Skip to main content

As You Like It

Literary news, book reviews
and more…   rss-icon 

    by Kay S | Nov 18, 2016
    Yes, my little Petunias, it's time for upcoming releases - 'cause we just cannot have enough books! Here are a few upcoming releases coming to someplace near you soon. The dates for release are November 15 to December 14, 2016.

    Historical Romance
    Lorraine Heath Lorraine Heath
    The Viscount and the Vixen
    The Hellions of Havisham series
    November 29
    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream
    Davis Barbara Davis
    Love, Alice
    December 6
    Julia Long Julie Anne Long
    Wild at Whiskey Creek
    Hellcat Canyon series
    Contemporary Romance
    November 29
    Sarah Morgan Sarah Morgan
    Miracle on 5th Avenue
    From Manhattan with Love Trilogy series
    Contemporary Romance
    November 29
    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense
    David Baldacci David Baldacci
    No Man's Land
    John Puller series
    November 15
    Sidney Bristol Sidney Bristol
    Hot Rides series
    Romantic Suspense
    November 29
    Jayne Ann Krenz Jayne Ann Krentz
    When All The Girls Have Gone
    Romantic Suspense
    November 29
    Paranormal Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
    Jenniger Estep Jennifer Estep
    Nice Guys Bite
    Elemental Assassin series
    Urban Fantasy
    December 12
    Gina Koch Gini Koch
    Alien Nation
    Katherine "Kitty" Katt series
    Science Fiction
    December 6
    Young Adults/Teens
    Rebekkah Crane Rebekah Crane
    The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland
    December 1
    Victoria Laurie Victoria Laurie
    Forever, Again
    December 13
    Morgan Rhodes Morgan Rhodes
    Crystal Storm
    Falling Kingdoms series
    December 13
    Inspirational Romance/Fiction
    Piper Huguley Piper Huguley
    A Champion’s Heart
    Born to Win Series
    December 6
    Ronie Kendig Ronie Kendig
    Conspiracy of Silence
    Tox Files series
    December 1
    Nancy Moser Nancy Moser
    The Pattern Artist
    December 1

    kayKay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.
    by Craig B | Nov 16, 2016
    Cover for William Styron's novel, The Confessions of Nat TurnerBook Review:  The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

    I had never read a William Styron book before and mostly only knew his name because of his very long novel, Sophie's Choice.  (Okay, it’s only something over 500 pages, but still…)  Styron’s Pulitzer Prize-winner of 1968, The Confessions of Nat Turner, isn't quite that long (it’s only nearly 500 pages) but it is still a difficult book in many ways. 

    Based on a 20 page primary document published after the 1831 slave revolt in Virginia led by Nat Turner, there is much in Styron’s novel that he was forced to fabricate.  This challenge doesn’t seem to have phased Styron too much.  In fact it seems it may have invigorated him, giving Styron what he may have seen as an opportunity to creatively explore an understanding of a very difficult occurrence in American history. 

    The rightness or wrongness of Styron’s actions I will leave to the individual reader.  The controversy over his book has a long history dating from immediately after its publication when James Baldwin is credited as saying, “Bill’s going to catch it from both sides.”  And Styron did; “catch it,” that is.  It didn’t seem to slow him down too much, though.  He went on to write Sophie’s Choice.  Have I mentioned how long that book is?

    by Evan | Nov 14, 2016
    crowded-bookBooks can be bullies. Just look at this photo if you don't believe me. See that little purple book stuck between the two bigger books? Those two big bullies are pushing The Prime Numbers and Their Distribution back and back, out of your line of sight. If we let that continue, you'd could browse all day and never find it.

    One of our jobs at the library is to police the books and make sure they play nice. We look for those little lost volumes and bring them forward on a line with the rest of the books so they have some chance of catching your eye. I realize you may not ponder prime numbers in your spare time, but if your brain craves any kind of non-fiction input, there are probably small books in our collection that you could read in one sitting and feel very glad you found.

    Actually, books can bully librarians, too. Really. Look at this shelf. It is six feet above leaning-booksthe ground and full of big, floppy paperback books that slide on the shelf in packs and require librarians, some of whom are pretty small, to get up there and shove them back into place so they stand up straight. This can be tricky, because sometimes you have to hold books with one hand while pushing books with another. And there's nothing miscreant car repair books enjoy more than crashing to the floor with their buddies.

    Most likely, however, like human bullies, book bullies are just craving attention. So I hope you won't let the fact a book is pretty big intimidate you from borrowing it. Remember, going to the library isn't going to school. You don't have to read the whole book and you don't have to write a report on it. Pick out a non-fiction book on any subject you like, spend time reading what you want from it and appreciate how it adds its own heft to your life.  And if you do read the whole thing, then bully for you, too.

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Megan B | Nov 11, 2016
    Image via Ron Cogswell Flickr page

    Cubs fan around the world woke up to joy, tiredness, and no fingernails Nov. 3 because “the curse” was broken. 108 years after their last World Series win the team once more reigned supreme. What a well-deserved victory it was! They battled back from a three game deficit to the Cleveland Indians, took Game 7 into ten innings, due to Cleveland tying it up in the ninth, and rallied in the tenth to win the title. During the entire game every single Cubs fan felt the same way as Cubs 1st baseman Anthony Rizzo (and all around good guy), who said to fellow teammate David Ross during the game, “I’m a glass case of emotions right now.” My husband was present in body at our home, but his heart and mind were in Cleveland, Ohio. My hair could have been on fire and he wouldn’t have noticed. I, myself, who am not a huge baseball fan, was engrossed as well, for a few different reasons. I grew up in Ohio and my sister, Bobbie, was a huge Cleveland Indians fan. We watched a lot of their games, and even went to a few as kids. Years passed and I stopped watching the game. Then I met my husband, a man who has loved sports, and more importantly the Cubbies, his entire life. We’ve gone to games, bought the gear, and suffered the disappointments of short seasons, like every fan for years before us.  So there was something very surreal about the Cubs being there, there was something magical, something wonderful. In our world full of heavy news, and crazy elections, we all needed a bright spot. We needed some goodness, some grace, some hard work that paid off, and we got it. Fans on either side should not be disappointed by the way their teams rallied, fought, and pushed themselves to the pinnacle. But ultimately only one team could win. For a while I was torn, because the baseball of my youth and the baseball of my adulthood were colliding in a huge way.

    Who would I root for? Would I be excited either way? I didn’t realize until the Cubs were really in it that I wanted them to win.

    I imagine there were others out there like me, or those who had forgotten they were fans, or were only fans for a night. The game beckoned to us like a light on the shore. We had to be there to see history being made, to honor those Cubs fans in our lives who had passed, and because it would make Harry Carey proud.

     It’s like James Earl Jones character, Terence Mann, says to Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams,

    Ray, people will come, Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

    People came that night and whether you’re a die-hard Cubs fan, young or old, rich or poor, we were all dipped in magic waters. History was made in the swing of a bat, the catch of a ball, the stealing of a base and hope was handed out in the winning of a game.  The Cubs have made us believe in hard work, dedication to a game, and even miracles, just a little. Wouldn’t you agree? 

    by Heather | Nov 09, 2016
    Helen Frost holding SaltThis installment of Allen County Reads features one of our favorite local authors for teens and kids, Helen Frost. Her book set in Fort Wayne during 1812, Salt, was the center of our recent series of programs celebrating Indiana's Bicentennial. She will be one of our guests at this year's Author Fair, held at Main Library THIS Saturday! Get all the details here and read on to learn more about Helen.

    What do you love about libraries?
    I have so many memories of libraries, from all the places I have lived. My first library card was a first-day-of-first-grade rite of passage. My mother told me I could get a library card when I started school. We lived in a small town, Brookings, South Dakota, and walked to school. Walking home from school on that first day, I skipped to the library to get my card. I loved that it was free, and I could take out as many books as I wanted, and I loved the librarian, Miss Jarman, who helped children find exactly the right books. I loved the cards in the pockets in each book where you could see who had read the book before you: a kind of 1950’s version of Goodreads
    When I was doing research for Crossing Stones, I thought about Miss Jarman and her brother “Crazy Jim” who suffered from “shell shock” from World War 1. I wondered if I could find out more about them, and an internet search brought up this image in the Brookings High School yearbook.  Ruby Jarman was just the age of my characters, and the yearbook helped me visualize them. 
    What do you love about ACPL in particular?
    We are so lucky to have the great library system we have in Allen County, with each branch offering programs and materials for different parts of our community. The Genealogy Center, the art and music section, fiction and nonfiction, great reference section, the audiobooks and e-books. Everything. I especially love the children’s book section -- the children’s librarians keep up with all the reviews and conversation, and purchase exactly the books I would buy if my budget and bookshelf space were unlimited. 
    What makes a good read when you are reading for pleasure?
    I love books that take me back to the feeling I had as a child when I could lose myself in a book for hours at a time.

    When you are researching for a book what resources do you use?
    ACPL has an amazing rare books collection—I found old photographs and historical documents. We have an entire set of the Curtis Collection photographs, an amazing treasure. 
    What is a favorite book from childhood? And favorite authors?
    I loved The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. I had a “horse book” phase, where I devoured all the Black Stallion books, and I read my share of Nancy Drew mysteries. The first book I remember owning was a biography of Marian Anderson, from a school book fair. I remember loving the word “Stradivarius,” describing a violin Marian wished for.
    Who are your favorite authors?
    I’ve read almost all of Louise Erdrich’s books -- fiction and poetry, for adults and children. I’m waiting for the year she wins the National Book Award in all four categories. Marilyn Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Ron Koertge are other authors whose work I admire in both adult and children’s books. But I hesitate to start naming my favorite poets or children’s authors because there are so many who are my friends, and I would miss some. 
    What is something you'd like to see happen at ACPL?
    It would be great to have a reading series, like the Omnibus Lecture Series, with some authors who write for children and teens, and others who write for adults.

    Applesauce Weather, Helen Frost's latest publication for children, is a novel written in verse. Watch for two titles in the spring of 2017: a photographic picture book collaboration with Rick Lieder, Wake Up, and a middle grade novel-in-poems called When My Sister Started Kissing. Find her first collaboration with Rick Lieder, Step Gently Out, as part of Shawnee Branch Library's first interactive book installation, ReadyWalk (see photo below).

    by Becky C | Nov 07, 2016
    If you weren't able to attend Wanda Brunstetter's recent visit to the Allen County Public Library, no worries!  Access Fort Wayne recorded the visit and it's now available via the ACPL YouTube Channel.  And while I encourage you to check out the wealth of videos available on that channel, you can view this particular video below.  In it, Wanda and her daughter-in-law share writing tips and stories.  Enjoy! 

    P.S. Don't forget -- our annual Author Fair is at the Main Library on November 12, 2016.  1:00 to 4:00 pm. 

    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 | Nov 04, 2016
    Cover of Beyonce's album LemonadeWell, duh.  It’s Beyonce.  Of course she’s “suggested.”  Ted Danzen says she’s 104% perfect or something like that.  Personal perfection aside, this album was ok. Lemonade, that is.  Ambitiously eclectic, with a couple of real humdingers (I’m thinking mostly of “Freedom” and “Daddy Lessons” here), Beyonce shows us just what she’s made of.  Not lemonade it turns out.  But I hear the real experience of this album comes through the included Visual disc I did not pop in.  Audio/Video, man.  The original dynamic duo.

    Suggested Use:
    Seems like a good album to wash your car to.  All the huggin’ and kissin’ and declarations of love on the album can find some metaphoric resonance in the chrome-edged fenders of your automobile or even the reflection of yourself in a side mirror.  And who isn’t okay with Beyonce?  The neighborhood can’t get too upset if you’re blasting it with the doors open while you Armor-All your seats.  Of course in this weather… maybe you should just stay inside and watch that Visual disc.

    by Evan | Nov 02, 2016
    DNAFuture historians have a great new data source: you.

    And you and you and you, and me.

    Technology and determined genealogists are bringing together millions of family records at the same time high-tech geneticists are laying out human DNA records like a map. If not already, your social family history and your genetic family history will soon be matchable with mine and with that of our mutual cousin in Singapore. 

    I hope it makes people happy.

    Look, I know I'm out of my depth here. If you wonder about this kind of stuff, you owe it to yourself to read Christine Kenneally's 2014 book The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures. Kenneally is an advocate; she loves where these technologies are going and thinks more knowledge about our histories will be good overall for individuals, families and society.

    Overall. With that qualifier, I can agree with her. Individuals can prevent diseases, families can see how long they've been driving each other crazy, societies can come to better grips with such things as racism and adoption. 

    But Kenneally has a lot of her own qualifiers. The biggest and most infamous is the way genealogy got wrapped up with violent racism in such places as the American South and 20th century Germany. Meanwhile DNA science can show you your genetic makeup, but will you read it scientifically or with a head full of fears and prejudices? Should you have the right to keep that information private? Or is such privacy even feasible in the Internet era? 

    Kenneally tells personal history discovery stories -- hers and others' -- that I found mostly distracting. More interesting are nuggets that show how genealogy and DNA science help savvy historians reveal previously unseen currents in the past. For instance, the slave trade not only hit hardest in the wealthiest African regions, but those regions are now among the poorest on that continent. This is partly because slavery fostered so much suspicion in later generations that they haven't been able to rebuild the culture of trust that is required for a thriving economy. 

    At home I have a lot of boxes of family history materials, but I'm barely making a dent in them. It's hard for me to get past the idea that genealogy is ego-driven. Kenneally, however, is trying to push people like me, who are interested in world history, to appreciate how modern genealogy, with its computer networks, can make each of us contributors to the grand story of humanity.

    So, my little ego trip becomes less about me and more about connecting the dots on the big canvas. Add in the potential of DNA science to make its own connections among us, and the history books of the late 21st century might tell a much truer story of the past than the ones we grew up with. (Think Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings.)

    OK, but I'll still want to know whether the guy who fell off the Mayflower and survived really was, as I've read, one of my ancestors. That would make me almost famous.

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Allison S | Oct 31, 2016
    Image courtesy of halloweenerrific

    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 September 30 issue of this year and is the first in a series of articles focusing on holiday customs. 

    Halloween’s background is firmly rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain, a three-day festival to celebrate the end of the light half of the year beginning on the evening of October 31st.  The Celts split the year into two halves, the light half and the dark half. They observed the end of the dark half on May 1st of each year with Beltane, modern May Day. Two other Celtic seasonal festivals, Imbolc and Lughnasadh, marked the start of spring and fall respectively but were considered less important. Samhain and Beltane carried more significance, since the Celts believed the lines between the living and the dead were blurred at those times. 

    Samhain celebrated the end of the harvest. Animals were slaughtered for provisions for the coming winter. Celebrants lit huge bonfires as rituals to symbolize the holding back of winter. They would carry embers from the communal bonfire to each cold hearth to relight the home fires. Celebrations would acknowledge the importance of the harvest while encouraging raucous behavior from the young men and free-flowing alcohol. Young women would practice divination, often involving apples, to see whom they would marry.

    While Samhain had been around for centuries, it was incorporated into a new holy day by the Catholic Church in 609: “All Saints’ Day,” otherwise known as “All Hallows” or “Hallowmas.” Initially, it was celebrated on May 13th, but by the ninth century it was almost universally celebrated on November 1st. All Saint’s Day began as a commemoration of the martyrs who died for the Church, though later it included all saints, not just martyrs. The following day, November 2nd, was set aside a century later as “All Souls’ Day” to pray for the souls of those in Purgatory. The day before All Saints’ Day was referred to as “All Hallows’ Evening” or “All Hallows’ Eve” (“Hallowe’en” when abbreviated). “Hallowtide” signified all three days together. 

    Several factors led to many of the Halloween traditions as we now know them in the United States. As with any holiday, these traditions have roots in historical events. The Black Death, which terrorized Europe for centuries, brought a morbid fascination with skeletons. With death surrounding the culture, the festival that blurred the lines between the living and the dead found a new home for the obsession of skeletons. Witch hunts, in which thousands of men and women were executed over the centuries, brought fear and added to the dark fascination of light versus dark, good versus evil, and thus became a natural fit with Halloween. 

    Irish and Scottish immigrants brought Halloween to America, which is why no mention of the holiday exists until immigration increased in the 1840s in the wake of the Potato Famine. The Irish brought their custom of the jack-o’-lantern. In the old country, turnips or beets were hollowed out, and a candle was placed inside, mimicking the flashes of light seen in the peat bogs that appeared mysteriously and created suspicion of the supernatural. The name “jack-o’-lantern” refers to a fable about a man named Jack who was left to wander the earth forever after making a deal with the devil. He is Jack of the Lantern. When the American Irish discovered the large pumpkin, they made it the lantern of choice for Halloween. Corn was also incorporated into Halloween based on the large corn crops in America. 

    Another tradition that has roots in the Celtic lore is trick-or-treating. The Celts had two traditions that required people to go door-to-door. The first was “souling.” The poor would go door-to-door, asking for food or money in return for prayers for the dead. Soul cakes became a popular item to give to the poor and leave out for the ghosts. Young adults would also go door-to-door in costumes in a custom called “guising.” They would perform tricks, sing, or tell a story for a sweet treat. 

    In the early twentieth century Halloween became fully adopted by the United States. By 1920, communities had a firm enough grasp on the celebration to make it family-friendly and not a night for boys to terrorize the citizens with pranks. Community Halloween parties and parades began. Trick-or-treating received the endorsement and assistance of local government. It became a holiday for children to have fun and get candy. For youth and adults, it became a night to embrace fear and celebration. People have always had a fascination with things they do not know or understand. Death and the blurred lines between life and death will always have an attraction for the living. Halloween has become the holiday in which it is socially acceptable to celebrate them. 

    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 Marra H | Oct 30, 2016

    • Author Visit:  Matt de la Pena
    • Main Library, Theater
    • November 1, 2016
    • 6:30 pm
    • Free

    Tuesday evening, author Matt de la Pena will be visiting the Allen County Public Library to share his powerful message about the transformative impact books can have on the lives of young people.  Mr. de la Pena writes for teens and children, and was awarded the Newbery Medal in in January of this year for his book Last Stop in Market Street. 

    De la Pena is an incredible speaker, with a moving personal story and true dedication to the potential that words can unlock in young people.  He will be signing books after the event.  There will be a selection of books available to be purchased for this purpose.

    Thank you to the Friends of the Allen County Public Library for this opportunity!


    by Cathy B | Oct 28, 2016
    In addition to all the books you would expect in the Art, Music & Media stacks (Rembrandt, Picasso, musicals, histories of music and dance), you may be surprised to find that there is a section of games and puzzles!  Logic games, math games, video games, crossword puzzles, math puzzles, even magic.  I’ve pulled a small sampling of books that are available and, for good measure, have included photos of the actual stacks for your perusal.


    Kakuro for Dummies by Andrew Heron. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2005

    I love Kakuro!  I did Sudoku for a while but then a friend introduced me to Kakuro.  KakuroHaven’t turned back.  That said, I don’t really enjoy the really hard levels – I’m just not that competitive.  Also, I do have a ‘cheat sheet’ with all the possible combinations of addends for particular numbers.  Let me try to explain:

    Kakuro is a number version of crossword puzzle.  The skeleton of the puzzle is exactly the same as a crossword skeleton.  Instead of looking for words one looks for possible numbers that add up to the given sum printed outside but next to the beginning of each line of blocks. And then the answers have to fit across and down. And there are certain limitations, like no number over 9 or repeat numbers. Hard to explain.  Perhaps you can google it?

    It’s not really a math puzzle I don’t think because it’s really only addition of small numbers.  It’s just different.  Try it.  You may love it!  (You may not!)

    Most unfortunately some “dummy” (as referenced in the title) has filled in several of the easy puzzles in this book.  Hey, Greg, could we get a new one?

    Virtuosos of Juggling, From the Ming Dynasty to Cirque du Soleil, by Karl-Heinz Ziethen and Alessandro Serena, Renegade Juggling, 2003

    Virtuosos of JugglingAccording to the publishers, Renegade Juggling, this book fills “the void regarding books on the subject of international master jugglers.” It “is the comprehensive historical account of performance jugglers from the past 4,043 years, featuring jugglers who reached the pinnacle of the art-form and captivated audiences in many of the world’s grandest venues.”

    A partial listing of chapter titles can give a brief overview of what is in store:  From Sacred to Profane, The Ring and the Stage, The Myth and the Emulation, Juggling in Russia and China.


    Dumbstruck:  A Cultural K, A Cultural History of Ventriloquism by Steven Connor. Oxford Press, 2000Dumbstruck

    Steven Connor is Professor of Modern Literature and Theory, School of English and Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London.

    He follows the study of the disembodied voice “from its first recorded beginnings in ancient Israel and Greece.”  “…this is much more than an archaeology of one of the most regularly derided but tenaciously enduring of popular arts. It is also a series of virtuoso philosophical and psychological reflections on the problems and astonishments, the raptures and absurdities of the unhoused voice.”



    A Gardner's Workout, Training the Mind and Entertaining the Spirit by Martin Gardner., AK Peters, Ltd, 2001

    Gardner's WorkoutMr. Gardner wrote the “Mathematical Games” column for Scientific American for 25 years.  A Garner’s Workout in a compilation of 41 pieces written in various academic journals and popular magazines since that time. 

    “Providing the tools to furnish our all-too-sluggish minds with an athletic workout, Gardner’s problems foster an agility of the mind as they entertain.”

    Mr. Gardner covers “a wide range of topics:  games of chance, word ladders and mathematical word play games, tiling puzzles, magic squares, computer and calculator ‘magic’ tricks.”

    A smattering of chapters:  The Opaque Cube, The Propositional Calculus with Directed Graphs, Steiner Trees on a Checkerboard, Six Challenging Dissection Tasks, The Asymmetric Propeller Theorem, The Universe and the Teacup.

    For those among us who do not find ‘mathematical games’ to be an oxymoron this book should be a treat indeed!

    The Art of Evolve by Phil Robb, Insight Editions, 2015, Introduction by Phil Robb & Chris Ashton

     If you are a gamer, particularly one who plays hunting types of games you may be conversant with Evolve.Art of Evolve  You may play Evolve. 

    “A thrilling monster-hunting game unlike any other, Evolve offers groundbreaking multiplayer and epic boss-battle experiences.”

    In this high quality, coffee table book the developers of the game take you from concept pitch through final roll out with concept sketches and full blown artwork along with commentary from the artists and developers. 

    The Art of Evolve is the essential companion to the exhilarating monster-hunting adventure bound to ensnare gamers worldwide.”


    THE PATTERN IN THE CARPET, A PERSONAL HISTORY WITH JIGSAWS, Margaret Drabble, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009

    Pattern in the CarpetMargaret Drabble is a Dame of the British Empire.  She has written seventeen novels as well as biographies.  She also edited the fifth and sixth editions of The Oxford Companion to English Literature.  Her name on this book on jigsaw puzzles was what drew me to investigate further.  It is now on my “to read” list. 

    From the dust jacket:  “Margaret Drabble weaves her own story into a history of games, in particular of jigsaws, which have offered and her and many others “a soothing relief” from melancholy and depression. We learn that jigsaws began as dissected maps used as a teaching tool in the late eighteenth century, that the young Queen Victoria once stayed up until 11:30 p.m. assembling a puzzle with her government ministers; that in American following the 1929 stock market crash there was a boom in puzzle manufacturing…. Drabble shares her thoughts on the importance of childhood play, on art and writing, on aging and memory.  And she does so with her customary intelligence, energy, and wit.  This is a memoir like no other.”

    Cruciverbalism, A Crossword Fanatic’s Guide to Life in the Grid, Stanley Newman, Collins, 2006

    Stanley Newman is the crossword editor for Newsday and he holds the world’s record for the fastest Cruciverbalismcompletion of a New York Times crossword.  Some of the topics covered in this little book are:  “Why it’s become a tradition for daily newspaper puzzles to increase in difficulty during the week, common solving mistakes, why you shouldn’t feel guilty about consulting reference works, the hidden rules of the grid that will make you a better clue sleuth”

    “You’ll even discover a philosophy for approaching crosswords that, come to think of it, works pretty well for life, too – and makes it a lot of fun!”

    This is one of several books on crossword puzzles you can find in our stacks.


    Block City, How To Build Incredible Worlds In MINECRAFT, Kirsten Kearney, Abrams, 2015

    Block CityI began looking at this book thinking I would hurry through it – the title is pretty self-explanatory, right?  Wrong.  As I began thumbing through the pages I found I was going to have slow down and get a grasp on this book.  I was even afraid I might end up being pulled into Minecraft world.  (You see, I do on occasion get addicted to a video game – Pokemon Puzzle League, Tetris, Candy Crush {happy to announce I broke free of that one cold turkey the day before Thanksgiving 2015}). 

    Block City is most definitely a how-to book.  Thumbing through the pages I find directions on how to build such things as cities, freighter ship, palaces, holographic signage and Chernobyl, 2015.   Also lamp posts, Andromeda, a gothic cathedral, whole cities and fantasy kingdoms.  But I found a very philosophical bent in the foreword by Julian Gough:

    “In Minecraft we’re in the world of Plato’s essential forms: the sheep are the essence of sheep, the mountains are the essence of mountains.  The human imagination fills in all the details.  Minecraft is in some ways a philosophical world in which everything has been reduced to an essence.  To its simplest form.”

    “Most games re-create, in their virtual worlds, all the stuff we play games to escape. They’re full of people, things, bosses, terror, tasks, fear, status anxiety…But in creative mode, Minecraft lets us feel alive by playing.  Not playing at killing. Playing at playing.”

    In each section we are introduced to the ‘builder’ of the creation at hand and some background.  There are principles of design, tips and detailed instructions for building in general and building specific.  An excellent reference and helper, among the many in the stacks, for anyone interested in getting involved in Minecraft!


    The Rise of the Indian Rope Trick, How a Spectacular Hoax Became History, Peter Lamont, Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2004

    In the Indian rope trick “a rope snakes into the air.  A boy climbs the rope and when he gets to the top – he vanishes.  At once homespun, philosophical, and free of apparent gadgetry, the trick has enthralled Rise of the Indian Rope Trickgenerations of magic lovers in the West.”  But it has never existed.  It was a hoax perpetrated by an amateur magician in 1890 and printed in the Chicago Tribune.  It was later admitted to be false but the legend continued to spread throughout the world and throughout time.  Peter Lamont “explores how easily people will believe stories that are fed to them as truth despite experience, intuition, and the laws of nature.”

    “Peter Lamont, the winner of the Jeremy Dalziel prize in British history, is a research fellow at Edinburgh University specializing in the history, theory, and performance of magic.  He has traveled to India in search of the legendary Indian rope trick, performed as a magician and psychic, and has appeared at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.” (Jacket)  

    These are but a tiny fraction of the books on our shelves that delve into games, magic, puzzles and the popular arts.  Here's a glimpse at some of the rest:

    Game and Puzzle collage

    by Sara P | Oct 26, 2016

    Stephen King discussion titles

    I have been an avid reader from a young age. Visiting the Georgetown Branch Library growing up was always such a thrilling experience for me. Throughout middle school, I would often be the last person in the house up at night as I would stay up late to read long after everyone else had gone to sleep. Stephen King’s short story collection, Night Shift, was probably not the best choice to read that late -- every creak and groan in the house scared me to death. But I was hooked as his writing pulls you in! The tingles of fear and dread are like a book high. A friend of mine in high school saw that I was reading The Stand and had asked breathlessly, “Is it the uncut version?!” Obviously the correct answer was yes, and I’m glad it was true. I honestly didn’t know there had been an edited version which is shunned by many King devotees (or as King would call one: Constant Reader).

    Upon becoming a librarian, I had always dreamed about hosting a Stephen King Book Club. Originally I wasn’t sure if there would be enough fans to make such a club viable; luckily, there are! In 2016, the Stephen King Book Club has been meeting monthly at the Georgetown Branch (where I now work). Everyone is welcome to attend - we have a core group of several adults and have a few teen members also. We assign a title to read each month, but you are more than welcome to come even if you haven’t read (ever or recently) or finished the book - though there will likely be spoilers.

    Most of King’s writing can be classified as horror, but our selection for November is something with wider appeal: 11/22/63. We are meeting on 11/22, so that book was the obvious choice. It tells the story of a man who goes back in time in attempts to prevent John Kennedy’s assassination on that date.

    James Franco starred in a recent miniseries adaptation of 11.22.63 (available on DVD for 7-day checkout) if you prefer to watch your King instead of read. There are a multitude of movie and TV adaptations of King’s works, which usually tend to make their way into our book club discussions as well. We read Misery last month, so there was a lot of talk about Kathy Bates’ Oscar-winning performance as Annie Wilkes.

    We always have a great time at book club. There are so many interconnected characters and and fictional towns in his oeuvre -- it is always fun to try to pick them out. We have members who have read every one of his titles, and new readers just starting out on the King journey. If you know any King fans, please let them know about our meetings. We’d love to see you at the Georgetown Branch Library!

    by Erik M | Oct 25, 2016


    As we entered into our 7th month of operation, the ACPL’s Community Radio Station has continued to hit our marks in the community.  We added a second bay antenna to the mast at IPFW, which improves our signal quality for most areas.  We are not allowed by FCC law to reach more than 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) and we are very, very close to that.  Our next step is to purchase a digital signal processor to further enhance our sound quality.  Jaime Till, chief engineer at Magic 95 has volunteered to “dial it in” once we install it.  It’s another nice example of community coming together to assist in our growth.

    We are now providing audio on demand with two weeks worth of programming (both talk and music) via Radio Free America.  They are hosting this service free of charge to all LPFM stations.  The IT department has provided a link to the WELT page on the ACPL website.  The IT department is still looking into the possibility to store podcasts of the talk programs that we create on the website with more content description.

    Our Programming Committee is slowly coming together.  It will consist of a few community leaders as well as 4 DJs from the talk and music side of WELT-LP.  The purpose of the committee is to evaluate the current programming schedule and see what is or is not working, as well as rearranging the schedule to make the station more marketable.  All of the WELT-LP DJs have been told about this and are on board with the possible changes.

    We’ve also been working with the League of Women Voters to create information PSAs to educate residents about early voting, what they need for identification and so on. 

    In the coming months, we will be hosting another mixer for the DJs and planning our 1 year anniversary.  Before we signed on, I had anticipated that we would lose 30-40% of our DJs and would start the growth again.  Frankly, we have had a 95% retention rate among the DJs.  It really points to how vital, valuable and viral this service is to the community.  And we’ve only just begun.

    by Becky C | Oct 21, 2016
    You know ACPL's annual Author Fair is just around the corner, right?  Have you ever considered writing as a career?  We've got you covered!  Here's a quick look at some new titles recently added to our collection.  Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    Mastering Suspense Structure and Plot
     Story Genius
     Why Write
     Write the Perfect Book Proposal
     Magic Words
     Accidental Life
     Jane Austen Writers Club
     The Kite and the String

    What's especially wonderful is that there are a lot more titles to choose from!  I used a variety of subject searches for this post:  AuthorshipCreative WritingFiction Technique , Journalism, Playwriting, Television Plays Technique.

    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 Becky C | Oct 19, 2016
    The RidgeWhy would someone build a lighthouse in the middle of the woods?  A curious landmark for years, given its location in an isolated stretch of eastern Kentucky, the strange, pulsing light in the abandoned mining country hasn’t warranted much attention until recently.  The creation of a large-cat sanctuary nearby changes things, however.  Wyatt French, builder of the lighthouse, is not happy that the sanctuary will bring visitors to his neck of the woods; Audrey Clark, owner of the sanctuary, is not happy that the lighthouse illuminates the area so brightly.  Things come to a head when French places cryptic calls to deputy sheriff Kevin Kimble and local journalist Roy Darmus before committing suicide.  He wants Kimble to investigate his suicide and he wants Darmus to keep the light on.

    LOVED this book!!!  Part ghost story, part mystery, all thriller.  The mystery hooked me – why was the town drunk obsessed with accidents occurring within the vicinity of  Blade Ridge, why was he terrified of the dark, and why did he kill himself when he obviously didn’t want to?  The supernatural feel was perfect – an eerie blue flame that appears to a select few, the reaction of the cats to their new home, the troubled history Darmus discovers as he researches the maps and photos French had pinned up on his unfinished walls.  I could not put this book down.

    What's the spookiest book you've read?  What did you love about it?

    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 | Oct 17, 2016
    GettysburgWith talk of a second American Civil War in the air earlier this year (google "civil war" clinton trump), maybe I just had to read another book about Gettysburg, had to remind myself that our country has been through worse times, had to remember that eventually it pulled itself imperfectly together again. 

    In Gettysburg:The Last Invasion, Allen C. Guelzo superbly blends both details and grand themes from the high drama of 1863. Throughout, his emphasis is on the terrible impact the battle, and the war, had on people who experienced it.

    Among many sobering questions Civil War books arouse in me is whether there was a way slavery could have been quickly eliminated without the war. I still haven't found a convincing answer that it could. Even with emancipation, African Americans were soon reduced to peonage in the South and widespread discrimination in the North. And, after the war, it was the same generation of Americans who soon completed the violent subjugation of the remaining native tribes in the West. 

    Compared to that kind of trauma, Clinton vs. Trump feels tame. Even compared to the economic crisis of the 1930s, all the current noise about jobs and taxes and income disparities and government regulation sounds tinny.  

    Nonetheless, the political divide is stark, the worst in my memory, which includes the 1960s. At that time, there were strong feelings about civil rights and the Vietnam War, but the political center felt much stronger. Now it really does feel as though the country is cracking in half politically, even if that doesn't cause another actual civil war. 

    So it seems to me we need to remember the question that Abraham Lincoln raised in his Gettysburg Address and is movingly recalled by Guelzo: whether a nation whose rulers are chosen by the people can indeed long endure. That means that regardless how the upcoming election turns out, the tens of millions of scared and/or angry American voters -- myself included -- will show their truest patriotism by taking a lot of deep breaths, staying involved with the process and reaching out to those on the other side as much as possible. 

    Easy to say, I know. But a lot better than going back to Cemetery Hill. 

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Kay S | Oct 14, 2016
    Yes, it's time to add more books to that TBR pile - time to make that list of books even longer! Here are a few books due to be released between October 15 and November 16, 2016.
    Historical Romance
     h_maxwell Cathy Maxwell
    A Date at the Altar
    Marrying the Duke series
    October 25
     h_miles Rachael Miles
    Tempting the Earl
    The Muses Salon
    October 25
     h_shupe Joanna Shupe
    The Knickerbocker Club series
    October 25
    Historical Fiction
    hf_benson  Jacquelyn Benson
    The Smoke Hunter
    November 3
    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction
    Donna Everhart
    The Education of Dixie Dupree
    October 25 
    Debbie Mason
    Mistletoe Cottage
    Harmony Harbor Series
    Contemporary Romance
    October 25
     c_knight Ginger McKnight-Chavers
    In The Heart of Texas
    Contemporary Romance
    October 25
    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense
    m_ashenden  Jackie Ashenden
    In Bed with the Billionaire
    Nine Circles series
    Romantic Suspense
    November 1
     m_barclay Linwood Barclay
    The Twenty-Three
    Promise Falls Trilogy series
    November 1
    Anne Calhoun
    Going Deep
    Alpha Ops series
    November 1
     m_connelly Michael Connelly
    The Wrong Side of Goodbye
    Harry Bosch series
    November 1
    Lena Gregory
    Death at First Sight
    Bay Island Psychic Mystery series
    November 1
     28220762 Iris Johansen
    Roy Johansen
    Night Watch
    Kendra Michaels series
    October 25
     28220732 Hank Phillippi Ryan
    Say No More
    Jayne Ryland series
    November 1
     m_sandford John Sandford
    Escape Clause
    Virgil Flowers series
    October 18
    Paranormal/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
    p_brom  Brom
    Lost Gods
    October 25
     p_marillier Juliet Marillier
    Den of Wolves
    Blackthorn and Grim series
    November 1
     p_neumeir Rachel Neumeier
    Mountain of Kept Memory
    November 8
     p_sagara Michelle Sagara
    Cast in Flight
    Chronicles of Elantra
    October 25
     p_singh Nalini Singh
    Archangel's Heart
    Guild Hunter series
    November 1
    Young Adult
    ya_yoon  Nicola Yoon
    The Sun Is Also a Star
    November 1 
     ya_young Suzanne Young
    All in Pieces
    November 8
     32177222 Bettina Davis
    One Valencia Lane
    October 25
    Inspirational Romance/Fiction
     i_carr Patrick W. Carr
    The Shattered Vigil
    Darkwaters Saga series
    November 1 
     i_cossette Connilyn Cossette
    Shadow of the Storm
    October 18
     i_evans Marianne Evans  
    November 1
     i_hern Ruth Logan Herne  
    Home on the Range
    October 18

    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 | Oct 12, 2016

    cover of Bernard Malamud's 1966 novel, The FixerBook Review:  The Fixer by Bernard Malamud

    "People are sitting at a table having dinner, that's all, but at the same time … their lives are being torn apart."

                -Anton Chekov

    Something has broken, is being “torn apart” in this book, this 1967 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Bernard Malamud, The Fixer.  As in Chekov’s plays, things are falling apart (in Malamud’s story it is specifically czarist Russia that is falling apart) and Yakov Bok, a.k.a Yakov Shepsovitch, a.k.a. The Fixer, (also as in Chekhov our character has at least three names) finds himself at the dread center of it all with a bag of tools unfitted to the task.  Yakov wonders (almost endlessly) if it’s his luck, his mistakes, but what becomes more and more clear as the novel winds on is that, though something is indeed broken, it is not with our main character.  There’s something in the system, and not just the political system of Russia, it’s bigger than that; it’s the brutality of man to man, the lies we tell ourselves, human brokenness that lives on the inside and there’s nothing The Fixer with his awls and wood saw can do.

    Through the story of one man, Yakov Bok/The Fixer, Malamud’s novel casts the pogroms of Russia in a historical and metaphorical light that is startling.  In The Fixer there lives a telling of the suffering of the Jewish people in Russia permeated with a seeming foreknowledge of the Holocaust, not to mention, the metaphorical connections of one persecuted Jewish carpenter to another.  The world is broken, things are falling apart; a somewhat common literary theme, but unlike in many stories (i.e. Chekov or even Malamud’s first book, that most-American of novels, The Natural, boasting a film adaptation starring Robert Redford) … there’s very little dinner. 

    by Craig B | Oct 07, 2016

    album cover for Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam's I Had a Dream That You Were MineI picked I Had a Dream That You Were Mine to listen to from the “Must List” pages of Entertainment Weekly (available at your local library) and then immediately downloaded it from Hoopla (available at your local library) and then wrote this blog post to share my immensely pleasant surprise at the nature of the album (blog also available at your local library … but you know that, you’re reading it) with its prickly lo-fi production and daring dynamism (listen to the first track, “A 1000 Times,” I think you’ll see what I mean) that wormed its way into my heart and made me glow a little.  But then I like Vampire Weekend (also available at your local library) of which Rostam was once a part.  What else was to be expected?

    Suggested Use: Cooking for someone else?  Consider chopping vegetables and caramelizing onions to this album.  With its delicate nuances and disregard for decorum it seems like just the thing for a Saturday afternoon spent brandishing a knife and indulging in an early glass of the 2009 Burgundy you bought to go with dinner (not available at your local library).

    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
     Underground Railroad
     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.