My Secret Santa Keeps on Giving!

My co-worker, Vesta Kowalski, was my secret library santa this year. Her gift to me was one of those Page-a-day calendars with a different book reviewed for each day of the week. I love readers’ advisory so I am always scouring a variety of sources to pull together next-reads. Now obviously, not all of the books are to my liking, but I have been surprised at the breadth and variety of the titles they review! New releases, old gems, fiction, nonfiction, coffee-table books and YA. I will add my favorites here as I come across them throughout the year.

note: all reviews are from the 2013 edition of the Page-a-Day Desk Calendar…


THE SOUND OF A WILD SNAIL EATING, by Elisabeth Tova Bailey 

 While an illness keeps her bedridden, the author studies a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings. Clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities unfold before Bailey’s amused and astute eyes. This gem of a book conveys how a small part of the natural world can illuminate our own existence and provide an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.

“Our local book group read this little gem a year or so ago and we were all flabbergasted that a book about snails would be so captivating. It not only entertained us, it also offered up several related reads, fiction and nonfiction. ” ~ltm


POSTCARDS, by E. Annie Proulx

Those who love National Book Award–winner Annie Proulx’s writing know that no one is more capable of drawing beauty from harsh ingredients. In Postcards, her first novel, she tells the story of Loyal Blood, a man who makes a tragic mistake. Forced to flee his family and their struggling Vermont farm, he roves the country, trying to put the past behind him. The story is punctuated by his postcards home, which are all the more poignant when you know the challenges he faced writing them.

“This is my favorite E. Annie Proulx title. Much better, yet much darker, than The Shipping News (but not as dark as Accordion Crimes) Proulx is one of my favorite authors. Her characters are stories in themselves and her writing envelopes you in a way that is rare.” ~ltm



 Those who love Ira Glass’s public radio program This American Life know that he can pick a great story. He’s a great believer in the power of the truth, the absurdity of the everyday, and the entertainment value of the outrageous. This collection of short essays features masters of nonfiction storytelling, some of them well known and some of them not—but all hand chosen by the king himself. There could be no better recommendation.

 “I love creative nonfiction and narrative style so this book looks right up my alley!” ~ltm