Everyone has a favorite | On the bookshelf

By their nature, favorite books are a personal choice. Topics vary with individual interests. Popular books can be fiction or nonfiction. Volumes can be locally written or the work of authors far away. Here is an eclectic selection found to be favored by area readers.

By their nature, favorite books are a personal choice. Topics vary with individual interests. Popular books can be fiction or nonfiction. Volumes can be locally written or the work of authors far away. Here is an eclectic selection found to be favored by area readers.

“The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran,” by Dirk Hayhurst (softcover, Citadel Press, 2010, 340 pages, $14.95). After seasoning in the minors, Canton South native Hayhurst pitched for parts of the 2008 and 2009 seasons in the major leagues for the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays, before going on injured reserve this season. Sports personality Bob Costas says Hayhurst’s book is “often hilarious, sometimes poignant,” and broadcaster Keith Olbermann deems it “one of the best baseball books ever written.”

“Joshua Jay’s Amazing Book of Cards: Tricks, Shuffles, Stunts & Hustles,” by Joshua Jay (softcover Workman Publishing, 2010, 200 pages, $16.95). “Giant Fan,” “The Double Bridge,” “Forcing Aces” and “Three-Card Monte” are some of the showy tricks revealed in the former Stark County magician’s book, which is accompanied by an instructional DVD. Jay, who lives in New York, has lectured and performed in more than 50 countries.

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” by Stieg Larsson (softcover, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 2009, 590 pages, $24.95). This best-selling novel, part of a trilogy by Larsson, was translated from Swedish in 2009. USA Today calls it “mesmerizing.” The Boston Globe says it’s “exceptional.” The Chicago Tribune terms it “unique and fascinating.” National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air” calls it “super smart.”

“Charlie St. Cloud,” by Ben Sherwood (softcover, Bantom Books, 2004, 306 pages, $15). In this novel, Charlie St. Cloud tends the lawn in the New England cemetery where his brother is buried. There he talks and plays with the spirit of his dead brother. Reviews call the storytelling of best-selling author Sherwood “magical,” “mystical,” “touching” and “entertaining.”

“Women Food and God,” by Geneen Roth (hardcover, Scribner, 2010, 211 pages, $24). This book hopes to lead you from your food anxieties. Roth, the author of “When Food Is Love,” follows up that best-seller after three decades of research into food compulsions. “Here, now, is almost every single thing I know about using eating as a doorway to freedom from suffering, the demystification of weight loss, and the luminous presence that so many call God.”