Librarian Vanessa Adams’s must-read list

By Vanessa Adams

I have eclectic tastes in just about everything, and particularly in books. While I lean toward literary classics and literary fiction, as long as it’s well-written, it can be from any genre.

Because Valentine’s Day is upcoming, I wanted to share my love of stories. Check out some of my favorites below…

The Grapes of Wrath, by JOHN STEINBECK, will always be my number one favorite book because of his descriptions of human suffering and the will to survive.

Mother Joad is one of the strongest female characters in literature and probably the character who influenced my reading tastes more than any other.

Jane Eyre, by CHARLOTTE BRONTE, is the story of a strong woman who maintains her virtue and courage while trying to survive in a man’s world of the nineteenth century. It is a work of art. 

When I read A Moveable Feast by ERNEST HEMINGWAY, I feel as if I’m inside Hemingway’s head and experiencing what it’s like to be a great writer. Yes, the title is misspelled because Hemingway wasn’t a good speller. He was a brilliant writer; however, and this is his nonfiction account of his expat days in Paris.

I love Southern writers, I really love Southern Gothic, and FLANNERY O’CONNOR is the queen of this genre. Her short stories are genius!

I highly recommend Wise Blood.

JAMI ATTENBERG is known as the “Queen of Dysfunctional Family Fiction,” and The Middlesteins, published in 2012, is probably her best. I loved it, and will plan to read it several more times just to pick up some of the humor I’ve forgotten.

Once in a while, I need an exciting thriller or mystery that keeps me up all night. I read A Small Town, by THOMAS PERRY, in January of this year, and could not put it down!

It’s suspenseful from the first page and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be hooked from the beginning. 

Vanessa Adams is the classy lady who directs the local library in historic downtown Batesville, Ark. In addition to reading books, she also enjoys acting with the Batesville Community Theatre. She has a Master’s of Arts in English from Arkansas State University, and a Master’s of Arts in Library Science from the University of Missouri. Originally from Jonesboro, she now calls Batesville home.

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