My heart is bursting.
This is what local journalism is about. Community involvement, community activity, locally cultivated passion, and connection.
This Club reminds me, year after year, with an ever louder voice, that SouthCoast readers care and local journalism matters.
I created the Century Club nine years ago to challenge us SouthCoasters, as a group, to read more. Reading 25-49 books qualifies you for the Quarter-Century Club, and 50-99 books, the Half-Century, and 1000+ the Century Club.
The first year, two people participated—including me.
This year, new highs again, as 88 members read 7,322 books.
Each year, it takes me longer and longer to sift through mail, tally numbers, spellcheck, respond individually to each member. It’s an honor to do it.
I cannot put into words how much this means to me. You don’t get into journalism for the money — you get into journalism because you want to make a difference. Your notes brought tears to my eyes.
Now, I need to explain something:
I have been told this year to keep this year’s Century Club listing to one column, mentioning name, hometown, and a few favorites.
Members, yes, that means you get less ink — but it also means you won’t have to wait two months to see your name.
I know from your emails that your favorite part of the Century Club is hearing what members have to say. So next week, for our occasional feature, “Daley’s Mailbag,” I’ll open some member letters for more recommendations. Stay tuned, friends.
To all who joined the 2021 Century Club: If this was “Wheel of Fortune” I would give you each a car. What I can give are words. So clip this column for your scrapbook, mount it on your trophy wall, laminate it as a bookmark, share it on Facebook, tweet it, Instagram it. You deserve this community recognition.
And now, drumroll please, let’s meet The Most Avid Readers in SouthCoast. (Names appear in each category in the order lists were sent in.)
Triple Century Club (300-399 books read)
Donna J. Pimentel, Acushnet: 337. Two favorites: Lois McMaster Bujold’s “The Assassins of Thasalon;” Margot Lee Shetterly’s "Hidden Figures.”
Double Century Club (200-299 books read)
Valerie Putman Ryan, Mattapoisett: 213. Favorites: “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” by Robin Sloan; “Half Sick of Shadows,” by Laura Sebastian.
Kristen Crossley, New Bedford: 212. Highlights include: “Yesterday,” by Felicia Yap; "The Night Hawks,” by Elly Griffiths.
Pauline Prudhomme, Acushnet: 289. Two favorites: “The Wish,” by Nicholas Sparks; “Mercy,” by David Baldacci.
Mary Kruger, New Bedford: 222. Two Favorites: “Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, by Kate Racculia; “The Windsor Knot,” by S. J. Bennett.
Alan Perkins, New Bedford: 236. Two favorites: “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood,” by Diana Gabaldon; James Patterson’s Alex Cross series.
Century Club (100-199 books read)
Louise Ponte, Fairhaven, 105. Two Favorites: “The Plot,” by Jean Hanff Korelitz; “The Venice Sketchbook,” by Rhys Bowen.
Jeanne Eagle, Mattapoisett: 103. Favorite: “Hamnet," by Maggie O’Farrell.
Denise Valois, New Bedford: 125. Books read include: “Into Thin Air,” by Jon Krakauer; “Raven Black,” by Ann Cleeves.
Lee Heald, Mattapoisett: 101. Two favorites: “Hamnet,” by Maggie Farrell; “Travels with George,” by Nathaniel Philbrick
Jessica Bailey, New Bedford: 110. Two Favorites: “I Thought You Said This Would Work by Ann Garvin; “The Scent Keeper,” by Erica Bauermeister.
Alan Spirlet, New Bedford: 124. Favorite: “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom.
Renee Damgaard, Roanoke, Va. (formerly New Bedford): 114. Two favorites: “Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric,” by Claudia Rankine; John Green’s “The Anthropocene Reviewed.”
Dawn Mendes, Venice Fla. (formerly Dartmouth.): 100. Two favorites: “The Tea Chest,” by Heidi Chiavaroli; “The Indigo Girl,” by Natasha Boyd.
Connie Sweeney, New Bedford: 114. Two favorites: William Kent Krueger’s “Ordinary Grace,” “Braiding Sweetgrass,” by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
Susan Frates, Dartmouth: 114: Two Favorites: “You Then, Me Now,” by Nick Alexander; “The English Wife,” by Adrienne Chinn
Betsy Stefanik, North Dartmouth: 103. Enjoyed Janet Evanovich’s s “Game On, Tempting 28;” Richard Osman’s “The Thursday Murder Club.”
Debbie Viveiros, New Bedford: 113. Favorites include: “The Keeper of Lost Things,” by Ruth Hogan; “The Cellist," by Daniel Silva.
Pat Harrington, Mattapoisett: 103. List includes: “Travels With Charley,” John Steinbeck; “Good Harbor,” Anita Diamant.
Terry Reideler, South Dartmouth: 115. Recommended. “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks; “The Penelopiad” by Margaret Atwood.
Jay Roberts, Wareham, 101. Two favorites: C.J. Box's “Dark Sky,” Elizabeth Breck's “Double Take.”
Christine Silva, Mattapoisett: 102. List includes “The Ride of Her Life,” by Elizabeth Letts, “The Huntress,” by Kate Quinn.
And her granddaughter Grace Rousseau, Mattapoisett: 100. “The Bridge,” by Bill Konigsbergu, List includes “Let the Sky Fall,” by Shannon Messenger.
Robin King, South Dartmouth: 121. Standouts: “The Sentence,” by Louise Erdrich, “Bewilderment," by Richard Powers.
Jorge Pereira, New Bedford: 102. List includes “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” by Anthony Doerr; “Cat Among the Pigeons,” by Agatha Christie.
Joanne Kowalczyk, Dartmouth: 165. Two favorites: "Wish You Were Here" by Jodi Picoult; ”The Four Winds," by Kristin Hannah.
Mary Ellen DeFrias, Dartmouth: 150. List includes: “The Secret Place,” by Tana French; “The Rose Code,” by Kate Quinn.
Judy Gregory, East Freetown: 120 Two favorites: “The Girl with the Louding Voice,” by Abi Dare; “Perestroika in Paris,” by Jane Smiley.
Peggi Medeiros, Dartmouth: 139. Two favorites: Stephen King's “It”; Ann Patchett’s “These Precious Days.”
Bethany Coito, New Bedford: 112. Recommends: Kristin Harmel’s “The Book of Lost Names,” Angeline Boulley’s “Firekeeper’s Daughter.”
Kathleen Guarino, North Kingstown, R.I.: 104. Two favorites: “One Summer,” by Roisin Meaney; “Redhead by the Side of the Road,” by Anne Tyler.
Lynn Haugen, Mattapoisett: 141. List includes “The Hummingbird's Gift, by Sy Montgomery; “The Man Who Died Twice,” by Richard Osman.
Anne Verissimo, Acushnet: 114. Enjoyed: “When No One is Watching,” by Alyssa Cole; “The Next Wife,” by Kaira Rouda
I’ll add here Anne’s grandsons: Conor Verissimo, Kittery, Me.: 86. List includes: “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” by John Boyne; “Wishtree,” by Katherine Applegate.
And grandson Eli Shuster, Nashville: 50. List includes: “Blades of Freedom,” by Nathan Hale, “Girl in the Blue Coat,” by Monica Hesse.
Half Century Club (50-99 books read)
Susan Bailey, South Dartmouth: 61. Two favorites: “Thirty-Eight: The Hurricane that Transformed New England,” by Stephen Long; “The Keeper of Lost Things,” by Ruth Hogan
Cathy Bowers, Mattapoisett: 54. Two favorites: “Shuggie Bain,” by Douglas Stuart; “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue,” by V.E. Schwab
Phyllis Cabana, Middleborough: 51. Two favorites: "The Midnight Library" by Matt Haig;"The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura Dave.
Sally Billington, Dartmouth and Sarasota, Fla.: 79. List includes: “The Silent Patient,” by Alex Michaelides; “A Slow Fire Burning,” by Paula Hawkins.
Eileen Wilmarth-Guerette, Acushnet: 54. Two favorites: “Northern Spy,” by Flynn Berry; “Lincoln on the Verge,” by Ted Widmer.
Lori Benson, Onset: 53. Two favorites: “A Light in the Window,” by Jan Karon; “A Better Man,” by Louise Penny.
Judy Sagar, Dartmouth: 50. List includes “A Life Without Water,” by Marcy Holden; “The Escape Artist,” by Diane Chamberlain.
Lauren Daley (me): 76. Two favorites: “The River,” by Peter Heller; “The Revenant," by Michael Punke
Bill Bodine, Columbia, S.C.: 50. Two favorites: Toby Wilkinson’s “The World Beneath the Sands,” “The Cairo Trilogy” by Naguiz Mahfouz
Patricia Cole, Mattapoisett: 54. List includes “Harlem Shuffle,” by Colson Whitehead; “Lincoln Highway,” by Amor Towles.
Kathy Dinneen: 60. List includes “The Glass Castle,” by Jeannette Walls; “News of the World,” by Paulette Jiles.
Laurie Dionisio, Dartmouth: 71. List includes “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” by Betty Smith. “American Dirt,” by Jeanine Cummins.
Susan Barnet, New Bedford: 51. Enjoyed “Dear Edward,” by Ann Napolitano; “Snow Falling on Cedars,” by David Guterson.
Ann Stanton, South Dartmouth: 66. List includes “Barefoot,” by Elin Hilderbrand; “Dark Sacred Night,” by Michael Connelly.
Penny Cole, Mattapoisett: 70. Two favorites: “The Perfume Collector,” by Kathleen Tessaro; “The Personal Librarian,” by Heather Terrell and Victoria Christopher Murray.
Bill Beardsley, Marion: 75. Two favorites: “The Sea Gate", by Jane Johnson; "The Unkindness of Ravens" by M.E Hilliard.
Tina Gaudette, Acushnet/ The Villages, Fla.: 55. Two favorites: “The Tea Chest,” by Heidi Chiavaroli; “The Paris Library,” by Janet Skeslien Charles.
Mike Kramer, North Dartmouth: 69. Two favorites: “Here, Right Matters,” by Alexander Vindman; "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Katherine Gaudet, Mattapoisett: 60. Two favorites: “Caste,” by Isabel Wilkerson; “Hamnet,” by Maggie O’Farrell.
Phil Gaudet, Mattapoisett: 79. Two Favorites: “The Lincoln Highway,” by Amor Towles; “The Engineers Wife,” by Tracey Enerson Wood.
Myrna Altshuler, Westport: 58. Recommends: “Anxious People,” by Fredrik Backman; “The Orchardist,” by Amanda Coplin.
Ed Talbot, Mattapoisett: 60. Two favorites: “The Four Winds,” by Kristin Hannah; “Once We Were Brothers,” by Ronald H. Balson.
Nina Mach, Dartmouth: 52. Two favorites: “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” by Maria Semple; “The Midnight Library,” by Matt Haig.
BJ Nooth, Mattapoisett: 80. Two favorites: “The Sentence,” By Louise Erdrich, “Writers & Lovers,” By Lily King.
Linda Bryant, New Bedford: 50. Two favorites: “The Last Green Valley,” by Mark Sullivan; “The Forest of Vanishing Stars,” by Kristin Harmel.
Don Davidson, Westport: 91. List includes: Lisa Gardner’s “Before She Disappeared; Stephen King’s “Billy Summers.”
James Cronin, Westport: 52. Highlights: “Wise Blood,” by Flannery O’Connor; “City of Illusions” by Ursula K. LeGuin.
Quarter Century Club (24-49 books read)
Thomas Hunt, South Dartmouth: 26. Two favorites: “Catching The Wind, Edward Kennedy And The Liberal Hour,” by Neal Gabler; “A Promised Land,” by Barack Obama.
Mary Ann Rogers, New Bedford: 26. List includes: “The Other Black Girl,”by Zakiya Dalila Harris; “Educated,” by Tara Westover.
Debbie Carreiro, South Dartmouth: 30. Two Favorites: “The Rise and Fall of the Vanderbilts,” by Anderson Cooper; “The Midnight Library,” by Matt Haig.
Sheila Koot, Dartmouth: 37. Favorite: “Golden Hill" by Francis Spufford.
Theresa Lawless, New Bedford: 32. Two favorites: “Dear Edward,” by Ann Napolitano”; “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,” by Kim Michele Richardson.
Carole Rapoza, New Bedford: 43. Two favorites: “Still Me,” by Jo Jo Moyes; “All the Devils are Here,” by Louise Penny.
John Murphy, Fairhaven: 25. List includes: “Big City Cat" by Steve Forbert, Tom Wolfe’s “A Man in Full.”
Charlotte Berman, South Dartmouth: 29. List includes: “Shutter Island,” by Dennis Lehane; “Travels With George, by Nathaniel Philbrick.
Lorna Walker, Rochester: 48. Enjoyed: rereading classics by Jane Austin and the Bronte sisters.
Linda J. Avylla, New Bedford: 25. List includes “The Fifth Petal,” By Brunonia Barry; “As She Fades,” by Abbi Glines.
Erin Ollila, Dartmouth: 41. List includes: “Outlander, “ by Diana Gabaldon; “What Happens in London,” by Julia Quinn.
Charlotte Cole, Mattapoisett: 36. Favorite: “To Sleep in a Sea of Stars,” by Christopher Paolini.
Alycia Wilkins, North Dartmouth: 31. List includes: “Six of Crows,” by Leigh Bardugo, “The Lost Apothecary,” by Sarah Penner.
Carly Baumann, Fairhaven: 46. Two favorites: “The Song of Achilles,” by Madeline Miller; “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue,” by V. E. Schwab.
Penny Prather, Mattapoisett: 26. List includes B.A. Shapiro’s “The Muralist”; Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.”
Pam Talbot, Mattapoisett: 37. Two favorites: “The Stationery Shop,” by Marjan Kamali; “All the Flowers in Paris,” by Sarah Jio.
Debra Daley, Little Compton: 40. Two favorites: “The Lincoln Highway,” by Amor Towles; “The Good Daughters,” by Joyce Maynard.
Former Standard-Times Editor Joanna Weeks: 25. List includes "Hour of the Witch,” by Chris Bohjalian; "A Trick of the Light,” by Louise Penny.
Janice Lowery-Spark, Mattapoisett: 30. List includes: “Her Last Flight,” by Beatriz Williams; “The Tattooist of Auschwitz,” by Heather Morris.
Kathy Smith, New Bedford: 30. List includes “Golden Girl,” by Elin Hilderbrand; “The Family Plot,” by Megan Collins.
Glen Chandler, New Bedford: 39. List includes: Ken Follet’s “Lie Down with Lions” and Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven.”
Susan Desnoyers, New Bedford: 32. Two favorites: “The Book of Lost Names,” by Kristen Harmel; “The Lemon Orchard,” by Luanne Rice.
Diane Sylvia, Hermosa Beach, California: 43. Two favorites: “Save Me the Plums,” by Ruth Reichl; “The Murmur of Bees,” by Sofia Segovia.
Kathy Mann, New Bedford: 35. List includes: “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,” by Kim Michelle Richardson, “Beneath a Scarlet Sky,” by Mark Sullivan.
Tara Dwelly, Fairhaven: 40. Two favorites: “A Confederacy of Dunces,” by John Kennedy Toole; “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves,” by Karen Joy Fowler.
And with that, let’s give a round of applause and standing ovation for the 2021 BookLovers Century Club members. Now get those 2022 lists started, SouthCoast!
This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: BookLovers: Daley’s Century Club breaks membership record, reads over 7,000 books