Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sweeping clean

 As we get very close to saying good-bye to 2014, let me just say that I'm not sad to see it go.  It has been a challenging year to say the least.  My husband was treated for throat/tonsil cancer and is still battling to recover from his treatments.  No sooner was he up and about when I fell and rolled my foot, an injury that put me on crutches and in a boot for most of the last two-and-a-half months.  Work was always a great escape, but I felt that I was never fully there from April on.

There were some great things about the year, too.  I was awarded the outstanding alumni award from the University of South Carolina from which I received my Master's in Library and Information Sciences.  One of the best things that has ever happened to me.  I am eternally grateful for that opportunity.  It was a gift from my mother and I try to use it wisely.  I am very lucky to be in a library that is beautiful, has an incredible staff, has an engaged board, and has impressive support from the community.  With the way things are currently, all I can say is life is good.

So, as we sweep 2014 out the door, let's do a bit of catching up.  First of all, I realized that I never announced the winner of this year's Maine Reader's Choice Award.  It was not a surprise at all that Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch walked away with the honors.  She certainly had a tremendous success with this novel and I loved it.  Let's just hope it's not another ten years before the appearance of her next book. 

Even before the voting was finished for the 2014 award we began working on the 2015 entries.  As chairman of the selection committee (a new twist for this year), it was an honor to work with four other fabulous readers.  We worked hard to acquire books, read a meaningful portion of each book, and select 25 to go on to the full committee.  Phew!  That was hard, but very pleasurable, work.  Check out the 2015 Long List and get reading.  I'm very proud of the books we've chosen.  There are a few sleepers there that should have made a few "best of 2014" lists.  My favorite read of the year?  While that's like asking me to pick my favorite child, I'm going to be bold and say the absolute best book that I read this year was.........The Free by Willy Vlautin.  It's an impressive novel that focuses on the rather sad lives of three people who just really can't seem to catch a break - or can they? Mix in a bit of science fiction, a few comments about our current world, and a bit of a chance of redemption and you'll find an entralling read that you just really don't want to end.  It doesn't seem to be too popular with the general readership, but a few of our committee members certainly have been impressed by it.  Could it be the proverbial dark horse?

The free by Willy Vlautin
Overall my reading didn't come close to matching last year's numbers, but I'm sure that will change for 2015.  I've got lots of award reading to do to help whittle the list down to the finalists.  There are a lot of great books on the counter that are calling me!

So, let's get ready to usher that New Year in!  What better way to celebrate than with the assistance of one of my favorite online feline friends.  Join Lil Bub and me in saying "Welcome 2015!"

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