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    by Kay S | Jan 13, 2017
    The Viscount who Loved Me, written in 2000 by Julia Quinn, is the second book in the Bridgerton series and it's time for the eldest son's story - Anthony.

    The time has come for Anthony to find a bride. As is the case with most heroes injulia quinn
    Romanceland, he doesn't want to find a wife he can love. And, this is why I can't give this book a higher rating. You see, Anthony's parents Edmund and Violet had a loving marriage. They were wonderful, loving parents. Anthony idolized his father. Then when Anthony was nineteen his father had an allergic reaction to a bee sting and died. Anthony, along with everyone in the family, was devastated. Because his father died so young, Anthony has decided he doesn't want a marriage filled with love. Sure, sure, Anthony has some kind of twisted logic about dying young as his father did - that I can understand. But I have no idea why this should make him want to enter into a loveless marriage - it didn't make a whole lot of sense. If his parents had a horrible marriage maybe his reasoning would have made sense, but in this book, for this particular hero, it didn't make any sense to me.

    Other than that foo-foo, this was a delightful story. It had all the elements which make for wonderful storytelling, fun, witty dialog, well-developed characters; great secondary support; and poignancy.

    Anyway, Anthony has his eyes on the reigning beauty of the season, Edwina Sheffield. She's perfect - a beauty, smart enough, and young enough to be reasonably manipulated. There's just one minor problem - her sister Kate. It seems that Edwina has made it clear that she will not marry any man unless Kate approves of him. Anthony thinks - no problem, he can wrap any woman around his little finger. Whoops - he hasn't meet Kate. Kate loathes rakes, rascals, ne’er-do-wells, and rogues. She knows Anthony Bridgeton is a prime example of all of these and she will never allow him to marry her sister. So begins a battle of wills.

    When the battle begins between Anthony and Kate, it starts out over Edwina. As the story moves along Anthony and Kate soften toward each other. They soon become friends and Kate gradually changes her mind. She feels herself falling for Anthony, but also thinks he will be a good husband for Edwina. Buzzzzzzz. Then a bee strikes, again. While Kate and Anthony are having a little chit-chat among the flowers, Kate is stung by a bee - on her chest. Because of the way his father died, Anthony completely loses it. He thinks he must save Kate's life by sucking the venom out. Remember I said the bee stung her on the chest. Well Anthony is in a frenzied state of venom sucking on a woman's naked chest when who should wander onto the scene. His mother, her mother, and the town's biggest gossip. Anthony and Kate are married shortly afterward.

    What makes this story good is that the story doesn't end with the marriage. We get to watch Kate and Anthony working together to make their marriage work. Anthony has to overcome some of his fears about dying. There is plenty of fun and poignancy in store for this couple through the last few pages. We get to watch as they help each other over the roadblocks.

    Pall-mall. A game similar to croquet. In this book we are introduced to a rousing game of Pall-mall, played the Bridgerton way - no rules and a lot of competition. It is during one of these games that Anthony's attraction to Kate becomes full blown.

    Overall, this was a delightful story, full of great characters. I highly recommend this story and except for not understanding Anthony's reasoning for a loveless marriage this was a great read.

    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 | Jan 11, 2017
    New DVDs are added to the collection on a regular basis.  Here's a quick look at some of the most recent titles to hit our shelves.  Click on a cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    Magnificent Seven
     Suicide Squad
     Florence Foster Jenkins
     Southside with You
     Ben Hur
     Love Meet Hope
     Little Men

    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 Heather G. | Jan 09, 2017
    new yeawrThere are always new books, of course, but turning the page in the new year is a chance to set the count to zero. Whether it is just in tracking the number of books or in refreshing the types of books you read, a reading challenge might be for you. Below you'll find links to a number of reading challenges on the Internet (there are about a million more you'll find with a simple search). And just for extra fun you may want to join in on New York Public Library's #ReadersUnite movement. Post a pic of books as you begin or complete them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media platforms with #ReadersUnite. Need a read? You can search the #ReadersUnite to see what folks all over the country are reading! Read more about NYPL's movement here.

    RHC_cover_pinterestBook Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge: There are 24 challenges as a means to " push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try." Challenges range from a book about war to a superhero comic with a female lead. Their lists will help you find the prescribed books from blog posts past. Head over to ACPL and get those books at your favorite library! (You'll also find a reading challenge roundup from Book Riot here.)

    badge-home-2d9db8a46455f8f5ba6fb30fbe7c637f.pngGood Reads 2017 Reading Challenge: Are you a GoodReads user? It's a pretty slick way to create to-read and read lists as it is available as an app! Walk thru ACPL or your favorite book store and scan books you see but aren't ready to read. Those titles will be there when you need your next read. It works the same to add books to your read list. Just scan the ISBN barcode and add to the list of your choice. It tracks that title with today's date (or another you specify). You can also see the challenge your friends have set up. No certain kind of books for this challenge, just a number you set. And don't forget to visit ACPL's Online Book Club at GoodReads.

    175x175bbPOPSUGAR Reading Challenge: "For 2017's challenge, there are 40 book prompts to help diversify and expand your reading in the new year, PLUS an "advanced" section with 12 books for hardcore readers who complete the challenge before the year is over. That's a book a week for the overachievers out there!" There's even a handy printable list to mark off your challenges as you complete them.

    Reading-Challenge-05The 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge comes from a blog designed to "explore what it looks like to be an accomplished woman in our modern world." There are two lists--one for fun and the other a "stretch" list. It, too, has a handy printable list for keeping track of your goals.

    logoWould you rather create your own challenge list? Lit Reactor gives you a 10 step guide for creating your own book goals for 2017. The author recommends "I really recommend going the handwritten route. Write out your reading challenge by hand. Add illustrations. Color if you want. Add stickers. Make folds. Orient things however you like on the page. Make this list a living, personal thing, something that's special to you."

    There are GoodReads groups for most of these reading challenges if you need a little encouragement from social media.

    Looking for something local? Read26FW is a Facebook group of Fort Wayne area readers who have set a goal to read 26 books in 2017. The members list the books they complete (sometimes as they are completed, sometimes a few at a time). Not only a way to stay accountable but also a source for new titles as the group posts.

    Didn't find a challenge to suit? Here's "The Master List of 2017 Reading Challenges" from You'll find lists for foodies, fantasy and sci fi, classics, dystopians, steampunk, and a few dozen more. 

    Have fun and cheers to more reading in 2017! (Do comment below with your reading challenge if you've chosen to follow one!)
    by Kay S | Jan 06, 2017
    After a dismal month of disappointing new books and dark, angst-filled old books, I decided to turn my eyes in another direction:  Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series. I remember this series fondly.

    Duke and IOnce upon a time in Romanceland, Julia Quinn created the Bridgerton family and I'm assuming made some big bucks in doing so. I think in this case she deserves every bit of money she receives, because this is a very charming series. For those of you who have never read any of the books from this series, the Bridgerton family consists of Violet, the mother and her alphabetical children - Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth. The first book in the series, The Duke and I, jumps over the three eldest boys to Daphne.

    Daphne. Even though the Bridgerton's look alike, each of siblings have distinct personalities. Daphne is the nice sister, the good friend, everyone likes her, but she wants a loving husband and children. She's had numerous seasons in the marriage-mart, but she hasn't found anyone she's interested in. And, none of the men seem to be interested in her. She has been presented with an idea. What if it appears that she is being courted by a handsome, rakish kind of guy? Wouldn't all of the other men become interested in her then? Well of course they would. Who is the one who came up with this brilliant idea? To just pretend? Just a little pretense? That would be Simon, the Duke of Basset - her brother's best friend.

    Simon. Of all of Ms. Quinn's characters, Simon seems to be pretty angsty. But, remember there is a great sight of difference between a Ms. Quinn's hero with angst and a Ms. Stuart, or Ms. Balogh's angst-filled hero. Simon happened to be the long-awaited heir of a man to whom maintaining the family lineage was everything. Simon's mother died in the process of giving birth to him. On top of causing his mother's death, Simon didn't speak for years and when he finally did, he stuttered. His father's reaction to Simon's stuttering was beyond cruel. His father perceived Simon as an idiot, someone who should be locked away. Eventually Simon gave up trying to win his father's love and left, cutting off any contact with him. Simon never forgave his father. Simon's issue: he wants the bloodline to end with him. This is Simon's revenge response to his father - even though his father has long since gone to the great beyond. This means that Simon is really not that interested in setting up a nursery. He doesn't want any children. But the ladies of the ton just will not leave him alone, which is why he comes up with his brilliant idea. He thinks if women see that he is taken, they will leave him alone. At the end Daphne will find her man and Simon can have some peace.

    Of course, this is Romanceland, and we know that this plan is going to fail. Not only are they going to fall in love, but there are numerous wonderful secondary characters who are going to make sure this plan fails. Anthony, Daphne's brother, isn't all that keen on the plan either. You see Anthony and Simon are friends, they know each other, they've been drunk together, had women together - they are rakes together. All of a sudden Anthony is not so happy with his friend Simon.

    I'm glad I decided to reread the Bridgerton series. This was a delicious book with wonderful characters - both the main and the secondary. I loved being in the Bridgerton household, listening to the bickering, bantering, and sibling squabbles.

    Daphne's handling of Simon's problem and a misunderstanding of how he said he couldn’t have children was wonderful. The misunderstanding didn't drag on forever; in fact the pacing in this story was superb.

    Now that I have started this series I am a happy camper. The Duke and I was published in 2000 and was recently released with a 2nd epilogue. Ms. Quinn has written a second epilogue for each book in the series which she has released again. She has also published all of the epilogues as short stories in a book named: Bridgertons: Happily Ever After.

    Next up: The Viscount Who Loved Me

    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 04, 2017

    cover for Avenged Sevenfold's album, The StageI like The Stage (Avenged Sevenfold’s new album) best when it concentrates on speaking without words (sorry M. Shadows but your goofy name and disc-grindery vocalizations don’t really do it for me), that is, takes on a purely instrumental approach.  At about 5 and a half minutes into the first track I felt I might actually be getting speaker burn (that’s a compliment), a common effect when assaulted by two guitars (at least one “shredding” almost constantly), a bass guitar, and a double-bassing-his-right-leg-off drummer.  But this band doesn’t stop there.  They find the energy to pump in a Spanish-y guitar interlude and a brass section.  So, I’ll end by saying they’re quite accomplished … whatever that means.

    Suggested Use: I imagine I might enjoy listening to this album while painting my bathroom in the near future.  The precise and incredibly energized musicality seems to reflect the required skill-set of a would-be house painter who works against a deadline but MUST NOT SPATTER THE TRIM.  And that brass section allows me to “sing” along.  My hands will be mostly preoccupied and unable to riff on my air guitar, but complementing the brass section with my own additions can be a hands-free experience, given the versatility and ever-present nature of my mouth trumpet.

    by Becky C | Dec 30, 2016

    Film adaptations of books . . . some of us love them, some of us hate them.  I loved both the Harry Potter books and the films.  I also loved Tolkien's Lord of the Rings as well as Peter Jackson's film interpretations.  And The Martian

    I've yet to read a Bourne book but I love the movies based upon them.  Apparently I'm mostly a fan of page to screen projects.  Mostly -- I was disappointed by the television adaptations of The Shannara Chronicles and Mists of Avalon.

    Here's a look at some of the most anticipated adaptations coming to movie theaters in 2017.  Have you read the books?  Are you excited to see the movie versions?  What adaptations have you loved or hated? 

     The Zookeeper's Wife

    The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman. The true story of keepers at the Warsaw Zoo, who saved hundreds of animals and people from the Nazis.

    Coming to theaters March 2017.  Click here for the official trailer.

     Its What I Do

    It's What I Do by Lynsey Addario. True story of a wartime photographer, one of four journalists held captive by the Libyan Army in 2011.

    Coming to theaters in 2017.  Click here for an interview with the author.

     A Book of Common Prayer
     A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion.  Story about two American women whose lives cross in a fictional Central American country on the verge of revolution.

    Coming to theaters in 2017.  Click here for cast information.
     The Circle

    The Circle by Dave Eggers. Fictional story of a woman’s job at a powerful tech company that takes on a very public life of its own.

    Coming to theaters April 2017.  Click here for a preview.

     The Lost City of  Z

    The Lost City of Z by David Grann. True story about the disappearance of a British colonel during his search for an ancient civilization in the Amazon in 1925.

    Coming to theaters April 2017.  Click here for the official trailer.

     The Dark Tower

    The Dark Tower by Stephen King.  Mid-World's last gunslinger, Roland Deschain, roams the post-apocalyptic landscape, searching for the powerful but elusive magical edifice known as The Dark Tower.

    Coming to theaters July 2017.  Click here for cast information.


    It by Stephen King.  In a small town in Maine, seven children known as The Losers Club come face to face with life problems, bullies and a monster that takes the shape of a clown called Pennywise.

    Coming to theaters September 2017.  Click here for cast information.

     Red Sparrow

    Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews.  Fictional story about a Russian spy and a CIA agent whose attraction for each other threatens their missions.

    Coming to theaters November 2017.  Click here for cast information.

     The Yellow Birds

    The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. Harrowing novel about two young soldiers trying to stay alive.  Written by a veteran of the war in Iraq.

    Film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017.  Click here for cast information.

     Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.  Area X has been cut off for decades.  The quest to map the terrain and record what is found there has claimed the lives of eleven previous expeditions.  What will the twelfth expedition find?

    Coming to theaters in 2017.  Click here for cast information.
     The Glass Castle

    The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Memoir.  Growing up, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals, and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.  A true story of triumph against the odds and unconditional love.

    Coming to theaters in 2017.  Click here for cast information.


    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 | Dec 28, 2016

    There’s an entire month devoted to mental illness awareness. But mental illness — unlike, sometimes, mental illness awareness — lasts all year. 

    Buzzfeed recently put out a list of Young Adult literature dealing with mental illness.  For those of you who want something a little darker or more complex, here’s a list of books featuring characters who struggle with recognizable (and sometimes not-so-recognizable) mental illnesses.

    Yellow Wallpaper
    The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

    When the narrator’s depression is treated by being spirited away into the isolated countryside, she insists to her husband that, at the very least, she doesn’t want to be in the room with the strange yellow wallpaper. But when her husband refuses to move her, and she spends more time in the room, she finds that the wallpaper is not as frightening as it used to be; the reader may not agree.  
     Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. The prince of Denmark gets pulled from school to attend his father’s funeral…and his mother’s remarriage to his uncle. Add the ghost of his deceased father and what looks like some majorly undiagnosed depression to the mix, and Hamlet’s life gets turned topsy turvy as he tries to avenge his father, talk sense to his mother, and grapple with his growing emotional turmoil.
     Richard III
     Richard III, by William Shakespeare. Richard III is … not the boy next door, to put it bluntly. And when war in England ends and Richard has to face navigating a world of peace where — he tells himself — he is hated, he decides to take matters into his own hands and get the war starting up again (and if he becomes king in the process, that’s just a perk, right?). Richard’s journey of self-loathing leads the reader into a political and emotional drama that will make picking sides harder than it looks.
     Last Report
     The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, by Louise Erdrich. An environmental disaster ends with a young woman who doesn’t remember who she is. When she gets her hands on a dead priest’s garb, she figures any identity is better than nothing and takes the deceased man’s place as a missionary in Indian society. And never leaves. Watch a case of stolen identity become a case of mistaken identity in this page-turner of a novel!
     Picture of Dorian Gray

    The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. When young Dorian Gray begs the painter of his portrait to let him take the hauntingly beautiful painting of himself home, he was just succumbing to a bit of vanity, right? Years down the line, Dorian Gray is as young and beautiful as ever … but his portrait is not. Readers will be entranced by the wide variety of emotional struggles that Dorian Gray must face …and they will be horrified by the ways in which he faces them.


    One of the beautiful things about literature is the fact that it can speak to the human heart. As someone who has struggled with depression and self-esteem, Hamlet and Richard III — both featured on this list — have spoken very deeply to me.  I hope that something on this list will speak deeply to those who need to be deeply spoken to.

    If fiction isn’t giving the help you need, remember that self-help materials for mental illnesses of all kinds are available at ACPL and other libraries, and immediate help is available to all via various hotlines.

    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 Becky C | Dec 26, 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!

     Click Here to Start
     Born a Crime
    Dante Club
     Family Plot
     Duke and I  Romancing Mister Bridgerton  its-in-his-kiss

    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 Allison S | Dec 23, 2016
    Image of vintage Christmas Card via Calsidyrose flickr page

    Editor's Note:  Have you checked out The Genealogy Center's monthly E-Zine, Genealogy Gems?  You should!  The content for this post, written by Genealogy Librarian Allison, appeared in the November 30 issue of this year and is the third in a series of articles focusing on holiday customs. 

    Christmas brings visions of family gathered around the crackling fire with steaming mugs of hot chocolate, snow falling softly while children glide swiftly over the glistening white land with a new sled, carolers huddled around the garlanded front door, singing timeless Christmas melodies that our ancestors sang, and gifts given out on a brisk December morning while coffee is savored in the background. Do any of these narratives sound like your family home on Christmas? What about your ancestors in America? How did they celebrate Christmas?

    To answer these questions, one needs to look at the time period in which one’s ancestors moved to the United States and where they lived. The Puritans in the northeastern colonies did not celebrate Christmas. They considered the day to have morphed into a secular celebration, and it fell against their religious beliefs. In the southern colonies, Christmas was celebrated with a feast and a few trinkets for the young. The traditions we currently ascribe to the holiday were not yet American traditions. There were no Christmas trees, holiday cards, or stories of Santa Claus coming down the chimney. It was a simple holiday for friends and family to spend time together. 

    Washington Irving attempted to interest Americans in Christmas with a series of tales in his book, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., published in installments between 1819 and 1820. While the book included such famous sketches as “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” less well known were his “Christmas Eve,” “Christmas Day,” “Christmas Dinner,” and “The Stage-Coach,” all of which captured the public’s imagination for Yule celebrations. Since his book was both a commercial and critical success in America and England, his stories helped to bring the observance of Christmas into more homes. 

    Another author we need to thank for bringing us more Christmas cheer is Clement Clarke Moore and his poem, " A Visit from St. Nicholas". Originally written by Moore for his children, a friend sent it to the Troy Sentinel to be published anonymously in 1823. Moore claimed ownership of the poem in 1844 by including it in a published book of poetry under his name, though he had already received attribution from the original publisher of the poem and many others. Decades later, the family of the deceased Henry Livingston, Jr, claimed that he was the actual author of the poem. While the style is complementary to Livingston’s, the poem is generally still attributed to Moore.

    It was not until the Victorian Era that Christmas truly became the holiday we know and love today.  The image of Queen Victoria with her family gathered around an opulent Christmas tree inspired the rest of the world to emulate that scene. It is important to note that the first time Queen Victoria sat for a drawing with her Christmas tree was in 1848, a time that corresponds with Americans purchasing Christmas trees. The year 1843 saw the advent of the Christmas card with Henry Cole commissioning the first one. Soon, families across England and then the world were sending and receiving both purchased and homemade Christmas cards. 

    Santa Claus became the jolly man in red in 1863 when cartoonist Thomas Nast drew “Old Saint Nick” for Harper’s Weekly. Not until 1870, however, was Christmas even declared a federal holiday in the United States. Previously, decorating the home at Christmas was minimal at best. During the Victorian Era, it grew into an art form, with evergreens, holly, and ribbons. Publications offered directions so that the lady of the house did not make a mistake in her Christmas décor. The centerpiece of the table became turkey during the Victorian Era. Previously it would be any type of meat available, but wealthier families began to use turkeys. Eventually this tradition drifted down to the middle classes and beyond, when turkeys became easier to obtain. 

    Caroling had been a part of gatherings for decades as a source of entertainment. Not until the Victorian Era did the words of the songs begin to reflect the holiday, and a collection of carols were published. Charles Dickens played an integral part in solidifying Christmas as an important holiday with his book, A Christmas Carol, first published in 1843. Tiny Tim and Scrooge reminded readers to be good, giving people, and that Christmas was a holiday to celebrate with friends and family. While the book was slow to be accepted in the United States, Americans could not hold out for long from loving this Christmas tradition. A Christmas Carol has never been out of print. We have had 173 years to enjoy this story, and it will continue to be for generations to come.

    While we have only touched upon a few of the age-old traditions that take a place in our Christmas-time hearts, it might inspire us to learn more about how our ancestors celebrated (or did not celebrate) the holiday. Perhaps this is a fun holiday project to do with your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews. Gather your loved ones around and take a look at how grandparents, great-grandparents, and other family members would have celebrated the day in their respective eras. You might be surprised and find a new tradition to add to your family experience. Above all, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

    Shared with permission.  Each issue of Genealogy Gems examines a variety of topics related to family history.  To view previous editions or to subscribe, click here.
    by Evan | Dec 21, 2016
    Winter Solstice 1
    Timothy Steele's poems.        Rosamunde Pilcher's novel.    Josh Sternfeld's film.

    My favorite day of the calendar is winter solstice. Not for any mystical reason; I just like light more than darkness, and that's the day light stops declining in the northern hemisphere.

    If I had the money, I might buy a second home in New Zealand so I could live in seasons of light and warmth all year long. My bet is that if everyone had such money, the weight of the planet would shift semi-annually -- billions of people moving north at spring equinox and moving south in the fall. 

    Lacking such money, here I am in northern Indiana where it's cold and dark, but as of December 21 this year, the darkness will recede for another six months, and I'll greet the sun accordingly. It won't be warm for months yet, but the light is the key.

    We have 16 items at the library with the phrase "winter solstice" in the title, and many more items about the annual transition from darkness to lightness. Astronomy, poetry, film, music -- the formats vary, but the "darkest day of the year" deserves its universal recognition. For that matter, some scholars think the big kahuna on the modern calendar -- Christmas -- was originally a Christian alternative to pagan solstice celebrations. 

    The transition isn't as important in practical terms today as it was before electric lights were invented -- not to mention before humans first controlled fire. But the need for light and the fear of dark remain ingrained in us. And various warnings -- scientific, novelistic or spirtual -- that civilization could soon collapse remind us how vulnerable we will be if those artificial lights do go out. 

    So, even if it's very cold, step outside for a moment Wednesday and celebrate the fact Earth has revolved around the primal light back to the winter solstice point. That's not so promising for the folks in Auckland -- but then their summer is just starting, so I'm not feeling sorry for them. 

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Megan B | Dec 19, 2016
    Editor's Note:  As You Like It began publishing content in 2011.  This is one of my favorite posts from the past five years.  Originally published December 1, 2014

    grandpa-hainesgrandma-hainesI was privileged enough to grow up with my mom’s maternal grandparents. They were in their 70s by the time I came to be and lived on a farm in the Ohio countryside. They lived in an old farm house with a wood-burning stove, curtain doorways, creaky floors, and an outhouse. They had a pot-bellied pig, peacocks, horses, and a dog named Dopey; they drew water from a spring out back. My great grandpa was a retired coal miner who picked ginseng to sell for extra money. Great Grandma made homemade noodles for funny money and crocheted better than anyone I knew or have known. Even after going blind due to macular degeneration in her 80s, she continued turning out colorfully patterned washcloths and pot holders.

    When I was 8 years old they struck oil on their land and bought a brand new mobile home with an indoor bathroom (which my grandpa refused to use until he became very ill). They got an air conditioner for the window and used a furnace. It was the only luxury they purchased with the oil money; they banked the rest. You see, they were not people of means.  They never had been. For them entertainment was attending auctions in Amish country. After they moved across the road to the new place, they entertained themselves with Wheel of Fortune, westerns, and the news. They were simple people living a simple life and they were happy.

    haines-propertyI have been thinking of them as the holidays approach. I remember going to their house and sitting on grandma’s lap eating candied orange slices, smelling noodles cooking on the stove, and enjoying their company while we celebrated Christmas. As they were simple people, the gifts they gave reflected that. Often they were homemade, or practical. If we got money it was a $5 bill, which we cherished.

    If I could pass one thing along to my children it is the importance of living life the way my great grandparents did . . . simply. It took me a long time to learn that lesson. I am still learning it, but I have my grandparents to thank for planting the seed in me. I feel like this world can be full of senseless stuff, immediate gratification, and “me!” perspectives.  It is important to me to help my children unplug from the holiday season our culture has created. One day I hope my kids choose experiences rather than gifts. I hope they see the beauty of discovering a new place, a new person: I hope they opt to leave the surplus of things behind. I hope they choose to visit a nursing home, or help serve the needy a meal, or sing carols to shut-ins. More than anything I want them to give something back; to realize it is about more than a stack of gifts.

    My great grandpa passed away when I was 17 and my great grandma died when I was 23. I think of them and their little slice of heaven often. I think of them tending the garden, feeding the chickens, and mowing the lawn. I see my grandpa smiling without his teeth (he often bragged he never visited the dentist; that might be a little too simple), hear my grandma’s raspy voice, and feel her soft cheek beneath my lips. I miss them and I miss their presence. And that's a much better present than anything wrapped up with a bow.

    A few titles from our collection that offer tips on a simple lifestyle:

    Shift Your Habit

    Shift Your Habit: Easy Ways to Save Your Money, Simplify Your Life, and Save the Planet by Elizabeth Rogers

     Heart of Simple Living

    The Heart of Simple Living: 7 Paths to a Better Life by Wanda Urbanska

     You Can Buy Happiness

    You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too by Tammy Strobel

     Less Is More

    Less Is More: Embracing Simplicity for a Healthy Planet, a Caring Economy and Lasting Happiness by Cecile Andrews

     Lists to Live By

    Lists to Live by for Simple Living by Alice Gray

    by Craig B | Dec 16, 2016
    House Made of DawnBook Review:  House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday

    N. Scott Momaday delivers his story of Abel with such fragmentation in time and narration, it’s not always clear what’s going on.  In retrospect, I think that’s kind of the point.

    The novel and 1969 Pulitzer Prize winner, House Made of Dawn, never strives too hard to explain everything that’s happening.  It is a bit obtuse in this way, but I think we also get a feel for how the main character, Abel, feels when he’s sent to fight in World War II, put in prison, and displaced to L.A.  The book might be easier for us to read if it filled in the gaps more, but I wonder if Momaday is seeking to avoid excessive explanation of the Native American experience in the U.S. in order to encourage the reader to come to grips with the difficulties of U.S. history and the foolhardy notion that there can really be an easily quantifiable reason for everything.  That, and the book started out as a set of poems.

    Momaday wrote House Made of Dawn from many of his own experiences living for several years from the age of 12 in Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico.  His was, and is, a powerful voice that helped found the Native American Renaissance that began in the second half of the 20th century in the U.S. (something that only became apparent 15 years after the book’s original publication).  Momaday’s poems, plays, folklore, essays, and novels all strive to recollect a narrative tradition often inundated and misunderstood by a majority culture.  I’m glad that the Pulitzer Board, amid somewhat uncertain critical reaction at the time of the novel’s publication, saw fit to recognize Momaday’s achievement immediately, but I’m especially glad that Momaday, one poetic tree at a time, can now be seen to have achieved even more.

    by Becky C | Dec 12, 2016

    Holiday music, movies, and books are flying off of the shelves!  If the title you're looking for is checked out, don't despair -- check Hoopla .  ACPL resident library cardholders can borrow up to 10 items each month via this service -- we've already paid the subscription fee, so there's no charge for you! 

    Audiobooks, eBooks, and comics check out for 3 weeks.  Music checks out for 7 days.  Streaming video checks out for 3 days (patrons under the age of 18 may borrow movies rated G through PG-13). 

    You can search for a specific title or scroll through the various categories like Just added to Hoopla, Christmas 2016: Holiday Party Playlist, and Holiday Classics.  See a title you're interested in checking out later but not right now?  Add it to your Favorites list!

    To use Hoopla, you will need to sign up or register for an account using your email address, a password you create for Hoopla, and your library card number.  Once you have created your Hoopla account, you will Sign In with your email address and the password you created.  If you need any assistance with Hoopla, please call us at 260-421-1210. 

    In addition to Hoopla, ACPL also offers resident library cardholders Flipster Magazine, Freegal Music, and Overdrive ebooks/audiobooks.  Have you tried them?  If so, what do you think?

    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 | Dec 09, 2016

    cover of Bruce Springsteen's album, Chapter and VerseThe Boss’ newest release, Chapter and Verse, an interesting compilation album that spans his ENTIRE career (from The Castiles to Steel Mill to Bruce Springsteen) is just that: interesting.  It’s not really that good.  It does not hang together that well, those tinny recordings of the highly derivative (I just used that phrase to sound like I know what I’m talking about) Castiles songs might be better off forgotten by everyone but scholars, and other than the few timeless hits there was only one really pleasant discovery, “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”  (I figure I’ve indirectly committed sacrilege here by confessing I had never heard that song before.)  For me, I’m still happy to put my money on Born in the U.S.A. as the “To-Listen” Boss album.  Not that I’m trying to tell you what to do.  That’s his job.

    Suggested Use: This album has just got to be your next family get-together soundtrack, at least out in the attached garage where the kids are being noisy and the tables have yet to be sullied with the upcoming feast.  Little brings people together like the Boss (witness the power of “Pink Cadillac”, not on this album alas!) and that’s just what you need at your chaotic celebration, an album so scattershot in its composition (like many families I know) it sounds like one glorious mixtape.

    by Kay S | Dec 07, 2016
    Yes, my little Petunias the time is fast approaching when those new releases will be hitting the book shelves! Here are just a few which I'm hearing good things about.
    Historical Romance
    KJ Charles
    Wanted, A Gentleman
    January 9
    Julie Quinn
    Elizabeth Boyle
    Stefanie Sloane
    Laura Lee Guhrke
    Four Weddings and a Sixpence
    December 27
    Rodale Maya Rodale
    Lady Claire is All That
    Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series
    December 27
    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction

    J.M. Bronston
    A Cowboy’s Love
    December 20
    Mainstream Fiction
    cleeton Chanel Cleeton
    On Broken Wings
    Wild Aces
    Contemporary Romance
    January 3
    Holliday Lucy Holliday
    Lucy Holliday author
    A Night In With Grace Kelly
    Libby Lomax series
    Mainstream Fiction
    January 12
    Palmer Diana Palmer
    Wyoming Brave
    Wyoming Men series
    Contemporary Romance
    December 27
    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense
    Banner A.J. Banner
    The Twilight Wife

    December 27
    Dimon HelenKay Dimon
    The Fixer
    Games People Play series
    Romantic Suspense
    December 27
    Ferencik Erica Ferencik
    The River at Night
    January 10
    Grebe Camilla Grebe
    The Ice Beneath Her
    December 27
    Ivy Alexandra Ivy
    Kill Without Shame
    ARES Security series
    Romantic Suspense
    December 27
    White Karen White
    The Guests on South Battery
    Tradd Street series
    January 10
    Paranormal/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
    Bouchet Amanda Bouchet
    Breath of Fire
    Kingmaker Chronicles series
    January 3
    Thea Harrison
    Moonshadow series
    December 13
    p_kennedy Jeffe Kennedy
    The Edge of the Blade
    The Uncharted Realms/The Twelve Kingdoms series'
    December 27
    p_mcguire Seanan McGuire
    Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day
    January 10
    p_older Daniel Jose Older
    Battle Hill Bolero
    Bone Street Rumba series
    Urban Fantasy
    January 3
    Young Adult/Teens
    ya_bracken Alexandra Bracken
    Passenger series
    January 3
    ya_hocking Amanda Hocking
    January 3
    ag howard
    A.G. Howard
    January 10
    Inspiration Romance
    clark Dorothy Clark
    His Substitute Wife
    Stand-in Brides series
    January 3
    by Becky C | Dec 05, 2016
    Book Review: Iscariot by Tosca Lee

    Why did Judas betray Jesus?  I’ve always wondered and apparently Lee has as well.  In her notes, Lee states that writing this novel was an intellectual and spiritual quest to discover the life of Judas based on the belief iscariotthat we all err in ways that make sense to us.

    The historical context Lee created for this story is fascinating:  the Roman occupation, the failed rebellions of others naming themselves Messiah, the different factions within the Temple.  While rich in historical ambiance, this is very much an introspective work.  Major events from the gospels are included but the focus of the story is on Judas’ personal journey and his perceptions of what’s happening around him. 

    In the life Lee imagines for Judas, much of his time with Jesus is spent struggling to reconcile his faith in this radical young leader with his deep faith in Jewish law.  In addition, the Judas Lee imagines wants Jesus to liberate his people from Rome, not realizing until too late that Christ’s mission was much different.  Lee provides a convincing account of a man struggling to overcome a painful past, a man who cares deeply about the laws of his people, a man who desperately wants to do the right thing.

    Even knowing how Judas’ story would end, I was so immersed in Lee’s telling of it that I could not put this book down.  Looking forward to reading Havah: The Story of Eve and Demon.

    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 Evan | Dec 01, 2016
    Animal Wise
    Morality crises keep arising in modern life partly because science keeps creating new ways to change the world and new ways of understanding the damage we are doing when we change it. Debates about how to respond to global warming are the most prominent example these days, but I think there's one coming on that challenges more fundamental moral and spiritual beliefs. It is the growing scientific understanding of animal minds.

    As far back as we know, humans paid a degree of respect to the idea that animals have minds or even spirits. Equally far back, however, humans used animals for food and tools, and civilized humans have exploited them en masse. It's as though our minds are divided -- respecting or even loving individual animals but treating the bulk of them like so many rocks or vegetables. The division has been reinforced, at least in the West, by dominant beliefs that humans have souls but animals do not. 

    Science is making such a division harder to sustain. It may not directly address the question of divine souls, but it demonstrates that animals have sophisticated minds that operate in the world's diverse environments in ways we can barely comprehend. Science regularly finds animals that possess traits we once thought defined us as humans. Some use tools, some are self aware, some plan for future events, some mourn their relatives' deaths, and many suffer emotionally when they are in pain. 

    If you'd like to learn about such animals, a good place to start is Virginia Morell's Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures. In researching her book, she traveled the world to interview scientists working with creatures as small as ants and as large as elephants. Her bottom line is that the mushrooming evidence of animals' intelligence and -- my term -- soulfulness creates a great moral challenge for us human animals as we continue to use and often abuse billions of creatures while also destroying wildlife habitats. 

    If morality is based on theologies that grant humans a spiritual dimension not granted to animals, then maybe some people can still have comfort zones about treating animals in ways that would be called monstrous if applied to other humans. If instead we try to live morally by granting animals as much spiritual recognition as ourselves, where do we go from here?

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Heather | Nov 29, 2016
    Happy Giving Tuesday!

    Are you a fan of the ACPL? Do you know about the Friends of the Library? The Friends of the Allen County Public Library, a non-profit, membership organization, has a common concern for the library's expansion and participation in community life. Since 1981, the Friends of the Allen County Public Library has made significant contributions to the steady growth of the library and its services to the community.  

    The Friends rely on membership contributions to sustain programs and support the library. By being a member, each individual contributes to the tradition of excellence in library service that we all enjoy and appreciate. Gift memberships are available.

    Join today!
     Friends Membership
    by Becky C | Nov 25, 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!

    Whispers in the Mist
     Ugly and Wonderful
     Girls in the Garden
     Queen's Accomplice
     Nine Women One Dress
     Area X

    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 Becky C | Nov 23, 2016
    Thanksgiving postcard circa 1900

    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?