Fall is a wonderful time to find a beautiful outdoor location and curl up with a blanket and a good read.
Starkville residents are reading a variety of books this fall, including many interesting selections by Mississippi authors.
Carolyn Abadie at the Bookmart in downtown Starkville said one of the most popular fiction books being read right now by Starkville/Oktibbeha County residents is “The Help” by Kathyrn Stockett.
Abadie said “The Help” is a wildly popular book about three women during the civil rights era that start a movement of their own that forever changes a town and the way women — black and white, mothers and daughters— view one another. The book is set in Jackson in the year 1962 and is currently being made into a movie.
A trilogy of books by Steig Larsson books have been very popular locally, according to Abadie. “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest” have stayed on the national bestseller lists for several weeks. “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” has been on the list for 56 weeks.
The series is about a hacker and a journalist that investigate the disappearance of a Swedish heiress and all the escapades that they go through including being accused of murder.
Abadie said unfortunately, the author, Steig Larsson never got to enjoy seeing his books come to fruition. Abadie said Larsson passed away in 2004 and his trilogy has held the bestseller spots at the same time on the Hardcover Fiction, Paperback Trade Fiction and Mass Market Fiction bestseller lists.
James Patterson is another prolific writer Starkville residents find wildly popular, year round, but this fall, Patterson weaves another suspenseful novel in “Private.”
Abadie said “Private is about a former Marine and CIA agent, Jack Morgan, who inherits his father's renowned security and detective business. Getting to the bottom of an NFL gambling scandal and an unsolved LAPD investigation into 18 school girl slayings would be enough to keep him busy. On top of all that, Morgan takes on solving the horrific murder of his best friend's wife.
Neil White’s non-fiction work, “In The Sanctuary of Outcasts,” has been a popular book locally, enhanced by two author visits this summer, at the Bookmart and as part of the Books and Authors series at the Starkville Public Library.
White, the former publisher of New Orleans magazine and Coast Business Journal, shares his story of winding up in federal prison serving 18 months for bank fraud. The prison, located in Carville, La., was also a home to the last people in the United States disfigured by leprosy.
“This strange and unlikely mix of criminals, leprosy patients, and nuns make for a compelling story that changes this author's life for forever,” Abadie said. “Neil recently visited the Book Mart and Cafe' where the locals got a chance to visit with him and discuss his book. Really nice, sincere man.”
Who Dat? Drew Dat! Drew Brees, Saints Quarterback from the winning Super Bowl this year has written an uplifting story that is all about overcoming adversity to tap into one's greatest strengths. Abadie said his book, “Coming Back Stronger” parallels Hurricane Katrina's devastation to New Orleans and Bree's supposed career ending shoulder injury.
“The Superbowl MVP helped a devastated city make a dramatic comeback,” Abadie said. “The book details Bree's life that includes overcoming many set backs from a very young age.Inspiring story and not just for sports fans.”
Following the success of this summer’s movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert has seen a dramatic increase in popularity locally. Abadie said this book is about a writer's yearlong journey in search of self and her travels that take her to Italy, India and Indonesia.
Greg Mortenson’s “Three Cups Of Tea” was selected as the Mississippi State University and Starkville Reads Fall Read and continues to be popular following a variety of educational events, including a visit from Mortenson to MSU in September. Abadie said the book is the story of a real-life “Indiana Jones” who was a homeless mountaineer following a 1993 climb of Pakistan's treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers. Mortenson promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built 55 schools — especially for girl—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth.
“The quest brought Mortenson much conflict with enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans,” Abadie said.
Mortenson has three versions of this book for adults, middle and young readers. Abadie said this is an excellent book that really celebrates the humanitarian spirit.
As far as books on advice, “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth has remained on the bestseller list for 18 weeks. Abadie said the author, who has led countless seminars on helping women free themselves from the tyrnany of fear and hopelessness surrounding their body has written a book that helps overeaters find the underlying reasons for using food as an emotional buffer.
“It's on my nightstand now underneath the plate of brownies,” Abadie said.
Starkville residents are also enjoying “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University professor who died of cancer at the age of 47, gives his thoughts on how to "seize every moment." Abadie says it is “a wonderful, inspiring book.”
Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover has remained on the Advice Bestseller list for 27 weeks and Starkville residents are learning all they can from the book. Abadie said this book teaches one how to achieve financial fitness with an honest approach to the way you handle money.
“This book works if you follow it but be prepared to cut those credit cards in half,” Abadie saidl
For those needing help in the communication department with their spouse, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman gives the how-tos in communicating love in a way a spouse will understand. The book has been on the Bestseller list for 155 weeks and Starkville residents love it.
Abadie said “The Belly Fat Cure” by Jorge Cruise is an excellent book that utilizes the carb-swap system.
“Cruise's do-over recipes makes for a fun change in the kitchen while steering us away from foods full of hidden sweetners and processed carbohydrates.,” Abadie said. “Great illustrations.”
Books loved by teens and tweens
Abadie said popular books for Starkville and Oktibbeha County teens include Suzanne Collins' “The Hunger Games.” The book is set in a dystopian future where a girl fights for survival on live TV.
Following the popularity of this summer’s movie, “Beezus and Ramona” by Beverly Cleary, has been popular. Abadie said the book is a midcentury classic about a girl and her pesky little sister.
Teens and Tweens are loving “L.A. Candy” by teen queen Lauren Conrad. Abadie said the book is all about life in the fast lane in TV land.
Some of the most popular series books include
• “The Twilight Saga” by Stephenie Meyer. Abadie said it's all about vampires and werewolves in school.
• “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” by Rick Riordan is the continuing saga of a boy battling mythological monsters.
• “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Kinney is a cartoon book that details the travails of adolescence. Abadie said adults as well as kids can relate to this book — it's hilarious!
• “The 39 Clues” continues to intrigue our young readers with the adventures of a brother and sister as they travel the world in search of the key to their family's power.
• “House of Night” by Cast. More tales of vampires in schools.
Children’s picture books for ages 4 - 8 continue to be our most popular section in the Bookmart Downtown Kid's Corner.
Jane O'Connor's “Fancy Nancy” continues to stay on Starkville’s Top 10 list. Abadie said “Ooh La La! It's Beauty Da”y is a cute book about Fancy Nancy treating her mom to a backyard spa.
Abadie said “The Lion and the Mouse” by Jerry Pinkney is a beautifully illustrated fable of reciprocal kindness.
Scanimation books continue to capture the young audience's attention.
“Waddle, Gallop, Swing” and “Star Wars” are four scanimation books written by Rufus Butler Seder. Characters appear to move when the pages are turned.
Honoring WWII Veterans
Starkville Reads and the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum have been coordinating a variety of local activities honoring WWII veterans.
To bring the action to life, Starkville Reads suggests three books to read this fall:
• “The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw” — there was a special program presented by Bob Wolverton in August at the Starkville Public Library.
• “Flags of Our Fathers” by James Bradley— there is also a Young Adult Version led by Laura Foxworth through programming at the Starkville Public Library for young people.
• “Steel Wave: A Novel of World War II” by Jeff Shaara. There will be a discussion by Dr. Kathy Barbier on Noember 16 at 7 p.m. at the Starkville Public Library. Starkville Reads encourages the community to read this book and be prepared to share their opinions.
Veterans Day is in November and in celebration, three specail World War II programs will be held, sponsored by Starkville Reads.
• November 11: Music of World War II featuring Guy Hargrove and members of the SHS chorus as the Andrews Sisters plus the Starkville High School Jazz Band at 7 p.m. in Starkville High School Theater Auditorium.
• November 16: Dr. Kathryn Barbier (from the MSU History Department) will discuss D-Day and Shaara’s novel, “The Steel Wave” at 7 p.m. at the Starkville Public Library.
• TBA: Clyde Williams will introduce and show a WW II film at the SHS Auditorium in early November (date to be determined).
For more information about what local readers are pouring over this fall, go to http://www.starkvillereads.org . or stop by the Starkville Book Mart in downtown Starkville.