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Check It Out

Courier Article by Erika Qualls
Sunday, December 6, 2009

Shopping for Book-Lover? Try These Excellent Titles

The holiday season is upon us! I am sure everyone has started their shopping, right? Well, if you are like me, the holidays have snuck up on you and you are scrambling for present ideas for your parents, spouse, siblings, and friends. If you have a reader to buy for this year, below are some titles that would make excellent presents.

One book that has been on the top of many librarians lists this year is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Focusing on Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s, Stockett captures the tensions surrounding the South during this time. Fresh from college, Skeeter Phelan has returned to her hometown of Jackson and is eager to make her name as a writer. While she writes a house-keeping article for the local paper, Skeeter has bigger ideas. With her own maid in her mind, Skeeter begins to interview the black women of Jackson who raise white children, but are not trusted to shine the silver. The story is told by three characters- Skeeter and two maids that join the movement to tell their stories.

Mystery lovers and history buffs will enjoy The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, a story that bounces from 1991 to the 17th century. Graduate student, Connie, is pursuing research about the Salem witch trials in the days before computerized records in 1991. After moving into her grandmother's rotting house for the summer, Connie comes across a key and folded paper reading Deliverance Dane. Thus begins Connie quest to find out who Deliverance Dane was and how they are connected. Howe takes us back and forth from Connie's story to Deliverance's life in 1692 to unravel the mystery of each of these two women.

Taking on the life of Charles Dickens and his wife, Gaynor Arnold's The Girl in the Blue Dress fictionalizes the life of the famous author. Alfred Gibson was beloved by his country and his readers. On the day he is buried, however, his wife sits in her apartment scared to join the public that adored her husband. Dorothea (Dodo) was cast aside by her husband years ago for his mistress and relegated to a life in a small apartment with one servant. Her children were even told not to visit. Now that her husband has died, Dorothea faces the challenge of joining the world where her husband was so celebrated.

The Girls of Room 28: Friendship, Hope, and Survival in Theresienst by Hannelore Brenner brings together the stories of 10 women who survived the Theresienst concentration camp during the Holocaust. Separated from their families and homes, these girls are some of the few hundred survivors of Theresienst. Over 12,000 children entered the concentration camp between 1942 and 1944 to face hunger, cold, disease, and terror. The small group of girls to survive in Room 28 kept the memories of their friends alive in diaries, photos, and letters, and Brenner brings them together to tell a story of survival and hope.

Hopefully, these titles will help you this holiday season when purchasing presents for loved ones. If you are interested in reading one yourself, check out a copy at the EVPL branch closest to you.

Happy Reading!

Erika Qualls is the Popular Materials Supervisor at Central Library.