SEPTEMBER PAGE TURNERS: Fiction and nonfiction reviews by Janet Oliver, LOL contributor

I confess: I sometimes struggle with the length of some books. Many times a book reads as if the author was being paid by the word, not so much the story. In many of the self-publishing circles, a rule of thumb states books must contain so many words to be taken seriously. Sadly, the concept must be slowly dripping into the mainstream.
There are times when I find myself wading through boring spots where the author seems to be inflating their novel by repeating a point multiple times or rambling off target. Is this circuitous route of padding a book to achieve a maximum number of words necessary? With today’s technology, we use abbreviations and acronyms nonstop. If Twitter has taught us anything, it is about being succinct.
I do not pick up a book based on its size. I just want a good tight story told with 30,000 or 100,000 words, it does not matter. This month I have provided a plethora of well-written (not over stuffed) reading suggestions. Happy Reading!

FICTION
The Winemakers
By Jan Moran
I was fortunate to connect with this award-winning author on Twitter and what a discovery. Ms. Moran has written many fiction, nonfiction and historical-fiction books. “The Winemakers” is a great find. Her works are published internationally, and her résumé is packed with publications as a writer and editor.
“The Winemakers” is the story of the Rosetta family, set in the 1950s in the Napa Wine Country. The novel is beautifully weaved together with a present-day event connecting seamlessly with a back-story that takes place several decades earlier in Italy.
As a reader, I enjoyed the layout of the book; there was just enough back and forth to follow the story without confusion. This is important because the mountain of lies underpinning the Rosetta family’s tale could have been a writing disaster. Ms. Moran is a seasoned storyteller; she moves the tale along at a perfect speed (no extra words). Moreover, I enjoyed learning about wine.

NONFICTION
A Fly Rod on Your Own
By John Gierach
I stepped way beyond my comfort zone and read a book on fly-fishing. Now I have fished before, and will never forget the little 5-pound bass I hooked on a worm, or staring for hours at one of those white and red fish bobbers floating in the water. It was exhilarating! However, that’s the extent of my fishing experience. Fortunately, author John Gierach has plenty, and has written and produced videos extensively on the subject. This is his latest book.
Wading through fast-running water is not for everyone and most people automatically think about the time invested in the sport. There are also costs involved, but for the one-timer there are usually outlets to rent equipment. In Gierach’s latest novel, he talks about the different kinds of fly-fishing and the lure of “the fly” and one’s quest to create or own the best fishing decoy. Gierach says the “flies” tell a story of the fish and the waters they swim. Why does he fish? To acuminate his skills.
Oh, yes, the book weighs less than a pound.

eBook Recommendation
“The Art Forger” by B A Shapiro was educational. Shapiro has written a literary masterpiece on the back of a fictional work of art by Edgar Degas, called “After the Bath.” Ms. Shapiro has incorporated the piece into her story of artist Claire Roth—a single woman struggling to just make her rent each month while working for an art reproduction company. To continue to educate herself on her favorite pastime, painting, she volunteers as an art teacher at a juvenile detention center. Unexpectedly, a long-time associate in the art world proposes Claire paint a forgery of a famous Degas painting. While the commission will be huge, Claire has her morals about turning from a reproduction artist to a forger.
Shapiro creates a story that just like a painting has many layers. Woven brilliantly into the tale is the true art heist that took place at the famous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. In fact, Shapiro uses Isabella Stewart Gardner’s private correspondence with her friend Edgar Degas as part of the historical fiction woven in this novel. You might not ever look at art the same after this read.

Featured Author of the Month
Reading books about libraries and librarians like Ashton Lee’s “Queen of the Cookbooks (A Cherry Cola Book Club Novel)” takes me back to working in the public library. It is the third Cherry Cola Book Club novel I have read and the library world has not changed. Cherico, Mississippi, librarian Maura Beth McShay is celebrating a new library. The success has not come cheap, as Maura Beth had prevailed upon the assistance of the library book club and several large donors. The opening festivities include fireworks by the lake, but it is the explosion that takes place at the best in show of cooking events that ignites the opening ceremony. It seems some contestants feel the contest has been rigged.
Do not forget to support your local libraries; it cost less than $1 a year and the benefits are priceless. LOL

Janet Oliver is a retired librarian for NHC Public Library. Follow her on Twitter: @LovelyThingsNC