December 30, 2023
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By Linda Cicoira

     “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book,” said J.K. Rowling, the British author made famous by writing the Harry Potter Series. 

     Shore Daily News is hoping to make it easier for listeners to choose their volumes this winter and asked a few to give recommendations.

     Rowling’s favorite author of all time is reportedly Jane Austen and her favorite book by that writer is Emma. “I’ve read all her books so many times, I’ve lost count,” Rowling said in an interview. She read Emma at least 20 times.

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     According to Wikipedia, before Austen began the novel, she wrote, “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” From the start, she introduces Emma Woodhouse as “handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and a happy disposition.” At “nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress … her, Emma is spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people’s lives; and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray.”

     Eastern Shore folks are also book lovers and now they have a new library in Parksley in which to get lost. At least two teenagers join Rowling as fans of Austen.

Sarah Taylor, of Assawoman, had several picks including, The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han; The Manga Classics Pride and Prejudice, a graphic novel by Jane Austen; Stranger Things: Lucas on the Line by Suyi Davies; The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton; and The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer.

On her 2024 list are My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Summer I Fell for My Best Friend by Sara Jane Woodley, and Forever by Judy Blume.

Her sister, Anna Taylor, chose the Manga Classics Pride of Prejudice and Emma by Jane Austen. Her reading list for 2024 also includes Life with the Walter Boys, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

Bobby Doughty, of Chesconessex, said he didn’t read a new release in 2023, but he did reread one from the 1990s.

“Gary Gentile’s Shipwrecks of Virginia covers all shipwrecks from Chincoteague to the North Carolina line,” Doughty said. “Each shipwreck is thoroughly documented whether the ship foundered or was torpedoed by German submarines and minefields at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Very interesting reading. The most interesting to me was the cruel April Fool’s Day joke in 1942 of the cargo ship, Tiger, which was torpedoed by a German sub within sight of the Virginia Beach oceanfront.”

Mae Fitchett grew up in the Painter area and lives in Florida. “My favorite reading in 2023 was Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, by Sharon Salzberg,” Fitchett said. Amazon.com described Salzberg as “one of America’s leading spiritual teachers.” The book “shows us how the Buddhist path of lovingkindness can help us discover the radiant, joyful heart within each of us.”

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Fitchett said she is “looking forward to reading Viola Davis’ Finding Me: A Memoir in 2024.” Davis wrote, “In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever. This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path I took to finding my purpose but also my voice in a world that didn’t always see me.”

Connie Burford, of Chincoteague, said Just Because, by the famous actor, Matthew McConaughey, was her pick for 2023. “It’s a book for kids, but it has a lot of really good lessons in it,” she said.

Linda Cicoira, of Painter, also choose a children’s book for 2023. “Quack, by local artist, teacher, and author Glenn Linton is a definite winner,” she said. “It is the third in a series about Chesapeake Bay wildlife and features a duck named Seth. It was fun and educational for all ages.” In 2024, Cicoira plans on reading Peninsulas in Repose: The Necks of Virginia’s Eastern Shore by Curtis Badger, who is another local author and a talented photographer.

Diana Davis, of Concord Wharf, picked A Kiss Before You Go by Danny Gregory, as her favorite for 2023. “It’s a true story, but so heartbreaking,” she said. Davis just started Cradle and All, by best-selling author, James Patterson.

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Alda Moore, who loves the Eastern Shore, but lives in Richmond, is a retired school librarian. The avid reader’s favorite book for 2023 was Dinners with Ruth by Nina Totendberg, who, according to an online review delivers an extraordinary memoir of her personal successes, struggles, and life-affirming relationships, including her beautiful friendship of nearly 50 years with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Moore is looking forward to reading, This Other Eden, by Paul Harding, “a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers, a novel inspired by the true story of Malaga Island, an isolated island off the coast of Maine that became one of the first racially integrated towns in the Northeast.”

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