As the director of the Putnam County Library, I’m surrounded by books all day, every day. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean I get to read all of the time. Darn!
But here are five I’m definitely going to make time for in 2017:
“The Rebel in the Red Jeep: Ken Hechler’s Life in West Virginia Politics” by Carter Taylor Seaton
This biography of the recently deceased Hechler will be released in June, and I’m really looking forward to diving in, as he was a long political hero of mine. The story of this soldier and civil servant’s life should inspire, regardless of party affiliation. It’s a good example of a non-native West Virginian doing the good work for their beloved adopted state. Also check out Hechler’s own works, like “The Bridge of Remagen: The Amazing Story of March 7, 1945, The Day the Rhine River Was Crossed,” “West Virginia Memories of President Kennedy” and “The Fight for Coal Mine Health and Safety: A Documented History.”
“The Natural Way of Things” by Charlotte Wood
Natural Way is described as a feminist horror novel. Reviews liken it to Margaret Atwood in the Outback.
“The stories of Verla and Yolanda seem ripped from the headlines about today’s institutionalized misogyny and violence against women,” the book’s publisher describes. “‘The Natural Way of Things’ is at once lucid and illusory, a brilliantly plotted novel of ideas that reminds us of mankind’s own vast contradictions — the capacity for savagery, selfishness, resilience, and redemption all contained by a single, vulnerable body.”
“The Bill of Rights” by James Madison
Yes, I’m revisiting the Bill of Rights at the beginning of 2017. One of the defining documents of our country, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) turned 225 years old on December 15, 2016. In a period of presidential transition, it’s a good time for a refresher.
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
I re-read it every year. It’s just a thing I do. If you haven’t read it, do. It’s the basis for every romantic comedy ever, as well as a still relevant comedy of manners and a subtle treatise on the lives of women whose only career choices were marriage, governess, or poverty. If you have read it, do it again. You’ll catch something new every time.
“Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” by J.D. Vance
I didn’t get a chance to read it in the summer of 2016 when it came out but the flurry of think pieces on this book means it has to be at the top of my TBR list. Time to see what the fuss is about. Join me and we’ll discuss!
“‘Hillbilly Elegy’ is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis – that of white working-class Americans,” according to Amazon’s description of the book. “The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.”
Megan Tarbett is the Director of the Putnam County Library, a five-branch public library system that serves the people of Putnam County. Megan is the incoming Vice Chair of Generation WV. Aside from reading and talking about books and libraries with whoever will listen, Megan enjoys baseball, live music, eating and drinking good things with friends and family, and, of course, traveling this great state and enjoying all of her wonders. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @tarburator.
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** Track #2 is NSFW and not intended for little ears