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By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Every lover of literature knows the terrible struggle of finding the perfect next read. They may pick up a book only to realize, five chapters in, that the plot is going nowhere or that the writing is terrible.
Library staff in Westwood is determined to save library-goers some effort.
Every three to four months, the staff comes up with a list of some of their favorite books to present to local bibliophiles. In the end, these bookworms usually end up discovering a new favorite book, author, or genre they might never have expected. On Thursday. January 30, these attendees were introduced to some new books during another annual session of Book Buzz.
Using what Head of Adult Services Molly Riportella referred to as “a very brief book hustle,” each member of the panel gave a brief introduction about their chosen book and why it was one of their favorites. They took turns, each person introducing one of their books before moving on to the next person.
Children’s Library Assistant Karen Cagen started off the panel by introducing the audience to one of the three cookbooks she had picked for the evening. One of her choices, “Eat Joy: Stories & Comfort Food from 32 Celebrated Authors,” contained both essays and recipes. One of the memorable of the essays was an account about an eating disorder survivor making an egg and, over time, gradually adding veggies, eventually making a frittata for her mom. “All the essays are very different, but I love the comfort food,” said Cagen.
Helen Rezendes introduced the audience to “A Madness of Sunshine,” by Nalini Singh. Rezendes explained that Singh is well-known for being the “queen of paranormal,” and that the book, published in 2019, is just yet another fantastic addition to her repertoire. The book centers around Anahera Rawiri’s return to her tiny hometown in New Zealand after leaving eight years before. During her stay, she recalls details of a tragic mystery that occurred during her childhood and connects it with a current mystery plaguing the town. Rezendes recalled how the details and descriptions of New Zealand really struck her. “You can almost smell it,” she explained.
Molly Riportella introduced the audience to books revolving around historical content. Her final book was “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead. The book, though fictional, borrows much of its content and setting from the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Florida. Riportella described how the school was a living nightmare for students, the effects it has had on some of its former pupils, and how it led many of them to lead a harrowing escape from the institution. Riportella recommended readers give the audiobook a try, as it adds an unnoticed element to the story. “It’s just excellent,” she said, wrapping up.
Patti Wade picked all nonfiction books for this session of Book Buzz. Her final selection was “One Day” by Gene Weingarten. In 2013, Weingarten had three strangers help him pick out a specific date - December 28, 1986 - and then interviewed 100 people about what happened that day. As it turns out, that one day was filled with events and connections between interviewees that Weingarten hadn’t expected. His interviews resulted in one of 2019’s most fascinating historical accounts, which informs readers that an ordinary day truly doesn’t exist. “It’s just amazing to think that all that happened in that one day,” said Wade.
For many of the attendees, Book Buzz is a way to broaden horizons. “Many times it’s probably not the type of book you would read, but every now and then, it’s good to shake yourself up and read something that you wouldn’t ordinarily,” explained Marilyn C., a Book Buzz attendee.
As the event ended, most of the audience rushed to the front of the room to grab a copy of at least one of the books mentioned during the panel’s presentation. It’s unknown if they found their new favorite book, or of they enjoyed reading them. One thing’s for sure: there are plenty of great books that can be found in the library - just ask your local librarians.