Local librarians offer up favorite winter reads
Tess Weinkauf, of Delafield, reads a book at the Hartland Public Library Friday, Jan. 17, 2012. Photo by: Todd Ponath
Young and old can enjoy these books
With the cold setting in on this winter season, the best thing for some might be to warm up with a blanket and a good book.
We asked local librarians to share what they are reading and what is hot right now at their library.
Janet Jensen, a reference librarian at the Hartland Public Library, said an old classic she enjoys is the novel "Little Women," written by Louisa May Alcott in 1869.
The book centers on four sisters, who while their father is away in the Civil War, make their own adventures, despite having little.
"It's a good one because it shows kids being inventive and because they have to make their own entertainment," Jensen said. "There was no technology in those days, so they had to make up their own fun."
Hunger Games a hit
Also fun, Jensen said, for those of all ages, especially teens, are the dystopian novels, which includes "The Hunger Games" trilogy - a 2008 young adult series by American writer Suzanne Collins.
"That's very popular right now," said Jensen of the New York Times Bestselling series that has also become a hit movie series.
Jensen said the library also has Philip Pullman's "Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm." Pullman retells the world's best-loved fairy tales in their 200th anniversary.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of children's and household tales two centuries ago like "Cinderella," "Rumpelstiltskin," "Rapunzel" and "Hansel and Gretel." At the end of each tale, Pullman offers a brief personal commentary.
Favorite local writers
A couple local authors Jensen highlighted who have books at the Hartland Library as well as at the Oconomowoc Public Library are Karen McQuestion and Jennifer Chiaverini.
McQuestion, who lives in Hartland with her husband and three children, has fiction books for adults, teens and children. McQuestion has authored eight books - a ninth is coming out in February - and Jensen noted "A Scattered Life," published in 2011, is the most popular one at the library.
Chiaverini lives in Madison and is the author of the New York Times Bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as five collections of quilt patterns inspired by her novels.
"These are very popular, especially now during the winter," Jensen said.
While some of those books could be geared toward women, Jensen said popular books with men are the John Grisham novels.
Grisham, an American lawyer, politician and author, is known for his popular legal thrillers.
According to Grisham's website, there are more than 275 million of his books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 40 languages. Nine of his 23 novels have been turned into films.
And with people ready to try out new recipes for that Super Bowl party or a holiday party, Jensen said a good read at the library is "Cook's Illustrated: The Science of Good Cooking." It includes a new approach to teaching the fundamentals of the kitchen and 400 recipes.
Sense of mystery
Betsy Bromley, the Oconomowoc Public Library children's librarian, has some favorites, too.
She said the winter is a good time to read something dark or mysterious.
"The Raven Boys," written by Maggie Stiefvater in 2012, fits this category, Bromley said.
"Just a great fantasy story," said Bromley, who explained it's geared for young adults but adults, like herself, also enjoy it. "It's a mysterious story with lots of ghostly things. It's actually the beginning of a series and it got a lot of talk among book lovers this past year."
As did "Code Name Verity" - a young-adult historical fiction novel written by Elizabeth Wein.
"It takes place during World War II and tells the story of how a pilot and spy become friends through many twists and turns," Bromley said. "It got great reviews at the library this year."
But Bromley said she also enjoys humorous books during the winter months. One that children enjoy at the library, she said, is the book "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda," by Tom Angleberger. It was the first of three books in the series.
"It's really funny and is a great pick for the kids," Bromley said.
Two other authors, Bromley noted, with Wisconsin ties, popular at the library are Michael Perry and Chad Harbach.
Bromley said Perry uses Wisconsin's winter setting in his books and incorporates his life experiences into his stories. The library also has Harbach's Art of Fielding, a 2011 novel that centers on baseball, but according to Bromley, the book goes beyond the sport as it's about family, friendship, love and commitment - to oneself and others.
"It's fantastic and was huge this year," Bromley said. "Adults would love it."
Other highlighted books
Below are some favorite winter reads from staff members at the Pewaukee Public Library:
"Beautiful Ruins," the Library Book Club's selection for this month, by Jess Walter is a favorite of Beth Savagian, head of adult and reference services.
"The Golden Compass" by Pullman and "Winter's Tale" by Mark Helprin are two favorites of Jenny Wegener, head of children's and young adult services.
"Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain as well as "Beautiful Ruins" were picked by Kelly Schieber, reference librarian.
"What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love" by Carole Radziwill is the top pick for Sue Vuckovich, reference librarian.
"Winter Garden" by Kristin Hannah and "Sophie's Heart" by Lori Wick are Reference Librarian Nancy Stanwood's top selections.
"Dash and Lily's Book of Dares" by David Levithan and Rachel Coh was highlighted by Sandy George, young adult and children's librarian.
"Mrs. Queen Takes the Train" by William Kuhn and "Smilla's Sense of Snow" by Peter Hoeg are Library Director Jennie Stoltz's favorite books this winter season.
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