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Check It Out

Courier Article by Pam Locker
Sunday, December 26, 2010

Year was full of gems that didn't make it into column

After nine years of being one of the library "Check It Out" columnists, I am turning over my spot to another book-lover.

I decided to take a look back at my reading preoccupations, so I did a quick tally of column topics. It seems that novels dominated my reading, followed by biographies (mostly of women), economics/politics/war, and the energy/environment crisis.

Early each year, during Award season, I had great fun doing a books-to-movies column. Each summer brought a focus on the library reading programs and well as good summer reads. Fall featured columns on the Southern Festival of Books and the One Book Program. Oddly enough I only wrote about Christmas one time, and all the other holidays were sadly neglected.

There were some other lonely topics, including the Internet, short stories, nature, loss, snobbery, and illness. Several times I honed in on just one person or country - Sylvia Plath, John Lennon, Marie Antoinette, and China. My most singular topic choice was probably home design, but I remember it was fun looking at all the pictures.

So many of our local authors are self-published and have a hard time getting the word out about their books, so I enjoyed promoting them through Check It Out. EVPL is actually inaugurating a new program in January - book signings in the Central Library lobby the second Sunday of each month. Interested authors are encouraged to contact me.

Every year quite a few of the books I read didn't make it into the paper because they just didn't fit into a category. So here is a list of some of 2010's precious rejects.

Novels I really liked were "Ape House" by Sara Gruen (author of "Water for Elephants" - this one is about bonobos), "Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen (every sentence a gem), "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest " by Stieg Larsson (must confess I like the Swedish flicks even better than the books), "I am Number Four" by Pittacus Lore (the first in a great new YA science fiction series already being turned into a film) , "The Passage" by Justin Cronin (the fabulous beginning of an apocalyptic series about nasty vampires gone viral), and "Room" by Emma Donaghue (love everything she has written - here a boy grows up as a captive sheltered by his resourceful mother).

Intriguing biographies include "Angelina" by Andrew Morton (where does she get all her energy?),
"The Bedwetter "by Sarah Silverman (one word - hilarious), "Bonobo Handshake" by Vanessa Woods (living with bonobos in the Congo - I predict a great future for this gifted young writer), "Decision Points" by George Bush (a peek at the key issues affecting a 21st century President), "Even Silence Has an End" by Ingrid Betancourt (a controversial but fascinating account of six years as a political hostage in the jungles of Colombia), and "My Political Life" by Tony Blair (loved his observation that "normal people" just don't care that much about politics).

IF YOU GO

Local Author Signings
Central Library Lobby
Second Sunday of each month starting January 9, 2011
1:30pm -2:30pm
Books available for sale with part of proceeds going to the Public Library Friends
Call (812) 428-8234 x5403 for more information