Staff Picks: Books You’ll Be DYING To Read

With Halloween looming, now is the perfect time to dig into a bone-chilling book filled with mystery and spine-tingling suspense! Check out our staff’s favorite picks below. All are available at the Marion County Library system.

  1. The Deep by Alma Katsu
    Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic

    This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

    Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . .

  2. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul TremblayThe Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense that recalls Stephen King’s Misery, Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, and Jack Ketchum’s cult hit The Girl Next Door.

    Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

    One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”

    Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.

  3. The Hunger by Alma KatsuEvil is invisible, and it is everywhere.

    Tamsen Donner must be a witch. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the pioneers to the brink of madness. They cannot escape the feeling that someone–or something–is stalking them. Whether it was a curse from the beautiful Tamsen, the choice to follow a disastrous experimental route West, or just plain bad luck–the 90 men, women, and children of the Donner Party are at the brink of one of the deadliest and most disastrous western adventures in American history.

    While the ill-fated group struggles to survive in the treacherous mountain conditions–searing heat that turns the sand into bubbling stew; snows that freeze the oxen where they stand–evil begins to grow around them, and within them. As members of the party begin to disappear, they must ask themselves “What if there is something waiting in the mountains? Something disturbing and diseased…and very hungry?”

  4. The Outsider by Stephen KingAn unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

    An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

    As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

  5. Slade House by David MitchellDown the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents — an odd brother and sister — extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late…

    Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.

  6. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides 

    Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

    Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…

Special Announcement: Changes to Circulation Policy

The Marion County Library System Board of Trustees has approved a new circulation policy that includes automatic renewals. It is our hope that these changes will lead to shorter wait times on materials, reduce the stress of remembering multiple due dates, and create an overall better borrowing experience for our patrons.

Read moreSpecial Announcement: Changes to Circulation Policy

Beach Reads: Labor Day Weekend Edition

Whether you choose to relax on the strand or on the couch this Labor Day Weekend, grab your favorite digital device and dive into one of our favorite beach reads!

Montauk by Nicola HarrisonMontauk, Long Island, 1938. A simple town on the brink of a glamorous future. A marriage drifting apart. A life on the edge of what is and what could be. An epic and cinematic novel by debut author Nicola Harrison, Montauk captures the glamour and extravagance of a summer by the sea with the story of a woman torn between the life she chose and the life she desires.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “nothing short of brilliant” (People) Mrs. Everything returns with an unforgettable novel about friendship and forgiveness set during a disastrous wedding on picturesque Cape Cod. A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

Tidelands by Philippa Gregory: #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory begins a sweeping new series with the story of a poor, uneducated midwife named Alinor who is tempted by a forbidden love affair–but all too aware of the dangers awaiting a woman who dares to step out of the place society carved for her.

Meet Me in Monaco by Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor: Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the paradise of Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.

Summer Longing by Jamie Brenner: When a baby is left on the doorstep of a Cape Cod beach house, an unlikely group of women risks all they hold dear to harbor and protect her in this “touching, nuanced summer yarn” (Publisher’s Weekly).

Branch Reopenings

The Marion County Library System happily announces extended opening hours:

  • Mullins – Monday-Friday (10am-1pm;2pm-5pm)
  • Marion – Monday-Friday (10am-1pm;2pm-5pm)
  • Nichols – Bookmobile service ONLY. Please call 843-423-8300 or 843-464-9621 to be added to the route.

Both Marion and Mullins branches will now be closing for lunch from 1pm-2pm.

For the health and safety of all, patrons can expect the following adjustments when visiting MCLS:

  • Limited building capacities
    • Mullins – 6
    • Marion – 6
  • Browsing with Caution
    • We ask that patrons wishing to browse our collection of materials sanitize their hands upon entry to the building.
    • SC Room/Genealogy room is currently closed to the public. Patrons can still access these materials with the help of a staff member.
  • Precautionary Check Points
    • When entering any of our three branches, patrons will:
      • Have temperatures checked via contactless thermometer
      • Be required to wear a face covering (MCLS offers disposable masks for those in need)
  • Social distancing efforts


These are indeed unprecedented times as we are all aware. Still, we recognize the importance of our library and the roll it plays in the community. That being said, we look forward to opening our doors once again. We thank you for your patience over the past weeks and your cooperation in the days ahead. Happy reading.


Curbside Pickup Serivce


You want it, you got it! Beginning Wednesday, April 6th, the Marion branch of the Marion County Library System will begin curbside pickup service.

Here’s how it works:

  • Place your hold request (up to 5 items) either via our online catalog or by calling 843.423.8300.
  • Once your items are available for pickup, a MCLS team member will contact you by phone and email to schedule your pickup date and time, as well as give you a designated parking spot.
  • When you arrive at the library, park in your appointed parking spot at the front of the library.
  • We ask that you please open your trunk – this will prompt our team to know that you are ready for your books to be delivered to you.
  • A team member will bring your items to your car and place them in your trunk.
  • Once our team member has placed the items in your vehicle and is at a safe, social distance, you may close your trunk.

Item Returns:

If you have items that you need to return while utilizing our curbside pickup service, you may deposit them in our book drop at your convenience. We ask that you please practice social distancing while doing so.


Youth Poetry Contest


We have all been affected by Covid-19 in different ways. Some of us have become one with our couch, some have taken up gardening, others of us have become experts at video games and learned more about wild animals. Most of us are missing our friends and some have lost family members.  We’ve seen empty shelves in stores and neighborhoods full of teddy bears in the windows. What we haven’t seen is your unique perspective. Your challenge is to write a poem about your experiences during quarantine.

Don’t worry! It doesn’t have to rhyme. Some of the most famous poems ever written do not even rhyme at all.

Here’s a neat website about poetry to get the ideas flowing:




  • Child must be a student between grades 3 – 12 and a current resident of Marion County, SC.
  • The poem must be written by the child/student named on the submission form.
  • Only one entry per student, please.
  • Entries must be submitted by 6:00 pm on Friday May 29. No exceptions will be made.



  • 1st place winners will be awarded a $20 Walmart Gift Card
  • 2nd place: winners will be awarded a $10 Walmart Gift Card
  • 3rd place: winners will be awarded a $5 Walmart Gift Card

First, Second, and Third Place winners will be selected for the following groups:

  • Grades 3-5,
  • Grades 6-8,
  • Grades 9-12.



If you are interested in submitting a poem, please review the contest requirements*, register, and submit your poem here.

Submissions are accepted from Friday May 1, 2020 to Friday, May 29, 2020. All entries must be submitted by 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 29, 2020.

Winners will be notified by phone or email and announced on Facebook on Friday, June 5, 2020.

Daily Fun Tip #5



Today, I challenge you to sing “Old Mac Donald Had a Farm” together. This song is such a fun song! It allows kids to associate animal sounds with the names of the animals, it teaches kids about what animals are found on farms, and  allows you to be silly and incorporate animals and sounds that aren’t traditionally thought of as found on farms, but definitely appear on real farms. For example, CRICKETS!

…and on this farm he had some Crickets!  E-I-E-I-O
With a chirp chirp here and a chirp chirp there… 
Here a chirp, there a chirp, everywhere a chirp chirp….

You could even let your child talk about what they would like on their farm if they had one and sing a version about that.  Or you could get really wild and add a verse about mosquitoes, and instead of making the sound mosquitoes make, you could swat at your arms or legs like this:

…and on this farm he had MOSQUITOES! E-I-E-I-O
With a (smack your arms twice, mimicking swatting away a mosquito) here and a (smack your legs twice) there…
Here a (smack your arm once), there a (smack your leg once)…everywhere a (quickly swat your chest and tummy) 

Keep talking, singing, and playing!


Daily Fun Tip #4


Unicorns. Ohhhhh, unicorns. They are one of my absolute favorite mythical creatures! Horses with colorful hair, golden horns, & wings: what’s not to love?!

Today, I challenge you to read a book about unicorns with your kids, or watch the following story time videos about unicorns:

Thelma The Unicorn –  by: Aaron Blabey

How to Catch a Unicorn – by: Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton

You Don’t Want a Unicorn – by: Amy Dyckman

Unicorn Day – by: Diana Murray