Get ready for winter reading

Lynn Marr-Moore

Winter is just around the corner.

It could be a really cold winter with lots of snow.

You might have cabin fever…what on earth can you do?

There might be no school, especiall if there are snowdrifts so high you’d need a miracle to get out of the house.


I imagine you all have had these thoughts. After all, winter is just around the corner, and the snow does sometimes get so high you can be stranded for days. Schools are often cancelled again and again.

How about picking up a good book, or two or more, right now while you can still get to the library or book store. Make sure you have lots of firewood for the fireplace and activities for the kids for at least three days in a row.

Then, put your own mind at ease with lining up what you can read. Get online and look at the New York Times or the USA Today bestsellers lists. There are so many good books right now. Let’s talk about them a bit.

First of all, the Best Sellers List is just that…a list of the bestselling books each week here in the United States. Both newspapers compile their lists, which ranks the books that are selling from a range of retailers and outlets, reflecting sales from the previous Monday through Sunday of each week.

Starting on Oct. 12, 1931, the weekly New York Times list consisted of five fiction and four non-fiction books for New York City only. By 1950, this list was considered the leading bestseller list for book professionals to watch.

Leading both lists currently is “The Girl on the Train,” Paula Hawkins, author. The book is a psychological thriller about the disappearance of a young married woman. The book was just released as a movie.

Jennifer Gogerty and Kristy Crisler of the Slater Public Library offer these suggestions as to what is popular at the library as far as being good reads:

• For the person looking forward to baking and cooking as the temperatures fall outside — “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime” by Ree Drummond or “Guy Fieri’s Family Food.” The Slater Library has plenty of other cookbooks to choose from, including “Ms. Pie Lady,” which features stories and recipes from Beth M. Howard, who lives in and runs a pie shop from the American Gothic House here in Iowa.

• For the reader looking for a quality Young Adult novel (upper elementary to middle school-age children), “The War that Saved My Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. This work of historical fiction not only teaches kids (and adults) about the hardship that came with living in the World War II era in England, but models and encourages empathy for the people around us.

• For those who like science fiction to be heavy on the science, with liberal doses of humor, try “The Martian by Andy Weir.” If you love the book, the library has the movie, too. Weir is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics and the history of manned spaceflights.

• For the people looking to get their houses organized while being trapped inside during an Iowa winter, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. This book is a comprehensive course on how to tidy up all your possessions and possibly your life – for good. While doing the work, it is suggested to listen to an audiobook to help pass the time.

• For the reader looking for characters to love in a book that’s tough to put down: “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin (a bookstore on an island off New England, what’s not to like?) or “The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion” by Fannie Flagg.

• For those who appreciate the wonderfully strange parts of our world: “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs, along with the assorted series, graphic novels and movie.

• And…for those who like to spend cold nights buried in a psychological thriller: “What She Knew” by Gilly MacMillan. This would be a good bet for those who liked “The Girl on the Train” and similar chilling mysteries.

Cathy Van Maanen of the Huxley Public Library added these thoughts on winter reading:

The Huxley Public Library has two book clubs — one group which meets in the morning and one that meets in the evening. Currently they are reading “The Descendants” by Kaui Hart Hemmings, with plans to watch the movie as well and discuss the differences. The morning group is reading “The Usual Rules” by Joyce Maynard.

The Huxley Library serves patrons with wide and varied interests, but top selling authors are the most popular. The top five most checked-out authors in the last year are James Patterson, John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, Kristin Hannah and Liane Moriarity. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins, was popular a year ago, and now has a waiting list again with the release of the movie.

Teens love a good series. The Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore is one of the most popular. Also The Selection Series by Kiera Cass and Maggie Stiefvater’s, The Raven Cycle, are popular with teenagers.

For the younger crowd (the fifth- and sixth-graders), the Warriors series by Erin Hunter and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are very popular. Van Maanen recommends the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems.

New titles Van Maanen recommends for winter reading include: “The Boston Girl” by Anita Diamant (historical fiction); “Foreign Agent” by Brad Thor (thriller, suspense); “Good Liar” by Nicholas Searle (mystery/suspense); “Belgravia” by Julian Fellowes (author of Downton Abbey); author Jennifer Weiner’s autobiography “Hungry Heart” and non-fiction for teachers and parents, “The Importance of Being Little,” by Erika Christakis.

So, before winter arrives, go to your public library and pick up some bestsellers and enjoy a good read.