Christmas fiction is arriving at the library


Can you believe all the Christmas items in the stores already? They were on display before we even celebrated Halloween! The year is speeding along, but holly and tinsel in early October really does seem to be rushing the season. Soon we will see Christmas decorations in Stop & Shop in January …

Not to be outdone by the crass reality of shopping, we at the library have started receiving Christmas fiction. We have four new novels but will look at only one today. “The Christmas Light” (VAN) by Donna VanLiere is a feel-good story centered on a nativity play. The participants are connected by strong ties, and each is facing his own particular struggle. This is the ninth Christmas-oriented novel for this author, so she knows just how to tug at your holiday spirit.

Oops! Well, let’s also give a new Christmas author a look. Best-selling author Elin Hilderbrand usually writes about summer and the beach, so this is quite a departure for her. “Winter Street” (HIL) is a tale of a typical dysfunctional family gathering at the Winter Street Inn for the holidays. Owner Kelley Quinn is feeling like Happy Scrooge as each member arrives – until he finds his wife kissing Santa Claus. Hmmm. Actually, this story does have a happy ending – for the most part. Not to give anything away, but circumstances are changeable right to the very last word. This is a well-written Christmas tale readable in one sitting.

Leaving the new Christmas books, Jodi Picoult’s latest book, “Leaving Time” (PIC), brings Jenna together with a psychic and a private investigator to help uncover the truth of what happened to her mother over 10 years ago. As a scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice left numerous journals for Jenna to read and scan for clues. Is Alice dead? Or in hiding? Weaving past and present seamlessly, Picoult leads us on a journey with many revealing twists – and one giant turn. Be prepared!

Finally in fiction, let’s return to that lovely, homey town of Mitford. If you haven’t read Jan Karon’s series of novels featuring Father Tim Kavanagh and his wife (and let’s not forget some of the town’s kookier inhabitants!), you should start with the first, “At Home in Mitford” and read the other eight in order if you can. By the time you read the newest, “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good” (KAR), you will have found a new friend and adopted a new town. Father Tim and Cynthia also return to Mitford in this tale to find new conflicts and old friends. It’s always a joy to read about such comfortable, familiar characters – Karon hasn’t lost her touch in engaging the reader completely.

New holiday cookbooks also are arriving! Consistently one of the best names, “Taste of Home: 2014 Holiday & Celebrations” (641.5 TAS) makes merry with numerous recipes for any holiday. From simple to simply elegant, all the recipes look tempting and fairly simple. Specific instructions are included for each: For instance, you can learn how to create carrot curls to top your Three-Layered Carrot Cake on page 222. The only fault I can see is that carb and calorie counts aren’t included in the recipes – but for the holidays, who’s counting?

If you have read “Killing Jesus,” “Killing Lincoln” or “Killing Kennedy,” you must be looking forward to “Killing Patton” (355.0092 ORE) by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. The book follows Patton during the final year of his life. Was Patton killed? Or did he die in an accident? Or was he killed after his car accident? Much controversy has surrounded the demise of this controversial character following the end of World War II. A most outspoken character, Patton may very well have been a target for assassination.

“13 Hours; The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi”(363.325 ZUC) by Mitchell Zuckoff relates the events of Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked the U.S. State Department Special Mission Compound and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya. This book is a personal account of what happened during those 13 hours to the six American security operators who fought the attackers. One man lost his life and two were severely injured protecting these two compounds and the people within. This is an action-packed story of real heroes – it sounds so trite, but as a real-life thriller, it can’t be beat.

Our final nonfiction book looks like a fascinating biography written by Ezra Greenspan, “William Wells Brown: An African American Life” (B BROWN, WILLIAM GRE). Brown reinvented himself when he escaped slavery. A true renaissance man, he was an author and anti-slavery speaker who also practiced medicine and ran for office! At first illiterate, he educated himself to attain these amazing goals and was widely admired. As a fugitive slave, his accomplishments were truly incredible.

Adult Services Librarian Donna Hine writes Library Lines once a month. If you have a topic you’d like her to cover, contact her at the library at 203-758-2634.


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