Staff Picks: Reading Variety

Posted by Aaron on

tops of booksOur Library Administrative staff has a wide variety of reading tastes.  Here is a sampling of some recent favorites. Maybe one will strike your fancy.

Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Over the years, I’ve read many of Grisham’s “lawyer-themed” books and grew tired of the same theme. A few weeks ago I saw this one on one of the display tables in the library and thought I would give it a try. While still about lawyers, I found the subject matter (coal mining in Appalachia) very interesting – and somewhat depressing – since apparently these practices were allowed to go on for far too long before proper regulation/laws, etc. were put in place.

I found myself rooting for the lawyers and against the big coal companies and was anxious to see how it ended. The out-of-work lawyer takes an internship at a legal aid clinic in a small town in Virginia and realizes she likes helping clients who had real problems. Not only does she like it, but it turns out that she’s pretty good at it too. In the end, although many people suffered at the hands of the coal companies and their vicious (& well-funded) lawyers, the female lead ends up staying in Appalachia so that she can continue to fight the coal companies and help the families who need it most. (A most satisfying end for me as the reader!)

–Terri, Administrative Specialist, Library Administration, Warrenton central library

In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

Having been fascinated by Devil in the White City and reminded of this by the release of his new book Dead Wake:  The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, I decided to give “In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin” a try while I waited for my hold on the newer title to come in.  (Besides, I really enjoy historical non-fiction.) Set in Germany from 1933-1938, Larson chronicles the lives of U.S. Ambassador William E. Dodd and his family and in particular, his 24-four-year-old daughter, Martha, as they witness the phenomena of Hitler’s rise to power.  As is his bent, Larson fills in the cracks with information-rich details about the other players involved. Being a librarian, I’m kind of an “information junkie” when it comes to trivia and other tidbits of information, so Larson’s books are right up my alley! And now while I await “Dead Wake,” on to another of his works, Thunderstruck.

–Dawn, Public Services Manager, Library Administration, Warrenton central library

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

I have always enjoyed historical fiction, especially when set in medieval England. If you also enjoy this genre, I think you will find The Mists of Avalon a fascinating retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Instead of focusing on Arthur and the knights, however, it is told from the perspective of the women, including Arthur’s mother, sister and wife Guinevere. The plot centers around the conflict between Christianity and the Druid religion, which is attributed with giving Arthur the famed Excalibur and putting him on the throne. The author does a wonderful job explaining the Druid religion and the prominent role it played in Britain at the time. Although I was familiar with the legend of Arthur and the Round Table, I never gave much consideration to Arthur’s life before or after the legendary Knights of the Round Table. “The Mists of Avalon,” however, begins the tale before Arthur’s birth and continues through the end of this life, with vivid details and history in between.

If you enjoy historical fiction, and are open to fantasy, I highly recommend “The Mists of Avalon” as a rich and intriguing read.

For more recommendations, check out our weekly Staff Picks, or stop by the reference desk at your local library.

–Lisa, Public Information Coordinator, Library Administration, Warrenton central library



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