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Guide for the Casual Bookworm

One of my favorite reading lists that appears once a year is the Falmouth Academy Guide for the Casual Bookworm which is put together by the faculty and staff at the Academy. This is how they describe the list:

“We regularly give our students lists of required and suggested reading and encourage them to turn off their screens and read for enjoyment, as we do. So it seemed natural to condense some of our faculty-room conversations about favorite books into our own informal reading list for adults. We ask ourselves the same question we ask prospective students: ‘What have you read or reread this year that you particularly liked?’”

This is the 23rd edition of the Casual Bookworm, and it is just as eclectic as it has ever been. However, in this issue I couldn’t help but notice a preponderance of non-fiction titles. As primarily a fiction reader myself, I always look to the Casual Bookworm for the lead on some novel that somehow I had missed, but this year the non-fiction outweighed the fiction substantially. That being said, it remains a great place to find a great read. Each entry includes the title, the author, and then a chatty description of the book, even including other faculty and staff members comments if they also have read that particular title.

Titles included in the current edition range from many bestsellers (Cutting for Stone, Steve Jobs, and Unbroken, for example) to Das München-Komplott by Wolfgang Schorlau (recommended by the German teacher, obviously). One of the things I love about this list is that there are usually as many classics as there are books from the New York Times best sellers list. This year The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau, and The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson are all included. There is also usually a book I can’t believe I had not heard about, and must immediately buy for the library. The book that fits that category this year is Death at Woods Hole by Frances McNamara. Here’s the description by Alison Ament:

“This is the fourth in a series of mystery novels, featuring a character called Emily Cabot. The story takes place in the mid-1890s and begins with the discovery of a body in one of the specimen tanks at the Marine Biological Laboratory. McNamara researched the founding of MBL and its early politics, and many of her characters are real. That, however, left plenty of room for a zany plot on the way to the discovery of who-done-it.”

Clearly that needs to be added to my winter reading list!

So stop by the Reference Desk, and pick up your copy of the Casual Bookworm. You are certain to find something you want to read! Or you can now take a look at some of the back issues on the web page of Falmouth Academy!

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