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    by Dawn S | Apr 11, 2018

    Celebrate National Library Week with this amazing new book all about the power of creativity.

    cover image for what if
    What If...
    by Samantha Berger and Mike Curato

    When you want to create, what if you don't have a pencil, or a brush, or paints? You can create with nature, leaves and snow, or with words, songs and chants, or with light, shadows and shapes. This story is told by a girl full of ideas and beauty who will ALWAYS find a way to create.

    Young readers will love the rhythm of the words and the fantastic collage artwork. Mike Curato's pictures combine photographs of real things, like Lego towers and flowers, with drawings of the character and other parts of her world. The mix is magical and reinforces the countless ways of being creative.

    Celebrate National Library Week, grab some new books, and enjoy all the creativity the world of libraries has to offer!

    by Kayla W | Apr 11, 2018

              You made me hate myself. Well, I like myself now. – Willard Stiles

    Movie Review: Willard

    willardLet’s talk about rats.   They certainly have an interesting and varied history with humanity, and something you may not know is that they’re actually a major reason why Jaws is seen as one of the most iconic of villains to ever grace the silver screen.  Yes, it’s true – Willard made its American audience hungry for more “animals attack” movies, and was so widely acclaimed that it paved the way for more films featuring the evils of our animal brethren to be released throughout the seventies.   I feel safe in assuming that if not for the Iago-like scheming rat, Ben, we might never have had our Universal Studios’ famous great white shark.

    In spite of that, Willard has become a (mostly) forgotten-about cult darling, having been underlooked – around the time we went from film to VHS to DVD.  For the longest time, if you wanted a story about a man and his rats, you would have to watch the re-make, featuring Crispin Glover absolutely devouring the scenery amidst a sea of his rat friends.  Not a bad fate (in fact, that movie was the first film my S.O. and I ever watched together alone – which somehow still managed to be romantic, in spite of the content of the movie), but anyone who’s wanted to see the truly solid and unforgettable original has been out of luck – unless they own a VHS copy and a player.   Cue Shoutfactory, who only just last year released this utterly strange movie on crisp Blu-ray and DVD. 

    So, what is the movie about?   I once heard the creators of the cult classic Tucker and Dale Versus Evil describe their movie as a romantic tale that happens to feature a bad incident involving a woodchipper, and in a similar tongue-in-cheek manner, I would describe Willard as a tale of a boy and his rats with a few minor incidents related to a seriously terrible office job. 

    To describe it more fully, Willard features a man who appears to have a case of Peter Pan syndrome, not aided in the least by the lead actor’s boyish features, or by his style of acting, which brings to mind more often than not a child on the verge of throwing a tantrum.   It’s his attitude and obvious, childish desire to escape his responsibilities that make the character of Willard Stiles different from the escapist fantasy stories that veer towards saving a male character from his fate of emasculation at the hands of a cold social structure or overbearing female characters.  We're introduced to the title character through his home life via a birthday party thrown for him in his spacious, decrepit home (with the party guests all being his mother’s friends).  There we also meet his gleefully opportunistic and bullying boss, played perfectly and memorably by an eternally devious Ernest Borgnine. Not soon after, we see the rat infestation that has taken over the run-down backyard garden in the back of Willard’s home.   At first deeming the infestation to be yet one more chore to further weigh the child-like man down with responsibility, Willard soon discovers that he has an affinity for the rats and that they respond well to training and affection.

    What happens next I will leave to the imagination, but if kitschy seventies style and bizarro animal action is something you’re interested in, you won’t be disappointed by this strange trip of a movie.

    The ACPL has multiple copies of the cult classic on Blu-Ray, and the movie is based on a book, known as Ratman’s Notebooks.  

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre.  Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, and reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.

    by Craig B | Apr 09, 2018

    cover for 21 Savage, Offset, and Metro Boomin's album, Without WarningI quite appreciated the pop culture references I found on the collaboration, Without Warning, put together by Metro Boomin, 21 Savage, and Offset.  The Matrix, Freddy Krueger, and Darth Vader all make appearances among the many, many words on this album.  In fact it’s so dense lyrically it does sort of remind me of those green streaming characters on Cypher’s screen in The Matrix in which Cypher sees such a wealth of life and at which Neo can only stare.  But that of course is before … well, if you haven’t seen the movie I won’t ruin it for you.

    Suggested Use: Browse the movie section at your local library to these tunes when you’re not sure what you’re in the mood to watch.  If the thoughtful lyrics don’t give you some ideas, the pop culture references should jog your memory of past space operas, nightmare visions, and pre-John-Wick Keanu Reeves.  Collaborate with nostalgia, the hero’s journey, and a variety of artistic expressions to make sure your weekend is memorable and successful in preparing you for a journey of your own; back into the matrices of Monday morning and a week of drizzling déjà vu.

    craig Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Kay S | Apr 06, 2018
    As Scooby-Doo would say "Rime for Rnew Releases" Actually, because Scooby-doo is a dog, I really don't know what he'd say. So, I'll say here are a few new upcoming releases coming to a store/library/electronic device near you. These are to be released between April 15 to May 14, 2018. And, as always, the dates given are the dates they will be published, not the date they hit the shelves. I have been reading good things about the following.

    Historical Romance
    Valerie Bowman Valerie Bowman
    A Duke Like No Other
    Playful Brides series
    May 1
    Madeline Hunter Madeline Hunter
    A Devil of a Duke
    Decadent Dukes Society series
    April 24
    Cathy Maxwell Cathy Maxwell
    A Match Made in Bed
    The Spinster Heiresses series
    April 17
    Courtney Milan Courtney Milan
    After the Wedding
    Worth Saga series
    April 24 - ebook (Ms. Milan self-publishes, so the date may vary)
     Joanna shupe Joanne Shupe
    A Scandalous Deal
    The Four Hundred Series
    April 24

    Historical Fiction

     Genevieve Graham Genevieve Graham
    Come from Away
    April 24

    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction/Women's Fiction/New Adult

     Kate Clayborn Kate Clayborn
    Luck of the Draw
    Part of the Chance series
    Contemporary Romance
    April 24
     Cheris Hodges Cheris Hodges
    Strategic Seduction
    Contemporary Romance
    April 24
     Orly Konig Orly Konig
    Carousel Beach
    Mainstream Fiction
    May 8
     Shannon Stacey Shannon Stacey
    Hot Response
    Boston Fire series
    Contemporary romance
    April 24

    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense

    Ellery Adams  Ellery Adams
    Murder in the Locked Library
    A Book Retreat Mystery series
    April 24 
     Sidney Bell Sidney Bell
    Hard Line, m/m
    Woodbury Boys series
    Romantic Suspense
    April 24
     Christina Dodd Christina Dodd
    Dead Girl Running
    Cape Charade series
    April 24
     Iris Johansen Iris Johansen
    Shattered Mirror
    Eve Duncan series
    April 24
     Amanda Quick Amanda Quick
    The Other Lady Vanishes
    Burning Cove series
    May 8

    Paranormal Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

     martha Wells Martha Wells
    Artificial Condition
    The Murderbot Diaries series
    Science Fiction
    May 8

    Young Adult/Teen

     Lilly Anderson Lily Anderson
    Undead Girl Gang
    May 8 
     Christina June Christina June
    Everywhere You Want to Be
    May 1
     Taran Matharu Taran Matharu
    The Outcast
    The Summoner series prequel
    May 1
     Leila Sales Leila Sales
    If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say
    May 1
      Andrienna young Adrienne Young
    Sky in the Deep
    Throne of Glass
    April 24

    Inspirational Romance/Mainstream Fiction

     Heidi Chiavaroli Heidi Chiavaroli
    The Hidden Side
    May 8 
     Amanda Stevens Amanda G. Stevens
    No Less Days
    May 1


     Kristen Ashley Kristen Ashley
    The Greatest Risk
    The Honey Series 

    kayKay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.
    by Becky C | Apr 05, 2018
    Anita Shreve Anita Shreve quote 

    Anita Shreve died at her home on March 29.  Her novels explored love, loss, and betrayal; she often used a dramatic event to examine how a single experience could change someone's life. 

    She began writing fiction in her early forties, often finding inspiration in old houses, stating that "a house with any kind of age has dozens of stories to tell".  Here's a look at three of her novels which used the same house as her muse.

    Fortunes Rocks

    Fortune's Rocks
    .  In the summer of 1899 and the Biddefords are spending the season in their New Hampshire seaside cottage.  15-year-old Olympia has an affair with her father's friend, John Haskell.  A few weeks of joy turn into years of pain.  A scandalous love story and a skillfully written portrait of American society at the turn of the last century.

    Sea GlassSea Glass.  A newly married couple, Sexton and Honora Beecher, fall in love with a derelict New Hampshire seaside cottage. Sexton lies about his finances and arranges a loan to buy the property. When the 1929 stock market crash occurs soon afterward, Sexton loses his job and finds work in the nearby mills. There, he joins a group of desperate mill hands who want to form a union and the lives of the Beechers become entwined with the strikers.  The plot moves forward via each character's point of view, building emotional tension until the violent climax when the mill owners' henchmen confront the strikers.

    The Pilots WifeThe Pilot's Wife.  After her husband Jack's plane, with 103 passengers aboard, explodes off the coast of Ireland, a union rep guides Katharine through the first hours of grief and shock. When investigators indicate they suspect a bomb and that Jack is somehow implicated, Hart becomes instrumental in protecting Katharine and her daughter from both the media and the airline, which is desperate to find a scapegoat for the disaster. As Katharine is forced to repeatedly absorb startling new information about her husband, she must face the fact that she did not really know the man she had been happily married to for 16 years.

    Do you have a favorite book by Anita Shreve?  If so, please share your recommendations in the comments below.

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..

    by Dawn S | Apr 05, 2018
    When I need a story book to read to a group of preschoolers, only certain ones will do. It has to have an engaging story, big bold pictures, and it helps if it's funny. I don't want the kids to just sit like little lumps listening, I want them to participate.

    What books hit all these marks and make me smile EVERY time I read them? Here are my top 5 favorites to share with preschool groups.

     cover image for the wide mothed frog

    The Wide-Mouthed Frog
    by Keith Faulkner

    I love this one with big pop-up elements and bright colors. The simple, traditional tale, tells about a frog and the animals he meets as he hops along. The last page is the best and I often go back and reread the end so the kids can all say "splash" along with me.

    cover image for go away big green monster

    Go Away Big Green Monster!
    by Ed Emberley

    Every time I read this to preschoolers there's a little bit of magic that happens in their eyes. The die cut pages introduce them to the big green monster one facial feature at a time. And then the fun begins as we tell each part of this goofy guy to "Go Away!" It's exciting even after several reads - the true hallmark of a great read aloud.

    cover image for Edward the Emu
    Edward the Emu
    by Sheena Knowles

    Because the zoo is one of their favorite places, preschoolers love this story about an emu who wants some excitement. The pictures
    hysterically show Edward acting like a lion and a snake, just to see if life is better on the other side of the fence. For a little audience participation I like to have the kids roar and hiss and do the other animal sounds together.
    cover image for mouse paint

    Mouse Paint
    by Ellen Stoll Walsh

    In a perfect world, this book would be a little bigger to share with a group, but the pictures are simple and the story about mice playing in paint is just right for preschoolers. It's fun to have kids yell out the color names and think about color mixing by guessing the next color the mice discover.

    cover image for little owl lost

    Little Owl Lost
    by Chris Haughton

    I think preschoolers sympathize with this little lost owl and his big startled eyes. They also roll with laughter when squirrel's help isn't all that helpful.

    Having finished my list, I can think of at least 5 more titles that are good and maybe several others that are great. This business of picking favorite books is especially hard for librarians. If you'd like more suggestions, just ask your local librarian for their top 5 (or 30) preschool class read-alouds. Or add yours to the comments below!

    by Mindy L | Apr 04, 2018
    Some books sit on your nightstand for weeks as you read a little bit each night. These are not those books.

    Penrics FoxPenric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold

    The third book in the World of the Five Gods: Penric & Desdemona series.  The Penric books are novellas, so they’re a quick read. Poor Penric happens to be in the wrong place at the right time and acquires Desdemona, a Chaos demon, who shares his body. Characters are likable; there’s humor and excitement. A good fantasy series.

    The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George

    The Punishment She DeservesElizabeth George’s Lynley and Havers series is intense and character driven, with interesting social commentary and a nice bunch of twists and turns. If you’ve never read her books, you might be confused by the many characters who populate each book. It’s also a lovely long one, nearly 700 pages. I guess it could be called a British police procedural, with literary overtones. I finished it in a long weekend, during which I pretty much didn’t get anything else done. Her books are excellent, if sometimes difficult.

    The Hush
    by John Hart

    The HushI wasn’t quite expecting this book to go in the direction it did, but I was happy to tag along. A story of love, revenge, history, slavery, and the South, with a certain dark magic. I found it hard to put down. I’ve read most of his other books, in fact the two main characters were in a previous novel, but you can read this as a stand-alone with no trouble. The book is eerie, sometimes veering into horror territory, but not so far that it’s terrifying. Read it with the lights on, maybe?

    Two Girls DownTwo Girls Down by Louisa Luna

    Alice Vega finds people. She’s hired by the family of two girls who have disappeared. Many plot twists and red herrings. Alice Vega is an interesting person, very self-sufficient, very buttoned down, and it’s fascinating to watch her become more human. If you like the Mallory books by Carol O’Connell, you might enjoy this.


    Talk to the Paw
    Talk to the Paw
    by Melinda Metz

    This is a chic lit book. A love story, a cat burglar (a cat called MacGyver), some crazy neighbors…a pleasant read when you just want something light, with some humor, romance, and a bit of mystery.

    Gunpowder MoonGunpowder Moon
    by David Padreira

    A traditional hard Science Fiction book with well-drawn characters and an interesting plot. Mining on the moon in 2072, two global powers start a moon war.  If you liked Robert Heinlein or James Corey, you’d probably enjoy this. A quick, fun read.

    Those who know me well, know that I am a self-declared Cat Lady.  Here's a photo of my cat, BT Cooper, looking underwhelmed.  He knows that I have many more book recommendations to offer!  I read a little bit of everything so please check back.  And please leave a comment below to let me know what books you've enjoyed recently.  

    BT Cooper

    Mindy works at the Little Turtle branch.  She's a cat lady, an avid reader, and an old boomer.
    by Dawn S | Apr 02, 2018
    Grab a new book for your April reading pleasure!

    cover image for the legend of jack riddle cover image for princess pulverizer cover image for the misfits club
    cover image for keys to the city cover image for the book of boy
    cover image for another quest for celeste
    cover image for playing atari with saddam hussein  cover image for the unicorn quest
    cover image for strange star
    by Craig B | Apr 02, 2018

    Book Review: John Kennedy Toole's winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, A Confederacy of Dunces

    cover for John Kennedy Toole's novel, A Confederacy of DuncesWinning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981 for A Confederacy of Dunces was a posthumous win for John Kennedy Toole; the book was written in 1963 and Toole committed suicide in 1969.  It seems it’s possible Toole had become the victim of his own joke.  In writing a very funny book about a brilliant sloth named Ignatius J. Reilly (who may actually have been one of the true geniuses that Jonathan Swift described as being able to be known “by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him”) Toole remained unable to convince anyone that he, Toole, was a “true genius.”  Publishers looked at Toole’s book and said, “It’s funny! … but what’s it about?” subsequently not publishing the novel.  This disappointment contributed to Toole’s downward slide over several years until his suicide.  Later Toole’s mother got the book “discovered” through sheer persistence and it saw publication in 1980, winning the Pulitzer in 1981.  Those who asked, “yeah, but what’s it about?” who weren’t forward-thinking enough to see the oncoming nihilism of the late 1970’s (and later the comedy of Jerry Seinfeld) have been left on the defense.

    And, in my defense, I didn’t necessarily need the book to be about anything … but I also kind of did.  That’s why I might be one of the dunces … I don’t know if the novel is really lacking an ending, if I’m just not able to see the perfection that it already represents, or even if Toole actually was trying to be funny.  I do know I am very glad others were able to see something of the book’s enviable qualities and were in a position to get it published and grant it a major award because I quite enjoyed the book, but even still … Maybe the Coen Brothers will make a movie of it and shed some light (through the cracks) on the mysteries of Ignatius J. Reilly’s (and John Kennedy Toole’s) “true genius.”  I would definitely go to see it.  I think us “dunces” owe him that much.


    Craig B author Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Community Engagement | Mar 29, 2018
    4-22 lincoln and the uprising lecture

    “Lincoln, the Power of Pardon, and the 1862 Sioux Uprising”
    Presented by: Roger Billings

    Sunday, April 22
    2:00 PM
    Main Library, Meeting Room A

    Join us for our upcoming lecture, "Lincoln, the Power of Pardon, and the 1862 Sioux Uprising," part of our Lincoln at the Library series, sponsored by the Friends of the Allen County Public Library.

    About this lecture:

    Lincoln's experience with Native Americans before the Civil War was scant.  An Native American murdered his grandfather; he volunteered to serve in the Blackhawk War in Illinois.  That's all.  Then came the 1862 Sioux Uprising in Minnesota, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of settlers and interrupted Union Army recruitment.  After the Sioux defeat, 303 Sioux prisoners were condemned to death by a military tribunal.  Lincoln stayed their execution until he could review their files.  Ultimately he spared all but 38.  What followed was the largest mass execution in U.S. history.
    Roger Billings, professor emeritus at Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law and co-editor of Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America's Greatest President, will examine the recently published trial files that allow us to look over Lincoln's shoulder as he used his legal training to decide who should live and who should die.

    by Angie Fetters-Nitza | Mar 27, 2018
    Our last Design It! Program was a huge success! We created cool original art using mixed media materials. Children and their grown-ups all participated and created some fantastic designs. 

    Mixed Media 4   

    Mixed Media 1

    Mixed Media 2

    Mixed Media 6

    During our next Design It! Program at the Main Library in Children’s Services, we will be designing and building marble mazes. Build a maze that twists, turns, and spins. Anyway you choose to design it, you're sure to have fun! Join us Wednesday, March 28 from 3:30pm-4:30pm in the Globe Room next to Children’s Services for a maze-tastic time!

    by Dori G. | Mar 26, 2018

    image of imaginary planet
    You've just graduated from Space Academy, and they're sending you where no man has every gone before! You've charted a path to Neptune, but due to a slight miscalculation, you have to emergency land on an unknown planet! A storm is coming--what do you do?!?

    Join us this spring break for a Choose Your Own Adventure program. We’ll plan escapades, plot escapes, and boldly go where no one has ever gone before!

    When: Monday, April 2nd, 2018
    Where: Children's Services department at the Main Library
    Beginning At: 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM

    (This program is best suited for kids who can read.)

    In the mean time, why not come in and check out one of these awesome Choose Your Own Adventure books to prep you for your mission:
    Space and Beyond
    The Outlaw from Outer Space : an Interactive Mystery Adventure
    The Race to the Moon : an Interactive History Adventure
    Space Pup

    by Evan | Mar 23, 2018
    Its All a GameIf you're like me, you do your favorite hobby because it's fun -- but you also want to believe it has some kind of deeper significance. I keep telling people that board games are good for social interaction, which is kind of a weak rationale, but at least it's better than video gaming.

    Now there is a good read that ups my rationalizing game. Tristan Donovan's It's All a Game: The History of Board Games from Monopoly to Settlers of Catan presents board games as artifacts that reflect their societies. Ancient Egypt's senet appears to have been a game about the afterlife. A contemporary one in Mesopotamia told your fortune.

    The rules and pieces in chess evolved to reflect different kinds of nobility in India, Arabia and Europe. The gambling game backgammon was around for centuries before it became a craze in the Roaring '20s and then again in the wild and crazy '70s after the doubling cube raised the stakes. 

    The first version of Monopoly was designed in the progressive era to discourage greedy capitalism, but it became a glorification of rapacious landlords in the 1930s. The Game of Life promoted 1950s-style consumerism (and was as vanilla as the decade). 

    The most successful modern board game -- The Settlers of Catan -- is a riff on the adventures of Viking settlers, but it's trading mechanism is also a lure for players to cooperate even while competing. If cooperation is dominant over competition today as a social value (a debatable notion), the epitome is Pandemic, which was inspired by the 2003 SARS epidemic. The whole point of the game is that people must cooperate or die. It is the most popular of several recent games in which the players try to beat the game instead of each other. 

    Donovan's book is more than sociology. He also tells a lot of stories about the obsessive people who created some of the most famous games we play. But he finishes by predicting that future board games will reflect future changes in society.

    Given the sharp social divisions these days, it will be interesting to see how they appear in board games the next few years. My guess is "fake news" will be featured. 

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Dawn Stoops | Mar 21, 2018
    This morning Charlie and his family came to storytime sporting their "Down Right Awesome"  and "Three:21" t-shirts. March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day and what a better way to celebrate than a visit to the library?
    image of charlie and his mom at the grabill library

    If you're curious about the kinds of library resources available on the topic, here's a list of just some of our Down Syndrome books for kids and parents.

    by Dawn S | Mar 19, 2018
    You're going to love these new non-fiction books.
    There's something for everyone!

    cover image for i wonder about the qur'an cover image for one fun day with lewis carroll cover image for iguanas
    cover image for me and my body cover image for warbler wave
    cover image for steven callahan adrift in the atlantic
    cover image for women in science  cover image for destination planet earth
    cover image for police robots
    by Emily M | Mar 19, 2018
    Looking for a book recommendation?  Look no further!  Here are a few good books I've enjoyed lately...

    emmainthenightBook Review: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

    Teenaged sisters Cass and Emma disappeared on the same night.  Emma’s shoes, car, and purse were found on a nearby beach, but there were no other clues and the search was eventually abandoned.  Our story begins when Cass appears on her mother’s doorstep three years later, having escaped from her kidnappers, and desperate to find Emma. 

    Told from the alternate perspectives of Cass and Abby, a forensic psychologist with the FBI who is assigned to the case, information is fed to the reader slowly and in deliberate pieces.  This is a well-crafted psychological thriller that, like many psychological thrillers, relies on an unreliable narrator.  Emma in the Night is also an interesting exploration of narcissistic personality disorder and its effect on family life.  A suspenseful page-turner, I would recommend this book to fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. 


    {5D733468-18DF-4143-8DF1-E6C94AD70464}Img200Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

    Just shy of nine years old, Rose Edelstein bites into the lemon cake that her mother has baked and discovers she can taste the emotions her mother was feeling as she made the cake.  She is horrified to learn that her mother, who she believed to be just fine, is full of sadness and despair.  She is also horrified to realize that this “gift” of tasting emotions is not a one-time experience, but something that will happen every time she takes a bite.  Rose’s whole life soon becomes consumed by figuring out how to deal with her “gift” as she is immersed in others’ emotions anytime she eats anything.

    As Rose struggles under the weight of her supernatural ability, it becomes clear that she may not be the only one in her family with an unusual “gift.”  For readers who like clear-cut explanations and neatly tied up endings, this book will not satisfy, as we never really discover the whats, whys, and hows of the family’s gifts.  What we do see is how an emotionally dysfunctional family endeavors to love each other the best they can. 

    Book Review:
    Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

    Do you ever think about how different your life might have been if you had made a single different choice?  What if you had gone to a different college? Pursued a different career path?  Bailed on the blind date where you met your spouse?  What if you hadn’t fallen out with that friend?  Or gotten fired from that job?  Life is full of what ifs, and unknowns.    

    Jason Dessen has an unexceptional life.  He’s married, with a teenage son, and teaches physics at the college level.  He’s not famous or wealthy, and he’s never accomplished anything spectacular, but he loves his wife and son and enjoys his work.  Life is good, but he’s about to discover just how different it could have been.

    Through a seemingly impossible string of events, Jason finds himself coming face-to-face with a series of scenarios of what his life could have been and he finds himself frantic to get back to his old life, to save his wife and son, and maybe even save himself.

    Dark Matter is a fast-paced thriller with some dodgy science.  Great for action lovers, although serious science-lovers may want to give this one a pass. 

    What about you?  What good books have you read lately?

    EmilyLong before becoming a librarian, Emily was an avid library patron. She enjoys reading fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, biographies, and classic children’s literature. Her favorite book is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.


    by Dawn Stoops | Mar 16, 2018

    We just got this great new Emily Gravett book!

    cover image for old hat
    I'm a fan of her quirky books and this one, true to form, has fantastic pictures and a silly plot. It also sneaks in an important life lesson about trying to be fashionable by following what everyone else is doing.

    I tried it out with a visiting Preschool this morning and it was a hit. Students created pictures of their goofy hats or hair after storytime. I used 11x17 paper to make a head with lots of space above. I added a sentence at the bottom where kids could choose the word they were illustrating. In a lot of cases, the creativity was just too much and kids had both hat and hair circled.

    hat picture by prek student hat picture by prek student
     hat picture by prek student
    hat picture by prek student hat picture by prek student
    hat picture by prek student

    We had a wonderful time reading this book, talking about this book, and creating pictures from the ideas in this book. A great picture book will help adults READ/TALK/WRITE/PLAY/SING with kids. There's learning everywhere!
    by Becky C | Mar 16, 2018
    It's National Introverts Week!  Fun Fact #1:  Although we value quiet time, introverts are not necessarily shy.

    Growing up, I was the only introvert in an extroverted family and I endured several loving efforts to help me change (I lovingly resisted).  Fortunately, recent years have seen a reevaluation of this label.  I always knew there was nothing wrong with me but it's nice to see the rest of the world catching up.

    Here are a few books in our collection which highlight challenges introverts face and the strengths we bring to the table.

    Hiding in the Bathroom  The Quiet Power of Introverts  The Irresistible Introvert
     Introverts in Love  The Introvert Entrepreneur  Quiet Kids
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    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..
    by Becky C | Mar 14, 2018
    While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have tired of Sherlock Holmes, readers have not. Nearly 130 years after Holmes first appeared in A Study in Scarlet, there remains such an interest in this consulting detective that other authors have taken up the cause and offered their own contributions to his story.  Let's begin with some short story collections.

    Sherlock Holmes in AmericaIn Sherlock Holmes in America, edited by Martin Greenberg, we are treated to 14 stories by a list of authors including Loren Estleman, Matthew Pearl, Bill Crider, and Jon Breen.  Each story is set in an American locale such as New York, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Salt Lake City.  Each is told in the writer's own voice but still captures the spirit of the Holmes stories.

    The Perils of Sherlock HolmesThe Perils of Sherlock Holmes by Loren Estleman offers 11 stories and 3 essays for Holmes fans to savor.  Highlights include "The Adventure of the Three Ghosts" in which Holmes aids a man experiencing nightly visitations and "The Devil and Sherlock Holmes," in which an insane asylum inmate has convinced the medical staff that he is Satan himself.

    And a couple of series . . .

    The Beekeepers ApprenticeOne of the most popular book series today is Laurie King's Mary Russell series.  The first book in the series, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, introduces a retired Holmes to a 15-year-old girl whose brilliant intellect, caustic wit, egotistical personality, and gift for detail rival his own.  He mentors her in the art of detection and allows her to participate in cases.  A kidnapping case will test their friendship -- a master criminal is clearly pulling the strings and Holmes is the target -- as well as everyone he holds dear.  Excellent characterizations, delightfully atmospheric. 

    The House of SilkThe House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz has the distinction of being the first Sherlock Holmes novel to be authorized by Arthur Conan Doyle's estate.  A year Holmes's death,  Watson (now in a retirement home) finally recounts the most scandalous case of Holmes' career, a case he hadn't written about at the time because it was "too monstrous, too shocking".  Back in 1890, a fine art dealer approached Holmes and Watson to ask for help.  A few days later, the dealer's home is robbed and his family is threatened.  And then, the first murder takes place.  As they investigate, Holmes and Watson find themselves drawn into an international conspiracy, a conspiracy Holmes fears will tear apart society.  A tight, compelling plot and finely drawn characters do justice to the Holmes canon.  Horowitz's Sherlock Holmes series currently has two additional titles to offer.

    You may also want to check out these titles:  Lyndsay Faye's Dust and Shadows, Leonard Goldberg's The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes, Bonnie Macbird's Art in the Blood, and Larry Millett's Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma.

    Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?  Have you read other "new" books featuring Sherlock Holmes that you'd like to recommend?

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..
    by Dawn S | Mar 14, 2018
    Good News! The Allen County Public Library's online catalog now has the added capacity of searching for titles by Lexile Level. We've added it as one of the limiters on the left hand side of the catalog search screen.

    image of catalog search page

    As a librarian, I've helped lots of families find books for kids by Lexile level, but it was always a chore to hop onto the site, find interesting titles, then go back to our catalog to see if they were available at Grabill or another library in the county. Now I can skip the first step and go directly to our catalog.

    It's a help to librarians and parents! When you're using the online catalog from home you can get Lexile info in each library book record or you can search by Lexile level to get the level you need and limit by your favorite library. You can also have books at the needed level sent to whatever library you'd like.

    image of online catalog page

    If you have any questions about this new part of the catalog, you can ask a librarian in person, or ask us online using our ask a librarian email reference service.

    We hope this helps get just the right book into your students' hands!