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    by Craig B | Sep 15, 2015

    kantorMacKinlay Kantor seems like he was a pretty great guy.  While growing up in Iowa, he added an “a” to his middle name, McKinlay, because he thought it made it more Scottish; during WWII, while riding along on some bombing missions on assignment for an L.A. newspaper, he asked to be trained and allowed to use the plane’s turret machine guns (you know, just in case); and then, there’s this picture.

    Levity aside, Kantor seems to have found his experiences in WWII quite formative.  Present at the liberation of the  Buchenwald concentration camp he was convinced to try and tell the story of an American “concentration camp”, Camp Sumter, a.k.a. Andersonville, bane of Union troops during the American Civil War.  There are few words.  Andersonville the prison was a living nightmare.  Extant images of survivors defy imagination.  Simply put, the design, execution, and maintenance of the camp was an atrocity visited upon mankind that has few peers.  It cost one of the Confederate officers in charge, Henry Wirz, his life for war crimes.

    Kantor’s writing about the subject has a simple outward structure, yet is entirely compelling.  His characters live and breathe and have a piquant amount of human sensuality.  He is generous to many, even Henry Wirz, giving the lie to easy answers about responsibility for the evil that was Andersonville.  He is able to bring stories he heard face-to-face with Civil War veterans during his boyhood into play within the narrative, humanizing all sides of the conflict.  And he knows when to provide his readers with a miracle.  Contrary to my title for this post, Kantor uses many words in his story of Andersonville.  Some of the details are so overwhelming and the breadth of the book so great, readers could easily begin to lose hope of ever reaching the end or having any reason to.  A miracle (or two!) in the narrative leaves us with a residue of hope by the end and a reason to bother reflecting upon the history that contains such a happening.

    “Craig is reading all of the Pulitzer-prize winning novels in chronological order.  See the origins of this journey here.”


    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 Becky C. | Sep 08, 2015
    According to the U.S. Department of Labor's page on the history of Labor Day, we've been celebrating workers on the first Monday of September since 1984.  If you're interested in taking a look at some of your fellow workers' experiences, you might want to check out these titles.
     Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do book cover
    NPR refers to Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do by Studs Turkel as the quintessential book about Labor Day.  First published in 1974, this book is a collection of interviews of more than 130 people around the country about their jobs.  Men and women from every walk of life talked to the Chicago radio broadcaster about their likes & dislikes, fears, problems and happinesses on the job.

    Harlan County, U.S.A. is a documentary film about the Kentucky coal miners' strike against the operators of the Brookside mine and the Duke Power Company in 1973.  The dvd focuses on the hostile conditions that the miners dealt with - the threats and bullying - as well as their everyday struggles with poverty and black lung disease.
    Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line book cover In Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line by Ben Hamper, the author recounts his experiences as riveter for General Motors during the '70s and '80s.

    Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip - Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica.  Based on the award-winning blog, "Waiter Rant," this book tells the story from the server's point of view.

    Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams edited by M.L. Liebler.  From the folk anthems of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie to the poems of Walt Whitman and Amiri Baraka, from the stories of Willa Cather and Bret Lott to the rabble-rousing work of Michael Moore, this transcendent volume touches upon all aspects of working-class life.

    If you're interested in more titles, we have plenty!  Search our catalog using the keywords "working class United States" or "labor unions" and take your pick!

    While I'm grateful to have a full-time job that I love, I'm also grateful for Labor Day.  Weather permitting, I plan to spend the day with family.  Maybe I'll ask my dad to tell me stories about his time working for the railroad.  What are your plans?

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Becky C. | Sep 04, 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!











    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Becky C | Sep 03, 2015
    As we've recently switched from wordpress to sitefinity for our blogs, it seems like a good time to revisit some of our best posts from the past few years.  I wrote this post in April of 2012 and FictFact remains one of my favorite resources EVER.

    fictfactlogo2

    I love to read books in a series. A few of my favorites are The Spellmans, Stephanie Plum, Anna Pigeon, ShannaraWheel of Time and Song of Ice and Fire.  Because I read so many, it’s sometimes a challenge to keep track of new additions.  I’ve posted before about  KDL’s What’s Next database and it is an excellent resource if you just want to check the reading order for books in a series.  That said, I have recently discovered a site that takes readers’ advisory to the next level:  FictFact.  FictFact was created by series-lovers for series-lovers.  What do I love about this website?

    • Free email notification when new books in a favorite series are released
    • Simple listing of titles in a series — in the correct order
    • Easily browsable
    • Recommendations for similar series

    In order to receive the free email notification, you have to create an account, but it’s free.  If you simply want to browse the lists, you can do so without creating an account – just use the search box in the upper left-hand corner.  If you want to connect with other series-lovers, however, check the bottom of the series description page for a list of members currently following the series.

    What book series do you follow?  How do you keep track of books you've read?


    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 Rebecca W. | Sep 03, 2015
    You might have heard that civil rights activist Al Sharpton will be visiting Fort Wayne.  He will be speaking at Come as You Are Community Church on September 21st, 2015, at 7:00 p.m.  It's no secret that Sharpton is pretty polarizing.  Whatever your views of the man, if you'd like to read more about the issues he will likely address, try one of these books.

    John A. Rich is a doctor who interviewed dozens of African American men affected by urban violence.  In Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men, Rich laments the fact that we as a society have come to see urban black violence as "normal" - even inevitable.  He reminds us that these young men – even the ones that many people think “deserve” their injuries – are scarred by the violence and trauma they see on a daily basis. Like any of us, these young men and boys feel fear, loss, abandonment, and sorrow. If we just listen, we can learn so much from their stories.


    The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander argues that mass incarceration in America has taken over the role of Jim Crow laws designed to control and hinder the progress of young black men. Alexander cites statistics to show that African American men living in poverty are discriminated against in all phases of the legal process – policing, prosecuting, conviction, and sentencing.
     Ta-Nehisi Coates' beautifully written Between the World and Me is a letter to his teenage son – a letter filled with rage over what it means to be a black man in America. This book is on the bestseller list, so the library’s copies are probably all checked out. While waiting for a copy, you might start with The Beautiful Struggle, a fascinating look at Coates’ youth in urban Baltimore. Flirting with street life and ignoring school work, Coates found himself moving in another, more positive direction after becoming “Conscious” by discovering his African roots.


     Jason Riley believes that well-intentioned social welfare programs actually hold black Americans back.  In Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, Riley claims that social welfare programs have destroyed the black nuclear family and discouraged blacks’ financial self-sufficiency. He argues that liberal policies have only encouraged African Americans to embrace victimhood and entitlement – and that the solution is for white liberals to step away and allow black Americans to take responsibility for their future.
     In Shame: How America's Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country, Shelby Steele makes the case that liberal politicians exaggerate claims of racial inequality in order to justify overreaching public welfare programs. Steele argues that affirmative action and other programs have fostered a sense of victimization among black Americans and that it’s only through a return to personal freedom and merit-based competition that our society will achieve equality.

     Ben Shapiro's Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans criticizes Sharpton, calling him a “race bully” and blaming him for inciting hatred and riots. Shapiro accuses Sharpton and other liberals of using bullying in the form of false accusations of sexism and racism in order to demonize conservatives and claim the moral high ground.


    Rebecca W

    Rebecca loves dogs, travel, and books – especially history and historical fiction. Her favorite book is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
    by Cheryl M | Aug 27, 2015

    bone to pickWe are constantly being warned about the food we eat and the beverages we drink.  Almost daily headlines warn of contaminated poultry, harmful additives in processed food, or dangerous levels of caffeine in energy drinks. Creative, deceptive advertising adds to our confusion — when is “natural” not natural?  Oreo-Thins, anyone?

    At least we can pay just as much attention to watchdogs of the food industry; those who look out for the consumer’s best interest and do their research. One such watchdog is Mark Bittman, the New York Times’ only columnist to cover the “food beat.” His latest book, A Bone to Pick, is a collection of columns from 2011-2014.  The contents can be treated like a buffet, sampled here and there, in no particular order.  The selections are thoughtful, enlightening, erudite, with touches of wit. They often produce “a-ha” moments or food for thought:

    “It comes down to eat more fruit and vegetables and less junk and red meat.  But, most people don’t.”

    “Rule of thumb: avoid anything that didn’t exist 100 years ago.  Eat a dried apricot (1 ingredient) rather than a fruit roll-up (13 ingredients, numbers 2, 3, and 4 of which are sugar of forms of added sugar.)”

    “Food companies are well aware of the health crisis their products cause, and recognize that the situation is unsustainable.”

    “When people cook their own food, they make better choices.  We should provide food education for children … and cooking classes for anyone who wants them.”

    “Lawns are an attempt to dominate and homogenize nature. Gardens, however, are “constantly reminding us of the complexities and poetry of growing food and eating.”

    Take a look at what you eat, how you shop, and what you order in restaurants.  Enjoy sampling A Bone to Pick, and read until you’re satisfied but not stuffed.

    cheryl-mCheryl likes reading, bicycling, scrapbooking, travel, history, and cats. Because every life tells a story, her favorite books to read are biographies.

    by Rebecca W. | Aug 27, 2015
    WWII Legacies Book Cover I love reading about World War II. It’s not the battle tactics, the strategies, or the overall historical views that interest me; it’s the personal stories. The books I love the most are those which focus on ordinary people who are thrown into incredibly difficult situations. Combatants and civilians alike have told amazing stories of bravery, treachery, suffering, heroism, love, and hatred.

    Local author Kayleen Reusser is passionate about preserving the stories of WWII veterans. She has compiled stories from veterans living in this area in her new book World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans. On September 3, the Dupont library will launch a new monthly program — also called World War II Legacies — facilitated by Kayleen Reusser and featuring local WWII veterans telling their stories. Join us on the first Thursday of each month at 6:00 at the Dupont branch.

    In the meantime, check out some of my other favorite WWII books.

    ​Margarete Dos’ Letters from Berlin tells an important story - that of an average German family living through the war in Berlin and, later, living as prisoners in a Russian gulag. We cannot truly understand a war unless we see the stories from all sides.


    I was devastated by Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath by Michael Norman and Elizabeth Norman. Before reading this one, I had no idea of the horrors that American prisoners endured at the hands of the Japanese. The men who survived the march ended up in prison camps, where they suffered through months of starvation, disease, and torture.

    Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission describes the secret mission to rescue Bataan Death March survivors being held in Japanese prison camps on the Philippine island of Luzon.


    In We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese, Elizabeth Norman tells the stories of women who served as nurses in the war. These amazing women cared for the injured and sick men while enduring starvation, disease, and injuries of their own.

    With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa was one of two books which formed the basis for the TV series The Pacific. Eugene Sledge writes of his experiences in two of the bloodiest battles of the war.








    Rebecca W
    Rebecca loves dogs, travel, and books – especially history and historical fiction. Her favorite book is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
    by Craig B. | Aug 26, 2015
    Jeff the Brotherhood book coverWith a distinct hard rock bent, Wasted on the Dream, JEFF the Brotherhood’s latest album, feels to be channeling some quite well-known rock acts including but not limited to Ozzy Osborne and Jethro Tull, (BTW, not just channeling, that eyebrow raising flute riff on the title track: ACTUALLY Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull…), not to mention (and I really wish I didn’t have to) Kid Rock (icky) and, uh, Yellowcard? (meh). Now, I listened to this album for the first time pretty early in the morning and I was a little strung out on coffee. That said, I really wish Karaoke, TN and Coat Check Girl had not happened. I don’t get it, that’s all. Was it some sort of intellectual, rock music survey album gimmick? Do the Brotherhood really appreciate lyrical cretinism and teenagey, melodramatic vocals? Can JEFF and I still be Facebook friends!?! … Absolutely. They’ve really put together quite a great album. I mean, IAN ANDERSON! Suggested Use: Feeling rowdy? Need a little simultaneous stimulation of your intellect and your baser nature. Pop this disc in and take your evening (or morning) to the next level. See disclaimer below. Utilize with caution. Guaranteed to influence your inner 12-year-old towards misbehavior.


    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.