by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Our annual adult winter reading program is done for this year. The theme was “Escape with a Good Read”. We have a summer reading program for kids when they’re out of school, but we hold our adult program in the winter when most grownups have more time to read.
Our winter reading program involves simply signing up (and getting a book bag for doing so), then turning in brief reviews for any books read between early January and the end of March. This year we gave a coffee mug to everyone who turned in two reviews and entered people into a prize drawing when they turned in five. Our Friends group donated prizes from local businesses for the winners.
We keep the reviews out in a basket at the front desk for anyone to read. They’re anonymous, so all you know is that a local person wrote them. I’ve gone through them to see what our local readers have reviewed and what they thought.
Our adult readers turned in four reviews for three Lee Child books: The Affair, Bad Luck and Trouble, and 61 Hours. All got very enthusiastic recommendations, with different reviewers saying the books are thrillers that you cannot put down.
We received four reviews of two Jude Deveraux books: The Blessing and High Tide. That’s interesting because these aren’t new books; they came out in 1998 and 1999. But I see that one of them is currently checked out again, for the 50th time in our library. People obviously love Deveraux’s books. Our winter reviewers gave these romances four and five out of five stars.
Four books by Al and JoAnna Lacy were reviewed: High is the Eagle, Let Freedom Ring, A Prince Among Them, and The Secret Place. These are Christian historical fiction. All of the reviewers recommend these titles, giving them four and five stars.
Three Earlene Fowler books were reviewed by three different people (at least I’m guessing so based on the variety of handwriting styles): Broken Dishes, Delectable Mountains, and State Fair. All are mysteries featuring the character Benni Harper. All three people recommended them.
One of the most-read authors in the program was William W. Johnstone, sometimes with J.A. Johnstone. These are Westerns: Massacre at Whiskey Flats, Hard Ride to Hell, Trek of the Mountain Man, Savage Guns, and The Violent Land. Three of these are in the Family Jensen series, one is in the Last Mountain Man series, and one is in the Blood Valley series. All come recommended by possibly one reviewer.
The honor of being our most-reviewed author goes to Karen Kingsbury, with seven reviews turned in for six books: The Chance, Fifteen Minutes, Hannah’s Hope, Just Beyond the Clouds, This Side of Heaven, and A Thousand Tomorrows. All were rated four or five stars. One was described as “inspiring”, which is what Kingsbury is known for.
We will have the reviews at the front desk until the end of April. If you’re looking for ideas about what to read, feel free to take a look. And next year, I hope you’ll sign up for the program, too. It’s very easy with no real commitment, just a way to track your reading and share your opinion of the books you read. During a Minnesota winter, we can all use an escape in a good book.