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    by Kayla W | Mar 12, 2018


    When my parents died… I wasn’t able to cry.  Not one bit.  –
    Yaichi

    Manga Review:  My Brother's Husband by Gengoroh Tagame

    my brothers husbandDiving into manga or anime – if I’m being honest, I would add “most of the canon of western sequential art” to that as well – you might be disappointed at the lack of offerings in the way of narrative written from the point of view of people who fall in the LGBTQ spectrum.  Heck, finding positive (meaningful and not frankly insulting) depictions of LGBTQ characters is a chore in and of itself!  

    While that’s not to say that the work that does exist is not in and of itself praise worthy and wonderful in many cases (the critically acclaimed Fun Home springs immediately to mind), but by no stretch of the imagination is there an embarrassment of riches to choose from.   If you were to file that amount down to a manga that is remarkably emotionally intelligent, as well as aimed at either the young or young at heart (and has been translated into English and released in the west!), then you have very little to choose from.   Mind you, I’m speaking from the perspective of someone who is barely scratching the surface on a true understanding of manga.  And I am not talking about the vast array of manga with a focus on gay relationships, which have a different intent and audience in mind than this one does.

    As I understand it (and I am, again, admittedly very ignorant when speaking on this matter, so please bear that in mind) Japanese culture is currently going through an identity crisis related to its real and present LGBTQ population.  It makes manga like My Brother’s Husband already an interesting addition to the canon.  Now released in English, Tagame’s story is not just an important work appearing during a period pivotal to its subject, but is one worthy of being read, even without the tie it has to the still marginalized culture of LGBTQ folk, providing crucial characterization that proves to be far from being cliched representatives.

    My Brother’s Husband has thus far only had a single omnibus released in English, but having read it, I am already excited to recommend it to anybody and everybody.  Heartfelt? Check.  Adorable?  Check.  Truly, albeit quietly, groundbreaking?  Oh, you’d better believe it.

    The story focuses on themes of loss, family, masculinity, love, and emotional honesty.  The story begins with the death of Yaichi’s twin brother, Ryoji.  Still trying to contextualize the feelings that Yaichi is haunted by for his brother – a sorrow over his death that he feels unable to express and articulate, as well as a lingering feeling of betrayal, leftover from when Ryoji announced that he was gay – Yaichi finds himself the mostly unwilling host to the biggest shock he could have imagined –

    His brother’s very large, very Canadian widower, Mike Flanagan.

    If not for the fact that Yaichi’s ultra adorable and headstrong daughter Kana is absolutely taken by the thought of having a Canadian uncle, he might never get the courage to get to know his brother’s widower.   What makes Yaichi a truly interesting character is that far from being treated as a character who only needs to be this narrative's straw man, he is a stay at home dad and from what I have learned, appears to be an accurate representation of modern Japan’s cisgender struggle with their own homosexual population in the face of a world that is increasingly accepting their own population of LGBTQ peoples. 

    Truly remarkable is the realistic manner in which Yaichi begins the story afraid to have his shirt off while around Mike, out of a lingering fear that toxic culture has taught him, which is that Mike may just try “something” with him.  The idea that Mike - and his brother, for that matter - are deviants is something that lingers often in the periphery of the way that Yaichi views his house guest, sometimes acted out, in spite of his desire to provide a good standard of hospitality.  

    Mike isn’t a boring character either, in fact is far from it.  I’ve always wondered how Japanophiles would be treated in a manga (aside from what I’ve seen in Oishinbo) and Mike is an out and out fanboy of his widow’s culture.  I think what is most important in this story is that this is not a one-sided story or education, but is rather a sharing of knowledge between two very different outlooks on life and a realization of how two different people cope with emotional trauma and culture shock.

    Everything about the book is quite heart warming, and Tagame’s ability to bring across the subtleties of masculine emotions is unlike anything else in manga.   Interestingly, the book features many instances of near-male nudity, and after some time spent thinking about that addition in a book that would “otherwise” be suitable for people of all ages, I realized that the way that the mature adult male body is portrayed in this book is not unlike the manner that female bodies are portrays in a lot of modern manga.  The muscular, thick bodies of men are portrayed as things of beauty, sometimes almost coming off as, somehow, delicate.   It’s truly striking to see the male form treated as an object of admiration, in much the same way that a female’s body is often viewed in the same manner.

    For this being Gengoroh Tagame’s first foray into family friendly work, I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed and would highly recommend this story to anyone.


    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 Kay S | Mar 09, 2018

    Book Review:  Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath

    I have never experienced reading a Lorraine Heath book. Oh sure, I have one in my TBR pile, but Beyond Scandal and Desire is my first read. I was pleasantly surprised, Lorraine heathespecially since I'm not a big fan of the revenge plot. This story begins Ms. Heath's newest series, Sins for All Seasons. I'm guessing this series will revolve around a group of "siblings" who were abandoned as babies to a woman named Ettie Trewlove. There are two women, Gillian and Fancy, and four men, Aiden, Finn, Mick and Ben/Beast. Beast is the one with the requisite scar. None of them are related except for Finn and Aiden, however, they consider themselves to be family. Even though the blood relationship between the siblings is weak, there is nonetheless a sibling bond between all of them. They grew up in the dredges of London and their loyalty to each other is something that cannot be denied. They are also very devoted to the woman who took them in, Ettie. She is the woman they look on as their mother. She has their love and respect.

    Mick Trewlove is seeking revenge on the man who abandoned him when he was a baby. He knows who the man is  -- the Duke of Hedley. The Duke has a son, Kip, and is also guardian to Lady Aslyn. Lady Aslyn's parents were killed when she was a young child and she has grown up in the Duke's household. She has also grown up very sheltered in their household. She knows that they love her and she loves them in return. She has a great affection for Kip and expects that someday she and Kip will marry. Everyone just kind of expects it. Aslyn is comfortable with her situation. Oh sure, sometimes she feels as if she's missing something, but she hasn't found the need to find out what that missing something is. Then Mick Trewlove crosses her path.

    Mick Trewlove does not cross Lady Aslyn's path by accident. He has made up his mind that ruining Kip through Lady Aslyn is the perfect way to get his revenge on Hedley. So, with the help of his spunky sister, Fancy, he meets the two one evening on an outing. It wasn't long before I found myself becoming absorbed by the story.

    What I found so fascinating was that this was more than just a romance story. All the secondary characters were well-rounded, they are part of the story of Mick and Aslyn and I was never distracted by their presence. I liked Mick a lot. Sure he wanted to get revenge, but it wasn't long after he meet Aslyn that he began to struggle with his idea of revenge. He finds himself drawn to Aslyn and not too much time passes before he's running into problems with his grand revenge plan and fighting his need for Aslyn.

    Aslyn is almost too good to be true. She isn't class conscious at all. She has no problem with Mick's family and is fascinated with how Mick has made his way up from the dregs of the London streets. I was worried for a while that she wouldn't stand up for herself when it came to her engagement with Kip. However, almost from the moment she becomes engaged to her childhood friend, she starts to question the wisdom of their engagement. She recognizes that there isn't any spark between the two of them. When she finds out that Kip is addicted to gambling, she is up front with Kip and tells him where he can get off.

    While I enjoyed the romance between Aslyn and Mick very much, I was equally fascinated with Kip, Hedley, and Hedley's wife. All three of these secondary characters had enormous problems, which can be a big distraction to some stories. In this case, the secondary plotlines were given just the right amount of time in the story. They added to the overall plotline instead of detracting from it. I found all of these secondary characters very intriguing.

    Bottom-line. I loved this story. It was a full, robust tale of more than just romance. It was emotionally satisfying and I can hardly wait for the next in the series. I was pretty impressed with Lorraine Heath's Beyond Scandal and Desire.


    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 Katie B. | Mar 07, 2018

    pi
    March 14 is my favorite day of the month.  It’s a holiday (of sorts) if you weren’t aware.  A holiday that is more like an inside joke to those “in the know” like Star Wars day (May the Fourth).  It’s a day to celebrate the irrational number of pi (the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter). 

    Pi is a pretty amazing number when you think about it.  While most of us remember the 3.14 part (hence, 3/14 being Pi Day), pi never ends and it never repeats itself.  It is also pretty incredible that any circle, no matter what the size, will give you pi if you divide the circumference of the circle (distance around) by the diameter (distance across).

    Even if math isn’t of particular interest to you, Pi Day can still be a lot of fun.  First of all, you can’t celebrate Pi Day without pie, and who wouldn’t want to celebrate a holiday that involves pie?  Secondly, just because pi is a mathematical ratio, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it to make beautiful art.
    Pi cityscape

    Mathematical arts and crafts are how we will be celebrating here at the Main Library in Children’s Services on Pi Day. Join us anytime between 3:30 and 4:30 pm to make some mathematical art or a pi bracelet!  We will even have some yummy pie to eat!
    Pi crafts

    by Craig B | Mar 05, 2018

    cover for First Aid Kit's album, RuinsI’ll listen to this album again, but First Aid Kit’s newest, Ruins, seems to be suffering a bit from their new major record label’s Sophomore Slump.  Or, maybe Ruins just doesn’t have an admirably written tune like “Waitress Song” to anchor it as did their previous effort, Stay Gold.  Either way, on a first listen, I was a little bummed by some of the clichéd and overly abstract lyricism, though the ladies still sing quite prettily with a most-satisfying original flair.  That latter aspect of the album stood out to me even more on the first half of a second listen, thank goodness, way before I’d even gotten close to the miracle of “Hem of Her Dress”  (track 9) and what a concrete image can do for a record to elevate it beyond elevator music.  Pun intended.

    Suggested Use: Take this one on your next trip, elevator or otherwise, but especially if you’re driving.  The harmonies speak of wide-open spaces and rural mountainsides, while the actual lyrics about postcards, what one leaves behind, and “getting where you’re going you dirty rascal” add some much needed duende to the beauty that surrounds one … on vacation.  Don’t need duende in your vacations?  Save this for your drive when you return to work for a month of Mondays and then some.  No matter how much you love your job, you’re going to need some beauty like this album provides.  Believe me.

    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 Evan | Mar 02, 2018
    Pandoras LabBook Review:  Pandora's Lab by Paul Offit.

    Paul Offit is best known as the doctor who defends vaccination against critics who claim it causes autism. Given the storm of anger you can readily find if you Google his name, it's impressive that his recent book, Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong, invites still more disdain. Even more impressive, however, is his ability to make his cases.

    When I saw that Rachel Carson was one of his targets, I braced myself against any disparagement of one of the inspirational people in my life. Yet, when I finished the chapter about the impact of her most famous book, Silent Spring, I was deflated. Offit credits her book with inspiring an environmental movement that humanity needs, but he nails her and the movement for ideological absolutism. Silent Spring led to a world-wide ban on the pesticide DDT. The purpose was to protect wildlife and prevent cancers, and Offit thinks this was based on dubious science. The ban, however, was so unbending that millions of people died from malaria borne by mosquitoes that would have been killed by DDT aimed specifically at them. Eventually, the ban was relaxed. 

    Among the scientists ripped by Offit are several who thought they could turn opium into a safe pain-killing drug. One version was heroin, which was first marketed by the German company Bayer (of aspirin fame) and in the United States by Indiana's own Eli Lilly. The modern chapter of this tragedy is the opioid epidemic. 

    Perhaps the most grotesque miscarriage of science described by Offit was a supposed miracle cure for mental illness. A widely respected physician Walter Freeman, went around the country lobotomizing thousands of brains, many of them with an ice pick. But the darkest chapter told how some of the most admired leaders of the early 20th century promoted the pseudo-science of eugenics that was picked up by Adolf Hitler and morphed into mass murder.

    Offit is most definitely not anti-science. He advocates science based on solid data and separated from scientists' agendas, bank accounts, and egos -- although he writes so strongly that I'm guessing his own ego is pretty sturdy and his critics accuse him of profiting from his stances.

    Nevertheless, Offit is also willing to recognize that even good science comes at a cost. His biggest example is at its core the biggest question today about civilization. Scientific breakthroughs such as the creation of artificial fertilizer have allowed the human population to top 7 billion -- and so, for that matter, has DDT. That's good for those who have not starved or died of malaria, but we 7 billion are also rapidly changing our planet in ways that Offit and others think will cause our doom, and this doctor offers no miracle cure.


    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Cindy H | Mar 02, 2018
    https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1480264638l/19476.jpg
    What if you could swallow a magic pill that could help make all of your dreams come true? For Jeremy Heere, that sounds like just what he needs. Jeremy is a stereotypical high school dork. He sits silently in class while he listens to the popular people talk about their more exciting lives. He keeps "Humiliation Sheets" where he makes a tally each time he is bullied or teased. He has fallen for a pretty, smart girl named Christine, but each time he tries to strike up a conversation with her he inevitably chickens out or says something stupid. When his best friend mentions a pill that his brother took to ace the SATs, he can't help but be intrigued, although it seems to good to be true.

    When he musters the courage to go to the school dance, he is approached by Rich, one of his tormentors. Rich tells him about the "squip", a super computer in pill form that can tell you how to be cool. After watching Rich go make out with some of the prettiest girls in school, Jeremy knows he has to have one.

    This book was extremely engaging and hard to put down. It really makes you consider what it means to be popular, and the importance of staying true to yourself. It does have some crude language and sexual references, so it is recommended for older teens. Overall, this is a very interesting and creative story that will draw you in and make you think about how a squip could change your own life!

    This book is available in print, and as a ebook and audiobook on Hoopla.
    If you enjoy the book, be sure to check out the musical based on the story; the soundtrack is available on Hoopla.
    by Dawn Stoops | Mar 01, 2018

    When kids gain the ability to read independently and fluently everyone shouts HOORAY! Teachers are ready for more great learning to begin and parents are pleased that all those bedtime stories are now paying off.
    image of child reading
    It’s such a joy to see the growth and confidence at this point that it’s easy to forget how important it is for adults to KEEP READING to these kids.
    But why worry about read-alouds when your child is capable of reading on his own?
    Let me count the ways!

    1. When your child was a baby, you knew that reading together provided wonderful bonding time. It’s still true, but your kid would probably roll their eyes at you if they heard anything about bonding so let’s just call it “hang out time” instead.
    2. Even confident readers have to work at reading. Give them a break and let them get carried away in the story while you’re doing all the work.
    3. Vocabulary. The more books you expose your child to the better her vocabulary will be. SATs here we come!
    4. It’s fun reading time for you too. Pick a classic that you’ve never had time to read, and read it together.   
    AND don't limit yourself to chapter books. Picture books are fun, no matter how old you are. Here are some of my favorites, totally appropriate for kids in grades 4-6.

    cover image for grumblebunny
    cover image for tuesday
     cover image for pssst
    cover image for the kamishibai man cover image for the secret project
    cover image for the whispering town
       

    by Kay S | Feb 28, 2018
    Yes, it's once again time for a few upcoming releases. These books are due to be released between March 15 to April 14, 2018. Remember, those are the dates the publishers are going to release them, not necessarily the date they will reach a book shelf near you. These are also books I am hearing good things about.

    Historical Romance
    Lenora Bell  Lenora Bell
    http://www.lenorabell.com/
    What a Difference a Duke Makes
    School for Dukes series  
    March 27
     Candace Camp Candace Camp
    http://www.candace-camp.com/
    His Wicked Charm
    The Mad Morelands series
    March 27
     Eva leigh Eva Leigh
    http://evaleighauthor.com
    Counting on a Countess
    The London Underground series
    March 27


    Historical Fiction
     Dray Stephanie Dray
    http://www.stephaniedray.com
    Laura Kamoie
    http://LauraKamoie.com
    My Dear Hamilton:A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
    April 3


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

     Toni Aleo Toni Aleo
    http://tonialeo.com
    Misadventures with a Rookie
    Misadventures series
    Contemporary Romance
    April 10 
     Emily Belden Emily Belden
    http://www.emilybelden.com/
    Hot Mess
    Mainstream
    March 20
     Lauren Dane Lauren Dane
    http://www.laurendane.com
    Jagged
    Whiskey Sharp series
    Contemporary Romance
    March 27
     Christina Lauren Christina Lauren
    http://www.christinalaurenbooks.com/
    Love and Other Words
    Mainstream
    April 10
     Carla neggers Carla Neggers
    http://www.carlaneggers.com/
    The River House
    Swift River Valley series
    Contemporary Romance
    March 27
     Alisha Rai Alisha Rai
    http://www.alisharai.com/
    Hurts to Love You
    Forbidden Hearts series
    Contemporary Romance
    March 27
     Kate Rorick Kate Rorick
    http://www.katerorick.com
    The Baby Plan
    Mainstream
    March 20
     Jodi Thomas Jodi Thomas
    http://www.jodithomas.com/index.html
    Mornings on Main
    Mainstream
    April 10


    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense

     Diamond Tess Diamond
    https://www.facebook.com/TessDiamondBooks/
    Be a Good Girl
    Romantic Suspense
    March 27
     Lea Griffith Lea Griffith
    http://www.leagriffith.com/
    Running the Risk
    Endgame Ops series
    Romantic Suspense
    April 3
     Jane Haseldine Jane Haseldine
    https://janehaseldine.com
    Worth Killing
    A Julia Gooden Mystery series
    Mystery
    March 27
     Lisa Renee Jones Lisa Renee Jones
    http://www.lisareneejones.com
    Murder Notes
    Lilah Love series
    Romantic Suspense
    March 27
     Lisa Scottoline Lisa Scottoline
    http://scottoline.com/Site/
    After Anna
    Suspense
    April 10
     Simone St. James Simone St. James
    http://www.simonestjames.com
    The Broken Girls
    Suspense
    March 20


    Paranormal/Fantasy/Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy

     Christine Feehan Christine Feehan
    http://www.christinefeehan.com
    Covert Game
    A Ghost Walker series
    Paranormal Romance
    March 20
     Tessa Gratton Tessa Gratton
    http://tessagratton.com
    The Queens of Innis Lear
    Fantasy
    March 27
     Kevin Hearne Kevin Hearne
    http://www.kevinhearne.com
    Scourged
    The Iron Druid Chronicles
    Urban Fantasy
    April 3
     Shelley Laurenston Shelly Laurenston
    http://www.shellylaurenston.com/
    Hot and Badgered
    The Honey Badgers series
    Paranormal Romance
    March 27
     Mark Lawrence Mark Lawrence
    http://www.marklawrence.buzz
    Grey Sister
    Book of the Ancestor series
    Fantasy
     Matt Wallace Matt Wallace
    http://www.matt-wallace.com/
    Taste of Wrath
    A Sin du Jour Affair series
    Urban Fantasy
    April 10


    Young Adult/Teen

    Emma Berquist  Emma Berquist
    https://twitter.com/eeberquist?lang=en
    Devils Unto Dust
    Debut
    April 10
     amanda foody Amanda Foody
    http://www.amandafoody.com
    Ace of Shades
    The Shadow Game series
    April 10
     Julien ireland Justina Ireland
    http://www.justinaireland.com
    Dread Nation
    April 3


    Inspirational Romance/Main Fiction

     Mary Connealy Mary Connealy
    http://www.maryconnealy.com
    The Accidental Guardian
    High Sierra Sweethearts series
    April 3
     Ganshert Katie Ganshert
    http://www.katieganshert.com
    No One Ever Asked
    April 3
     Sarah Ladd Sarah E. Ladd
    http://www.sarahladd.com
    The Weaver’s Daughter
    April 10


    Erotica

    Opal Carew  Opal Carew
    http://www.opalcarew.com/
    X Marks the Spot




    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 Craig B | Feb 26, 2018

    Book Review: Norman Mailer's winner of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Executioner's Song

    cover for film, The Executioner's Song, based on Norman Mailer's novel of the same nameI don’t have strong opinions about New Journalism, though I think there are some pretty strong opinions floating around out there (think Truman Capote vs. Lester Markel), but I have been kicking around the idea that in some way the act of New Journalism does what in theatre they call breaking the fourth wall; that moment when a performer looks out at the audience and addresses them directly.  One of my favorite examples of this can be found in the early moments of the classic comedy, Airplane! when Robert Hays looks at the camera and lets us know just exactly how he feels.  For me, in New Journalism (and I’m going to err on the side of capitalizing it, despite its detractors), there’s something about the “facts” it incorporates that seem to constantly address the reader (who is ostensibly reading just a novel) with assertions of, “and yes, this really did happen,” that breaks the “fourth wall.”  These “facts” keep highlighting the relationship readers have with the storyteller in a way that is almost “meta” (not to mention a line like the “quote” attributed to Larry Schiller, the real-life producer/director of NBC’s 1982, The Executioner’s Song: “He would also tell the truth and not protect himself.”  Thank you for the assurances, Mailer) while also reinforcing the emotional ties readers might have towards the story. 

    And so, because of New Journalism (or even in spite of it) I have come to have a fairly strong (positive) opinion about the “New Journalistic” winner of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song.  I mean, just the effort that went into creating the book is impressive: 15,000 pages of interviews, 15 months of full-on writing, with a nearly thousand page book garnering a major award.  (And that major award wasn’t even the author, Norman Mailer’s, first.  He had won the General Non-Fiction Pulitzer Prize for Armies of the Night in 1969.)  And it doesn’t stop there.  Mailer also managed to mostly convince me of something in his novel, the beauty of the thing being that I’m not even sure he was trying to.  I’m even going to use a bit of hyperbole and insist that Mailer intuitively understood the importance of the story of Gary and Nicole and how it really needed to be told without any political agenda, and so that’s what he did.  But maybe that’s just the devious elements of New Journalism talking, and, of course, that doubt I’m having is part of the furor surrounding New Journalism.  How can such a “subjective” form of “journalism” in which the author seeks “truth” more than “facts” (that debate is from yet another film somehow connected in my mind to Mailer’s novel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) lack a political agenda, a personal bias?  I don’t know, but I do feel it’s not impossible to get close, (see my post about Cozzens’ Guard of Honor for more on this) and at the end of the day, I’m not sure it really matters for Mailer’s novel anyway.  As a novel, (and I feel I can speak fairly authoritatively on this because I read the book cold, not knowing it as anything other than a “novel”) Mailer’s story was crafted in such a fashion as to truly show and not tell.  His “Song” is never preachy, never self-righteous, though it might verge on being “twee” with its meta-fictional qualities which could drive some readers away.  (Though if you’re going to be breaking a fourth wall, makes a lot of sense to do it in a book about a guy in prison, right?)  But none of this is why I have reservations about the book and won’t be reading it ever again (at least any time soon).  It may be brilliant and memorable like Airplane! (just an opinion, folks, not a fact), it may even come to us in a form that engages with philosophical ideas about Truth, but unlike Airplane! and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade it’s just too darn long.  I mean, unless you’re like my friend Beachey and have trouble respecting books of a reasonable length, who has the time to read this shelf-groaner once let alone twice.  Take my word for it, just take Airplane! out for a spin.

    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 SM | Feb 26, 2018

    The books listed here are more new teen romance novels to read for the grey days of February...

    NS.cvr.1WIR.cvr.2PK.cvr.3IBIATCL.cvr.4RTT.cvr.5#F.cvr.6EOOS.cvr.7LTTL.cvr.8OAFA.cvr.9

    Scott M
    Scott M, Editor - Scott is known around Shawnee Branch and about town as the “Library Dude” and is kind of squirrelly!  His favorite short story is Leaf by Niggle written by JRR Tolkien and he also works for chocolate brownies and Rice-Crispy treats!

     

    by Erin | Feb 26, 2018

    The puppets are coming!

    puppet show 2018
    We are just a few short weeks away from Children's Services' annual Preschool Puppet Show! This year, we'll be courageous with the Brave Little Miss Muffet, and we'll try our best to Don't Wake the Tiger. In between shows, there will be singing and dancing and getting our wiggles out.

    Interested in joining the fun? The dates for this fantastic event are listed below:

    Wednesday, March 14 at 9:30 am, 10:30 am, and 1:30 pm.
    Thursday, March 15 at 9:30 am, 10:30 am, and 1:30 pm.
    Friday, March 16 at 9:30 am, 10:30 am, and 1:30 pm.
    Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 am.

    The Preschool Puppet Show will be held in the Main Library's theater. Space is limited, so please plan to show up early.

    Large groups of 10 or more people must register for the show by calling 421-1220. Smaller groups do not need to register, but will be seated on a first come, first served basis.

    Hope to see you there!
    by Angie Fetters-Nitza | Feb 23, 2018

    We saw some amazing board games created during our last Design It! program. Lots of thought and planning went into the layout of each game, and the games were so creative and fun to play!

    BG1BG5
    BG3BG2

    Join us for the next Design It! program at the Main Library on Wednesday, February 28 from 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM in the Program Room of Children’s Services. We’ll have all the materials you’ll need to create a Mixed Media Collage to take home, hang on your wall and enjoy. Let your artistic imagination run wild. Washable paints will be available for the collages, so please keep that in mind when deciding what to wear.

    by Kayla W | Feb 23, 2018

    “What lies beyond the veil of death is, after all, the ultimate unknown. And what could inspire fear more than the terror of uncertainty?” – Dr. Hill


    Until DawnWe’ve survived winter. I think.  I hope.  And when I think of this season these days, I can’t help but recall this recent homage to the subgenre of slasher horror.

    Until Dawn is a game that was dreamt up originally as a Playstation Move title, but after it had been canceled for use with that periphery, it rose up from the dead to live once more.  After all, what could be a more fitting turn of fate for something from the horror genre?

    In spite of the setbacks that the road to its release found, in my opinion this game proves to be, not only a great slasher horror from the same minds that made You’re Next, but one that is worthy of checking out through the merit of it being a fantastic game to play.

    The gameplay is focused on player choices, investigation, and quick time events.  All of these aspects remind me of what was promised with Heavy Rain (and, for that matter, most games made by Quantic Dream), but never were able to be fully delivered on.   This game is the only faux-movie horror game I’ve played thus far that has the production budget, great writing,characters, and genuinely engaging gameplay to sustain both a fun experience and multiple playthroughs. Well, I would have said that before last year - that is, when Resident Evil VII: Biohazard was released and has thoroughly proven itself to be this game’s equal in the field of a near-cinematic horror experience.  (Okay, with a definite honorary mention of Alan Wake thrown in for good measure, with the caveat of it being more of a supernatural thriller.)   

    The game’s story takes place around the Blackwood Pines Lodge, which is owned by the strange Washington family.  The Lodge - and the character of Josh Washington - provide a great commentary on horror movies, due to the fact that the Washingtons made much of their money from the making of cult horror movies.   This is a game that does not shy away from some more meta commentary, on both the nature of horror as well as some fourth-wall breaking inclusions.  This is most noticeably visible in the role that the “analyst” character, Dr. Hill, plays in the parts of the game where he seems to be trying to deconstruct the player’s morality and fears.   This aspect of the game reminds me of the similar attempt in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, but it is far better utilized here.  In fact, it seems as though this is a game that thrives on concepts that other studios have attempted and have failed.

    After a tragedy occurs in the game’s prologue/tutorial, the youthful survivors and once friends arrive to memorialize the one year anniversary in the mountain ski lodge where it occurred.   Upon arriving, everything that can go wrong does, as everyone seems to be at each other’s throats (to what extent is controlled by the player) and the fact that there is a storm set to arrive shortly that will strand them in the remote, mountain top resort creates the makings for a terrifying loss of power with no guarantees that everyone will be making it off of the mountain alive.

    The motion capture on the characters is some of the best I’ve seen in a game, and the mountain that the game takes place on is often a beautiful nighttime winter wonderland, while the inside of the Lodge house itself proves to be a dark and unsettling place to try to hide from the game’s killer, once the lights go out.   It’s an action-packed thrillride as you try to keep your characters from dying as they try to evade everything that seeks to kill them, and the seemingly short amount of gameplay (nine hours for a single play through, generally) is actually more than that, when taking into consideration that the game encourages multiple playthroughs to see what will happen as a result of the different choices available through the game’s touted “Butterfly Effect” system.   Although, admittedly, what could be seen as the game’s major selling point – the butterfly effect - is a bit of a white lie, but going into the game with the thought that your choices matter makes for a much more engaging playthrough.

    I personally recommend not looking at anything else available on the title online, because spoilers on this game are abundant and easy to find(!).  And this, like any good thriller/suspense, is not a story you want spoiled before you play it. 

    The best first play through is done with your gut, first instinct for choices, so you can really enjoy further plays by seeing what can change.

    With the recent release of the much anticipated The Inpatient which acts as a spin-off… prequel (?) to this game, I think it’s safe to say that if you’ve never had the chance to play through Supermassive Game’s honorable send-up of the horror and thriller genres – there’s never been a better time to play it.   Until Dawn is a Playstation 4 exclusive, and along with The Last of Us, this is exactly the sort of title that I am happy to see as a Playstation title.

    The ACPL has multiple copies of Until Dawn, so why not give it a shot?

    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 Dawn S | Feb 21, 2018
    We're getting a ton of great graphic novels.
    Try one out today!

    cover image for grace for gus
    cover image for hermes tales of the trickster
     cover image for peter pan cinestory
    cover image for detention of doom cover image for the cutie map
    cover image for the friendship mix-up
    cover image for the mystery of the tree stump ghost  cover image for the half-pipe panic
    cover image for abraham lincoln action presidents
    by Becky C | Feb 21, 2018
    Ever wonder what library staff like to read?  Wonder no more!  Here's a quick look at some books we've enjoyed this month.  Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    The Clan of the Cave Bear   The Immortalists  Treating People Well
     Barking to the Choir  Hacks  Moon Called
     Anyas Ghost  A Call to Action  Rumble on the Bayou
     Last Bus to Wisdom  The Trauma of Everyday Life  The Science of Cooking
     Tribe of Mentors  Exit West  A Chosen Exile
     Hello Universe  The Good Girl  Court of Thorns and Roses
     Tangerine  The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr  Royal Blood
     Angelas Ashes  The Last Suppers  The Magicians Assistant
     The Rise of Aurora West  Uniquely Human  Barkskins
     Sex at Dawn  The Broken Girls  An Invisible Thread
     The Lying Game  The Gatecrasher  The Warmth of Other Suns
     Discipline Equals Freedom  The Plum Tree  Hunger Makes the Wolf

    Want more recommendations?  Click here for previous What We're Reading posts. 

    Please let us know what books you've been reading that you've really enjoyed.  We're always looking for our next great read!

    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 Nancy | Feb 19, 2018
    Bookshelves in Lower Level 1While roaming our storage stacks recently, I ran across a small hymnal printed in 1889.  Its pages were yellowed and thin; no one had bothered with it for at least 20 years or more.  But I found myself being uplifted by the content.  There were no musical notes to this hymnal and most of it was not recognizable as hymns.  The short stanzas seemed more like devotional readings, although at one point I did recognize the words of a hymn or two.

    I was happy to discover that the Internet Archive has preserved this title online.  In fact, they have digitized many other versions beyond what our library owns.  And these books have been viewed hundreds of times online!  So while our copy sat languishing, the digital copies were being perused and used.  I felt that I had found something special that people had been missing out on seeing and using, but that was fortunately not the case!  Others were finding this hymnal online and (I assume) finding joy in its words just like me.  What's even better is that now I can have my own personal digital copy to keep.  I can share it with many, many friends, all at the same time even.  The Internet Archive offers the book in many different downloadable formats, whereas the little volume I found in our storage stacks can only ever rest in one person's library or hands.

    It reminded me too of all the wonderful resources that Internet Archive is preserving.  Recently someone was looking for DVDs with old newsreel clips, as were often shown in theaters before the movie.  And we do have several DVDs with these clips.  But it turns out, Internet Archive also has many of these newsreels online.  And the Internet Archive is much easier to search when looking for specific content.  So with the Olympics coming up I looked for newsreels about the Olympics and found this.  So fun!  But be careful: you could spend a whole snowy day, and night, exploring once you get started!

    Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.        

    Over the years, As You Like It has featured a few book reviews of a unique items digitized by the Internet Archive -- here's your chance to read them now if you missed them the first time around:
     
    What does Jaegermeister have to do with a book review?  Originally posted on October 9, 2015, Jeff S calls our attention to a beautifully illustrated book on the raptors of Germany and Central Europe.

    Delightful discovery via digitizing.  Originally posted on February 5, 2015, Jeff S shares an insider's story of finding a previously unknown letter written by Daniel Boone when preparing to digitize an older book about Kentucky. 

    Beloved in America, not so much in France.  Originally posted on January 21, 2015, a digitization project of French pamphlets from the French Revolution, leads Jeff S to a more current book in ACPL's collection.

    And this post provides a detailed look at the Internet Archive:

    Preserving information for generations to come.  Originally posted on August 21, 2013 this post written by Becky C includes a behind-the-scenes look at the Internet Archive.  Photos!

    by Readers' Services | Feb 16, 2018
    Have you always wanted to be a writer?  Are you a writer looking for motivation and community?  Join ACPL's new Writers' Group!

    Our Writers' Group aims to provide a supportive community for writers of any experience level.  By providing a forum for sharing works in progress, as well as getting feedback and ideas for moving the works forward, there will be an opportunity to make lasting connections with fellow writers.

    Our first meeting is Monday, February 26, from 6:30-8:30 pm.  We'll meet in the Readers' Services Reading Room on the first floor of the Main Library.  For the first meeting, we will spend 15 minutes writing (using a prompt) and sharing our work with the group.  We hope to see you there!


    by Dawn Stoops | Feb 15, 2018
    This week's Messy Art History lesson was about faces in art.
    We covered some history and some serious stuff like proportions of the human face. Did you know that when drawing a face, the eyes should be placed at about the half way point between the chin and the top of the head?

    But then after the realistic stuff, we got a little silly!
    magazine collage face picture magazine collage face picture magazine collage face picture
    magazine collage face picture magazine collage face picture magazine collage face picture
    magazine collage face picture magazine collage face picture magazine collage face picture

    These magazine collage faces were a big hit. As you can see, we just collected face elements from different photos in the magazines then arranged them on a head. The more outrageous the better!

    We always have fun at our homeschool classes at the Grabill Branch Library. We meet the second Monday morning of each month from 10:30 am - 11:30 am.
    We'd love to see you there!

    Check out all homeschool library events on our calendar.
    by Artist Fair Committee | Feb 14, 2018

    SRP Artist Fair
    Hello local artists!

    The Allen County Public Library is pleased to announce we are hosting our second annual Artist Fair on Saturday, July 14, 2018 from 11-3 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

    We look forward to giving you the opportunity to display, discuss, and sell your work. This is a great time to connect with your community during the popular festival season that welcomes thousands of visitors to the downtown area.  

    Interested? Click here to register, and please note the following:

    • A $25 placeholder fee is required to secure your spot.
    • You must have art available for purchase.
    • You are asked to donate 10% of sales to ACPL’s Friends of the Library.
    • The registration deadline is April 1.

     

    We are also looking for artists to present a lecture or run a workshop, so please use the registration form to let us know you’d like to be involved. Last year’s programs ranged from musical performance to jewelry making.

    Hope you can join us this summer!

    by Craig B | Feb 14, 2018
    cover for Kelly Clarkson's studio album, Meaning of LifeSo, ok.  Clarkson’s new neo-soulish romp and her first outing with Atlantic Records, Meaning of Life, just kept reminding me of my wife, who is kind of a superstar and does have a lot of soul.  The more upbeat tracks are certainly something I could see putting on rotation on an evening hanging out with friends, not to mention there’s some clever lyricism in here that will keep me keeping an eye on Clarkson to see where she goes next (and with this album having debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and having also made the 50 Best Albums of 2017: Critic’s Picks list that could be just about anywhere), but still, this album doesn’t quite deliver on its touted premise.  The meaning of life … or have I misunderstood the question?


    Suggested Use:
    Chablis.  Even though my wife doesn’t like wine that much, I think with this album you’ve gotta have the Chablis and a cozy, literary-ish read … I’m thinking Pride and Prejudice, but … yeah, no, that’s it.  Pride and Prejudice.  A book with a brand new soundtrack, and a soundtrack for, like Kelly herself, a brand new you.

    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.