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    by Craig B | Nov 14, 2018

    Book Review: Toni Morrison's winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Beloved

    cover for Toni Morrison's novel, BelovedI can see why Morrison’s novels inspire, what is sometimes called in academia, a “close-reading.”  There are layers and layers here in her 1988 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Beloved; layers laced with question after question, ripe for some intransigent essay questions.  For example, who am I supposed to sympathize most with?  Who is the heroine?  Hero?  95% of the way through the novel I suddenly found myself being pulled to look at events in a different way, which I found fascinating, intriguing even.  Intrigue can lend itself to “close-reading,” to an obsession with questions like, “What is Morrison trying to tell us?  Who is Morrison really writing this book about?  What do you think, class?” 

    It is true that I find some of Morrison’s vagueness and disjointed exposition frustrating (especially at the beginning), but I also find that it allows for interpretations to be formed, picked apart, formed again, and that there’s something profound about this process.  And this sort of thing happens not only within the text.  Put Beloved within its actual historical context, the fact that the seed for the story originated with something that happened within Morrison’s own family history, and every scene has the potential to take on a different timbre.

    Lastly, it’s a ghost story!  Of sorts.  It does read like a horror novel at some points, which I actually found a little weird and a bit off-putting, and then that near overly maudlin ending really put my experience of this novel on edge, but I have to say Morrison does seem to near perfectly pull the narrative out of its dangerous dive.  And further good news, Beloved is part of a trilogy!  A trilogy connected by themes rather than concrete characters allowing for point-counterpoint comparisons as well as nebulous connections, mirroring of events, and various other literary magic.  Talk about an opportunity for close-reading!


    Craig B author 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 | Nov 12, 2018
    Veterans Day via pixaby

    On November 11, 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I.  This day was largely considered to be the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day.  It became a federal holiday in the United States in 1938.

    And then World War II and the Korean War happened.  In 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans” so that the day would honor American veterans of all wars. 

    Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace — dead or alive — although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.  Memorial Day, which we celebrate in May, is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country, particularly in battle or from wounds they suffered in battle.

    In honor of our veterans, I've pulled together a list of titles which I hope will serve as a starting point for anyone wanting to better understand the circumstances our men and women found themselves in.  My list begins with WWI and ends with the Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars.  I've included titles which offer general overviews of the conflicts involved, as well as personal narratives.  This is just a glimpse into our collection -- there is much, much more available.  Our Genealogy Center offers a wealth of free information available online via Our Military Heritage.

    The subject headings are quick links to our catalog, with a focus on adult nonfiction books.  See a title you're interested in?  Click on the book cover to check availability.  And please feel free to share your personal recommendations in the comments below.

    World War I (1914-1918)

     Victory 1918 America and the Great War  The Doughboys 
     The Unknowns  The Escape Artists  Loyalty
       Hello Girls  

    World War II (1939-1945)

    1941   Inferno The Holocaust 
     Fighting for Honor Code Talker   Resisting the Holocaust

    Korean War (1950-1953)

     I remember Korea  In the shadow of the greatest generation  The Korean War
     The Coldest War  Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War  Hot Shots

    Vietnam War (1955-1975)

     Voices from the Vietnam War  The Vietnam War in American Memory  The Vietnam War
     Strong Hearts, Wounded Souls  Radical Visions  What it is like to go to war

    Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)

     Road to Baghdad Spare Parts   Viper Pilot
     The Brave Women of the Gulf Wars  Warthog  Persian Gulf War

    Afghanistan & Iraqi Wars (2001- )

    Valor   The Fighters Understanding the US Wars   
     And Then All Hell Broke Loose  Blood Sweat and Steel  Heroes Among Us  

    Quick Links for more information about Veterans Day:

    From the US Department of Defense website:  5 Facts to Know about Veterans Day

    From  Veterans Day

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..
    by Craig B | Nov 09, 2018

    cover for Willie Nelson's studio album, My WayWell, Nelson’s most recent studio album, My Way, wasn’t a country album.  I hoped for a bit more of a country twist, but it wasn’t too disagreeable hearing Nelson’s slightly stilted delivery on these heavily orchestrated songs (there is a steel guitar in there somewhere) from ye olde (Great) American songbook.  And I do have to say, that was quite a powerful delivery of Sinatra’s "My Way" at the end, from a gentleman who, if anyone, has earned a creditable right to proclaim, “But through it all, when there was doubt / I ate it up and spit it out / … / And did it my way.”

    Suggested Use: Well, this isn’t carpet removal music, that’s for sure.  More like, doing some spackling?  On the ceiling?  With a deadline?  Chill out to Willie’s take on Sinatra and a bygone era and remember that you’re improving your own house and it should be totally okay to do it your way.  Unless you’re hoping to re-sell the house soon.  Then maybe sand that spackle a bit more thoroughly, aim for a timeless color on the ceiling like eggshell or taupe, and perhaps reconsider your decision to “popcorn” the ceiling.  Some things stand the test of time with a twist, I’m not sure textured paint has.

    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 Kay S | Nov 07, 2018
    Just in time for the Holidays!  Here are a few upcoming releases which caught my eye. So, while everyone else is watching football, pull up a handy recliner, and enjoy some great reads.

    As always, the dates listed are the publishers' projected dates, not the date the books actually hit library shelves.

    Historical Romance
     Mary Balogh Mary Balogh
    Someone to Trust
    Westcott series
    November 27 
     Betina Krahn Betina Krahn
    The Girl with the Sweetest Secret
    Sin and Sensibility series
    November 27
     Julia Quinn Julia Quinn
    The Other Miss Bridgerton
    Bridgerton/Rokesby series
    November 20

    Historical Fiction

     Clare Hastings Clare Hastings
    The House in Little Chelsea
    December 1
     Sherry Jones Sherry Jones
    Josephine Baker’s Last Dance
    December 4
     Adriana Trigiani Adriana Trigiani
    Tony’s Wife
    November 20
    Kirby Williams  Kirby Williams
    The Long Road From Paris
    sequel of sorts to Rage of Paris
    Historical Fiction/Mystery
    December 4

    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction/Women's Fiction/New Adult
     Rosalind Noonan Rosalind Noonan
    The Sisters
    November 27
     Hope Ramsey Hope Ramsey
    The Cottage on Rose Lane
    Moonlight Bay series
    Contemporary Romance
    December 4
     Cydney Rax Cydney Rax
    A Sister’s Survival
    Reeves Sisters series
    Contemporary Romance
    November 27
     Lauren Rowe Lauren Rowe
    Misadventures on the Rebound
    Misadventures series
    Contemporary Romance
    November 20
     Danielle Steel Danielle Steel
    Beauchamp Hall
    Mainstream/Women’s Fiction
    November 20

    Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Suspense

    Oyindan Brithwaite  Oyindan Braithwaite
    My Sister the Serial Killer
    November 20
     Rita Mae Brown Rita Mae Brown
    Homeward Hound
    Jane Arnold series
    November 20
     Laura Childs Laura Childs
    Eggs on Ice
    Cackleberry Club series
    December 4
     Rosemary Simpson Rosemary Simpson
    Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets
    Gilded Age Mystery
    November 27

    Paranormal/Fantasy/Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Horror
    Genevieve Cogman  Genevieve Cogman
    The Mortal Word
    Invisible Library series
    November 27 
     Jennifer Estep Jennifer Estep
    Hiants and Hobwebs,
    Elemental Assassins series
    November 27
     Yasmine Galenorn Yasmine Galenorn
    A Shadow of Crows
    Wild Hunt series
    Urban Fantasy
    December 3
     N.K. Jemisin N.K. Jemisin
    How Long ‘til Black Future Month
    Fantasy Anthology
    November 27
     George martin George R R Martin
    Fire and Blood
    History of House Targaryen of Westeros
    November 20
     Nora Roberts Nora Roberts
    Of Blood and Bone
    Chronicles of the One series
    December 4
     Diane Setterfield Diane Setterfield
    Once Upon a River
    December 4

    Young Adult/Teen

    Cassandra Clare  Cassandra Clare
    Queen of Air and Darkness
    Dark Artifices series
    December 4
     Arwen Elys Dayton Arwen Elys Dayton
    Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful
    December 4

    Inspirational Romance/Mainstream

    Robin Lee Hatcher  Robin Lee Hatcher
    Who I Am with You
    December 11 
     Jody Hudlund Jody Hedlund
    Searching for You
    Orphan Train series
    December 4
     Julie Klassen Julie Klassen
    The Bride of Ivy Green
    Tales from Ivy Book series
    December 4
     Carolyn Miller Carolyn Miller
    The Making of Mrs. Hale
    A Promise of Hope series
    November 27

    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 | Oct 29, 2018

    We Gave Our Best

    Saturday, November 3, 2018
    1:00-3:00 pm
    ACPL Main Library - Meeting Rooms BC

    Join us for this unique opportunity to meet local veterans of World War II at Kayleen Reusser's book launch party! The third book in Kayleen's WW II Legacies series--We Gave Our Best: American World War II Veterans Tell Their Stories--features stories and 100+ photos of thirty-four local GIs who served in the Army, Navy, Army Air Corps, Marines, WASP, and WAVES.

    Veterans will be available to sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase.
    by Aisha H | Oct 26, 2018

    I have three words to describe Netflix’s adaptation of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: De. Light. Ful. It’s also charming, entertaining, and hilarious. I don’t normally have the desire to rewatch a movie right after I’ve seen it, but this one tempted me.

    via GIPHY

    There are some differences between the book and the movie, but the basic plot is Lara Jean has a hidden hatbox of letters written to five boys she’s had crushes on over the years. She never intended for the boys to read the letters; they were just her way of expressing and working through her feelings. But those letters get mailed (not by Lara Jean, but by someone else revealed later on), and then the fun starts. The movie has some of the core rom-com tropes (two people that society doesn’t think belong together and a fake relationship intended to make someone else jealous), but I felt the cast elevated it to a movie you’d want to watch over and over again.

    Clearly the movie release has resonated with readers because all the book and audiobook copies of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before are checked out. Even most of our copies of the sequels, P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean, are checked out.

    If you're interested in other YA books turned into recent and upcoming films, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken; Ashes in the Snow which is based on Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys; and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas are ones to seek out.

    Aisha’s favorite authors are Lisa Lutz and Lorrie Moore. After years of resisting the librarian who owns a cat stereotype, she found Otis, the best giant little kitty ever created, and is now never without a cat hair somewhere on her clothing. 

    by Kay S | Oct 24, 2018
    Yes, it's once again time for a few upcoming fictional releases! Romances! Women's Fiction!! Fantasy! Horror! Mystery! Inspirational! You name it, we got it! This list does not include any non-fiction books - only make believe. Some of them will make you go aahhhh and some will scare you. These are just a few which landed on my radar. And, as always, the dates here are the publishing dates not the dates they will appear on your library shelves (plus sometimes a publisher changes the date and doesn't let me know).

    Historical Romance
    Valerie Bowman  Valerie Bowman
    Kiss Me at Christmas
    Playful Brides series
    October 30
    Anna Bradley Anna Bradley
    More or Less a Temptress
    The Somerset Sisters series
    November 13
    Grace Burrowes Grace Burrows
    My One and Only Duke
    Dukes in Disgrace series
    November 6
    anthology Tessa Dare
    Sarah Maclean
    Sophia Jordan
    Joanna Shupe
    How the Dukes Stole Christmas
    October 15
    Julia London Julia London
    Seduced by a Scot
    Highland Grooms series
    October 30

    Historical Fiction

    Edward Carey  Edward Carey
    October 23 
    Therese Fowler Therese Anne Fowler
    A Well Behaved Woman
    October 16
    Louisa Hall Louisa Hall
    October 16

    Contemporary Romance/Women's Fiction/New Adult/Mainstream Fiction
    John Boyne John Boyne
    A Ladder to the Sky
    November 13 
    Jenny Colgan Jenny Colgan
    Christmas on the Island
    Mure Island series
    Contemporary romance
    October 16 
    J Kenner J. Kenner
    Lost With Me - adult
    October 23
    Cathy Lamb Cathy Lamb
    The Man She Married
    October 30
    Debbie Mason Debbie Mason
    The Corner of Holly and Ivy: A Feel-good Christmas Romance
    Contemporary romance
    October 30 
    Nicholas Sparks Nicholas Sparks
    Every Breath
    October 16 
    Patrick Taylor Patrick Taylor
    An Irish Country Cottage
    Irish County series
    October 13 

    Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Suspense

    Taska Alexander Tasha Alexandra
    Uneasy Lies the Crown
    Lady Emily series
    October 30
    Katrina Carrasco Katrina Carrasco
    The Best Bad Things debut
    November 6
    John Grisham John Grisham
    The Reckoning
    October 23
    odonnell Paraic O’Donnell
    The House on Vesper Sands - ebook
    October 18
    cj sansom C.J. Sansom
    Shardlake series
    October 18

    Paranormal Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy/Horror

    Ben Aaronovitch Ben Aaronovitch
    Lies Sleeping
    Peter Grant series
    November 13 or maybe November 15 or maybe 20 - just watch for it sometime in November, it's coming!
    Christine Feehan Christine Feehan
    Leopard's Run
    Leopard People series
    November 6
    Stephen King Stephen King
    October 30
    Nalini singh Nalini Singh
    Archangel's Prophecy
    Guild Hunter series
    Urban Fantasy
    October 30

    Young Adult/Teen

    Talley  Robin Talley
    November 1
    Jennifer Yu Jennifer Yu
    Imagine Us Happy
    October 23

    Inspirational Romance/Mainstream

    Lynn Blackburn Lynn H. Blackburn
    In Too Deep
    November 6
    Angela Hunt Angela Hunt
    Jerusalem's Queen: A Novel of Salome Alexandra
    November 6
    Karen Kingsbury Karen Kingsbury
    When We were Young
    Baxters series
    October 16
    Robert Whitlow Robert Whitlow
    Chosen People
    November 6

    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 Emily M | Oct 22, 2018
    Looking for a book recommendation? Look no further! Here are a few good books I've enjoyed lately...

    SeaPrayerSea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

    Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini burst onto the literary scene in 2004 with his wildly successful debut novel The Kite Runner.  Over the next 10 years he released two additional novels, A Thousand Splendid Suns (2008), and And the Mountains Echoed (2014), and while they never reached the same level of popularity as The Kite Runner, I found them to be every bit as wonderful.  Hosseini writes with achingly beautiful prose about Afghan and Afghan-American life, family, and love.  If you’ve not read his first three books, I cannot recommend them highly enough.

    Hosseini’s latest release, Sea Prayer, is something completely different.  It is not a full-length novel, like his others books.  Essentially it’s a long poem, featuring gorgeous watercolor illustrations.  At only 48 pages long and requiring less than ten minutes to read, it could easily be mistaken for a children’s book.  While Sea Prayer can certainly be read by or with a child, it is a book for adults and children alike, a book for everyone.

    Sea Prayer is the prayer of a father for his son as their lives are ravaged by war.  According to the note in the book, it was inspired by the story of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in September 2015 while trying to reach Europe.  Read this book. Savor it.  If necessary, cry over it.  It will only take ten minutes of your time and you will be a better person for it. 


    The Trees by Conrad Richter

    The TreesFrom the late 1930s to the 1960s Conrad Richter was one of the great American writers of historical fiction, winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1951 for his novel The Town.  Most of Richter’s works focused on the development of various American frontiers.  While I’ve read plenty of historical fiction about the settling of the original 13 colonies, the western plains, and the American south, this was the first historical novel I can remember reading about the settling of Ohio, the state where I grew up. 

    Today, Ohio is the 7th most populous state in the country, with three substantial metropolitan areas (Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland), as well as huge swathes of highly productive farmland.  But in the late 18th century, Ohio was a vast, dense forest, aptly described by Richter in the book’s first paragraph as having a “midday twilight,” as the vegetation was too dense for the sun to fully shine through.  It is in this “midday twilight” that we meet Worth and Jary Luckett and their five children.  Worth, a hunter, has decided game in Pennsylvania is too scarce, and has packed up his family to move to the wilds of Ohio.  Unlike America’s favorite pioneer family, the Laura Ingalls clan, the Lucketts have no horses and wagon to carry themselves and their supplies.  They travel on foot, barefoot, bringing with them only what they can carry. 

    Told primarily through the eyes of 15-year-old Sayword, the family’s oldest child, the reader is immersed into the primitive world of these earliest settlers, where privation, loneliness, and danger are the norm.  Despite all of this, Sayword is the epitome of what modern readers expect a successful pioneer woman to be: stoic in the face of any hardship and willing to work endlessly from dawn to dusk without complaint.  The greatest strength of this book, in my opinion, is the historically accurate dialogue and use of contemporary narration to fully saturate the reader into the time and place being depicted.  The authenticity of the language rings true in every sentence.  Furthermore, The Trees, together with its sequels, The Fields and The Town, is not only the personal story of one pioneer woman, but the story of an entire society as it transitions from a people reliant on hunting, to a people reliant on farming, to a full-fledged town.


    SistersFirstSisters First: Stories from our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

    The child- and young adult-hoods of Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush could never be categorized as normal.  As children, they were first the grandchildren of the U.S. president, and later the children of the governor of Texas.  As young adults, they were the daughters of the president of the United States.  I picked up Sisters First because I couldn’t help but wonder life must have been like for these women during their formative years. 

    Sisters First is written in a breezy, conversational style, with the sisters taking turns writing short chapters which are presented (roughly) in chronological order.  Overall, the book is pleasant and interesting, with funny and bittersweet anecdotes from the women’s growing up years.  They manage to defend some of their behaviors that were so harshly criticized by the media without sounding defensive, and while they don’t spend much time discussing their political views, there’s a nice section by Bush about how she disagreed with her father on the issue of gay marriage, and how they maintained a civil discourse through their disagreement.  In the Acknowledgments, Hager and Bush describe the book as a love letter to each other, but to me it felt more like a love letter to their parents and grandparents, for whom their deep love and respect is obvious.  For a book about life in a political family, Sisters First felt surprisingly apolitical, a refreshing respite in today’s political climate. 

    What about you?  What good books have you read lately?

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


    by Craig B | Oct 19, 2018

    cover for Jonathan Coopersmith's non-fiction book, FaxedOnce in a while one still has to send a fax and it can be difficult to remember where exactly one can find that specific service.  Well, I’m happy to say that it can be found at two locations of the Allen County Public Library: the Main Library at 900 Library Plaza in downtown Fort Wayne and the Georgetown Branch at 6600 East State Blvd in Georgetown Square.

    The fax machine at the Main Library is located on the first floor in the Great Hall and the Georgetown Branch fax machine can be found in the public computing area.  Because the machines are self-serve, they can only send faxes; they cannot receive.

    The first page of any fax sent costs $1.75 and every subsequent page costs $1.00 (up to 15 pages).  Both fax machines only accept a credit card or debit card as payment and are accessible during regular business hours.

    For questions or assistance with more facts about these fax services be sure to contact the Main Library at (260) 421-1200 or Georgetown Branch at (260) 421-1320.

    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 Carrie | Oct 17, 2018
    • ACPL Writers' Series: Romance Writing 101
    • Sunday, November 4, 2018
    • 2:00 - 4:00 pm
    • Main Library, Meeting Rooms B & C

    Romance is one of the hottest selling genres on the fiction market. But how do you turn your story into page turner? This class will focus on adding the fine details to make your romance into a book readers can’t put down. Whether you’re new to writing, new to romance, or looking to strengthen your skills, this class can help take you to the next level.

    This workshop is part of the ACPL Writers' Series.

    Jennifer Ann Coffeen

    Jennifer Ann Coffeen is the author of several regency-era romance novels and short stories with The Wild Rose Press and Musa Publishing, including her most recent, A Deal with Lord Devlin. Jennifer is also the Festival Director and an instructor at StoryStudio Chicago. Her short story “Tooth” (published with Streetlight Magazinewas nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize. She's currently working on a historical mystery.

    by Craig B | Oct 15, 2018

    Book Review: Peter Taylor's winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, A Summons to Memphis

    Wikipedia uses the term “ruminations” to describe some of the working of themes in A Summons to MemphisPeter Taylor’s 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, A Summons to Memphis, a term I always associate with the grinding, less than moderately paced “chewing of the cud” by cows (probably because cows are literally “ruminants,” who practice “rumination;”  the same word, differently numbered definition).  And there certainly is a “chewing of the cud” pace to this novel allowing for these “ruminations” to develop over time, which I do appreciate, but even at only 209 pages I’m not sure the narrative is dynamic enough to really make this a great novel.  See this post’s title.  But no! It’s fine, it’s fine.  Who am I to disagree with the Pulitzer Board?  I mean, I certainly enjoyed the book on some levels, but it also made total sense to me that Peter Taylor is better known as a short story writer (during his career he wrote several collections of short stories and only three novels of which “Summons” is his second) because of the way the story is paced and “ruminates” and especially the way it ends with an image that is open to interpretation and doesn’t tell us anything directly; a sort of slow zoom out by the writerly camera while “ruminating” on things that seem less-than-directly related to the events we’ve just witnessed (ah, the power of metaphor?).  All of this smacks of short story writerisms, writerisms that often work powerfully in the condensed, tense nature of a short story, but perhaps only make for a sleepy novel, confusing at the end, because in novels we are mostly concerned about what happens whereas in short stories we invest in mood, in atmosphere (someone else has said that surely, I’m remembering that from somewhere, I did not pluck that out of the aether, not me, the master of the run-on sentence) and are delighted by obtuse metaphors and languid commentary on the human condition. 

    Anyway … no biggie.  I enjoyed reading the novel and now I know who Peter Taylor is and I enjoyed reading about Nashville, a city with a special place in my heart (good old Franklin Pike) and Memphis, a city I’ve yet to visit.  Speaking of, I bet Taylor’s got a slam-bang whopper of a short story about Memphis.  Can anyone vouch for “A Walled Garden?”  That really may be right up my alley. 

    Craig B author 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 | Oct 12, 2018
    cover for Eminem's album, KamikazeI quite appreciated the stereo effect that made my ears feel full of bubbles at the beginning of "The Ringer," the opening track for Eminem’s newest album, Kamikaze.  I also was quite taken with the confrontational cleverness Mr. Mathers employs to make his point about what he thinks of his critics, though I personally try to err on the other extreme in my responses to “constructive” criticism.  All of that said, though, I still think, that for self-destructive, frustrated lyricism I’d have to turn to the Old 97s album, Wreck Your Life, which is probably mostly a subjective personal preference, and yet, if my memory serves, Wreck Your Life is an album that is objectively easier to listen to with the windows down.

    Suggested Use: I had an instructor in college once who seemed to find Eminem’s music quite cathartic in its “to the fore” aggressiveness and I think this album manages to keep that tradition alive.  So, had a bad day?  Filled with rage at something you heard on the news?  Hesitant to shout expletives into the air or practice your primal scream?  Pop Kamikaze into your dashboard (roll the windows up!) and lose yourself in congested, traffic-filled road construction, too cool to care about having to be anywhere, unlike that Celica that cut you off yesterday and that Sunday-Driving Datsun in front of you now; you’ve got Eminem to do the shouting for you.

    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 Kayla W | Oct 10, 2018
       A Retrospective: Telltale Games

    Clementine: He's just always blaming me for stuff

    Lee: Like what?

    Clementine: Puttin’ a bug on his pillow…

    Lee: Did you do that?

    Clementine: ...Yes.
    - The Walking Dead: Season 1



    This is going to be a long and confused one.

    I am really struggling to find meaning behind the loss of so much potential, and even more than that, the loss of actual, really good moments of genuine storytelling magic. Of course, it would be callous to first not acknowledge the loss of the livelihoods of many employees in a company that has folded - be it as (allegedly) toxic an environment as I have heard it is - in an industry that these people have fought tooth and nail to get into.

    In case you haven’t heard, Telltale Games is shutting down, only fulfilling work they are contractually obligated to make for Netflix with a skeleton crew, and then will disappear into the ether of time. They are stopping production of their last project in the works, the final season of
    The Walking Dead.

    Honestly, some of this stuff is so genuinely aggravating and heart breaking that it helps to think of the things that remind you of why you cared about a company in the first place.

    I’ll say what has, to me, to be the greatest accomplishment of this soon to be defunct game studio, which is to center the crown jewel of their game series around a character who is simultaneously one of my favorite female characters as well as my absolute favorite child character, in the form of Clementine. She is a character of color and has multiple moments in the game I played (the First Season) that show her vulnerability, her strength, her sense of humor, and her personality.

    Make no mistake: when
    The Walking Dead: Season 1 debuted in 2012, Clementine was a revelation, not only in terms of being a video game character, but in the general culture as well. Before Alloy, the return of Lara Croft, and a year before Ellie would shock an industry by putting a non-objectified female protagonist on a video game box cover art not just alongside a man, but in front of him, Clementine proved to a world that shouldn't have needed the confirmation that female characters have complex and engaging stories to tell in this medium. And it wasn’t just a small portion of people who thought this as well. In an industry dominated by people, both in the business and its consumers, who believe enjoyability relies on big budgets, male-coded protagonists, and graphics that go above and beyond, a tie-in game for The Walking Dead that is known largely because of the strength of its girl protagonist became the dark horse winner of multiple Game of the Year awards from many gaming publications in the year it released.

    This game came after the (to me) disappointing tie-in games for both Jurassic Park as well as
    Back to the Future, a fact that deserves notice. The game should have been more than a victory lap for a game studio I had never even heard of before playing this game – it should have been like that moment in a sports’ movie where the protagonist is raised up to be carried off into the sunset while the credits roll.

    But they didn’t stop there. They followed up with a great party game collection like The Jackbox Party Pack, and truly great tie-in, such as The Wolf Among Us (a game that lead me to the comic book series that it acts as a prologue into, the truly ground breaking Fables), Tales from the Borderlands, and even a Batman tie-in game that I have heard fantastic things about. They did so much work and told a variety of different stories that it boggles the mind. Heck, I just learned they did a LEGO tie-in that’s also a Star Wars tie-in!

    Alas, the problem with their closure has been one that I have seen coming for a while now. In the same way that figuring out where to start with explaining why this company matters, explaining what will cause this company to join the list of tragedies I have lived through that originate from being a gamer is not easy.

    The top off the list has been easy to spot for someone who played The Walking Dead: Season One back when it first came out. Even back in 2012, the game is far from intuitive, the system it touts about being able to make a significant impact with your choices on the game’s narrative is a pretty blatant lie, and the engine it had kept on life support even for that time was showing its many failings. I may have pointed out five of their games that I have played and can confirm or otherwise have it on good authority that they are true gems, but they have more than four game series under their belt that are chores to play or are otherwise just not good. That's not a great track record, to be half great and half bad, if not outright terrible. I know awfulness is relative, but from what I have heard, people who love the games I have pointed out earlier felt varying degrees of disappointment from or outright anger towards the following titles: Guardians of the Galaxy,
    Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future

    Keep in mind: all of this came after the 2012 success of The Walking Dead: Season One. They did all of this in the five years and some change between that game and this year.

    And then there’s the curious case of Minecraft: Story Mode.

    It is a game that fatigued me so much that I did not have the will to seek out
    Tales from the Borderlands or Batman. This is the game that I would point to as proof positive of the inherent failings of the Telltale system. Also, I love The Wolf Among Us, but when it came time to put the controller down and the end credits rolled, I got the feeling that the story wasn’t fleshed out enough, but the big problem was the wheezing game engine it relied on. Cue Minecraft, a game I picked up because I felt nostalgic for Telltale Games’ work and out of curiosity for how they could re-invent another game's world.

    At first, it’s a dizzyingly fascinating experience. Some of my favorite comedians, in the form of Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn fill out starring roles, and there’s a gentle comedy to the whole thing. But it quickly becomes apparent that the game engine has been pulled over from the Playstation 3 era into the next, and it works as well as you would imagine it would. Which is to say that it doesn’t. Lag eats into time you need to make split decisions and into scenes meant to be action-packed or emotional. The mood of the narrative doesn’t know if it wants to be lighthearted, which would fit the context of the game and the game’s community it has taken from, or bizarrely emotional. For all of the lagging and the misunderstanding of Minecraft’s appeal which is, understandably, crafting, the major problem of the game came from a complete dissonance between the perceived mood of the narrative and what it actually is – and should have been.

    I do hate spoilers, and I am sorry, but the only way to explain the problem is by spoiling the end of Minecraft: Story Mode, so you have been warned. Spoilers abound for the following two paragraphs(!)

    There is a scene in the game where the comic relief pet pig, Reuben, dies. Mind you, this is after the events of the game have lead to some apocalyptic doing, which lead to the destruction of a lot of stuff as well as what can be surmised to be the deaths of many – human – characters. But when the protagonist, Jesse, finds his pig dramatically dying, not only does he have an emotional breakdown that he has lost his best friend, but this pig is given a funeral that would be fitting for a major political figure. In light of the deaths of many people.

    Oh. My. Word. I don’t even understand how a writer could think that this is an appropriate idea to have in a Minecraft game, but here we have the death of Reuben the Pig to act as an appropriate metaphor for the whole debacle. Potential buried beneath mediocrity that had no reason to be there, then topped off with something that pulls you out of the experience so hard you remember it (ironically enough) years later.

    And then there was the non-surface level “oops” of this company, in the form of being overly zealous in a way that reminds me of an novice player of any city builder sim and expanding too bleeping much too bleeping fast with no infrastructure in place to support it, getting the rights for every hot property imaginable to make a game out of it all at once, and then the cherry on top – its (allegedly) very Konami-like mistreatment of workers. That last one hurts especially, because I envision people making things I like not having to do so in an uncomfortable, toxic – damaging – environment.

    On top of it being a bad environment to produce in, this was a company apparently well-known for implementing the industry plague known as Crunch. Crunch is a term that encompasses the practices of working overtime on a project – typically to the point where it interferes in a person’s life, taking away their sleep and personal life. The funny thing is that there are believers in Crunch who think that it somehow results in a better end product. I don’t see how pushing people or a group of people like an abused beast of burden is going to make anything good, especially if it is something that is a piece of art or something that requires craftsmanship to produce. You end up getting a sub par product, and it’s no small collateral that the people who made it become disillusioned or burn out.

    Yes, the burn out in this company is legendary, much like CD Projekt Red, apparently where starry eyed workers were being chewed up and spit out through this system so fast it could make your head spin. To boot, the company went out on a nasty note because it had apparently hired a lot of new people the previous week, and then all of their workers were let go without any severance pay. Whoa.

    The final insult seems to be that as soon as the end came, the final season of The Walking Dead was killed halfway through, leaving people who paid for the full season hanging in the wind. Guys, paying for something like this up front is sometimes a bad idea. I’ve heard of a lot of people losing money they gave game projects on things like Kickstarter, but I am not surprised that one of these Season Passes that video game publishers have been hawking has turned out to be a bad choice. After all, a game company, whether it’s the work of one guy or hundred – thousands – of people is basically the same thing. I would also not be surprised if a few somebodies sue the ex-heads of this company for their treatment of their workers as well as charging customers for a product they never deliver on. Update: while writing this, I found out that the ex-employees are currently in the process of suing their old bosses.

    If there’s extra insult to injury, it has to be the fact that people who have invested themselves emotionally into The Walking Dead will get absolutely no closure, besides the second episode of the season. Update: while writing this, apparently the last season is due to be given to another studio to finish. A bad reminder, perhaps, that this game meant so much to its players and to many of the people who made it, but that at the end of the day, it was still a product and was discontinued like Crystal Pepsi.

    Wow. This went on a lot longer than I expected. I was more emotional and had deeper concerns on this subject than I thought I did when I started.

    I am honestly very interested in hearing what you have to say about this. Do you have any good memories of the company? Do you think this is a pattern that might spread to more of the game industry?

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre.  Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.

    by Evan | Oct 08, 2018

    A Sand County AlmanacYou read to get beyond your regular life, right? Fun, learning, excitement -- going somewhere beyond your usual routine. 

    Yet, there's a special thrill when what you read does connect to your life. The novel's main character likes your favorite wine. The biography is about someone your grandfather knew. The history mentions a martyr of your faith.

    The lure for me is places I have been -- or been near. Travel writing goes there directly, of course. (Miles from Nowhere, anyone?) Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon novels take me to national parks I have seen. Same for anything about the battlefields or cities I have visited. If I can connect even a small part of my life to what I am reading, the reading becomes more of me.

    The latest catch is a classic -- Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, one of those books I've been intending to read, since I lived, as a young man, near where it takes place. That would be Sauk County, Wisconsin, a lovely land of green hills and farms and bits of sandy Wisconsin River banks including Prof. Leopold's. 

    Leopold died 70 years ago, right after writing the book. The almanac and his other writings helped give the wilderness preservation movement more ability to compete with land development than it had in his day. Sauk County was also where I was introduced to the idea that hunters are conservationists -- or at least can be. And it was where I interviewed a preservationist about his tiny new project -- the International Crane Foundation, which is now a world-renowned force for wildlife. 

    So, reading A Sand County Almanac more than 40 years later was bittersweet, as I wish I had read it then, learned from it, and maybe visited Leopold's land. But maybe I will yet take that trip, and create an even closer bond between great writing and my own life experience.

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Kay S | Oct 05, 2018
    As autumn slowly creeps its way toward us, it's time to once again look at some fiction books which will be making their appearance soon. Sometime between September 15 and October 14, 2018 these books will be making their appearance. And, my little Petunias, what do I always say? These are publishing dates, not the dates they will appear on your library shelf.

    Historical Romance
    Kelly Bowen Kelly Bowen

    Last Night with the Earl
    The Devils of Dover series
    September 25 
    Shana Galen Shana Galen

    Theresa Romain

    Mrs. Brodie's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies
    September 18
    Jo Goodman Jo Goodman

    A Touch of Flame
    Cowboys of Colorado
    September 19
    Julia Justiss Julia Justiss

    A Most Unsuitable Match
    Sisters of Scandal series
    September 18
    Joanna Shupe Joanna Shupe

    A Notorious Vow
    Four Hundred series
    September 25

    Historical Fiction

    Juliet Blackwell Juliet Blackwell

    The Lost Carousel of Provence
    September 18 
    Bernard Cornwell Bernard Cornwell

    War of the Wolf
    Last Kingdom series
    October 2
    Hazel Gaynor Hazel Gaynor

    The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter
    October 9

    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction/Women's Fiction/New Adult

    Marie Force Marie Force

    Five Years Gone
    Mainstream Fiction
    October 9 
    Lynne Hugo Lynne Hugo

    The Testament of Harold's Wife
    Mainstream Fiction
    September 25
    Christine Morgan Sarah Morgan

    The Christmas Sisters
    Women's Fiction
    September 25
    Kiki Swinson Kiki Swinson
    The Hunt Is On
    Cheaper to Keep Her series
    Contemporary Romance
    September 18

    Mystery/Thrillers/Romantic Suspense/Suspense

    EJ Copperman E J Copperman

    Bird, Bath, and Beyond
    Agent to the Paws Mystery series
    October 9
    Angie Fox Angie Fox

    Pecan Pies and Dead Guys
    Southern Ghost Hunter Mystery series
    September 18
    Robert Galbraith aka jk Rowlings Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling

    Lethal White
    Cormoran Strike series
    September 18
    Andrew Gross Andrew Gross

    Button Man
    September 18
    Anna Huber Anna Lee Huber

    Treacherous Is the Night
    Verity Kent series
    September 25
    Perry Carol J. Perry

    Bells, Spells, and Murders
    Witch City Mystery series
    September 25

    Paranormal Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy/Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Horror

    Paula Brackston  Paula Brackston

    The Little Shop of Found Things
    Paranormal Romance
    October 2 
    Grace Draven Grace Draven

    Phoenix Unbound
    Fallen Empire series
    September 25
    Jennifer Estep Jennifer Estep

    Kill the Queen
    Crown of Shards series
    Urban Fantasy
    October 2
    Heather Graham Heather Graham

    Echoes of Evil
    Krewe of Hunters series
    September 18
    Candace Osmond Candace Osmond

    The Siren's Call
    Dark Tides series
    September 24
    Anne Rice Anne Rice

    Blood Communion
    Vampire Chronicles series
    October 2
    Rene Rossner Rena Rossner

    The Sisters of the Winter Wood - debut
    September 25
    Harry Turtledove Harry Turtledove
    Through Darkest Europe
    Fantasy/Alternate History
    September 18

    Young Adult/Teen

    Becky Albertalli  Becky Albertalli

    Adam Silvera

    What If It's Us
    October 9 
    CC Hunter C C Hunter

    Two Feet Under
    Mortician's Daughter series
    October 1
    Julie kagawa Julie Kagawa

    Shadow Of The Fox
    Shadow of the Fox series
    October 9
    Mackenzie Lee Mackenzi Lee

    The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
    Guide series
    October 2

    Maniscalco Kerri Maniscalco

    Escaping From Houdini
    Stalking Jack the Ripper series
    September 18

    Inspirational Romance/Mainstream

    Hubbard Charlotte Hubbard

    A Simple Christmas
    Simple Gifts series
    September 25

    Amy Lillard Amy Lillard  
    A Wells Landing Christmas
    Wells Landing series
    September 25
    Emily March Emily March

    The Christmas Wishing Tree
    Eternity Springs series
    September 25

    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 Nancy | Oct 03, 2018
    The Great American Read logo

    Are you watching "The Great American Read" on PBS on Tuesday nights at 8pm?  They will be covering some of the 100 favorite books as voted by Americans.  You can vote here.  If you watch the show, they also offer phone numbers at the end of the broadcast if you you wish to cast your vote that way. 


    PBS will reveal the winner on October 23rd's episode.  I'm curious which book will win.  I have my suspicions, and my hopes.  I've already tried some books off the list that I had never read and I know I will try more in the days and months to come.  They were good!!

    The fall episodes will look at books surrounding different themes.  The "Who am I" episode features my favorite book of all time (so far): John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany.   It will probably be tough listening to someone else talk about why they love this book.  It's never quite my reason why! (Yes, I know.  How lucky am I that my favorite book is on the list so I can vote for it!  Granted, none of my other top 5 are on there and so your absolute favorite may not be either.  But perhaps an author you love is on the list, or a book from your top 10?)

    I've read 3 other books on this "Who am I" list.  One was so-so but interesting, and another I absolutely loved; so it may be a good list for me to embark on.  Maybe in watching the show, one of their celebrity readers will convince you to try their favorite.  Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  has persuaded me to pick up Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

    In case you want to get cracking, Hoopla, one of our 24/7 digital services where titles are always available with no wait, lists which "Great American Read" titles they offer on audio and ebook here.

    So enjoy the show but more importantly, enjoy a book!


    by Kayla W | Oct 01, 2018

    Book Review: Damn Fine Story


    Each answer creates more questions and problems. Put differently, every answer to every question – every solution to every problem – has consequences. Questions have answers, and answers lead to more questions.  These chain together, ultimately, into a story. And they chain together in a way that is consequential – meaning, they’re not simply this happens, then this, then this, but rather, each effect is preceded by a cause.  – Chuck Wendig


    Damn Fine story

    As someone who has read more than a handful of books on the craft of writing fiction, I can say that they tend to fall in a couple of directions through the execution of creating a narrative.  For example, Stephen King errs on the side of inspiration for the newbie with a healthy dose of “here’s who I am and how I work”, Larry Brooks will tell you the secret that screenplay writers have known for – well, forever – which is to embrace the formula and methodology.  Wendig presents some intriguing writing advice told in a conversational tone, as though he were your friend and he’s gonna skip all the needless formalities to tell you the truly important aspects of writing fiction – with some side tracks along the way.  What he wants to teach you is the heart of what it means to tell a narrative.

    Wendig believes that the way you tell a story is the most crucial aspect of a narrative. This strikes true in a way – people will remember the way you react to them more than they will remember the content of what you say to them. I have had numerous conversations with people over what it is that draws them to a specific narrative, genre, or creator, and a lot are honestly drawn to what they end up loving because of the way those narratives are packaged. To Wendig, his heroes in storytelling are people like his father, who could tell the story of how he lost his finger and spin it into a legendary and entertaining yarn. In the author’s view, the best storyteller is one that can cut through to the point in the most entertaining manner possible, while also seducing his audience to keep coming back for more.

    It’s a refreshing view on storytelling, getting back to the basics in a way that appeals to both new creators and old alike. Much of his beliefs on what makes a narrative worthwhile have held true, long before stories were ever written down, and they feel like ones that he has battle-tested after having written numerous stories. Even if you don’t agree with everything that Wendig says, it’s hard to not respect the care that he has taken for the benefit of his readers. At the very least, much like what Wendig believes is the most important aspect of telling a story, the book itself is very entertaining.

    My major problems with the book lie in the fact that, the middle of it, he focuses on personal stories relating to his children that weren’t particularly enlightening, nor were they funny. However, getting through even that middle slog that has a lot of strange focuses on its chapters, as well as the personal stories that go nowhere, will lead you to a final checklist that ought to make your ears perk up if you’re like me and are a fan of Revising Fiction: A Handbook for Writers. It provides a welcome, clarifying end after a book full of useful and enlightening advice.  The focus on creating and telling a narrative in a manner that draws an audience in likewise makes this guide worth reading even for people who aren’t writers.  After all, the people that often end up the most respected in whatever tribe they’re a part of are the ones who can spin the best stories.

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre.  Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.

    by Emily M | Sep 28, 2018
    Looking for a book recommendation? Look no further! Here are a few good books I've enjoyed lately...

    The Child FinderThe Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

    Naomi is the country’s top private investigator for missing children, and her work is her entire life.  She has no spouse or children, and she can count her friends on one hand.  She doesn’t even have her own home, but works out of a hotel room in whatever town her current case is based. 

    In The Child Finder, Naomi has returned to the area where she grew up to work two cases: a five-year-old girl who has been missing for 3 years, and a baby who went missing a month earlier.  Told from multiple perspectives, The Child Finder not only follows Naomi’s investigation of the two missing children, but finds Naomi reluctantly facing truths from her own past that have long stayed buried.  While the subject matter of The Child Finder is dark, the writing is lovely, and the ending hopeful.    


    The NewcomersThe Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe

    Journalist Helen Thorpe spent a year in an English Language Acquisition Class at South High School in Denver, Colorado.  This class is for students who have little or no English language skills – recent immigrants and refugees from various countries around the world.  Thorpe gets to know these students from Iraq, Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador and many other countries by observing them in class, interviewing them outside of class, and, in some cases, spending time with them and their families in their homes.  Over time, the students open up to Thorpe, sharing with her their stories, and she, in turn, gifts them to us. 

    Thorpe soon discovers most of these students have experienced warfare or trauma, have been or still are separated from members of their immediate family, or have spent months or even years as refugees in countries other than their own before coming to the United States.  She observes their struggles as they wrestle with learning English and understanding American culture.  She learns about the process of coming to the US and how much and what kind of support they receive.  She ponders and hypothesizes on why some students (and their families) seem to thrive while others flounder.  Ultimately, Thorpe humanizes the individuals who are so often thought of as only “immigrants” or “refugees” and shows the unique potential they have and challenges they face, while also demonstrating the immense undertaking our schools are tackling in educating students who enter the building without the English language skills necessary to succeed.  The Newcomers is both eye-opening and highly readable, and I recommend it to anyone interested in either immigration or education in the United States. 


    The Time Travelers WifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

    Fifteen years ago everyone was talking about this book, but somehow I never got around to reading it until now.  If you also missed it the first time around, I’ll tell you why you might like to give it a shot. 

    Henry DeTamble is a music-loving librarian who has been involuntarily time-traveling since the age of five.  Henry finds himself thrust forward and backward through time, often landing in scenes of his own past or future life, always naked and hungry.  While the time travel in this story is well done, at its heart, The Time Traveler’s Wife is a romance, telling the story of Henry, and his wife Clare, who first meets him as a child, as over and over again Henry finds himself thrust back in time and landing in the meadow behind Clare’s rural Michigan home.  This book is not without faults (despite being the titular character and approximately half the book being from her point of view, Clare’s character is surprisingly underdeveloped), but the time travel, and the way Henry’s life story and Henry and Clare’s romance is revealed in circular timeline is so interesting, that the faults are easily overlooked, making The Time Traveler’s Wife hard to put down. 

    What about you?  What good books have you read recently?

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


    by Kay S | Sep 26, 2018
    Book Review:  Come Back to Me by Josie Litton

    That’s not really true, romance novels weren't the only historical book reference I ever 676565used, but who knew people were so clean in the days of Vikings? The Vikings in Josie Litton’s Viking series all seem to have saunas. These are clean Vikings, not the dirty ones you see on television.

    It’s time for Rycca, aka Super I-Hear-the-Truth Girl’s book, Come Back to Me. This is Josie Litton’s third installment in this series, and she has redeemed herself. Just for the record, I liked the first book and third book in the series, not so much the second.

    Rycca is running away; she doesn’t want to marry the Viking her family is forcing her to marry. She hatesssssss dirty Vikings; she doesn’t know about the sauna. She disguises herself as a boy, one of my least favorite themes, and traipses off to Normandy – or tries to traipse. Her plan is to sneak on board a ship and then try to find her twin brother. Sounds suspiciously like a Romanceland plan.

    Dragon Hakonson is also strolling around the countryside. He’s delaying his return to his brother’s stronghold because Dragon is about to be married. What do you think the chances are that Rycca and Dragon are going to cross paths? Dragon is a different kind of Viking, he likes women. He's not the kidnapping, raping, pillage kind of Viking; he’s more of an Alan Alda kind of Viking. He respects women and he will go to great lengths to protect them if he thinks they need his help. He’s just not in any hurry to tie the knot. Then he crosses paths with the boy who turns out to be a girl. Because Dragon is the helpful, honorable kind of Viking, he insists that he take Rycca to her boat safely. Rycca hides her true identity from Dragon. She has a few trust issues. As the two embark on their road trip, they become romantically involved. Friendship blossoms, trust on both sides appears. Then they discover that they are in fact betrothed to each other. They are not happy campers, at least for a while.

    Dragon and Rycca worked as a romance couple. Dragon was an alpha male with a soft spot for women. He liked being around them and he loved being with Rycca. He knows Rycca is in some kind of trouble. He knows she is hiding something from him and he uses oodles of charm trying to find out what. As they continue on their road trip, they become close. Eventually the truth about Rycca’s problems become known and they work together to find a solution.

    All the characters from the other two books make an appearance, each trying to solve the continuing mystery from the other books. Sometimes the appearance of characters from other books is irritating, but in this one they add to the narrative. Besides that, it was a pleasure to see them again. The villains are exposed and all is right with the world.

    Josie Litton’s Viking series ends on an up note. I believe this was my favorite of the three and I do recommend Come Back to Me. It’s been a pleasure reading Josie Litton, aka Maura Seger, once again.

    Time/Place: Vikings, Alfred the Great time
    Sensuality: Hot

    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 Aisha H. | Sep 24, 2018

    If you’re like me, you sometimes start singing random songs from the tiniest prompt. A couple of weeks ago, I was doing something that caused my cat to look at me in disbelief, and I said, “I know it’s crazy, but it’s true.” And then for a good two hours after that, I kept singing, “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)”.

    Last week, while cleaning my cat’s litter box, I started singing, “I’m a Little Teapot”. The line “Just tip me over and pour me out!” popped into my head while scooping. After singing it for way too long, I started to think quite a bit about the song. Why is “I’m a Little Teapot” a children’s song? Was there a need to inform children en masse of how teapots work? Were millions of children just standing around in kitchens not knowing what to do while teapots whistled? What was going on with this song?

    Luckily, I’m a librarian and well-versed in looking up information. Though to me (and as it turns out, others), something about the song makes it seem like it was written a couple of hundred years ago, it was written in 1939 by George Harry Sanders and Clarence Kelley. Kelley ran a dance school in New York City that specialized in teaching a dance step that younger children were having trouble learning. Sanders was his piano accompanist. In need of something to teach the children for a dance recital, Kelley and Sanders wrote “I’m a Little Teapot” so the children could sing the song and do a simple dance. The dance was a hit with the parents, and Kelley and Sanders published the song.

    It was found by a bandleader who recorded it, a tea company put a free tea coupon in the record envelope, and Kelley and Sanders waited for the song to become a hit. It did not. While the song wasn’t played on the radio, it did become a children’s classic, recorded many times and used by summer camps and nursery schools. Anthologists of children’s songbooks were surprised the authors were still alive, thinking as I had that the song was very old, and had to request permission to reprint it. And that is the basic history of “I’m a Little Teapot”.

    If song history is of interest to you, here are some books that might satisfy your curiosity.


    33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, From Billie Holiday to Green Day by Dorian Lynskey

    Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B, and Pop
    by Marc Myers

    The Golden Age of Novelty Songs by Steve Otfinoski

    On My Journey Now: Looking at African-American History Through the Spirituals
    by Nikki Giovanni

    Sleigh Rides, Jingle Bells, and Silent Nights: A Cultural History of American Christmas Songs by Ronald D. Lankford, Jr.

    This Land That I Love: Irving Berlin, Woody Guthrie, and the Story of Two American Anthems by John Shaw

    Aisha’s favorite authors are Lisa Lutz and Lorrie Moore. After years of resisting the librarian who owns a cat stereotype, she found Otis, the best giant little kitty ever created, and is now never without a cat hair somewhere on her clothing.