Happy Birthday Paperback Books!


On July 30, 1935, a new technology was born that provided knowledge, stories, entertainment (with text and pictures, no less) that was convenient and cheap.  It was light enough to carry anywhere and you could tag specific areas to penguinre-read at a later date.  An early e-reader?  Nope – the paperback book!  Penquin Publishers, in England, was the first to successfully publish respectable, quality writing without a hard cover.  (There were earlier paperback books called penny dreadfuls, yellow-backs, and dime novels that generally featured lurid stories and were printed on cheap pulp paper.)

pocketPartnering with Simon & Schuster, Robert de Graff introduced the first paperbacks in America on June 19, 1939 called Pocket Books.  The first American paperback book to be printed in the United States was The Good Earth by Pearl Buck.  The cost to purchase these new books – 25 cents versus $2.75 for a hardcover.  In order to make a profit on paperbacks, de Graff had to print 100,000 copies at a time.  He couldn’t rely on bookstores to sell that many copies so he began using magazine distributors to place Pocket Books in newsstands, subway stations, drugstores and any other outlet to reach suburban and rural populations.  He designed bold, colorful, eye-catching book covers to catch people’s eyes.  By September 1944, 100 million books were sold in more than 70,000 outlets across the United States.   By the end of the 1940’s, the paperback industry began publishing original stories.  Previously, the industry only reprinted hardcover titles.  There are now more than 20 major publishers producing high quality, original and reprinted paperbacks.


Today, there are many sizes of paperback books and all different prices, but the two major sizes are mass-market and trade.  Authors originally wrote stories for publications in magazines, but soon shifted their attention to mass-market paperbacks.  They could write longer, more in-depth, entertaining novels that boasted beautiful, bold, color covers and were prominently displayed in all types of venues.  They were affordable and easy to carry and proved to be a huge hit.  Mass-market paperback readers have a large selection of genres of original stories to choose from, in addition to best-selling hardcovers republished in paperback form.  In the beginning, Westerns were the biggest selling genre, followed by Crime and Science Fiction.   The most popular genre for mass-market today is Romance.  Within this genre you will find many sub-genres including contemporary romance, historical romance, small town romance, and paranormal romance.  The Cheshire Library has a separate section dedicated to mass-market Romance Books located towards the front of the library, near the large windows.    Another very popular genre for mass-market paperbacks are Cozy Mysteries.  The Cheshire Library has a large selection of these interfiled among the hardcovers in the Mystery section of the library.  You can also find regular Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy paperbacks in the library’s collection.



Some literary authors, critics and bookstore owners turned their noses up at mass market paperbacks.  When Doubleday’s Jason Epstein was a college student, he lamented the fact that he and his fellow students couldn’t afford hardcover editions and envisioned a line of upscale paperbacks of hardcover bestsellers and classics.  By 1953, Trade paperbacks were introduced.  These were larger, more durable, with attractive covers illustrated by fine artists with an appeal to a more intellectual market.  They sold for 65 cents to $1.25.    The library’s selection of Trade paperbacks are filed among the hardcover books.  They also come in a variety of genres, with the most popular genres being erotic romance – with Fifty Shades of Grey topping the charts – and Christian-themed books.


There were many who thought paperbacks would kill the publishing industry, but instead, the books proved to be quite the sensation.  As recently as 2010, paperbacks outsold hardcover books.  Although the ebook has taken some of the market away from paperbacks, they still continue to be a much beloved tool for readers everywhere.  The look, feel, texture, smell, size, and portability makes the paperback book very inviting.


RT Book Review Announces 2013 Career Achievement Awards

RTEach year, Romantic Times Book Review Magazine honors authors for outstanding achievements over their entire careers.  The staff of more than 50 reviewers and editors carefully choose the winners from a long list of nominees.  The following is a list of some of the  winners of the prestigious Career Achievement Awards.  Winners were awarded statuettes at RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans on May 16th.


Contemporary Romance Author of the Year – Rachel Gibson

Historical Romance Author of the Year – Eloisa James

Inspirational Author of the Year – Wanda Brunstetter

Mainstream Author of the Year – Mary Alice Monroe

Thriller Author of the Year – Lee Child

Paranormal Author of the Year – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Romantic Suspense Author of the Year – Suzanne Brockmann

Urban Fantasy Author of the Year – Kim Harrison

Young Adult Author of the Year – Tamora Pierce

book awardsBOOK OF THE YEAR – Tear You Apart by Megan Hart

Historical Romance of the Year No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah Maclean

Historical Fiction – The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen

Contemporary Romance – Bungalow Nights by Christine Ridgway

Contemporary Love & Laughter – Two of a Kind by Susan Mallery

Romantic Suspense – Law Manby Kristen Ashley

Paranormal Romantic Suspense – Sleep With The Lights Onby Maggie Shayne

Historical Mystery – The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

Suspense – The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Young Adult Contemporary – Dare You Toby Katie McCarry

New Adult – Wait For You by J. Lynn

Inspirational Romance – The Secret Keeper by Beverly Lewis

You can find the complete list of nominees and winners here.


An Easter Playlist

Every occasion needs a soundtrack. Check out this list of classical and contemporary music appropriate for Easter celebrations. Some of these you might remember from church, but not realize who actually wrote them. Others were written secularly, but adopted later as hymns. Did you know that Elvis Presley started out as a gospel singer?  He attended a Pentacostal church that encouraged modern music.
1) Cantata 147: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, by Johannes Sebastian Bach
You probably remember this one from church
2) Concerto no. 1 in E (Spring)  by Antonio Vivaldi
You’ve heard this one in the movies and on TV
3) How Great Thou Art by Elvis Presley
One of his most-requested songs
4) The Old Rugged Cross by Johnny Cash
5) The Lord’s Prayer
There are many beautiful instrumental songs on Windham Hill’s Prayer album, perfect for quiet meditation.
6) Amazing Grace  by Anne Murray
7) El Shaddai  by Amy Grant
According to Exodus 6:2, Shaddai is the name by which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew God
8) You’ll Never Walk Alone by Elvis Presley
9) The Passions According to St. John and St. Matthew   by J. S. Bach
10) Ave Maria  by The Priests
11) Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah   by G. Handel Baroque at its finest
12) Symphony No. 9 in D minor “Choral”   by Ludwig von Beethoven
You probably know this better as the “Ode to Joy,” or Hymn # 8, “Joyful, Joyful”
13) Judas Maccabeus by G. Handel
14) Russian Easter Liturgy A whole service on one disc!




Staff’s Favorite Books of 2013

book collage 2

One of the great perks of working in a library is access to copious amounts of books to choose from for our reading pleasure.  One of the biggest drawbacks of working in a library is access to copious amounts of books!  The Cheshire Library staff love to read and I thought it would be fun for them to list their favorite books they read or listened to in 2013.  They were very busy readers!  Below is just a sampling of some of the titles our library staff submitted.

Adult Fiction

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

Canada by Richard Ford

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Me Before Youby Jojo Moyes

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Three Sisters by Susan Mallery

White Dog Fell From the Sky by Eleanor Morse

We Are Water by Wally Lamb


Bachelor Firemen (series) by Jennifer Bernard

The Bad Boys of Crystal Lake (series) by Julianna Stone

Bad Boys of Red Hook (series) by Robin Kaye

Cowboy Take Me Away by Jane Graves

Free Fall by Catherine Mann

The Sullivan Brothers (series)by Bella Andre

Thrill Rideby Julia Ann Walker

The Way Homeby Cindy Gerard

What She Wants by Sheila Roberts

Whiskey Creek (series)by Brenda Novak

Science Fiction

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding


A Book Town Mystery (series) by Lorna Barrett

Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

A Tea Shop Mystery (series)by Laura Childs

A Witchcraft Mystery (series) by Juliet Blackwell

Christian Fiction

For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall

The House That Love Built by Beth Wiseman

Pearl In The Sand by Tessa Afshar

Take A Chance On Me by Susan Mary Warren

Adult Non-Fiction

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin

Behind The Beautiful Foreversby Katherine Boo

Drunk Tank Pink by Adam Alter

Lost Empire of Atlantis by Gavin Menzies

The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley


Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forgerby Ken Perenyi

Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road From Debt to Freedom by Ken Ilgunas

Wild: From Lost to Found in the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed


The Good House by Ann Leary – Read by Mary Beth Hurt

The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn – Read by Hillary Huber

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson – Read by Tim Kang, Josiah D. Lee, James Kyson Lee, Adam Johnson

One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson – Read by Bill Bryson

Young Adult

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saena

Boy 21 by Matthew Quick

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Bugs in My Hair! by David Shannon

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

I’m A Frog! by Mo Willems

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin