Where It’s At ... to feed your head

Posted:  Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 2:00pm

If you want to take a trip, read a book. This was the advice given me and my cousin by her father back when we were in our mid-teens. I already knew what he said was true; it was one of the reasons I was a book-a-holic. Still am.

As we wait for the January thaw, take a trip from the comfort of your chaise, rocker or sofa transported by the imagination of your favorite author. Now, you could re-read one of the books in your home collection, or … check out what’s at the local library. Remember going to the library as a kid? The library in my town had a flight of stairs, maybe a dozen or so, and as you got closer to the first floor, the first thing you saw was the top of the librarian’s head. Then the rest of her emerged – as well as the very tall front desk. At about the same time the smells of leather, old books, old buildings and probably dust greeted you. And, like many of you, when I close my eyes I can still conjure up this scent memory.

The children’s section was over to the right, reference books and adult books to the left. The sound of the protective covers and the scent of the book as you moved through the pages … I would read books in a series, like Mary Poppins, Wizard of Oz, Pippi Longstocking (that’s Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmind Ephraim’s Daughter), Nancy Drew; A Wrinkle In Time, the Narnia books ... In my teens I discovered Poe, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Carlos Castaneda, Herman Hesse, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, J.R.R. Tolkien, George Sand, Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, every book on Arthurian legend I could get my hands on, among others … who can possibly remember every book read?

This winter (and every season, really) the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library (BHML), at 4 Oak St. has an excellent selection of books. Popular books – and, yes, this means waiting lists – for adults include: “The End Game” by David Baldacci, the fifth book of the Will Robie series; “Fire and Fury Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff; “The Midnight Line” by Lee Childs; “The Rooster Bar” John Griffin; “Two Kinds of Truth” by Michael Connelly; “The People vs Alex Cross,” James Patterson; and “Glass Houses,” by Louise Penny (this book had 400 readers on waiting lists statewide when it was released two months ago!).

Popular with the picture book set at BHML, starting with picture books, are: “I Really Like Slop!” by Mo Willems; “Bear on a Bike” and “Bear About Town,” by Stella Blackstone; “Where's Spot,” by Eric Hill (Desiree Scorcia noted this one is “old but as popular as ever!”); and “Mother Bruce,” by Ryan T. Higgens. Popular chapter books include “Following Magic,” by Kathleen Duey; “Wonder,” R.J. Palacio; any of the “Diary of a Minecraft Zombie” by Zack Zombie books; “The Stonekeeper's Curse” by Kazu Kibuishi; “A Handful of Stars” by Cynthia Lord and … STILL, all of the Harry Potter books.

Nora Lally, new librarian at Southport Memorial Library at 1032 Hendricks Hill Rd., also reported “Fire and Fury ...”, by Michael Wolff as one the book patrons are waiting for and Lee Childs’ “The Midnight Line,” is popular across the Southport bridge as well. Others include “Origin” - Dan Brown; “Uncommon Type,” by Tom Hanks; “Artemis,” for science fiction fans, by Andy Weir; “Promise Me Dad,” - Joe Biden; “Count to Ten” by James Patterson, and for mystery lovers, “The Shadow District,” by Arnaldur Indridason and “Cast Iron” by Peter May.

Popular with the children on the island include: “I’m Afraid Your Teddy is in Trouble,” “Pete and the Cat and the Lost Tooth,” by James Dean; Jonah Winter’s “Ruth Bader Ginsberg;” and poetry by Shel Silverstein, “Runny Babbitt Returns.”

Across the Donald Davey Bridge, librarian Pam Dunning at the Wiscasset Public Library at 21 High St says hot reads include anything by Louise Penny, particularly her “Glass Houses.” “We can’t keep it on the shelf,” Dunning said. “We had 16 on the waiting list before it was published!”

Lee Childs and Paul Doiron are popular suspense writers; and Santa Montifsiore books, said Dunning, are very popular. “She’s taken the place of Maeve Binchey – very popular,” Dunning said.

Very young Wiscasset kids enjoy any book in the series written by Kate and Jim McNullan and all Mo Willems’ books. Older kids enjoy reading the ongoing series “Bravelands” by Erin Hunter; and “The Girl Who Drank the Moon,” by Kelly Barnhill. Children’s librarian Laurie Ridgeway said a “fun, historical, mystery novel” by Beth Fantaskey is “Isabel Feeney.”

I’m currently “on a trip” to Britain through a couple of older works: more Arthurian legend with “The Winter King,” the first of the three Warlord Chronicles novels by British author Bernard Cornwell and “The Sea Priestess” by Dion Fortune.

Reading. There’s nothing like it. Travel through time, examine current events, challenge your sleuthing skills, visit faraway lands, experience the past, present and future vicariously through the characters contained within the pages of books.

As Stephen King has said, Books are a uniquely portable magic.”