‘So many books, so little time’

Jane Sharpe’s hour long “Books Sandwiched In” event showcases books that make great gifts for the holiday season

By Michelle Menner

With her glasses perched at the end of her nose and the sounds of classical music floating through the air Jane Sharpe, McDaniel’s Associate Librarian, took me on what she called a “wild ride” through the steps to put on McDaniel’s Sixteenth Annual “Books Sandwiched In” event.

The event was held on Nov. 15 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in McDaniel Lounge. Those who attended were treated to hot chocolate and cookies as well as a selection of books that Sharpe said she “feels strongly about.” The session included over twenty books that Sharpe hand picked and reviewed. Sharpe hoped that people would get a jump start on their holiday shopping by attending this event. “A book is a good gift,” she said.

“Books Sandwiched In” wasn’t always an event that provided a holiday shopping list. Sharpe said that initially people would get together to “review a book over lunch time.” Now, attendees are still invited to bring a bag lunch for the noon time event, but instead of reviewing one book there are now over twenty.

Before “Books Sandwiched In” could take place, Sharpe had to begin the task of selecting the books she would feature. Tim Bryson of Locust Books in Westminster kindly loaned Sharpe shopping bags full of books. Sharpe then began the process of reading and reviewing the books. She gave each book a note card and would write down the book title, author, and her own special notes to refer to later. This year some of the books she chose include a cookbook, a biography, a coffee table book, children’s books, non-fiction, and works of fiction for all ages. “There’s something for everything,” she said.

For the history buff there were a couple of books to choose from. Charles Mitchell’s Maryland Voices of the Civil War includes what Sharpe said are “truthful accounts” that portray life in Maryland during this time period and discusses Maryland’s “unique role” in the Civil War. Also, Sharpe’s featured coffee table book is Houses of the Founding Father’s by Hugh Howard and Roger Straus III which holds a “treasure trove” of information.

The little one on any holiday shopping list would be happy to receive Sylvia Long’s board book Hush Little Baby or the beloved Jan Brett’s The Three Snow Bears.

Sharpe picked some books especially for the holiday season. Christmas with Paula Deen: Recipes and Stories from My Favorite Holiday is sure to delight the cook who enjoys Deen’s Southern hospitality. Other holiday books on Sharpe’s list are A Family Christmas by Caroline Kennedy and Under the Tree: The Toys and Treats that Made Christmas Special, 1930-1970 by Susan Waggoner.

For the politico, the non-fiction selection Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989 by Michael Beschloss chronicles the reasoning behind some of the tough decisions that the presidents’ have made throughout America’s history.

One of Sharpe’s fiction selections includes Garrison Keillor’s Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon. She described this book as a “light read” and named Keillor “today’s story teller.”

After attending Sharpe’s “Books Sandwiched In” event many will share her sentiment, “So many books, so little time.”