On our shelves: Here’s a look at what RiverTown staff are reading...

On our shelves: Here’s a look at what RiverTown staff are reading in October.


This gothic novel feels like a fitting read for October. The story follows a young lady’s maid who finds herself falling for a charming and eligible widower, and becomes Mrs. Maxim de Winter – the second one, that is.

When the newly married couple returns to his Cornish mansion, she finds the presence of his first wife lingers there, haunting her as she tries to find her place amid her shadow. The novel’s first chapter begins years later, with vague references to the past, immediately creating the sense of mystery and intrigue.

The second Mrs. Maxim de Winter — given no name outside of her marriage — is insecure and a little naive, but we begin to feel that is not enough explanation for the eerie feeling that she does not belong in her new home or title.

Reporter Rachel Fergus

Before reading “David Copperfield” I would have told you that I was not a fan of Charles Dickens. Now, however, I feel the need to reread other works by the author because “David Copperfield” is a masterpiece.

The novel follows David from birth to midlife and his desire to make something of himself; in many ways it’s a classic coming-of-age story. While the novel covers a few decades, the reader does not get lost or bored in the story’s continuation as characters and themes return again and again.

Dickens is a master of creating a story with numerous plot lines that don’t appear to be connected at the beginning and then slowly revealing the interconnections of these plots until everything is made clear at the novel’s end. My recommendation when reading a book by Dickens is to keep a notebook at hand to note the names of characters because chances are they will reappear.

Reporter Steve Gardiner

In 1879, explorers from many countries of the world were obsessed with trying to be the first to reach the North Pole. Many had tried, but no one had come close. On July 8 of that year, George Washington De Long, a U.S. naval officer, set out with a crew of 32 men aboard the USS Jeannette. Just north of the Bering Strait, their ship became locked in pack ice which eventually crushed the hull of the ship.

Left with three open boats, the men began an incredible fight for survival against frostbite and storms, a gripping story told masterfully by Sides who did exceptional research to support his narrative skills.

News Director Anne Jacobson

As usual, I have two books going. Both this month’s selections build off books that recently graced my nightstand and the living room end table.

My October upstairs book is “The Mapping of Love and Death,” Book 7 in the Maise Dobbs series. I thought this work of fiction would be a wonderful follow-up to last month’s nonfiction work “Prisoners of Geography’ by Tim Marshall — a less serious look at maps and history — and Jacqueline Winspear does not disappoint.

Dobbs, an investigator and psychologist, delves into the World War I death of a U.S. cartographer and the brutality of conflict — international and familial — and we get mini cartography, geography and Great War lessons in the bargain.

“If he was wrong, the people would become lost on their journey. And if the mapmaker had been charged with interpreting a field of battle, then his errors would cause men — many, many men — to die.”

The October downstairs book is Patrick Lencioni’s 2020 “The Motive.” He’s known for quick-read business “fables” that set the stage for discussions about conducting meetings, engaging employees and building teams — or, in this case, leading people. If you haven’t read any of his dozen or so books, this latest one is a good place to start.

Lencioni urges leaders to question why they wish, need, want to lead. As he says, leadership should never be more about the leader and than the led.

I picked up this book for business reasons. I finished with thoughts on local, state and federal 2020 elections and realized this business book inadvertently builds on the August’s selection “Eyewitness to Power” by David Gergen.

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