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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Norma McEntee's Reading Picks!

Norma McEntee is our newest library team member. As a way to get to know Norma and by way of a small introduction, Norma compiled a few of her favorite reads and wrote about them below. Welcome to the team, Norma, we know you will do great things in your new position!

Okay, I’ll admit it. I like reading a scary book—one that I don’t want to put down, even if Sunday dinner is burning in the oven and there is smoke coming from the kitchen. I think books with a little fear tucked into the pages help to remind me that my life is pretty safe and sound—there’s nothing living in my closet or under my bed. Maybe that’s what makes a good scary book so tempting. I’m content that all this stuff isn’t happening to me. So, here are a few of my favorites… with a long, cold, northern Maine winter coming, I plan to have my stack of books near my chair, at the ready. I may even re-read some of these again. The books are not necessarily in any order, but more how they came to mind.

1. Ghost Story by Peter Straub © 1979

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Whether you’re reading this book in the dark of night or on the deck on a sunny afternoon, Ghost Story will send a chill up your spine.

College boy (innocent?) fun gets out of hand and a very bad thing happens. Knowing that it was a ghost story, I was drawn into the story immediately. Soon, their ghost story becomes your ghost story. This is definitely one of my all time favorites. Don’t bother watching the movie, it doesn’t even compare.

2. Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King © 1993

I think readers hate to admit it, but Stephen King has written some good books; not all of them present readers with sci-fi monsters or clowns who bother little kids. Some of King’s monsters are real: like Dolores’ wife-beating husband, or the rich old lady with too much money and too much hate. This is a book with a great story line. No gore and guts, but it is scary. Poor Dolores is just a hardworking woman in Maine (where else?), and SECRETS. She doesn’t stand a chance and is forever labeled in her little coastal town.

3. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King © 1975

It’s been years and years since I’ve read this book, but I still can’t sleep with my curtains open at night, even though my bedroom is on the second floor of the house—just like the little Glick boys, who had a late-night visit from their dead friend.

Since I watched the ‘Wizard of Oz’ as a young girl, my mantra has always been: “I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks…” And I do.

4. Desperate Passage by Ethan Rarick © 2008

The subtitle of this book is: “The Donner Party’s Perilous Journey West”. If you’ve never heard of the ‘Donner Party’ or are unfamiliar with the true story, this is an awesome historical read for you. It reads like a novel, but includes details: diaries and photos. Though it was creepy, I couldn’t help but feel sad.

Boy, talk about ‘California Dreamin’ taking a bad turn….

5. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova © 2005

This is Ms. Kostova’s first book and it’s one that you won’t want to put down. A young woman finds an ancient book while going through letters and papers of her father’s.

She is extremely curious about the book, but it makes her feel uneasy—like something dark lives inside. I think you can never read enough legend of Dracula or books about the reign of Vlad, the Impaler. It’s well written, fascinating and menacing at the same time.

6. The Terror by Dan Simmons © 2007

It’s not just about the 120+ men on the ‘HMS Terror’ and their 1845 expedition to the so-called Northwest Passage, it’s how they survive while waiting for a summer thaw in the Arctic Circle ice where their ship has been frozen for two years – and it’s about things that go bump (and butcher the men as they stand guard) in the night.

Though I liked the book a lot, I was disappointed when it took a surrealistic turn. There’s a major character: a very peculiar Eskimo woman who shows up with a point to make. Good story, but somewhat odd.

7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown © 2003

Loved it! Actually, I inhaled it. There have been tons of critics who have found biblical errors in the book, but I didn’t read it for its biblical content, only for the interesting read that it was.

If you think it’s been overrated and haven’t read it yet, give it a try. The possibilities and the “What if?’s” that Dan Brown put forth are amazing!

I can be diverse in my reading choices, that’s why I would recommend anything by Maine author, Cathy Pelletier. My absolute favorite was her first novel, The Funeral Makers. I found all of her books to be funny in their own way – like living in northern-most Aroostook County – Cathy has discovered that it’s a good thing to be able to make light of some tragedy.

Norma can be reached at (207) 764.2571 or via email at norma.mcentee@yahoo.com.

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