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The cold weather is keeping you inside, but with the help of a good book, you can be transported to a different place without leaving your warm couch.

In search of a good read? We recently asked readers of The Augusta Chronicle for some suggestions. We also asked booksellers and librarians what area residents are reading.

Reach Sarah Day Owen at (706) 823-3223 or sarah.owen@augustachronicle.com.


1. Don't Be That Girl, by Travis L. Stork and Leah Furman

2. Making Peace With Your Father, by David Stoop

3. Free Lunch, by David Cay Johnston

4. Shadow Music, by Julie Garwood

5. Plum Lucky, by Janet Evanovich


SUSAN MILLER , of Aiken, said The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield, was the best book she ever read.

"I didn't want to put it down, and I thought about it a lot even when I wasn't reading it."

DORIS CHARNOCK , of Augusta, shared a few books on her shelf, which included the Bible; Being Dead Is No Excuse, by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays; This Year I Will ..., by M.J. Ryan; 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, by Patricia Schultz; Sudoku, by Will Shortz; Living Serendipitously, by Madeleine Kay; How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, by Michael J. Gelb; and The Power of Intention, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

BARBARA CROUT, of Augusta, said her favorite book of 2007 was Bridge of Sighs, by Richard Russo. She also had read Empire Falls, by Mr. Russo, which won a Pulitzer Prize. "His characters become friends, and the reader shares their lives. He writes with beautiful ease, subtle humor, and each sentence is the one that you do not want to miss. It is a complicated history of people with simple lives."

JOHN CLOW , of south Augusta, contends that Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry, is the best novel ever written. Other favorites include Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, and Justine, by Lawrence Durrell.

LYNN REDDY , of Augusta, recommended a few books that hit close to home: A Woman Called Fancy, by Augusta-born Frank Yerby, which takes place in Augusta. Ms. Reddy also suggests Home to Holly Springs, by Jan Karon, the latest in the Mitford Series, and Truelove & Homegrown Tomatoes, by Watkinsville, Ga., author Julie L. Cannon.

LOIS HAND , of Augusta, said reading is a vital part of her life, and she shared a few recently read titles: The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food, by Judith Jones; Best Food Writing 2007, edited by Holly Hughes; and Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert. It was her second read for the Flaubert novel, which she had enjoyed in college. She also recently read The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, which is a recollection of the year after the death of the author's husband, John Gregory Dunne.


Columbia County bookworms are big fans of best-sellers.

Sherryl James, the reference service manager at the Columbia County Library in Evans, said books by James Patterson are particularly popular.

"We can't keep those on the shelves," she said.

Another popular author is Janet Evanovich, of the Stephanie Plum series, whose latest installment, Plum Lucky, was released Jan. 8.

"(Columbia County patrons) seem to gravitate toward the murder mystery," Ms. James said.

A popular author is Khaled Hosseini, whose book The Kite Runner was recently turned into a movie. His most recent book, A Thousand Splendid Suns , is also popular, she said.

The 40-and-older crowd tends to gravitate toward inspiration fiction, which some call religious fiction, she said. Authors Jan Karon, of the Mitford series, and Karen Kingsbury, known for the Sunrise series, are popular choices. Ages 12 to 16 are all about the fantasy genre, Ms. James said.

"Anything that has some mystical approach to it," she said.

The Harry Potter series is a staple that experiences a revival every time a movie comes out, but Stephanie Meyer is another favorite for her vampire-theme books.

Older books such as The Golden Compass and The Chronicles of Narnia series have had a renaissance among younger readers, thanks to the big screen, Ms. James said.


From theology to romance to Western, no genre is without its following in downtown Augusta's Book Tavern, said owner David Hutchison.

"We get quite a bit of traffic in classic lit and modern lit," he said.

They get frequent inquiries about authors such as Cormac McCarthy, whose novel No Country for Old Men was recently turned into a movie, and Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote contemporary classics Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions .

Atonement, by Ian McEwan, is an example of a movie drawn from an excellent novel that's experiencing a surge in popularity after the movie release.

The Junie B. Jones series, by Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus, flies off the shelves into younger hands.

"Harry Potter has always been king," Mr. Hutchison said.

Mr. Hutchison said he could come up with a list of 100 books, but a few novels he finds "particularly fantastic" include Till We Have Faces , by C.S. Lewis;, The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick; Mother Night , by Kurt Vonnegut;, What is the What, by Dave Eggers (the best novel of last year, he said); The Complete Stories , by Flannery O'Connor; and No Country for Old Men.



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