As You Like It

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    by Becky C | Oct 03, 2016
    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!

    Three Weeks to Say Goodbye
     The Big Picture
     Isaacs Storm
     H is for Hawk
     The Swarm
     The Seascape Tattoo
     The Killer Angels
     Annhilation
     Underground Railroad
     Brooklyn
     Reclaiming Conversation  Cutting for Stone
     Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
     In a Dark Dark Wood
     The Woman in Cabin 10
     Symphony for the City of the Dead
     It Wasnt Always Like This
     The Great American Whatever
     Most Dangerous
     Devoted  Hidden
       Whispers in the Mist
     


    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Kay S | Sep 30, 2016
    "Well, we dig dig dig
    Well, we dig in our mine the whole day through...
    Heigh-ho, heigh-ho
    It's off to work we go
    We keep on singing all day long
    Heigh-ho"
    - Snow White, Disney

    Once upon a time Mary Jo Putney wrote one of my alllll time favorite books - The Rake -Mary Jo Putney
    with one of my allll time favorite heroes, Reginald Davenport. Hence, it always saddens me when one of my old faithful authors of one of the bestessst books ever presents me with a book which is not up to her standards. Or, at least what I expect from her/him. Once a Soldier is the first book in Mary Jo Putney's Rogues Redeemed series.

    Plain speaking. I had a hard time finishing this book. It started out promising. There is the requisite set-up for future books in the series. We get to meet a number of men who just scream "hero." They are in a prison awaiting execution set for the next day. While imprisoned, they have a "I would do this if I were to live" moment. Well, as luck would have it, our intrepid hero Will Masterson finds a way out of the prison, and they all escape. They separate, but vow to always keep in contact with each other. I enjoyed this set-up and I was very much interested in reading Will's story - but it went downhill from there.

    Napoleon has just been sent to Elba and the war seems to be over. The troops are returning to their homelands, hoping that everything hasn't been destroyed in the process of Napoleon's march to conquer all. Major Lord Will Masterson, our hero, wants to return home; but before he can, he is sent on a mission by one of the guys from the prison. He is assigned a regiment of soldiers from the little kingdom of San Gabriel. He is to return with them to their country and report on the conditions of San Gabriel. It seems that Great Britain will help out this little country if it has been devastated by Napoleon's trampling through. I guess Great Britain wouldn't have its own financial problems at the time and they could help restore little San Gabriel. Anyway, Will leads San Gabriel's sons back home - at least some of them. When he arrives in San Gabriel he finds destruction, he also finds that the ruling monarch and the monarch's heir have been taken captive or killed or something. Anyway, the king and his son are missing, and they have left the throne in the arms of a regent with Alzheimer’s and an underage princess. But do not fear my little Petunia's, for you see San Gabriel has been saved by the amazonian illegitimate English woman - Athena Markham. Athena has been Princess Sophia's friend and advisor for a long time - Amazon Athena is also our heroine.

    Well, Will and Amazon Athena are attracted to each other right away, but before they can really connect there must be the traditional San Gabriel welcome home feast and celebration with music, cheese and Sangria. The Sangria is the best in all Europe, made right here in little San Gabriel. Their wine is better!

    Will and Athena wiggle their eyebrows at each other, but before they can go any further Will must call a city council meeting and listen to boring talks on  how to rebuild San Gabriel. He must ponder Great Britain's role in rebuilding San Gabriel - and there is the wine to consider.

    Will and Athena gaze into each others eyes, then because Will was an engineer he goes off to the town's waterwheel and with the help of the ex-soldier's they rebuild it. While they are there they have a look at the river - you just never know when you may need to widen a river. After-all you may need to ship wine up/down that river.

    Will and Athena touch each other, then they talk about the production of wine. Athena tells Will she saved allllll of the town's wine by putting it in some caves and then sealing the caves. Will must look at the caves, he is an engineer after all.

    Will and Athena smile at each other, but then Will decides to rebuild the bridge. Will and the ex-soldiers of San Gabriel rebuild the town's bridge, then they celebrate with wine and cheese. Will's hairs on the back of his neck are twitching.

    Will looks at the destroyed vineyards. Why, he has a friend whose family owns vineyards, just over in the next country, over the hills, over the mountains, over the rivers. He sends for his friend Justin. Justin brings saplings. Justin gazes at Princess Sophia, Sophia gazes at Justin - oh dear it's the Princess falling for a commoner plot. It's also a secondary romance thrown in at a time when the main romance isn't working. Why isn't it working? Because it's time for Will to plant some saplings. Will's neck is still twitching.

    Justin mentions Will is a lord. Athena throws a hissy fit because she hatessssss all nobles. She goes off in a huff, they reconcile. But Athena knows she is not good enough for Will. Will's neck says something is wrong. Athena and Will have some wine and cheese - San Gabriel's wine is the bestest.

    Will and Athena talk. Will and Amazon Athena blow up the sealed caves. The wine is saved!!! Now, the little town can prosper!! But first let's have some wine and cheese. Hey, let's go on a picnic!! And let's take some wine and cheese. Wait a minute, Will's having that pesky hair/neck problem again! And, it's not from all the wine and cheese - it's from some remnants of the French army. After a brief kerfuffle with some renegade French soldiers we find out there's a plan afoot to invade San Gabriel. The evilllll French commander plans to  marry Princess Sophia and get the wine - not necessarily in that order. Will, Athena, Justin and Sophia must come up with a plan to stop hundreds of French soldiers from invading their little city. Picnic over!

    Will and Athena do the whankee-roo. Farewell my love, I must be off to blow up the mountain and stop the invading French. I must gather the townsfolk and do some more talking. Even being outnumbered a gazillion to one, Will defeats the nefarious French wine pilferer.

    There is more celebration! Break out the wine and cheese!! Welcome the missing king and heir back!!! More wine!! More cheese!!! Justin gets the thumbs up to court the Princess becausssseeee he can make wine!!! Will overcomes Athena's "I can't marry you" routine. They all have some wine and cheese. The end.

    Sign. I could not connect with this story. After reading page after page of lessons on "how to rebuild a city destroyed by war," I could feel my eyes glazing over. There wasn't any chemistry between Will and Athena. Too much of the storytelling was spent on other things and not on the romance. This could have been a travelogue book on wine country. Big disappointment.

    Time/Place: After the first defeat of Napoleon, San Gabriel (it doesn't exist)


    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 | Sep 26, 2016
    Evans Recommendations

    Whether you like your popular science books "dry"or "wet," there are plenty of good ones to choose from these days. By dry, I mean a book that mostly tries to explain a difficult subject; by wet, I mean one that gives a lot of attention to the living, human side of the science. My preference is dry, but I've been working my way through four pop sci books this month, and I'll start with the decidedly wet one I already finished.

    Janna Levin's very human Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space is maybe 10 percent about black holes science and 90 percent about quirky, brilliant black hole scientists. Working through one adversity after another -- theoretical, technical, financial and, especially, emotional -- they put together over 30 years an amazing pair of gigantic devices that last year reportedly heard the unfathomably faint and brief sound ripple from the collision of two black holes in a galaxy far, far away. Levin herself is a black hole scientist, but in this project she writes little about how the universe works and much about how imperfect human beings try to understand it. 

    Jane Goodall's Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants is a very personal plea by a famous zoologist who dearly loves botany. She urges people to appreciate plants on both emotional and practical levels. Like many scientists, she warns that we are rapidly destroying plant species at the possibly imminent peril of our own. 

    Somewhere between wet and dry is Frans de Waal's Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? The renowned primatologist's latest book is full of the recent findings about animal intelligence, but it's also full of stories about scientists believing a lot of stupid things in regard to animals' abilities.

    One of my favorites is that scientists said elephants were too dumb to get bananas that were too high to reach with their trunks. This ruling was based on the fact the elephants would not use a stick to reach them as some other animals do. But an intelligent human realized that holding sticks confuses elephants' sensory perception. When sturdy blocks were put in the elephants' reach, they pushed them to spots underneath the bananas, raised themselves by putting their forelegs on the blocks, and got their reward. Plenty smart.

    My current favorite, however, is Sean Carroll's The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. Monty Python's Meaning of Life this is not. Even with hardly any math, it is a big book on the big stuff, and I'm admittedly taking a lot of time to work through it. I'm thinking about actually buying it, which, for this life-long library addict, is high praise.

    Carroll is a physicist, but he demonstrates a deep understanding of many other challenging subjects, including philosophy and brain science. Ultimately, though, the book is less about the knowledge he conveys and more an explanation of why the scientific process itself -- for all its uncertainties -- is our best hope to understand our universe, our world and ourselves. 


    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Kay Spears | Sep 23, 2016
    What a nice read! In A Gentleman Never Tells, Eloisa James presents us with a charming short story. For those of you following along, this one is loosely connected to the Essex sisters, and I do mean loosely - so don't go wracking your brains trying to Eloisa Jamesremember. Just sit back and enjoy.

     I am always impressed with an author when they can come up with a good short story and Ms. James as given us a full, well-written tale with characters who seem to be fully developed. On top of that, the romance part of the book made me smile. This story was a delight.

    We have Oliver Berwick, a bachelor who has inherited an outrageous niece. His brain-think while his niece is nattering on was pretty funny. I'm hoping we will see more of this funny teenager in the future. Anyway, Oliver and his niece have been "invited" to a house party. At the house party he becomes immediately interested in Lizzie, Lady Trout. Lizzie is a widow and she wants to stay that way. She has hidden herself away from people; her protection is her books. In her books she finds a place where she belongs and there isn't anyone there to humiliate or degrade her.

    Lizzie has not had very good luck in the man department. Her husband died in his mistress' arms. Now while that's bad enough, from the very beginning of her marriage her husband made it very clear that he wanted nothing to do with her. He even blamed Lizzie for his deficiency in the Mr. Toad department. So, in this case we have a legitimate virgin widow. Needless to say, Lizzie viewed herself as a failure. Hurt and dejected, she returned to her father for support. Her father's reply was also rejection, telling her she had to return to her cheese-wad husband. So, Lizzie returned to live with her husband, who in turn lived with his mistress. Not only did he return to his mistress, he was very public about it. It is not at all surprising that Lizzie has become absorbed into the world which books can create. It is also this Lizzie who Oliver falls in love with and presides to help Lizzie see herself as she actually is.

    I adored Oliver and Lizzie. They brought out the best in each other. There was plenty of humor throughout this short story. Oliver had a wonderful sense of humor, he was kind and any woman would easily fall in love with him. Lizzie had more angst in her life and was pretty down on herself in the beginning. But under Oliver's gentle hand, she blossoms. She turns into a woman who knows what she wants, knows she has more to offer people and decides on her own that Oliver is the right person for her. Ms. James as created a very memorable couple in just a few short pages. Best of all there's not enough space for a prolonged "I can't marry you because..."

    The secondary characters are also fun. Lizzie's sister Cat had a very strong personality. I do admit there were times when Cat almost journeyed into overbearing territory. But I think Cat was desperately worried about her sister and was trying to help in the only way she knew how. Once again I think it helped that Cat's aggressive behavior was in a short story and not a full-length novel. If she had been given a longer time, she probably would have become an unlikable character. The most enjoyable secondary character in the book was Oliver's niece Hattie. Hattie has quite a personality. She's talkative, funny, witty but also wily. Hattie seems to have a underhanded way of getting what she wants and I hope we see more of her in future books.

    Overall - I highly recommend this little gem. It was a fast read, nothing was overdone and the couple hit just the right chord with me.

    Time/Place: England 1826


    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 | Sep 19, 2016

    cover for Katherine Anne Porter's book, Collected StoriesBook Review:  The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter

    Born in Texas as Callie Russel Porter in 1894, Porter adopted her grandmother’s name (though in alternative spellings) after her first divorce.  As a distant descendant of Daniel Boone and O. Henry (who’s actual last name was indeed Porter) it’s not too hard to see qualities of the intrepid frontiersman and the curious wit in Porter’s writing.  Only moderately educated and first married at sixteen, Porter worked at acting and singing, then journalism and eventually fiction writing.  She went on to a celebrated literary life, teaching at several high profile universities (i.e. Stanford) and winning the National Book Award along with her Pulitzer.  The titular book of this post has become her legacy and in many ways the unofficial memoir of one of the more interesting people of the 20th century.

    I love that in the middle of this 1966 Pulitzer Prize winner, The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, there is a funny little trilogy of short novels (not funny ha ha, believe me) ostensibly written as a reaction to the authoress’ narrow survival of a flu epidemic in 1918.  The first short novel in this reactionary trilogy, “Old Mortality”, makes sense as a response to surviving sickness thematically and mood-wise, the last in the trilogy “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” could almost be a retelling of what Porter’s survival experience might have been, but the middle story (also the story at the very middle of the book (13 stories before and 13 after)) makes almost no sense at all.  As is my wont, I did not conclude that this abstruseness was due to a slippage of competence in the writer, but an effort to communicate something beyond thematicism, romanticization, and even allegory.  Yes, I think perhaps Porter is trying to tell us something.  So, if I was going to reread this book, I think I would begin with that middle short novel, “Noon Wine”, (or maybe end with it) because I think it perhaps tells us the most about Porter and her values as a writer and/or human and how her work should be read.  Perhaps, however, the important point here, the takeaway, is that I would consider rereading Porter’s book, I thought it was that good.

    On that note, having read 50 years of Pulitzers, I believe it is time for me to start shopping for a cardigan sweater to go along with 1967, our Pulitzer Anniversary Year.

    by Kay S | Sep 16, 2016
    Yes sir my little cowpokes, it's time for a few of those upcoming books. These upcoming releases are scheduled to hit the books stores between September 15 and October 14, 2016. So mark you calendars or keep an eye out, 'cause they're headin' down the trail for you.
    Historical Romance
    Tessa Dare
    Tessa Dare
    http://tessadare.com/
    Do You Want to Start a Scandal
    Spindle Cove series
    September 27
    S Enoch Suzanne Enoch
    http://www.suzanneenoch.com/
    Hero in the Highlands
    No Ordinary Hero series
    October 4
    Hannah Howell
    Hannah Howell
    http://www.hannahhowell.com/
    Highland Chieftain
    The Murrays
    September 27
    Eloisa James Eloisa James
    http://eloisajames.com
    A Gentleman Never Tells
    Essex sisters short story
    Already out
    Historical Fiction
    Elizabeth Chadwick Elizabeth Chadwick
    http://www.elizabethchadwick.com
    The Autumn Throne
    Eleanor of Aquitaine series
    October 4
    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction
    Colgan Jenny Colgan
    http://www.jennycolgan.com
    The Bookshop on the Corner
    Contemporary Romance
    September 20
    Sonali Devi Sonali Dev
    http://www.sonalidev.com
    A Change of Heart
    Bollywood series
    Contemporary Romance
    September 27
    Nyhan Loretta Nyhan
    https://twitter.com/LorettaNyhan
    All the Good Parts
    Mainstream
    September 20
    Jennifer Ryan Jennifer Ryan
    http://www.jennifer-ryan.com/about.html
    Her Renegade Rancher
    Montana Men series
    Contemporary Romance
    September 20
    Mystery/Thrillers/Suspense/Romantic Suspense
    Heather Graham Heather Graham
    http://www.theoriginalheathergraham.com
    Darkest Journey
    Krewe of Hunters series
    Romantic Suspense
    September 27
    OConnell Carol O’Connell
    http://www.penguin.com/author/carol-oconnell/22471
    Blind Sight
    Kathleen Mallory series
    Thriller
    September 20
    cherie priest Cherie Priest
    http://www.cheriepriest.com/
    The Family Plot
    Mystery
    September 20
    Karin Slaughter Karin Slaughter
    http://www.karinslaughter.com/
    The Kept Woman
    Will Trent series
    Suspense
    September 20
    Anna Snoekstra Anna Snoekstra
    http://www.annasnoekstra.com
    Only Daughter
    Mystery
    September 20
    Joyce Tremel Joyce Tremel
    http://www.joycetremel.com
    Tangled Up in Brew
    Brewing Trouble Mystery series
    Mystery
    October 4
    Rebecca Zanetta Rebecca Zanetti
    http://rebeccazanetti.com/
    Deadly Silence
    Blood Brothers
    Romantic Suspense
    October 4
    Paranormal Romance/Fantasy/Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy
    anthology John Joseph Adams, editor
    http://www.johnjosephadams.com
    What the #@&% Is That?: The Saga Anthology of the Monstrous and the Macabre
    Fantasy
    September 20
    Andrews Ilona Andrews
    http://ilona-andrews.com/
    Magic Binds
    Kate Daniels series
    Urban Fantasy
    September 20
    Deborah Blake Deborah Blake
    http://www.deborahblakeauthor.com
    Dangerously Charming
    Broken Riders series
    Paranormal Romance
    October 4
    Asa Bradley Asa Maria Bradley
    http://www.asamariabradley.com/
    Viking Warrior Rebel
    Viking Warriors series
    Paranormal Romance
    October 4

    J. Lincoln Fenn J. Lincoln Fenn
    http://www.jlincolnfenn.com
    Dead Souls
    Fantasy
    September 20
    Lynn Kurland Lynn Kurland
    http://www.lynnkurland.com
    The White Spell
    Nine Kingdoms series
    Fantasy
    October 4
    Chris Roberson Chris Roberson
    http://www.chrisroberson.net/
    Firewalk
    Urban Fantasy
    October 18
    Diana Rowland Diana Rowland
    http://www.dianarowland.com
    Legacy of the Demon
    Kara Gillian
    Urban Fantasy
    October 4
    Teens
    Blake Kendare Blake
    http://www.kendareblake.com
    Three Dark Crowns
    Three Dark Crowns series
    September 20

    Kristin Cast Kristin Cast
    http://www.kcastauthor.com/
    P.C. Cast
    http://www.pccastauthor.com
    The Scent of Salt and Sand
    An Escaped novella
    October 11

    Bree Despain Bree Despain
    http://www.breedespain.com/
    The Immortal Throne
    Into the Dark
    October 1
    Jennifer Niven Jennifer Niven
    http://www.jenniferniven.com/
    Holding up the Universe
    October 4
    Lauren Oliver Lauren Oliver
    http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com
    Replica
    Replica series
    October 4

    Scott Westerfeld Scott Westerfeld
    http://www.scottwesterfeld.com/
    Margo Lanagan
    http://amongamidwhile.blogspot.com/
    Deborah Biancotti
    http://deborahbiancotti.com/
    Swarm
    Zeroes series
    Erotica
    Christina Lauren Christina Lauren
    http://www.christinalaurenbooks.com/
    Beautiful
    Beautiful series
    October 4
    Inspirational Romance/Inspirational Fiction
    Johnnie Alexander Johnnie Alexander
    http://johnnie-alexander.com/
    When Love Arrives
    Misty Willows series
    September 20
    Jan Drexler Jan Drexler
    http://www.jandrexler.com/books.html
    Mattie’s Pledge
    The Journey to Pleasant Valley series
    September 20
    Sarah Ello Sara Ella
    http://saraella.com
    Unblemished
    October 11
    Michelle Griep Michelle Griep
    http://www.michellegriep.com
    The Captive Heart
    October 1
    Charles Martin Charles Martin
    http://www.charlesmartinbooks.com
    Long Way Gone
    October 4
    Michael Phillips Michael Phillips
    http://www.daretothinkbigaboutgod.com/ The Cottage
    Secret of the Shetlands series
    October 4



    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 | Sep 14, 2016

    cover for Jake Owen's album, American LoveThe newest offering from Jake Owen, American Love, has a lot to do with drinking for ostensibly being about “love.”  Other than that slightly snarky observance I would say that the album innovates pretty comfortably within its own wheelhouse and brings some strong wit to familiar lyrical territory.  Admirable, really.

    Suggested Use: Do your own mechanical work?  Nothing like finishing up a brake job or an oil change to the strains of Jake Owen.  Turns out muttering to yourself and casting around for the half-inch drive ratchet becomes a lot more interesting when the music you’re listening to reminds you of the Friday night football game and a weekend spent driving around in your VW van.

    by Georgean Johnson-Coffey, Manager, Audio Reading Service | Sep 12, 2016
    Bruce  Haines and Cat in the Hat

    In this month’s  Allen County Reads, Bruce Haines, president and general manager of PBS39, shares how libraries have influenced him over the years.  As part of ACPL’s volunteer team, Bruce reads the Sunday  Journal Gazette as it is broadcast live at the Audio Reading Service for those who are print and reading impaired. As libraries have helped Bruce, he now helps our community with his service through the library.  – Georgean Johnson-Coffey, manager, Audio Reading Service

    My mother worked in my elementary school library. It was at a time when, more than books, libraries were moving to multi-service facilities. The room housed film strip projectors, opaque projectors, audio cassette players, slide strips and records, overhead projectors, microfilm. A number of student and teacher needs were addressed on any given day. Of course, the technology has certainly changed and, as the library evolved into a media center, the name has changed, too. Through the years, however, the school’s needs to provide a connection to sources of information, education, inspiration and entertainment remained constant. The library as a community’s “connector” for individual growth and the public good holds true over time.

    In college, I learned that beyond the resources of any one library lies a fraternity of libraries that could loan for your use the book you thought you’d never find. I discovered that it was also OK to know what you didn’t know about finding materials and that asking questions was expected and encouraged. In doing so, you become familiar with not just what you were looking for but also with the organization involved in helping you find that information in the first place. With that understanding, the library has become a source for answers and assistance and not for anxiety. Moving from the written word to music, movies, and now family genealogy, my library experiences are often as multifaceted as the library’s offerings!

    In the research of topics assigned to me for Fort Wayne Quest Club papers over the years, I am impressed by how much material is now available in digital form. Books and documents that would have been difficult to acquire by their age or their origin are now accessible in a most practical and useful format. It improves the ability to examine sources directly rather than depend on a review of that same source by another writer. The information connections available online to us through our library and countless others expand the scope of what can be obtained and extend the value of such original materials, all from the comfort of any computer!

    As a birthday present, my daughter Hannah gave me a copy of Rough Riders: Theodore Roosevelt, His Cowboy Regiment, and the Immortal Charge Up San Juan Hill by Mark Lee Gardner. This book increased my interest in T. Roosevelt, which has now led me to begin reading The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Having read her work on Abraham Lincoln (Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln) I look forward to the immersive journey ahead into this phase of American history!

    Bruce has been the general manager of PBS39 for more than 8 years. PBS39 operates four public television channels and carries Audio Reading Service programming on an audio sub-channel of PBS39-4.

     

    by Emily M | Sep 09, 2016
    Looking for a book recommendation? Look no further!  Here are a few good books I’ve enjoyed recently:

    keepersofthehouseThe Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau

    The Keepers of the House is a sprawling novel, tracing seven generations of one landed Alabama family from the early nineteenth to the mid twentieth century.  When the family patriarch dies and the truth concerning his relationship with his black housekeeper is exposed (It’s not what you think – everyone already knows he is the father of her three children), his granddaughter is left with the fallout.  Grau weaves a story that is awash with a deep and enduring sense of place and of home; and with graceful writing and searing indictment, Grau confronts racisim in the Jim Crow south head on. 

    The Keepers of the House won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1965, but did not receive a welcome reception from everyone.  The Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in Grau’s yard in response to her book’s criticisms of the accepted racial attitudes of the day. 

    backyardwintergardeningBackyard Winter Gardening: Vegetables Fresh and Simple, in Any Climate, Without Artificial Heat or Electricity – the Way it’s Been Done for 2,000 Years by Caleb Warnock

    This time of year most gardeners are drowning in zucchini and tomatoes and the last thing they want to think about is extending their growing season, but come December those fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes will be sounding pretty good.  Caleb Warnock’s Backyard Winter Gardening is a practical and usable guide to enjoying homegrown vegetables year round, even in areas where winters are cold and snowy.  Intended for those who have gardening experience, but are newbies to winter gardening, Warnock’s book explores a variety of different techniques, such as cold frames, hot beds, and geothermal greenhouses, as well as giving detailed information on specific vegetables, such as which varieties of each vegetable will grow best using which technique.  He also is realistic about what can’t be done (sorry, no fresh strawberries in January).  I’ve always put my garden to bed for the winter by the end of September, but this book has given me the confidence to try a few of the simpler techniques for winter.

    One caveat about this book: the author is a bit extreme in his views, in my opinion.  For example, I do not agree that the national security of our country is dependent on backyard gardening.  If you happen to agree with that sentiment, then this book is definitely for you.  If, like me, you happen to disagree, this book is still for you – just skip over the rhetoric and keep to the practical stuff.

     

    wewereliarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart

    Cadence Easton is a teenager from a privileged New England family.  Each summer she gathers with her mother, aunts, cousins, and grandparents on the family’s private island near Martha’s Vineyard.  During her fifteenth summer something happens to Cadence, leaving her with searing migraines and an inability to remember what she calls “summer fifteen.”  Told from Cadence’s point of view during her seventeenth summer, her memories slowly return, revealing the horrifying truth of what happened that summer. 

    Suspenseful and plotty, We Were Liars is an easily read mystery that dips its toes into the realm of magical realism.  It also leans heavily on one of my favorite plot devices: the unreliable narrator.  The plot twist at the end may be shocking to some, while others may be unsurprised, as all the necessary clues were in place for the reader to discover.  Although technically a young adult book, this adult reader thoroughly enjoyed We Were Liars.

    What good books have you read lately?  We'd love to hear!


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

     

    by Cathy B | Sep 07, 2016

    One thing I have noticed working in the Art, Music & Media Department is how creative much of the CD cover art is.  Sometimes it blows me away.  I was very happy to have found a section of books on the art and graphics of album and cd covers.  Here's a look at seven titles I absolutely loved, along with sneak peeks of some of the covers they feature:


    1.  Jazz Covers by Joaquim Paulo

    Jazz CoversA collection of over 650 of the most celebrated and rarest Jazz album covers from the 1940s through the early 1990s.

    The first section of Jazz Covers is a series of interviews conducted by Joaquim Paulo with denizens of the jazz community:  art directors, record store owners, producers, sound engineers, authors and jazz critics.  These interviews are filled with a rich and detailed history of the business and the genre.

    The second section presents top 10 favorite album cover lists by 12 jazz DJs, complete with a detailed history of the artwork and the graphic artist as well as the impetus for the album itself and the musicians. 

    This is a thoroughly fascinating work and I would think it would be a must for the serious student of jazz and its history.  I only wish there were a few more hours in at least some days so that I could have time to really pore over it!

    Two of my favorite covers featured in this book:

     Anatomy of a Murder              Goodness

    Anatomy of a Murder/Original Soundtrack, Duke Ellington, Columbia Records 1959

     
                 Goodness
    Houston Person
    Prestige, 1969

     

     

    2.  Album Cover Album by Storm Thorgerson and Roger Dean


    Album Cover AlbumThe charming preface by Peter Gabriel:

    “We are here to inaugurate – 30 years on- the facsimile reprint of the Album Cover Album – the first in the definitive series.

    It celebrates the glorious art of the album cover.

    Remember them, record sleeves?  Physical objects to possess, touch, sniff, scrutinize, read and savor – not so easy in the digital world.

    What would musicians be without their sleeves?  Uncovered and undiscovered.

    Now we send our little babies out into the world naked and we wonder why they catch a cold.

    Sweet memories,

    Peter Gabriel, June 2008”

    Album Cover Album is a history of records and how they have been packaged.  There are sections on jazz, psychedelia and influences.  A section compiling various artists’ portfolios highlights the wide range of artistic talent found in this genre.

    I thought I’d be able to choose my favorites but I can’t, there are just too many that I like.  A few that jumped out at me when I flipped through the pages:

     Ozark Mountain Dare Devils              Billie Holiday God Bless the Child
     

    The Ozark Mountain Dare Devils, A&M 1974 (ACA p47). I love the use of the quilt design, and the choice of this particular quilt.

                 

    Billie Holiday/God Bless the Child, CBS 1972   I love the watercolor portrait and the light shining through the gardenia.

                   
                   
     Lighthouse 68              Skies of America
     

    Lighthouse ’68 The Jazz Crusaders, Pacific Jazz    I love the vibrancy of the color and the energy of the design.

                 

    Ornette Coleman, Skies of America, London Symphony Orchestra, Columbia 1972


     

    3.  Factory Records, The Complete Graphic Album by Matthew Robertson

    Factory RecordsThis book is wonderful!  I absolutely had to make myself stop looking and start writing.  It is a compilation of covers from and history of the British company Factory Records.  From the introduction:  “From the outset, Factory played with a set of visual codes that would act as a beacon for the like-minded, and possibly as an active deterrent for the uninitiated general public.”  It was a completely new direction for album cover design.

    Cover designs range from an early 20th century still life by Henri Fantin-Latour to designs evoking minimalist artists like Frank Stella, Sol LeWitt and Richard Serra.  There is also a hint of Ellsworth Kelly and Gerhard Richter.  Beautiful stuff! 

    Here's a peek at my favorites:​

     A Certain Ratio              Duretti
     

    A Certain Ratio, Sextet 1982

               

    The Durutti Column, LC 1981

     
                   
                   
     Happy Mondays              True Faith
     

    Happy Mondays and Karl Denver, 1989

                 

    True Faith, New Order, 1987


    4. The Blues, Album Cover Art edited by Graham Marsh and Barrie Lewis

    The Blues“No image recurs more persistently or powerfully through the iconography of the blues than that of the man with his guitar.” Intro, Keith Briggs

    Album covers from the time when the blues became recognized as a genre in and of itself, separate from jazz and folk music.






    My favorites:

     John Lee Hooker              Harmonica Blues
     

    John Lee Hooker, Black Rhythm’n’ Blues Festival, 1969

                 

    Harmonica Blues, Yazoo, ca. mid 1079s


    5. Blue Note, The Album Cover Art edited by Graham Marsh, Felix Cromey and Glyn Callingham

    Blue Note"One jazz music label, Blue Note, created a cool, recognizable house style and this strong identity was summed up on John Coltrane’s Blue Train.

    The image encapsulates what music listeners found on the album: cerebral, stylish and complex nocturnal jazz.”  Travis Elborough

    A history of the label and the images of the covers makes this book very readable and enjoyable. 

    The album cover that "sums" up the style of Blue Note:

     Blue Train              
     

        Blue Train, 1957

                 
     


    6.  In the Groove, Vintage Record Graphics 1940-1960 by Eric Kohler

    In the GrooveWork by Alex Steinweiss, a pioneer in record design, and those who followed, Jim Flora, David Stone, Rudolph deHarak, and Erik Nitsche are featured in this groundbreaking survey of vintage album covers.

    "In the Groove pays homage to the great covers created by legendary designers for the music giants of yesteryear.”

    At a time when American pop music came into its full popularity and the music rose to its historic popular heights, the artwork on album covers became iconic as well.  Mr. Kohler had a passion for, and collected, the early jazz albums.  As a graphic designer he was heavily influenced by these albums.  Most of the covers are from his collection.

    I love these covers for their highly stylized graphic design.  The artists were certainly influenced by the avant garde styles that were flourishing in the art world at that time.

    Bix and Tram
                 Billie Holiday
                   



    7.  1000 Record Covers by Michael Ochs

    1000 Record CoversThis book follows album covers from the 60s through the 90s.  The artwork is an expression of the time in which it was created and a sweeping history of those decades is explored through these 1000 albums.  The book is divided into decade sections with a synopsis of each.











    by Evan | Sep 05, 2016


    A local man I know recently retired from an executive job and then started a new job as a 60-something stock boy. I mean, really laboring. Carrying 50-pound bags.

    What's with that?

    Why do people want to labor? I don't mean sitting around all day in an office reading, writing and talking. Yes, such jobs are labor by definition, and they can be very difficult, but I'm talking about the kind of labor that makes you hurt, or at least makes you sweat.

    Many people labor for no money at all. They tend their flower gardens for hours every week or volunteer at food banks or -- the epitome of labor for the sake of labor -- they lift weights and run on exercise machines that are literally going nowhere.

    So, health is part of it, both physical health and emotional health -- as long as you don't bust a gut or dive deep into obsessive compulsive behavior. And then there's a sense of accomplishment, as when you and your partner repaint all the rooms of your home in the hottest month of the year. You can add love, too, as when you erect a big swing set  for your children. 

    As you may suspect by now, my backdoor topic is Labor Day. Traditionally, it honors organized labor, to which I tip my hat, but it has broadened over the years to recognize all "working people," most of whom do not belong to unions and most of whom do not break a sweat.

    I'd like to focus today on demanding physical labor, the kind I've frankly tried to avoid for lo these many years. (Although shifting shelf loads of heavy library books is definitely not desk work!) I hope when people think of the holiday this time, they will think respectfully of the highway worker shoveling gravel in the heat, of the city truck driver waking at 3 a.m. to clear a big snow for you, of the factory worker or  hospital nurse standing with an aching back hour after hour to make your car or keep you alive. And especially, those who labor against their will -- from the slaves who picked cotton for so many decades to make our country rich to the slaves mining rare metals in Africa today to make us even richer.

    The lyric from the Hollywood version of "Ol' Man River" in Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Show Boat -- "You an' me, we sweat an' strain, body all achin' and wracked wid pain" -- still impresses, even in the machine age. People who sweat and strain, people who do heavy labor, whether for money or love or having no choice, deserve a day of recognition.



    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Becky C | Sep 02, 2016

    library-heart

    It’s Library Card Sign Up month, that special time of year when libraries everywhere make an extra effort to let their communities know that a library card offers a world of opportunity for people of all ages.

    Help us spread the word!  Share this post with your family and friends.  And please share with us the words you would include in your heart-shaped word cloud about libraries.


    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Emma R | Aug 31, 2016

    Sometimes, when it comes to our literature/films/etc, we like to go mainstream. Everyone’s reading the Star Wars spinoffs, or the Star Trek spinoffs, or the World of Warcraft spinoffs? We’re in.

    But sometimes we want to push the envelope a bit; we want to put on our hipster glasses and shake up the status quo. Everyone’s watching the Marvel/DC universe films, or the James Bond films, or the Harry Potter films? We’re not in.

    And sometimes our taste in literature/films/etc has never been mainstream. Everyone’s digging into Fifty Shades of Gray? We’ve got our noses stuck in anything Jane Austen. Everyone’s relishing The Walking Dead or World War Z? We’re still watching Night of the Living Dead.

    So next time the same old just feels…well, old, here are some books and films that have gotten a little less love -- but still keep you in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries! And for those of us who prefer to stay in the olden days, here are some books and films that will keep you in your sweet spot -- while bringing you a little closer to modern times!

    Tin Man
     Tin Man, film (2008): A sci-fi twist on The Wizard of Oz. So maybe little girls with puppy dogs and pigtails and dresses aren’t your thing: D.G is a rebel in jeans and a jacket, riding a motorcycle over the speed limit in her tiny Kansas town…until bad guys show up at her house, and her parents insist that the only way to escape them is to jump into a freak tornado. Tin Man has all the same loveable characters, just on steroids. This is, largely, an okay film for group watching; a few scenes might be considered too violent/inappropriate for children though, so parental guidance is encouraged.
       
       
     The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor (2006-2009): Alice in Wonderland gets a makeover. Alyss didn’t get sucked into Wonderland; she was born there. She ends up in London when her jealous-for-the-throne aunt goes on a killing spree, and getting back home won’t be as easy -- or as safe -- as falling down a rabbit hole. The Looking Glass Wars gives the innocent characters of Alice in Wonderland a brutal edge in a brutal world, but you’ll still know who they’re supposed to be!
     Looking Glass Wars
       
       
     Pride Prejudice and Zombies
     Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith (2009), film (2016)Pride and Prejudice on every kind of steroid you can think of. The Bennet girls are still single; the Bingley gang still comes to town; and just as things are going just the way Austen planned them…you get zombies. All the romance of an Austen novel with all the gore and violence of popular zombie movies: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a great read or a great watch. Since this film contains large amounts of gore, it may or may not be a good choice for family movie night.
       
       
     

    Shakespeare and Smythe Mysteries, by Simon Hawke (2000-2003): Shakespeare gets a series…and a sidekick. When Tuck Smythe runs into William Shakespeare on the road to London in the late 1500s, these two wanna-be actors tag team their way to the London theater scene. But things never seem to go their way. This series offers an interpretation of Shakespeare as a person and his entrance into theater—but with mysteries and a fellow detective.


     

    merchant-of-vengeance

       
       
     Dying by the Sword
     Musketeers Mysteries, by Sarah D’Almeida (2006-2008): Another mystery twist on an old classic, The Three Musketeers, gets a hint of spice. D’Artagnan arrives in Paris, but gets sucked into a different kind of drama than Dumas fans are used to. The three musketeers encounter mysteries of a personal sort in the early days of their friendship with D’Artagnan, but they’ll find that there’s as much trouble in these mysteries as there is in more political matters. Sarah D’Almeida’s mysteries recreate the musketeers in a unique way, while still offering recognizable characters; the mysteries themselves will suck you into the aspects of the musketeers Dumas glossed over. Several scenes within this series contain adult situations.
       

     


    Emma did a complete 180 late in high school, abandoning dreams of a degree in Music Performance to pursue a degree in English Literature. She finished her B.A. in December 2015, and now she’s working on her MLS while working in Material Support Services. When she’s not working at the library or on her degree, she spends time with her parents, her siblings, her boyfriend, and her two cats.
    by Evan | Aug 29, 2016

    Dark Knight meme


    “Holy DVD, Batman! This month we can start getting movies for seven days at the Allen County Public Library! And we can even have most movies sent to our branch library for us!!!”

    That’s right, Robin. High drama here at ACPL.  Check with your branch library staff as to when the new rules start there; the start dates are not all the same. But by the end of August, you won’t have to drive across the biggest county in Indiana to get a copy of Bridesmaids. Instead, you’ll be able to put it on hold and have it sent to your local branch, where it will wait for you for up to seven days -- and then you can keep it for seven days. Even better, you can renew it for a week at a time. 

    As they say, certain restrictions apply. The main one is that the newest movies and TV show DVDs will be Express items, which means you can’t put a hold on them and you can’t renew them. And, of course, since popular older movies can now be put on hold, you may have to wait awhile for them to be available, since other people may place holds ahead of you.

    Also, if you like to borrow educational DVDs that until now have had the same 21-day borrowing time that books have, you need to know that we are changing those to seven days as well, although you will still be able to renew them up to five times if no one else has a hold on them.

    Again, check with your branch library for details, and be sure to look at your receipt for the due date the next time you check out any DVDs. Then sit back and watch the Dark Knight all night long.  




    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Kay S | Aug 26, 2016
    Webster defines cat-and-mouse as:  "a:  the act of toying with or tormenting something before destroying it. b: a contrived action involving constant pursuit, near captures, and repeated escapes (played a game of cat and mouse with the police); broadly: an evasive action."

    Where to begiElizabeth Hoytn, where to begin? In the world of Romanceland, we are oftentimes faced with bad boys, rakes, and rascals. You know those handsome devils who supposedly do bad things while all the time helping the orp-fi-ans of London. Well in Elizabeth Hoyt's latest, Duke of Sin, we have a bad boy with a capital B. In fact he comes really close to being a narcissistic sociopath. Think back to some of those Anne Stuart hero/villains. Yes my little petunia's, Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, fits in comfortably with fellow scary hero/villain Sebastian from The Devil in Winter. And, Sebastian is tame compared to Valentine. A word of warning - some readers may find Valentine too much to accept and I suspect you are either going to love this guy or hate him. I loved him. From the very first scene I wanted to know just how Ms. Hoyt was going to save Valentine. Ms. Hoyt has created a most memorable character in Valentine. I couldn't put this book down. I was mesmerized - ooooOOOoooo.

    Spoiler and warning ahead. Valentine is a dark, cold, unfeeling man. He doesn't seem to have a concept of what is right and what is wrong. People live in fear of him (and they should). He is ruthless, he sees nothing wrong in kidnapping, blackmailing and even dispatching someone if the need arises. There is only one person in his life who he has ever had any feeling for and that is his half-sister Eve. But even with her he isn't sure what he's feeling. He enjoys making people uncomfortable, afraid, desperate. He uses blackmail not because he needs money, but to alleviate his boredom and because he loves to play with people’s lives. Which is what he intends to do when he catches his housekeeper snooping in his secret hiding places. By the way, he's been hiding in the secret passages of his home because he's supposed to have been banished to Europe. Anyway, when he spies his housekeeper snooping he is intrigued and he begins a game of cat-and-mouse with her. In this book the Webster definition hits the nail on the head. By the way, Valentine is the cat.

    The mouse would be Bridget Crumb. Bridget is also an interesting character. She considers herself to be the best housekeeper in London. While she has a great deal of fondness, even love for the woman (her adopted mother) who raised her - there is a sadness about her because her biological mother gave her up. Pay close attention to Bridget's back story because it has made her what she is. She has worked her whole life to prove that she is worth something. Bridget is a very strong woman, intelligent, and stands firm against the odds she is confronted with. She needs to be, because Valentine is one cold manipulator. How does she end up in his household? You see, Bridget is the illegitimate daughter of Lady Caire. Lady Caire has been careless with some of her correspondence. She is being blackmailed by Valentine, so she has asked Bridget to retrieve those letters. Much like a mouse, Bridget gets into places she really shouldn't be.

    Dark warnings. For those of you who worry about animals making it through movies (regardless of how many humans bite the dust), there are some parts in this book which will be very upsetting to you. Valentine's horrible father belonged to a group of creeps who called themselves the Lords of Chaos. His father used all kinds of torture to control his son when he was a youngster. One of his many twisted beliefs was that a way to control people was to kill the thing they love. Without going into too much detail, when this was revealed in Valentines back story, it was heartbreaking and very upsetting. So, be warned. Valentine has made it a priority to find and seek revenge on the Lords of Chaos. I believe we will see further Chaos people in future books.

    Now, everything in this book is not all dark. Even in all of the blackness there are moments of humor - two of them stayed with me. There is a confrontation between Lady Caire, Lady Caire's son, Bridget, and Valentine. Valentine loudly announces he has been bedding his housekeeper - he gets punched in the nose for that one. There is also a moment of funny revenge toward the end of the book when Lazarus Huntington's little daughter tells Valentine "I don't wike you." What does Valentine do? He gives the little girl a tiny kitten and then proceeds to hand out seven more little kittens to all the little children. These little children happen to belong to heroes from previous books and these heroes haven't decided to accept Valentine yet - so this is his revenge. After all what hero can deny his child a cuddly kitty? It was a sweet funny moment.

    Overall, this was a great addition to the Maiden Lane series. Everything about this book was spellbinding and I had a hard time putting it down. The story has some amazing writing, and amazing storytelling. It takes a truly gifted author to pull off a character like Valentine and to make us, the reader, cheer for him. He has joined my list of favorite heroes (even though I don't know if hero is the correct word) - what a dynamic guy. Loved this story and it stayed with me long after I closed the book.

    By the way I somehow missed Eve's story  - I need to take another look at how I'm cataloging my books cause it's there on my Nook but never been opened. It will be soon.

    PS - There is one Hot Hot Hot bathtub scene in this book and it's not the water!!

    Time/Place: 1741 Maiden Lane England
    Sensuality: Yipes!



    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 | Aug 24, 2016
    Confession:  I'm a stepmom and a relatively new one at that.  I regularly find myself asking questions like "How can I encourage our kids to try different foods?  Put their toys away when they're done playing with them?  How can I help them when they've had a fight with their best friend?"

    My husband and I address these questions together, and I think we're doing a pretty good job of it, but I'm a librarian -- research is what I do.  And I've found a wealth of information on ACPL's bookshelves. 

    Here's a quick look at some parenting titles recently added to our collection.  Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    Parent Hacks
    Two homes One Childhood
     
     Gist
     Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child
     Give Your Child the World
     Discipline Without Damage
         
         
         


    What's especially wonderful is that there are a lot more titles to choose from!  I used the subject search Parenting for this post but, depending on what your focus is, you might also be interested in Child Development, Discipline of Children, or Children of Divorced Parents.

    Is there a book that you've found particularly helpful?  If so, please share the author and title information in the Comments!


    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Craig B | Aug 22, 2016

    map of USA with highlighted state of MississippiBook Review:  The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau

    Getting a cross burned on your lawn is no joke.  Ask Shirley Ann Grau, author of the Pulitzer Prize winner for 1965, The Keepers of the House.  Grau wrote her novel as a narrative of seven generations of the Howland family and their home in the hills of Mississippi.  Along the way she was awful hard on Mississippi in her depiction of the state’s history of racism.  Basically, she managed to upset the Klan.  Thus the cross … and the burning.

    Messing with Grau’s main character, Abigail Tolliver nee Howland, is also no joke.  The final chapters of Grau’s book read a bit like the plot for a Michael Bay movie.  Things get doused in gasoline (I don’t think that gives away too much), there are shotgun blasts, and hurried rustlings in the nearby woods.  It was invigorating.  And yet the promise and dread of satisfied vengeance was also stultifying, leaving the reader in an immobile but pressurized dream lending itself to reflection.  It was quite an accomplishment on Grau’s part, in execution and intention.  I was happy to be reading a book that so carefully crafted a reflective space through an embrace, rather than a fear, of adrenaline.  So hooray for her, no joking.

    by Megan | Aug 19, 2016

    LiveLife

    Our neighbor is dying. He opted out of cancer treatment due to its ineffectiveness and was given six months to live.  He is three months in and every single day he impresses me. I see his thin frame on his riding lawn mower taking care of his lawn, pedaling his bicycle down the street in lazy loops like a man without a care, riding his motorized wheel chair around the neighborhood, and taking walks with friends and family as they push him in his wheelchair. He is not waiting to die, but living his life despite his prognosis and pain, all the while cherishing the sun upon his face.

    His situation has not held him up, but almost freed him to savor these moments until the end. What a great reminder for me, for all of us, really. You see, I get so overwhelmed with my everyday life. I get overwhelmed with my dirty bathrooms, unswept floors, dusty baseboards, and unmade beds. I get overwhelmed by working full time, cooking dinner, and keeping up with a husband, dog, five year-old, and a two year-old. Life is busy and non-stop and some days I am not sure I can put one foot in front of the other. Like…. I would for real love to lay on my couch all day long while binge watching Golden Girls, or HGTV, or, soap operas. Wouldn’t that be amazing? No one talking to me, no one sharing my meal, or dumping my coffee, or needing a diaper change. Yeah, I could handle the day off. And then I think of my neighbor, in his 50’s, living out his last moments and truly living them. I mean, he is in it. He is riding and pedaling his way through his situation with grace and peace. He isn’t letting his truly overwhelming circumstances swallow him up, he is in it until the end.

    I want to tell him I see this. I want to tell him he impresses me and he has encouraged me to be in the moment, to cherish every sticky, dirty handprint, kiss, and mess. He has encouraged me to absolutely be in it, to tickle my kids and laugh with them when I want to lose patience. He has encouraged me to go slow, to be joyful, and to never stop no matter how overwhelmed I become. What a gift he has given me and he doesn’t even know it. This tired mama/wife/employee is going to keep moving forward slowly, but surely and enjoy it all, good and bad because of my incredible neighbor. I am going to do this for me, for my husband, and for my precious babies, because, yes our lives are busy, but they are good and they are manageable. I am going to do this for my neighbor who will not be able to do this himself, far too soon. In light of this I have taken a statement from Gary Null’s book, Living in the Moment, and made it my motto. “Every day is a new opportunity to reexamine how we can make our life better and richer with remarkable experiences.” I think we can all benefit from this proclamation. I plan to and I hope you do as well.

    by Craig B | Aug 16, 2016

    cover of Drake's studio album, ViewsI would have listened to Drake’s new album, Views, twice, so as to be able to talk about it more intelligently, but it’s 20 tracks/79 minutes long.  That was just asking too much for an album I’m only a little academically interested in.  I am glad to feel that I now kind of understand the “Hotline Bling” craze, though.  How can you say no to such a charming little ditty?

    Suggested Use: Getting to the end of a spat with your significant other?  Say you’re sorry and plug this album in.  20 tracks of relationship woe certain to cast your troubles in a different light and perhaps even catalyze gratitude for whatever it is you’ve got going on in your own life.

    by Becky C | Aug 11, 2016
    Blood TiesBook Review:  Blood Ties by Pamela Freeman

    Saker is an enchanter driven by a painful past.  Bramble is a free spirit gifted with a strong connection to horses.  Ash is the son of Travelers, longing for a place to call home.  All three are of the old blood, among the last of their kind. As their stories unfold, along with the stories of those whose lives they touch, it becomes clear that their fates are connected to each other as well as to the fate of the Domains.

    I loved this book!  The history of the Domains propels the story:  one thousand years ago, Acton and his people invaded the land, massacring most of the native peoples.  Those who survived were forced onto the road as Travelers while Acton’s people claimed their homes.  Many Travelers became roaming entertainers of sorts:  jugglers, tumblers, musicians, singers.  Regardless of talent, however, the dark-haired, dark-eyed Travelers are viewed with prejudice and hostility by the fair-haired, light-eyed invaders.

    Today, each of the Domains is ruled by an independent Warlord.  The Warlords tend to be callous towards their own people; towards the Travelers they tend to be cruel.  While one Warlord seeks to extend his rule, one Traveler seeks to remove the invaders from the land forever.

    The Eleven Domains with its sacred places, various types of sprites, and restless ghosts is an intriguing setting and well-worth a visit!  You'll also want to read Deep Water, Full Circle, and Ember and Ash.

     


    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.