BCL Staff Picks for 2009

Francesca Denton, Reference Manager, Bluffton Branch

Olive Kitteridge coverThirteen linked tales from Strout (Abide with Me , etc.) present a heart-wrenching, penetrating portrait of ordinary coastal Mainers living lives of quiet grief intermingled with flashes of human connection. The opening “Pharmacy” focuses on terse, dry junior high-school teacher Olive Kitteridge and her gregarious pharmacist husband, Henry, both of whom have survived the loss of a psychologically damaged parent, and both of whom suffer painful attractions to co-workers. Their son, Christopher, takes center stage in “A Little Burst,” which describes his wedding in humorous, somewhat disturbing detail, and in “Security,” where Olive, in her 70s, visits Christopher and his family in New York. Strout’s fiction showcases her ability to reveal through familiar details—the mother-of-the-groom’s wedding dress, a grandmother’s disapproving observations of how her grandchildren are raised—the seeds of tragedy. Themes of suicide, depression, bad communication, aging and love, run through these stories, none more vivid or touching than “Incoming Tide,” where Olive chats with former student Kevin Coulson as they watch waitress Patty Howe by the seashore, all three struggling with their own misgivings about life. Like this story, the collection is easy to read and impossible to forget. Its literary craft and emotional power will surprise readers unfamiliar with Strout. (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 49, p31)


Lanetta Sova, Circulation - Youth Services, Beaufort Branch

Once a Witch coverAlthough everyone in her family is a witch, the main character has no powers and tries to lead a normal life away at boarding school. While on a school break, she is mistaken for her powerful and beautiful sister, and finds herself (with the help of a witch guy friend) traveling back in time to recover an object.

I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who liked the fantasy and relationships in Twilight. There was a little of everything: romance, mystery, adventure, fantasy… I can wait for the sequel to come out. I even heard a rumor that I might be able to meet the author.


Ginny Marshall, Branch Manager, St. Helena Branch

Our Boys coverOur Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen by Joe Drape is a compelling and inspiring story which transcends athletics as it lovingly tells of adolescents supported by their rural community. "Our Boys is about far more than football. It’s an inspiring story about how a coach and a community are building young men with the simple values of love, patience, and hard work. This is a great book."— Coach Joe Paterno, Pennsylvania State University.

796.332 DRA

Laura Hayden, Reference Librarian, Beaufort Branch

People of the Book coverAustralian rare-book expert book expert Hanna Heath is called to Sarajevo for analysis and conservation of the famous Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the earliest Jewish illuminated manuscripts. As Hanna works she discovers tiny clues about the book’s journey. With each discovery the reader is transported further backward in time, from the book’s World War II rescue to its surprising creation.


Traci Cox, Reference Librarian, Bluffton Branch

The Perfect Storm coverThe Perfect Storm was very hard for me to put down. Junger does a fantastic job of making the reader feel like they are observing this whole ordeal from a birds eye view. The descriptions of the sea, the power of a storm, and the swordfishing industry all come to light with Junger’s detailed descriptions. This thrilling story entertains and sheds light on what most likely happened on those fateful days leading up to the disappearance of the Andrea Gail.

974.4 JUN