As I write this, we’ve just been through a week of lousy, rainy weather, the kind that makes me want to snuggle in the corner of my couch with a cup of tea at my side and a book in my hands. With the right book, I could be instantly transported from the chilled, gray dreariness of mid-January Virginia to the turquoise waters and pretty pastels of Bermuda, or to the raw and wild beauty of the Australian Outback.
Or I could be clubbing at a glittery Paris hot spot, backpacking across the Swiss Alps or maybe sampling the wines in a Tuscan vineyard. I could even be rocketing to another planet. With the right book in my hands, I could, for a few short hours, be a detective, a general in the armed forces, a princess, or a shape-shifter.
For me, the only problem with reading a book is that sooner or later I finish it, and then I have to hunt for another story to take me on my next journey. That can pose a challenge for a voracious reader who might go through several books in a month — or a week — especially one who doesn’t have the bank account, and unlimited purchasing power, of a princess. That’s where our local libraries come to our rescue with aisles and stacks of volumes, from beloved classics to the latest hot releases. Libraries can satisfy the needs of any book addict.
Even then, there are those readers who will quickly go through the available supply of stories by their favorite writers and will stand in the aisles, staring blankly at the alphabetical rows of authors they’ve never read, wondering which books might suit their fancy.
What a perfect opportunity to try a new author, maybe even one who might be your neighbor.
Here’s a suggestion: The next time you find yourself looking for a new book, consider checking out those written by our local authors. Libraries often have lists available for patrons and the library staff might even be able to make recommendations based on your preferences.
At the Hampton Public Library, for example, conducting a “Quick Search” of its catalog using the phrase “Authors American Virginia Peninsula” will pull up a listing of works by local authors, currently more than 300 in all genres and age ranges.
Similarly, the Williamsburg Regional Library identifies local authors in its catalog under the series title “Local Authors Program.” As of Friday, there were 380 titles listed.
If you’re searching the catalog of the Blackwater Regional Library, which serves the city of Franklin and Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry and Sussex counties, type “Virginia authors” in the catalog’s subject field for a list of locals.
At the Gloucester County Library, Newport News Public Library and York County Library branches, be sure to ask a librarian for recommendations.
I, too, have been keeping a list of local authors, and although it’s far from exhaustive, I’ve been amazed by the number and breadth of offerings. I’ve written about some of them in the past (in the Writers’ Block blog and in this column), and I’ll continue to write about them. My list is growing, in fact, and I’m excited every time I can share with you a new name.
Conspiracy tale thrills
York County resident David Perry is the author of thriller “The Cyclops Conspiracy” which is about a pharmacist who uncovers an international conspiracy. Perry is the pharmacy manager at the Harris Teeter on Warwick Boulevard in Newport News, and the story takes place in parts of Newport News, Williamsburg and York County. Perry’s customers and neighbors might want to take a look at what he has created.
I haven’t finished read the book (yet), but a reading of the first line intrigued me. “Jason waited for the door to his tortured past to swing open,” the story begins, making me wonder just what surprises Perry has in store for his readers. About halfway through the 500-page book, I found this: “Having spent the last hour hunkered down in the front seat of Waterhouse’s Blazer, nervously watching the greasy spoon on the southern stretch of Warwick Boulevard for signs of the fraudster Winstead, Jason spied the scruffy-looking man as he exited the eatery and climbed into his black Ram 1500.” Are you wondering exactly which stretch of Warwick Boulevard Perry is referring to there? I am.
I won’t divulge any more, but if you’d like to learn more about “The Cyclops Conspiracy,” an Amazon bestseller this past March, and to hear an audio excerpt, go to Perry's website.