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I don’t know about you, but when I think of authors, I tend to think of someone living in New York, LA, or even in the English countryside–not necessarily around here. So, it’s always a fun reminder for me to see an author who lives in Ohio. There are of course, hundreds of Ohio authors, and many of them can be found in our Local Authors Collection (across from the Circulation Desk). Today, however, we’re just focusing on five.

George Bilgere is my all-time favorite poet. He’s a brilliant writer whose creativity and views on the ordinary, everyday continues to astound me. A perpetual every-man and a professor from John Carroll University, Bilgere writes about what it’s like to be a man, living in a community very much like ours, dealing with the complexities of being a father, divorce, aging, and struggling with the loss of loved ones. Imperial is one of his newest collections, and an excellent example of his work. In case you still need convincing, Bilgere has given presentations both at our library and across the country, including on NPR and even at the Library of Congress!

If you enjoyed this poetry collection, consider checking out this author’s newest book, Blood Pages.

No list of Ohio authors would be complete without Toni Morrison. This Lorain-born author has written a whole host of books, but for this post, we’re going to focus on her most famous work, Beloved. This haunting tale, part ghost-story, part redemption arc, is the story of Sethe, who escaped slavery at a painfully high cost. In an act of desperation, Sethe kills her youngest child, Beloved, to spare her from the horrors that she was forced to endure. Years later, Sethe is still haunted by her actions, both from a guilty conscience, and from the ghost of Beloved, who haunts the home where she lives as a free woman. When a teenage girl who calls herself Beloved arrives at the home, Sethe must confront her deepest regrets and fears in order to find healing and peace.

Next, we have another poetry collection, this time from Elise Panehal. Elise’s collection features the writings of three generations of female authors (herself, her mother, and her daughter). The poetry is bright and fun, full of life, and very sweet. Panehal (like Bilgere) has presented at the library, and her work is a delight to hear read aloud. The Girl Who Couldn’t Talk Dirty is a wonderful, uplifting read during these stressful times.

To the public, Jeffery Dahmer was a monster, one of the most famous serial killers in history, who killed and cannibalized a slew of victims. But, “Derf” Backderf knew a very different Jeff. They went to school together. For a time, they were even friends. And so he shares Dahmer’s story–the story that the media didn’t show. The Dahmer of this book is a deeply troubled young man, struggling with feelings and urges that he doesn’t understand and can’t control. My Friend Dahmer does not absolve him of the blame for his crimes (far from it), but it brings a complexity to his story which had been missing for a long time.

If you enjoyed the book, you might enjoy the 2017 movie version, too.

Let’s move on to a little romance. Something to Talk About is a romance novel about a librarian, written by a librarian, which makes it extra interesting in my book! Glad Donahue has just moved to Mill Falls, Ohio for a new job and a fresh start. The one thing she doesn’t want is a new man in her life. But then a big, burly, dark-eyed hunk of distraction shows up and throws a monkey wrench into her plans. Mike Kovalski has a reputation for being a sleaze. And after his boss threatens to fire him if he can’t clean up his reputation, Mike finds himself desperately trying to seduce the town’s new librarian. Of course, romance is the last thing on his mind–this is just to keep up appearances, but it appears that fate has other things in store for Mike and Glad.

If you enjoyed this book, consider checking out the next book in the series: Just a Taste.


I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.