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    by Craig B | Feb 16, 2017

    ACPL Artist Fair Logo

    Love art?  Love your local community?  If yes, please join us for ACPL’s local Artist Fair during the last weekend of the Three Rivers Festival.  We will be turning the Great Hall of the Main Library into a bazaar of unique contributions from a variety of local artists.  We are excited to be able to help facilitate this opportunity for local artists to make connections with other artists, local art connoisseurs, and the many resources available at the Allen County Public Library.

    Artists!  Consider submitting an image of a representative piece from your body of work to be printed by the Allen County Public Library as a bookmark/postcard for the promotion of your work and the Artist Fair.
    Apply here.

    Not an artist yourself?  Be sure to come and sample artists’ offerings between 10 am and 3 pm on Saturday, July 15th.  A budding artist?  There will be several programs offered throughout the day to allow you to bloom including Watercolor and Simon Says Art!

    by Craig B | Feb 15, 2017

    cover art for DNCE's eponymous debut albumFilled with lyrics that go right up to the edge of fully-realized cleverness, but, are in the end, mostly overwhelmed by clichés, DNCE’s debut album, DNCE, still has its moments.  From the “shakin’ it-able”, self-referential opening track, “DNCE”, to the irreverent-to-love love song, “Pay My Rent”, the album teases its audience with more-than-acceptable qualities, but in the end, I’d stick to the hit single, “Cake by the Ocean”.  And don’t use a slang dictionary or an explanation from Joe Jonas to figure out what that title means exactly.  Just bask in the surreal quality of the figure of speech and the existential crisis it seems to imply.  I’ve found that’s usually the best way to make a moment last.

    Suggested Use: A placeholder in your CD collection.  What I mean is that this album is really just waiting for a brilliant follow-up that taps into a more mature vein of penmanship.  That said, I’m kind of killing the groove for a band and album calling themselves DNCE, aren’t I?  I mean, who cares about penmanship when all you really want to do is “shake it”?  And who even collects CDs anymore?  Nerd.

    by Becky C | Feb 13, 2017
    It's the day before Valentine's Day and we'd love to set you up on a blind date . . . with a book!  Our Aboite Branch library has selected a variety of books, wrapped them in white paper to conceal all identifying information, and set them out on display. 

    Like an online dating profile, each of our potential dates includes a short description -- unlike an online dating profile, the description is from someone who has previously "dated" the book.  And isn't that the kind of information we all wished we'd had at some point?


    Date a Book    
         
         
         
       Date a Book display  
         
         


    Uncertain?  Our Grabill Branch library offers a more traditional display.  They've pulled together a variety of books for your browsing pleasure but they have not concealed any book information.

         
       Valentines Day_Share the Love  
         
         
       Valentines Day_Staff Pick  


    ACPL has 14 locations and each always has a few book displays to highlight different aspects of our collection.  Your number one matchmaker though is the person at the reference desk.  Let us set you up with the perfect book today!


    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Kay S | Feb 10, 2017
    Now we come to the sixth book in the Bridgerton series, When He Was Wicked. This is when he was wickedprobably the darkest one so far. I have to give Julia. Quinn credit for trying to tackle some heavy-duty issues, trying to delve a little deeper in to angstland, but I’m not quite sure she succeeded. This story had the feel of another experiment.

    Here’s the plot. The Bridgerton sibling we’ve never seen in the other books, Francesca, is in a wonderfully happy marriage to John. Unbeknownst to John and Francesca, John’s cousin Michael Sterling falls head over heels in love with Francesca when he first meets her. Through the years, Michael has hidden his true feeling behind the rake facade while all the time he has hung out with John and Francesca. The three of them have become the best of buddies. They go places together, they laugh, joke, and confide in each other. They all have come to depend on each other. Then one evening John dies. This opens up allll kinds of problems for Francesca and Michael. Francesca turns to her best friend Michael for comfort in her grief and doesn’t understand when Michael rejects her. In fact he does more than just reject her, he runs away to India. He has all kinds of guilt, yearning, passion, guilt, torment, guilt rushing through his system. The only way he can handle it is to disappear and not be around the woman who he craves.

    Francesca not only has to cope with the loss of her husband but the loss of her best friend. She travels into pity-poor-me land. Michael and Francesca become humongous martyrs. Then after four years Michael decides it’s time to return, at the same time Francesca decides it’s time to move on with her life. So now instead of watching depressing people suffer apart we get to watch them suffer together. Oh joy.

    Rant. I know authors have to stretch their boundaries; they can’t just stay in that little rut, writing the same thing over and over and over. But – some authors can write wonderfully witty, funny, lighthearted books and that’s not a bad thing. Just because it’s funny doesn’t mean it lacks substance. One of the most depressing authors ever, John Steinbeck, wrote one of the best fun books ever – Cannery Row. What a wonderful book, full of great characters, and there is a wealth of meaning behind this story. What’s my point? I don’t know, but it just seems to me that one can get a message through just as well with comedy as with angst. And, if an author already knows how to write so-called lighthearted books, just put more pathos in them. There’s nothing wrong with fluff.

    Anyway, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the rest in the series. There was too much hand-twisting-oh-me-oh-my. Besides that I didn’t feel as if I knew Francesca. She was just a name in the other books and she never seemed fully-developed in this one. So, this one was a disappointment. I wonder if the Bridgerton series is like the Star Trek movies – even/odd/good/bad.


    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 Evan | Feb 09, 2017
    My Oscars season question to you: Where do you prefer to watch movies, at home or in a theater?

    Before VHS was invented, I used to imagine that when something like that did come along, I'd gobble it up and watch movies every night.

    Didn't happen. I've used many technologies at home, but I still watch movies in the theaters. That used to puzzle me. Why would I spend time driving, usually in the winter, in order to pay money for something I could do at home, sometimes for free? 

    It's not so much the big screen or the big sound or the plush rocking chairs, although I enjoy them all. And I am zealously opposed to spending any money on soda and popcorn at a theater. 

    The Purple Rose of CairoIt's the escape. Same thing it's always been about the movies. They get you out of your home, your chores, your life, and take you someplace totally different. At home, I may take weeks to finish a movie, maybe only watching it while I fold laundry. In the theater, the movie has my total attention. (If you have never seen The Purple Rose of Cairo, go find it. It tells the secrets of a movie-goer's heart like nothing else I know.)

    The five Best Picture-nominated movies I've seen this season all kept my attention. I have no more credentials to declare which was best than your little brother does, but I got my money's worth with each.

    "Hacksaw Ridge" took me way past director Mel Gibson and his misdeeds and let me pay due respect to Desmond Doss, who not only saved dozens of lives at Okinawa, but did so in an amazing manner. 

    "Arrival" was my least favorite, but engrossing nonetheless. I doubt we'll ever have alien visitors, but it sure would be helpful if we could learn to talk with each other.

    "Moonlight" goes right through you. It's why they make "small" pictures. The word exquisite was coined for such as this. 

    I started crying early on in "Hidden Figures" and pretty much never stopped.  I have a bi-racial granddaughter who is smart and ambitious. I'll leave it at that.

    And "La La Land"? I saw it on Inauguration Day, so you can take that for what you will. I suppose it could lose the Oscar contest, but that would be Hollywood denying itself. If you like Hollywood movies a lot, you'll like "La La Land" a lot. It's not optional.

    Hell or High WaterIf DVDs are just fine for you, the library is your go-to place. We are purchasing all nine of the top-nominated movies (and, of course, many more), but "Hell or High Water" is the only one available on DVD so far. Click on this sentence to go to the Oscars website for a list of pictures nominated in all major categories.The Academy Awards show will be Feb. 26, 2017 hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. 

    Keep an eye on our website and place your hold requests as soon as you can. You just need your library card number and your PIN. Remember, under the new library policy, you can have movies sent to your local library branch from any of our other branches. You may have to wait awhile for certain ones, but they are free, and there are hundreds of other Oscar-winning films available in our system for you while you wait. 



    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Emily M | Feb 08, 2017
    Editor's Note:  As You Like It began publishing content in 2011.  That's six years of awesomeness!  Here's a look back at a post we originally published February 23, 2015.

    In honor of Black History Month, I selected two books by African-American authors to read during the month of February: Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler and Jubilee by Margaret Walker.

    From the mid-1970s until her death in 2006, the award-winning Octavia Butler stood out as an African-American woman in a genre nominated by white males. Her science fiction unapologetically addresses issues of race, class, gender, and religion. Parable of the Sower is the first book in an unfinished trilogy. (Butler died while writing the third book.)

    Parable’s protagonist is teenaged Lauren, who lives in a futuristic Los Angeles in which the government has all but collapsed. The walls of her gated community and the leadership of her pastor/professor father serve as her only protection against the lawless, violent society in which she and her family live. Adding further difficulties to her already challenging reality, Lauren suffers from a condition that allows her to experience the physical pain of those around her. In the midst of her struggle to survive (spoiler alert: that struggle will greatly intensify when Lauren’s community is overrun and she and two other survivors hit the road in an attempt to find somewhere safer to live), Lauren is waxing poetic about religion. She has dismissed her Baptist father’s God, and instead believes that “God is change” and is determined to found a new religion called Earthseed.

    Butler’s world-building (always a challenge in sci-fi) is solid and her characters are interesting and engaging. I was less interested in Lauren’s budding religion and more interested in what was necessary to survive the endless string of tragedies that are commonplace in Lauren’s world. Parable of the Sower held my attention, and I continually wanted to know what would happen next, but the final third of the book was a bit of a let-down for me, as I felt it mostly served to set up the sequel, rather than telling its own story. Nevertheless, I would recommend Parable of the Sower to fans of dystopian sci-fi.

    Jubilee, by Margaret Walker, was published in 1966 and was atypical for its time, as it tells the story of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the eyes of an African-American woman. Walker, who started Jubilee as part of her dissertation while earning her doctorate at the University of Iowa, based Jubilee on the true story of her great-grandmother, a slave who was fathered by her owner. I admit to currently being only about 300 pages into the 500 page book, but have every intention of finishing it. While I am still unable to critique the book as a whole, I admire Walker’s ability to create realistic characters with both strengths and weaknesses. In a novel about slavery, it’s easy to demonize some characters and canonize others into saints, or paint characters with a broad brush based on what “category” they belong to (black or white, slave or free, Southerner or Northerner) but Walker’s characters are multi-faceted, flawed, and sympathetic, rendering them believable. While the subject matter is tough and the book is lengthy, it’s written at a level accessible to teenagers, making this an “easy” read and one I would recommend.

    What about you? What have you been reading for Black History Month? I’d love to hear!


    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 | Feb 06, 2017
    A little advertising before I talk about Eloisa James and my moment of Zen. In case you don’t know, Ms. James is coming to the Allen County Public Library on March 4, 2017. The event will start at 1 pm, in the Main Library Theater. Afterward, she will spend some time with us doing author things, like signing books and talking about books and answering questions about books - so join us!

    A Zen moment has been defined as: a moment of clarity, insight, enlightenment. You become aware of the nothing/everything that makes the world go 'round and you are somehow better for it.potent pleasures

    Well, how does that fit in with Eloisa James? I will tell you, my little Petunias. I have been a fan (squeal) of Eloisa James ever since I spent a gazillion dollars for her first novel Potent Pleasures in 2000. Why did you spend a gazillion dollars on a book, you may ask. You see, buckaroos, her very first book was released in hardback only. For those of you who don't know, before electronic books, most romance books were released in paperback form. So, for a debut author to have her first novel published in hardback form was a big deal. What this would mean for us, the readers, was that our expectations were set higher because we were paying a higher price. (In the end it's all about money.) I'll offer a little bit more perspective on this phenomenon. I have a humongous load of books - thousands to be inexact. Out of all the thousands of romance books in my collection, nine of them are in hardback form. So you see, it was rare for me to invest in a hardback romance book. But, buy it I did, and my expectations were high. Because of Potent Pleasures I became a big fan of Eloisa James.

    Here is one of the reasons I'm one of Ms. James' biggest fans. Anyone who is at all familiar with the romance genre and the people who inhabit Romanceland (readers, writers, and critics) know that there are a lot of people who are unafraid to express their opinion, even when they're wrong. On top of that, the readers of historical romance books tend to be nitpickers. Just write about one puffed sleeve in the wrong time period, or call a champagne glass a flute, or address a lordly gent the wrong way, and online sites are inundated with irate voices. Well, Potent Pleasures stirred up a slight controversy among readers of the historical romance genre because it contained a few inaccuracies and – OMG - an unlikable hero. It was the hub-bub heard round the world. Well, Ms. James heard the cacophony of voices and here's what she did. Before her book was released in paperback, she rewrote parts, corrected the mistakes, and tried to make her audience happy. Did she have to do that? Not really. She could have done what other authors do, just let it go, and move on to the next one. But she didn't. She wanted happy readers. In my opinion that is one of the reasons she has such loyal fans. But that isn't the only reason for their loyalty. Even in her debut book there were glimmers of some wonderful writing and characters who were different from the standard players residing in Romanceland. She showed promise and I knew if she persevered, she would become one of the leading voices in romance. And, she has. Ms. James has created book after book of wonderful worlds, filled with fascinating people. As of this writing she has published 28 novels, 5 novellas, 6 collaborations and 1 memoir. (Excuse me if I miscounted.)

    Now for my moment of Zen, when all was made clear. Stop here if you don’t want a spoiler. duke is mineSo, years passed and Ms. James wrote book after book, all of which I read because by then she had earned the honor of being one of my auto-buys. Then in 2012 along came This Duke is Mine. I rubbed my hands together gleefully, excited to be reading another Eloisa James book. The characters were well developed, although I wasn't all that keen on the hero or heroine, but there was a secondary character by the name of Rupert whom I loved. I won't go into the details surrounding Rupert, but let's just say I became very attached to this character.

    Now for my "Annie Wilkes" moment. (You remember Annie from Misery?) Ms. James killed off Rupert! Now, I would never call Ms. James a dirty-birdy - but to say I was really really upset would be an understatement. I might have been a tad bit hysterical, the memory seems to be a little clouded. Let’s just say the book almost hit the wall. How dare she write wonderful Rupert dead! AAAAAAAk!!! He was the bestest secondary character ever!!! I was crushed - I may have even shed a tear. Then I had a moment of clarity.

    My Eloisa James Moment of Zen. An epiphany, a moment of clarity, an awareness. My light-bulb went off. I realized for me to have such a visceral reaction to the death of a character in a book filled with 300 pages full of words, I would have been – dare I say it - emotionally attached to that person. How could I have become attached to a bunch of words? Well, you see that sneaky Eloisa James put all those words together in such a way that I became absorbed by them. Rupert's character drew me in, I liked him. My gut reaction to his loss boiled down to some compelling writing by the author. It was then I knew that Eloisa James could write extraordinary images. Because isn't that what a talented writer does? They create vivid imagery for us to see in our mind – and they use only words to do that. For me, that is what makes Eloisa James a must read.

    And that, my fellow Petunias, is my Eloisa James moment of Zen.



    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 Kay S | Feb 04, 2017
    Yes, my little Petunias, it's time for a few upcoming releases. These treasures will be released between January 15 and February 14 of 2017. So keep an eye out or maybe just look for them on a shelf near you. (Keeping an eye out would probably hurt).
    Historical Romance
    Byrne Kerrigan Byrne
    The Duke
    Victorian Rebels series
    February 7
    James Eloisa James
    Seven Minutes in Heaven
    Desperate Duchesses series
    January 31
    Jenkins Beverly Jenkins
    Breathless
    Old West series
    January 31
    Shupe Joanna Shupe
    Mogul
    The Knickerbocker Club series
    January 31
    Mary Wine Mary Wine
    Highland Vixen
    Highland Weddings series
    February 7
    Historical Fiction
    Williams Beatriz Williams
    The Wicked City
    January 17
    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction
    Fabiashi Abby Fabiaschi
    I Liked My Life
    Mainstream
    January 31
    Lori Foster Lori Foster
    Under Pressure
    Body Armor series
    Contemporary Romance
    January 24
    Kristin Higgins Kristan Higgins
    On Second Thought
    Contemporary Romance
    January 31
    Kinkaid Kimberly Kincaid
    Crossing Hearts
    Cross Creek series
    Contemporary Romance
    February 7
    McLaughlin Jen McLaughlin
    Dare to Lie
    The Sons of Steel Row series
    Contemporary Romance
    February 7
    Pagan Camille Pagan
    Forever is the Worst Long Time
    Mainstream fiction
    February 7
    stuart Kimberly Stuart
    Sugar
    Mainstream Fiction
    February 7
    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
    Armstrong
    Kelley Armstrong
    A Darkness Absolute
    Casey Duncan series
    Mystery
    February 7
    chaney JoAnn Chaney
    What You Don’t Know
    Thriller - Debut
    February 7
    Gardner Lisa Gardner
    Right Behind You
    Quincy and Rainie series
    Thriller
    January 3
    Lake Alex Lakeaka Curtis Brown
    Killing Kate
    Suspense
    January 31
    McCarthy Ava McCarthy
    Dead Secret
    Thriller
    January 24
    Paranormal/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
    Blackmore Stephen Blackmore
    Hungry Ghosts
    Eric Carter series
    Urban Fantasy
    February 7
    Brust Steven Brust
    Skyler White
    The Skill of Our Hands
    Incrementalist series
    Fantasy
    January 24
    Frank Jacquelyn Frank
    Thirst
    The Energy Vampires series
    Paranormal
    January 17
    Goodkind Terry Goodkind
    Death’s Mistress: Sister of Darkness
    The Nicci Chronicles series
    Fantasy
    January 24
    p_mastai Elan Mastai
    All Our Wrong Todays
    Fantasy - Debut Novel
    February 7
    Sherin Lisa Shearin
    The Ghoul Vendetta
    A SPI Files series
    Urban Fantasy
    January 31
    snyder Maria V. Snyder
    Dawn Study
    Soulfinders series and Study Book series and Chronicles of Ixia
    Fantasy
    January 31
    White Elle Katharine White
    Heartstone
    (Pride and Prejudice with dragons)
    Fantasy - Debut
    January 17
    Young Adult/Teens
    Garber Stephanie Garber
    Caraval
    Debut
    January 31
    Haydu Corey Ann Haydu
    The Careful Undressing of Love
    January 31
    Hopkins Ellen Hopkins
    The You I’ve Never Know
    January 24
    JaeJong S. Jae-Jone
    Wintersong
    Inspiration Romance/Fiction
    Alexander Tamera Alexander
    A Not Yet Unsung
    Belmont Mansion series
    January 31
    Eason Lynette Eason
    Moving Target
    Elite Guardians series
    January 31
    Locke Thomas Locke aka Davis Bunn
    Recruits
    Recruits series
    February 14



    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 Kay S | Feb 03, 2017
    We now turn to the fifth book in the Bridgerton series – To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn . This one is a correspondence story – sort of. Remember julia QuinnEloise Bridgerton from the previous story Romancing Mister Bridgerton? Remember she had ink on her fingers, was sneaking around, and disappeared into the night from a party? Well, we get to find out what all the hub-bub was. You see, Eloise’s distant cousin died and she sent a letter of condolence to her cousin’s husband, Sir Phillip. He responds. She responds. He responds. She responds. He proposes. She accepts – sort of.

    Poor Eloise is feeling sorry for herself. Eloise and her bestest buddy Penelope made a pact. They had both reached the ancient age of 28 and were going to be spinsters forever and ever. They were going to do whatever spinsters do – sit along the wall, raise cats, go shopping together. Then what does Penelope do? She marries Eloise’s brother Colin – so much for growing old together with cats. Well, Eloise has never told anyone that she’s been writing to Sir Phillip Crane for over a year – it’s been her own little secret. Level-headed Eloise decides it would be a good idea to pack her bags and leave the wedding party without telling anyone. Then she still doesn’t see the problem with journeying all the way to Sir Phillip’s country estate and meeting him – sans chaperone. Somewhere in her mind she thinks they should get to know each other and decide whether they like each other well enough to marry. That part of her thought process was ok, it’s just the not letting anyone in on it which turns out to be a problem – a bigggg problem.

    To say Phillip is a tad bit surprised when Eloise shows up on his doorstep is an understatement. First of all, he had not envisioned Eloise as quite the stunner she turns out to be. He’s quite a nerd – a handsome nerd, but a nerd all the same. He’s a scientist, a botanist; he likes quiet, peace, calm. He’s not prepared for the headstrong, attractive woman who invades his domicile. By the way, he hasn’t had any dippity-doo-hoo in eight years, which means that Eloise is in for some rough nights, days, mid-days, mornings, etc. Phillip sends for a chaperone. In the meantime, he and Eloise begin the progress of knowing each other. Eloise thinks she has all the time in the world to do this. I guess she has never read a romance novel featuring over-protective brothers who were once rakes and are now married.

    Did I mention that Phillip has two awful children? These children are close to being “bad seed” children. Anyone ever seen the movie The Bad Seed with Patty McCormick? That’s the movie in which the charming blonde-headed girl burns up the guy sleeping in the excelsior. Well, that’s almost the kind of “pranks” these two do. There is the gluing of the governesses hair to the bedpost - she didn’t stick around long after that. These kids don’t want any woman in the house. They don’t want a governess, they don’t want a mother – they just want their father. The poor little lambs. Having grown up with numerous horrible siblings, Eloise knows how to handle “pranks”. Of course, she injures herself when she trips over the wire they have stretched across the hallway quite close to the stairway. Oh, what little charmers these two are. We find out that they have reasons for being monsters and then we are treated to some psychological babble exiting Eloise’s mouth. If this was a different time period one would think she trained with Jung or Freud, but that’s a different decade. Phillip's problem with his children is that he is afraid, so he ignores them. His fear is that he thinks he will be like his father and explode into a raging maniac who will beat the crap out of the little tykes. Of course Dr. Eloise explains to him that he isn’t like his father and all is well. And then her brothers show up!

    Anthony, Colin, Benedict and Gregory storm into the house to see Eloise’s black eye (remember the wire), assume Phillip did it, then proceed to beat the tar out of Phillip. Well Colin doesn’t – he just smirks knowingly. After Eloise stops the boys, much to her surprise they demand she marry Phillip. Oh my, who would have thought a woman running off, unchaperoned in the 1800s would be forced to marry! Oh, you silly woman, Eloise. So they are married and Eloise has a bang-up wedding night from a guy who has been without for eight years. Knock-knock-knock.

    It was during the reading of this book I noticed a Julia Quinn method of writing. Her main characters think a lot - I mean, a lot. They think so much that they lose track of what ever conversation is going on around them. There is a constant, I’m sorry what were you saying or you weren’t listening to me or silence accompanied with embarrassment. Pay attention people! If I hadn’t been reading her books one after another I probably wouldn’t have noticed this little quirk – but I am and I did notice and it became irritating.

    Overall, this was a passable read. I was a little disappointed the correspondence didn’t play more of a part in this story. I think if we had been able to read more of the letters we would have had a better feel for the two characters. For me the letters didn’t enrich the development of Phillip or Eloise. I would have liked for them to fall in love with the person in the letters and then develop from there. I think Ms. Quinn was experimenting with this book, which is ok. It’s always nice when an author stretches their horizons, but sometimes even with the best of intentions it doesn’t completely work.



    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 Melissa T | Feb 01, 2017
    Editor's Note:  Have you checked out The Genealogy Center's monthly E-Zine, Genealogy Gems?  You should!  The content for this post, written by Genealogy Librarian Melissa, appeared in the September 30, 2016 issue.

    Manuscripts

    Charles F. Heartman (1883-1953), a book seller in Mississippi and former resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, amassed a sizable collection of materials concerning African Americans in the South during his career. His collection of Afro-Americana books and manuscripts covers primarily Louisiana, though it also includes other states, such as South Carolina and Virginia. Xavier University of Louisiana has since purchased the collection and is now actively digitizing what it describes as the “Charles F. Heartman Manuscripts of Slavery Collection,” making these materials available freely online for researchers.

    The digital collection of more than 4,000 images, dating from 1724 to 1897, documents the social and legal conditions of free people of color and slaves in Louisiana. Half of the collection is comprised of New Orleans municipal records, which correlates with that city’s rich history of having the largest population of free people of color in the United States. Records in the collection include appraisals, ownership affidavits, mortgage records of slaves, receipts for slave work in chain gangs, legal status documents of both free persons of color and slaves, tax receipts, business bonds, deeds, New Orleans police reports, service reports, municipal records, and much more. The records are written in English, French, and occasionally, Spanish.

    To access the collection, visit the “Xavier University Archives and Special Collections – Digital Collections” page  and select the “Charles F. Heartman Manuscripts of Slavery Collection” from the options. The material can be searched by given name and/or surname, keyword, and/or location. It can also be browsed based on the content of each manuscript box. Each record has an image and a brief description of the document. Researchers can learn more about this wonderful resource by viewing the Collection Guide or using the Finding Aid.

    The “Charles F. Heartman Manuscripts of Slavery Collection” digital project is still in progress, and materials continue to be added regularly. Researchers should consider it a significant and vital source of materials documenting the lives of both freed and enslaved African Americans during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Louisiana.

    Shared with permission.  Each issue of Genealogy Gems examines a variety of topics related to family history.  To view previous editions or to subscribe, click here.
    by Becky C | Jan 30, 2017
    Ever wonder what library staff like to read?  Wonder no more!  Here's a quick look at some books we've enjoyed this month.  Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    The Bear and the Nightingale
     
    The Bonjour Effect
     
     The Immortals
     The Invisible Library
     The Masked City
     The Burning Page
     Settle for More
     Click Here to Start
     Jesus
     Sweet Lamb of Heaven
     Born a Crime
     Nordic Theory of Everything
     Dante Club
     Vassa in the Night
     Silent in the Sanctuary
     Ghost
     You Cant  Touch My Hair
     Better Than Before
     Case Against Sugar
     Third Bear
     Curious Beginning
         

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Kay S | Jan 27, 2017
    Yes, it's the fourth Bridgerton book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, and excitement is in the air! The mysterious gossip columnist Mrs. Whistledown is revealed. Spoilers are ahead julia quinnfor those of you who have never read the series. In my humble opinion this is the best book in the series. A lot of this has to do with the humor, but the characters in this story are superb.

    Colin. Colin is one sexy, charming Bridgerton. Although he is truly charming, he also uses that charm as a facade. He doesn’t know who he is as a person. All of his brothers have something which makes them unique, but he's just charming. So, even though he loves his family deeply, he is a tad bit resentful and has spent most of his adult life traveling through the world. But he didn't spend so much time away from England that a young girl couldn't fall in love with him.

    Penelope. Penelope Featherington is the daughter of an extremely overbearing mother with no sense of style. Penelope has grown up with the Bridgerton brood; in fact, her best friend is Eloise Bridgerton. Eloise and Penelope have plans to be spinsters together. Here's one little secret: when Penelope was sixteen, she fell in love with Colin. She's terribly shy, overweight, badly dressed - but she is going to luv him forever. Of course, Colin views Penelope as a dumpling of a girl who seems to be at their house allll the time. Now he's back in town and he starts to talk to Penelope. He begins to see her as something more than a shy wallflower. Spoiler Alert! He starts to enjoy being with her - little does he know that she is Mrs. Whistledown.

    I liked the portrayal of Penelope in this book. She's shy, she's uncomfortable in social situations. But like most shy people, she's highly observant. On top of that she's also quite sarcastic and acerbic in private. Penelope has managed to bring her witty observations to life in her gossip columns. In those written words, she is no longer the woman who sits with the chaperones along the wall, but a sparkling personality. Then the infamous Lady Danbury challenges the ton to a wager - a search for the identity of Mrs. Whistledown. This changes everything for Penelope - at first she's afraid she will be found out. But then when another woman announces that she is in fact Mrs. Whistledown, Penelope is torn between wanting the world to know the real identity of Mrs. Whistledown and hiding.

    I loved the flow of Romancing Mister Bridgerton. Colin is not a typical hero; he's so dissatisfied with his life - he is desperate to be more than just a chestnut-haired Bridgerton. He starts to fall in love with Penelope because she makes him aware of his strong points. He comes alive when Penelope is around. Colin and Penelope make a great couple; they bring out the best in each other.

    Overall, this was a fun book with another delightful couple. Did it have anachronisms all over the place? Yes. Did I care? No. In this book, Ms. Quinn developed a couple who I cared about and who I liked. And, when that happens in a book, historical accuracy takes a back seat.


    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 | Jan 26, 2017
    Are you looking for a book club but can’t find one that meets at a time and place that’s convenient? Join our online book club! It’s a chance to get together with like-minded readers from the Allen County area. This librarian-moderated community is a safe place to meet and discuss accessible, thought provoking books that you can find in the library today.

    To sign up, look for the goodreads icon (a g in a brown circle) at the bottom of the ACPL homepage.  Click it.  You'll need to establish a goodreads account but it's free, it's easy, and there are lots of perks for doing so.  Once you've created an account, click Join Group.  It's as easy as that!

    Of course, you're still welcome to check out our in-person book clubs as well.  We love talking about books with you, whenever and however we can.  Current titles up for discussion are listed in our Events Calendar.

    Happy reading and we hope to meet you in the Allen County Public Library’s Online Book Club!





    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Becky C | Jan 25, 2017
    Editor's Note:  As You Like It began publishing content in 2011.  That's six years of awesomeness!  Here's a look back at a post we originally published January 30, 2015.  

    Image courtesy of PictureQuotes

    One of my favorite things about being a librarian is that I’m paid to be curious.  People often apologize for asking questions, especially if they think the information will be difficult to find.  The tough questions are often my favorites because they allow me to learn something new — and I love learning something new!

    Writing for the library’s blogs also provides an outlet for my curiosity.  I like to flip through Chase’s Calendar of Events when I’m planning what to write next.  Because it’s such an extensive list of what’s happening and why we should care, it’s a wonderful introduction to a wide range of topics.  I noted that January 27 marked the birthday of a famous composer and I also noted that while I enjoy listening to classical music, I don’t really know that much about it.  So, I decided to do a little research.  Just for fun — and for this blog post, of course.

    • At four years-old, he could learn a piece of music in 30 minutes.
    • At eight years-old, he began writing symphonies.
    • He was one of the first musicians in history to go freelance, without the backing of a church, court or rich patron.
    • To date, he is probably the only composer to write masterworks in every musical genre during his time period.

    Who am I referring to? Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His father, Leopold Mozart, was a violinist, minor composer, and vice-kapellmeister at the court of the Archbishop of Salzburg. Young Mozart accompanied his father on tour, absorbing various European musical styles along the way. His greatest works are noted for their melodic beauty, formal elegance, and richness of harmony and texture. A sampling is listed below:


    Despite being a successful composer and a renowned piano virtuoso, Mozart struggled financially for most of his life. He was just beginning to achieve financial stability when he died in Vienna at the age of 35. He was buried in a common grave, the exact location of which remains unknown.

    Intrigued?  ACPL has a variety of ways you can enjoy his work.  Click here to browse a list of music cds in the collection, here to browse a list of dvds, and click here to see what’s available for download through Freegal.

    Further Reading: Wolfgang Mozart, Early Life; Mozart; Mozart Project.


    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Becky C | Jan 24, 2017
    Publishers Weekly (PW) is one of a librarian's best friends.  While it offers feature articles and news on all aspects of the book business, I personally love it for its book reviews.

    The January 9, 2017 issue gives us a look at PW's top picks from among the 250+ audiobooks reviewed by its staff last year.  I've highlighted most of the adult titles from the list in this post, and because in many cases we also have copies available via Hoopla or Overdrive, I've linked the cover images to all available formats of the titles. 

    What audiobooks would make your Best Of list?  PW chose Bahni Turpin as their narrator of the year.  Do you have a favorite narrator?


     Before the Fall
    My Name Is Lucy Barton
     
    Here I Am
     
     The Trespasser
     The Underground Railroad
     You Will Know Me
     American Heiress
     Kill Em and Leave
     Dark Money
     Seinfeldia
     The Rainbow Comes and Goes
     Ragtime
     Save Room for Pie
     View from the Cheap Seats
     Pigeon Tunnel
         
         
         

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Craig B | Jan 23, 2017

    Collected Stories of Jean StaffordBook Review:  The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford

    Yet again, I find myself wanting to say something cavalier about a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner, this one from 1970, this time in regard to the selected novel’s delicious extent of vocabulary.  But I shall attempt to keep the urge in check, for there is little that is cavalier about The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford.  Beautifully written?  Yes.  A trenchant catalog of the human experience?  Yes.  Cavalier?  No, although sometimes funny.  Woe befall the commentator who attempts ‘jokiness’ in the hush that comes upon any real contemplation of the writer who produced such a book.  It was the final work of her 20th century life, a work that followed three marriages, physical disfigurement from a car crash, and alcoholism.  See.  Crickets.

    Stafford’s book itself is anything but silent.  It comes to the reader in loudly proclaimed sections defined by geographical and tonal considerations.  Stafford’s stories about Americans out in the wider world and those concerned with Bostonians tend to be quite cutting and full of dread disappointment.  Her American West stories have happy-ish endings … sometimes … and lots of tuberculosis.  Her stories of Manhattan are perhaps her most mature in that they are literarily enigmatic and lyrical.  That final section also contained what very well might be my favorite story, "The End of a Career", a straightforward satire evoking true human emotion by encapsulating the death that comes to us all.  If you read just one story, read this one.  It has a strong enough sense of humor to be readily accessible and a tense enough context in the life of its author and the life of her book to keep it from becoming anything but cavalier.  Which, I think, is more than I can say for myself, alas.

    by Kay S | Jan 20, 2017
    Oh-oh, or as Scooby would say, ruh-roh. What we have here is a Bridgerton who caused a hiccup moment. Who would've believed that with all of the charming Bridgetons julia Quinninhabiting Romanceland, I would run across a Bridgerton who stepped on one of my pet-peeve moments. Yep - Benedict did some things in An Offer from a Gentleman which, for me, came close to being dishonorable.

    Aside of my irritation with Benedict, I was also chagrined that part of the story was a reworking of the fairy tale Cinderella. Now I like fairy tales in their original form; I'm just not too keen on rewriting, updating, or changing those tales. The Cinderella portion of the book revolves around Sophie Beckett.

    Let's take a look at this third entry by Julia Quinn in the Bridgeton series.

    Sophie Beckett
    is the illegitimate daughter of an Earl. For most of her childhood she has been tucked away in the country, raised by his servants. She tries her best to be the child he wants her to be. But she is terribly lonely and only wants to be loved by her father. Then one day he brings home a wife and two stepdaughters. There's a wonderful scene with Sophie watching them alight from the carriage. All the time she's watching them, she's thinking that at last she'll have someone to love her and other children to play with. As soon as she looks into her stepmother's eyes, she knows the chances for a happy future will never be hers. Her stepmother, Araminta is really one e-viiil woman. Araminta's eldest daughter is also hateful.  There is a small twist on the Cinderella stepsister mean-fest in the form of Posy. Posy, the youngest daughter, likes Sophie. However, Posy is too afraid of her mother to do too much of anything about it. So things progress poorly for Sophie, and then her father dies. Things go from bad to really really bad.

    The ball. Years pass and Sophie is nothing more than an unpaid, downtrodden servant to her stepmother. But all is not lost. You see the Bridgetons are throwing a masquerade ball. Everyone who is anyone will be there. That means Araminta and daughters will be going - but not Sophie. But this is based on Cinderella, so we all know that Sophie is going to go to the ball. Thanks to generous servants, she's off - in a lovely gown, her stepmother's shoes, a mask, and a coach. There are no mice turning into coachmen or singing or sewing - but that coach has to be returned by midnight. Now all we need is a prince - enter Benedict.

    Well, Benedict is no Prince Charming, he's more of a bored rake. But when his eyes fall on the mysterious woman descending the stairs, it's a case of instant love. In keeping with the plot of the fairy tale, Benedict and Sophie fall in love, exchange conversation and a kiss. The clock strikes midnight - and she's off! She doesn't leave any shoes behind; she just scuffs them. In fact it is the scuff which gives her away to eviiil Araminta. Being the mean stepmother that she is, Araminta kicks Sophie out into the cold cruel world.

    Two years pass. Benedict is still wondering what happened to the mysterious woman who is his soul mate. Hey!  There's a party going on in the country. Granted the party is given by a man Benedict doesn't really care for and is attended by men Benedict would never call his friends. But he's bored and he's tired of looking for his soul mate. What more can a rakish guy do than kill some time with a group of drunken louts he doesn't like.

    As it turns out, one of the servants at this drunken lout party is Sophie. Poor Sophie. Not only is she a drudge, but she is also being manhandled by the host. She screams. Ta ta ta dah - Benedict to the rescue. He rescues her from the party, but now he feels responsible for finding her another position. He is attracted to her, but he's sort of fighting it. He suppresses the idea of having her work in his household, but thinks she would be perfect in his mother's.

    Sophie of course has recognized her rescuer as the charming prince from the party, but she doesn't say anything to Benedict. It never dawns on Benedict that the servant he has the palpitations for is the same woman he luved two years ago. He installs her at his mother's house where she becomes a pseudo-servant.

    The more Sophie and Benedict are thrown together, the more they become attracted to each other. This is where the story falls apart a little for me. Benedict is obsessed with Sophie, he's even in love with her - he even admits it. What does he offer her? Hey, he needs a mistress! She'd be perfect for the spot. He seduces her, and then asks her to be his mistress. Even when he marries, he still plans to have her as his mistress because he loves her sooooo much. This means that Sophie would get to share him with his wife. Yes, I know this is a historical romance and she's a servant and he's a ... what? Just what is he that puts him so far above Sophie? He doesn’t have a title. He's not a duke, prince, marquis or even a sir. He just has money. Oh sure, his brother is a viscount and his sister is a duchess, but he's still a Mister. But that isn't what really disturbed me. Sophie is a servant in his mother's household. This is her only livelihood. Even though she is a willing participant in her own seduction, it just seemed to me that Benedict's seduction of someone in the family's employ was a tad bit dishonorable, especially for a Bridgerton. Usually, that type of maneuver is reserved for villains or Anne Stuart heroes. He does apologize for his actions later, but I found the initial seduction somehow distasteful.

    I recommend this story - it’s okay. The characters are strong - alll of the characters. I did have a problem with the hero not exhibiting heroic actions, even if he is a charming Bridgerton. I just wanted to say to him - shame on you



    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 Evan | Jan 19, 2017
    Hamilton

    With the country awash in political controversy, the show Hamilton feels even more relevant today than when it overwhelmed Broadway a year ago.

    I recently listened to the CD -- which is pretty much the whole show -- and have leafed through Hamilton: The Revolution, which is a new book about the show by its creator/star Lin-Manuel Miranda. The multi-ethnic casting, rich rap lyrics, and the salutes to American ideals are fine, but the grabbers are still the ideological and personal disputes that made history. They almost disunited the United States when the Constitution was only a few years old.

    In a way, reminders of such passionate history are encouraging -- along the lines of "they survived that and we'll survive this (probably)". The fight over health care is plenty raw, but it isn't as fundamental to the nation's existence as the one between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson over how the new country could financially survive. And for all the truly personal animosity between a certain pair of 21st century New Yorkers, it seems unlikely it will come down to another duel at dawn along the Hudson. I doubt either one of them even owns a pistol.

    Still, bad blood circulates as readily as good blood. So far, the country isn't as radically divided as in Hamilton's time (or Abraham Lincoln's!), but the situation suggests greater potential for dramatic history than any period since the 1960s. If you are young enough, maybe you'll get a plum part some day when Broadway does "Trump."


    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Miss Heather | Jan 18, 2017
    006The Yarn Lovers group from the Woodburn Branch Library made 54 scarves for the 2017 Indiana Special Olympics during 2016.  This is the most scarves the group has ever made for the Special Olympics since they starting doing this in 2011.  The colors were selected in collaboration with the theme of the Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games and Polar Plunge events in 2017. The scarves are given to the athletes, volunteers and supporters at the State Winter Games and the Polar Plunges. The Polar Plunges scheduled to start in February are fund raisers for the Special Olympics.  You can find the schedule for the plunges on the Polar Plunge Calendar.
     
    If you are not familiar with the Special Olympics Indiana is a not-for-profit organization that provides year-around sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual challenges.  It reaches almost 11,000 athletes across Indiana.  The Yarn Lovers are very proud to be able to contribute to this great organization.
    by Emily M | Jan 16, 2017

    Looking for a good book recommendation? Look no further!  Here are a few good books I’ve enjoyed recently:

    ExcellentDaughtersExcellent Daughters: The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World

    Katherine Zoepf was twenty-three years old and a new employee at The New York Times when the terrorist attacks of September 11th forever changed our world.  Trying to make sense of the senseless, Katherine found herself reading and learning as much as she could about Islam and the Arab world.  A little less than three years later, while studying Arabic at the London School of Economics, Zoepf found herself with an opportunity to take a journalist assignment in Syria.  She stayed in Syria for three years and went on to spend over a decade on assignments in various parts of the Middle East.  In societies strictly divided along gender lines, as a young woman, Zoepf found herself with access to young women in their late teens and twenties, with whom male journalists often could not speak.  Excellent Daughters is a compilation of some of their stories.

    If there is one overarching storyline throughout this book, it is actually the author’s.  While learning to adapt to new cultures (Zoepf is quick to acknowledge that Lebanon is not the same as Syria is not the same as Saudi Arabia), she finds similarities between the strict religious upbringings of these young women and her own upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness.  And while contemplating how rapid change in the Arab world in recent years is perhaps most drastically affecting the young women who are coming of age in it, the stories in this book are framed by Zoepf’s experiences and interpretations. 

    Nevertheless, the stories themselves are utterly absorbing – young Saudi women studying law even though they are legally prohibited to practice it, arranged marriages, spirited debates as to whether or not it is proper to talk to your fiancée – even via the telephone, engaged Lebanese women undergoing hymenoplasty surgery so their husbands will not discover they are not virgins, religious devotion, and honor killings, to name a few.  I found Excellent Daughters to be a fascinating glimpse into lives vastly different than my own.

     

    TheKitchenHouseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grisson

    Slavery in the American antebellum south is hardly an uncommon topic for a novel, but Grissom’s The Kitchen House adds a unique twist.  Lavinia is seven years old when she is orphaned on the journey from Ireland to America and the ship’s captain, to whom she is indentured, hands her over to the house slaves on his plantation for care.  Ill and heartsick, Lavinia quickly becomes attached to the slaves who care for her as she is trained to serve alongside them in the big house. When unforeseen circumstances result in a change of Lavinia’s status on the plantation, the delicate balance of the accepted social order is knocked off kilter, with tragic consequences.

     The Kitchen House is a tense and gripping story exploring the complexities of race, social class, family, and the cycle of abuse.  The protagonists are flawed, the villains are also victims, and the story never falls into the mistake of unrealistic happy endings.   

     

    Deep Summer by Gwen Bristow

    A few years prior to the American Revolution, 15-year-old Judith Sheramy travels with her parents and brother down the Mississippi River by flatboat.  After three years of failed crops, they've left their Connecticut farm behind to claim the 3000 acres granted to Judith’s father by King George in return for services during the French and Indian War.  On the journey, Judith is captivated by Philip Larne, a man making the journey down river alongside them, also looking to lay claim on the 3000 acres earned by his military service.  Larne brings a boatful of stolen slaves in tow.  Judith’s Puritan father proclaims Philip Larne a pirate and scoundrel and forbids Judith from interacting with him.  Philip is not to be deterred, however, and a few weeks after landing in Louisiana, he whisks Judith away in the night and the two elope. 

    Deep SummerTogether, Philip and Judith will build a dynasty.  They will clear the forest and plant crops, overcoming disease and the threats of wildlife, transitioning from a one room cabin to a sprawling plantation mansion.  While hard work and ingenuity certainly contribute to their success, it is also clear that King George’s largesse, Philip’s stolen goods, and slave labor are essential to their ascension to the top of Louisiana’s economic and social ladder. 

    Deep Summer was written during the 1930s, and it shows.  Bristow’s prose is heavy with melodrama and lavish descriptions, but these descriptions are part of what makes Deep Summer work, transporting the reader through place and time, experiencing what 18th century Louisiana was like for European settlers.  Deep Summer is well researched, evidenced by the fascinating details included while describing food, clothing, housekeeping, farming, and politics.    

    A word of warning: several reviews I read of Deep Summer chided the novel for its racism.  Yes, racism is rampant in this book.  Any book about the development of a plantation in the American South during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, told through the eyes of a woman whose husband is a slave owner, is going to contain racism; anything else would not be historically accurate.  Knowing that, Deep Summer may not be the book for you, and that’s okay, but if you can stomach the realities of the time period, Deep Summer makes for an interesting read. 

    What about you?  What good books have you read recently that our readers might enjoy?


    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.