Winter reading recommendations from local libraries

Published 7:40 am Friday, February 12, 2016

For a few more weeks, cold days will linger and the hours of nighttime darkness will outnumber the hours of sunlight. It’s the perfect time of year to settle down with a warm blanket, a cup of hot tea and a good book. I know just the place to find one.

The Central Virginia Regional Library’s two branches serve patrons in the Prince Edward and Buckingham counties and Farmville. I recently asked CVRL staff what books they would recommend.

Nancy Meadows, library assistant in Farmville, says, “One book that I’ve recently enjoyed was ‘Rogue Lawyer,’ by John Grisham. It is currently in the new fiction section of the library. I enjoyed it because it has colorful characters. It is fast-paced and well written. This book is for adults who enjoy courthouse drama.”

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Ruth Erdman, branch manager in Farmville, recommends “Leviathan Wakes,” by James S. A. Corey. You can find it in Farmville’s science fiction and fantasy section. Ruth explains, “If you’re a fan of ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Firefly’ then you will love this new series which follows the exploits of James Holden and his crew of ice miners who have been caught up in a conspiracy that could trigger a war between Earth, Mars, and the colonists of the asteroid belt. Catch the new TV series based on the books on SyFy!”

Sonjaye Jackson, library assistant in the Buckingham branch, also had a suggestion. She recommends, “A Summer Affair,” by Susan Wiggs. The book is located in the fiction section at the library.  I recommend this book because it’s exciting and takes place in San Francisco. Susan Wiggs captures your attention from the beginning and keeps it until the end of the book. The characters in the story are great and hold wonderful relationships. While reading, everything seems so realistic — as if you are actually one of the characters.”

For people who prefer nonfiction, the libraries also offer a wide variety of options. I recently read “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” by Atul Gawande. The author, who is himself a surgeon, examines the question of how physicians can best offer care to patients who are dealing with the effects of advanced aging or who have terminal diseases. He suggests that medical practitioners should help people not only to have a good life but also to experience death in a manner that allows them to complete their own personal life story in a meaningful way. This book can be found in the Farmville branch. Its call numbers are 362.175 GAW.

I also enjoy reading about astronomy and physics. If you do too, I recommend “A Briefer History of Time,” by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. Don’t let the name Hawking scare you off. Although he is one of the foremost physicists of our era, this book is readable and explains a lot about what physicists understand — and don’t understand — about the universe in which we live. You’ll find this one in the nonfiction section; the call numbers are 523.1 HAW.

The libraries also offer a host of video and electronic resources, including movies on DVD, Internet access, subscription database resources for a wide variety of reference materials, and the ability to borrow e-books, digital audio books, and e-magazines. These items can be downloaded directly to your home computer, e-book reader, tablet, or smartphone.

To access these resources — physical and digital — all you need is a library card. If you don’t have one, stop by either of the branches and request one. Anyone who lives or works in Buckingham or Prince Edward counties or the town of Farmville or any adjacent county is eligible.

The Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library is open Monday- Thursday, 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.; Friday- Saturday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; and Sunday 1- 5 p.m. Buckingham County Public Library is open Monday- Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

KAREN BELLENIR Farmville resident since 2009 blogs for Pier Perspectives (, maintains an archive of columns at and is editorial director for Wordwright LLC  ( Her email is © 2016 Wordwright, LLC