Maeve Binchy, 1940-2012

Novelist Maeve Binchy has died at the age of 72. Beloved by her many fans since her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1983, her heartwarming novels and short stories are set in Ireland, London, and Greece, and are known for their well-drawn characters and good storytelling. Tara Road was the first novel to have a million copy first printing, and was later made into a movie, as was Circle of Friends. She delighted her readers by coming out of retirement in 2002 and wrote five more books. Her book for aspiring writers, Maeve Binchy Writer’s Club, contains some short stories readers may have missed. Minding Frankie was her most recent book; see my review here. Brenda

Robyn Carr’s Virgin River

Robyn Carr’s Virgin River is a fictional village set in northern California, but it feels real. The bestselling, award-winning, romance series is up to 19 titles, with another coming out in November. I have read three books scattered throughout the series and expect I’ll read more: Shelter Mountain, Paradise Valley, and Harvest Moon. I’ve had to replace most of the books for the library’s collection as they have worn out. What makes these books so appealing? The cozy small town setting, romances that continue on throughout the series, plots that don’t wrap up neatly in a single book, characters that continue to change and grow, and heal. I would describe them as romances that readers of cozy mystery series might enjoy. The people who come to Virgin River tend to have medical or military backgrounds, and many are wounded in body or soul, and have come to Virgin River to start over. Here, they find friends, new jobs, hang out at the bar, and often get married and have babies, then welcome other members of their family to town. For lots more about the series and characters, visit the author’s website. The Virgin River books are:

1. Virgin River

2. Shelter Mountain

3. Whispering Rock

4. A Virgin River Christmas

5. Second Chance Pass

6. Temptation Ridge

7. Paradise Valley

8. Forbidden Falls

9. Angel’s Peak

10. Moonlight Road

11. Promise Canyon

12. Wild Man Creek

13. Harvest Moon

14. Bring Me Home for Christmas

15. Hidden Summit

16. Redwood Bend

17. Sunrise Point

There are also two novellas in That Holiday Feeling and Midnight Kiss.


The Casual Vacancy

Hello, Harry Potter fans! As you may or may not know, there is news a’rumbling about a brand new adult novel by our favorite author, J. K. Rowling. This book, entitled The Casual Vacancy, will be published on Thursday, September 27th, and there are many people who have already pre-ordered their copy from their local library.

J.K. Rowling’s publisher, Little Brown Book Group, is (not surprisingly) hush-hush on the specific details of her first adult novel. As far as we know, many of her original fans are now in their twenties, and I’m sure a big reason for the new book was to keep her main fan base going.

According to USA TODAY, “the book will be set in an English town called Pagford where things are not as idyllic as they seem on the surface.” The Little Brown Book Group says the book will be “darkly comic, thought provoking, and constantly surprising”. has also given a short summary of the book here. Order your copy at the Woodridge Public Library today!


Ray Bradbury, 1920 – 2012

Author Ray Bradbury has died at the age of 91. Born in Waukegan, Illinois, he wrote fantasy, horror, mystery, and science fiction. He is best known for Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. Many of his novels and stories were adapted for film and television.

The Big Read 2012

Thanks to everyone who participated in The Big Read 2012, featuring The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain. The wide variety of programs, discussions of The Paris Wife and two books by Ernest Hemingway were attended by over 2500 people, including the final event with author Paula McLain. The Big Read committee met this week to start the process of looking for the book we will select for The Big Read 2013. If you have any ideas, please comment here or pass along your suggestions at the reference desk. The Big Read is a cooperative project of ten public libraries: Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Indian Prairie, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lisle, Thomas Ford, Westmont, and, of course, Woodridge. For more information, see our website at

The past selections have been an even mix of fiction and non-fiction, and have covered seven different decades. It’s anyone’s guess what will come next. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking book to read or listen to, these are the previous selections:

2005 The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson

2006  Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand

2007  The March, by E. L. Doctorow

2008  Dream When You’re Feeling Blue, by Elizabeth Berg

2009  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver

2010  The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

2011  Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers




Anne McCaffrey, 1926-2011

Science fiction author Anne McCaffrey died in Ireland on November 21, 2011. She was an award-winning writer for teens and adults, best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. More information can be found here. I first read her books in college, discovering them at my college bookstore. The first book in the Pern series is Dragonflight.


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