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The 2009 theme for the Bluffton Library's adult summer reading program was "Master the Art of Reading." Unlike the Children's Summer Reading Program, no registration was required and participants simply filled out a book review form and submitted their reviews for consideration under the following group of categories: Best Overall, Most Humorous, Most Literary, Most Creative and Most Unusual.
Winners received a gift certificate to one of the following local restaurants that generously donated gift certificates for prizes: Badabings, Captain Woody's, Downtown Deli, Jim 'N Nicks, Sippin Cow Cafe and Stooges Cafe.
In addition, all participants received a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble Bookstore, generously funded by the Friends of the Bluffton Library organization.
The library staff had a difficult time selecting the winners from the more than 50 submitted reviews. So for your reading pleasure, here are the 2009 adult summer reading pProgram winners:
"The Enemy" by Lee Child
Ladies, you might want to take a look at Lee Child's hero, Jack Reacher. Many readers think the Reacher books are for guys. Not so. When Jack takes off his shirt to expose his sculpted chest, his girlfriends go ga-ga counting the bullet holes and knife scars. You can bet when he's around nobody is going to snatch your purse. P.S. Good mysteries, too." (Reviewed by Lee Bowen)
"Mercy" by Jodi Picoult
Picoult has carved out a niche of her own in fiction writing. Her stories feature characters facing moral dilemmas that could be taken from current events. Using a writing style that makes the reader turn pages almost before finishing them and in-depth, impeccable research to keep the characters' choices realistic, she has few equals in modern storytelling. This book examines the granting and definition of mercy and forgiveness, from "mercy killing" to whether or not to forgive infidelity. A mesmerizing read. (Reviewed by Paula Lamb)
"The Very Best People" by Elizabeth Villars
The characters in this story are so tedious and boring that I kept thinking of things that must immediately be done, like caulking the tub and cleaning the den's curtains. (Reviewed by Kimberly Rios)
"The Best Plays of the '70s," edited by Stanley Richards
In 1975 I attended a sold-out performance of "Otherwise Engaged" by Simon Gray at the Queen's Theatre in London.I remember how thrilled I was to be in London for my first visit -- except for the exceptional spell of hot weather, as London theaters in 1975 had no air-conditioning. Fifty delightful minutes into the play, the English equivalents of our paramedics arrived with stretchers to carry out the fainting theater-goers. I realized that I too would be confined to a British hospital for the remainder of our one-week vacation if I didn't immediately dash for fresh air outside the Queen's Theatre. And so I did, missing the last 20 minutes of this urbane, sophisticated, delightful comedy. I never knew the ending until July 6, 2009, nearly 34 years to the day of that London theater experience.Through the graces and expertise of Bluffton Library's reference staff, I obtained and read the entire Simon Gray play. I now realize it's never too late to learn how something ended, even if it takes 34 years to get to it. (Reviewed by Roslyn Farhi)
"White Tiger" by Aravind Adiga
This debut novel won the Booker Prize in 2008. We first learn about the narrator, Balram Halwai, during his early years of poverty in a poor India Village. We learn early on that he has a dark side, but that he is extraordinarily talented and smart, and therefore able to get a job as a driver for one of India's wealthiest men. Balram uses his wits to secure another job that will earn him an increased income and enable him to grow more independent from his family.Many entertaining and intriguing plot twists ensue. And even though we might be rooting for underdog Balram, the ending gives pause and wonder about his fate. Through colorful writing comes alive a corrupt and disparate world as seen through Balram's eyes. (Reviewed by Philip Burt)
Column originally published in The Bluffton Packet, September 2, 2009.