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    by Craig B | Jul 18, 2018

    cover for William Kennedy's novel, IronweedBook Review: William Kennedy's winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Ironweed

    Suicide is a recurring theme in William Kennedy’s novel, Ironweed, though Kennedy makes it clear from the very beginning, that his central metaphor of a flowering plant named for the “toughness of its stem” pretty much takes suicide off the table for his main character, Francis Phelan.  We begin following Phelan from just getting out of jail for accepting money to register to vote multiple times (21 in all) to a midnight raid on The Jungle; Albany, New York’s 1930’s hobo settlement.  In Francis Phelan, we are introduced to a complicated character that, despite his misdeeds, we mostly end up cheering on, though if I were in his daughter, Peg’s shoes, or even those of his son, Billy’s, I’m not sure I could.  But then, what has one to gain from unforgiveness when forgiveness could make a broken family whole again?  If only hindsight was more current!

    Speaking of which, the title of this post is not mine.  That first part is a cliché and the second part comes from Kennedy himself.  Kennedy’s phrase for me is a good example of the pith and vigor of his prose and the environment it brings to life (pun intended … keep reading you’ll see) with its inclusion of dreams, destitution, and actual ghosts (ha!).  Simultaneously hard-edged and fantastic, the story is often energized by the juxtaposition of terse language and composed, dreamy forays into the spiritual world, all to say, yeah, the man, Kennedy, can write.

    Kennedy’s life as writer began with a glowingly serendipitous event for all the bleakness of this novel.  Born in Albany, New York, he met his mentor-to-be, Saul Bellow, in, no, not New York, in Puerto Rico, and received encouragement to become a writer of novels.  I mean, speaking of fantasies, I’ve had one of sitting in Le Creuset in Nashville, making a profound impression on Nicole Kidman when she came in to buy some cast iron kitchen ware and receiving encouragement from that muse of many herself, but, as my friend pointed out, that would never happen.  Nicole would never visit Le Creuset; she has someone who does that kind of stuff for her.

    Anyway, this is a small novel (for which I was grateful) about a smallish place that looms large in my experience because of Kennedy’s artistry.  The novel, of course, reflects the world around it; a world small enough for Bellow to be met by a burgeoning writer in Puerto Rico, but a world also enlarged by the incorrigible serendipity of such an event.  Not to mention the ghosts.  I haven’t seen any lately but Kennedy’s novel is full of them which makes the 227 pager vast despite itself.  A world full of the dead begets infinity, I mean, because, well, they got all the eyes.

      

    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 Evan | Jul 11, 2018

    We have a big collection of books and other items at our library, but we don't buy everything published. Inevitably, people want to borrow items that we don't own. Oftentimes, we can borrow books from other library systems, but sometimes that's not the best option. And we don't borrow electronic items, such as ebooks or even CDs and DVDs. 

    To deal with such situations, there is a Purchase Request tab on the My Account button at the top of our home page. If you click on My Account, input your library card number and your PIN, you will see the tab as one of your options. Click on that and fill out the brief form shown here. 

    Title:
    Author:
    Format (ex BOOK, DVD):
    Pub. Info:
    ISBN/ISSN:
    Note:
    EMAIL:

     

    If you have all the information requested, that's great, but we mainly need the title, author and format. You are encouraged to include your email address in case we need to get in touch with you, but there is not a notification system to tell what decision was made. We ask that after you make a request that you wait a couple of weeks to check the catalog to see whether the item has been ordered. 

    Requests are limited to three per month, and not every request will be filled.  As a rule, for instance, we do not purchase highly specialized or academic material. But if you do know of something you think we should have, fill in that form and we'll look into it. And thanks for your interest in our library collection.



    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Kay S | Jul 06, 2018
    Yes, it's time once again for a few select books which may help you cool down for the summer. These books are due to be released between July 14 and August 14, 2018. As always, please remember that is the publishing date, not the date they might appear on your library shelf.

    Historical Romance
    Eloisa James  Eloisa James

    Born to Be Wilde
    The Wildes of Lindow Castle series
    July 31
     Jane Ashford Jane Ashford

    Brave New Earl
    The Way to a Lord's Heart series
    August 7
     Karen Ranney Karen Ranney

    To Love a Duchess
    All For Love Novel series
    July 31
     Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe

    The Singular Mr. Sinclair
    House of Lovell series
    July 17

    Historical Fiction

     Brooks Karen Brooks

    The Locksmith’s Daughter
    U.S. release date
    July 31 
     MJ rose M.J. Rose

    Tiffany Blues
    August 7

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

    Belle Andre Bella Andre

    Every Time We Fall In Love
    The Sullivans series
    Contemporary Romance
    July 18
    Alyssa Cole Alyssa Cole

    A Duke by Default
    Reluctant dukes series
    Contemporary Romance
    July 31
    jonah jonasson Jonas Jonasson

    The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man
    Sequel The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
    Mainstream fiction
    August 9
    Debbie Maccomber Debbie Macomber

    Cottage by the Sea
    Contemporary Romance
    July 17
    louise miller Louise Miller

    The Late Bloomers' Club
    Mainstream fiction
    July 17
    laura trentham Laura Trentham

    Set the Night on Fire
    Cottonbloom series
    Contemporary romance
    July 31

    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense

    Aaron Elkins  Aaron Elkins

    A Long Time Coming
    Mystery
    August 7
     Susanna Gregory Susanna Gregory

    Intrigue in Covent Garden  
    Thomas Chaloner series
    Mystery
    August 2
     Jeri Westerson Jeri Westerson

    The Deepest Grave
    Crispin Guest Medieval Noir series
    Mystery
    August 1

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

    Heather Graham  Heather Graham
     
    Pale as Death
    Krewe of Hunters series
    Paranormal thriller
    August 1
     Kevin hearne Kevin Hearne

    Delilah Dawson

    Kill the Farm Boy
    The Tales of Pell series
    Fantasy
    July 17
     Lee Martinez A Lee Martinez

    Constance Verity Saves the World
    Adventure of Constance Verity series
    Urban Fantasy
    July 17
     Seanan McGuire Seanan McGuire

    The Girl in the Green Silk Gown
    Ghosts Roads series,
    Urban Fantasy
    July 17

    Young Adult/Teen

    Ann Aguirre  Ann Aguirre

    Like Never and Always
    July 17 
     Oliver Potzsch Oliver Potzsch

    Sword of Power
    Black Musketeer series
    July 24
     Chloe Seager Chloe Seager

    Friendship Fails of Emma Nash
    Emma Nash series
    August 9

    Inspirational Romance/Mainstream Fiction

    Shelley Gray  Shelley Shepard Gray
     
    Her Fear
    The Amish of Hart County series
    July 24
     Marta Perry Marta Perry

    Shattered Silence
    Echo Falls series
    August 1




    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 Mindy L | Jul 04, 2018

    Some books sit on your nightstand for weeks as you read a little bit each night. These are not those books.

    What Should Be WildWhat Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

    Maisie Cothay has a problem: She can't be touched and she can’t touch anyone.  Her touch kills and resurrects, there's no in-between.  She lives in an old manor near a fearsome wood which the villagers warn against entering. When her father disappears, she has to break out of a lifetime of training as she searches for him. This novel features strange immortal women and time that moves at a different pace. Written in an old-fashioned, formal style, it's an odd but rewarding coming-of- age fairy tale. 8 ½ Kittehs. cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji



    A Howl of WolvesA Howl of Wolves
    by Judith Flanders

    Sam is an amusing book editor in London who somehow gets involved in some interesting murders.  This is the fourth book in the Sam Clair series and I’m always happy to see a new one. Fast read, not heavy on social commentary, offering a window on the publishing industry. 8 Kittehs cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji



    The Dark AngelDark Angel
    by Elly Griffiths

    A new offering in the Ruth Galloway Mystery series! Ruth, an archeologist with a daughter fathered by DCI Nelson (a married police officer) has plenty on her plate. Her paramour’s wife is pregnant (no one is quite sure who the father is, either Nelson or another policeman) and all the relationships are fraught. This sounds like a book revolving around sex! It’s not. Ruth takes an unplanned vacation in Italy to help an old friend with an archeological mystery. Earthquakes, murders, bad things happening back in England, and a particularly wrenching ending kept me up too late.  There are many characters with storylines going in all directions. They’re worth the effort although most readers will want to start at the beginning of the series.  10 ½ kittehs. cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji



    Dead PrettyDead Pretty by David Mark

    In this fifth installment of the Detective Sergeant McAvoy series, McAvoy tries to find the murderer of Hannah, while dealing with his boss’s apparent breakdown. Aector is a moral person, so the trials and tribulations of being a cop wear on him mightily. Several different story lines merge and diverge — stay on your toes!  Mark’s books are gritty, more police procedural than cozy, with complicated, realistic characters. I'm always happy when I see a new title on the shelf.  9 ½  Kittehs cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji



    Scot FreeScot Free
    by Catriona McPherson

    Lexy, a transplanted Scot, moves to California for love (and husband), gets a Reno divorce, becomes involved in a murder investigation, and things get really weird after that. I really enjoyed this book. Lexy’s off the wall humor and the bizarre cast of characters makes for a fun, fast read. I’m not even going to try to describe all the people she meets at the Last Ditch Hotel. Trust me, try it. 9 kittehs.  cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji


    Blackfish CityBlackfish City
    by Sam Miller

    The climate wars have ended and the earth is ravaged. An amazing feat of engineering, a floating city in the Arctic Circle has degenerated into two populations — the haves and the have-nots. The city seethes with discord and anger. A well-constructed look into one possible future, I enjoyed this read. The several characters who propel the book are interesting and well-drawn, as are the visuals. Complex, depressing, and uplifting at the same time. 9 kittehs. (I would have given it more but I found it confusing at times, probably me, not it!) cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji

     

    Best Beach EverBest Beach Ever by Wendy Wax

    Number six in the 10 Beach Road series, this is a fun chic-lit book.  5 women, 5 different disasters, rock gods, movie stars, babies, commitment issues, and revenge — what’s not to like? You don’t have to start at the beginning of the series to enjoy this summer read. The women are of different ages so their problems and how they deal with them break things up nicely. 8 kittehs.  cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji


    *Cat emoji images via freepik

    Another month, another cat pic:  Appo is judging whether you've read enough this week.

    Appo

    Mindy works at the Little Turtle branch.  She's a cat lady, an avid reader, and an old boomer.

    by Craig B | Jul 02, 2018

    cover for Calpurnia's EP, ScoutOkay, so I love the literary reference here with the band’s name and this debut EP called Scout, and the EP itself is even, eh, pretty good, but let’s not get carried away in either direction yet.  For the detractors, yeah, sure, the EP’s fairly derivative of some of the other bands I’ve followed the last few years (Dr. Dog, anyone?), but every song is solid.  Though, as my friend says, a band produces their first album (in this case, EP) writing it over the course of ten years … their second album is written on tour over ten months, thus the oft-observed phenom of the sophomore slump.  However, maybe this band won’t succumb, and if they don’t they will most certainly have my attention.  I guess we’ll see.

    Suggested Use

    Haven’t tried Freegal yet?  Want to make your first foray into online music or just see what the kids these days are up to?  Okay, who am I kidding.  The “kids” who are listening to bands like Calpurnia are mostly 30 somethings with a penchant for 90’s alternative rock … or am I wrong?  Tell me I’m wrong.  Rock’s not dead?  Well, I suppose it can’t be as long as bands like Calpurnia are keeping the dream alive, even with half-hearted EPs.  I mean, come on, write an album already!  Keep Rock alive!


    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 | Jun 29, 2018

    Album Recommendation: GUNSHIP

    (Give it up) Stay with me
    (Don't give it up, sunshine)
    (Give it up) Stay awake with me

    When the cloud breaks
    Wake me when it's over
    (It's only rain)   

    “The Mountain” by GUNSHIP

     

    GUNSHIP

     

    I am not an audiophile. That is, I am not someone that often worries about what I am listening to, or sometimes even the quality of what I’m listening to. I just enjoy whatever resonates with me. Which is why I find it hard to articulate why a piece of music is good.  I can oftentimes describe why a narrative is engaging, why something tastes good, why a piece of game play feels right.  But describing music often has me stumped.  So I’ve put off talking about anything like that.

    I started listening to this seemingly fad-tastic retro synthwave band a couple of months ago, due mostly to the fantastic music video made by the legendary claymation artist Lee Hardcastle for their epic song, “Tech Noir”.  I liked a few other tracks, but it took a while until I decided to wander into the whole album. Oh my word, once I did, I found that the experience – the atmosphere, the story – created through the use of synthesizers and oftentimes dreamy vocals and lyrics, sucked me in in a way that barely any other band has before. 

    Synthwave is often known for its heavy instrumental tracks, and GUNSHIP has been noted for how much it balances out their anachronistic 80’s sound with lyrics that often pairs its primary male vocals with a female that weaves together a sense of timeless harmony.  The band can run the gamut from beautiful and dreamy (“The Hegemon”), haunting (“Black Sun on the Horizon”), to celebratory and breath-taking (“Revel in Our Time”).   The wide range of moods used in these evocative, expertly crafted songs have a habit of drawing you in, involving you in the experience on a deep, emotional level that reminds me of being immersed in a lucid dream.

    I’ve been listening to this album for seventy five percent of the music I’ve been listening to while writing the rough draft of my second novel, and it fits in so well with a cyber punk feel that isn’t strictly depressing and seedy.  I can’t recommend it enough, even if you’re driving down the road late at night and want something that invigorates your soul.

    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 | Jun 27, 2018
    Book sale room fullThis is how things looked Tuesday morning (June 26th, 2018) at the Main Library. The book sale will run here today and Thursday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, and Friday 10 to 4:00 pm -- hard cover $1, soft cover 50 cents.  Saturday is the final sale day and will run from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm -- $5 to fill a bag, as big a bag as you can carry. Proceeds benefit the Friends of the Library

    There are now signs at the tables showing different areas of non-fiction, fiction genres, and children's books. What you see above is only a small portion of what will be available. We will be steadily refreshing the stock as it is sold. So if you come by a second day, you will see a lot of titles that were not available the first day. 

    Book sale fictionThere are tables
    and tables full of popular fiction. 














    Book sale French There are tables and tables of popular
     non-fiction -- and occasionally the exotic   surprise.















    And if you lost one of your HarryBook sale Potter
    Potter books, 
    look no further.
    The books on the table on the
    right side of this 
    photo -- and the 
    books beneath
    it -- are all about
    Harry. 
                                    








    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Craig B | Jun 25, 2018

    Book Review: Alice Walker's winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Color Purple

    cover for Alice Walker's novel, The Color PurpleIn 1983, Alice Walker became the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Filled with many beautiful metaphors, The Color Purple tells the story of the often brutalized Celie and is set in Walker’s home state of Georgia in the early 20th century.  The epistolary nature of the book allows Walker to open many of the chapters with the phrase, “Dear God,” which became my absolute favorite construction within the book.  Subtly, as details of Celie’s life are revealed, the phrase goes from the sound of a formal address to a cry of anguish and even disbelief.  The metaphorical possibilities of the final half of the novel are quite wide-ranging (can anyone recommend a good literary critic who might expound some of the intricacies for me?) and make me quite interested to see the 1985 film starring Oprah Winfrey with direction by Steven Spielberg to see how the film handles the varying narrative threads. 

    Alice Walker turned 74 this year and if you haven’t read this well-loved though oft-challenged novel of hers, consider doing so for her 75th.  Even though it’s not a very long book it tells a story that has been going on for a long time and one we should probably try and keep in the forefront of our minds.

     

    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 Kay S | Jun 22, 2018
    Here are a few upcoming releases which you may want to take with you to the lake, the pool, the picnic, the ocean, or the air conditioned room. The following books are due to be released between June 15 and July 14, 2018. As always, the release date is earlier than the date they may be on your library's shelves.

    Historical Romance
    Grace Burrowes  Grace Burrowes

    My Own True Duchess
    True Gentlemen series
    June 19 
     Manda Collins Manda Collins

    One for the Rogue
    Studies in Scandal series
    June 26, 2018
     Sabrina Jeffries Sabrina Jeffries

    The Risk of Rogues
    Sinful Suitors series
    July 2
     Johanna Lindsey Johanna Lindsey

    Marry Me By Sundown
    July 10

     Julia London Julia London

    Tempting the Laird
    Highland Grooms series
    June 26
     Sarah Maclean Sarah MacLean

    Wicked and the Wallflower
    Bareknuckle Bastards series
    June 19

    Historical Fiction

     Beatriz williams Beatriz Williams
     
    The Summer Wives
    July 10 

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

     Reshonda Billingsley ReShonda Tate Billingsley
     
    The Book in Room 316
    Mainstream
    July 10
     Emma hannigan Emma Hannigan

    Letters to My Daughters
    Mainstream
    June 28
     Mary Hogan Mary Hogan

    Left, A Love Story
    Mainstream
    June 19
     Susan mallery Susan Mallery

    When We Found Home
    Contemporary Romance
    July 10
     Victoria Murray Victoria Christopher Murray
     
    Envy
    the Seven deadly Sins series
    Mainstream
    June 19
     JoAnn ross JoAnn Ross

    Lucky in Love
    Temptation series
    Contemporary Romance
    July 1
     Jill Shalvis Jill Shalvis
     
    Rainy Day Friends
    Wildstone series
    Contemporary Romance
    June 19
     Maisey Yates Maisey Yates

    Untamed Cowboy
    A Gold Valley series
    contemporary Romance
    June 19

    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense

    Jennifer Armentrout  Jennifer L. Armentrou

    Moonlight Seduction
    de Vincent series
    Mystery
    June 26
     Jackie Ashenden Jackie Ashenden

    Total Control
    An 11th Hour series
    Romantic Suspense
    June 26
     Jennifer Ashley Jennifer Ashley

    Scandal Above Stairs
    Below Stairs Mystery series
    Mystery
    July 3
     Linda Castillo Linda Castillo

    A Gathering of Secrets
    Kate Burkholder series
    Suspense
    July 10
     Carola Dunn Carola Dunn

    The Corpse at the Crystal Palace
    Daisy Dalrymple series
    Mystery
    July 3
     Diana Freeman Dianne Freeman

    A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder
    Countess of Harleigh series
    Mystery
    June 26
     Lisa jackson Lisa Jackson

    Liar, Liar
    Suspense
    June 26
     Nina Laurin Nina Laurin

    What My Sister Knew
    Romantic Suspense
    June 19

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

    Terry Brooks  Terry Brooks

    The Skaar Invasion
    The Fall of Shannara
    Fantasy
    June 19
     Alyssa Day Alyssa Day
     
    Curse of the Black Swan
    League of the Black Swan series
    June 19
     Jacquelyn Frank Jacquelyn Frank
     
    The Science of Pleasure
    The Phoenix Project series
    Fantasy
    June 26
     Yasmine Galenorn Yasmine Galenorn

    Oak and Thorns
    Wild Hunt series
    Urban Fantasy
    July 2
     Benedict Jacka Benedict Jacka

    Marked
    Alex Verus series
    Fantasy
    July 3 or June 7
     Morgan Llywelyn Morgan Llywelyn

    Drop by Drop
    Step by Step series
    Science Fiction
    June 26
     LE Modesitt L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
     
    Outcasts of Order  
    The Saga of Recluce
    Fantasy
    June 19
     Rebecca Zanetti Rebecca Zanetti

    Vampire's Faith
    Dark Protectors series
    Paranormal
    June 19

    Teens/Young Adult

     PC Cast Kristin Cast Kristin Cast

    P C. Cast 

    Lost
    House of Night Otherworld series
    July 10 
     Cynthia Hand  Cynthia Hand

    Brodi Aston

    Jodi Meadows

    My Plain Jane
    June 26
     Lauren James Lauren James

    The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
    July 3, U.S.
     Scott Westerfeld Scott Westerfeld

    The Broken Vow
    Spill Zone series
    July 10
     Samantha Young Samantha Young

    The Fragile Ordinary
    June 26

    Inspiration Romance/Mainstream

    Colleen Coble Colleen Coble

    The House at Saltwater Point
    Lavender Tides series
    July 3 
     Jill Williamson Jill Williamson

    King’s War
    Kinsman Chronicles series

    Erotica

     Sarah Castille Sarah Castille
     
    Strong Hold
    Redemption series
    July 3 




    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 | Jun 20, 2018
    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 read a summary and check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    The Limit   A Higher Loyalty  Disarmed
     Bosh  The Power of Moments  Drink
     You Are Free  Born a Crime  The Man Who Caught the Storm
     Unlikely General  DIY Rules for a WTF World  Your Dad Stole My Rake

    Want more recommendations?  Click here for previous What We're Reading posts. 

    Please let us know what books you've been reading that you've really enjoyed.  We're always looking for our next great read!


    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 Kayla W | Jun 18, 2018

    Movie Recommendation: COLOSSAL

    I'm done being Mr. Nice Guy. - Oscar

    Colossal

     

    The trailers and the poster for this movie are misleading.   Think it looks like an absurd comedy involving lighthearted drunken hijinks?  Think again.

    To put it simply (and without spoiling too much), the movie is far deeper than some sort of mumblecore crossover comedy with giant monster battles. I mean, that still sounds cool. But it's not this movie.  If there’s a battle in this movie, it is one between two peoples’ personal demons.

    Not only does this movie far exceed what expectations someone can make for it, given the bizarre choice in how it was marketed, but it also exceeds most of what is produced that is supposed to delve into the murky waters of emotional depth and complication in Hollywood fiction. 

    I think the best genre stories, as in those that deal with overt, preestablished genres and their oftentimes well-established tropes, are those that use their chosen genre framework as a way of examining humanity through that lens (another movie that comes to mind is The Final Girls, which manages to take slasher horror and makes it into a heart-warming/breaking commentary on the relationship between a clichéd persona and a real, genuine person from the daughter's perspective).  It's like the movie is watching you back.

    Honestly, though, it’s tough talking about a movie that presents a façade that it somewhat believes in for a portion of the story.  I have no desire to spoil the reveals in this movie, but it offers a shock that left me glued to the screen and that sharing with you might spoil some of the effect that was intended.  Oh well – I think if this movie was given the exposure it initially deserved, I might not even have felt obliged to talk about it. So, here we are now.

    But what a balancing act this movie manages to pull off – taking its absurdist premise, of a complex character study of a woman who is teetering on the edge of losing the last shred of control she has on her life to a drunken stupor. The next (il)logical step is when she discovers that she has control of a Kaiju (Japanese) monster who looks as though it escaped a Godzilla black and white movie, all the while presenting a shockingly sober look at the life of the trainwreck protagonist. 

    If anything, the movie feels like a truly fantastic bait-and-switch, where it almost seems like it was half made by people who were revving up for a comedy, only to have it transformed halfway through into something completely, utterly, unexpected. And I can’t recommend it enough.


    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 Craig B | Jun 15, 2018

    cover for Sir Rosevelt's eponymous albumAlright Zac Brown, a.k.a. Sir Rosevelt.  So many of the musical elements of this side project sound like they were included on a dare.  “Hey, you guys are musicians, I dare you to make a pop song with a Spaghetti Western guitar riff!  Hey, dare you to attempt a Diplo & Skrillex-influenced dance-pop album!  Hey!  Dare you to make a giant dance-beat song based around my grandfather’s name, Robert Baker!” 

    But, if you already are fond of Zac Brown, I think all of this kind of works out because the band is clearly having fun, and for me that’s much of what music is about.

    Suggested Use: Interested in expanding your horizons?  Try international travel.  If you can’t afford that, check out this eponymous album and over-analyze the musical musings of a talented set of musicians.  Listening, ride the waves to the farthest shore and then give the deep thoughts permission to roll through you … and not just in one ear and out the other.  That does nobody no good.


    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 | Jun 13, 2018
    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 read a summary and check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    General Fiction

    Stephen Florida  The River Bank Heart Spring Mountain 
     The Overstory  The Perfect Nanny  Romeo and or Juliet
     Amy and Isabelle  The Sirens of Titan  We Are Okay
         


    Mystery/Suspense

    The Punishment She Deserves  Never Let Me Go   Tangerine
     The Good Liar  Six Four  
         

    Science Fiction/Fantasy

     The Fold A Face Like Glass  The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August 
     The Way of Kings  The Shape of Water  
         

    Children's

    Winterhouse  Like Vanessa
       

    Graphic Novels

    Rie and Taeko


    Want more recommendations?  Click here for previous What We're Reading posts. 

    Please let us know what books you've been reading that you've really enjoyed.  We're always looking for our next great read!


    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 Evan | Jun 11, 2018

    At least read Chapter 11. Then come over here and talk about it.

    Homo DeusSometimes you want to read a book that rocks your world, really shakes things up. For a lot of people that book could be Yuval Harari's Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. And while the whole book is a feast of eye-opening ideas, you can get a bellyful in just the last chapter. 

    The subtitle is telling. Harari is a historian, not so much a futurist. He gained celebrity three years ago for Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, and the new book is sort of a sequel. In it, Harari projects recent trends in history and says how he thinks they may play out in the next century or so. 

    The sequel notion applies partly because Harari thinks humanity won the wars of the past. He sees famine, disease and violence as the three chronic oppressions across history and argues that all three have been radically reduced since World War II. Next up, he predicts, will be the pursuit of happiness, of godlike powers and, yes, immortality. 

    What's more, Harari thinks the wars were won partly because what he calls humanist religions outperformed theistic religions in creating the modern world. The humanist trio -- communism, fascism and liberal democracy -- fought it out. Supposedly liberal democracy triumphed, but the rise of China presages a great irony in Harari's story: the scientific progress led by liberal democracy is making individuals, and ultimately humanity itself, useless.

    Perhaps, Harari muses, there will be a small core of elitists who will become homo dei -- immortal, happy gods. But he's betting against it. He sees the world currently heading to a universal, and fatal, religion of dataism. The collection and flow of information is driving progress today, and people give up their privacy and individualism to be part of it. In time, however, the flow will be so terrific that no human -- even a divine one -- will be able to cope with it, and humanity will wash away like all the extinct species before us. 

    Or maybe not. Harari leaves the door open for us to respond to what he has written. But he acknowledges resistance may be futile. 

    Homo Deus is the subject of a Science and Technology Book Club session I'll be hosting at 7 p.m. on June 21 in the conference room of the Business, Science & Technology Department at the Main Library. I'm trying to build a nucleus of people who are interested in a broad range of science themes, and if people don't find this book interesting, then I'll be mystified. 

    Harari makes a lot of broad statements about science, religion, humanity and the rest of life on Earth, but he backs them up with examples and footnotes. Some ideas are not original, but the way he puts them together could well erode the confidence readers have in how and why they are living the lives they lead. Harari's writing style is absolutely accessible, especially for such a heavy topic, although he sometimes hammers his points a little deep in the ground. 

    Fiction lovers like to talk about how good novels cause them to examine their own lives, but non-fiction can do the same. I encourage you to give this one a try -- or at least read the last chapter -- and then come on by and talk about it.


    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Evan D | Jun 06, 2018

    Waynedale gaming
    A gaming team at the Waynedale Branch library.

    One of the many new features of the library's big summer events schedule is Card + Board Gaming for adults. Three of our librarians will conduct a total of 17 game events at most of our branches. As you may have heard, hundreds of fun and challenging games for adults have been published in recent years, and we'll be teaching a couple dozen of them. Some are light and easy and some, like Decrypto shown above, will give your brain a workout. 

    With Waynedale's first event already behind us, here's the rest of the schedule of dates, library branches and times. (All times are p.m.) We hope to see you at one or more events. Bring your good luck charm and your thinking cap and have a good time. 

    June 11, New Haven, 7
    June 15, Little Turtle, 4
    June 16, Georgetown, 1:30
    June 18, Shawnee, 7
    June 19, Aboite, 7
    June 20, Main, 6
    June 25, Grabill, 7
    June 26, Hessen Cassel, 6:30
    June 28, Tecumseh, 7
    July 3, Waynedale, 6:30
    July 13, Little Turtle, 4
    July 17, Dupont, 7
    July 18, Monroeville, 3
    July 21, Georgetown, 1:30
    July 23, Grabill, 7
    July 24, Hessen Cassel, 6:30

    by Kayla W | May 30, 2018

    Book Recommendation: Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of 70's and 80's Horror Fiction


    Dogs are good and often form armies to assist humans fighting Satan, whereas cats can go either way.”  – on In the Nursery


    Paperbacks from hell


    Alright, so maybe it’s a weird hobby to search through garage sales, looking for the books that the nice families hosting the sale are only sheepishly offering to sell - well, get rid of.  Anything short of just pitching them in the garbage where they belong.  They tend to keep 'em away from the inevitable baby clothes and toys. As if they might spread like an infection.  Go ahead, call me a weirdo for being on board with the concept of reading what is not only a probably badly written book, but whose premise is about a town of people who – hey - not only belong to a cult, but also transform into manimals once a proper blood sacrifice has been offered.

    For anybody who wants a list of recommendations for the crazy, weird stuff that our aunts kept with their Stephen Kings back in the day – as well as descriptions of said stories written to make you laugh, hard – then this book seems to be the best, and, to my knowledge, only book like it to exist.   You laugh, you’ll cry (because you’re laughing so hard you think you might have a brain hemorrhage), and then you’ll have more knowledge about the genre of horror before The Silence of the Lambs seemed to change “horror” into “thriller/suspense” than when you first read it.  Written by Grady Hendrix, who keeps a blog focusing on the same subject, this book seems to be a collection of the best, the absolute worst, and the most interesting that paperback horror once had to offer.

    Included are really amazing exposes on niche creators who have been (sadly) mostly lost to time, as well as a thoroughly researched and well-presented timeline that shows how horror became a great big boom in the 70’s, only to die with a whimper in the 90’s.  Once niche horror sub-genres are dissected and exhibited with entertaining glee, tantalizing  and educating the reader on paperback horror history, from the height of its popularity till it would, inevitably, go into the obscurity of a used paperback clearance shelf in a store.  Or, to be more on the nose, the storage in the lower levels of the ACPL.

    Hendrix has a unique talent for making people laugh at the ridiculous premises and the cover art chosen by the once mighty paperback publishers who produced these largely forgotten about pieces of niche literature, as well as giving them the love and sincere adoration they deserve.   We’re laughing because we love the genre so much, not just warts and all, but due to those warts.  They’re what made the era’s horror genre what it was, and they are what has influenced the horror fiction we see today, for the good, bad, and weird.  Mostly weird.

    It has the potential to be the best coffee table book, if you have the stomach to leave it out for potential guests to stare at in shock.  Or if you could stop reading it yourself.

    It’s tawdry, shocking, gross, and if you have even a passing interest in the horror genre, this book will entertain you thoroughly.   In my opinion, the entertainment and education this book provided for me about this weird but beloved era for the horror genre has made it my favorite nonfiction book published last year.  It has also made me very interested in reading Hendrix’s novel, Horrorstor.

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

    by Mindy L | May 28, 2018
    Some books sit on your nightstand for weeks as you read a little bit each night. These are not those books.


    Queen Anne’s Lace
    by Susan Wittig Albert

    Queen Annes LaceQueen Anne's Lace is the 26th entry in the China Bayles series. Albert's books are always good solid reads albeit formulaic (different words, same music). Like the others, Queen Anne’s Lace revolves around plants and herbs, and, oddly enough, Queen Anne’s lace. Who knew that Queen Anne’s lace is a relative of the carrot and can also be used as a contraceptive? Who knew how many different plants have been used through the ages for their contraceptive powers and as abortifacients? The history of these plants made the book truly fascinating  to me. Mystery, chicken thieving, romance, and plants -- I give it 9 Kittehs. cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji

    Case of the Deadly Doppelganger by Lucy Banks

    The Case of the Deadly DopplegangerKester Lanner honors his mother’s dying request, discovers his long lost father (Dr. Ribero), and joins the family business (catching supernatural spirits). This is the 2nd book in Dr Ribero's Agency of the Supernatural series and it provides Kester the opportunity to discover more about his hidden talents as well as to possibly meet a woman who will like him. (Kester is young, insecure, sheltered, and a bit on the dumpy side — not your typical chick magnet hero). A fun romp through a crumbling hotel that reminds everyone of the Timberline Lodge. From ghoulies and ghosties / And long-leggedy beasties / And things that go bump in the night — the Ribero’s Agency will protect us. Fun. 8 ½ Kittehs.  cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji

    NIGHTWISE by R. S. Belcher

    Nightwise Urban Fantasy fiction takes place in a world that is pretty much recognizable as our own. Except for the wizards, witches, dragons, old gods, new gods, demons, angels…take your pick, there’s something for everyone. Nightwise is a gritty, sometimes pretty nasty, entry into the genre. The lead character is everyone’s anti-hero, easier to hate than love. There’s a whole underground world of mages and their helpers and slaves. If you don’t mind blood, guts and sex, it’s a pretty rip-roaring ride. 8 ½ Kittehs.   cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji

     

    The Disappeared by C.J. Box

    The DisappearedA typical Box book. Good solid writing, likeable characters, enough humor to keep dreariness away, and a fair amount of political commentary. You can always count on Joe Pickett to destroy at least one government owned vehicle.  8 kittehs.   cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji

     



    Too Close to Breathe
    by Olivia Kiernan

    Too Close To BreatheIrish DCS Frankie Sheehan is called out on what appears to be the suicide by hanging of a noted scientist, Eleanor Costello. Things become much more complicated than that, with a serial killer, a bit of BDSM (not too terribly graphic), several more dead bodies, too many red herrings, a novel way of murder, and Frankie’s traumatic past. A decent police procedural with well-drawn characters, a plot more convoluted than necessary, and a confusing first few chapters. Worth pushing through the confusion, since once into it, you will want to find out “who dun it”. I’ll give it an 8 Kittehs.   cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji



    Jack Rabbit Smile by Joe Lansdale

    Jackrabbit SmileHap and Leonard will weave their politically incorrect path into your heart. Murder, racism, computer hacking, religious zealots, strange people, and, always, some beautifully poetic writing. Hap and Leonard, a white dude and his gay black Republican friend, solve the crimes and find the missing people with irreverence, foul language, and philosophy. Not for the faint at heart or prudish. This, the 13th entry in the series, is excellent as always. 10 Kittehs.  cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji

     

    Miss Julia Raises the Roof by Ann B. Ross

    Miss Julia Raises the Roof

    Miss Julia is a Southern woman in her twilight years. It’s hard to review this book without the context of the other books, the location, and Miss Julia’s time period. Everything happens in the now, but Miss Julia is from a previous generation, being in her late 70’s, I believe. If you start the series at the beginning you’ll see how Miss Julia has grown, from a very buttoned-down, proper southern belle, to a warmer more liberal, outgoing person. However, even in this, the 20th book in the series, she’s still a product of her time and place.

    A proposal for a group home for at risk boys, in the middle of a quiet neighborhood fuels the narrative. Many of the people in the neighborhood are totally against it. Worried about noise, comings and goings, boys with evil thoughts in their heads about the young daughters on the block and so on. Miss Julia’s deceased husband’s love child lives with his mother and her husband next to the home, when he’s not at Miss Julia’s. (Miss Julia, Hazel Marie, and Lloyd are another story that would take too long to tell here.) Much ado entails. Eventually the red herring that is the group home is exposed, the bad people discovered, the good people learn some lessons, the boys get a home, Miss Julia learns new lessons and a happy ending is found.

    I like the books but they aren’t for everyone. There is a certain amount of moral ambiguity because of place, beliefs, and tradition that can be off putting. I’m sure they’re considered cozies. No bad language or explicit sex, so safe for more conservative readers. 9 ½ Kittehs.  cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji cat emoji

    *Cat emoji images via freepik 

     
    Another month, another cat pic:  this one features BT Cooper and his little brother, Mini Cooper, doing some synchronized sitting. BT Cooper and Mini Cooper

    Mindy works at the Little Turtle branch.  She's a cat lady, an avid reader, and an old boomer.


    by Emily M | May 23, 2018
    Looking for a book recommendation?  Look no further!  Here are a few good books I've enjoyed lately...

    eleanoroliphantBook Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

    Eleanor Oliphant is a single woman in her thirties who works in an office.  She has a scar on her face and always sticks to her rigid routine.  She has a very precise, exacting way of doing things, which is often off-putting to others, but makes perfect sense to Eleanor.  She is lonely and socially isolated, yet seems to have no interest in making friends.  Through an unexpected turn of events, she is thrust into the company of Raymond, a kind, ordinary man who works in IT at her office.  As their friendship grows, the walls Eleanor has built to protect herself begin to crumble, and she finds herself facing the tragedy of a past she has done her best to forget.

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time and I believe there are two qualities that make this book special.  First, the story is told from Eleanor’s point of view, allowing the reader to see why the things she does make perfect sense to her, even while it’s obvious that her actions, words, and choices are often viewed as rude or inappropriate by others. The juxtaposition between the two points of view is often laugh-out-loud funny.  Second, the book deals with some very dark and serious issues, yet manages to remain heartwarming and optimistic. 

     

    educatedBook Review: Educated by Tara Westover

    Tara Westover grew up on a small farm in Idaho, the youngest of seven children.  Tara Westover’s father was a survivalist, who feared the coming apocalypse and was constantly storing away food and supplies in mass quantities for the days ahead.  He was distrustful in the extreme, seeing evil in everything from public schools to modern medicine. Educated is Tara’s story of her childhood, and how a college education (of which her father did not approve) eventually helped her overcome the deficiencies of her childhood.

    As Westover shares her story, the word that continually comes to mind is unnecessary.  The never-ending string of serious injuries various family members experience is completely unnecessary – they could have been prevented with basic safety precautions.  The suffering after these injuries is unnecessary – the pain and side effects could have been greatly diminished had they received proper medical care.  The abuse Westover experienced at the hands of her grown brother was unnecessary – it could have been stopped if her parents had stepped in and protected her as parents should.  Westover’s intense struggle to get into college and adapt once she gets there was unnecessary – proper education and socialization would have prepared her just fine.

    Westover’s story is fascinating, powerful, and exquisitely told.  I read a lot of memoirs, and sometimes the authors of these memoirs get book deals because they have an interesting story to tell, not because they are a talented writer, and it shows.  In this case, the reader is gifted with a compelling story from an exemplary writer, and the combination makes for an extraordinary book. 

     

    browngirldreamingBook Review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

    Jacqueline Woodson is a prolific and award-winning children’s author.  Her latest book, Brown Girl Dreaming, is an autobiographical novel told in verse.  With incredible insight and elegance, Woodson tells the story of her childhood spent in Ohio, South Carolina, and New York City.  Each line feels like a precious gift as Woodson shares with the reader about her beloved family, her love of storytelling that was roused in her before she even learned to write, and her impressions of growing up as an African-American child during the Civil Rights movement and as a part of the Great Migration.  Don’t pass on this one just because it’s a children’s book!  It is a beautiful and moving piece of literature that you don’t want to miss. 

    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 | May 21, 2018
    Journal Gazette Biking Librarian photoHow many words must a video with a voiceover and a soundtrack be worth?!  The “end of numbers?”  (to quote the child of a co-worker).  Well, at least we can agree it’s probably a lot.  But wait, what am I even talking about?  Tour de ACPL?  What’s that?

    Well, let me tell you (in as few words as possible, I’d like the following video to do my talking for me.)  On Wednesday, May 2, I set out from Aboite Branch Library to bicycle along the Rivergreenway to nine other Allen County Public Library locations and various Allen County parks and points of interest.  I wanted to demonstrate how easy it could be to get around our community and just how many great things there were to do and see … and just how embedded our libraries are in neighborhoods throughout the county.  Truth be told, I was a bit nervous on the eve of my 40 mile bike ride.  I wasn’t sure I’d gotten in good enough shape, that I would be able to keep to the schedule, or that my videographer, Kay, would still be my friend after she’d had to follow me pell-mell through traffic, heat, and hundreds of minutes of footage.  But it went fine!  Excellent even!  Not that I wasn’t tired.  Believe me, I went to bed early afterwards.  But, before I say too much, let me allow the “pictures” to do the talking.  Check out the video we’ve put together and posted to ACPL’s YouTube channel and perhaps even be inspired to utilize the beautiful Rivergreenway of Fort Wayne to experience the many parks and sites of our community and to visit ACPL; quite possibly, if you’ll allow me a little license, the best thing in town.

    Onward to YouTube and the Tour de ACPL!

    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 Evan | May 18, 2018

    If you just read an interesting book and the author has an email address on her/his website, use it. One of the cool things about reading today is that you might have a quick exchange of ideas with someone far away who stirred your brain a bit. 

    Eternal LifeThe other night I finished Dara Horn's new novel Eternal Life and applauded myself for discovering a deep insight about it. The up front story is about two ancient Israeli lovers who make a pact with God to save the life of their dying young son. Their son lives, but they can never die -- or at least never stay dead. They live one struggling life after another and are always consumed by fires and then reappear somewhere as their young adult selves. The woman is sick and tired of the whole thing and really, really wants to die for good. 

    The book is a meditation about life and death, but it occurred to me at the end that the protagonists also represent the story of the Jewish people. So, like the teacher's pet I've always been, I wrote to Ms. Horn to tell her my reasons for my deep insight and ask her whether I was right. I felt a little chagrined when she wrote back that night to say:

    "OF COURSE it's a metaphor for Jewish history!" 

    Then she went on to note certain historical nuggets wrapped inside the story. My ego recovered a little, because I had figured out a key plot twist involving a real-life figure whom Horn credits with keeping Judaism alive after the temple was destroyed. I was amused that she added, 

    "I'm frankly delighted that this was subtle enough that you felt the need to ask, since subtlety is not generally one of my strengths. My very mainstream publisher clearly felt that the immortality angle was more of a crowd-pleaser, and of course readers who read it that way still have plenty to think about. But I absolutely intended the book as a metaphor for Jewish history, which I find supernatural in its longevity. As Mark Twain wrote at the end of his 1898 essay 'Concerning the Jews': 'What is the secret of their immortality?' "

    You can't expect certain top-selling authors to give you an email address; just imagine how many complaints George R. R. Martin would get every day because he still hasn't finished The Winds of Winter. But it's fun to have a little interaction with a lower-profile writer whose work intrigues you. Give it a try.


    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.