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    by Craig B | Jun 20, 2016

    cover of William Faulkner's novel, The ReiversBook Review:  The Reivers by William Faulkner

    I told some folks recently I was reading William Faulkner’s last novel (his 1963 posthumous Pulitzer win), The Reivers.  I explained to them what a reiver (ree’-ver) was (basically, a 16th century Anglo-Scot robber-baron) and that Faulkner’s novel was set in turn-of-the-20th-century Mississippi/Tennessee.  They asked how then the novel could be called The Reivers.  At the time I didn’t have an answer, but now I think I do.  It’s a metaphor!  Of course, as my last post declared, this is mostly supposition.  And yet, the characters in this novel do have a lot in common (metaphorically) with the historical reivers of the British Isles.  Simply put, both groups spent a lot of time running around stealing from each other and inspiring each other to new heights of thievery.  I’m not sure what the socio-economic, geopolitical moral is for the historical reivers, but for Faulkner’s novel the moral seems to be, “This is life!”; that whether or not we are literally “stealing” from each other, we are all in some way impinging upon others (no matter our nobility of intentions) and removing resources from off of others’ tables to supply our own.  The most difficult part of all this is for us to learn to live with this fact, to reconcile our ‘nobility’ and high-falutin’ notions about ourselves with the simple brass tacks of our thefts, self-centeredness, and general pillaging of the individuals and cultures alike that surround us.  Put in those terms, I have to say, Faulkner’s novel is rather brilliant, providing food for thought, unexpected twists, and some very welcome, gleeful, and giggle-worthy episodes of naughtiness.

    As for the critics, they didn’t care much about Faulkner’s later novels like The Reivers and A Fable, even though The Reivers continues the mythology of Faulkner’s famous and “apocryphal” Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, the setting for nearly all of his novels.  Critics pay more attention to Faulkner’s earlier novels (for which he was made a Nobel Laureate in 1952), but having read As I Lay Dying, I can assure you, the critics are wrong.  The later novels, which get so ignored critically, have, for me, managed quite well to disperse the dark cloud of stream-of-consciousness tom-foolery As I Lay Dying left me under.  I’m just glad the Pulitzers support me in my opinion of these later novels’ worthiness, and agree that The Reivers easily “steals” the show from As I Lay Dying. But wait, now I’m putting words in other people’s mouths.  We may all be reivers to some extent but that’s a level of reiver-ness I shall seek to avoid no matter how much it would serve my ego in the short term.  Perhaps the title of this post should now be, “The critics could be, some say, less than correct!”

    by Emma R | Jun 15, 2016

    In a dystopian future, Katniss stuns everyone when she volunteers to take her sister's place in the brutal Hunger Games.  As the story progresses, she will have to choose between fighting for herself or fighting for others.  The one is encouraged . . . and the other is not.

    If you liked The Hunger Games, check out some more titles on taking—or not taking—a stand. You probably know the new titles in the business, so we thought we’d give you some of the older, classic dystopias! Don’t be afraid to take your own stand and share your recommendations/thoughts in the comments!

     1984 by George Orwell. Big Brother never stops watching you in Orwell’s dystopian vision of the world in the year 1984. When you remember that 2 + 2 actually equals 4—along with a score of other things—instead of whatever Big Brother tells you to think, you’re going to run into trouble. Winston faces just that problem, and will have to face the consequences of wanting to think of things his way…instead of Big Brother’s
     Animal Farm

    Animal Farm by George Orwell. In another of Orwell’s dystopian visions, the animals of Mr. Jones’s farm have decided to revolt. But they aren’t in favor of anarchy. Instead they create their own political system, with their own political hierarchy, and they find themselves in rather the same place as they had been before.

     Lord of the Flies
     Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Golding’s depiction of a society without limits talks about a lot more than just no limits. When several boys find themselves on an island where there are absolutely no adults…and absolutely no rules…the world has a lot of potential. But when the inevitable fun and games are over, and human nature butts in, suddenly the situation doesn’t sound so pleasant. 
     Fahrenheit 451

    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Ray Bradbury shows readers a world where books are off limits for anything other than government sanctioned reasons…a world where a job exists whose sole duty is to burn every other book. But governments don’t change just because a man paid to burn books starts questioning his job. When Guy Montag stops burning books and starts keeping them, he’ll have to flee the government…

     The Giver

    The Giver by Lois Lowry. A world in black in white isn’t a bad deal for a world with no pain, no suffering, and no death. However, someone has to be in charge of making that world possible, and when the job falls to Jonas, he realizes that the world he’s lived in has only been maintained by hard—and sometimes horrifying—choices.

    Emma did a complete 180 late in high school, abandoning dreams of a degree in Music Performance to pursue a degree in English Literature. She finished her B.A. in December 2015, and now she’s working on her MLS while working in Material Support Services. When she’s not working at the library or on her degree, she spends time with her parents, her siblings, her boyfriend, and her two cats.
    by Becky C | Jun 13, 2016

    Editor's Note:  Originally published June 14, 2012

    While the 4th of July is a day for celebrating our independence, the 14th of June is a day to celebrate the adoption of the Stars & Stripes as the official flag of the United States.  A young teacher, Bernard Cigrand, planted the idea for such an observance back in 1886 when he placed  a 10-inch, 38- star flag on his desk and then assigned essays on the flag and its significance.   From that point through the 1930’s, he publicly called for a holiday celebrating the symbol of our independence.

    Long years of fervent and devoted effort to bring about this holiday finally began to pay off during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.  President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of the event on June 14, 1916. However, Flag Day did not become official until August 1949, when President Harry Truman signed the legislation and proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day.

    Many Americans celebrate Flag Day by displaying the Red, White & Blue in front of homes and businesses.  Flag-raising ceremonies, Flag Day services, musical salutes and street parades are popular ways to observe this holiday.

    Before you ready Old Glory for display, you may want to check the American Legion’s website to ensure that you are following flag etiquette.  Here are a few rules to keep in mind:

    • Torn, tattered or faded flags should be replaced.  The American Legion accepts worn flags and disposes of them respectfully.
    • If a flag is flown at night, it is supposed to be illuminated.  Any type of lighting, even a porch lamp, works.
    • If multiple flags are being flown, the American flag owns the right.  This means that no other flag should be to its right  (the viewer’s left).
    • Flags should only be flown at half staff when authorized by the president or the governor.
    • Flags should only be flown upside down as a distress signal, for example, when a ship requires immediate assistance.

    Did you know that there have been 27 official versions of the flag to date?  Arrangement of the stars varied according to the flag-makers’ preferences until 1912 when President William H. Taft standardized the then-new flag’s 48 stars into six rows of eight.  The 49-star flag (1959-60) and the 50-star flag also have standardized star patterns.  The current version of the flag dates to July 4, 1960 after Hawaii became the 50th state on August 21, 1959.

    Further Reading:  Flag Code, Flag FAQ, Ask the Expert, Flag Day, America’s Story: Flag Day, National Flag Day Foundation

    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 | Jun 08, 2016
    My husband and I have spent the last two years fixing up our fixer-upper.  We still have some projects underway but we're getting to the point where we can start thinking about building a patio and adding some landscaping.  If you're looking for ideas or how-to's for your outdoor spaces, here are just a few titles you may be interested in.  Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that! 

    What's especially wonderful is that there are a lot more titles to choose from!  I used the subject search Garden Structures for this post but, depending on what your focus is, you might also be interested in Gardening , Landscape Design, or Water Gardens.  I promise, I don't have them ALL checked out.  :)

    Have you used the library's collection to make improvements to your home or yard?  Please share pics in the comments!

    Backyard Building
    Complete Outdoor Builder
     Sheds and Garages
     Landscape Projects
     Outdoor Carpentry
     Complete Guide to Stonescaping
     Garden Cottages
     Backyard for Kids

    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 Heather | Jun 06, 2016
    Yes! The summer reading program is for adults too! Keep track every half hour you read or listen (audiobooks count as reading) on your timesheet--a stylus pen and three books can be yours! We also have three programs thru the system just for adults. Click the photo link for the full schedule.

    ASRP Art for Everyone
    Art for Everyone
    : Learn art from an Artlink artist in an inviting and relaxing environment.

    ASRP Coloring Therapy
    Coloring Therapy
    : Escape from your hectic wired world and explore your inner-child and creative side with an adult coloring program! All supplies are provided and all ages are welcome.

    ASRP Classical Music & You

    Classical Music and You!
    : Relaxing duets by Fort Wayne Philharmonic players at your local library.

    We have an adult summer reading Facebook event you may want to join--we'll be sending reminders, encouragement, and book related links thru the program's end on July 31st. Happy reading!
    by Craig B | Jun 03, 2016

    cover for The Strumbellas' album, HopeFor this newest album titled Hope there is an awful lot of use of the word “darkness” in its lyrics.  That said the album does still manage to give me quite a bit of hope and I’m pretty sure, based on the buzz, that the band’s “hopes” are pretty high for major chart success.  There’s nothing quite like being #1, or so I’ve heard.  If that happens we’ll all just have to hope that fame doesn’t ruin The Strumbellas like it certainly would some of us … hrmm, me.

    Suggested Use: If you’re looking for an undergrad album for the summer this one’s anthem-y enough and Simon Ward sings just ugly enough to be relatable.  You know, kind of like we do when we’re in our car with the windows down and we just can’t be bothered by stoplights.

    by Evan | Jun 01, 2016
    It's taken 27 years of listening to audiobooks, but I'm almost at the point where I can say without embarrassment that I have "read" a book that I actually listened to on tape, CD, or smart phone. You know, the idea is that if you hear a book you don't get moral credit for really reading it. I hope that's just my own hangup, and that when June rolls around and everyone celebrates Audiobook Month (brought to you, of course, by the Audio Publishers Association), you will be listening to books guilt free.
    There are  those who say listening to a book causes you to get less out of it. There are those who say listening is just a different way of learning. There are those who used to disdain audiobooks but have seen their value. And there are those (me) who think audiobooks are just great, great, great.

    My bottom line is that I have listened to hundreds of books that I would never have found time to read. Seriously, would you ever visually read Les Miserables, or The Brothers Karamazov? Granted they each took me many weeks, but still, they made their way into my head via my ears when they had no chance of ever entering through my eyes.
    Jim Dale
    I've had so many sublime discoveries, such as Barbara Savage's Miles from Nowhere or the voice of the late and truly great Frank Muller. Visual readers of the Harry Potter books missed out on Jim Dale's 134 amazingly distinctive voices.

    Meanwhile, I've listened to so many Great Courses from the Teaching Company that I deserve a General Studies diploma.

    Without books on tape and then on CD, I would have been driving around for a quarter of a century listening to the radio. I'd have been doing yard work with a grudge instead of with something just short of enthusiasm. Maybe I'd even by dead by now, because I never took long, healthful walks before I could listen to books while I strolled. 

    Of course, if you are the rare American who can actually sit back, relax, and listen to a book, then all the better for you. You might even choose books that have accompanying websites so you can see photos and other graphics that are admittedly missing from a standard audiobook. 

    Like e-books, audiobooks fill a niche. They don't make paper books irrelevant. If you haven't tried them, however, and you wish you could read more books, you owe it to yourself to see if you fit in that niche as well as I do.

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Kay S | May 27, 2016
    As summer crawls a little closer maybe it's time to take a few books to the beach. Here are a few upcoming releases coming to you between June 15 and July 14, 2016. These books are garnering good reviews. And, remember by little Petunia's these are the publishing dates not the dates they will line your local library shelves.
    Historical Romance
    h_lindsey  Johanna Lindsey
    Make Me Love You
    July 5
     Mary Jo Putney Mary Jo Putney
    Once a Soldier
    Rogues Redeemed series
    June 28
     maya Rodale Maya Rodale
    Chasing Lady Amelia
    Keeping Up With the Cavendishes series
    June 28
    Historical Fiction
    Andersen  Laura Andersen
    The Virgin's War
    Tudor Legacy series
    July 12
     Beatriz Williams Beatriz Williams
    A Certain Age
    June 28
    Mainstream Fiction
    Arella Cohen  Ariella Cohen
    Sweet Breath of Memory
    June 28
     Tiffany Reisz Tiffany Reisz
    The Bourbon Thief
    June 28
     Rosen Jane L. Rosen
    Nine Women, One Dress
    July 12
    Suspense/Romantic Suspense
     David Bell David Bell
    Since She Went Away
    June 21 
     Kate Douglas Kate Douglas
    Intimate Relations series
    Romantic Suspense
    June 28
     Gerry Schmitt Gerry Schmitt
    Little Girl Gone
    Afton Tangler series
    July 5
     F Paul Wilson F. Paul Wilson
    July 5
    Paranormal Romance/Fantasy
     Kristen Callihan Kristen Callihan
    Darkest London series
    June 28 
     Sherriyln Kenyon Sherrilyn Kenyon
    Born of Legend
    The League series
    June 21
     Terry Spear Terry Spear
    Billionaire in Wolf's Clothing
    Billionaire Wolf series
    July 5
     Jo Walton Jo Walton
    July 12

    Pintip Dunn  Pintip Dunn
    The Darkest Lie
    June 28 
    Erotica Romance
    elle Kennedy  Elle Kennedy
    Outlaws series
    June 28
    Inspirational Romance/Mainstream
    Tracie Peterson  Tracie Peterson
    A Beauty Refined
    Sapphire Brides series
    July 5 
     William Sirls William Sirls
    The Reason
    July 12

    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 Becky C | May 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!

    Symphony for the City of the Dead
     A Game for All the Family
    Keepers of the House
     Just Mercy
     Look Whos Back
     Shady Hollow

    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 | May 23, 2016


    Did you know that ACPL has a fantastic selection of online newsletters?  Created with readers in mind, the BookTalk section of our website offers more than a dozen newsletters to choose from.  You can sign up to receive free newsletters via email, and we’ve also included links to free lists elsewhere on the web.  Each ACPL newsletter contains brief descriptions of the titles listed as well as links to our catalog so you can more easily place holds on items of interest.

    • New Arrivals.  This newsletter highlights a different ACPL location each month and features recent additions to the collection.  This is a great way to browse the new bookshelf from the comfort of your home.
    • New Audiobooks.  Each month, you’ll read about new spoken-word audios to keep you entertained, enlightened and in-the-know.
    • New eBooks.  Do you have an eReader?  We’re adding new titles each month. Get a first look at them here.
    • Most Popular.  Curious about what other people are reading?  This is the newsletter for you.
    • Staff Picks.  Ever wonder what library staff like to read?  Staff Picks gives you an inside look.
    • Best Sellers and Awards.  Here’s one of those collections of links I mentioned.  Like the Best of  lists I like to check out from time to time, I personally love these lists because they remind me of titles I’ve been meaning to read and they alert me to many wonderful new-to-me authors.

    In addition to the newsletters mentioned above, we have several other options to offer!  Interested in business titles, children’s books, mysteries, romance novels, or science fiction?  Newsletters on those topics and more can be sent to your inbox with just 3 easy steps.  Step 1: On the Newsletters Signup page, click on the check box next to all of the newsletters you wish to receive.  Step 2:  Scroll down to the bottom of the page and Enter your email address in the box provided.  Step 3:  Click the Subscribe button below the email address box.

    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 | May 20, 2016
    You never know who's going to show up at the library!  The force was with us  -- these guys put aside their differences to share their love of reading when they visited the Pontiac Branch Library on May 14, 2016.  Our visitors from a galaxy far, far away, were just part of  Rally to Read, an annual event focused on supporting reading in the community through activities, entertainment, and book giveaways.

    Photo courtesy of Colette

    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 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. 
    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!
     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!
     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. 
    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

    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 ...