Ah February! Love is in the air. Here at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, we’re thinking of all of the books we love, and of course the books YOU love. Ever wonder which books are the most checked out by library patrons? During the month of January these were the top titles Madison County “loved”:
Adults: The Racketeer by John Grisham
Young Adults/Teens: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Children’s Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney
Well no surprises there. Madison County is pretty typical as it follows along the Bestseller lists. But then I wondered “What books do people like the Mayor read?” So I started asking some of our “local celebrities” what books they loved. We’ve got choices from local TV anchors, a Mayor, a First Lady, a Dixie Derby Girl, a couple Super Heros and everyone in between. You might be surprised by the answers! And you might find a really good book suggestion.
A soon-to-be first time mom, Michelle Stark chose her favorite children’s book, The Jolly Postman by Janet Ahlberg and Allan Ahlberg. She loved this book as a child and can’t wait to share it with her daughter. It’s about a postman delivering mail to fanciful characters. Each page has a real letter that you can pull out and read. A true reporter at heart, Michelle is blogging her journey to motherhood here.
Dr. Casey Wardynski, Huntsville City Schools Superintendent, chose Silence Over Dunkerque by John R. Tunis as a personal favorite. “It’s the first book that got me interested in reading. This book started my reading journey and love for reading! “
Mandy Pinyan, Youth Services Librarian at the Madison Public Library
“I like The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend, Amanda and her Alligator by Mo Willems, I’m the Best! By Lucy Cousins (‘cause being a good friend is true love indeed!), The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (STILL makes me cry!).”
Steve Johnson is an avid reader so choosing just one was too hard but currently he is reading The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller. “It’s a novel set in a world that has been devastated by a pandemic. Survivors not only have to make it in a world where former conveniences don’t exist, but they often have to defend themselves against other survivors. It’s a story about hope, and the big heart of one man who still sees the beauty of life. One other note—if you’ve ever loved a dog, this book will pull your heart strings. “
“I do not have just one. Among my favorites: Harry Potter series (by J.K. Rowling), Hunger Games series (by Suzanne Collins), all of James Michener’s books, Winston Churchill’s books on WW2, all John Grisham books, and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.”
Dr. Robinson was another local bibliophile who found it difficult to choose a favorite. “It’s hard to pick. Probably The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Or maybe Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg. Those two books had a profound influence on me early in my life when my kids were little and really formed how I managed my life as a mom. If we’re talking fiction, I don’t know that I’d be able to pick one!”
You would think that with her jobs as both Chief Investigative Reporter and WHNT News 19 at Noon Anchor Carrie Marchese wouldn’t have time for much else but you’d be wrong. Romance is in the air for Ms. Marchese. She’s planning a romantic wedding in Italy! So her current read is Fodor’s Italian For Travelers. Carrie and her fiancé are going to the Amalfi Coast in late May. Until then they practice words and phrases over dinner, her favorite meal a healthy portion of baked ziti with some homemade gravy.
Leland Fidler – Open by Andre Agassi; Paul D’Agostino, Chapen LeBlond – Playing With Fire by Theoren Fleury Anthony Battaglia – The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen Brett Liscomb, Brent Tamane – Tough Guy by Bob Probert Dan McWhinney – In the Crease by Dick Irvin Sam Cannata – Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts Jonathan LaRose – Deception Point by Dan Brown Coach Glenn Detulleo – The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle Coach Jordan Little – Any book from the JACK REACHER SERIES by Lee Child
Along with her job at WHNT,Lee Marshallalso keeps busy in her position as founder of Kids to Love so finding the time to read is a real treat. Her current favorite is one that parallels her own life, “A lady at church recommended On Every Side by Karen Kingsbury. The book is about a TV reporter who has some ethical and spiritual dilemmas that she has to face.”
“Since I read for crime fighting, I stick to mostly local periodicals and newspapers. However I do enjoy a good Vampire book every now and again. I especially liked Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. But it would have been better if the vampires turned into bats, instead of just sparkling.”
Lillie Cawthron, Librarian at the Showers Center chose Beatrice Doesn’t Want To by Laura Numeroff as her favorite book. “This book tells the story of Beatrice, who doesn’t like the library. But then she falls in love with the library and isn’t ready to go. It’s like the kids who come to the Showers Library. They keep coming back for more books! We have kids that cry when they are not ready to go and want to stay at the library longer.”
More than just a news anchor,Greg Screws is a local Media Icon. His favorite book is Sufficient Grace by Darnell Arnoult. Sufficient Grace is about the search for a woman who leaves her family and is suffering from mental illness. Greg says, “What makes this book great is that you watch people deal with, for better or worse, stress and seismic shifts in their life. The book is a reminder that many forces, uncontrolled by us, dictate the pace and rhythm of our life, and how important it is to keep moving forward and do the best we can.”
Sarah Savage, President/CEO of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County
“Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. When my oldest began high school, I decided I would re-read some of my favorite classics, to ‘share the pain’ of required reading. I particularly love Jane Austen’s work – the setting, humor,romance – it is a great escape. And it makes me appreciate living in the
While her duties as First Lady of Madison keep her busy, Dana Trulockwasn’t too busy to share her all-time favorite book, “Anne of Green Gables is an oldie but a goodie! It is one of the first books I remember reading as a young girl that I just couldn’t put down. I still love the crazy adventures of red haired, feisty Anne! She is a character I will love forever.”
Emily Shade, Youth Services Librarian at the Main Library
“One of my favorite novels is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I saw the movie version of Howl’s Moving Castle and loved it. When I discovered it was based on a book, I just had to read it. It was my first introduction to the amazing wit and wisdom of Diana Wynne Jones. As good as the movie was, the book is a million times better. She shows the magical in the ordinary (like a lonely girl who accidentally enchants inanimate objects just by talking to them) and the absurd in the magical (just how practical are seven-league boots, really?)”
Laura Trenkle, President of the Dixie Derby Girls Roller Derby League
“As a working mom and derby girl, I have a pretty busy schedule. When I get to escape with a book, I love to read short stories and essays, and David Sedaris is one of my favorite writers. Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim is an irreverent reflection on family, relationships, and growing up. The autobiographical stories range from hilarious to heartbreaking and each is as good as the last.”
Lexie Robinson Austin is one of the few born and raised Huntsville natives. She is a stepmom to one, a librarian to many, a reader of books, and baker of cookies. She likes ridiculously impractical shoes and the color pink.