Good reads for the cold days ahead

Staff writer

In the cold days of winter, there’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book to pass the time.

Local bookworms, ranging from librarians to bookstore owners, are thumbing through a variety of titles, ranging from history books to imaginative works of fiction.

Neil Hollands, collection development librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library

Hollands is enjoying “Button Man” by Andrew Gross. The novel is about Jewish brothers growing up in New York in the early 20th century. When a crooked union backed by one brother’s gang muscles in on the factory the other brother works at, a family crisis develops.

“I would recommend this historical fiction to anyone, but particularly for readers looking for everyday heroes to get behind,” Hollands said.

Hollands is also reading “Don’t Make Me Pull Over: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip” written by Richard Ratay. The book blends Ratay’s own family memories with the history of the United States’ road system and information on motels and tourists attractions.

“The family portions of this read as if the family from 'A Christmas Story’ took to the highways,” Hollands said.

Wilford Kale, publishing house editor and Virginia Gazette contributor

Kale recommends several books with a history angle.

In “Partner to Power” by K. Ward Cummings, the relationships between nine presidents and their top advisers is explored, with a focus on how they accomplished the presidents’ goals during his time in office.

In a similar vein, the book “Heirs of the Founders” by H. W. Brands chronicles the careers of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John Calhoun as the 19th-century politicians sought to continue the work of the founders of the United States.

“Murder in the Red Room,” switches things up a bit as a murder mystery. The book is the 10th in a series written by Elliott Roosevelt, the third son of President Franklin Roosevelt.

“This book is set in January 1937 shortly after Roosevelt’s second inauguration and is cram packed with characters from that era,” Kale said.

Hatley Mason, owner of Mermaid Books

Mason recommends “John Marshall; the Chief Justice Who Saved the Nation” by Harlow Giles Unger, calling it “an inspiring story of how one man met the challenges facing the early republic.”

He’s also fond of “The Little Paris Bookshopby Nina George, in which Monsieur Perdu offers healing books and wisdom from a floating “literary apothecary” as he travels down the Seine River in search of a lost lover.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007,, @jajacobs_

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