Article By: Cher Collins
Contributing Writer

Book lovers like us don’t need a designated month to celebrate our love of reading, but by some
calendars, March is National Reading Month! It’s time to stock up on Spring releases. There are
a few notables coming out for both fiction and non-fiction fans. In library land, we have the Top
20 Authors whose books are on automatic orders. Authors like James Patterson and Danielle
Steel seem to release books monthly and the waiting lists are long for the latest and greatest.
It’s true. This month features Steel and Patterson releases, as well as Lisa Scottoline and Fern Michaels. There are also some highly anticipated books that are worth a glance if your reading takes you beyond the Top 20.
Cristina Henriquez, author of the outstanding 2014 book The Book of Unknown Americans,
returns to the shelves with an incredible fictional account of the creation of the Panama Canal.

Set in 1907, The Great Divide brings together an unforgettable cast of characters, each with
their own intricate story. As the novel opens, the construction of the canal has already begun.
Sixteen year old Ada arrives as a stowaway from Barbados to work alongside the thousands
who have come to Panama seeking work on this once in a lifetime project. John is an American
doctor studying malaria,whose wife falls ill. When John hires Ada to care for his ailing wife; this sets off just one of the many subplots that give the book its title. Division quickly becomes the overarching theme in Henriquez’ masterpiece. Aside from the physical division of the land when the canal was built; divisions among friends, family, neighborhoods and countries fuel the action almost as much as the diverse characters on both sides of the various divides. The novel deals
with some heavy topics like colonialism, labor and American involvement in foreign affairs. But
it’s Henriquez’ deft storytelling and ability to weave the characters in such a way that the reader feels connected to the people, the land, and even the weight of conflict. As with many historical fiction books, The Great Divide breathes life into a chapter of American history that few of us remember. Henriquez’ latest is a must-read. Readers will be challenged to put this one down. The latest from YA turned Adult Author Rebecca Serle brings a little magic to a romantic story called Expiration Dates. Since fifth grade, 30-something Daphne Bell has received a small slip of paper with the amount of time she would spend with each new romantic interest. Each slip has only two things: the name of her new partner and the exact date their relationship would end.
One day, she receives a slip with the name Jake, and no date. Daphne can only assume
that she has met “the one”, but soon a long-held secret attempts to derail her plans for
happiness. Serle adds a fun element to a typical contemporary romance tale; the concept of a
romantic destiny is explored not only with humor and wit, but also a bit of vanity. Confidence in her relationship with Jake often comes across as conceit and it’s this conceit that leads to
heartbreak and the hard-learned lesson of living in the here and now. Serle is finding her way as an adult author and Expiration Dates solidifies her place at the contemporary romance table.
She interjects just enough magical realism in her books to keep readers guessing and
wondering “what if”we all had a romantic destiny? The rotating cast of boyfriends is expected,

but it is Daphne’s relationship with herself that eventually takes center stage. The book reads
quickly and there are unexpected twists that readers can count on in Serle’s growing collection
of titles. If you haven’t stumbled upon Serle’s books, it’s worth seeking her out. You won’t be
Topping the non-fiction lists is a book from Pulitzer Prize winning author Charles Duhigg entitled
Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection. Duhigg digs into the
seemingly simple act of conversing. Whether written or oral, text or hand-written letter,
communication is a crucial skill in all avenues of the human experience. Some folks excel at it,some do not.
Duhigg argues that we can all be Supercommunicators and learn how to best
express ourselves and connect with others at the same time. This book is likely to be an
authority on communication for decades to come.
Spring brings with it a desire to stretch our reading wings. There are plenty of books hitting the shelves to help you read outside your comfort zone and step into a different world. That’s the beauty of books-we can travel to places unknown without ever leaving our couch! Happy Reading!

By Published On: March 1, 2024Categories: Book Review

About the Author: Cher Collins

Cher Collins is a librarian by day who once made a New Year's resolution to write more. She enjoys the outdoors, as long as it is not biting her and she aspires to make her bed everyday. Cher is also an amateur genealogist whose family stories are fodder for future historical fiction novels. She watches more Netflix than she should, is a self-proclaimed coffee nut, and truly appreciates the little things in life. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, teenage daughter and rescue dog named Opie.

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