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    by Norm | Jan 14, 2016
    by Genealogy Center | Jan 13, 2016
    bicentennialphotos

    Editor's Note:  This post originally appeared on the Genealogy Center blog on December 11, 2015.  Catch the latest genealogy news by adding their blog to your RSS feed.  Click here to view the original post.

    Do you live in Indiana? Have you ever resided in Indiana? Do you have family who once made Indiana their home? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you know someone who is a Hoosier.

    In celebration of the state’s bicentennial, The Genealogy Center invites Hoosiers to contribute images of “life lived in the small places” as that is what makes, and has made, Indiana great. We are interested in old and new images of daily life and the people of Indiana that showcase Hoosier life. These can include children at play, people at work, people hanging out, sporting events, homes and buildings, and so much more.

    The Genealogy Center will collect Who’s a Hoosier? images from December 11, 2015 through December 11, 2016 in honor of Indiana’s 200 years of statehood.

    To show your Hoosier pride, please contribute a picture along with a description of the image, detailing Who and What Makes Indiana Great!

    Upload pictures at Who's a Hoosier
    Email pictures to Genealogy@ACPL.Info
    Upload pictures to Facebook 
    Instagram @ GenealogyCenter
    by Becky | Jan 11, 2016
    Here’s a quick look at some books we’ve recently added to the collection. Something catch your eye? Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    If you’d like weekly updates on new additions to our collections, sign up for our New Arrivals newsletter by clicking here and following three easy steps. Warning: you may have to bring a couple of bookbags with you on your next visit!
    Moonshots
     Hubble
     Searching
     Human
     Stories
     Mission
     Coloring
     Total
     Universe

    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 | Jan 08, 2016

    image via SyndeticsAdele’s 25 finally hit the stores, broke some records (3.38 million copies sold in its first week, eat that N’Sync!), and continues to sit at number one on the Billboard 200.  It broke a record here at our small branch library, too.  We ordered 3 copies, something we never do, and we can’t keep them on the shelf.  I did, the other day, get a chance to listen to the album after waiting in line with my fellow library patrons and I can now say with some measure of authority that the album is good.  Always engaging with a sincerity of style that doesn’t come along every day, it has the most character near the end … like a face.  19, 21, and a record-breaking 25.  May Adele continue to age this well.

    Suggested Use: If your dance party at your parent’s house is going too late, this album is heartbreaking enough to kill the vibe and send everyone packing, even as they sing along to whatever track you’ve selected.  Your guests will probably even keep the party going as they get into their cars and make their mournful way home to the strains of their own copies of Adele’s 25 that lie ensconced in their dimly lit dashboards.



    craig Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Becky C | Jan 04, 2016
    Allen County readers kept us busy in 2015!  ACPL circulated an average of 418,000 items per month and a strong percentage of those items were books.  Here's a quick look at our most popular checkouts.

    How many of these have you read?  Which books do you think should have made the Top 5?

    Adult Fiction

    WYR1
    WYR2
     
     WYR3
    WYR4
     
     WYR5


    Adult Nonfiction

    WYR6
     WYR7
     WYR8
    WYR9
     
     WYR10


    Teen Fiction

    WYR11
     WYR12
     WYR13
     WYR14
     WYR15

    Teen Nonfiction

    WYR16
     WYR17
     WYR18
     WYR19
     WYR20

    Children's Fiction

    WYR21
     WYR22
     WYR23
     WYR24
     WYR25


    Children's Nonfiction

    WYR18
    WYR27
     
     WYR20
    WYR29
     
    WYR30
     


    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 | Jan 01, 2016
    When the snow finally arrives this winter, why not take the opportunity of a blustery day to check out the library's online resources?    All are free to Allen County resident cardholders.  Because our online resources automatically "return" themselves when the loan period has ended, there are no late fees.  Now if only our other materials could return themselves on time just as magically! 

    flipster
    Flipster is my personal favorite -- I love to read magazines but the most current copies are always checked out. Car & Driver, Consumer Reports, People, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and Time are just a few of the subscriptions available to ACPL residents.  When you read these magazines at an ACPL location (on your device or our computers), Flipster will allow you to read the magazines without entering your library card number.   

    To read outside the library you will have to sign in using your library card and  click on each magazine you’d like to read to open it in your browser. On iPads, you may also install the free Flipster app to download the magazine to read offline.  Once the loan period has ended, any magazine you have checked out will show “expired” in red and will no longer be accessible.   Access to Flipster is available via the ACPL website.
     
     freegal
     ACPL's subscription to Freegal allows Allen County residents to download five songs a week, every week -- the download limit resets Sundays at midnight.  These songs from the Sony catalog are available at no cost to you, and have no copying or playing restrictions.  Best of all, they are yours to keep forever.  Access Freegal by clicking here. Your login is your ACPL card number and PIN.
     
     Hoopla
    We've expanded our Hoopla subscription for 2016!!!  Previously we only had access to movies but beginning today we also have access to television show episodes, ebooks, music, comic books, and audiobooks.  Allen County residents may borrow up to 10 titles a month (regardless of format). Borrowed titles will return automatically once the circulation period has lapsed.  
    • Movies and TV show episodes may be borrowed for 72 hours.  Our patrons under the age of 18 may borrow movies rated G through PG-13. 
    • Ebooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, and comic books may be borrowed for 21 days.
    • Music (the full album) may be borrowed for 7 days.  Due to record label restrictions, hoopla allows individuals to borrow the same album only twice in a 30-day period.
    Hoopla requires a hoopla account you will set up with your ACPL card number, PIN, and an email address.  Login will be with your created hoopla account (email and password) at https://www.hoopladigital.com/ .
     
     mango
     

    Want to learn a new language?  Check out Mango -- with 60+ languages to choose from, there are plenty of options!  Each lesson combines real life situations and audio from native speakers.  The lessons are presented with an appreciation for cultural nuance and real-world application by focusing on the four key elements of language learning: vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and culture.

    Look for Mango under RESEARCH on the ACPL website.  Mango also has a free app.  You can use the service as a guest, but, if you'd like to track your progress, you'll want to set up a free Mango account. 

     
     overdrive
    Did you receive an ereader over the holidays?  Check out Overdrive!  ACPL's subscription to Overdrive offers a variety of ebooks and downloadable audiobooks.  You can read or listen online with most titles and devices.  However, some titles and devices may require the OverDrive app or other software to work.  You can find help for your particular situation/device/setup here.   Checkout limit is 10; holds limit is 5.   Loan period is 21 days by default.





    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 | Dec 30, 2015
    The Reluctant GhostBook Review:  The Reluctant Ghost by Sheila Rosalynd Allen

    Jane Steadford is determined to save the only home her beloved aunt has ever known, Steadford Abbey.  Her uncle Nigel is equally determined to sell it and Charles Graham is equally determined to buy it.  Shenanigans ensue, not the least of which is Jane’s plan to convince Charles that the Abbey is haunted.  Little does she know that it actually is.  Sir Harry has been moping about the halls for years, gazing adoringly at Lady Agatha, but remaining unseen himself.  He’s never really understood his curse but he begins to as sparks begin to fly between Jane and Charles.

    Despite his late appearance, Sir Harry is the main character of this series.  He’s easily irritated, endearingly earnest, and completely intriguing.  Set in England in the 1800s, the plot is fun, even if the romance between Jane and Charles is cliched.  I first read this series years ago and decided to revisit it for a quick, fun read.

    Look to the next three books for more of Sir Harry and Lady Agatha’s backstories.   The Meddlesome Ghost, The Helpful Ghost, and The Passionate Ghost.


    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 Emily M | Dec 23, 2015
    Looking for a good book recommendation? Look no further!  Here are a few good books I’ve enjoyed recently.

    The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion

    rosieprojectDon Tillman is an exceptionally intelligent, yet socially stunted genetics professor who has decided he is in need of a wife. While taking up a scientific strategy to find the perfect wife, he meets a woman who is all wrong for him and, naturally, falls in love.  A remarkably enjoyable read that made me both laugh and cry, I highly recommend this book, particularly to fans of The Big Bang Theory.  (The resemblance between Don and Sheldon is strong.)

    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

    olivekitteridgeEach of the chapters of this novel function as short stories about the various townspeople of a little town in Maine, ultimately weaving the tale of Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher.  With so many chapters being told through the eyes of various characters, the reader is gifted with the ability to see Olive through many different perspectives – those who only know her peripherally, those who know her well, and her own.  Not one perspective shows Olive as being particularly likable or relatable, which makes her character remarkably believable and human.  While Olive has her redeeming moments, she is never redeemed.  Throughout the book, Elizabeth Strout writes painfully and exquisitely about the later years of life.

    The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer

    timetravelersguideIf you’re a history buff who enjoys reading about wars and political intrigue, this is not the book for you.  But if you're intrigued with what daily life was like for your average Joe, The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England will be right up your alley.  Ian Mortimer takes you on a journey to discover how people dressed and traveled, what they ate and drank, and what they did for work and entertainment in 14th century England. 



    What good books have read lately?


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

     

    by Craig B | Dec 18, 2015
    Star Wars Awoken3.jpgNote: Be sure to enter our Star Wars raffle made possible in part through donations from Books, Comics, & Things!  See end of post for more information.

    We did it!  The ACPL Blog Team saw the newest Star Wars film The Force Awakens!  See snapshots of our journey along that narrative rollercoaster below and follow the final link in this post to get our video response to the film.  Be cautious if you have not yet seen the film.  Our video could contain some unintended critical spoilers...


    T-Minus 23 minutes
    T-Minus 23 minutes

    T-Minus 17 minutes 
    T-Minus 17 minutes

    T-Minus 3 minutes
    T-Minus 3 minutes

    T-Minus ... nothing!
    T-Minus ... nothing!

    See our video response to Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the following link!

    https://youtu.be/s2u-vqzWaOw

    P.S. Look around for more Holiday 2015 Star Wars postings on ACPL social media.  Comment on any of those postings and earn an entry into our Star Wars raffle for each.  Limit 1 raffle entry per patron per post until Monday, December 28, 2015.  ACPL not responsible for lost or misdirected electronic submissions.  Raffle open only to Allen County residents with a valid email address.  And remember, share the Star Wars Christmas joy!  Share this post!

    Raffle Items
    by Craig B | Dec 16, 2015
    Kylo RenNote: Be sure to enter our Star Wars raffle made possible in part through donations from Books, Comics, & Things!  See end of post for more information.

    Well, folks, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is almost upon us.  Whether we await in blind ecstasy or crippling trepidation, we wait.  While we're waiting I thought we should talk about what we might be hoping for in our individual cases and what might come to us that could drive us over the edge ... I've compiled some of the results of my extensive survey of ACPL staff below:

    Evan
    Hope to see: More of Carrie Fisher than Harrison Ford ... but not counting on it
    Hope not to see: All 20,000 shots fired by professionally trained storm troopers miss every target

    Loren
    Hope to see: tons of fans complaining of lightsabers with cross-bars
    Hope not to see: anyone get their hand cut off ... again

    Staff Member A
    Hope to see: Luke Skywalker = Darksider
    Hope not to see: Elderly Jar-Jar Binks

    Karl
    Hope to see: Han Solo deliver great one-liners
    Hope not to see: Light/Lens flares. This is a J.J. Abrams movie and they tend to be plagued with light/lens flares.

    Craig
    Hope to see: Kylo Ren (see above image) Force choke someone by twitching his/her pinky
    Hope not to see: death of Luke Skywalker

    And ACPL patrons!  Add your own below in the comments!

    P.S. Keep an eye out for more Holiday 2015 Star Wars postings on ACPL social media (especially our highly anticipated video response due out December 19th).  Comment on any of those postings and earn an entry into our Star Wars raffle for each.  Limit 1 raffle entry per patron per post until Monday, December 28, 2015.  ACPL not responsible for lost or misdirected electronic submissions.  Raffle open only to Allen County residents with a valid email address.  And remember, share the Star Wars Christmas joy!  Share this post!

    Raffle Items



    craig Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Becky C | Dec 14, 2015
    Here’s a quick look at some holiday favorites that you may have missed the first time around. Something catch your eye? Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!
    spending holidays
     awkward holiday photos
    holiday awesome
     
     festivus
     wcs holidays
     nothing with strings
       hot cider
     


    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 11, 2015

    The Daughter of TimeEver read The Daughter of Time? Ever even heard of it? I don’t think I had either until a few months ago, even though it was voted the best crime novel of all time by the United Kingdom’s Crime Writers’ Association in 1990. And even though it was about my favorite historical mystery – the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower.

    For almost 500 years, the common knowledge was that Richard III had the boys murdered when he usurped the British throne in 1483. After all, that was what the Tudors and their main man, William Shakespeare, said, so there you were. But in 1951, acclaimed British mystery writer Josephine Tey published The Daughter of Time shortly before her death. The title phrase refers to the idea that the truth will eventually out, and Tey outed Henry VII – or at least tried to. Henry Tudor defeated Richard at the battle of Bosworth in 1485, where Richard was killed, and the Tudor story soon became that the princes were dead and Richard was responsible. Richard, of course, was unable to defend his reputation.

    That’s still the official story, so to speak, but using the character of her fictional detective stuck in a hospital bed with nothing better to do than analyze the known evidence about a medieval murder, Tey raised a lot of doubts. So many doubts that her book sparked renewed interest not only in the mystery but in Richard’s otherwise acclaimed brief kingship. Tey’s project inspired revival of the Richard III Society, which helped find Richard’s skeleton beneath a parking lot three years ago. Recently, Richard’s modern friends announced a big effort to find out what happened to the princes, with the help of modern technologies.

    As I said, I don’t think I ever heard of Tey’s book before, even though the mystery was the subject of my high school senior thesis, which, alas, I cannot find. I do remember that I defended Richard’s name, but if I did fail to catch on that Tey’s book was the source of this historical revisionism, that’s pretty embarrassing.

    Meanwhile, there’s also been a lot of research in recent years about the battle of Bosworth itself. Historians aren’t even sure exactly where it took place, but they’re working on it. I’m just finishing a book by one of them – Michael Jones’s Bosworth 1485. He is on the Richard Did the Deed side, but sort of exonerates the crime for various political and family reasons and then goes on to suggest that Richard fought Bosworth in a certain way to make up for his sins. If Jones is right, Richard was foiled by an unexpected tactic used by Swiss mercenaries fighting for Henry – although the battle-hardened Richard came close to killing his unmilitary rival.

    Anyway, here’s a long overdue salute to Ms. Tey and other justice-seeking historical revisionists – with a rhetorical nod to one of my baseball heroes, the late Yogi Berra. The writing of history is not over until it’s over, and we all hope that’s a really long way off.




    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by David W | Dec 09, 2015

    Note: Be sure to enter our Star Wars raffle made possible in part through donations from Books, Comics, & Things!  See end of post for more information.

    Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace came out as I was finishing the 4th grade.  This pegs me squarely in the generation that was being targeted at the time for a revival of interest in Star Wars, and far from the generation for which the original trilogy holds childhood nostalgia.  As I reflect upon my Star Wars experience, I am so thankful that I saw the original trilogy before the prequels were released.

    I remember riding in the car with my father and two of my aunts.  I don't remember how the subject was broached, but the conversation turned to Star Wars and Star Trek.  I had heard of both of them, but they occupied that nebulous space in my second grade mind of the larger adult culture in which I wasn't yet sure if I was allowed to engage.  Looking back now, it may have been Star Wars gags on the cartoon Muppet Babies that first brought Star Wars to my attention.  I remember hearing my family talk about both series, and trying to give a suitably streamlined explanation of lightsabers (which, as it turns out, are very different from Life Savers), tribbles, and the force.  I don't think I understood how the two series differed, merely that they were, in fact, two completely different things.  Later that same day, my dad took me to the one of the video stores in Waynedale.  Truth be told, I think he was trying to get me to choose Star Trek, but I distinctly remember looking at the VHS sleeves on Star Wars and thinking, "Nope, this is clearly the better choice."  I don't regret that decision.

    6155622014_996d242d43_b

    Once I saw the trilogy, my eyes opened to the ever expanding world of the Star Wars universe.  I remember going to my friend's house and looking at all of his brother's models of the various spaceships and walkers (which we were most definitely not allowed to touch).  I began to read the "Young Jedi Knights" novels, a series targeted at young readers that followed the adventures of Han Solo and Princess Leia's daughter and son.  The world that George Lucas created came alive in a way that suggested a whole universe of adventures, something that captivated me long after watching the resolution of Luke's story.

    Splinter_of_the_Minds_EyeLooking back now, I think it is the world-building that has made such a lasting impression on generations of fans.  It's easy in retrospect to look at fan-compiled sources like the Wookiepedia with its 120,000+ articles and make sense of it--what other property has so many die-hard fans devoted to chronicling every background character and planet?  But to think that it sprang from a series of movies that were considered incredible gambles and that could have wound up being nuggets of cult minutiae rather than dynasty-launching super-hits.  Even Lucas had a contingency plan in Splinter of the Mind's Eye, a much more self-contained follow-up to the 1977 film that would have taken the place of The Empire Strikes Back if the first film didn't make a splash in the theater.  What strikes me as most impressive is that everything outside of the movies has spun out from that core trilogy, inspired by three films that caused everyone they touched to imagine a world so much bigger than what was captured on screen.

    Part of Disney's acquisition of the Star Wars property and their decision to expand upon it has been the controversial decision to disregard anything as canonical that is not from either the films or the Clone Wars television show.  From the point-of-view of the writers who have the Sisyphean task of continuing the Star Wars narrative, this move seems necessary--trying to create new stories and conflicts while rectifying them with 35 years of comics, novels, and video games would be a nearly impossible task, especially when some of those stories already take place in the time period in which you intend upon setting the story.  Conversely, you can see why fans would regard the decision with disdain, or at the very least apprehension.  As a well-read fan, your favorite Star Wars character may live in a comic series story arc from the mid-90's, and that's where they'll forever stay.  This isn't to say that the world of fan-written and speculative Star Wars fiction is dead, merely that it will never get the Disney stamp of approval.

    Moving the franchise into different hands with a new, fresh perspective gives me hope for a more vivacious future for Star Wars.  Many fans are understandably worried that J.J. Abrams and Disney may not know what fans want out of more Star Wars, and while we'll have to wait a few more weeks to see, I'd argue that the prequel trilogy is evidence that Lucas no longer knew that either.  The original trilogy was full of simple characters based on strong archetypes, easy-to-follow emotional arcs, and memorable locations and sequences that we still delight in revisiting today.  The prequel trilogy was full of complex intergalactic politics, crowded special effects, and "complex" characters that served to confuse kids and make adults roll their eyes.  There are plenty of things to praise in the prequels as well, and the original trilogy is not without its faults, but time has bore out that aside from a few memorable sequences, the attempt at a second trilogy has produced just as many objects of ridicule amongst fans as it has iconic characters.  It's not unusual to hear fans fond of dissecting the missteps of the prequel trilogy argue that Lucas had too few reins when creating the prequel trilogy, both in terms of budget and other creative minds willing to veto some of his choices.  These factors allowed Lucas produce three films that tried to be everything to everyone and still left most fans unsatisfied.  This is ultimately hearsay from people ancillary to the project and the general mood shown in many behind-the-scenes featurettes, but I think it shows that while Disney and J.J. Abrams may not be the creative partnership that fans imagined, it's worth being excited about seeing what a fresh team will do with a decade of hindsight about how the previous three films were received.

    At least we have this awesome fan theory to salvage the inclusion of Jar Jar Binks, one of the unanimous low points in the franchise.

    That's enough speculation and analysis.  We're getting more Star Wars!  I've tried to avoid spoilers as much as possible, but I have watched each new trailer and TV spot, and it is clear that the indefinable magic that is Star Wars still hums under every bar of that John Williams score.  Whenever I see Star Wars: Aftermath go back on shelf I make a mental note to pick it up as soon as I've seen the movie, so that I can learn about the events that occur between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens (it is ultimately a property that centers around the films, so I'd rather be introduced to any new characters on screen before they appear in a book).  I look at the new, super detailed Force Awakens Lego sets that I would love to have on my shelf right next to my Lego Slave 1.  I try to maintain a critical perspective, but ladies and gentlemen, I've bought into the Star Wars hype.  Let's hope the force is with this new cast and creative team, because there are millions of fans out there that are ready for our next adventure.

    December 18th can't get here soon enough.

    P.S. Keep an eye out for more Holiday 2015 Star Wars postings on ACPL social media (especially our highly anticipated video response due out December 19th).  Comment on any of those postings and earn an entry into our Star Wars raffle for each.  Limit 1 raffle entry per patron per post until Monday, December 28, 2015.  ACPL not responsible for lost or misdirected electronic submissions.  Raffle open only to Allen County residents with a valid email address.  And remember, share the Star Wars Christmas joy!  Share this post!

    Raffle Items

    davidDavid loves all sorts of film and music with a soft spot for schlocky B-horror movies, anything with Patrick Swayze, and preposterous concept albums. He adores James Joyce and Virginia Wolfe foremost, but has plenty of Neil Gaiman, Seamus Heaney, and Stephen Jay Gould on his bookshelf as well. Feel free to get in touch with him if you want to argue the merits of why The Fountain should be better regarded among Aronofsky's works or which of The Lord Weird Slough Feg's albums is the best.
    by Craig B | Dec 07, 2015


    Image via Wikipedia

     
     This image is not actually of James Agee, it is of Henry Walker, Agee's photographic collaborator for the work Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, the book that is widely considered the masterpiece of Agee's career.

    Book Review:  A Death in the Family by James Agee

    The characters of James Agee's 1958 Pulitzer win (awarded posthumously, this autobiographical novel centers around an event from Agee's childhood), A Death in the Family, are, to put it mildly, conflicted.  Paragraphs are dedicated to internal crises such as the self-loathing one character feels because of the less-than-efficient way he puts on his trousers.  Not to say this sort of thing doesn't make for engaging reading, it's just ... it borders on exhausting.

    Juxtaposed to this near-lachrymose writing style was Agee's personal career in which he seemed to have quite a bit of "kinetic" energy.  He was the premiere film critic of the 1940s and famously adapted C.S. Forester's The African Queen for the silver screen.  Now, he did die kind of young (at the age of 45 of a heart attack) in 1955 so maybe he had been kind of overdoing it, maybe his internal conflicts rivaled that of his characters in A Death in the Family and finally caught up with him.  Agonizing over how one puts one's pants on does seem to belie anxieties beyond most people's ken and general constitution, especially in 1955 when there was no 5 Hour Energy.  Anyway, upon Agee's demise A Death in the Family remained unfinished.  Dissatisfied with this state of affairs, Agee's publisher shook off any ennui he was feeling and pulled the book together for release in 1957, thus allowing it to be eligible to win the Pulitzer in 1958.  (Sometimes to become immortal one has to die and have very good friends ... not actually sure how to feel about that statement.)

    Here's the thing, really, though ... actually (I'm not trying to convince you, just listen).  For all of its intensity, as A Death in the Family gets going it's far from enervating.  The internal conflict of the characters does verge to overwhelming, but in an invigorating way (if you believe that's possible; myself, I'm of two minds about it, possibly three), and the tensions that develop between nihilism, organized religion, and evident miracles begin to drive the story towards it merciless end.  This cocktail of elements, as it breeds ambivalence and psychic affliction, may actually exhaust some of our capacities for reading another person's words.  But then, if you're going to have an internal monologue of a story, this seems to be the right way to go about it, that is, through ambivalence, paradox, and self-loathing.  No lodestone is quite as fascinating, as the mortal, erring, equivocal human who yet is consumed with imagining ways to live forever.

    craig Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Craig B | Dec 03, 2015
    Star Wars TicketAllen County Public Library is going to tell its own Star Wars story this year.  We'll share it with you as it develops.  Consider sharing yours here.

    My own Star Wars story is pretty short.  I remember spending a long afternoon watching the original trilogy on VHS (no doubt recorded from network TV) with my parents who were mostly just passing a lazy afternoon and keeping the kids quiet.  I was immediately captured by the magic of the thing but unfortunately have never watched the movies in their entirety again.  It’s okay for you, the reader, to feel some quickly accelerating annoyance at this; the reasons for my transgression are complicated and personal, involving a conservative upbringing, being a bigger fan of Tolkien, and George Lucas’ constant carrot-waving that caused me to become befuddled on which version of the films to watch.

    Anyway, I’m picking up and retaking control of my Star Wars story here at the end of 2015. I’ve borrowed the original trilogy from a friend, I’ve purchased a very special dimpled mug in which to enjoy certain select beverages, and I’ve got my plush Luke Skywalker doll to clutch during the more intense action sequences.  The next few days should seal the final chapter in the earliest volume of my Star Wars story, but a new volume is about to begin, this one involving the Allen County Public Library, blogging, and the auspicious day of December 18.  As we all begin this new volume in the ongoing saga of Star Wars and our personal experiences with the whole thing, consider kicking off your own new chapter by sharing here your earliest Star Wars memories and being entered in a raffle to win some of the coolest Star Wars stuff around (donated in part by our friends at Books, Comics, and Things).  And no matter what, fan or no, raffle entrant, blogger, or confused individual who just happened into this extended monologue ... May the Force be with you.

    P.S. Keep an eye out for more Holiday 2015 Star Wars postings on ACPL social media (especially our highly anticipated video response due out December 19th).  Comment on any of those postings and earn an entry into our Star Wars raffle for each.  Limit 1 raffle entry per patron per post until Monday, December 28, 2015.  ACPL not responsible for lost or misdirected electronic submissions.  Raffle open only to Allen County residents with a valid email address.  And remember, share the Star Wars Christmas joy!  Share this post!


    craig Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Zora S | Nov 30, 2015

    There is an ancient Indian book, which always brings sweet memories from my childhood. I picture my mother’s beautiful smile and her calming voice, reading to me its charming stories. I remember the warm nights, the laugh-filled moments, the quiet discussions. It was a time well-spent together.

    A 'Panchatantra' relief at the Mendut temple, Central Java, Indonesia. By BesselDekker at nl.wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia CommonsThe book is called Panchatantra, and it is said to be the most widely spread work in time and place after the Bible. Panchatantra's influence can be detected in different works of literature as the Arabian Nights, The Gesta Romanorum, Decameron by Boccaccio, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Aesop Fables, The fables of La Fontaine, The Brer Rabbit Tales (Southern United States), and many others. These old Indian tales still bring delight to many people – believers and non-believers, Buddhists and Christians, Muslims and Jewish.

    Panchatantra contains five independent books (“panchatantra” means “five books”), and  each of them has numerous stories within stories. The main five books are titled as follows: “The Separation of Friends”, “The Gaining of Friends”, “Of Crows and Owls”, “Loss of Gains”, and “Hasty Action”. They are a collection of animal fables in verse and prose. The main characters are animals that embody human characteristics. Through a carefully constructed allegorical mode the tales deliver the wisdom of ancient India.

    The incredible world of Panchatantra is filled with Brahmans and thieves, kings and servants, weavers and barbers, royal daughters and philanderers, rulers and wolves, wizards and jackals, goblins and snakes, lions and donkeys, and so on. The traders traded; the craftsmen produced their goods; the kings imposed taxes, and the poor worked and dreamt about money and trips to other countries where they would find a better life. People strive to reach the same goals nowadays. One can see that the world has not changed much throughout the ages.

    The fables in Panchatantra were written in the Sanskrit language about 200 B.C. but parts of the stories and verses existed long before that. According to scholars, the Panchatantra was created across a whole era, as the best stories of old cultures were gathered. It started with the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature -- the Mahabharata -- and then included the laws of Manu (Hindu legal code) and later sacred Buddhist and Jain texts.

    An illustration from a Syrian edition dated 1354. The rabbit fools the elephant king by showing him the reflection of the moon. By Syrischer Maler von 1354 [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsMost of the animal fables were first created by the people who settled along the banks of Indus River and were passed along primarily through oral communication. Scholars still try to decode their script, but there were discoveries of rock paintings and objects with drawing of animals, which were very similar to the ones, described in the ancient Indian texts. These fables merged into the Jataka tales, (a Buddhist compilation of moral stories), and blended later with texts of Mahabharata. This book is another great Sanskrit epic of the Hindus, telling the story about the civil war between the five brothers and their 100 stepbrothers, which took place near modern Delhi.

    It is worth noting that the first written copies of Panchatantra were drafted in Kashmir region during the so-called “Golden Age” of the Ancient Indian culture (A.D. 350-450). The best-known version, closest to the original fables, was created by a monk named Purnabhadra in A.D. 1199, and it was titled “The Panchatantra-text of Purnabhadra.” This copy traveled around the world and became popular in Southeast Asia - Siam, Indochina, and Indonesia, influenced the Mongol literature, and has been translated into Persian and Arabic. The Arabic version, made by the Persian scholar Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa (A.D.750) and titled Kalila and Dimna: selected fables of Bidpai became very popular later in Europe. Through various names, this ancient work has been known in different parts of the world.

    Panchatantra appeared in the Greek language at the end of the 11th century and from there it made its way into the Slavonic languages. The old Spanish and ancient Hebrew copies came during the 13th century, and they lead to the Latin translation. The Latin version inspired Sir Thomas North, and he wrote the first English translation in 1570 titled, The Fables of Bidpai: The Morall Philosophie of Doni. The journey of the book continued with its copies in German, Italian, New Spanish language, and Czech. In the 16th century came the Turkish translation, followed by the French one. Interestingly, when a copy finally has been translated into the Hindi language and reached the places where the texts were originally drafted, the Indian people were amazed by this incredible book.

     A page from Kelileh o Demneh, depicts the jackal Dimna trying to persuade his lion-king that the honest bull-courtier, is a traitor. By User Zereshk on en.wikipedia (en.wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThe fables of Panchatantra were initially intended to serve the sons of kings as manuals of instruction in the principles of conduct. According to the legend, the book was written by a wise old man, named Vishnu Sharman. His purpose was to teach the kings’ not so bright successors the wisdom to live in an imperfect world of trickery and deception. The attractively told stories were intended to help the Kings' sons succeed in life. Philosophy, psychology, politics, music, astronomy, and human relationship are all discussed in the book in such unique way that brings lasting joy to the reader.

     The stories in Panchatantra are charming but what gives real value to the book are the verses within the narrative, filled with beauty, wisdom, and wit. These are the gems of the necklace of wisdom, collected for centuries. Plenty of proverbs directly stress the moral of the stories, well-illustrated with the stanzas that follow them. For example, “Where bribes and flattery would fail, Intrigue is certain to avail”. Thus:

    Even a pearl, so smoothly hard and round,
    Is fastened by a thread and safely bound,
    After a way to pierce its heart is found.

    Part of a popular epigrammatic verse is still very often quoted. It supports the moral of the story “The Duel between Elephant and Sparrow” from the book The loss of friends:

    A friend in need is a friend indeed;
    Fathers indeed are those who feed;
    True comrades they and wives indeed,
    Whence trust and sweet content proceed.

    I believe that we all have and cherish such precious memories of reading together with our parents. We give our kids the same gift of happiness. Exploring Panchatantra could be a great new adventure for a special time with them. Luckily, our library owns a variety of entertaining stories from one of the great classics of Indian literature, selected and retold especially for kids. Some of the ACPL copies are:

    I hope, as one of the Panchatantra’s translators, Jamila Gavin (the author of “School for Princes”) stated, “readers will gain some wisdom from these ancient texts, even if they never expect to rule a kingdom!”

    by Emily M | Nov 25, 2015

    aliceinwonderlandIt’s been 150 years this month since Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll, published what is probably the world’s best known piece of literary nonsense (Yes, that’s a real genre!) – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Originally a short story written for the daughter of close friends of Carroll’s (her name was Alice, of course), he was encouraged to flesh out the story into a complete novel by friends, and the rest is history.  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into 174 languages and in 150 years, has never once been out of print.  A few years later Carroll wrote the wildly successful sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, which is often published together with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as if they are one bookTogether the books would inspire adaptations in countless plays, movies, and even comic books.     

    To celebrate Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland's 150th anniversary, here are a few favorite quotes from Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece and its sequel:

    “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

    “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

    “Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”

    “Curiouser and curiouser!”

    “If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”

    “I don’t see how he can ever finish, if he doesn’t begin.”

    “At any rate, there’s no harm trying.”

    And of course…

    “Off with their heads!”  


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

     

    by Kay S | Nov 23, 2015
    luck be a ladyI loved this book! When I first read the characters of Nicholas O’Shea and Catherine Everleigh in the previous book, Lady be Good, I wondered just how Meredith Duran was ever going to turn this pair into a romance couple. Well, I’m happy to say all my worries were for naught. What a wonderful couple! Luck Be A Lady is a wonderful romance! Sigh.

    Nicholas O’Shea.
    Sigh. Nicholas O’Shea seemed like such an unlikely hero. In the previous book he was a pretty scary guy. While he is extremely sexy, he also has a bit of Michael Corleone’s ruthlessness about him. But where Michael is clean, Nicholas is dirtier, more rugged, grittier – ah, shucks – he’s one hot scary guy. In Luck Be a Lady we get to see his gentle side. The one hiccup I had with Mr. O’Shea wasn’t his fault, but the author's. She made him a crime lord over Whitechapel and unless I’m wrong, in this time period Whitechapel was a pretty dangerous, seedy place to be, filled with overcrowding, squalor and some pretty notorious murders. I was a little uncomfortable with some of his “do-gooding.” Especially, when in reality, I know how decayed this area of London was at this particular time. However, I rose above my issues.

    Catherine.
    What an interesting character. She is perceived as the “ice queen.” Many men have tried to win her, but she doesn’t want anything to do with them. The little glimpse we have of her as a child, trying desperately to win her father’s esteem, is not only enlightening but very poignant. She is clever, ambitious and beautiful. Her life is Everleigh’s Auction Rooms, an auction house which she and her brother Peter share. Everleigh is Catherine’s true love, her only friend. When this story begins, Peter is trying to take this joy away from her. But she has a plan. Her solution is to find a man who is strong enough to stand up to Peter; someone controlling, someone who doesn’t really care about society, someone ruthless - and marry that someone. Of course, this will be a marriage of convenience. She has it all planned out. Once she’s married she will have control of Everleigh’s Auction Rooms. When she comes up with her grand plan she doesn’t take the man himself into consideration. Since this is Romanceland we all know how marriage of conveniences work. They are usually anything but convenient and it isn’t long before Nicholas and Catherine know that too.

    There is so much in this book. Nicholas and Catherine are from two totally different worlds; they are two totally different people and their relationship shouldn’t work, but it does. Thanks to Ms. Duran, we have been gifted with a pretty powerful love story.

    This is one of the stories this year that is not to be missed! Nicholas is one sexy guy, and ladies/gents watch for the door scene. Catherine is an unlikeable character who is made lovely. And, Peter is truly one slimy, creepy villain/brother. Luck be a Lady gets a high recommendation and I would read this one over again just because I liked it so much.

    Time/Place: 1886 London


    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 Kay | Nov 20, 2015
    Yes, my little petunias it is time for another load of upcoming releases. Here are a few for your perusal and remember these dates are the release date, not the date that the library near you will have them.
    Historical Romance
    h_evans
    Bronwen Evans
    A Whisper of Desire
    Disgraced Lord series
    ebook
    December 1 
    h_harrington
    Anna Harrington
    Dukes are Forever
    The Secret Life of Scoundrels series
    November 14
    h_hoyt Elizabeth Hoyt
    Sweetest Scoundrel
    Maiden Lane series
    November 24
    h_lee Jade Lee
    One Rogue at a Time
    Rakes and Rogues series
    December 1
    h_lord Susanne Lord
    In Search of Scandal
    London Explorers series
    December 1
    h_mccarty Monica McCarty
    The Striker
    Highland Guard series
    November 24
    h_mcQuiston Jennifer McQuiston
    The Spinster's Guide to Scandalous Behavior
    Seduction Diaries series
    November 24
    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream
    c_ashenden
    Jackie Ashenden
    Hold Me Down
    the Deacons of Bourbon Street series
    Contemporary Romance, ebook
    December 8 
    c_asher
    Bridget Asher
    All of Us and Everything
    Mainstream
    November 24
    c_brown Tracy Brown
    White Lines III: All Falls Down
    Mainstream
    November 17
    c_crown Zaire Crown
    Games Women Play
    Mainstream
    November 24
    c_douglas Penelope Douglas
    Misconduct
    Contemporary Romance
    December 1


    c_hayley Elizabeth Hayley
    Just Say Yes
    Strictly Business series
    Contemporary Romance
    December 14
    c_lane Lauren Layne
    Steal Me
    New York’s Finest series
    Contemporary Romance
    November 24
    c_march Kerstin March
    Branching Out
    Sequel to Family Trees
    Mainstream
    November 24
    c_showalter  Gena Showalter
    The Harder You Fall
    The Original Heartbreakers series
    Contemporary Romance
    November 24
    c_trilivas
    Nicole Trilivas, debut
    Girls Who Travel
    Mainstream
    December 1
    c_wells Robin Wells
    The Wedding Tree
    Mainstream
    December 1


    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense
    M_baldacci  David Baldacci
    The Guilty
    Will Robbie series
    Thriller
    November 17 
    m_buchman M.L. Buchman
    Target Engaged
    Delta Force series
    Romantic Suspense
    December 1
    m_bywaters Grant Bywaters, debut
    The Red Storm
    Mystery
    December 1
    m_carmack Amanda Carmack
    Murder at Whitehall
    Elizabethan Mystery series
    Mystery
    December 1
    M_delaMotte
    Anders de la Motte
    MemoRandom
    Thriller
    December 1
    m_douglas Kate Douglas
    Intimate
    Intimate Relations Series
    Romanctic Suspense
    December 1

    m_hartwell Sadie Hartwell
    Yarned and Dangerous
    Tangled Web Mystery series
    Mystery
    November 24
    m_james Steven James
    Every Crooked Path
    The Bowers Files series
    Suspense
    December 1
    m_koontz Dean Koontz
    Ashley Bell
    Suspense
    December 8
    m_krentz Jayne Ann Krentz
    Secret Sisters
    Romantic Suspense
    December 8
    m_lloyd Catherine Lloyd
    Death Come to Kurland Hall
    Kurland series
    Mystery
    November 24
    m_macmillan Gilly Macmillan
    What She Knew
    Suspense
    December 1
    m_mizushima Margaret Mizushima
    Killing Trail
    Mystery
    December 8
    m_schofield Douglas Schofield
    Time of Departure
    Mystery
    December 1
    m_tremel Joyce Tremel
    To Brew or Not to Brew
    Brewing Trouble series
    Mystery
    December 1

    Paranormal Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
    p_aiken
    G.A. Aiken
    Feel the Burn
    Dragonkin series
    Paranormal Romance
    November 24
    p_baxter
    Kate Baxter
    The Warrior Vampire
    Last True Vampire series
    Paranormal Romance
    December 1
    p_berg Carol Berg
    Ash and Silve
    Sanctuary series
    Fantasy
    December 1
    p_cole Kresley Cole
    Sweet Ruin
    Immortals After Dark series
    Paranormal Romance
    December 1
    p_harrison Thea Harrison
    Shadow's End
    Elder Races series
    Paranormal Romance
    December 1
    p_koch Gini Koch
    Alien in Chief
    Alien series
    Urban Fantasy
    December 1


    p_sagara Michelle Sagara
    Cast in Honor
    Chronicles of Elantra series
    Fantasy
    November 24


    Young Adult
    ya_carter  Aimee Carter
    Queen
    The Blackcoat Rebellion trilogy
    November 11

    ya_dashner
    James Dashner
    The Game of Lives
    Mortality Doctrine series
    November 17 



    ya_kaufman Amie Kaufman
    Meagan Spooner
    Their Fractured Light
    Starbound series
    December 1

    ya_maskame Estelle Maskame
    Did I Mention I Love You?
    Dimily series
    December 1

    Erotica
    e_calhoun Anne Calhoun
    The Muse
    Irresistible series
    December 1 
    e_dane Lauren Dane
    Coming Back
    Ink & Chrome series
    December 8


    Inspiration Romance/Mainstream
    i_camden  Elizabeth Camden
    Until the Dawn
    November 24 
    i_clipston Amy Clipston
    The Forgotten Recipe
    December 8
    i_eide Camille Eide
    The Memoir of Johnny Devine
    ebook
    December 1
    i_hauck  Rachel Hauck
    The Wedding Chapel
    November 17
    by Becky C | Nov 18, 2015
    The Rose GardenBook Review:  The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

    “Whatever time we have,” he said, “it will be time enough.”

    After her sister dies, Eva returns to the site of many happy childhood memories, Trelowarth House on the Cornish coast.  As she renews old friendships and makes new ones, she finds herself dealing with something she doesn’t understand and can’t share.  She hears voices no one else hears and sees things no one else sees.  At first she thinks she’s losing her sanity but she soon realizes that she’s slipping back and forth in time.

    I loved the setting, the characters, the story – the whole shebang!  Kearsley makes time travel seem possible – not because she spends a lot of time explaining how it happens, but because she focuses on the challenges it presents.  The fact that she creates believable, relatable characters helps too – it was easy for me to fall into the story without worrying too much about the mechanics of things, simply because I cared about the characters and found myself caught up in their stories.

    The Rose Garden is a beautiful blend of past and present which explores the bonds of love, family, and home.  As always, Kearsley creates a strong sense of place and history; as always, she blends romance, mystery, and supernatural elements into a story the reader just can’t put down.  The story also has a neat little twist that I absolutely loved.  Highly recommended!


    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.