Expand your 'I've been wanting to read that' list

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2006

By Sara Grajek

Rowan Public Library

Ask anyone who reads, and they will tell you they have a list — that ever-growing list of “books to read.”

It may be written neatly (if they are organized), jotted on bits of paper as new titles are discovered or filed away mentally. But everyone has a list.

At the close of every year I vow to be better in the coming year about reading titles on my list. Each year I cross off many, but I also add just as many as I see new books that come into Rowan Public Library. Here are some that have been waiting to be read for a while, and hopefully will be soon. Maybe they will make it onto your list.

“Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment” chronicles a year in the life of Julie Powell, who decides to cook all — yes, all — of the recipes from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one year.

She is determined to find all the proper ingredients even when that requires a citywide hunt for marrow bones. Soon, she and her husband find themselves eating meal after meal drenched in butter, as everyone knows Julia Child didn’t skimp on the butter.

Another book on my list is “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell” by Susanna Clarke. Set in the early 1800s, it features two English scholars who are attempting to bring back magic for the purpose of changing the course of the Napoleonic Wars.

All of their efforts are in vain until it is discovered that someone actually does have magical abilities. It has been reviewed as a Harry Potter for adults, but also as a work of literature. It appears to be a book that will engage the reader slowly and involve them in the characters.

What has kept me from reading this book is the heft and weight of the volume, 800 pages to be exact. I am still keeping it on my list because of recommendations from fellow readers and pure curiosity of what exactly a book of that size could hold inside.

Several months ago I read a novel in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, “Wee Free Men.” It features a young girl named Tiffany Aching who discovers that she is a witch. With the help of the Nac Mac Feegles (or the Wee Free Men) she must find her magic in order to rescue her brother.

Her mentor tells her that a good witch is never without her string. So Tiffany, armed with her string and a frying pan and the loyal Wee Free Men by her side (who happen to be small, blue, heavily tattooed and speak with an Irish accent), sets out in the world.

Sound confusing? It will all make sense when you read the book. The author has a sense of humor and style of writing that is all his own, with plenty of puns and quick-moving dialogue. Following this book are two more featuring Tiffany Aching and her journeys, “A Hat Full of Sky” and “Wintersmith.” Wee Free Men was so entertaining that the next two are definitely on my list.

The next time you are looking for a book to read, consult your list or compare lists with a friend. You may cringe as you find yourself adding titles to yours, but you never know what you might discover. Chances are you can check it out and check it off your list the next time you visit the library.

Holiday hours: Today-Dec. 26, all libraries will be closed for Christmas; Dec. 27 and 28, all libraries will close at 6 p.m. Dec. 30-Jan. 1, all libraries will be closed for New Year’s.

Computer classes: Headquarters, all 9:15 a.m. — Jan. 4, Basic Windows; Jan. 11, Basic E-mail; Jan. 18, Digital Books. South, 7 p.m., Jan. 8, Basic Windows; Jan. 23, 11 a.m., Intermediate Word.

Displays: Headquarters — display by Eleanor Qadirah; East — nutcrackers by Phyllis Buck; South — Christmas display by Rowan Doll Society.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

Web site: www.rowanpubliclibrary.org.