The Reading Circle-Ashton Lee

The Reading Circle
Ashton Lee
Kensington, Mar 25 2014, $15.00
ISBN: 9780758273420

In Cherico, Mississippi, town librarian Maura Beth Mayhew feels grateful to the Cherry Cola Book Club who saved the town library from budget cuts at least for one year. However, she also knows the Sword of Damocles remains sharp and pointed at the Cherico Library as many townsfolk led by Councilman Durden Sparks feel this is an obsolete luxury not a necessity in the electronic information age; even though the book club brought in numerous previously indifferent patrons.

As the growing club membership argues, fusses and fights, a horrific storm batters Cherico causing severe damage to the library and other structures. Encouraged by this act of nature and still smarting after his recent defeat, Sparks makes a strong case that funds are needed elsewhere for more critical repairs than a still underused relic. Mary Beth and her Cherry Cola Book Club posse ride to the rescue trying to save their beloved library.

The second Cherico Library drama makes a powerful case as to the importance of libraries in towns and urban neighborhoods at a time when emphasis is on “death by a thousand cuts” to reduce effectiveness and destroy quality (similar to laws degrading USPS and Amtrak service). Small-town politics comes across extremely influential while at the same time the importance of libraries is emphasized. Readers will enjoy The Cherry Cola Book Club’s animated even hostile discussions and the fight to save the library, but their adversary has a stronger argument in their rematch.

Harriet Klausner


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