The Essex Serpent

By Sarah Perry

Adult Fiction, 2017

Reviewed by Penny
Cunningham,
Adult Services

The winter of 1893 is a dire time in a small Essex village not far from London. Ominous rumors are spreading fast; a man has been found dead by the river. Could it be that after 300 years, the Essex Serpent has risen from the waters again? As the parish vicar tries to calm his family and his parishioners, he is introduced to Cora Seaborne, a London widow with an enquiring mind and little patience for superstition. As they try to solve this mystery, matters of science and religion, skepticism and faith are discussed, and each of them learns to come to terms with the world in a new way. Cora’s relationship with her young son is movingly written, and the writing style and dialogue is perfectly suited to the time and place.

Hillbilly Elegy 

By J.D. Vance

Adult Fiction, 2016

Reviewed by Pam
Tallmadge, Youth Services

From his hillbilly roots to Yale Law School, J.D. Vance presents his story of leaving behind his life only to find even with success and education, he still needs a lot of support to even begin to feel good enough. J.D. Vance interweaves his personal story with questions of what will help others overcome their past and escape lives on the brink of financial and emotional disaster. He was lucky to have grandparents that insisted on a good education and provided a safe space when his mother was unable to care for him. What can we do to help others that also need support?