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Friends of the Library

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  41 reviews
". . . a beautifully wrought hymn of praise to readers and book-lovers in the most sacred of places, the libraries where we find both." --Cassandra King, author of the best-selling novels The Sunday Wife

WHEN ADELE COVINGTON becomes an author in her sixties, she goes on a book tour to speak to the Friends of the Library groups in ten small towns in her home state of Mississ
Hardcover, 158 pages
Published August 30th 2019 by Koehler Books
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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Susan Peterson
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Friends of the Library is a love story devoted to libraries, books, readers, and the state of Mississippi. Each short story is a testament to heart and hope and healing. In each story, author Adele Covington visits one of the lovely libraries in Mississippi, and at each of her author events, she makes a personal connection to a person she meets. Each story is a testament to how important it is for us to open our hearts up to people, forming unexpected friendships and bonds. Susan Cushman’s writi ...more
Romalyn Tilghman
Yesterday, I'd never been to Mississippi. Today, I've had a great tour and look at ten libraries in the state. Susan Cushman has done an extraordinary job in weaving a fictional writer's (Adele Covington) book tour through ten short stories, to remind us how powerful books and book people can be. Within just a few pages for each town, she demonstrates how to solve our most complicated problems ... as Adele deals with challenges as great as homelessness, alcoholism, and Alzheimer's. At the end of ...more
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Friends of the Library, Susan Cushman celebrates big lives in small southern towns of Mississippi while emphasizing the many ways libraries affect lives. As readers accompany the protagonist Adele on her book tour of small southern libraries from Eupora to Meridian and explore the cultural history of the State, they realize this is a book about life—from hopes and fears to revival and healing.

There are moments both tender and heart-wrenching in characters’ lives, covering complex themes of s
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cindy-owns, borrowed
I know I'm in the minority here, but am not a fan of books with short stories. And this is no exception. Every story had Adele Covington a novelist, visiting ‘Friends of Libraries’ book clubs to talk about her current book. And one person who had attended these talks (or with whom Adele had interacted) had Adele to thank for ‘saving their lives’ (my words). Pat her on the back because without Adele’s (talk, advise, observations) these people would not have (stepped out of their comfort zone, got ...more
Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*
Ugh. Didn't care for this at all. Thought it would be more about libraries and books and how they save people. Nope. It was way too preachy and the 'author' protagonist just kept swooping in and rescuing everyone she met within five seconds. Plus the writing was not so good. Very disappointed.
Cheryl Anne
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
The George Saunders quote at the beginning—about how reading a short story makes us more aware and in love with the world around us—is a perfect choice for this collection of stories written by Susan Cushman. The book reads like a travel memoir in disguise. I had no doubt, reading it, that the author has a deep heart, and that this is ultimately her love letter to broken humanity. The narrator, Adele, is an author who is traveling around the state of Mississippi, speaking at libraries about her ...more
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written collection of short stories. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. Can't wait to read the rest of her work!
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
I thought I had entered a Hallmark movie when I had read two chapters of this book. And I am not a fan of Hallmark movies. The author, Adele, who is the main character should be St, Adele. She arrives in each small Mississippi town and solves the problems, whatever they may be. Sorry but I found this book trite...the best thing I can say about it is that it has a pretty cover. And I am a sucker for a pretty cover.
Michele  Frazier
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Sweet, inspiring short stories about communities in Mississippi and the people who live there. An author travels to different counties on a speaking tour and encounters some of the locals. She tells their stories. It's a quick, easy, charming read. It inspires the writer in you!
Johnnie Bernhard
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Take a journey of the heart with Adele Covington, a Mississippi author, as she travels to ten libraries throughout her home state, healing herself and others in the collected short stories of Friends of the Library by Susan Cushman. Written with a strong sense of place, Friends of the Library will make you cry and laugh with characters rooted in the colorful Deep South. More importantly, it connects to the most basic of human needs, community and acceptance, all found at the public library.
Bonny Ferguson
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sweet, succinct and southern. Like a warm bowl of hot cheese grits on a cool morning. It just hits the spot.
Carolyn Breckinridge
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
‘Friends of the Library’ by Susan Cushman is a collection of short stories tied together by a fictional author’s experiences as she appears at readings and signings in ten Mississippi cities/towns. Her fictional author, Adele Covington, has written a novel inclusive of art and the theme of sexual abuse, and as she moves around the state, various readers have noticeable reactions to the sexual abuse theme. Ms. Cushman has offered her readers several stories that ring true related to the depths of ...more
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Friends of the Library is a series of short stories that recount the experiences of the fictitious author, Adele Covington, at her Friends of the Library speaking engagements throughout Mississippi.

Susan Cushman has created a wonderful storyteller in Adele Covington. Adele is a warm and nurturing character who is able to connect with people and earn their confidence. She is able to sense a need in one person at each of the talks and she reaches out to them.

I was touched by each of the stories
Marsha Raasch
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The author has chosen to weave together the history of small towns in Mississippi, topics such as eating disorders, abuse and alcoholism , by telling stories of people she meets and lives she touches while traveling to speaking events hosted by Friends of the Library in each small town. The stories are charming and the characters felt as real as if I'd met them on the sidewalk in a small southern town myself.
Amanda Craig
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful short stories about our beloved libraries and the wonderful patrons of our southern libraries. Much more than books.
Cheryl Olivera
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Susan Cushman's new collection of short stories, Friends of the Library, Cushman gives the readers uplifting stories about an author named Adele Covington. She has stories to tell as she travels through Mississippi helping people overcome different situations, by bringing people together to find solutions to their dilemmas.
This story reiterates the effect libraries have on the community. I loved the diversity of the stories. This collection of short stories is delightful, and will wisk you aw
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I give this book a 4.5
Ms Cushman has portrayed in these short stories a snapshot of life with its hopes and fears, ups and downs in the lives of people living in MS small towns today. Like Bill Bryson does in many of his books, she gives you a good factual overview of each town she visits and a picture of the Friends of the Library group in each place. Her quasi fictional character, Adele Covington from Memphis, spends time in each town speaking about the books she has written. I enjoyed the int
Kathleen Rodgers
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-s-fiction
At each small town and public library on her book tour through Mississippi, fictional writer Adele Covington meets someone in the audience that needs her help. At first Adele might appear as some overly cheerful plainclothes therapist hiding behind the mask of “visiting author.” Just when you think the story might feel a little too sugary, Adele stumbles onto a person battling a serious issue.

In Friends of the Library, a collection of short stories by real-life author Susan Cushman, the narrativ
Annie McDonnell
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don’t we love happy endings! That’s what Susan Cushman writes in “Friends Of the Library”.....Short Stories; all with happy endings!
This is the story of a hero author named Adele. A woman that can lead the way to a better life, better choices and better options for those of us that have been abused, damaged, battling illness, or still hurting in this world. As she visits local libraries she happens to finds that person that needs her.
Personally, I like a deeper read when it comes to the serious
Betty Koval
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Susan Cushman took me on a tour of familiar places - 1) I lived in Mississippi for 8 years and 2) Libraries have always held a special place in my life! Susan brought to life not only the places but gave it such heart by weaving people and their lives into the common ground of a library. The varied plots just goes to show the way people of various backgrounds, socioeconomic status, gender and race connect through books and reading.
The love of reading and learning - the tie that binds so many of
Claire Fullerton
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The world needs more of these delightful, heartwarming stories, which are well-drawn vignettes that follow narrator, author Adele Covington, to ten Mississippi author events hosted by Friends of the Library. We learn the landmarks and history of each town. We meet its citizens in each slice of life story that ranges from homelessness to domestic violence to cancer. If you’ve ever wanted a peek inside the life of a writer, Friends of the Library depicts a delightful author as she introduces her n ...more
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from my local independent bookstore after I told that owner that I'm a librarian. I liked the premise of the book more than the execution. I just couldn't get into the writing style. The stories were all so brief and similar in tone that I had difficulty telling them apart. It's only an advanced copy so it's possible the final product will have gone through a few more revisions. The characters and setting of the book need a bit more life in them.
Carol Deegan
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
did not care for this book. It seems unlikely that an author comes to town for a library presentation to strangers and someone immediately opens up and tells her their story about the problems they are facing. The author then “fixes” the problems, in a short time, in every town. The iconography in one story was impossible for me to believe. The book addresses important issues: domestic and sexual abuse, alcoholism, adoption, Alzheimer’s, childhood cancer, many other topics.

I would have rather se
Audra Gayle
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Friends of the Library is a short story collection for anyone who loves the Hallmark Channel. I thought it was a sweet book, but that's the problem: the endings were too syrupy-sweet for my taste. My natural inclination is to gravitate towards darker, heavier subject matters. I find those kinds of books to be more honest about human emotions. That being said, I didn't dislike this collection. We all need to read books with happy endings every once in a while - just like we all need to watch a Ha ...more
Heather Cobham
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Friends of the Library" takes the reader on a heartwarming book tour through Mississippi, with stops at the local libraries. On her travels, Adele Covington, a southern author, meets an eclectic mix of folks who all share a love of books. Each chapter shares a poignant interaction Adele has with one of her readers and exemplifies how one compassionate person can make a difference in others' lives. When you finish "Friends of the Library", you'll be inspired to lend support to those in need. A p ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Friends of the Library by Susan Cushman was a wonderful read for me. I went to one of her workshops last year and then went to hear her talk of this newly published book. She read one of the short stories right up to the "got cha" point. I went home and skipped straight to that story and then curled up and read all of the short stories. I just click with her style of writing and the words that she uses.
Kathleen Varn
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love historical fiction or any book that embodies the often overlooked soul whose life could have easily never been noticed or even told. Susan Cushman touches on so many issues that I as a human, woman, child, baby boomer and as I age my voice could be dismissed as an antique memory. The imagery and even historic tidbits I found pleasant and not overly flowery. I could relate on so many levels from my childhood eyes to my AARP ones.
Lovelace Cook
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Friends of the Library is a book that pushes buttons and invites discussion. I admire Susan Cushman’s courage in addressing “hot topics” that may be uncomfortable for a lot of people. The author did a marvelous job in her characters’ interactions with the fictitious novelist Adele who addresses those topics. Cushman gives voice to readers who may benefit from the candor and care with which she handles the topics in her short stories.
Virginia Gavin
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a collection of short stories which surrounded the main character,who was an author traveling to different Friends of the Library groups throughout Missippi.Each chapter would focus on a different character that she met at one of her talks.Through these characters,different topics or social issues would be addressed.I really liked the concept and how the author structured it.
Julie Cantrell
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Susan Cushman gives readers the grand tour of Mississippi, introducing us to recognizable characters and covering every topic from alcoholism to faith, domestic violence to Southern cooking. This book could only have been written by someone who loves our great state and who longs to celebrate both the writers and readers who call it home
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Susan's fifth book, a collection of linked short stories titled "Friends of the Library," is forthcoming from Koehler Books in August, 2019.

Susan's novel, "Cherry Bomb," released in July 2017. Her first book, "Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer's," was released in January 2017. She was also editor of "A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be," (March 2017) an

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