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December 18, 2013

Librarians list top holiday reading picks

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

Books make a great stocking stuffer, and librarians at the Sterling Heights Public Library have the scoop on some of the most popular reads this holiday season.

According to youth services librarian Barbara Van Havermaat, several popular page-turners have been well received among children and young adults recently.

She said some examples include the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series by Jeff Kinney, the “Magic Tree House” series by Mary Pope Osborne, and “The Heroes of Olympus” series, which is connected to the “Percy Jackson” series of books by Rick Riordan.

“The fantasy books are always popular with kids,” Van Havermaat said.

“Of course, ‘The Hunger Games’ is one of the very popular ones right now, and any type of that dystopian literature (with) the futuristic society and calamities and bad things they go through.”

According to adult references librarian Debbie Vercellone, several authors have recently released works that could make a pleasant present.

For instance, she said “The First Phone Call From Heaven: A Novel,” by Mitch Albom, is a story about residents from a small town who get phone calls from heaven. Another popular title is “Doctor Sleep,” by Stephen  King, she said.

In the nonfiction category, Vercellone said one of the most popular is “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.” That book details the life of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager and human rights advocate.

“Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics” is a collection of essays written by conservative columnist and pundit Charles Krauthammer.

“Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom From Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle,” by Si Robertson, is a literary spinoff of the “Duck Dynasty” TV series.

Many of these books are in frequent rotation at the library, Vercellone said. “Most of them, there would be waiting lists,” she said. “‘I am Malala’ has a long waiting list.”

Vercellone said the balance of people who prefer to read fiction rather than nonfiction is probably a bit higher, though she added it’s a matter of personal taste. “It’s easier to read a fiction (book) than to get into some very detailed-oriented facts,” she said.

She added that print books are still strongly in demand, despite the rise of e-books.

“The e-books are popular, too, especially after the holidays,” she said. “They get as gifts the e-book reader. The first week of January is crazy about e-books.”

Learn more about the Sterling Heights Public Library at www.shpl.net or by calling (586) 446-2665.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.