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Cover to cover: Sherry Anderegg's love of reading started with visits to Grandma's house
Sherry Anderegg is originally from Monroe. She lived in Monticello on a farm until her family moved back to Monroe when she was in fifth grade. She worked at Monroe Clinic for many years. Although she didn't like history in school, she loves it now. Sherry is on the board of the Green County Historical Society, the historian for Cheese Days at Turner Hall, and involved in the Green County Genealogical Society.

What are you reading right now?

Right now, I'm reading Fannie Flagg's "Can't Wait to Get to Heaven." I like her books and I've read almost all of them. I'm not too far into it, but it's about a gal who was a beauty queen, and now she doesn't want to live any longer. I haven't even gotten into the reasons why, but we're just at that edge. My favorite of her books is "The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion," based on the true story of the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II. There were girls - two sisters - who ran the gas station when their fathers and brothers took off for the war. They go back to the hometown and they have a reunion at this gas station.

Is there a particular book that has inspired you in your life?

Corrie ten Boom's "The Hiding Place," which is about her family's experiences during the Holocaust, stands out in my mind; as well as Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes." More recently, there was a book called "Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust" by Michael Hingson. It's about how the author's guide dog led him and 30 others out of the Twin Towers on Sept. 11.

Who shared books with you as you grew up?

It was my grandma who got me involved in the library. We lived in the country until fifth grade. We'd come visit my grandma, who lived in Monroe, and she wasn't far from the library.

Visiting the Arabut Ludlow Library was an awesome experience. You would walk in and it was kind of dark in there because of the woodwork. You had to be quiet, and you got to learn how to use the card catalog. Then you could find your books by yourself. You didn't have to have the librarian help you. I always found all kinds of books that I wanted to read. Back then, I read "The Bobbsey Twins," "The Black Stallion," and "The Boxcar Children." I also read "Nancy Drew," "Little Women," and "The Diary of Anne Frank" - anything I could get my hands on, actually.

Do you prefer to read fiction or nonfiction, generally?

A little of both. I really like nonfiction. I like books about people and especially ones in which they have overcome adversity or they can help other people because of a condition or something they have. I like uplifting things. Anymore, there's so much going on that's bad in this world that I don't even watch the national news as much anymore, because you just get so tired of it.

If you could be a character in a book that you've read, who would you be?

Oh, boy. That'd be a hard one. Well, Barbara Taylor Bradford had her "A Woman of Substance" series about strong women, so I guess I'd pick one in one of her series.

So, can you tell us about a book you've been disappointed in?

The last Fannie Flagg book, "The Whole Town is Talking," was different. I had to rush to the store and get that, and I did sort of like it. There are dead people talking in a cemetery. Then at the end, they slowly disappear and the people can't figure out where they've gone to, because they're not with them any longer in spirit. And then they come back as something other than a human. What kept you in it was her description of these people in this town, because then you found out about them from the very start, and then their kids, and then the grandkids. So you invested yourself in these people, but it's just when they died off and they're up on the hill in the cemetery and they're talking to each other as they arrive, so to speak.

And then at the end, well, they solve a murder. It's just really different from her normal novels. It was strange. Let's put it that way. At the end, you're thinking, "Wow. I'm not sure I like the ending, but ..."

Do you have any books at home that you particularly treasure?

I have three books of poetry by Mattie Stepanek - the "Heartsongs" series. He was a little boy who died in 2004 from a neuromuscular disease that his mother didn't know she carried. Knowing this little boy's story, and how he wanted the world to have peace, makes them especially touching.

So, if you have a friend that's looking for a book, what would you recommend?

I would always recommend "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom. That was an amazing story. I also recommend Hoda Kotb's "Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives." She looked at life-changing moments experienced by six different people, and then visited them a decade later to see how their lives had gone.

I've also really enjoyed Effie Leland Wilder's books, such as "Out to Pasture" and "Over What Hill." With grace and humor, she pokes fun at growing older. She reflects on the special wisdom gained from aging, as well as on the challenges and losses that must be faced.

If you were on a deserted island and you could only have one book with you, what would it be?

The Bible.

- Cover to Cover is provided by the Monroe Public Library and is published the fourth Wednesday of the month.