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    by Emily M | Nov 16, 2015

    Looking for a good book recommendation? Look no further!  Here’s a few good books I’ve enjoyed recently:

    The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg

    Around 2009 U.S. and Sweden-based journalist Jenny Nordberg headed to undergroundgirlsofkabulAfghanistan to see what progress had been made in terms of welfare and rights of Afghani women and girls since 2001.  What she stumbled upon intrigued her: an accepted, yet rarely discussed practice known as bacha posh, in which (usually) prepubescent girls are raised and presented to the world as if they were boys.  This has nothing to do with sexual identity or being transgender, but concerns the social, political, and economic advantages that come to the individual child, as well as the entire family, when one is a boy.  Nordberg not only delves into the varied reasons why families choose this path for their daughters, but also explores the effect of being born a second class citizen (female), being elevated to a position of privilege (male), and then being forced back into a place of oppression (female) on these girls as they transition into adulthood.  Fascinating, eye-opening, and ultimately heart-breaking, I highly recommend this book.

    A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

    Pulitzer Prize- winning Tyler delivers a lovely and engaging novel about the spoolofbluethreadWhitshank family.  Written in non-chronological order, Tyler slowly reveals the secrets of four generations of this Baltimore family.  I loved and hated the ending of this book for the same reason:  I hated it because it didn’t give me the resolution that I wanted and loved it because, just like in real life, there was no easy resolution.  A Spool of Blue Thread deals beautifully with the difficult and messy dynamics of family.

    The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin   

    A.J. Fikry is a depressed widower who owns a failing bookstore and has had his storiedlifeofajfikryprized possession, a rare collection of Edgar Allan Poe poems, stolen, but his life turns around when a baby is abandoned on his doorstep.  For some readers, this book may come off as one giant cliché, but I found it managed to stay endearingly sweet, if somewhat unrealistic.  An easy, enjoyable read, my favorite part of this book was the last page and a half.  The ending should have been quite sad, but instead, the author chooses to remind the reader that out of every ending is the possibility for a fresh, new beginning. 

    What about you?  What good books have you read recently that our readers might enjoy?



    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 Becky C | Nov 13, 2015
    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!

    Driftless Area
    Winning the Money Game
     
     Black Noon
     Midnight in Siberia
     Furiously Happy
     Better Than Before
     The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
     The Marvels
     The Earth Avails



    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Kay S | Nov 11, 2015
    What to do with a dukeWhat to Do With a Duke is the first in Sally MacKenzie’s new series called Spinster House. While I was not all that enthralled with her last Naked series, I like Ms. MacKenzie’s humor enough to pick up her latest.

    What we have in What to Do With a Duke is a curse, a cat, and a spinster or a should I say a trio of spinsters.

    The curse is that all of the Dukes of Hart will die before the birth of their heir, unless the curse is broken by “true love.” The curse must be true because when this story begins it has been going on for 200 years. So, it comes as no surprise that the current Duke of Hart, Marcus, is in no hurry to walk down the matrimonial isle. However, he is lonely, blue and sad. He doesn’t know what the problem is, but something is missing in his life – except matrimonial-minded women. These women keep throwing themselves at him in the hopes of entrapping him into the bonds of marriage. Which is what happens when this story begins. Another woman has tried to trap him, she is caught with her clothes half off and him standing over her. Her outraged father tries to force him into marriage, but Marcus says a firm no, nope, never and in so doing creates a small scandal. It is at this time that Marcus and his two friends, Nate and Alex, decide now would be a good time to take a hike. Before they do Marcus receives word from his estate that he needs to choose the next spinster of Spinster House.

    Now this is part of the story that is a little confusing. There is a house on Marcus’ property that was established by the same woman who put a curse on the Dukes of Hart. I’m a little unclear as to why she established this house, because it doesn’t have anything to do with the curse, but there is a magical cat that lives there. In between licking its hind quarters, the cat communes with people and walks around the house as if it owns it. Anyway, back to the Spinster House. For some reason there has been a spinster living in the house for 200 years. Not the same spinster - that would be silly because there’s no such thing as a 200-year-old spinster. I think. Anyway, for some reason the Dukes of Hart must be the ones who choose which spinster lives in the house. In the past there has always been only one woman interested in living in that house, so Marcus believes that he won’t be at his estate all that long. Then he and his friends (future heroes), can go traipsing off for a walk through the countryside.  Enter Catherine, aka Cat.

    Poor Catherine lives in a house with nine other siblings, or most of them since two of them are married. Even though Catherine has been raised in a loving family, she is tired of sharing space with them. She is tired of the noise, the sharing of a bed, the disorder. She can’t write her great novel because of the constant cacophony. She wants the Spinster House. Who should arrive on her father’s doorstep? Well, you see Marcus must talk to the Vicar (Cat’s father) before he can choose the spinster. Well, Catherine jumps at the chance to become the spinster of Spinster House. Marcus doesn’t have a problem with it either, less work for his brain to do. So they agree, however there is a fly in the ointment (or should I say “flies”). Two of Cat’s friends, Jane and Anne, want to be by themselves also. I’m assuming we will find out when their books come out what their reasoning is. Now Marcus has three women to choose from for the Grand Spinster job. It is written in a contract somewhere that they must draw straws to choose who will be the spinster if there is more than one applicant. Cat wins the draw. It is at this time that Cat finds out what friendship is all about, because her friends turn into vicious harpies. They become frenemies and start some really nasty gossip about Cat.

    There was a lot going on in this book, a lot of humor but also a number of things that irritated me. Let’s start with Cat. Even though she is surrounded by a crowd of people, she is really a self-centered person. She has no conception of how her leaving the loving, affectionate family will upset her younger siblings. She has never let on how much she wants to leave, so it comes has quite a shock when she announces it at the dinner table. Her lack of perception makes her a very unlikeable heroine. The only saving grace at this point is that when she finally moves into the Spinster House, she is unable to do any writing because of the quiet. Spoilers ahead. While we are talking about Cat, let me just say this: she turns into one of those heroines who cannot marry the hero. At first it’s because she wants to be alone, but then it’s because if she does he will die. The curse only works if there is marriage and a baby. I found Cat to be a very tiresome character.

    Speaking of tiresome, let’s turn our attention to Marcus. Yes, Marcus the cursed Duke who can never hold his heir because of the curse. He is doomed, doomed, doomed. Of course he could marry for love, but he doesn’t know what that is, even when it’s staring him in the face. He is downright depressing. But that doesn’t stop his overactive Mr. Toad from erupting every time Cat enters the room. No sirree, Marcus’ trousers were constantly tented. And, while we are talking about tents, let’s talk about a “c” word which rhymes with rock. Let me say right up front, I am not offended by this word. I’ve read enough romances to become almost immune to the word. But here’s the problem: Marcus thought about his “c” a lot. Everywhere he went it was up – all the time. But did it ever get to do anything? Nooooo. Did the heroine ever notice it? Noooooo. Was there enough sensuality in the book for this troublesome creature to blend into? Nooooo. It was like a sore thumb just flopping around in the breeze and didn’t really have a purpose. Except it did concern Marcus – a lot.

    Writhing.
    What’s with all the heroines writhing around? Almost all the heroines in the romance books I’ve read lately are writhing. The word even looks odd. Someone needs to hold these poor ladies down. How can any of those poor heroes find any orifices with all the squirming that’s going on?

    Gossip.
    There was some really mean and explicit gossip in this book. There were all these supporting characters who were asking mighty explicit questions. I think that maybe they were supposed to be humorous, but I had to raise my eyebrows and question the kind of questions coming out of the mouths of these women from this time period. Sure there were busybody, in-your-face women in this time period, but I think they hid their words behind other words. Words that would have the same meaning but not fall so harshly on one's ears.

    Finally, yes finally, I am almost done with my rambling. We have a stupid misunderstanding, jump to the wrong conclusion moment in this book. It is the heroine who jumps to the wrong conclusion and throws a tantrum. She jumps to the wrong conclusion about the woman who caused the scandal in the beginning of the book. It was silly and not needed. One last thing – where’s the epilogue? Yes, we believe Cat and Marcus love each other and that the curse is broken and that he won’t die. But, gee-willikers we need to have it in black and white right in front of our faces. I needed to see a baby bouncing on Marcus’ knee to be satisfied.

    I was disappointed in What to Do With a Duke. There wasn’t any chemistry between Marcus and Cat. Marcus was overly concerned with his Mr. Toad and for no particular reason because he seemed to be the only one who knew he had one. The “I can’t marry you” routine became tiresome. The secondary female friends were mean. Not even the humor in this book could save it for me.


    kayKay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.
    by Craig B | Nov 09, 2015
    image via Syndetics

    I was still too upset about that ‘dancer’ song from The Killers’ Day & Age to bother with Mr. Flower’s first solo album, Flamingo, in 2010, so, needless to say, I was super unsure about this second solo album, The Desired Effect, upon checking it out the other day. 

    Now, however, I am pleased to declare that I found Mr. Flowers’ The Desired Effect surprisingly tolerable.  More than that even.  It grew on me.  I mean, once I got my CD player to cooperate (see, by then all of my “other” CDs had migrated indoors and it was the only CD left in my car anyway). With a few musical "whiffs" of Mr. Phil Collins and even "The Boss" the album strikes out strong, borne aloft by (dare I say) remarkable lyricism and brave execution, and, for me, achieves its "desired effect"; assuming that effect is to make me indulge in a quick punch-dance or two.

    Suggested Use: I don't know.  Need something to grow on you?  Craving a parasitical experience?  Give this a try.  You may find that that parasite actually has something to offer in return.  Like an episode of cathartic and invigorating … punch-dancing.




    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 Emily M | Nov 05, 2015

    Editor's Note:  This was originally posted on March 13, 2015.  It seems particularly timely this month as the last installment of one of the most popular post-apocalyptic book/movie series ever, Mockingjay Part 2, will be appearing in theaters this month. 

    Am I the only one who has the tendency to get stuck in a genre rut? Over and over again I find myself knee-deep in a stack of related books, searching for the best of the best in that genre, before tiring of it and moving on to something new. A year ago I was reading every Holocaust memoir I could get my hands on, but for the last few months, I just can’t get enough of post-apocalyptic sci-fi.

    I love post-apocalyptic sci-fi because it deals with such a fascinating question: how do you survive when society collapses? What do you do when there’s no electricity or running water, no gas at the gas station, no food to buy at the grocery store, no police to call when you’ve been victimized, no fire department to put out fires, no doctors or hospitals when you’re sick or injured? Here are a few novels I’ve read recently that deal with these harrowing questions:

    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

    This is the type of post-apocalyptic sci-fi you recommend to your friend who is convinced she doesn’t like post-apocalyptic sci-fi. In fact, after reading the first chapter of this book, I went back and read the synopsis on the book jacket, just to verify that this book was indeed what I thought it was, as there was nothing even remotely post-apocalyptic or sci-fiish about the entire first chapter. In fact, a substantial portion of Station Eleventhis non-linear novel is set pre-disaster. This gentle introduction into the post-apocalyptic world makes it an excellent choice for newbies, not only because it spends huge chunks of time pre-apocalyptic, but because it truly is a literary novel. The language is beautiful, rhythmic, evoking images and sensations with its prose. Anyone who appreciates good writing will find much to enjoy in this book.

    But for those who are interested in the action, here’s the rundown: Mandel’s story follows the marginally interwoven fates of several individuals (some who do and some who do not survive the deadly “Georgia Flu” that spreads like wildfire and wipes out most of the earth’s population in days) both before and after the disaster. Each of their stories is unique and interesting, not only in terms of what happens to them when the flu hits, but their lives before the disaster as well. Mandel includes interesting details in her world that I’ve not seen in other works in this genre, such as a traveling troupe of Shakespearean actors that doubles as a symphony, and a museum of now obsolete pre-disaster artifacts (credit cards, iPhones, a motorcycle, etc.) located in an airport. Also unique to this genre, Mandel is able to portray a general feeling of hopefulness, rather than the usual desperation, lawlessness, and despair. Beautiful writing, believable characters, and excellent pacing make this a highly recommended read.

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    First, if you’ve never read anything by McCarthy, I think it’s important to inform you of a few of his quirks: he doesn’t like chapters or punctuation. There are no chapter breaks or quotation marks in the entire book. Now, personally, I am a huge fan of both chapter breaks and punctuation. I believe chapter breaks are important in terms of pacing and that punctuation helps create meaning in written language in the same way that The Roadnonverbal cues (pauses, intonation, etc.) create meaning in spoken language.   However, since McCarthy won a Pulitzer prize for The Road and I have not won a Pulitzer prize, I will bow to his expertise on the matter. With that said, if you’re used to the normal conventions of writing in English, McCarthy can be a bit difficult to read for the first few pages, but I encourage you to persevere.

    The Road is the story of a nameless man and his son traveling around a devastated United States in search of food. McCarthy gives us very little backstory, but the reader can infer that the characters are living in a world that has been so destroyed by some sort of nuclear disaster that no plants can grow. No plants mean no food, so our protagonist and his boy are constantly scavenging for canned and dried food leftover from before the nuclear disaster. In addition to battling hunger and cold, the lack of a food supply has resulted in many people turning to cannibalism, making everyone they encounter a threat. Like Station Eleven, this is a literary novel, and McCarthy is able to create a bleak, desolate, visceral world into which he transports the reader. My one complaint about this book is that I found the ending a bit unlikely, but I know others feel differently, so I’ll leave you to decide.

    The Stand by Stephen King

    I don’t normally read Stephen King because I’m not a big fan of horror, but when someone mentioned that The Stand is actually post-apocalyptic sci-fi, I decided to give it a try. The Stand was originally released in 1978, then rereleased in 1990, with some of the text that had been cut for brevity from the original version added back in and a few other small changes made.

    In The Stand, a strand of flu which has been altered to use as biological warfare is The Standaccidentally leaked from a U.S. military base and wipes out the majority of the country’s population in weeks. In the first of the book’s three sections, multiple storylines of several major characters are introduced. I found this section of the book most interesting, as it describes what life is like for each of the characters as they survive while everyone around them is dying. In the second section of the book, survivors are drawn through dreams to one of two survivors, Mother Abigail or Randall Flagg, and begin traveling across the country to reach them. In this section of the book, the religious symbolism becomes obvious, with Mother Abigail representing God and Randall Flagg representing Satan. In the final section of the book, the two groups face off to determine who will take control of the development of a new society. If you like a little horror mixed in with your sci-fi, The Stand is an excellent choice.

    Bonus:  A few weeks ago I wrote about Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, another post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel.  You can read more about it here.

    What about you? Have you read any good post-apocalyptic sci-fi recently? Or maybe you’ve been reading a different genre you’d like to tell us about. We would love to hear about it!


    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 Stephanie | Nov 02, 2015
    • 2015 Author Fair 2015-author-fair
    • Main Library
    • November 14, 2015
    • 1:00 pm -- 4:00 pm

    Come to the Main Library on November 14th for the chance to chat with published authors, buy their books, and attend panel discussions on writing and self-publishing!

    1:00 pm -- DIY:  Successful Self-Publishing

    2:00 pm -- Write on!  Steps to Fabulous Fiction

    3:00 pm -- Get Real.  Writing the Real Stuff


    Free gift wrapping will be available and a percentage of the sales will go to the Friends of the Allen County Public Library.

    For more information, contact Trish Downey or Megan Bell in the Readers' Services Department at 260-421-1235.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Look who's coming to the author fair!

    Victor Baird     Website

    Laura VanArendonk Baugh     Website  Facebook  Twitter

    John Baumgartner     Website

    Christel Behnke Gehlert      Website 

    Forrest Bowman

    Duke Brown

    John Bunker     Website 1  Website 2

    Carol Butler

    Betty Miller Buttram

    Cliff Buttram

    Stephanie Cain     Website  Facebook  Twitter

    Betty Casbeer Carroll

    Pati Chandler

    Dawn Crandall

    MB Dabney     Website  Facebook  Twitter

    Pat Deihl

    Les Edgerton     Website  Blog  Facebook

    Raquel Escobedo-Hanic

    Krista Estell

    L. Barnett Evans

    Skye Falcon     Website  Facebook  Twitter

    Tricia Fields     Website  Facebook  Twitter

    Sheila Gagen     Blog

    Laurie Gray

    Eric Hackley

    Cheri Hallwood     Website  Facebook

    Randolph Harter

    Nick Hayden

    Margaret Hobson

    Jacqueline Howard

    Thomas Ireland     Facebook  Twitter

    Jeremiah Israel

    Kyra Jacobs     Website  Blog  Facebook

    Robert Johnson     Blog  Facebook  Twitter

    Barbara Jones

    C. David Jones

    Saundra Jones

    JJ Keller

    Alicia Renee Kline     Website  Facebook  Twitter

    Frank Kreml

    Ruth Langhinrichs

    K.B. Laugheed      Website  Facebook  Twitter

    Brandy Leigh

    Craig Leonard

    Bill Levy

    Nicole Ley

    Linda Mansfield     Website  Blog  Facebook   

    Nathan Marchand     Website  Facebook  Twitter               

    Ray McCune

    Alan  McPherson

    Monica Koldyke Miller

    Barbara Olenyik Morrow     Facebook

    Doris Moyers – H.

    Kristine Papillon     Facebook

    Elizabeth Perona     Website  Facebook  Twitter

    Tony Perona     Website  Facebook  Twitter

    David Poling

    Judith Post     Website

    Karen Pressler     Website 1  Website 2

    Doris Gaines Rapp

    T’Gracie and Joe Reese

    L.A. Reminicky      Website  Facebook  Twitter

    Kayleen Reusser

    C. V. Rhodes

    M.L. Rigdon

    Gabrielle Robinson     Website  Facebook

    Robert Rogers    Website  Blog  Facebook

    Greg Smith

    Ali Noel Vyain   Website

    Bob Wearley     Website

    Michelle Weidenbenner     Blog  Facebook  Twitter    

    Kathryn Young

    Alexandra Moss Zannis     Website  Facebook

    Melanie Wright Zeeb

    Tina Zion


    by David W | Oct 30, 2015

    In the tenebrous charnel lane, a lithe shadow flits among the tombstones like an eel slithering its way through murky waters.  Your heart quickens, starting to match the frenetic patter of your bootsoles against the cobblestones.  Clack-clack.  Your heels, or the sound of claws, gnarled and stained by grave dirt rapping against a tombstone.  As the moon whispers its soft light along the path, two points of light scream back in a piercing voice that cuts you straight to the bone; two feral fangs flying forth from the shadows and piercing through the veil of the living.  The catafalque of the undead seems to cover you as you sink to the ground, gazing into the preternatural eyes of your slayer, your mourner, the lone officiant at your funeral.  A gasp escapes your numbing lips, one last Canticle Maledictus.  "Vampire."

    Vampires have woven a spell that enchants our imaginations.  Whether they inhabit worlds of horror, extravagance, romance, or all of the above, the allure of the undead is inescapable.  Though they started out in folklore as the blood-hungry undead monsters, ravenous corpses in grave clothes seeking to return to the living, many writers from Bram Stoker to Anne Rice have spun a much more romantic mystique around them.  The Twilight series was either a high or low point in vampire fiction depending on who you ask, but now that the pentalogy of films has come and gone, vampires can once again grace the screen in a way that doesn't immediately call to mind sparkly skin and copious mouth breathing.  For those once more looking to be seduced by the undead, here are a few recent films to pique your interest.

    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

    agwhaanIranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour describes her film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night as "the first Iranian vampire spaghetti western."  It was shot in a small southern California town, prominently features skateboarding, and contains music from Armenian-American hip-hop artist Bei Ru.  This is your classic tale of a morally ambiguous drifter by way of French New Wave through a filter of neo-noir sensibilities and 80's flavored post-punk nihilism.  The influences are diverse and many, but part of the appeal of this film is that you don't have to think of any of these things to enjoy it.  This is a movie that slowly washes over you, delivering its tale of crime, drugs, and blood drinking at a slow burn that may make some impatient, but provides the enraptured with just what they crave.

    Somewhat surprisingly, this film is a love story at its core between the wry and scrappy Arash (Arash Marandi) and the doe-eyed and mysterious Girl (Sheila Vand).  These characters inhabit the streets of Bad City, a place where corpses lie in ditches in the street and those who possess much prey upon those with little for the celebration of their own vices.  Arash struggles to make a life that he can be proud of, but is held down by his slovenly father whose addiction and debt has cast the attention of local drug lords upon their household.  He soon encounters the titular Girl, who appears to him as another disaffected soul with a penchant for skateboarding and gloomy music, but who hides a darker, bloodthirsty secret.

    This one's available on the Hoopla streaming service at the time of writing, so you can give it watch without ever leaving the house.  Good thing, because you never know who might be following you...

    Only Lovers Left Alive

    ollaFans of Anne Rice need look no further than Jim Jarmusch's Only Lover's Left AliveTilde Swinton embodies the role of Eve so perfectly with her ethereal, androgynous beauty, and Tom Hiddleston lends his moody presence to Adam.  We are given a glimpse into the lives of this vampire couple who have been together for centuries and who are, though apart at times, still deeply in love.  This film does wink and nudge towards the larger idea of vampirism in this movie (several historical characters are suggested to be vampires, one of who we meet), but what makes this movie shine is its quality as a vignette of these two characters' lives.  We get glimpses of the ever-present ennui of immortality, the futility of trying to express through music what others can truly never understand, and a view of love as the last shelter from all the dissatisfaction the world heaps upon you.  Director Jim Jarmusch delivers as much a vampire story as a gloomy and disaffected tone poem, an impression through film that doesn't so much tell a story as impresses it upon the viewer.

    Those seeking a snappy or satisfying narrative are sure to find too many longueurs here, but if you've ever spent a rainy day reading Edgar Allan Poe or gotten lost in the thrumming dolor of Siouxsie and the Banshees, this film is a welcome companion piece.  While the mood is the main attraction, there is a narrative here.  The film gets a late act injection of drama when Eve, having rejoined Adam at his cloister of a home in Detroit, is forced to deal with her sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) whose reckless and ravenous behavior soon threatens to undo the secrecy for which Adam strives  Still, a character study of the relationship between two immortal beings is the best way to describe this film, and if that sounds appealing, check this film out ASAP.

    The Strain

    strainVampires are monstrous creatures, and if there's one modern filmmaker who understands monsters it's Guillermo del Toro.  Whether it's the wholly unique masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth, the fun kaiju love letter Pacific Rim, or his two Hellboy adaptations, del Toro fills the screen with creatures that seem equal parts grotesque, innovative, and somewhat traditional.  Not one to limit himself to a single medium, del Toro brings us The Straina television adaptation of the series of novels written by himself and Chuck Hogan.

    The Strain is an interesting blend of genre conventions and tropes that layer upon each other in ways you haven't quite seen before.  Pulling from modern versions of undead fiction (typically zombies), The Strain revolves around a parasitic virus that turns its victims into bloodsucking fiends.  That may lead you to believe that this biological threat would not be tied to a single being, an Old World vampiric master who holds the lesser undead in his thrall.  You'd be wrong.  What starts as a possible quarantine situation for CDC agent Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) turns him into an surprisingly capable  vampire hunter.  He crosses paths with Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), a holocaust survivor who acts as this series Van Helsing and carriers a vendetta against the icy German Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel) whose lack of aging since World War II stands as evidence to his preternatural abilities.

    Make no mistake, for all of the slow, brooding vampire fiction I've brought up unto this point, this is definitely the most over-the-top, but also the most uneven.  The show tries to play with overarching philosophical and religious themes that lend pathos to the ongoing struggle, but lines such as the hacker Dutch spouting "I'm the only one that can slow the internet down to worse than dial up," force you to confront the numerous plot conveniences and silly shortcuts that hobble this show from being more than a fun ride for fans of the horror genre.  Regardless, where the show succeeds it is top notch.  Del Toro creates a scenario that slowly ratchets up the tension over the course of the first season, showing an unsuspecting Manhattan slowly spiral into chaos as the newborn vampires start to proliferate beneath the city streets (as we learned from Whodini, the freaks come out at night).  The show recently ran its second season and has been renewed for a third, so if this show clicks for you, you'll have a lot more to enjoy.

    What We Do in the Shadows

    whatIf vampires are real, it can't all be ancient curses and romantic brooding.  Who's going to take care of the blood-stained dishes?  How does having to be invited over the threshold impact what night clubs you can get into?  Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Boy) address all of these pressing questions in What We Do in the Shadows, a mockumentary that follows a trio of vampires around Wellington, New Zealand.  We also get to meet Petyr, the 8,000 year old master vampire who looks like he stepped straight out of Nosferatu, a pack of werewolves who naturally are at odds with the undead, and The Beast, a rival creature so nefarious that Vladislav (Clement) dare not speak their true name.

    Several sections of this movie could be pulled out and presented as complete, hilarious sketches in their own right, and the movie does a decent job of stringing these uproarious moments together into a loose narrative.  It's all very silly at points, but where it takes a step beyond is not merely that these characters are vampires that are presenting their world to a camera crew, but that they know they are presenting to a crew.  This movie not only nails the lampooning of vampire tropes, it nails the mannerisms of people who are presenting themselves to the camera and trying to add their own flourishes of drama to the proceedings.  The over-saturation of reality television has provided fertile ground for spoofs, but this portrayal of on screen amateurs mugging it for the camera is a cut above.  Bloody, charming, hilarious and off beat, this is definitely one worth checking out.


    Now that I've suggested some recent vampire entertainment, what are your favorite films and shows that feature vampires?  If you crave even more, you can't go wrong with Park Chan-wook's Thirst, Tomas Alfredson's Let the Right One In, or the surprisingly good Interview with the Vampire (which fans of the book will forever remain split on).  Leave a comment below, and please share this article with your friends if you enjoyed reading it.



    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 Becky C | Oct 28, 2015
    CollageH

    We've all been there -- the dvds you were hoping to check out are already checked out to someone else.  Sigh -- but wait -- ACPL offers a streaming movie service, Hoopla.  Have you tried it yet?  If not, you'll want to.  ACPL resident library cardholders can borrow up to ten movies each month, free of charge.  You can borrow each title for 72 hours.  Those under 18 may borrow movies rated G through PG-13.

    You can search for a specific title or scroll through the various categories.  This weekend, my kiddos and I will probably pick something from the Halloween for Kids​  category, especially if the weather turns out to be as frightful as the forecasts indicate.

    Hoopla requires you to sign up or register for an account using your email address, a password you create for Hoopla, and your library card number.  Once you have created your Hoopla account, you will Sign In with your email address and the password you created.

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



    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Evan | Oct 23, 2015
    Third Way

    One of the differences between the United States and Canada was highlighted Oct. 19 when the Canadians shocked themselves at the polls. It wasn’t so much that the ruling Conservatives lost but that the Liberals – who had been the third-place party in Parliament – soared to a huge victory.  What third place party in the United States is ever going to break through what many now see as our two-party gridlock?

    The difference isn’t quite as great as it seems. The Liberals have long been the party that traded power with the Conservatives. They just happened to have fallen far behind the true third party – the NDP -- in the 2011 election. Still, it did look earlier this year as though the NDP might gain power itself, which no U.S. third party has done since before the Civil War.

    (Of course, the bigger difference between our countries is that the political leader in Parliament also runs the government, while we have our separation of powers. Imagine how things would be here if the speaker of the house also was president of the United States. I bet John Boehner wouldn’t have resigned from that!)

    The nearest thing to a national third party Americans have had for many years is the Libertarians, but they’ve always struck me as people more interested in political philosophy than in hands-on politics. The libertarian emphasis on personal freedom, however, has played a prominent role in 21st century politics. Republicans appeal to libertarians on such topics as gun rights and low taxes while Democrats seek their support by championing gay marriage and liberalized marijuana laws.

    Here are some of the books we have for you that explore this key dynamic leading up to our own national leadership election next year:

    The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives and the Fight for the Right’s Future by Charles C. W. Cooke

    Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State by Ralph Nader

    Why Nudge?: The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism by Cass R. Sunstein

    Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto by Matt Kibbe.




    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Becky C | Oct 21, 2015
    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!

    Ghostly Encounters
     American Ghost
    I am haunted
     
     scream
     Atlas of cursed places
     Haunted America
     tricky treats
     samhain
     chronicles unexplained



    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 | Oct 19, 2015
    spencerThere was not a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction awarded in the year of 1957. It’s not that the Fiction Jury didn’t try. They did their homework, sifted among the submissions, and recommended a book, but the Pulitzer Board has final say in these matters and so Elizabeth Spencer’s, The Voice At The Back Door, retired to the footnotes of history.

    Spencer’s unflattering look at race relations in Mississippi in the middle of the 20th century is rather provocative. There’s villainy, betrayal, courage, and a strange sort of redemption for many of the characters. Spencer, through her sturdy prose and the events she strings together, manages, to some degree, to take us there, that is, give her readers some idea of the impending hammer hanging over any black individual’s head in the Deep South. From the constant, peace-shattering threat of lynching to the self-diminishing behavior of the African-American population (one mother beats her son nearly senseless trying to convince him of his second-class status, namely, the disposability of his life to the white population) we get a taste of what it might have been like to live there during that time. But to really know, we surely would have to be able to go there, which is, of course, impossible. (I often hardly have the ability to “be”, to engage with, to be at peace with, the “here” where possibility has placed me.) We cannot time travel nor can we change ourselves into someone else, though to that end, reading John Howard Griffin’s, Black Like Me, can be rather enlightening.

    A highly awarded author and (as far as Wikipedia knows) still on this mortal plane, Spencer put together a pretty great book worth consideration for placement on anyone’s reading list. I know there are only so many hours in a day and it’s not technically a winner, but sometimes the footnotes of history (and life) hold great treasure. Besides, few are going to disturb you (unlike life among the headlines) and there’s a certain peace to be had as you rummage through the items in those places along the bottoms of pages. I mean, if you’re going to be somewhere anyway, one could do worse than a footnote.


    craig Craig is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Kay S | Oct 14, 2015

    Once again it's time for upcoming releases. This time we are into October 15 to November 14, 2015. Almost the end of the year..sigh. Remember these dates are publishing dates, not dates they will be in the library.

    Historical Romance

    h_bowman

    Valerie Bowman

    The Irresistible Rogue Playful Brides series November 3
    h_bradley

    Anna Bradley

    A Wicked Way to Win an Earl Sutherland Scandals series November 3
    h_burrowes

    Grace Burrowes

    Daniel's True Desire True Gentlemen series November 3
    h_heath

    Lorraine Heath

    Falling Into Bed With a Duke The Hellions of Havisham series October 27
    h_leigh

    Eva Leigh

    Scandal Takes the Stage Wicked Quills of London series October 27
    h_kleypas

    Lisa Kleypas

    Cold Heared Rake Cold Hearted Rake series October 27


    Historical Fiction
    hf_anderson

    Laura Andersen

    The Virgin's Spy Tudor Legacy series November 10
    hf_rosen

    Renee Rosen

    White Collar Girl November 3
    hf_williams

    Beatriz Williams

    Along the Infinite Sea November 3


    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream/New Adult
    c_fletcher

    Dana Bate

    Too Many Cooks Mainstream October 27
    c_brugess

    Gemma Burgess

    The Wild One Brooklyn Girls series Mainstream November 10
    c_hoover

    Colleen Hoover

    November Nine New Adult November 10
    c_kendrick

    Beth Kendrick

    Put a Ring On It Black Dog Bay series Mainstream November 3
    c_march

    Emily March

    Heartsong Cottage Eternity Springs series Contemporary Romance November 3
    c_mello

    Deborah Fletcher Mello

    Playing for Keeps Sultry Southern Nights series Contemporary Romance October 27
    c_novak

    Brenda Novak

    A Winter Wedding Whiskey Creek series Contemporary Romance October 27
    c_quinn

    Caisey Quinn

    Missing Dixie Neon Dreams series New Adult October 27
    c_richardson

    Sara Richardson

    Something Like Love Heart of the Rockies series Contemporary Romance October 27


    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense
    m_brennan

    Allison Brennan

    No Good Deed Lucy Kincaid series Suspense November 3
    m_chazin

    Suzanne Chazin

    A Blossom of Bright Light Jimmy Vega Mystery series Mystery October 27
    c_eden

    Cynthia Eden

    Shattered Lost series Romantic Suspense October 27
    m_goldenbaum

    Sally Goldenbaum

    Trimmed with Murder Seaside Knitters Mystery series Mystery November 3
    m_kellerman

    Faye Kellerman

    The Theory of Death Decker/Lazarus series Mystery October 27
    m_lee

    Amanda Lee aka Gayle Trent

    The Stitching Hour Embroidery Mystery series Mystery November 3
    m_macneal

    Susan Elia MacNeal

    Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante Maggie Hope Mystery series Mystery October 27
    m_preston

    Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child

    Crimson Shore Pendergast series Thriller November 10
    m_ryan

    Hank Phillippi Ryan

    What You See Jane Ryland series Suspense October 20
    m_scottoline

    Lisa Scottoline

    Corrupted Rosato and DiNunzio series Thriller October 27
    m_thompson

    Victoria Thompson

    Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue Gaslight Mystery series Mystery November 3
    m_trent

    Christine Trent

    Death at the Abbey Lady of Ashes series Mystery October 27
    m_zanetta

    Rebecca Zanetti

    Wicked Edge Realm Enforcers series Romantic Suspense November 10


    Paranormal/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
    p_bickle

    Laura Bickle

    Mercury Retrograde Dark Alchemy series Fantasy, Ebook October 27
    p_bowen

    Lila Bowen

    Wake of Vultures The Shadow series Fantasy October 27
    m_chance

    Karen Chance

    Reap the Wind Cassie Palmer series Urban Fantasy November 3
    p_clarke

    Cassandra Rose Clarke

    Our Lady of the Ice Science Fiction October 27
    p_cole

    Alyssa Cole

    Mixed Signals Off the Grid series Futuristic, Ebook November 3?
    p_elliott

    Kate Elliott

    Black Wolves Black Wolves trilogy series Fantasy November 3
    p_kenyon

    Sherrilyn Kenyon

    Born of Betrayal The League: Nemesis Rising series Paranormal November 11
    p_knight

    Julia Knight

    Legends and Liars Duelists series Fantasy November 10
    p_marillier

    Juliet Marillier

    Tower of Thorns Fantasy November 3
    p_modesitt

    L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

    Solar Express Science Fiction November 3
    p_owens

    Robin D. Owens

    Heart Legacy Celta series Parnormal November 3
    p_rock

    J.A. Rock

    Minotaur Fantasy October 19
    p_shinn

    Sharon Shinn

    Jeweled Fire Elemental Blessings series Paranormal November 3
    p_valente

    Catherynne M Valente

    Radiance Science Fiction October 20
    p_wilks

    Eileen Wilks

    Mind Magic Lupi series Urban Fantasy November 3


    Young Adults
    ya_bennett

    Jenn Bennett

    The Anatomical Shape of a Heart November 3
    ya_kaufman

    Amie Kaufman

    Jay Kristoff

    Illumnae Science Fiction October 20
    ya_meyer

    Marissa Meyer

    Winter Lunar Chronicles series Fantasy November 10
    ya_young

    Suzanne Young

    Hotel Ruby Paranormal November 3


    Erotica
    e_collins

    Katana Collins

    Wicked Release Wicked Exposure series October 27
    e_james

    Lorelei James

    Wrapped and Strapped Blacktop Cowboys series November 3
    e_leighton

    M. Leighton

    Tough Enough Tall, Dark, and Dangerous series November 3
    e_reisz

    Tiffany Reisz

    The Queen The Original Sinners: White Years series October 27


    Inspirational Romance/Fiction
    h_kanner

    Rebecca Kanner

    Esther Historical November 3
    i_raney

    Deborah Raney

    Another Way Home Chicory Inn series October 20
    i_rubart

    James Rubart

    The Five Time I Met Myself November 10



    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 David W | Oct 12, 2015
    biodomeThe film industry today is terribly efficient at using nostalgia to get butts in seats. Maybe you're curious about how your favorite 80's cartoon will make its way into gritty, fully realized meatspace. Perhaps you want to share with your kids the characters that you grew up with, and you all march to the matinee hoping that they haven't mangled the characters' images with a detached, too-cool-for-school attitude that is desperately trying to sell branded school supplies but is actually just insulting the audience. We all want to believe that what films are bringing us with nostalgia is going to be the same feeling that we felt so long ago--that inexplicable feeling of comfort for this thing that, possibly by pure happenstance, integrated itself with our experiences of growing up. Such a thing is now an inseparable part of us, because it is no longer a piece of media, but a piece of memory. When what's in the theater doesn't reignite that nostalgic feeling, it's natural to dig out the VHS collection and relive an old treasure. There are plenty of nostalgic relics from my formative years that do hold up when revisited, but oh boy, there are plenty that don't. I find the riskiest bunch to revisit, by far, is that genre called comedy.

    I've constantly alluded to the fact that must be considered when reviewing movies--horror and comedy are the most subjective of film-watching experiences. Whereas dramatic stories reach for some hidden human truth, an emotional core that will resonate with anyone who is along for the ride by appealing to common experiences, horror and comedy are different beasts altogether. What frightens someone or what makes them laugh varies so wildly from person to person. The environment and crowd in which they're watching the movie only magnifies the success or failure of the film further. If you revisit a comedy you've watched in the past, all of this subjectivity is compounded by the fact that you are not the person you were 30 years ago, 15 years ago, maybe even 3 years ago. Our tastes change over time (and we would like to think improve) but perhaps evolve is the more apt descriptor.

    I feel like my tastes have evolved away from some of the films I enjoyed growing up, to the point where revisiting them seems embarrassing in the extreme. Let's not speak in any uncertain terms, as I must bare my soul to you in order to make my point: I used to love the movie Bio-Dome. Yes, that Bio-Dome. The Pauly Shore vehicle that also featured one of the apples that fell farthest from the Baldwin family tree in a snobs-vs.-slobs train wreck. The script may not have consisted of words so much as stage directions of "Pauly Shore makes a noise like a dolphin operating a jackhammer and then play-fights with Stephen Baldwin." To me and my best friend in middle school, these two were everything we wanted to be. Two radical bros, sticking it to those stuffy authoritarian-types by way of catchphrases and idiotic mischief. Going back and even trying to watch a scene from this film nowadays is, in a word, painful. Have you heard of those machines that emit noises at so high a frequency that it makes it painful for young folks to loiter around, but does not even register in the ears of older folks? Pauly Shore is kind of like that, but in reverse. Even with an unexpected cameo by a yet-to-hit-it-big Tenacious D, there are few redeeming qualities about this movie.

    But is it a bad movie?

    Objectively, yes, pretty much. The jokes are lazy. The characters are one-dimensional, and grating on the nerves. Every plot point is predictable. But it made me and my friend crack up. It calls to mind something that Jon Lovitz said when interviewed for the documentary Heckler (a deeply flawed film from Jamie Kennedy that purports to examine the phenomenon of heckling but devolves into Kennedy bemoaning his dwindling popularity and poorly arguing why critics don't matter.) Lovitz says, "I was in The Benchwarmers. I was at the premiere and kids like 12-years-old, and they're just like, 'That is the best movie I've ever seen.' Now, is it the best movie made? No, but for them it is because it was made for them, and it had their sense of humor." I remember at the time, this statement forced me to stop and consider a different side of the issue, something which we should always do, yet often don't, save those among us that are the most even-keeled and undoubtedly the wisest. I'm still of two minds about it. On the one hand, it's easy to get the feeling that by laughing at the cheap comedy, the lowbrow humor that takes the least effort, we are somehow validating it, and conversely devaluing that which talented people have actually put some heart and soul into. On the other, there is a large audience of people who just want the cheap laugh that they don't have to dissect to appreciate, and for them the fart joke is a stinky fountain which will never run dry. We lump anything that's not clearly for children into a "for adults" category and then balk at it when it doesn't live up to our standards. In our quest to curate the media we consume and to determine if it is something worth spending our time on, it's easy to forget that not every piece of media is aimed at us to begin with, and that's all right.

    What are we supposed to do then? Ignore a movie that doesn't fit our taste? If only it navalwere that simple. Sometimes movies are so off the mark at entertaining an audience that watching critics tear them to pieces becomes an act of entertainment in its own right. The page of each film blog becomes like a Roman Colosseum of perverse amusement as fans cheer on the crude dismemberment of the unwitting combatants, not exotic beasts or enslaved warriors, but ill-fated adaptations of YA literature and whatever Rob Schneider is currently doing (after a quick Google, apparently likening mandatory vaccinations to the Nuremburg Laws. I don't know what else I expected). Let's not discount the ravenous hordes of bloggers that descend on each new Adam Sandler film like a biblical plague, while Sandler kicks back from some tropical paradise, grinning at his bank account. Even in an age where Rotten Tomatoes makes it easier to quantify the gulf between critical reception and audience approval, the internet has democratized criticism in interesting ways. In some ways, it has turned the critical response of a movie into a malleable, expanding thing that takes the final word out of the mouths of the Leonard Maltins and Roger Eberts of the world and turns the months after each major film is released into an exciting landscape of analyses, interpretations, and, occasionally, harsh rebukes. In a perhaps fitting irony that reflects the industry which it means to critique, it is often the loudest, most incendiary critics who receive a lion's share of the attention. Alas, the vicarious catharsis of watching someone else find interesting ways to lace profanity together in order to skewer the latest M. Night Shyamalan effort will always have more appeal than a breakdown of Kubrick's visual motifs. Such is life.

    What I'm aiming at is this: while you may cringe at the latest Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer pastiche of film spoofs to hit the big screen, some kid is going to see it and it will undoubtedly be the funniest thing he has ever seen. He may return to it a decade later and plant his face firmly in his palms, but for the time being that is, by his definition, a good movie. It can be heartbreaking to try and revisit a piece of nostalgia only to have crumble under the weight of so much time. I sometimes think it would be better to leave these things untouched, but I also know that curiosity will often drive us to find out, especially with the information literally at our fingertips, not moldering away in the dusty boxes that even Blockbuster couldn't move. Whether you revisit the movie made you laugh so long ago or not, I think it behooves us to not get so wrapped up in dishing out ire toward a movie that was probably never trying to win us over in the first place. It will at least do wonders for you blood pressure.

    What is your all time favorite comedy? Does it hold up today? Let us know in the comments below and don't forget to share this article if you enjoyed reading it.



    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 Jeff S | Oct 09, 2015

    Book Review: Die Raubvögel Deutschlands und des angrenzenden Mitteleuropas dieraubvogeldeutoska_0011

    How many of you have sat bleary-eyed after downing several Jaeger bombs, staring at the bottle like a kid blankly reading the cereal box at breakfast, only to notice this seemingly unintelligible poem written in German?
    Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.
    Which according to Google translator comes out in English something like this:

              This is the hunter honor sign,
    ........
              that he protects and cherishes his game,

      .......weidmännisch hunts, as befits it,
    ........honors the Creator in creatures.

    Then, at some point before rushing to pray at the porcelain altar as an homage to drinking Jaegermeister in the first place, some curious thought tugs at your addled brain, "I wonder who wrote that poem?"

    That hasn't happened to you? Good!

    But what does this have to do with a book review anyway? The man who wrote that poem, Oskar von Reisenthal, was an accomplished artist and author. Recently the Internet Archive Midwest Regional Digitization Center, located in the nether regions of your favorite library, had the good fortune to digitize Die Raubvögel Deutschlands und des angrenzenden Mitteleuropas (The Raptors of Germany and Neighboring Central Europe) Click here for one of the book's many illustrations and you can see for yourself the beauty of Herr Reisenthal's work. Choose the single page view and zoom in on the images to best appreciate these truly beautiful works of art. I also recommend this image and this one as well -- but you might just want to start at the beginning and flip away!

    Die Raubvogel
    is part of a larger collection of ornithological books we've been digitizing courtesy of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Other gems include Iconographie des Perroquets: non figurés dans les publications de Levaillant et de M. Bourjot Saint-Hilaire (Iconography of Parrots: Not figured in the Publications of Levaillant Bourjot and Mr. Saint-Hilaire), British Ornithology, Being the History, With a Coloured Representation, of Every Known Species of British Birds, and A Monograph of the Capitonidae, or Scansorial Barbets, among many.

    Having seen his work, if you find yourself imbibing the cough-syrupy liquor of Jaegermeister, give a hearty "prost" to Herr Reisenthall for producing such a beautiful book!
    by Becky C | Oct 07, 2015
    poacher's sonBook Review: The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron

    Move over Anna Pigeon, there’s a new guy in town. Actually, he’s in Maine and he’s a Game Warden rather than a Park Ranger, but Mike Bowditch shares Anna’s loner tendencies and love of nature. One evening, while Mike is out responding to a call, his father leaves a strange message on his answering machine. As Mike hasn’t heard from his dear old dad for a few years, he’s puzzled and somewhat alarmed – whatever his estranged father called about is likely to be unwelcome news. The next morning he discovers that his dad, a jail cell regular, is the prime suspect in a double-homicide. Mike knows that his dad is a hard-drinker, a poacher, and a brawler – but he doesn’t believe that he’s a murderer. His belief in his father’s innocence raises plenty of hackles in the community – only one man, a retired Game Warden, agrees that Jack Bowditch doesn’t seem likely to murder someone over the sale of land to a developer – he’s used to moving from place to place and isn’t the sort to care about what happens to anyone else. Together Mike and Charley venture into the wilds of Maine to find Jack before someone else does.

    I really enjoyed this book. Doiron deliberately sets a slow pace, interspersing Mike’s memories of his father with the search to find him today, giving readers a vivid picture of two flawed men and making us wonder about the bonds between us that refuse to let us go. Like the Anna Pigeon novels, this first book in the Mike Bowditch series creates a strong sense of place. The mystery is solid and I love the fact that I didn’t see the ending coming but it made perfect sense, looking back.

    What books have surprised you with their endings?



    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 | Oct 05, 2015
    With a 90’s alternative flair and an ability to incorporate a drum machine without fear, waxahatcheeWaxahatchee’s newest album, Ivy Tripp, promises to make it onto more than one of my mental mix tapes for 2015. I say “mental” mix tapes because that’s all I’ve had the energy for lately. Only energy and time enough to imagine, to dream of the perfect eleven tracks for my drive to work. But that’s ok, sometimes dreaming is just enough. Suggested Use: Feel the need to flirt with some ennui, to playfully downplay some of the drama building up in your dreams? Listen to this album and learn to sing along. Or just look into the eyes of that cover image. I think you’ll not be able to help but smile.


    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 Emily M | Oct 02, 2015

    Collage

    When I was in seventh and eighth grade, my reading teacher was a woman who had married and had children when she was quite young, then gone to college when her kids were half grown.  The result was a teacher with all of the freshness and enthusiasm of a new college grad (which she was) and the wisdom of a woman who had been a parent for a decade and a half (which she also was).  We read a lot of great literature under her tutelage, like S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, often using audiobooks.  With each book, we were responsible for reading some chapters independently, but there were many days when we were invited to take a carpet square and get comfortable anywhere in the room, while she played the audiobook and we followed along in our paperback copies.  While listening to a book on tape (they were on tape back then, not CD!) and following along in the text was something most of us had done in primary school, it was a novelty in middle school.  I was a voracious reader at the time, but never listened to audiobooks, and this was my first introduction to the idea that audiobooks might not just be for small children learning to read.

    There are many great reasons to listen to audiobooks.  Here are just a few:

    1. Audiobooks are great for multitasking, particularly during monotonous activities. An audiobook can make mowing the lawn, driving a long distance, exercising, or cleaning house much more enjoyable. I work in the Art, Music, & Media department at the Main Library, which is where the audiobooks live, and long distance truck drivers are some of our most loyal patrons!
    2. Audiobooks can make reading a shared experience. Until recent history, reading wasn’t necessarily viewed as a solitary activity. Reading aloud to one another was a frequent leisure activity for families or a group of friends. I have two young children and, like many parents, I read to them every day. It’s something we enjoy doing together, and often throughout the day my three year old will bring up in conversation something we’ve read recently. But in our culture, this shared reading experience is usually only between adults and young children. Once a child can read independently, she is expected to read on her own, and as a result we lose that shared experience. We often watch movies with other people, and talking about what we did and didn’t like, the twists we should have seen coming, and how the ending could have been improved, can be as enjoyable as watching the movie itself. When we listen to an audiobook with a friend or family member, we are able to have that same experience with a book.
    3. For someone who struggles with reading or reads slowly, reading can become a chore. Audiobooks can eliminate those issues and make reading an enjoyable activity once again.
    4. Dialogue in audiobooks is so much fun! The narrator of an audiobook is much like an actor, using tone, emphasis, and dialect to bring the characters to life.
    5. Perhaps most important of all, just like reading books in print, listening to an audiobook educates, informs, entertains, offers new perspectives, and enriches the mind.

    What great audiobooks have you listened to 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 Becky C | Oct 01, 2015
    As another Banned Books Week draws to a close, it seems fitting to choose a post for Throwback Thursday that reviews a title that's been contested since it was first published in 1960.

    My favorite banned book:  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

    “I think there’s just one kind of folks.  Folks.”

    to-kill-a-mockingbirdOur narrator Scout is an unconventional young girl growing up in a small southern town during the Great Depression.  She’s precocious and as likely to get into a fist fight with someone as to invite them home for lunch afterwards.  She, her brother Jem, and their friend Dill spend most of their time trying to catch a glimpse of Boo Radley, a mysterious neighbor who hasn’t been seen in 25 years.  The children’s innocent belief that the townspeople they’ve known for years can be counted on to do the right thing is shattered the summer Scout and Jem’s father risks his standing in the community to defend a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman.

    A critical look at racism and injustice, To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.  Harper Lee‘s only published book has never been out of print, it has sold over 30 million copies, and it has been translated into over 40 languages.  It has also been frequently challenged.  Why?  Accurately portraying the racism which was alive and well in this time period, the book doesn’t shy away from racial slurs.  It also contains profanity and references to the taboo topics of rape, sex and incest.

    I admit, the racial slurs are hard to read, but the knowledge that prejudice was the norm was even harder.  Racism was so ingrained in everyday life that people felt the need to accept oppression and humiliation in order to avoid incurring something worse than insults and snide looks.  How could good people think that the color of a person’s skin determined the quality of a person?  How could good people ignore what was obvious to a child?  It’s an ugly part of our recent past and it makes us uncomfortable.  I believe that was Lee’s intent — by telling the story through the perspective of a child, she calls attention to just how ugly and unreasonable racism is.

    Why might Lee think that we need to be confronted with this ugliness?  My guess is to help us understand the scars left behind.  Perhaps also to make us question ourselves — do we harbor prejudice?  Most of the characters in this story didn’t think of themselves as prejudiced — they thought of themselves as good God-fearing citizens — just separate, better.  The effects of slavery were still rippling through the States, unemployment was high, and times were hard. Those factors influenced daily life in the setting of this book, but there’s always something big and ugly on the horizon.  Since this book was written the world has witnessed more wars, genocide, terrorism, large influxes of immigrants and refugees. How have those events shaped us?  Are we like Scout?  Can we still believe there’s one kind of folks — folks?

    The story isn’t entirely bleak, however. Lee also offers us hope.  Atticus Finch, Scout and Jem’s father, believed in doing the right thing even if it meant risking more than his standing in the community.  Suspecting a lynch mob would come for Tom Robinson before the trial even began, Atticus sat in front of the jail, alone and unarmed, willing to risk his safety to protect someone else.  He had to do that, not only because he had to look himself in the mirror the next day, but because he had to look into the eyes of his children.  Finch reminds us that it’s easy to think that you’ll do the right thing when the time comes but the true test of character is what you do when everyone is against you.  Despite the jeers from people he’d known most of his life, despite the threats against himself, Atticus Finch did everything in his power to prove Tom Robinson’s innocence.  I love Atticus Finch.  I would marry Atticus Finch.

    As to the other reasons the book has been challenged — the profanity, the references to taboo topics — well, again, pretending something doesn’t exist or doesn’t happen, doesn’t make it so.  Adults use bad language and children imitate adults.  The book isn’t an endorsement of profanity; Scout simply looks like a child trying to sound like an adult.  I’m much more bothered by the fact that she, Jem, and Dill act out Boo Radley’s story for all to see. That was a cruel thing to do, even if they didn’t realize it at the time.  And the taboo topics, yes, they were mentioned.  They were necessary to the storyline, to illustrate what people are capable of doing to one another, what people are capable of turning a blind eye towards, what people judge each other for even if they never voice their thoughts.

    **When I first wrote this review, about 3 years ago, To Kill a Mockingbird was Lee's only published work.  Since then, Go Set a Watchman has been published.  Have you read it?  If so, what did you think?


    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Evan Davis | Oct 01, 2015
    jefferson-and-tripoliNotice a theme in the following new book titles? Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager. 1944: FDR and the Year that Changed History by Jay Winik. Outbreak: Plagues that Changed History by Bryn Barnard. The Man Who Would Not Be Washington: Robert E. Lee's Civil War and His Decision that Changed American History by Jonathan Horn.

    All this breathless promotion of "changed history" comes across as hype. A lot of other recent books have similar titles claiming that their subjects changed history or -- a bit less intense -- changed the course of history. Technically, if "history" is our understanding of the past, then an event today can change what we think about the past and thus change history. But the frequent use of these kinds of phrases in book titles these days makes me suspect that publishers want readers to feel that something more dramatic occurred. It's as though 1944 was so amazing that it changed what went before it -- not quite traveling backward in time but maybe altering the past nonetheless.

    Many years "change history." Every big event "changes history." Publishers would show more respect for their readers if they came up with titles that better describe what is uniquely important about their books and pandered less to the Internet mania for lists of the most super-duper things that ever happened in the whole history of the world.

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Becky K | Sep 16, 2015

    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!

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    beckycavatar
    Becky 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.