulation, suggests The Seven Sisters. In this book, six sisters gather at their childhood home, a secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva. Each has been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died and they have each been handed a clue to their true heritage.

Mimi Moran, circulation, recommends A Piece of the World, which imagines the life story of Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth's painting "Christina's World," describing the simple life she led on a remote Maine farm, her complicated relationship with her family, and the illness that incapacitated her.

"Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker is a great read for anyone who loves Jane Eyre. It's a retelling of that tale from the perspective of Edward Fairfax Rochester, who starts out as a sensitive, open-hearted boy, and what happens to form the mercurial personality whom Jane meets at Thornfield," said Lucy Handley, in Adult Programs.

Young Adult Librarian Kim Weber said Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders and The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley are her picks for 2017.

"President Lincoln's beloved 11-year-old son has died of typhoid fever and Lincoln, overcome with grief, visits the crypt where Willie is buried. Willie, along with a troop of other ghosts are stuck in a transitional phase known as 'in the bardo,' and they do their best to comfort the grieving father while also trying to make sense of their own particular situations. So different from anything I've ever read," Ms Weber said.
The War That Saved My Life is a read that may cause tears, according to Ms Weber.

"This wonderful heartwarming middle school historical fiction has broad appeal for readers of all ages. It's set in England during World II where 10-year-old Ada has been locked away in a one room apartment for her entire young life by an emotionally and physically abusive mother. When her younger brother is evacuated to the countryside Ada sneaks away with him. Keep the tissue box nearby," Ms Weber said.

Other library selections for 2017 are The Book of Dust - La Belle Sauvage, The Radium Girls, The Forgotten Room, and Everything I Never Told You.

The library representatives also shared a bit about what they look forward to reading in this new calendar year.

Ms Mastroianni said she is looking forward to reading The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey.

"It is a mystery set in 1920s Bombay. According to the reviews, it has a lot of historical detail and strong sense of place. I am also excited for the upcoming book by Charles Frazier, called Varina, and due out later this year. It is set during the Civil War era, like his first novel, Cold Mountain.

Ms Handley said she is interested in reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (author of The Nightingale), which comes out in February.

"It's about a family in 1974 who moves to Alaska for a fresh start, intending to live off the grid. Needless to say, it turns out to be no walk in the park. I like stories about groups of people facing the terrors of nature," Ms Handley said.

Ms Weber lists a few books she anticipates opening the pages to in 2018. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand is one of them.

"Looking forward to number two in the Lady Janies series, it's a twist on one of my favorite classics, Jane Eyre - Will this Jane find love with Mr Rochester?"

Transcription by Kate Atkinson is another.

"I love everything Atkinson has written and can't wait to read this book. I know nothing about it except it involves the BBC and the consequences of idealism," Ms Weber said.

Another from Ms Weber's list is one she hopes to apply to the dinner table: Healthyish: A Seriously Satisfying Truly Simple Good-For-You (but not too-good-for-you) Recipes for Real Life, by Lindsay Maitland Hunt.

"The title says it all," Ms Weber said, "hoping for some alternatives that walk that fine line of delicious without clogging the arteries."

Randi Rote, who works in circulation, said she is looking forward to reading the fourth book in the Seven Sisters series (Ms Martin's suggestion is the first of the series) by Lucinda Riley, called The Pearl Sister.

"Each book focuses on a different sister in a different part of the world. I have recommended the series to many people," Ms Rote said. "I'm also going to be reading The Woman in the Window. From the description it sounds like a twisty thriller, similar to books by Alfred Hitchcock or Gillian Flynn."

In need of some incentive to clean out the closet or basement? Frances Ashbolt, also of the circulation department, says she is hoping to read The Year of Less by Cait Flanders.

"It is about a woman who only buys consumables, like food and petrol, for a year, and gets rid of 70 percent of her possessions," Ms Ashbolt said.

While those who spend a lot of time around books offer their two cents, they welcome input from the community as well.

"The public suggests books to try and I've read several of those people have suggested," Ms Ashbolt said.

There are a variety of reasons to read, as expressed by some of the C.H. Booth Library staff.

"You can learn things you might not know about," Ms Mastroianni said.

"You can live in another world," Ms Handley added.

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This Week's Poll

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is presenting or coordinating on six weeks of special events. Which event are you looking forward to the most? (Visit our Features page for a full story with details about all of these events.)

“In The Bag” exhibition, on view to September 28
0% (0 votes)
The Lords of 52nd Street concert, September 14
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Arts Festival weekend, September 15-16
50% (1 vote)
“An Evening of the Arts,” September 15
50% (1 vote)
“The Fox on the Fairway” production by Town Players of Newtown, weekends September 21-October 13
0% (0 votes)
“The Main Street Replica Project,” launching September 25
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series screenings of “The Blues Brothers,” September 30
0% (0 votes)
Photography display “In Our Rearview Mirror” by Marleen Cafarelli, et al, October 1-30
0% (0 votes)
“Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb” with Tinky Weisblat, October 3
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Day, October 6
0% (0 votes)
The 3rd Annual Newtown-Sandy Hook Restaurant Week, October 8-14
0% (0 votes)
Basket weaving workshop with Tina Puckett, October 13
0% (0 votes)
“Courageous Conversations in A Complex World,” October 17
0% (0 votes)
Live at ETH: David Wax Museum concert, October 19
0% (0 votes)
The 2nd Annual Fall Carnival at Fairfield Hills, October 19-21
0% (0 votes)
Connecticut Author’s Reading Series, October 21
0% (0 votes)
Natalie’s Open Mic, October 21
0% (0 votes)
“The Wordsmiths,” October 24
0% (0 votes)
Pianist Konstanza Chernov, October 28
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series double feature screenings of “Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Beast with Five Fingers,” October 29
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 2