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    by Craig B | Feb 22, 2019

    Are you interested in starting, growing, or scaling your business?  You may want to check out the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC).  Located at 3201 Stellhorn Road here in Fort Wayne, The NIIC is also currently holding office hours by appointment in the Business, Science & Technology department at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne.  Tuesdays from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm and Thursdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm find Mike Fritsch, Entrepreneur in Residence, at Allen County Public Library (ACPL), available for consultations and for making connections to the resources The NIIC has to offer.  As The NIIC says on their website:

    We help entrepreneurs launch and businesses grow. We’ve helped to launch 444 new products, facilitated over $42.6 million in research grants and $44.2 million in capital investments for our innovators. The businesses we’ve helped start and grow have a 91.9% survivability rate – and 4.9 points higher than our peers and 41.9 points better than the national average.

    Are you The NIIC’s next success story?  Call them or email them at 260-407-6442/info@niic.net or give ACPL a call at (260) 421-1215 to learn more!

    by Kayla W. | Jan 23, 2019
     

     “Aaron Boone... the Tribes of the Moon embrace you!” – Lylesberg, Nightbreed

          “We accept you, one of us, one of us! Gooble Gobble!” -  The Freaks, Freaks

    over the garden wall


    I love horror. After all, this is the genre where mistakes and imperfections not only have a widely embraced role, but can be some of the best aspects of the work. Like the Metal, Hip Hop, or Punk genres of music, it's in your face, experimental, primal, and surprisingly sophisticated. It is also a wonderful template for a seemingly endless stream of variation, remix, or revelation. The one thing horror is not—or at least, it should not be—is simply scary or frightening.

    From Wikipedia, the generally accepted definition of horror is: “. . . a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror.” While that definition helps, it overlooks a lot of horror’s finer traits, often to the detriment of the genre­. Below I will list some of the most crucial aspects of the genre that this definition leaves out, as well as great examples of each.


    • It is, by far, the most subversive of the big genres.

    Exquisite Corpse is a shocking work of fiction that is, by most accounts, more of a test of how much shocking subject matter you can stomach. In fact, I am torn about this piece in particular, because it deals with gay characters who have a genuinely tragic love story— and it was actually published in the mid 90’s!—but the depths of darkness that Brite asks a user to peer into includes cannibalism, disease, and necrophilia. It ultimately proved to be too heavy for me, but remains forever etched into my memory, for good or ill. If you think that American Psycho is a light read, then Poppy Z. Brite’s New Orleans’ duo of serial killers will have you turning green in disgust in no time at all.


    • It deals the most exclusively in the concept of “the other” and othering in general.

    Nightbreed is a movie that was made in 1990 and deals overtly in the realm of what it’s like to be separate from “normal” society. What seems obvious with modern eyes is that the monsters and outcasts are stand ins for people whose sexuality doesn’t fit in with the much more strictly enforced norms of society. The heroes of the piece are actually monsters who try to hide from the surface world, taking safety in the underground city of Midian.  The torch-wielding posse that comes to kill them are seen as villains. It echoes the work of Mary Shelley and predates Guillermo del Toro’s entire obsession with the themes of monsters as heroes.  As Alejandro Jodorowsky put it, the film is “the first truly gay horror fantasy epic”.


    • Its frameworks are pliable and exploitable for creators who can use it to tell profound allegories.

    The late-great George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead either purposefully or inadvertently (depending on what interview by the director that you choose to read) became one of the most compelling pieces of work dealing with race relations when he chose the gentlemanly Duane Jones to play as the hero, Ben. It is a casting choice that would not have been near as remarkable, if not for the fact that the movie came out in the late sixties and Jones happened to be a black man. Suddenly, the ending of the movie (which I will not spoil, in case you haven’t seen it yet) feels even more painful and poignant.


    • At its best, it deals in a metaphorical framework that is its own deeply rooted symbols and meaning.

    Mulholland Dr. is a haunting and disconcerting nightmare that both builds off of a sense of unease and alienation as well as subverting—corrupting—expected tropes. Many of the events, dialogue, and images defy easy explanation and provoke a deep sense of the uncanny. Things that would be considered normal are often replaced with fascinating and unnerving stand-ins or juxtapositions, the characters use off-putting dialogue and their inflections are purposefully bizarre, feeling patently false, almost as though they’re embodiments of something plastic that has something pulsating and dark just beneath the surface.


    • It can be the template through which some of the most inventive and gonzo ideas can be expressed.

    Pontypool is a great example of a low budget paired with a fantastic premise, a winning concept that I see especially in the Horror genre. It’s a story that takes place entirely in a radio station’s studio and while its use of zombies might initially make you wonder just how interesting it could be, the movie turns out to be a fascinating take on the whole trope where what infects people with a disease that turns them into violent shells of their former selves is language. The one thing that the survivors in the station could use to warn people—or to even save themselves—transforms into a huge game of Russian Roulette as the fear that continual talking, especially over the airwaves, could actually infect listeners, creates a tense nightmare.

     

    • It expresses primal emotions and pain in truly vivid manner

    It cannot be stressed enough that westernized remakes of an original horror film will only, at best, dilute the creativity and the intention of the original piece—at least, from what I’ve seen, numerous times. And the remake of Let the Right One In is the case I point out. The original is primal, cruel, and at times strangely sweet, baring the inner darkness within childhood as much as in the behavior of a monster. The remake is like a defacement of the original in every way possible.

     

    • It speaks on an instinctual level to the young and the young at heart.

    Over the Garden Wall is a pure delight that brings to mind many aspects of the spectacular Spirited Away, albeit a purely Americana version. A tale of two (step) brothers lost in a strange world that’s equal measures delightful and odd as well as terrifying and alienating, this miniseries does right what most work made for adults, forget solely children, does wrong. And don’t take the story lightly, for it still contains the ability to terrify or unnerve, and it does so all the more powerfully because you're not expecting it while being completely enchanted by the beautiful stories it tells.


    • It is among the hardest of genre frameworks to master, in terms of restraint and showing/telling.

    Stephen King gets a lot of accolades and a lot of derision heaped on him in almost equal measure, both by people who are fans of the horror genre, as well as people who scoff at the genre in whole. I wish that people who don’t like the author for his more mainstream fare would take the time to dive into the work that deals with strong female characters, which contains some of his most meaningful work. Primary for me, when it comes to his film adaptations, is Misery, a story where a lonesome and disturbed fan is left to care for the injured focus of her obsession. Although the original story came from King, what cannot be overstated is the hard work and creativity of the filmmakers and actors who made one of the most startling and disturbing of King’s work a true masterpiece of drama and subtlety, where an embittered creator is forced to adapt to the whims and emotions of someone who’s willing to do whatever she needs to do to get what she wants from him.



    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre. Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.
    by Becky C | Jan 21, 2019
    Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

    Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister who advocated the use of non-violent protest to end racial segregation and to promote racial equality in the United States.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, donating the prize money, valued at $54,123, to the civil rights movement. In 1968, King was organizing an interracial “Poor People’s March” on Washington; it was still in the planning stages when he was assassinated on April 4,1968.   

    Soon after King’s death, there were calls for a national holiday to celebrate his life and honor his achievements.  Although legislation for a federal holiday was introduced in Congress as early as 1968, there was sufficient opposition to block its passage. In 1983, legislation making the third Monday in January a federal holiday finally was passed, and the first observance nationwide was in 1986. 

    ACPL has hundreds of titles in our collection about this extraordinary man and his commitment to making the world a better place.   Here are six that I recommend in particular:



    The SemanarianThe Seminarian
    by Patrick Parr.
    Martin Luther King Jr. was a cautious nineteen-year-old rookie preacher when he left Atlanta, Georgia to attend Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.  During his three years at seminary, King delivered dozens of sermons around the Philadelphia area, had a gun pointed at him (twice), played on the basketball team, and became student body president.  He graduated at the top of the class of 1951.  Parr provides an in-depth account of the curriculum King studied, as well as dozens of revealing interviews with the men and women who knew him then.



    Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, Garrow's thorough study focuses on the most turbulent years of the American civil rights movement.  He draws from King's personal papers, as well as from thousands of FBI documents detailing the activities of King and his closest colleagues.  He also draws from more than seven hundred interviews with King's associates -- and those who opposed him.  Reviewers have noted that Garrow does an exceptional job depicting King's strength and vision, along with his failings and fears.


    On April 12, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, for violating a court injunction against marching in the city's streets. His plan, his vision, had been to instigate a nonviolent protest in an effort to integrate Birmingham's downtown stores. Eight local clergymen charged King as being a violent extremist. In response, King wrote "Letter from Birmingham Jail", a work that has taken its place among the masterpieces of American moral argument. Rieder offers a detailed analysis of the letter, displaying a deep knowledge of King's larger body of work by drawing connections to his other sermons and writings.


    Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his powerful "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963.  Younge carefully examines the political and emotional climate of the time and divides his analysis into three parts: "The Moment," "The March," and "The Legacy".  Younge balances his account using outside and original commentary from rhetoricians, activists, and scholars, including different interpretations of the speech itself and its relevance in the civil rights movement.



    RedemptionRedemption: Martin Luther King Jr.'s last 31 hours
    by Joseph Rosenbloom.
    Redemption is an intimate look at the final hours of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. Exhausted from a brutal speaking schedule, denounced by the press and by political leaders as an agent of violence, and facing dissent even within the civil rights movement and among his own staff at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King gathered the strength to speak at a rally on behalf of sanitation workers. On April 3, he delivered the "Mountaintop Speech," an eloquent and passionate appeal for workers' rights and economic justice.  Using memoirs, interviews, and newly released papers from the files of Coretta Scott King and William Rutherford, former director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Rosenbloom paints a taut and detailed picture of King's and his assassin's movements in Memphis.


    A King Family Tribute

    Edited by his niece, this scrapbook-style tribute from Martin Luther King Jr.'s family shares their reflections and memories of the civil rights leader. Included are contributions from his sister, his children, his in-laws, his nieces and nephews, and even his grandchildren, who, although they never met him, explain what his legacy means to them. Unlike the iconic persona normally associated with the man, the book presents a more personal, warm, and loving portrait. 


    While these six titles are my top picks for books written about Martin Luther King Jr., I strongly recommend that you read something written by him -- or listen to his speeches (we have CDs you can check out). 


    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 Kay S | Jan 18, 2019
    It's time for a few upcoming fiction releases which you will be seeing sometime between January 15 and February 14, 2019. Unless, of course, the publishers change their minds. And, as always, these are publishing dates, not the dates they will be on a shelf near you.

    Historical Romance

     burrows Annie Burrows
    A Duke in Need of a Wife
    January 15 – paperback, February 1 - ebook
     
     Jennifer Ashley Jennifer Ashley
    The Devilish Lord Will
    MacKenzie series
    January 15
     Laura Lee Guhrke Laura lee Guhrke
    Governess Gone Rogue
    Dear Lady Truelove series
    January 29
     Marie Force Marie Force
    Duchess by Deception
    A Gilded series, debut historical
    January 29

    Historical Fiction

    Vijay  Madhuri Vijay
    The Far Field
    January 15 
     Marius Gabriel Marius Gabriel
    The Parisians
    January 17
     Mary Calvi Mary Calvi
    Dear George, Dear Mary, debut
    February 12
     Stephanie Barron Stephanie Barron
    That Churchill Woman
    January 29

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

    Kristin Wright  Kristin Wright
    Lying Beneath the Oaks, debut
    January 15 
     Maranda liasson Miranda Liasson
    The Way You Love Me
    January 29
     Sally Thorne Sally Thorne
    99 Percent Mine
    January 29
     Kamal Soniah Kamal
    Unmarriageable
    Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan
    January 15

    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense

    Alan Bradley Alan Bradley
    The Golden Tresses of the Dead
    Flavia de Luce series
    January 22 
     Alexandra Ivy Alexandra Ivy
    You Will Suffer
    The Agency series
    January 29
     Andrea Camilleri Andrea Camilleri
    The Overnight Kidnapper
    Inspector Montalbano Mystery series
    February 5
     VC Andrews V C Andrews
    The Silhouette Girl
    January 29

    Paranormal/Fantasy/Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Horror

     Alistair Reynolds Alastair Reynolds
    Shadow Captain
    Revenger series
    January 15
     Gareth Hanrahan Gareth Hanrahan
    The Gutter Prayer
    Black Iron Legacy series
    January 22
     Bennett Robert Jackson Bennett
    Vigilance
    January 29
     Dyer Thoraiya Dyer
    Tides of the Titans
    Titan's Forest Trilogy
    January 29

    Young Adult/Teens

     Angela Thomas Angie Thomas
    On the Come Up
    February 5

     April Henry April Henry
    The Lonely Dead
    January 29
     Bridget Kemmerer Brigid Kemmerer
    A Curse So Dark and Lonely
    January 19
     Leigh Barugo Leigh Barugo
    King of Scars
    King of Scars duology
    January 29

    Inspiration Romance/Mainstream

    Abigil wilson  Abigail Wilson
    In the Shadow of Croft Towers
    January 15 
     Kathleen Ybarbo Kathleen Y’Barbo
    The Alamo Bride
    Daughters of the Mayflower Brides series
    February 1
     Kristi Ann Hunter Kristi Ann Hunter
    A Return of Devotion
    Haven Manor series
    February 5




    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 | Jan 16, 2019

    Book Review: Oscar Hijuelos' winner of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

    cover for Oscar Hijuelos' novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of LoveOnly his second book, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love made Hijuelos, in 1990, the first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The title of the novel comes from the fictional LP featured in the book, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, and the novel, as well as employing the confounding gimmick of opening "in media res," is structured with an A side and a B side which, even more clearly in retrospect, has some nice metafictional qualities.  (For more on that I think I’d need to visit a local brew pub and go a few rounds with any interested parties.)

    The main thing I took away from Hijuelos’ story is that regrets are inevitable, which is, a bit oddly, comforting.  Sometimes concrete things will be there to be pointed out as regretful.  For example, in the novel, a failure to visit parents enough, a mistreatment of a spouse, a Communist revolution.  Sometimes regrets will come in spite of the many good things life has given one (like a dollop of fame, admiring friends, continual gainful employment) and one may find oneself sitting in a ratty hotel wondering, “What if?”

    The movie version of this book in 1992 starred a young Antonio Banderas.  Young?  He was 32.  At the ripe old age of 38 (the same age as Hijuelos when he finished this novel) 32 seems young … at least significantly “younger.”  (I do refer to myself as “middle-aged,” half-jokingly, but only half.)  What regrets do I already have?  What regrets am I incubating?  Where does this road I’m traveling actually end up?  Life, unlike novels, seems to only reveal answers to those sorts of questions at the end.  We animates don’t have the luxury of “in media res” to aid in giving perspective to past choices and events and the groove we’re running in doesn’t allow room for an omniscient narrator describing to us where we’re at on the A side or B side.  We just know that we’re playing till the end, whenever that is, and that being in the “middle of things”/in media res is less fancy than it sounds and wins almost none of us a significant literary prize.  But then, listen to me being so desultory.  At least, from within the groove we reside and have the chance to live in the present (much like the title of this novel I’m ostensibly reviewing) and make some music for a little while.  I mean, if regrets are kind of inevitable anyway, we might as well enjoy the 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 Craig B | Jan 14, 2019

    cover for The Struts album, Young & DangerousIt’s official – rock is dead. Here’s my story – I searched high and low for a new “rock” album to review and only found The Struts latest, Young & Dangerous, an album that at first seemed promising, but after a careful listen, I’ve decided you just can’t be as sweet as the Struts are in their track, "Somebody New," on a sophomore album and still actually consider yourself a rock star.  Maybe later, when you’ve got a record named something like Highway Companion and are no longer “young” and your “danger” is diminished (if that can ever be said of a human being), you can indulge in sentiment and pining for lost loves.  Not that you can’t be some kind of music star, but not rock.  Rock and roll. Welcome to the age of the “rock-influenced” star.

    Suggested Use: Rock is dead?  Or just more domesticated?  Perhaps.  Try putting this on while doing something “domestic” like loading the dishwasher or making up the guestroom for Great Aunt Laura.  Just as you find ways to cut the meatloaf to accommodate the extra setting for your kid’s new friend from across the street you’ll find yourself cutting songs out of this album in an effort to make it more truly “rock and roll.”  If I may, I’d suggest keeping "Bulletproof Baby," "Tatler Magazine," and "I Do it So Well."  But that’s just my story.  Tell us yours.


    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 | Jan 11, 2019
    Even an adventure story can be a quiet tale.

    The Other Miss Bridgerton is part of the Rokesby series by Julia Quinn. This series is Julia Quinn connected to the Bridgerton series, but it is about the generation before the characters we all know and love. A prequel.

    The Other Miss Bridgerton was a delightful holiday treat, but it could be read any time of the year. Our heroine is Poppy Bridgerton and she is a mighty curious person. Our hero is Andrew Rokesby, aka Captain Andrew James, and he is on the receiving end of Poppy’s curiosity.

    I loved Poppy. As I said before, she is a curious person. Some people might classify that as nosy but there isn’t anything negative about her snooping. She’s just a unique person who doesn’t quite fit in. She has an inquiring mind, she’s open to adventure, and she isn’t always careful as to where that adventurous spirit might lead her. For instance, her curiosity might get her transported to a pirate ship.

    You see, one day Poppy wanders into a cave which turns out to be where some privateers have hidden their loot. Unfortunately for her, two of the privateers – Laurel and Hardy – discover her, bundle her up in burlap, and take her aboard their ship with a rag stuffed in her mouth. The rag is there because she just keeps talking, talking, and talking. They take the rag out of her mouth once she’s on board, however, and she won’t shut up – so, they put it back in her mouth. Then they leave her and try to decide who is going to tell the captain. By the way, they aren’t really named Laurel and Hardy. It just seems as if they are.

    The ship sets sail and by the time the captain is reluctantly told about their captive guest, it’s too late to return her. Captain James is not a happy camper. He is on a secret mission, he has a deadline, and much to his chagrin he discovers he has a Bridgerton on board. Even more upsetting to him is that his older brother is married to a Bridgerton. He has a big problem. Not only does he have a mission to complete, he has an innocent woman to get back on shore without anyone finding out. He tries to keep his distance, but it isn’t long before Poppy wiggles under his skin.

    The romance slowly builds in this story. A lot of the scenes in the book are more sensual then sexual and it’s a slow burn until their relationship finally explodes. There isn’t a ton of token whankee-roo scenes – which is nice for a change. We have two likeable characters who have a tender relationship which slowly blossoms before our eyes.

    I enjoyed this story quite a lot. While it didn’t contain some of the bells and whistles of some of my favorite Julia Quinn stories, it was a very charming story, filled with humor, banter, and lovely dialogue. The characters worked together, the romance slowly bloomed from friendship to lovers to a couple who respected each other and one we have no doubt will last a long, long time. A gentle story, which I recommend. 

    Time/Place: 1700s English Channel
    Sensuality: Warm



    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 Aisha H. | Jan 09, 2019

    2018 saw me read a variety of things. While some people might not consider listening to audiobooks and looking at photography books a proper definition of reading, I still consider these as “books read” because they involved me hearing or seeing a story, analyzing what I heard and saw, and taking some part of the story into myself. Here are some of the books I read in 2018.

    Audiobooks
    I started listening to audiobooks years ago when I lived farther away from friends and family and would go on road trips. I kept listening to audiobooks because having someone read to me is a lovely experience.
     
     BornaCrime

    Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah     

    I knew Noah from "The Daily Show" and love his accent, so listening to his memoir instead of reading it seemed like the right thing to do, and it was.

       
     LookAlive  

    Look Alive Out There: Essays by Sloane Crosley

    I’ve been a Sloane Crosley fan for years since reading her first book of essays, I Was Told There’d Be Cake. Standout essays included the one about her battles with her neighbor’s excessively cool teenagers and the one where she gets diagnosed with Ménière’s disease.

       
     YoullGrowOutofIt

    You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein

    I definitely snorted when she talked about the way being called “ma’am” makes you feel, when up until that point, people called you “miss”.

       
       
     Fiction  
     TheHateUGive  

    The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

    I’d be surprised if you hadn’t already heard of this book, but if you haven’t, it’s an amazing Young Adult novel that deals with the issue of race in America. Starr witnesses the police shooting of her unarmed friend Khalil and the two worlds she lives in, her poorer, predominantly black neighborhood and her wealthy, mostly white private school, clash as she tries to deal with the pressures her family and friends put on her.

       
     PastTense
    Past Tense by Lee Child

    This is the latest book in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. I started reading the series back in November 2017. I hadn't thought of them as my kind of books (which goes to show you, we can all change), but I'd watched the film Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and decided to give them a shot. In a year, I read all 23 novels. (They took up a good chunk of my year.) Some of the standouts were One Shot (#9), Bad Luck and Trouble (#11), Worth Dying For (#15), and Make Me (#20). Oddly enough, Never Go Back (#18), the book that inspired the movie that got me reading the series was one of my least favorites. The book’s plot was a little different than the movie’s (or maybe more accurately, the movie’s plot was a little different than the book’s), and that might have thrown me off.
       
     ReincarnationBlues
    Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

    This novel is a mix of fantasy, historical fiction, romance, and science fiction. Milo has been reincarnated 9,995 times and has five more lives left in order to pursue perfection. He’s in love with Death (who prefers to be called “Suzie”), and if he doesn’t reach perfection, he’ll cease to exist and cease to be with Suzie. This book is funny, touching, and philosophical.
       
       
     Photography  
     DressLikeaWoman Dress Like a Woman: Working Women and What They Wore by Abrams Books

    This collection of photographs uses clothing to explore the changes in women’s roles throughout the world. There are photos of famous women like Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai, but some of the more powerful, moving images are of everyday women.

       
     HowNYBreaksYourHeart

      How New York Breaks Your Heart by Bill Hayes

      These photographs of regular people doing regular
      things are intimate and impressive.



    Aisha’s favorite authors are Lisa Lutz and Lorrie Moore. After years of resisting the librarian who owns a cat stereotype, she found Otis, the best giant little kitty ever created, and is now never without a cat hair somewhere on her clothing. 

    by Carrie V | Jan 04, 2019

    Together we create

    Have you always wanted to be a writer? Are you a writer looking for motivation and support?  You might be surprised by Fort Wayne's active writing community!

    Here is a consolidated listing of local literary events happening in January:

    3 Rivers Co-op & Deli: First Friday Readings
    Friday, January 4th, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
    At the 3 Rivers Natural Grocery Co-op & Deli
    Come hear readings by noteworthy poets and writers of the Fort Wayne area, and
    grab some food at the One World Café


    FWWG: Workday Wordsmiths
    Tuesday, January 8th, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
    -See Link for Location-
    Feedback, brainstorming, and learning in a relaxed, daytime setting.


    NI POETS: Northeast Indiana Poets Of Every Type Society

    Wednesday, January 9th, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Northeast Indiana P.O.E.T.S. meets at the Downtown Allen County Library, 900 Library Plaza. The public is invited. Bring your favorite poems and join us.

     

    Northeast Indiana P.O.E.T.S. (which stands for Poets Of Every Type Society) was organized in 1990. This poetry organization has been a member of Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne for years, and is associated with Poetry Society of Indiana (PSI), formerly Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs, and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.

    FWWG: Writers Round Robin – Evoking Emotions from your Readers
    Wednesday, January 9th, 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM
    -See Link for Location-
    A structured workshop where participants critique readings from two readers.


    ACPL: Monday Morning Book Group – Author Visit
    Monday, January 14th, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    At the Little Turtle Branch of the Allen County Public Library
    Please join us to share the books you are currently reading and listen to others share theirs as well.  We meet on the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month.  On January 14th we will be having an Author Visit with local author Shelia Webster Boneham who writes both fiction and nonfiction books related to animals.

     

    ACPL: Hanna-Creighton Writers Guild
    Monday, January 14th, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
    At the Pontiac Branch of the Allen County Public Library
    Writers of all levels get together to educate, inspire, encourage, and motivate members though the expression of their ideas in the written word, using positive feedback, constructive criticism, and example.

     

    FWWG: Pubs & Prose Night
    Monday, January 14th, 7:00 PM - ???
    At J.K. O’Donnell’s
    No readings, just a group of fascinating local writers talking shop, talking smack, and sometimes expounding on life's great pageantry over a few excellent brews.

     

    FWWG: Workday Wordsmiths
    Tuesday, January 15th, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
    -See Link for Location-
    Feedback, brainstorming, and learning in a relaxed, daytime setting.

     

    ACPL: Heartland Writers’ Forum (Monroeville)
    Wednesday, January 16th, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
    At the Monroeville Branch of the Allen County Public Library

     

     

    FWWG: Shut Up & Write
    Thursday, January 17th, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    -See Link for Location-
    Put pen and paper where your mouth is and join in a writing session. Bounce ideas around or ask about a questionable phrase or even plot point, but come with the intention of walking out with a page or two in your hand.

    FWWG: Writers Round Robin
    Wednesday, January 23rd, 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM
    -See Link for Location-
    A structured workshop where participants critique readings from two readers.

     

    ACPL: Young Writers Group
    Thursday, January 24th, 7:00 PM – 8:15 PM
    At the Main Library Downtown
    Grades 9-12: The Young Writers Workshop led by Dr. Michael Levan is for high school students who love words and want to put them together better. Each session will be a mix of workshopping drafts, in-class writing exercises, craft talks where we learn about strategies to improve our work, and in discussion of contemporary poetry and prose. See link for signup info.

     

    COP a Story
    Saturday, January 26th, 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    -See Link for Location-
    At COP a Story, writers have one month to compose their story based on Character, Object, and Place prompts provided by audience members. A public reading of the stories happens on the last Saturday of every month. Unlike many public reading events, COP includes time for discussion - not critique - of each story.

     

    ACPL: Writers’ Group Meeting
    Monday, January 28th, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
    At the Main Library Downtown
    Have you always wanted to be a writer? Or are you already a writer and looking for motivation and community? Join ACPL's new Writers' Group! This group aims to provide a forum for sharing works in progress, as well as getting feedback and ideas. Writers of any experience level are welcome.  

     

    FWWG: Workday Wordsmiths
    Tuesday, January 29th, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
    -See Link for Location-
    Feedback, brainstorming, and learning in a relaxed, daytime setting.

    Make it your new year's resolution to attend a local writing event this month!

    by Evan | Jan 02, 2019
    WhenHow to Change Your MindThe Girls of Atomic City
    GrantThe Future of HumanityEducated

    The library’s Real World Book Club is opening for business January 17 with a discussion of Daniel H. Pink’s When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. This new club is a morphing of the Science and Technology Book Club we had in 2018 and will include science books as well as history, biography and other non-fiction titles.

    All the conversations will begin at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month in the Business, Science and Technology Meeting Room at the Main Library. Dates and titles through June are:

    February 21 – How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

    March 21 – The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan

    April 18 – Grant by Ron Chernow

    May 16 – The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth by Michio Kaku

    June 20 – Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

    I hope you will grab copies of these books and join the conversations, but if you haven’t read them and want to learn about them, you will certainly be welcome.



    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Kay S | Dec 31, 2018

    Auld Lang Syne lyrics via pinterest


    Bet’cha didn’t know that song was so long and sooooo Scottish.  (Click the image to view it full size.  Much easier to read!  Just a bit too big to fit into this post.)
     
    Is it possible that another year has gone by? It seems like we were just welcoming 2018 into the world not too long ago. Well, now it’s time to say farewell to 2018 and I have to admit that I’m really not sorry to see it go. Too-de-loo! As I look back on the number of books I’ve reviewed this year, I notice that there were fewer. Why is that? Simply put, I didn’t finish as many as I usually do. Yes, I picked them up – and then I put them down. As far as books go, this year has been underwhelming. Here’s hoping next year will sparkle – fingers crossed.

    And now for my wrap-up of things book-ie. Much to my surprise and displeasure, one of my favorite review magazines came to a close in May/June of 2018. It was founded by Kathryn Falk and was originally called Romantic Time Reviews. Somewhere along the way it changed its name to Book Reviews. And then one day, it went to all digital and I should have seen the writing on the wall. This year it was announced – out of the blue – that they would no longer be publishing. I miss that magazine. I found numerous authors by reading its pages.  I’m sifting through numerous sources, publishing houses, and author sites but I have to do a lot more digging and double-checking these days.  I'm sorry this magazine is no longer around.

    I started numerous reading projects and author gloms this year. There was the All About Romance Project, the DNF Project (which I seem to have forgotten I was doing, and must be returning to). I also glommed authors Kelly Bowen and Julia Justiss.This year also saw the return of Betina Krahn and Miranda Davis, something which made me very happy. I also did some traveling in my Wayback Machine.

    Voices we have lost this year. Although not a romance author, this year we lost Phillip Roth – but thankfully he left a lot of material behind for us to enjoy.

    Debut authors who have crossed my radar. Oyinkan Braithwaite, Rena Rossner, Vee Walker, Caryl Bloom, Katrina Carraso, Arif Anwr, Kelli Clare, Tracy Clark, R.F. Kuang, Taylor Bennett, Emma Berquist, Melissa Ostrum, Allison Temple, L. J. Haywood, Gwendolyn Clare, Joy McCullough, Tomi Adeyemi, Lindsey Harrel, Lynn Blackburn, Julia Sonneburn, Angela Surmelis, Melissa Albert, and Richard Lawson.

    2018 Outstanding Books. This year we had some slim-pickens. I had to travel in the Wayback Machine to find some of these. I was delighted that some of my old beloved books stood up to the test of time. Anyway, these are the books which made me smile, made me laugh, made me sigh, and brought a tear to my eye in 2018. Thanks to all of you authors who brought these gems to me. In no particular order.
    1.    Someone to Care by Mary Balogh, 2018
    2.    Come Back to Me by Josie Litton – AAR Project, year, 2001
    3.    A Most Unconventional Match by Julia Justiss, 2008 – part of glom
    4.    The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie, AAR Project, 2005
    5.    A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen, 2018
    6.    His Lordship’s Last Wager by Miranda Davis, 2018
    7.    Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath, 2018
    8.    A Good Rogue is Hard to Find by Kelly Bowen, part of glom, 2015
    9.    The Lady in Red by Kelly Bowen, part of glom, 2018
    10.    Last Night with the Earl by Kelly Bowen, part of glom, 2018
    11.    The Governess Game by Tessa Dare, 2018
    12.    His Convenient Marchioness by Elizabeth Rolls, 2017

    Now on to my prestigious awards . . .

    No More Wire Hangers – Time for the 2018 Mommie Dearest Award.
    In order to be nominated for this honor, there must be a horrible family member – age does not matter. Gambling brothers, self-centered sisters, spoiled children, conspiring mothers, oblivious fathers – anyone who may cause boo-hoo moments for either the heroine or hero.

    The Wedding GambleNominees: From A Most Unconventional Match, by Julia Justiss, we have Hal Waterman's family.    The maniac, abusive grandfather from The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie. Everyone but the heroine in Seduced by a Scot by Julia London. The father from An Earl Like You by Caroline Linden.   

    And the winner is Clarissa
    from The Wedding Gamble by Julia Justiss. Now, technically Clarissa isn’t a relative of the heroine Sarah. And, Clarissa is a future heroine, but in this book she is a spoiled, temperamental shrew, and she’s horrible to her companion Sarah. Clarissa was a horrible person, and probably tooooo horrible to be given her own book.

    2018 Steve Morgan Bonehead Award.
    How many times have we groaned because the hero is such a schmuck? He cannot forget his first love, he’s unfaithful, he’s jealous, he's possessive, he's domineering, he's always right, and he uses cold-cream instead for other purposes than what it is used for – if you get my drift.

    Rules of EngagementNominees: Brandon from Nicole Jordan’s My Fair Lover. Hugh Deveraux from Caroline Linden’s An Earl Like You. And then we have Brandon from Heartless by Anne Stuart. Bonehead heroine! Bonehead heroine! In Cathy Maxwell’s A Match Made in Bed, our heroine Cassandra had a crush on Soren when she was a little girl. And then he broke her little heart and she can never, ever, forgive him. Even when she grows up, she holds a grudge – she hatesssssss him when she’s eleven and she hatesssssss him forever.

    And the winner of the 2018 Steve Morgan Bonehead Award
    is Kerrich, aaarrggghhhh. Rules of Engagement by Christina Dodd shows all of its 18 years of age. For a moment I thought I was in the Wayback Machine and had been transported to Ripped Bodice Days of Yore. This guy has to find an orphan so he can pretend to be nice and Queen Victoria will like him again. He also must find an ugly woman to be his pretend governess, because pretty women just won’t leave him alone – he’s just that wonderful. But the topper moment is when he wanted his ugly-not-really-governess-heroine to be forced to marry him. Sigh, my hero.

    Sidekicks, aka Secondary Character, aka Supporting Cast of 2018.
    The hero and heroine may carry the book but occasionally there are other characters who draw our attention. Sometimes they are just great supporting characters –  their just being there makes the book even better than it is. Their importance to the story cannot go unrecognized, and sometimes they are even rewarded with their own stories.

    The Lady in RedHere are my nominations for great supporting characters of 2018:
    Gavin from Seduced by a Scot, by Julia London. Eleanor, Duchess of Worth from Devils of Dover series by Kelly Bowen.Rosamund and Daisy from The Governess Game by Tessa Dare. Eula from Tempting the Laird by Julia London and Georgie and Henry from His Convenient Marchioness by Elizabeth Rolls. Arthur from Betina Krahn’s A Good Day to Marry a Duke.

    And the winner is King
    . Kelly Bowen's The Lady in Red offers a great example of a secondary character who does more than just support. He almost takes over when he appears in the books he’s been in. He’s everything an alpha male should be – mysterious, dark, domineering and sensual. He is a fascinating character and has appeared in two of her series. I hope she gives him his own story soon.

    The Perfect RakeAnd now for a special moment from 2018, well actually it is from 2005 – I just reread it this year. One of my favorite heroes showed up in The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie.  While Gideon may have been irritating, arrogant and obnoxious, he was a wonderful, funny character and I loved him. He made a great hero.

    So goodbye 2018. Hopefully, 2019 will bring me some new authors I can turn to for distraction. Keep on writing all you auto-buy authors. And, welcome to the fold all of you debut authors - may you live long and prosper.




    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 | Dec 17, 2018
    Santas List

    If you ask our kids, I'm always on Santa's Nice List and my husband is always on Santa's Naughty List.  We joke that Santa originally assigned one elf to keep tabs on Jeff, but since Jeff was constantly up to mischief, Santa decided a team of elves was needed to even out the workload.  And then the team quit because, even divided amongst them, there was too much naughtiness to record.  You know, things like when we're all sitting around the table, cutting out paper snowflakes and Jeff is taking a seriously long time with his, smirking the whole time -- and then proudly displays something that looks like the Death Star shooting the Enterprise (my daughters and I are Trekkies).  We all laugh and someone says "and this is why the elves keep quitting." 

    Cutting out snowflakes together is one of our December traditions (and yes, Jeff always manages to surprise us with something exceptionally creative and just a tad impish).  During the hustle and bustle that comes with getting ready for Christmas, it's easy to forget to set aside time to relax and enjoy the season.  Cutting out snowflakes together is one way my family and I do this, but there are lots of options, including setting aside some time with a good book.  With just a week before the big day, I think something short and sweet, is in order . . .

    And, so I offer you this Christmas Cute List, with pages from ten to ninety-two.  Although, there are many titles of Christmas cheer, many titles of Christmas laughter, these are the tiny books I recommend to you.  Merry Christmas!  Merry Christmas to you.

    Catmas CarolsCatmas Carols by Laurie Loughlin.  "Joy to the world, 'cause cats are here." And are they ever, in this one-of-a-kind collection of your favorite Christmas carols written from a cat's point of view. Forget peace on earth, forget good will toward men, and discover what Christmas really means: wrecked halls, clawed couches, and visions of muzzles for the neighbors' dogs. Each set of lyrics is accompanied by a playful, exuberant illustration, and all are precisely synchronized with the tunes of their conventional counterparts. So sing along, and get a new perspective on the holiday -- and the cat -- you thought you knew.

    Christmas is GoodChristmas is Good:  Trixie's Guide to a Happy Holiday by Dean Koontz.  A delightful, humorous book full of seasonal cheer, readers are given a dog's-eye view of Christmas. Trixie offers advice for holiday activities (playing frisbee in the snow) as well as sound advice on gift-giving (if it tastes like bacon everyone will love it).  Trixie also debunks many Christmas myths, revealing that Santa's sleigh is actually pulled by dogs. Features charming full-color photos of Trixie, a former service dog enjoying her retirement with the Koontz family.



    A Stockingfull of Christmas CartoonsHo! Ho! Ho! A Stocking-full of Christmas cartoons.  America's premier cartoonists look at the light side of the holiday season in this ultimate Christmas anthology. With more than 140 cartoons from a heavenly host of artists whose work appears in the New Yorker and other magazines, this quick read is a feast of holiday humor.



    Deck the Halls with Buddy HollyDeck the Halls with Buddy Holly: and Other Misheard Christmas Lyrics by Gavin Edwards.  The master of the misheard has done it again, this time with a collection of bungled Christmas lyrics from misguided wassailers.  Your favorite Christmas carol may never sound the same again!



    A Very Klingon KhristmasA Very Klingon Khristmas by Paul Ruditis.  Santa has retractable claws, tribbles are placed in the stockings of naughty Klingon boys and girls, and a hot cup of mulled blood wine takes Klingon caroling up a notch.  Illustrated in a classic Norman Rockwell-inspired style, with snippets of Klingon sprinkled throughout.  Delightful!

    Santas DiariesSanta's Diaries: A Year of Mayhem, Merriment, and Miracles at the North Pole.  How fully do we appreciate the superhuman efforts Santa makes every year just to get his job done? Is he overeating because of the stress? Has he managed to halt yet another elf labor strike? How does Mrs. Claus soothe her overachieving husband? Will Santa ever retire? Find out the answers to these and many other questions in this candid journal of a year in Santa's life.    





    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 Craig B | Dec 14, 2018

    Book Review: Anne Tyler's winner of the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Breathing Lessons

    cover for Anne Tyler's novel, Breathing LessonsThere’s this extended scene in the middle of Anne Tyler’s 1989 Pulitzer win, Breathing Lessons, that at first blush seems a bit out of place.  Ira and Maggie Moran have been to a funeral (they’ve also been unceremoniously asked to leave) and then get entangled with another motorist on their way back to Baltimore.  This is not the central plot, just an extended scene that I found quite compelling on a variety of levels.  Yet the scene does seem a bit out of keeping with the rest of the novel, a bit of an unsupported narrative jaunt, though I suppose it could be focusing on character development or something, etc.  Anyway, that was my first musing, but then reading a bit more about Anne Tyler and her Quaker childhood of no public schooling or telephone use, I began to wonder if this almost-too-cutesy novel is channeling a bit more of (do I want to make this comparison) the metafictional force that seems to make Paul Thomas Anderson tick than I would initially have given it credit for.  (For those who wonder what the heck I’m talking about, as an example, Anderson’s movie The Master barely hangs together plot-wise and yet the scenes and characters achieve a synergy that keep it going and round it out while also making viewers go, or at least some of them, that’s so meta …).  It’s possible, when one squints hard enough, that Tyler's motorist scene is tuned in to a recurring theme of hers where, as Joyce Carol Oates put it  “time itself … constitutes plot.”  This seeming dedication to bringing to life the “impact of small things” and the constant ticking our internal clocks all emit made me appreciate the authorial courage of asking one’s readers to draw back and think, “Why is this here?”  I guess that’s the best possible spin one can put on a moment of which one’s readers might also be pulling back and asking, “Why did they bother?”  Though, in Tyler’s defense, she does have a strong case to make because it does seem to me if not for the actual impact of small things that we at least subconsciously pick up on and value, none of us actually would … bother, that is.

    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 Kay S | Dec 07, 2018
    Another year is just around the corner. Here are a few of the upcoming fiction books which are coming to a library, bookstore, and electronic device near you. As always, the dates reflected here are the publishing dates, not the dates they will fill the shelves. The dates are subject to change - unfortunately, publishers don't let me know when they change their mind.

    Historical Romance
     Adrienna Basso Adrienne Basso
    The Bride Chooses a Highlander  
    The McKennas series
    December 18 
     Virginia Heath Virginia Heath
    The Uncompromising Lord Flint
    The King's Elite series
    December 18
     Elizabeth Hoyt Elizabeth Hoyt
    Not the Duke's Darling
    The Greycourt Series
    December 18
     Eva Leigh Eva Leigh
    Dare to Love a Duke
    The London Underground series
    December 24

    Historical Fiction

     Harwood Clarissa Harwood
    Bear No Malice
    mystery/historical fiction
    January 1 
     Julia Kelly Julia Kelly
    The Light Over London
    January 14
     Gemma Livero Gemma Liviero
    The Road Beyond Ruin
    mystery/historical fiction
    January 1
     Sofia Lundberg Sofia Lundberg
    The Red Address Book
    January 8
     Jennifer Robson Jennifer Robson
    The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding
    December 31

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

     Christie Barlow Christie Barlow
    Love Heart Lane
    Love Heart Lane series
    Ebook January 11
     Jemmi Keer Jenni Keer
    The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker
    January 10
     Brenda Novak Brenda Novak
    To Win Her Heart
    January 14

    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense

     Beth Byers Beth Byers
    Murder Among the Roses
    The Violet Carlyle Mysteries
    December 16 
     Sarah Fox Sarah Fox
    Wine and Punishment
    Literary Pub series
    December 18
     Gregg Hursitz Gregg Hurwitz
    The Intern
    Orphan X series
    novella, 16 pages
    December 18
     mary Kingswood Mary Kingswood
    The Seamstress
    Sisters of Woodside series
    January 16 - yes, I know it's the 16th

    Paranormal Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy/Horror

    Katherine Arden  Katherine Arden
    The Winter of the Witch
    Winternight series
    Fantasy
    January 8

     Deanna Chase Deanna Chase
    Dreams of the Witch
    Witches of Keating Hollow series
    Fantasy
    December 17
     Kat Howard Kat Howard
    A Cathedral of Myth and Bone
    16 story collection
    January 8
     Mary Kate L. Mary
    Tribe of Daughters
    Science Fiction
    January 3

    Young Adult/Teen

    Black  Holly Black
    The Wicked King
    The Folk of the Air series
    January 8
     Sophie Jordan Sophie Jordan
    The Me I Meant to Be
    January 1

    Inspiration Romance/Mainstream

     Tamera Alexander Tamera Alexander
    With this Pledge
    Carnton series
    January 8
     Laura Franz Laura Frantz
    A Bound Heart
    January 1
     Tracie Peterson Tracie Peterson
    Kimberley Woodhouse
    Under the Midnight Sun
    The Heart of Alaska Book series
    January 1
     Jan Turano Jen Turano
    Flights of Fancy
    American Heiresses series
    January 1




    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 Evan | Dec 05, 2018

    UnthinkableI just finished a "romantic science" book, or at least that's how author Helen Thomson describes her recently published Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains. She calls it that, because instead of focusing on scientists and their research, she introduces the reader to unusual people who are the subjects of scientific study. 

    The book is about nine people whose brains operate in very strange ways. One person literally feels what he sees other people feeling. Another thinks he is a tiger. A third perceives colors around people, colors that change as he gets to know their personalities better. A fourth person went around for years believing he was dead.

    The book has ample scientific information about each case, but the heart of it is Thomson getting to know these rare individuals. Some of the conversations are comfortable, some disquieting, or even scary. The interview with the "tiger" had to be discontinued when it just felt too dangerous. 

    What Thomson wants readers to understand is that her subjects' minds are extreme but not utterly disconnected from the rest of us. Many of us have personality quirks, visions or persistent thoughts. She celebrates that there is so much interesting variety and capability in our brains. 

    If you would like a warm, informative read about amazing mental lives, check out Unthinkable.


    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Craig B | Nov 30, 2018
    cover for movie soundtrack, A Star is BornWell, beware of soundtracks.  Especially when they contain dialogue tracks like this one does featuring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.  I mean, I probably wasn’t going to ever see the movie, but now I basically know how it ends.  I should have learned from Episode I’s soundtrack and that not-so-veiled reference to the outcome of Obi Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn’s meeting with Darth Maul.  So it goes.  Although, if you’ve seen A Star is Born already this soundtrack is a nice collection of pop/outlaw country and love songs.  And it’s free.  On Hoopla and at your local branch location of Allen County Public Library.

    Suggested Use: Since I’ve already got it checked out, I very may well use this on my next date night with my wife.  I just need to get the Bluetooth connection between my tablet and car stereo solidified and then we can both enjoy the alternating moments of tough-guy lyrics and undying, though sometimes chiding, love.  The best of both worlds perhaps, just like an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, though with more drinking and less plastic couch covers.


    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 Becky C | Nov 28, 2018


    "Books and literature are for everyone, no matter where the reader is situated geographically, economically, racially, or otherwise."  This is just one of the guiding principles of the National Book Foundation, the nonprofit organization which presents the National Book Awards.

    Established in 1950, the Awards currently honor the best Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People's Literature.  To be eligible for consideration, there are a few criteria:

    • The book must be written by an American citizen (or approved via a petition process)
    • The book must have been published by a U.S. publisher between December 1 of the previous year and November 30 of the current year
    • The submission must come from a publisher

    The number of titles typically submitted for each category ranges from around 150 titles in Poetry to 500+ titles in nonfiction.  Each panel, having read the nominated books in its category, narrows the field to a Longlist of ten titles announced in mid-September.  The field is further narrowed to five Finalists, announced in mid-October.  The winners are announced mid-November.  For more detail about the process, please click here

    Below is the list of winners for 2018:  the summaries are taken from ACPL's catalog descriptions.  See a title you're interested in?  Click the book cover to check availability -- and, remember, you can always place a hold if you'd like a copy sent to your favorite branch location for pickup.

     Fiction  
     The Friend A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog. When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself with the unwanted dog he has left behind.
       
     Nonfiction  
     The New Negro Alaine Locke, the first African American to be named a Rhodes Scholar, emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence.  He called them "the New Negro--the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness".
       
      Poetry  
     Indecency Political and personal, tender, daring, and insightful--the author unpacks his intimacies, weaponizing poetry to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into which society sorts us.
       
     Translated Literature
     
     The Emissary Japan, after suffering from a massive irreparable disaster, cuts itself off from the world. Children are so weak they can barely stand or walk: the only people with any get-go are the elderly. Yoshiro concentrates on nourishing his grandson, Mumei, a strangely wonderful boy who offers "the beauty of the time that is yet to come."
       
     Young People's Literature  
     The Poet X Ever since her body grew into curves, Xiomara Batista has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. She pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers.  A novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet.

    I've scanned both the Longlist and the Finalists list and there are some intriguing titles in the mix.  I've also scanned the lists of past winners:  while each year is represented by only one cover, if you click that cover, you will see all of the winners for that year. There is no end in sight for my To Read list!


    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 | Nov 19, 2018
    Editor's note:  originally published November 23, 2016


    You’re probably aware that the Allen County Public Library is home to The Genealogy Center, the second largest genealogical library in the United States.  Maybe you’ve visited it; maybe you’re planning to.  If you’re interested in retracing your family’s history and gaining a glimpse into what their daily lives were like, Genealogy's variety of resources, both online and inside the department only, are well worth exploring.

     
    Working with genealogists on a regular basis has given me a new appreciation for the traditions we keep alive, generation after generation.  I never gave family customs a thought when I was a child.  I was simply excited that Thanksgiving was one of the two holidays that I would see all of my cousins.  My mom’s family and my dad’s family lived within an hour of each other, so it was relatively easy for us to begin the day with one group and end the day with the other.  And between the abundance of cousin-time and food, my parents could look forward to a quiet drive home while my brothers and I dozed in the backseat.

    I’m a forty-something now.  My parents are gone, and my brothers and I live in different corners of the state.  My youngest brother will have to work Thanksgiving evening.  He's a cop; he often works holidays.  Our traditions have changed.  For years now, my brothers and I have picked a random day that works with everyone’s schedules to gather together and enjoy an afternoon of sharing stories from our childhoods and sharing stories of what our kiddos have been up to lately.  And as we’ve each added to our extended families, there’s often a few other stories to tell as well.  And new foods to try.

    Whether I’m hosting or visiting, I always make a dessert from our childhood, toffee bars.  It’s a recipe my mom’s mom used to make and there’s no toffee in it at all, so I don’t know how it came by that name.  I wish I had asked when I had the chance.  Was it a recipe she had been given?  How long had it been in the family?  Was there an older recipe card, in someone else’s handwriting, still tucked away somewhere?

    My husband is a creative guy in the kitchen.  He likes to create his own recipes and he certainly has a knack for it.  I can easily see our kids using his recipes and passing them down to their kids.  While I love our cookbook collection at ACPL, I envy a friend's recipe card collection, passed down and added to over the generations.  There are a variety of individuals represented in that collection.  A variety of handwriting styles.  A variety of notes.  What a powerful connection to family.  What an incredible gift.

    I'd originally thought to write a post about the history of Thanksgiving in the United States.  As you can see, I decided to go another way.  While I love reading and sharing tidbits about history, that information is relatively easy to find, especially when we are fortunate enough in Allen County to have access to such a vast collection of resources through our library system.  What isn't as easy to find are our personal stories and traditions.  It only takes a generation or two for those to be lost.  So, instead I'd like to encourage you to reflect on your own Thanksgivings past.  What made the holiday special to you?  What family traditions do you hope continue as the years go by?


    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 Byron, Readers' Services | Nov 16, 2018

    Stan Lee

    November 12, 2018 marked the passing of a living legend of the comic book industry, Stan Lee. Born in 1922 as Stanley Lieber, his uncle Robbie Solomon ushered him into the business in 1939 as a teenage assistant at the offices of Timely Comics, published by another relative, Martin Goodman. Young Stanley’s first writing credit was a two-page text story appearing in the third issue of Captain America Comics that he signed “Stan Lee.” He claimed later that he wanted to save the use of his given name for eventually writing the “Great American Novel.”

    Stan assumed greater responsibilities at Timely until becoming an editor while in his late teens. After WWII military service, Stan resumed work as the company evolved into Atlas Comics in the 1950s, producing a variety of genre series. The business floundered at times, as did Stan’s interest in it.

    Superhero comics experienced a renewed popularity in the late 1950s, and Martin Goodman decided to cash in on the craze and put Stan to the task. With the partnership of veteran comic book artist Jack Kirby, the 1961 release of the Fantastic Four heralded the beginning of the modern Marvel Comics. Stan’s innovative portrayal of superheroes with flaws and hang-ups attracted a new generation of readers. Using a fresh creative approach known as the “Marvel Method,” he would brainstorm ideas with artists like Kirby and Steve Ditko, who would then develop the stories through sequential art for Stan then to script. The success of the Fantastic Four opened the floodgates to a wave of a new characters and series including the X-Men, Avengers, and Spider-Man as well as the reintroduction of Timely era superheroes Captain America and the Sub-Mariner. Stan broadened the appeal of their comics by engaging readers with editorial statements written in a friendly, informal style.

    By 1972, Stan’s promotion to publisher diminished his writing output to periodic ventures such as Marvel’s first graphic novel in 1978 of the Silver Surfer with Jack Kirby and the 1980 introduction of the She-Hulk with artist John Buscema. After retiring as publisher in 1996, Stan explored other opportunities such as the re-imagining of the iconic superheroes at DC Comics in the 2001 limited series Just Imagine…

    With the booming popularity of Marvel Comics in the 1960s Stan assumed the role of the public face of Marvel Comics and was a familiar sight at comic book conventions and on the lecture circuit. As publisher, he relocated to the west coast in 1981 for film and TV development of Marvel’s beloved superheroes. The Marvel Studios movie adaptations of recent years have regularly featured cameo appearances by Stan for comedic effect.

    From a lowly beginning as a young office assistant, Stan Lee’s editorial direction revolutionized the comic book industry and enabled the multi-media success that Marvel Comics has grown into today. While the public persona of Marvel Comics has passed on, the rich legacy of entertainment he left behind will be an enjoyment for generations to come. Excelsior!

     

     

     

    by Craig B | Nov 14, 2018

    Book Review: Toni Morrison's winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Beloved

    cover for Toni Morrison's novel, BelovedI can see why Morrison’s novels inspire, what is sometimes called in academia, a “close-reading.”  There are layers and layers here in her 1988 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Beloved; layers laced with question after question, ripe for some intransigent essay questions.  For example, who am I supposed to sympathize most with?  Who is the heroine?  Hero?  95% of the way through the novel I suddenly found myself being pulled to look at events in a different way, which I found fascinating, intriguing even.  Intrigue can lend itself to “close-reading,” to an obsession with questions like, “What is Morrison trying to tell us?  Who is Morrison really writing this book about?  What do you think, class?” 

    It is true that I find some of Morrison’s vagueness and disjointed exposition frustrating (especially at the beginning), but I also find that it allows for interpretations to be formed, picked apart, formed again, and that there’s something profound about this process.  And this sort of thing happens not only within the text.  Put Beloved within its actual historical context, the fact that the seed for the story originated with something that happened within Morrison’s own family history, and every scene has the potential to take on a different timbre.

    Lastly, it’s a ghost story!  Of sorts.  It does read like a horror novel at some points, which I actually found a little weird and a bit off-putting, and then that near overly maudlin ending really put my experience of this novel on edge, but I have to say Morrison does seem to near perfectly pull the narrative out of its dangerous dive.  And further good news, Beloved is part of a trilogy!  A trilogy connected by themes rather than concrete characters allowing for point-counterpoint comparisons as well as nebulous connections, mirroring of events, and various other literary magic.  Talk about an opportunity for close-reading!

     

    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.