Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee

I don't know if Ashton Lee knows it or not, but his novel, The Cherry Cola Book Club, is a wonderful love letter to libraries, librarians, and all the people who love and support them. He took all the turmoil surrounding libraries in recent years, wrapped it up in one small Mississippi community library, and gave us a librarian heroine to cheer for.

Maura Beth Mayhew is shocked and devastated when Councilman Durden Sparks informs her she has five months to increase circulation and make the public library relevant to the citizens of Cherico, Mississippi, or the city council will withdraw support by deleting the library from the budget. Maura Beth is Director of the small library of only 3500 square feet, and she runs it with just two part-time clerks, struggling to put best sellers on the shelf. Since the council won't even give her money for computers for the public, she doesn't now what to do. She was depressed when she stopped to see her best friend Periwinkle Lattimore at The Twinkle, Twinkle Cafe, but it was a new customer there who inspired Maura Beth. When Connie McShay mentioned the book club she left behind when she moved to Nashville, Maura Beth decided Cherico would have a book club. And, maybe the club could drum up enough support to save the library.

The Cherry Cola Book Club isn't just for librarians. It's for anyone who wants an entertaining story filled with charming Southern characters (and a villain or two). The book club takes unusual angles when discussing Southern literature, Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird. The story examines what makes a community as the book club and the library bring people closer. And, of course, it features a valiant heroine fighting to preserve the library.

One reader referred to Ashton Lee's fresh voice, a voice that easily gives life to a small Mississippi community where people know each other, but may not know each others' secrets. The Cherry Cola Book Club brings together an unusual group of people, just as libraries often do. Lee brings each of them to life in this captivating story.

To keep up with reviews, tour dates, etc. for "The Cherry Cola Book Club," please go to: facebook.com/ashtonlee.net and click on the big 'Like' icon. (And, if it's not there yet, you'll soon see he's scheduled to appear at the McCullough Branch of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library on June 3 at 6:30 p.m.)

The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee. Kensington Books. 2013. ISBN 9780758273413 (paperback), 260p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

13 comments:

Liz said...

I have it on reserve and can hardly wait to read it. It sounds like it will be real good.

Booklady said...

As a librarian this is a must read for me. I've already requested it and can't wait to read it.

caite said...

I wish the author had sent me one..it sounds charming!

Tonette said...

When I was a teen I thought being locked in the local library all weekend would be a wonderful thing, so you can imagine how I am looking forward to this book.

Jane R said...

The more I learn about this book, the more I'm looking forward to reading it! Since I was a little girl, when my dad and I would take weekly (at least) trips to the public library, I have always loved being surrounded by books. It sounds like this book will be a treasure for all of us who love books, reading and libraries!

Charlotte said...

I love libraries and have since I was a child and I am now seventy three, as of February. I brought my kids up to love them also. They both love to read and they have done the same with their kids. I really dislike a lot of things that are happening to my library in town. Don't need to go there on this subject.
Lesa, I am sure you are loving this book. I will have to check it out later.

Lesa said...

Every one of you is going to enjoy this book. It was meant for those of us who love libraries and books.

ckubala said...

I'm going to read it just to see how she increase circualtion. This 3500 sq ft. library could be many in our region of Connecticut.
Thanks for the great review.

Karen C said...

Don't have any childhood memories of libraries, but I'm still putting the book on my list because it sounds wonderful - like your review (and yesterday's interview!).

Lesa said...

I think she's going to be working on it for a while, Carol. But, she definitely develops a sense of community in the town. Thank you, Karen!

Ingrid King said...

I saw this in your sidebar and have been looking forward to your review. This is definitely going on my TBR list!

Bonnie said...

This sounds wonderful, the title and cover grabbed my attention right away. Book club, libraries, book lover...it sounds like a great book. I'm adding it to my wishlist!

Best Microsoft Software Downloads said...

I've read The Cherry Cola Book Club and would say that Mr. Lee has done a great job of making the reader aware of the plight of libraries - it's an excellent read. I'm looking forward to the next installment!