Archive for December, 2008
As promised, here is the list of the Most Checked-Out Non-Fiction of 2008. I’ve included the top 14 because there was a seven-way tie for 8th place.
We have a few repeat entries from last year’s list: the warm-hearted and wet-nosed dog story Marley & Me; the perennially popular Guinness World Records and Dave Pelzer’s true story of overcoming child abuse in A Man Named Dave. Cookbooks are once again popular, and once again with a split between eating healthy and comfort foods (last year’s entries included The South Beach Diet, Classic 30 Minute Meals and Cook Once, Eat Twice). Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this list is the local focus. We have Colts’ coach Tony Dungy topping the list followed closely by local historian Joanne Stuttgen and only a little farther down the Historic Homes book.
- Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker
- Morgan County by Joanne Raetz Stuttgen and Curtis Tomak
- Best of Hometown Cooking edited by Jessica Saari
- Guinness World Records by the Guinness Publishing Company
- A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness by Dave Pelzer
- Vintage Cottages by Molly Hyde English; photographs by Tom Lamb
- Plain Secrets : An Outsider Among the Amish by Joe Mackall
- 99 Historic Homes of Indiana : A Look Inside photographs by Marsh Davis; text by Bill Shaw with a foreword by J. Reid Williamson, Jr.
- Dinnertime Easy: Slow Cooker Recipes by the editors of Better Homes and Gardens
- Marley and Me: Love, Life, and Drywall Repair With the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan
- A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
- Weight Watchers All-Time Favorites : Over 200 Best-Ever Recipes From the Weight Watchers Test Kitchens
- What Can I Bring?: Cookbook by Anne Byrn
- Escape by Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer
December 22nd, 2008
The Heavy Hitters
It’s that time of year again when everyone is making lists and I feel I must join in with the Library’s List of Most Checked Out Books of 2008. I’ll post the fiction this week and get to the non-fiction next week. I don’t think you’ll find too many surprises - these are all bestselling authors and blockbuster books which we have multiple copies of.
- 7th Heaven by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
- The Quickie : A Novel byJames Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
- You’ve Been Warned by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
- T is For Trespass by Sue Grafton
- Amazing Grace by Danielle Steel
- The Darkest Evening of the year by Dean Koontz
- Pandora’s Daughter by Iris Johansen
- Double Cross by James Patterson.
- Duma Key by by Stephen King
- The Appeal by John Grisham
The Lesser Known Works
Just out of curiosity, I filtered my most-checked-out list for books that we only have one copy of at the Main Library, and came up with interesting results. Some of these authors have only written one or two books, so check them out, you just might find a new favorite:
- A Promise to Remember by Kathryn Cushman. When a car accident kills two teens from opposite sides of the tracks, the aftermath threatens to tear a community apart.
- Virgin River by Robyn Carr. When recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees an ad for a midwife-nurse practitioner, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache.
- Colorado Pickup Man by Jacquie Greenfield. Burdened with guilt and debt after the death of her father, Debra Walker blames herself, sells her father’s ranch and moves to the city. She falls in love with J.D. while searching for the truth behind her father’s suspicious death.
- The McKettrick Way by Linda Lael Miller. Another novel in the “McKettrick Cowboy” series. Meg McKettrick longs for a baby—husband optional. Perfect father material is gorgeous Brad O’Ballivan, old flame and new owner of his family’s ranch in Stone Creek.
- The Book of Old Houses by Sarah Graves. In her 11th “Home Repair Is Homicide” mystery, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree finds an old book listing the previous owners of her 1823 home. Strangely, the list, which was dated and appeared to be written in blood, includes Jake’s name.
- Chillwater Cove by Thomas Lakeman. While shutting down a Philadelphia child pornography and slavery racket, FBI agent Peggy Weaver discovers among the perpetrators’ possessions photos of her childhood friend, Samantha, who was kidnapped when she and Peggy were ten years old.
What the Experts Say
If you want to check out what the experts say are the best books of the year, try these:
December 18th, 2008
I have a confession. I love Harry Potter and I’ve read all of the books at least once and some of them more than once. I never wanted the story to end, perhaps because they reminded so much of the books I loved as a child where ordinary people stumble upon magic - like the children in Edward Eager’s Half Magic or C.S. Lewis’ children finding Narnia at the back of the wardrobe. I have wished many times that someone would write grown-up books about witches and wizards in the modern world, so imagine my delight when I found that some wonderful authors have made my wishes come true!
Mindy Klasky’s chick-lit series features Jane Madison, a sassy librarian heroine (Yes! A librarian!) , who discovers a treasure trove of magic books in her basement that ignite her inner witchy powers. Along with them she inherits a most unusual familiar and a dreamy Warder who is there to teach and protect, not woo. These books have the usual chick-lit elements of a single girl in the city with wacky friends, workplace perils and a love life gone awry mixed in with a healthy dose of magic. The first book in the series is Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft (a tongue in cheek homage to the original chick-lit novel, A Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing.) If you like the Bridget Jones novels, The Nanny Diaries or The Devil Wears Prada, then these books are for you.
For the darker side of magic, look to Jim Butcher’s series The Dresden Files. These books feature Chicago wizard-for-hire Harry Dresden doing battle with various nefarious paranormal elements - evil sorcerors, vampires, werewolves, demons, fallen angels, faerie Queens and much, much more. Like all good series, Harry’s past is revealed bit by bit and he begins to feel like an old friend. I’m completely hooked on this series which begins with Storm Front and now has a total of ten books and a novella. I’ve read the first seven and I’m impatiently waiting on book number eight. I keep telling myself that I should pace myself and read other books in between Dresden File novels, but my mind keeps turning back to Harry and wondering what will happen next.
Librarians love to categorize things, but I find The Dresden Files don’t fit neatly into any one category. There’s the aspect of magic in the modern world (which librarians would call a “Contemporary Urban Fantasy”) but they also have a dark, crime noir mystery aspect to them as Harry assists the Chicago Police Department’s Special Investigation unit with their more bizarre cases. Arguably, the monsters he battles could classify them as horror novels, but there’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor in them, too. As a library, we chose not to pigeonhole them as mystery, sci-fi or horror and simply let them reside in the general fiction. If you like writers like Tanya Huff, Charlaine Harris or Laurel K. Hamilton, you’ll probably like Butcher’s books as well.
December 3rd, 2008
New kids computers!
Have you seen our new AWE Learning Stations? If you’re the parent or caregiver of a preschooler or early elementary child I highly recommend you take a look at them. These computers have a fun, captivating interface that encourage children to explore on their own and they come packed with educational software programs spanning seven curricular areas. The computers are targeted for children from toddlers through the second grade.
We purchased four of them for the Main Library in Martinsville and the Monrovia branch with a Library Services and Technology Act grant, but I just found out that we have a received another grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Indiana State Library for three more units that we’ll install at the Brooklyn and Northeast branches. Kids love these computers because they are made for little ones to explore on their own. They are bright and colorful and make cool sounds too!
Get rid of pesky overdue fines while doing something good for the community
If you’re like most people, you probably have some overdue fines on your account. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone sometime (even librarians!). This December, however, you can do something about it. Food for Fines allows you to take $1 in overdue fines off your account for every canned or non-perishable food item you bring in and then we’ll donate the food to a local food pantry. Please note that Food for Fines will only reduce your overdue fines and doesn’t apply to lost or damaged materials or collection agency fees.
David Ross Retirement Reception
Many of you already know that David is retiring at the end of December. He has been the Library’s Director for sixteen years and has wrought so many positive changes in our library system during his tenure. Please come out to honor him on Sunday, December 7th between 2 and 4 p.m. The Friends of the Library are sponsoring the reception.
December 1st, 2008