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    by Cheryl M | May 18, 2016
    DimestoreI recently read Dimestore: A Writer's Life by Lee Smith, telling of growing up in the small coal-mining town of Grundy, Virginia, in the 1950s and 60s.  Her father ran the downtown dimestore, and Smith got to play there among the dolls and other toys, helping with Christmas displays of dolls, fluffing their dresses. Her memories got me reminiscing about the dimestores of my youth. Dimestores, also called Five-and-Dimes or variety stores, were a sort of general store without the food, although some may have had a lunch counter or small diner.  They had a bit of everything else - hardware, clothes, toys, candy, cards, sewing "notions", books, pots & pans, glassware. They probably still exist in some small towns, relatively untouched by development.  But, elsewhere, they have dwindled, usurped by big box stores, and pharmacies that sell candy, food, school supplies, and greeting cards alongside the medications.

    Growing up in Goshen, Indiana, downtown was rich in dimestores.  Side by side were Murphy's and Newberry's and further down on Main Street was Maley's variety store. My first job for a paycheck was as a cashier at Maley's on Saturday's during my high school years.  During the summers, it was a full-time job, cashiering or filling for vacationing clerks. On slow days, it could be monotonous, looking at the same merchandise for hours. At other times, it was the best of times --laughing & joking while working the cash register with a colleague.  I loved the creaky, wooden floors, and trips to the basement with a big, wicker basket to bring up more merchandise. The woman who ruled the candy counter, Margaret, would roast Spanish peanuts and the warm, delicious smell would permeate the whole store. The cash registers being near the candy counter was handy for buying Sweet Tarts and Bit-O-Honey candy bars to help that last hour go faster on a Saturday night.

    The dimestore is evolving away, similar to little corner grocery stores.  That may be the natural evolution of things, but have we lost in personal service and quaintness what we've gained in scale and efficiency? I miss the creaky, wooden floors.


    cheryl-mCheryl likes reading, bicycling, scrapbooking, travel, history, and cats. Because every life tells a story, her favorite books to read are biographies.
    by Craig B | May 16, 2016

    Vincent Van Gogh's painting, Sorrowing Old Man ('At Eternity's Gate')Book Review:  The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor

    This book, this The Edge of Sadness, made me want to visit Boston.  Now, it is not set in Boston, as you might suppose, (technically, the fictional city it’s in is more like Providence, Rhode Island, but another of O’Connor’s books, the one he’s more famous for and the one with a title that became a cliche, The Last Hurrah, is set in Boston) but O’Connor’s conjuration of the cityscape in The Edge of Sadness whet my appetite for some last-century East Coast architecture and gloomy corner pubs, some of the best of which are to be found in … you guessed it, Boston.

    Also, this book did not disappoint in its content’s adherence to the title.  The main theme for this 1962 Pulitzer winner seems to be that of resignation … and not the sort that comes after a scandal or a moment of conscience … it’s the resignation to circumstances, to the arbitrariness of life and other people’s decisions.  Thus “the edge of sadness.”  What is most interesting to me about O’Connor’s book, however, is not the “resigned” characters who have found living a treacherous business yet attempt to go on in a moderately well-adjusted fashion, it is the counterpoint, the characters who have opted to cope by telling tales, often ridiculous ones.  Some of these counterpoint characters lie boldly, some of them lie subtly, but all of them lie.  Individuals around them don’t try much to reform them (though, there are often concrete consequences for their self-delusion), but seem to allow the “liars” the extravagance of not dealing with facts and in this way enduring life’s difficulties. 

    I wonder if something like this in O’Connor’s experience is why he sometimes wrote fiction.  He spent the majority of his career writing as a TV critic (which in many ways seems to be sort of a “gloomy” job), and I wonder if sometimes he just needed to escape, to express things he felt deep within that he couldn’t quite rally “the facts” for?  And what better way to escape than by writing Pulitzer-Prize-Winning fiction?  Certainly superior to spinning frustrating yarns that manage to avoid the issue and make of one a general societal liability.  I suppose.

      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 | May 13, 2016
    Judging by the lines at the local garden centers, I'm not the only one anxious to start playing in the garden again!  If you're interested in encouraging bees, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to visit, here are a few titles in our collection you may want to check out. Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!
    Bee Friendly Garden
    Gardening for Birds Butterflies and Bees
     
     Garden Wildlife
     Pollinator Friendly Gardening
     Welcoming Wildlife
     Creating Small Habitats
     Gardening for Wildlife
     Butterfly Gardening
     The Best Plants
       touch a butterfly
     

    by Becky C | May 11, 2016
    Images Jason Kissel

    "From age 5, I knew my career choices would revolve around caring for trees.  Most people like trees, but I couldn’t find anyone else I knew who was as inquisitive and excited about trees as I was.  The local library made me realize there were others throughout the world who cared about trees as much as I did – and that many career options did involve trees.  Miss Twiggley’s Tree and The Lorax were my favorite bedtime stories.  In fact, to this day, my mom can still recite Miss Twiggley’s Tree in its entirety from memory!" 


    Except for 5 years living in Indy, Jason has always lived in rural areas, so while growing up and still today, he has directly paid for access to libraries as he has always lived outside of the tax base.  He likes this relationship.  "When you pay directly, you realize what a bargain it is."

    Jason fondly remembers using card catalogs before they went online.  It was exciting for him to find the index card that let him know that the library owned a copy of the book he was looking for.  Because the old card catalog system wasn't able to let him know if it had already been checked out though, the better thrill was actually finding the book on the shelf!

    Today, interlibrary loan is one of Jason's favorite services, and it's easy to understand why.  Even though we have an extensive collection at ACPL, interlibrary loan gives our resident and subscription borrowers access to books in public library collections throughout the United States.  That's a lot of value for the dollar! Jason also appreciates the meeting spaces we offer, the community events we sponsor, and Access Fort Wayne.

    Having just completed a master of ministry degree a few weeks ago, Jason's reading for the past several years has been consumed with theology and ancient near east history.  Now that he has time to read for pleasure again, he's found himself returning to authors who blend nature and spirituality – John Muir, Annie Dillard, Thomas Merton. And, of course, his current reading still includes tree books -- like The Life of an Oak by Glenn Keator and Seeing Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo.  He's looking forward to reading Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees once it's released in English later this year. 

    Jason has been the executive director of ACRES for almost 10 years.  ACRES owns and maintains 98 nature preserves, totaling over 5,900 acres – giving him the opportunity to live out his 5 year-old self’s dream of caring for trees.  


    Images Jason Kissel 2



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

    gatesofevangelineThe Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

    Charlie Cates is a writer for an upscale, New York-based women’s magazine, a divorcee, and, most recently, a bereaved mother whose only son has died of a brain aneurysm.  Just a few months after her son’s death, Charlie begins having visions of dead children.  When an old boss offers her a job writing a “cold case” book about a young boy who vanished from his wealthy family’s historic plantation home in Louisiana decades earlier, Charlie becomes convinced that the missing boy is the one she spoke with in her latest vision.  She quits her job and heads to Louisiana, ostensibly to research the book, but in reality she hopes to discover what really happened to the boy.  Charlie’s grief over the loss of her own son drives her need to solve the decades old mystery and, once in Louisiana, she soon finds a kindred spirit to aid in her investigation.

    A fast-paced murder mystery with a side of romance and cast of eccentric characters, The Gates of Evangeline is an engaging read.  The reader may find that he or she is unraveling the mystery faster than Charlie (I know I did), but for me this didn’t take away from the pleasure of the story. 

     

    motherlandMotherland by Maria Hummel

    Motherland takes place in Germany in 1944 and 1945.  Most novels with this setting address the plight of Jews and other victims of the Holocaust, or the realities of battle during World War II, or the heroics of resisters.  In any case, it’s clear who the good guys are (the Allied countries), who the victims are (Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, people with disabilities, political dissenters, and anyone else sent to a concentration camp), and who the bad guys are (the Germans).  Motherland spins this accepted notion on its head, as it explores the lives of one German family at the end of World War II.

    Liesl and Frank have been married just over a month when Frank is drafted into the German army in 1944.  A doctor, he is assigned to a hospital away from the front lines, where he performs plastic surgeries to repair the facial injuries of German soldiers.  Liesl is left at home to care for her three young stepsons.  As American forces move closer and closer to their city, Liesl is aware of the looming danger – of being bombed, of starving if food supplies are cut off, of her husband being  killed or taken captive by American forces, but the biggest danger may lie closer to home.  Ani, Liesl’s middle stepson, is sick, and his symptoms make him appear to have a mental deficiency, prompting the doctor to threaten to send him to an institution for people with disabilities, where he is likely to be euthanized.  As Liesl struggles to use whatever influences she can to keep Ani safe at home, Frank struggles to escape a reassignment that may require he use his medical skills for evil rather than good. 

    Motherland prompts the reader to ponder these questions: How much did the average German citizen know about the atrocities of the Nazi regime?  Why didn’t the German people do more to stop these atrocities?  And perhaps the most challenging question of all: how difficult was it for the average German to avoid being a perpetrator without becoming a victim?

    dispatchesfromplutoDispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant

    Richard Grant was born and raised in the UK, traveled the world as a journalist, and had most recently lived in New York City when, on a whim, he purchased an old plantation home on six acres in the Mississippi Delta, specifically in Holmes County, the poorest county in the country.  A self-identified card-carrying liberal, Grant writes about his experiences making a home in a place where conservatism runs deep, poverty is extreme, and race relations are, for lack of a better term, a mess. 

    Grant is obviously researching material for Dispatches from Pluto as he describes visiting the local penitentiary, shadowing a local politician at election time, and exploring the local schools.  Many of his experiences, however, are the type that happen naturally when one moves, as he meets neighbors, makes friends, and learns the local culture.  Grant is refreshingly honest about his own prejudices while also exposing those of the Delta natives.  As a reader, you understand early on that Grant’s experiences are not what he may have been expecting, when Grant’s girlfriend (who moved to the Delta with him), comments in response to their new neighbors’ extreme generosity, “I thought Republicans were supposed to be stingy and mean-spirited.  No liberal has ever given me the keys to their car, or a whole bunch of furniture.”  Overall, Grant’s ability to hone in on the most important details, and describe people and places in his refreshingly straightforward way provides readers with an opportunity to vicariously experience the people, places, attitudes, and ideas of the Mississippi Delta, while simultaneously grappling with tough questions raised by Grant concerning race and poverty in this country. 


    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 | May 08, 2016
    Image courtesy of Traceylovesmom via wikimedia


    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 | May 06, 2016

    cover of The 1975's album,  I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of itAngular, persistent, and exploratory, The 1975’s latest album, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, has almost as much to offer as the title.  17 tracks and not one of them the same (which is actually more than you can say for the title) the album verges on sugar-pop glory while offering a wider musical experience tailored to the needs of the pop enthusiast.  Personally, I like a little more rock with my sugar roll, but whatever, a bold attempt.

    Suggested Use: Have you been neglecting your anglophile side for awhile?  Do you need to develop one?  Start here, these Brits can sing and play and their otherworldly charm is simply undeniable.  If you find they’re not for you, don’t give up on anglophilism, simply look into the band Alt-J.  It's hard to get more anglo than their song, "Choice Kingdom" with its lyric “rule Britannia, ruler of the waves.”

      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 | May 04, 2016
    For the month of May, we're challenging you to read a mystery!  I've listed a few of my favorites but there are many more to choose from.  You can even go "nonfiction" if you wish and focus on some of history's mysteries, like Roanoke, the Shroud of Turin, or the debate over who found America first.

    Select a mystery that appeals to you, read it, and share your thoughts in the comments of this post.  I'm always looking for my next great read!

     The Perfect Ghost

    This book was impossible for me to put down and the ending caught me by surprise — I love it when an author can do that!  I immediately began re-reading and became even more impressed.  It takes a lot of skill to show readers everything they need to know but lead them in an entirely different direction.  And this is why Linda Barnes is now on my “Must Read” list.
     
    Track of the Cat
    Anna Pigeon is a courageous and resourceful Park Ranger with a bit of a loner streak. The 19th book in the series, Boar Island, comes out May 17 of this year but you owe it to yourself to start with the first book in the series, Track of the Cat.  Each title is set in a different national park;  I just recently finished the 13th book in the series and I love that Anna continues to grow as a character as the series progresses. 
      
     Visitant
    The Anasazi mysteries by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear expertly weave together two suspenseful, haunting storylines: one from A.D. 1200 and one from present day. The Visitant is the first title in the series and it takes us to the desert of present-day New Mexico.  The story alternates between past and present with characters in each time period trying to solve the crime. If you enjoy historical mysteries with a touch of the mystical, you’ll want to give this series a try!
     Lightkeepers
     An isolated environment, a limited group of characters who might not be trustworthy, a death that may or may not have been accidental, and a balance of discovery and action. Set on the strange and desolate Farallon islands, just off of the coast of San Francisco, this is a beautifully written atmospheric mystery.
     Spellman Files
     The Spellman Files is the funniest book I’ve read in a long time.  It does have its somber and even frightening moments, but in between there are lots of scenes of Spellmans chasing Spellmans, Spellmans interfering with Spellmans and Spellmans blackmailing Spellmans—all in the name of familial love, of course.  If you like Stephanie Plum, you’ll love Izzy Spellman!  Read it—you won’t be disappointed!
     Monkeewrench
     The Monkeewrench series by P.J. Tracy is an excellent choice if you like an unpredictable plot, quirky characters and snappy dialogue. Monkeewrench is a Minneapolis software company run by eclectic misfits. In the first title, Monkeewrench , the company has created a computer game where the killer is always caught and the good guys always win–but the game becomes a nightmare when someone begins copying the fictional murders in real life. 
     Suspect
    The first in the Karl Alberg series, this why-did-he-do-it mystery is set on the lush Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.  The characters are bound together in a story that makes us question the nature of justice.  With its intriguing characters and strong sense of place, this book beat out titles by Ruth Rendell and Jonathan Kellerman to win the Edgar award in 1986 — I can see why.
       
       
       

    by Evan | May 02, 2016
    privacy

    If you've ever called the library and asked how much you owe in fines but you didn't have your library card number with you, I hope you were politely asked to call back when you did have your number. Same goes if you wanted a reminder on what books you have on hold. Same goes if you want to know what your daughter is reading.

    Privacy is a big deal for librarians. We want you to not only be free to read what you want to read, but also to feel free that no one else is tracking what you are reading. Or what music you are listening to, or what movies you are watching. It's a core library principle that if you don't have privacy in your use of the library, you don't have freedom.

    Requiring your library card number in order to access your record is one way to be reasonably sure that you are the one seeking the information about you. If you loan your card to other people, well, you've just loaned your private information as well.

    Librarians have become more anxious about privacy in the social media era and in the wake of federal laws that started stripping away information privacy after the 9/11 attacks. The American Library Association is a national leader in 21st century campaigns against the loss of privacy. In fact, this is the ALA's annual Choose Privacy Week, which encourages Americans to protect their privacy not only from the government, but also from criminal hackers and social media "friends." It features online forums and a lot of information links.

    It's fun to zoom along the Internet without worrying about your privacy, but the same can be said, I suppose, for zooming along the Interstates without worrying about your speed. You take your chances ...

    by Kay S | Apr 29, 2016
    Yes, 2016 is just rolling along. It's time a few new books which will be released between May 15 and June 14, 2016 to make their appearance. As always these are publication dates, not the dates they will appear on the shelves of a library near you.
    Historical Romance
    E Hoyt  Elizabeth Hoyt
    Duke of Sin
    Maiden Lane series
    May 31 
    M Hunter Madeline Hunter
    The Wicked Duke
    Wicked Trilogy series
    May 31
    L Kleypas Lisa Kleypas
    Marrying Winterborne
    The Ravenels series
    May 31
    M McCarty Monica McCarty
    The Ghost
    Highland Guard series
    May 31
    Historical Fiction
    B Bradford  Barbara Taylor Bradford
    The Cavendon Luck
    Cavendon Chronicles series
    June 7
    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction
    M Andrews  Mary Kay Andrews
    The Weekenders
    Mainstream Fiction
    May 17

    K Hamel Kristin Harmel
    When We Meet Again
    Mainstream Fiction
    June 7
    J Long Julie Anne Long
    Hot in Hellcat Canyon
    Hellcat Canyon series
    Contemporary Romance
    June 1
    J Mason J.D. Mason
    The Real Mrs. Price
    Mainstream Fiction
    May 24
    M McNear Mary McNear
    The Space Between Sisters
    Butternut Lake series
    June 14
    S Morgan Sarah Morgan
    Sleepless in Manhattan
    From Manhattan With Love series
    Contemporary Romance
    May 31
    E Richards Emilie Richards
    When We Were Sisters
    Mainstream Fiction
    May 31
    K White
    Karen White
    Flight Patterns

    Mainstream Fiction
    May 31
    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense
    F Berry  Flynn Berry
    Under the Harrow

    Thriller
    June 14 
    L Griffin Laura Griffin
    Deep Dark

    Tracers series
    Romantic Suspense
    May 24
    Hamilton Steve Hamilton
    The Second Life of Nick Mason
    Nick Mason series
    Thriller
    May 17
    C North Claire North
    The Sudden Appearance of Hope
    Suspense and Fantasy
    May 17
    Paranormal Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy
    j cronin
     
    Justin Cronin
    The City of Mirrors
    Passage series
    Science Fiction
    May 24
    J Hill Joe Hill
    The Fireman
    Fantasy
    May 17
    J Kennedy Jeffe Kennedy
    The Pages of the Mind
    The Uncharted Realms series
    Fantasy
    May 31
    L Lam Laura Lam
    False Hearts
    Science Fiction
    June 14
    N Singh Nalini Singh
    Allegiance of Honor
    Psy/Changelings series
    Paranormal Romance
    June 14
    Teens
    J Barnes  Jennifer Lynn Barnes
    The Long Game
    Fixer series
    June 7 
    K Cast Kristin Cast
    Scarlet Rain
    Escaped series
    Paranormal
    May 17
    T Schmidt Tiffany Schmidt
    Break Me Like a Promise
    Once Upon a Crime Family series
    Thriller
    June 7
    R Yancey Rick Yancey
    The Last Star
    5th Wave series
    May 24
    Inspiration Romance/Fiction
    L Blackwell  Lawana Blackwell
    A Haven on Orchard Lane
    Historical
    June 7 
    L Hinton Lynne Hinton
    Sister Eve and the Blue Nun
    A Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery series
    Mystery
    May 17
    D Love Dorothy Love
    Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray
    Historical
    June 14
    R Mabry Richard L. Mabry, MD
    Medical Judgement
    Thriller
    May 17
    by Sara P | Apr 27, 2016
    Did you know that you can vote before the official primary date, Tuesday, May 3?

    There are five locations where early voting is available - four of those are at libraries. Regardless of your official polling location, during the days and times listed below, you can vote at the Aboite, Dupont, Georgetown, and Hessen Cassel Libraries. Library early voting hours are:
    • Tuesday, April 26, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    • Wednesday, April 27, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
    • Thursday. April 28, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    • Friday, April 29, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
    • And Saturday, April 30, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Just bring your ID to vote! You can use the IndianaVoters.com website to confirm your voter registration or see a sample ballot
     
     

    Early_Voting_Poster
    by Becky C | Apr 25, 2016
    Ever wonder what library staff like to read?  Wonder no more!  Here's a quick look at some books we've enjoyed this month.  Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Scoeity
    The Furies of Calderon
     
     Every Anxious Wave
     Big Magic
     Jesus A Pilgrimmage
     Switched On
     Dimestore
     Girl Through Glass
     Shakespeare's Gardens
         
         

    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 | Apr 22, 2016
    Congratulations to the Annual RT Book Reviews winners.

    RT Book Reviews magazine has been around since 1981. Originally named Romantic Times, it is a genre magazine specializing in romance novels. It was founded as a newsletter in 1981 by Kathryn Falk. Starting out with 3,000 subscribers, it has mushroomed to over 150,000 subscribers. As readers and writers expanded from category romance and historicals to many other genres they changed the name of the publication to RT Book Reviews, and now also have a digital format magazine. Every year they pick winners which their reviewers feel deserve to be called the best of the best. Here is the list of authors and their award winning books which were published in 2015. After looking through the list, I bet you will all be scratching your head because you didn't know there were so many different genres and sub-genres. Well, everyone likes variety and I just bet there is at least one book on this list which is just made for you. Young, old, sad, happy, romance, mystery, fantasy, it's all listed below - and these are the good ones! So, give it a look, if you've read them, good for you - if not, what are you waiting for? Sadly the library does not have three of these books.
    Dumplin


















    2015 Career Achievement Awards

    Linda Lae Miller - Contemporary Romance
    Chistine Feehan - Paranormal Romance
    Julia Quinn - Historical Romance
    Rhys Bowen - Historical Mystery
    Janet Evanovich - Mystery
    Maureen Child - Series Romance
    Laurell K. Hamilton - Urban Fantasy
    Irene Hannon - Inspirational
    Nancy Thayer - Mainstream
    R.L. Stine - Young Adults
    Maya Banks - Erotic Romance
    Nalo Hopkinson - Science Fiction and Fantasy
    Carla Neggers - Romantic Suspense

    Reviewers' Choice Awards by genre


    Historical Romance of the Year

    Tessa Dare - Say Yes to the Marquess

    First Historical Romance
    Anna Bradley - A Wicked Way to Win an Earl

    British Isles-set Historical Romance
    Lisa Kleypas - Cold-Hearted Rake

    Historical Fiction
    Deeanne Gist - Tiffany Girl

    Contemporary Romance
    Brenda Novak - This Heart of Mine

    Contemporary Love and Laughter
    Kate Meader - Playing with Fire

    Indie Contemporary Romance
    Nalini Singh - Rock Hard

    Steampunk
    Bec McMaster - Of Silk and Steam

    Paranormal Romance
    Sara Humphreys - Vampires Never Cry Wolf

    Paranormal Worldbuilding
    Thea Harrison - Shadow's End

    Fantasy Romance
    Jeffe Kennedy - The Talon of the Hawk

    Futuristic Romance
    Alyssa Cole - Mixed Signals - ebook

    Urban Fantasy Novel
    Lisa Shearin - The Dragon Conspiracy

    Urban Fantasy Worldbuilding
    Anne Bishop - Vision in Silver

    Indie Urban Fantasy
    Rachel Aaron - One Good Dragon Deserves Another

    Romantic Suspense
    Lisa Renee Jones - Escaping Reality

    Paranormal Romantic Suspense
    Cherry Adair - Gideon

    Contemporary Mystery
    Sara Blaedel - The Forgotten Girls

    Historical Mystery
    Elsa Hart - Jade Dragon Mountain

    First Mystery
    Ausma Zehanat Khan - The Unquiet Dead

    Suspense
    Ruth Ware - In a Dark, Dark Wood

    Thriller
    James Rollins - The Bone Labyrinth

    Amateur Sleuth
    Mary Marks - Gone But Knot Forgotten

    Mainstream Fiction
    Karen White - The Sound of Glass

    Young Adult Contemporary Novel
    Julie Murphy - Dumplin'

    Young Adult Fantasy
    Leigh Bardugo - Six of Crows

    YA Protagonist
    Beatrix Adams - The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

    New Adult
    Colleen Hoover - November 9

    Erotic Romance
    M.O'Keefe - Everything I Left Unsaid

    Indie Erotic Romance
    Alisha Rai - Serving Pleasure

    Science Fiction Novel
    Catherynne M. Valente - Radiance

    Fantasy Novel
    Lila Bowen - Wake of Vultures

    Epic Fantasy Novel
    Kate Elliott - Black Wolves

    Fantasy Adventure

    Jim Butcher - The Aeronaut's Windlass

    Multicultural Fiction
    ReShonda Tate Billingsley - Mama's Boy

    Multicultural Romance

    Deborah Fletcher Mello - Playing for Keeps

    Inspirational Romance
    Camille Eide - The Memoir of Johnny Devine

    Inspirational Novel
    Katie Ganshert - The Art of Losing Yourself

    Inspirational Suspense

    Lisa Harris - Vendetta

    Seal of Excellence Book of the Year Award
    Each month RT Book Reviews pick a book that has gained the most enthusiasm from their reviewers. The winner is:

    Julie Murphy - Dumplin'

    List has been printed with permission from RT Book Reviews.





    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 | Apr 21, 2016
    Editor's Note:  Originally posted April 23, 2015.  Movie recommendations in verse.  Shakespeare would be proud!

    April 23rd is Shakespeare Day, the day when all of the fans of literature the world over celebrate the man who brought us so many archetypal and memorable characters and stories that we are still performing, studying, and enjoying them nearly 400 years after his death.  In order to celebrate the Bard my own way, I’ve decided to recommend a few interesting adaptations of his plays into the world of film.  However, a simple article would not suffice to honor this man, so what I bring are several movie recommendations in verse!  Hopefully you’ve brushed up on your pentameter because it’s about to get iambic up in here.  Without further ado, a few choice film adaptations of Shakespeare:

    Much Ado About Nothing
     
     

    While Whedon’s name gets thrown around most oft

    When speaking of Avengers and the like,

    He used that film’s success to float aloft

    His passion projects; This film quite unlike

    his many sci-fi works is rather plain,

    occurring at his richly furnished manse.

    Chromatic’ly, it features only ane,

    Which lends a classic air to the romance.

    With script well crafted by The Bard’s own hand.

    It lends itself to modern film quite well,

    This prototype for RomCom hijinks, and

    A cast which quickly charms you with its spell.

    Alexis Denisof plays Benedick,

    Whose face from Angel you may recognize,

    And Amy Acker stars as Beatrice,

    Another Joss alum; what a surprise!

    The physicality here really shines,

    And laughs are more abundant than you’d think.

    Except for several slightly altered lines,

    The dialogue stays true to Shakespeare’s ink.

    If William’s work has left you once bemused,

    Try this; I bet you’ll find yourself amused!

     
     tromeojulietposter  
     

    For those who fancy shlock, I give to you

    The strangest adaptation through and through.

    Lloyd Kaufman and his Troma troop regale

    The audience with content to assail

    The sense of decency.  But in this mess

    of bovine beasts and punk rock tone of dress

    There’s something purely Shakespeare in a way.

    The Bard was quite a rock star in his day,

    Performing not in front of royal chairs

    But in the streets where peasants baited bears.

    His plays, although they featured priests and kings,

    Were bloody, bawdy, really ribald things.

    This film seeks to offend, but in good fun,

    And manages to gross out everyone.

    The writer’s name be damned? A fallacy!

    He just helmed Guardians of the Galaxy!

    The screenplay earned him merely fifteen tens,

    But I would say he made out in the end.

    If in the mood to cringe and shake your head,

    Say to this star-crossed film, “I do thee wed.”

     
     The Lion King  
     

    Though Hamlet sounds like it refers to Babe,

    To Simba’s story it donates its plot.

    As murd’rous uncle takes his unearned throne,

    The rightful prince absconds o’er grassy wabe,

    And finds comfort in Hakuna Matat-a

    Adage of friends Pumbaa and Timon,

    Not he of Athens, merely meerkat here

    And warthog; Guildenstern and Rosencrantz

    To guide our hero out of his despair.

    Though Disneyfied, some scenes are flush with fear

    Like goosestepping hyenas’ song and dance,

    But Simba’s madness never comes to bear,

    Nor Nala follow in Ophelia’s fate.

    One excised song links Scar to Claudius

    Who aims to claim his brother’s wife as well.

    Now Simba swoops in to reclaim his state

    More regal now than young and haughty cuss,

    More hero than his tragic parallel.

    If you think Shakespeare needed a baboon,

    Then grab your kids and watch this great cartoon!

     
     ran  
     

    To some, it’s Kurosawa’s masterpiece,

    Adapted from the tragedy King Leer.

    A royal tale where squabbles never cease,

    Between backstabbing brothers; Father dear

    Divides his kingdom, but does not foresee

    The ruthless countenance within each son

    That he has bred through ruling cruelly,

    The method same by which his power won.

    The warlord’s makeup serves to underline

    That he displays Noh softer tendency.

    In chaos, man lets go of the divine

    Succumbing to the clouds of lunacy.

    Whilst stronger is the arrow three-in-one,

    With time all plans of men are come undone.

     

    Have I evoked any of those high school classroom headaches?  Be that as it may, if you’ve read this far it means I’ve successfully gotten you to read a sonnet on Shakespeare Day.  If you don’t wish to read any verse until next year, I completely understand.

    What’s your favorite film adaptation of a Shakespeare play?  Are there any movies you loved that unknowingly turned out to be derived from Shakespeare?  Let us know in the comments below!  As always, if you enjoyed the read, please share this with your friends.




    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 Emily M | Apr 18, 2016
    Looking for a book recommendation? Look no further!  Here’s a few good books I’ve enjoyed recently:

    Last Child in the WoodsLast Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

    The reasons behind why we choose to read the books we do are manifold: to be entertained, to escape reality, to challenge ourselves, to learn something new.  Sometimes, we choose a book not to be challenged or learn something new, but to validate what we already believe.  “I’m not the only one who thinks such-and-such!” we say.  “It’s right here in black and white, so it must be true!”  Now, obviously not everything in every book is true.  Walk into any public library and you’ll find books with opposing claims on any given topic, both claiming to be correct.  The wise reader uses careful discernment and, as a librarian, I know how important this is.  Nevertheless, sometimes I choose a book simply because I want validation for what I already believe, and I admit that was the case with Last Child in the Woods.

    In Last Child in the Woods, Louv makes the claim that today’s American children do not spend enough time playing outside in nature.  Louv explores why playing in nature is important (for physical, emotional, mental, and even spiritual reasons), why children today no longer play outside as much as previous generations, and what we can do within our own families, in our communities, and as a society to increase the amount of time children spend in nature.  Although Louv relies heavily on anecdotal evidence, he also includes a significant amount of scientific research to back his claims.  As the parent of two young children, making sure my children spend an adequate amount of time playing in nature is one of my goals, and Last Child in the Woods encouraged me in something that often feels counter-cultural. 

    I do have two criticisms about Last Child in the Woods that I feel the need to share.  First, I dislike the author’s use of the term “nature-deficit disorder.”  Obviously, he is playing off of attention-deficit disorder, but attention-deficit disorder is a recognized medical condition, while nature-deficit disorder is definitely not.  In the text, Louv acknowledges that nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition, but the use of the term in the title seems like an unnecessary scare tactic to me, that could reflect on his integrity.  Second, at some points I felt Louv told too many stories and went into too much detail.  I feel this book could have been more tightly edited and a 25% reduction in word count would have created a book with more bang for its buck, and would have been less likely to turn off readers who approached the book with only a lukewarm interest.  Despite these concerns, I would highly recommend this book for parents and anyone who works with children (teachers, scout leaders, coaches, babysitters, etc.).

    SymphonyfortheCityoftheDeadSymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson

    The Siege of Leningrad was an 872 day siege of the city of Leningrad in the Soviet Union (now St. Petersburg, Russia) by German forces during World War II.  It was one of the longest and deadliest sieges in history, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1.5 million people.  At the time of the siege, Dmitri Shostakovich was one of Russia’s most famous composers, and he and his family were residing in Leningrad.  Although Shostakovich and his family were safely evacuated from the city soon after the siege began, Symphony for the City of the Dead explores the ways in which the siege and Shostakovich impacted each other. 

    Shostakovich wrote his seventh symphony while his country was being invaded, then while his hometown was under siege, and finally as a hastily evacuated refugee.  (Shostakovich actually lost his partially completed score during the chaos of the evacuation.  It was found four days later in a puddle on the bathroom floor of the train on which Shostakovich was evacuating.)  Once completed, Shostakovich’s seventh symphony, dedicated to the city of Leningrad, was performed in Leningrad, across the Soviet Union, and around the world.  Although it’s impossible to know with certainty what Shostakovich really meant for the music to “say” or represent, many claimed that it was about the German invasion of Russia and the symphony quickly became an anthem of sorts amongst the allied nations against Nazi totalitarianism.  Claims have been made that Shostakovich’s seventh symphony played a major role in the war effort, from lifting the morale of soldiers to convincing allied nations to send aid to the Soviet Union.  In Symphony for the City of the Dead, Anderson presents the facts, while also exploring the likelihood of the myths surrounding Shostakovich’s seventh symphony.  This is a great book for music lovers and history buffs alike.  

     

    BeatrixPottersGardeningLifeBeatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales by Marta McDowell

    Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was an English author and illustrator of children’s books, including her classic The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  McDowell’s biography of Potter is unique; it focuses most closely not on her writing career, but on her greatest love – gardening.  At age 40, Potter used the profits from her books to purchase a cottage on 34 acres.  This was the beginning of her life as a gentlewoman farmer, and for the rest of her life, her writing would provide the financial means to continually expand her acres of gardens, pastures, and orchards. 

    Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is divided into three sections.  The first section is a traditional biography, chronicling her life from birth to death, while paying close attention to the influences of gardens and gardening on her life, including her career.  The second section explores a year in Potter’s gardens, describing the plants she chose for her gardens, and the seasonal rhythms of work they required.  The final section describes a visit to Potter’s gardens today (She left most of her property to the National Trust and much of it can be viewed by tourists.) and gives tips on how to make the most of one’s trip there.  All of this is interesting in its own right, but what makes this book shine are the photographs and illustrations.  Nearly every page features photographs of Potter’s gardens (past and present) and watercolors done by Potter herself, with all of the charm and whimsy one would expect of her work, making this book a visual treat.       

     


    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 Sara P | Apr 14, 2016

    Editor's Note:  Originally published on September 12, 2014.  Look for Sara's 2016 update at the bottom of the post!

    As a little girl, going to the library was always one of the highlights of my week. We lived just a block or so away from the Georgetown Branch, so my sister and I often walked to the library with my dad. We worked our way through the Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka books and the Serendipity series and my dad would read to us each night before bed. As I began to read on my own, I got all of the Beverly Cleary titles. My best friend and I visited the library throughout our grade school years and recommended books to each other. Young adolescence brought me Judy Blume and Sweet Valley High novels.

    me and my sister in the Georgetown Library’s storytime room

    The library was always a refuge to me. It was a place I could go to read about whatever topic I wanted. It was a place where the librarians knew my name, because they had watched me grow up. I was always a voracious reader, and the library evoked such fond emotion for me; I knew that I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. When I realized the true scope of a librarian’s job (not sitting checking books out all day), I was undeterred. I was also interested in all of the other aspects of the job — organization, education, and technology!

    I worked part-time at the downtown library through college. I met so many people and loved the hustle and bustle of working downtown (especially with free parking!). Once I received my degree and became a Librarian with a capital L, I worked in the IT department, assisting with technical projects and digitizing historic photographs. When the new downtown library opened after renovation, I worked for five years in the main hall, helping people find what they needed in that giant building. What neat experiences. I was so lucky to enjoy my jobs so much.

    But three years ago, I was given the opportunity to return to the Georgetown Branch. Though the space was not the same as when I was a child, it was like returning home. This is still my familiar old haunt, though there is much more light in this beautiful new building. Many of my former neighbors and classmates are patrons who visit, often bringing their own children — the next generation of Georgetown library patrons (and, who knows, maybe the next generation of Georgetown librarians!). I hope to welcome and inspire them and instill the love of reading and knowledge that was planted in me here.

    Sara at the Georgetown Library July 2014

    2016 update:

    I have now been working at the library for over 17 years, and am coming up on my fifth anniversary at Georgetown. I still love it here as much as ever! I am grateful to have a job that I love so very much, helping people every day.

    Sara P
    Sara is a librarian, technology lover, and parent who loves to read fiction. Her favorite book is Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.

    by Cathy B | Apr 13, 2016

     

    Charles Shepard

    A Talk with Charles Shepard
    , Director of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, in the Stacks of Art, Music & Media.

    “Libraries to me are as much an experiential place as going to a gallery or museum.  I don’t think many people understand how fortunate we are to have public libraries.  Truly, you can educate yourself on any topic in the world, free.”

    Charles Shepard has been the Director of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art since 2003. 

    Growing up in the small town of Bath, Maine he was introduced early to libraries, to a very old library, the Patten Free Library.  This library was founded in 1847. Construction began on the new library in 1889 and was finished in 1890.

    Patten Free Library

    Charles discovered the library when he was a young teen.  There was a beautiful park, rarely used, that was a great place to sit and read.  He was amazed at the bounties of the library and asked the librarian if he could come in and sit there in the library and look at things.  He was amazed that they let him stay there all day. Most of his weekends were spent in the library, it was like a club house for him and it gave him an excuse to stay out of trouble.

    He continues to be a frequent library patron.  He loves to go camp out at one of the tables with a whole stack of books and play with them for hours.  He says, “So often you come for things that you need but more often than not I come here on a Saturday or Sunday and start by looking at the new book covers but then I wander the stacks and see what looks interesting.  To leave without 8 or 10 books for me, I haven’t been successful. People don’t know what they can find in the library – it’s not like shopping, you can’t just go in and buy a quart of milk and leave, you have to poke around.”

    His advice for browsing the collection:  “A good way to choose a book is to look at the title on the spine rather than the cover because if the title interests you, you may like the book more than if you succumb to the attraction of the cover.”

    He also uses ACPL for reference.  We found a book on Myanmar artMyanmar Style: Art, Architecture and Design of Burma by John Falconer, that Charles was able to check out to help him answer questions on the Myanmar collection currently on exhibit at the museum.

    Charles says that he mostly reads history.  He recently read The Big Short  and just ordered a new book about the role of the U boat in WW2.


    by Craig B | Apr 11, 2016

    cover of Harper Lee's To Kill a MockingbirdBook Review:  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    It is now probably impossible (for at least a few more years, anyway) to talk about Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (which did win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961, by the way) without also talking about Go Set a Watchman, Lee’s 2015 sequel (and original idea) to the masterwork.  Controversy aside (if you’re like, ‘what controversy?’ just google 'Go Set a Watchman' and you’ll see), I found Go Set a Watchman interesting, timely, and a successful proof that Harper Lee really could write, proof that To Kill a Mockingbird wasn’t just some sort of weird one-off.  That said, I think that To Kill a Mockingbird is probably my preferred work.  I’m not sure Go Set a Watchman, if it had been released in 1960 instead of Mockingbird, would have brought readers in in quite the same way. 
    Watchman is more nuanced, more cerebral, and less able to get readers talking about the issues at the heart of it.  Mockingbird, on the other hand, runs deep yet is relatable to readers of all ages and tastes.  Scout and Jem and Dill and even Mrs. Morphine (Mrs. Dubose) engage us emotionally and intellectually as we witness the wide spectrum of their experiences.  The book implies many things and answers few, relying on the power of its central metaphor to indicate any direction our conclusions should maybe, perhaps take.  And yet there’s a directness to the main character’s, Scout’s, experiences and her perception of them that tells us explicitly that something is wrong in the world and that that wrong needs to be made right. 

    Sound a little dreary?  Am I killing the vibe with all this verbiage? Well, here’s the thing, Lee’s story, To Kill a Mockingbird, is better than all of that, goes beyond all that I’ve described and, very simply, manages to leave us with hope.  No small feat for any story, let alone a story of such dark proportions.  In contrast, Go Set a Watchman’s accomplishment is to leave us with a very grown-up impression (and exhaustion) that there are no heroes in the world, there are only humans.  Disappointing as that may be, it is actually a disappointment in ourselves, our humanity.  Dreary again, huh? 

    Well, seize hope.  Read To Kill a Mockingbird again and again and again.  It’s good enough to get better each time.  And when you’re up to it, every once in a while, set down the book you love that lives close to your heart and pick up Go Set a Watchman, the now semi-inseparable companion piece, the book you hope to be able to love but is kind of like an unpredictable new neighbor.  Like the gain of a new neighbor (and the implied loss of an old one) Watchman offers a more difficult and dreary experience, albeit one that is important and not altogether without hope.  Which is key.  Because Hope, despite the glorious reputation that Love enjoys, has much to do with making the world go ‘round.  It is often solely responsible for getting us out of bed in the morning, and, thankfully, more than we may realize, gives us the energy to try again to understand the point that our neighbor is so diligently trying to make.  Because neighbors, you can’t choose ‘em.  But you can continue to hope that you will eventually find them to be people you are able to love.

    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 | Apr 08, 2016

    cover of Okkervil River's The Stage NamesI don’t know how to say this succinctly.  I recently came across the band Okkervil River and they’ve been around for such a long time without me being aware of them that I decided to listen to their back catalog (via Hoopla!) and, you know, it felt for a long time like maybe they weren’t sure who they wanted to be or maybe who fans wanted them to be or maybe they were just trying too hard but then The Stage Names happened.  The Stage Names, the album where the band seems to discover the flimsiness of fame, the insubstantiality of spectacle, the fickleness of fans, and makes an album anyway.  But this time more out of love than desire.  With The Stage Names, Okkervil River really comes into focus, and it has really shown me, the listener, just who Okkervil River is and can be in the future … which is, funnily enough, now … I mean it’s an old album.  What, 2007?

    Suggested Use: Need a soundtrack for going back to somewhere in your not-so-near-past?  Need some spectacle to add to the wry-smiling shadowland of yesteryear? A timid yet fond memory of things-once-thought and a life-once-lived.  Put away the Dave Matthews.  Here’s Okkervil River!

    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 | Apr 07, 2016

    Editor's Note:  Originally published April 25, 2013April is National Poetry Month -- here's a look back at one of our more popular posts celebrating this literary event.

    What I like best about poetry is that it invites us to look at everyday life in a different way.  Each poet accomplishes this in his/her own fashion but, generally speaking, poetry calls attention to itself immediately because it looks different — in the midst of a day filled with various news articles, emails, and maybe a few chapters of a really good book, the physical arrangement of a poem stands out.   Because it doesn’t follow the norm, it encourages us to take our time, savor the words, and appreciate its unique pace and rhythm.

    I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud is one of my favorite poems about spring but I’m also quite fond of Langston Hughes‘ April Rain Song.  If you’d like to hear Liev Schreiber recite it and you’d love to see some lovely rainy Disney images, click here.

    tulips in the rain