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The Orchardist: A Novel
by Amanda Coplin

This debut novel was surprisingly good, and not quite what I was expecting when I received it in a Goodreads giveaway. The story takes place around the turn of the 20th century, in very rural Washington state and centers around William Talmadge, an aging, solitary man who runs a small orchard. When two very young and very pregnant girls, Jane and Della, appear at his orchard, he is moved to give them shelter and aid. In a short time, Talmadge begins to care for the girls and to see them and Jane's baby as a kind of family. The tragedy of their past, however, only leads to further tragedy. Talmadge nonetheless continues to take care of them and even goes to great lenghts to save Della from further misfortune.
The Orchardist was a compelling story, but, even better, it was beautifully written. Coplin gives the whole thing a startling stillness and depth, and the beauty of her prose creates its own small world that draws the reader in. Many aspects of the plot could have come off as quite melodramatic and sensational, but Coplin's writing and choices about where to focus neatly avoid all of that and make the story so much more. Instead of a soap-opera, this novel is a moving study of characters and relationships and where those two things succeed and fail.
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Collection Development and Management for 21st Century Library Collections: An Introduction
by Vicki L. Gregory

This was the textbook for my Collection Development class. And it is a textbook, complete with discussion questions, vocabulary, and lists for further reading at the end of each chapter. And it did the job: covered all the issues, explained all the concepts, and provided plenty of resources. The prose was exactly what you want in a textbook: plain, direct, and easy to read. It was published in 2011, so it's up to date on most of the concepts and issues surrounding electronic resources.


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