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    by Emily M | Jun 14, 2017
    Looking for a book recommendation?  Look no further!  Here are a few good books I've enjoyed recently.

    Book Review: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

    silversparrowSilver Sparrow tells the story of two families living in Atlanta, Georgia.  One is James Witherspoon’s public family.  James is married to Laverne and together they have a daughter, Chaurisse.  The three live together in a modest home and function like most nuclear families.

    The other family is James’ secret family. Despite already being married to Laverne, James marries Gwen across the state line in Alabama shortly after the birth of their daughter, Dana.  James spends one evening each a week with Gwen and Dana, who know about Laverne and Chaurisse.  Laverne and Chaurisse, however, have no knowledge of James’ other family and live in ignorant bliss.  Silver Sparrow explores how James’ decision to keep a secret family will spiral out of control for everyone involved.

    There’s a lot to like about Silver Sparrow: the premise is original and surprisingly believable.  Rich backstories explain how James came to be in this unusual position and the author deftly creates a setting wherein the reader gets a real feel for middle-class, African-American life in Atlanta in the 1980s.  Nevertheless, the book does have a few weak spots.  A few key characters were underdeveloped and the ending left something to be desired.  However, I would still recommend this book for its unique premise and engrossing storyline. 

    Book Review: Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy

    ghettosideFrom 2001 to 2012, Jill Leovy was a journalist for the Los Angeles Times, reporting on homicide in L.A.  For more than a decade, she reported on the murders of African-American men and boys on L.A.’s south side. She spent time with the family members of the deceased, and with the detectives who investigated their murders.  Ghettoside is her attempt to explore and explain our country’s high rate of black-on-black crime, while also examining why the murders of so many young black men and boys go unsolved, and how the two are related.

    Despite the tragic content, Ghettoside is immensely readable.  Leovy deftly weaves together the heart-wrenching stories of the murders of a dozen young African-American men in south L.A., of the overworked detectives assigned to their cases, of the frightened witnesses who are so reluctant to come forward, and of the grieving family members hungry for justice.  While telling the individual stories, she also explores aspects of history and human psychology that have resulted in a group of people who not only don’t trust the police to prevent crime, but also don’t trust the police to bring justice to victims.  Leovy asserts that our current rates of black-on-black crime are a result of African-American men carrying out vigilante justice, not trusting our justice system to find and convict the killers of African-Americans.  She asserts that a different type of policing, which focuses less on prevention and more on bringing justice to victims, would actually greatly reduce the rate of violent crime in areas such as south Los Angeles. 

    Book Review: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

    thekillerangelsWinner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975, The Killer Angels is considered by many to be the best Civil War novel of all time.  I first read it as a freshman in college, as it was required reading for my American History course.  I enjoyed it immensely at the time, and recently decided to give it a reread.

     The Killer Angels is a play-by-play of the Battle of Gettysburg told from the perspective of various officers from both the Union and Confederacy.  Shaara’s ability to describe the battles and what is happening is excellent, but the heart of this book is the way Shaara gets inside the heads of each of the different officers, examining their motivations, fears, strengths, and weaknesses.  The Killer Angels is an excellent insight into the heavy mental and emotional toll of making decisions as the leader of troops on the battlefield. 

    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 Kay S | Jun 09, 2017
    anne gracieIt’s been awhile since I've read anything by Anne Gracie. Even though I loved her first couple of books, she never became one of my auto-buys. But times are tough, and I've been on a desperate search for something I like, so when I read a glowing review about Marry in Haste, I thought - what have you got to lose? Well, I'm mighty happy I read that review. Turns out Marry in Haste was just what I was looking for.

    This was a character-driven story. There were no heroic harebrained heroines doing preposterous things. There weren't any groan-inducing-eye-crossing antics which didn't fit into the time line. And, best of all, we have a hero and heroine who actually talk to each other - dare I say, they even become friends. Gasp! They learn to respect each other. It was a charming story.

    Major Calbourn Rutherford has been a soldier for over a decade. Even though the war is over, there is still some unfinished business. He's after the sniper who murdered his best friend during the war. This is his obsession. But on his return to England, there are some problems which must be addressed. Calbourn has two half-sisters who are regular hellions and need a firm hand. Being an army guy, he charges in, strong-arms his sisters, and immediately loses control of the situation. Not only that, but he finds out his deceased brother has a daughter who seems to have run wild in the countryside. Now Cal has a problem. He has three young women who resent him and don't follow his orders. He does not have time for this; he has an assassin to catch. He must find someone to rope the girls in - it is time for our heroine, Emmaline Westwood, a teacher from sisters' school. At first, he offers her a job of looking after the girls. She turns him down. She needs something which will last a few more years. Cal then gets the brilliant idea of proposing a marriage of convenience. After a few minutes of consideration, Emmaline accepts. Cal now thinks he can wash his hands of this sisters and niece and return to his assassin search. Ha! Nothing works the way Cal has envisioned.

    Cal was a wonderful, gruff hero. Throughout the book we watch as he discovers what is important and what isn't. He is the one who changes the most in this story, but that doesn't mean Emmaline is just a supporting character. Her presence is what this story revolves around. She is the catalyst.

    Cal and Emmaline are a wonderful couple. They make for what I would call a good old romance story. They talk to each other, they support each other, and together they build a family. I sense that the three young women will have their own books.

    If I had any quibble, it was that some of the loose ends were tied up too tidily, but overall this was a well-written lovely story and highly recommended.

    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 | Jun 07, 2017
    By Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons

    When Han Solo slammed The Millennium Falcon into hyperdrive and the stars turned into streaks of light, it felt like you really were leaping into hyperspace. Same when Marty McFly jumped Back to the Future in a significantly souped up DeLorean.

    My turn for something close came the other day when a wealthy friend took me for a ride in his Tesla Model 3. He floored the pedal and we went from here ... to there, in something like an instant. And he most definitely did not "hit the gas," because there was none. It was all electric, all the time.

    The experience got me wondering how my grandfathers felt the first time they rode in automobiles. Did they anticipate how much and how quickly the world would change? My own glimpse of the future involved more than just an electric motor. The Tesla has a large touch screen dashboard that lets you read your email, change your GPS map, and much more while the car drives itself, at least along Interstate highways. 

    My friend Brian said he and other drivers are sort of beta testers for Tesla. The car sends signals to Tesla HQ and the Tesla people keep coming up with improvements that are downloaded into the cars. Brian expects his car to be truly self-driving within a year. He also expects Tesla to be making a lot of more-affordable electric cars very soon. 

    It's going to be hard for the library to buy books that can keep up with such a rapidly developing change in transportation, but we do have this new title at Shawnee: Tesla Model S by Julio Diaz. Okay, it's a children's book, but most of us are children at this point in the electric car world. We also have a 2015 book by John J. Fialka titled Car Wars: The Rise, the Fall, and the Resurgence of the Electric Car. Plus, if you are interested in Tesla founder Elon Musk, check out Ashlee Vance's Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

    If you want to share an experience about the technological future, please add a comment below. 

    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 05, 2017

    cover for The Chainsmokers' album, Memories ... Do Not OpenHonestly, not what I expected.  If I could get over the trendy-pop hurdle between me and the Chainsmokers’ debut album Memories … Do Not Open, I could probably like it.  I mean, you’ve got to give them props for their commitment to not getting a song on the radio without it being edited.*  That’s pretty punk rock … even if this album’s not. 

    *Okay, only about 5 out of 12 songs would need editing, and they’ve got that superhero song to go with summer blockbusters (you know, night-exits from theaters into day-warm air, record-setting opening weekends, and Chris Pratt) but still …

    Suggested Use: With its subdued, suggestive, guest musician-ridden tracks this might just be the perfect album for the summer for some sector of the cool kids.  You know, the kids who actually have the guts to cut class, get out on the dance floor with perfect strangers, and read The Illiad.  But then, what do I know.  I’m officially old now.  I still think punk rock is still a thing.  I mean, it totally is, but still …

    by Sara P | Jun 02, 2017

    Book Club Picks

    Even though I love to read, finding the time for it in my busy life can be a challenge. I host two adult book groups at the Georgetown Branch and trying to keep up with them has been the push I needed. To ensure that I finish the books, I usually read one in print and listen to one on audio. We have books on CD as well as digital audiobooks.

    This month, for the Well Read Women group on June 13, we are going to discuss Bossypants, Tina Fey’s memoir, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, the classic by Zora Neale Hurston.

    We have Bossypants available as a Playaway. Playaways are pre-loaded MP3 players - you just connect your own headphones and press play to listen! I have an adapter that I use to listen to it in my car. It is great for my daily work commute. Tina Fey is hilarious, so I have been driving and laughing like crazy lately.

    When I finish with Bossypants, I plan to move on to Their Eyes Were Watching God. We have a copy of that title available via Hoopla. Hoopla titles are available for unlimited simultaneous downloads from the library. (We also have ebooks and digital audiobooks available through OverDrive. Due to licensing restrictions, those titles are limited to one checkout at a time.)

    Previously I was listening to The Stand for June 27th’s Stephen King Book Club, but I was too eager to keep reading, so I switched over to the print version. The Stand is one of my favorite books. I haven’t read it for more than 20 years and reading it as a middle-aged woman is very different from reading it as a teenager. My love the book is unwavering, though, even with a different life perspective.

    I would love to see you at either of our book groups at Georgetown. Our groups are very informal and relaxed -- you need not have read/re-read/finished the title to attend, though there will be spoilers in the meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend.

    by Megan B | May 31, 2017

    When I was a kid, my sister Tracy (unbeknownst to my mom) thought it was big fun to introduce me to scary movies. I was five, Tracy was thirteen. You can see how Tracy might have had a different take-away than my five-year-old self. I seriously think it messed with my psyche (thanks, sister).

    Two of the movies her thirteen-year-old self thought it appropriate to share have stuck with me all of these years. The first is that horrid movie about dying in your nightmares because some crazed man with razor blades for fingers is ticked off at your parents. A JawsNightmare on Elm Street! I still cannot hear that freaky song, “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you,” without shivering all over and wanting my mom. The other movie Tracy introduced me to included a large white shark and a catchy theme song. Whenever I swim in the ocean, I hear it over the roar of the waves. Come on, you know it. “Duh nuh, duh nuh, duh nuh.”  It picks up tempo as the shark draws nearer, about to rip your legs off and ruin your summer fun.

    After we watched it, my sister thought it was a good idea to tell me that this toothy fella lived in the toilet. I was five -- I believed her. My mom couldn’t figure out why there was pee all over the bathroom floor until she figured out I was barely sitting on the toilet due to what my sister told me.

    Thankfully, I outgrew my fear of Freddy sucking me into my bed or a great white shark attacking me while I used the restroom. I have actually grown to enjoy this movie and appreciate the thrill it represents. It always seems appropriate to watch it during the hot summer months which is why we are highlighting Benchley's classic for Readers’ Services' very first Book to Movie Club.

    Please stop by any library location to pick up your copy of the book. Read it by Sunday, June 25th and then join us at 1:00 p.m. in the Theater to watch one of the most memorable movies ever. Afterwards, we will have a fun discussion about the book and movie. Please mark your calendars and make a splash with Readers’ Services this summer. See you there!

    *Book to Movie Club
    *Main Library, Theater
    *June 25, 2017
    *1:00 pm

    by Becky C | May 30, 2017
    Image from Dennis Skley flickr page

    How do librarians know what titles are coming out when?  How do we decide which of those titles we'll purchase for the collection?  We have several sources, but Publishers Weekly (PW) is one of my personal favorites.  PW reviews around 9,000 books a year. 

    For this month's post, I've taken the liberty of going through the March issues of Publishers Weekly (PW) and sharing the upcoming releases their reviewers are most excited about.  Each of these titles received a starred review.  We don't have all of these titles in the collection yet -- most are due to hit the shelves in bookstores and libraries this month -- but you can place a hold on your copy now.  Or, if you're like me, and you're typically at the 5 holds per person max, you can keep tabs on your picks a couple of ways.

    My favorite way to keep track of books I want to read is through ACPL's catalog.  Heather wrote an excellent post on how to do this -- click here for the details.  Goodreads and LibraryThing are also options.

    Which of these catches your eye? 

    Fiction coming to the collection May 2017

    House of Names
     Scribe of Siena
     The Heirs


     Proving Ground
     The Long Drop
     The Graves
     Shadows of the Dead
     Eagle and Empire
     Heart of a Texas Cowboy
     Not a Sound
     Less Than Treason
     From Duke to Dawn
     Salt Houses
     Bad Dreams
     White Road
     Twisted Vengeance
     City of Miracles
     Need You Now
     Wedded Bliss


    Non-Fiction coming to the collection May

     Return to Glory
     We Have No Idea
     Miracle Cure
     One Day We Will All Be Dead
     Origins of Cool
     Paradise Lost
     Theft by Finding
     Objects of Devotion
     Apollo 8
     Unruly City


    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 | May 22, 2017
    Yes, even Bullwinkle is excited that once again it's time for some upcoming books! Being released by publishers between May 15 and June 14, 2017 these are a few of the books which will be coming to a library near you. I'm hearing good things about these stories.

    Historical Romance
    jo Beverley
    Jo Beverley
    Merely a Marriage
    May 30
    kj hunter K.J. Charles
    An Unnatural Vice
    Sins of the Cities series
    June 6
    lorraine heath Lorraine Heath
    Affair with a Notorious Heiress
    Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series
    May 30
    madeline hunter Madeline Hunter
    The Most Dangerous Duke in London
    Decadent Dukes Society series
    May 30
    eva leigh Eva Leigh
    From Duke Till Dawn
    London Underground series
    May 30
    Historical Fiction
    kate quinn Kate Quinn
    The Alice Network
    June 6
    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction/Women's Fiction
    annabeth albert Annabeth Albert
    On Point
    Out of Uniform series
    Contemporary Romance
    June 6
    sarah hegger Sarah Hegger
    Positively Pippa
    Ghost Falls series
    Contemporary Romance
    May 30
    christina lauren Christina Lauren
    Dating You/Hating You
    Contemporary Romance
    June 6
    rhenna morgan Rhenna Morgan
    Claim and Protect
    The haven Brotherhood series
    Contemporary Romance
    June 12
    sarah morgan Sarah Morgan
    New York, Actually
    From Manhattan with Love series
    Contemporary Romance
    May 30
    brenda novak Brenda Novak
    No One But You
    Silver Springs series
    Contemporary Romance
    June 1
    shannyn schroader Shannyn Schroeder
    Through Your Eyes
    For Your Love series
    Contemporary Romance
    May 30
    Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Suspense
    anne calhoun Anne Calhoun
    Turn Me Loose
    Alpha Ops series
    Romantic Suspense
    May 30
    michele campbell Michele Campbell, debut
    It’s Always the Husband
    May 16
    christine carbo Christine Carbo
    The Weight of Night
    Gracier Mystery series
    June 6
    karen dionne Karen Dionne
    The Marsh King's Daughter
    June 13
    leonard golberg Leonard Goldberg
    The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes
    June 6
    carolyn haines Carolyn Haines
    Sticks and Bone
    Sarah Booth Delaney series
    May 16
    anthony horowitz Anthony Horowitz
    Magpie Murders
    June 6
    brynn kelly Brynn Kelly
    Edge of Truth
    Romantic Suspense
    May 30
    kat martin
    Kat Martin
    Beyond Reason
    Texas Trilogy series
    Romantic Suspense
    May 30
    katie ruggle Katie Ruggle
    Run to Ground
    Rocky Mountain K9 Unit series
    Romantic Suspense
    June 6
    rebecca zanetti Rebecca Zanetta
    Lethal Lies
    Blood Brother series
    Romantic Suspense
    May 16 – Trade paperback, ebook
    Paranormal Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
    ilona andrews Ilona Andrews
    White Hot
    Hidden Legacy series
    Paranormal Romance
    May 30
    anne corlett Anne Corlett
    The Space Between the Stars
    Science Fiction
    June 1
    nicky drayden Nicky Drayden
    The Prey of Gods
    Science Fiction
    June 13
    richard kadrey Richard Kadrey
    The Kill Society
    Sandman Slim series
    Urban Fantasy
    June 6
    seanan mcguire Seanan McGuire
    Down Among the Sticks and Bones
    Wayward Children series
    June 13
    nalini singh Nalini Singh
    Silver Silence
    Psy-Changeling Trinity series
    Paranormal Romance
    June 15
    matt wallace Matt Wallace
    Greedy Pigs
    Sin du Jour Affair series
    Urban Fantasy
    May 16
    Young Adult
    renee andlein Renee Ahdieh
    Flame in the Mist
    Flame in the Mist series
    May 16
    alys arden Alys Arden
    The Romeo Catchers
    The Casquette Girls series
    May 23
    melanie crowder Melanie Crowder
    An Uninterrupted View of the Sky
    June 13
    karen mcmanus Karen M. McManus
    One of Us Is Lying
    May 30
    veronica rossi Veronica Rossi
    May 16
    victoria schwab Victoria Schwab
    Our Dark Duet
    sequel to This Savage Sone
    June 13
    erin watt Erin Watt
    When It's Real
    May 30
    mary weber Mary Weber
    The Evaporation of Sofi Snow
    June 6
    alice clayton Alice Clayton
    Hudson Valley series
    May 23
    Inspiration Romance/Mainstream
    tessa afshar Tessa Afshar
    Bread of Angels
    June 6
    kate breslin Kate Breslin
    High as the Heavens
    June 6

    kayKay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.
    by Craig B | May 19, 2017

    cover for Eudora Welty's novel, The Optimist's DaughterBook Review: The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty

    If I were to indulge my faux-literary-critic persona here and use some high-sounding phraseology to talk about Eudora Welty’s last novel (the novel that won her the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1973), I would say that The Optimist’s Daughter contains an interesting “reversal of climaxes” that challenges readers to think carefully about what it all means.  And by “all” I mean the narrative of the book and also “all” -- what it ALL means.  This “reversal”, I could pontificate, happens as the novel shifts and parries and kind of hits you in the back of the head when it kills off a main character only a third of the way through the book.  The rest of the novel then becomes about the nearly anti-climactic funeral for that character and we have to use our “imagination” (a theme throughout the novel) to truly understand the tensions that continue to drive the narrative.  Now, I have to be careful.  I might be starting to sound like I possibly, really liked this book.  Well, it was okay, I guess, for the record, but honestly it felt a little underdeveloped or only marginally realized or something.  Not that I’m qualified to say, I’m just a reader, not a professional, despite my sometimes ambitious vocabulary.

    I do find it interesting that Welty lies at rest beneath words from this novel.  The quote on her gravestone is reputedly, "For her life, any life, she had to believe, was nothing but the continuity of its love.”  (Had someone been listening to Abbey Road for cryin’ out loud … “And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make …”) For me, if I had to pick a line from this book to be on my gravestone (rather than from Abbey Road, which I in many ways prefer), and I’m being pretty serious here though that’s not often my M.O., I might choose the following paraphrase:

    “Memory lives not in possession but in the freed hands and the heart that can fill again.”

    I’m not a hundred percent certain what that means, but I think if you look at memory as a function of imagination and imagination as a tool of freedom then maybe … Awfully optimistic for words on a gravestone, isn’t it?  But that’s what this book is about to some degree, at least it’s in the title … But maybe I should stick to The Beatles.  Something like, 

    “It's been a long cold lonely winter / … Here comes the sun, and I say / It's all right.” 

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about … well, let’s not go there.  I choose the optimistic view that everyone’s pretty familiar with Abbey Road and The Beatles in general and knows that that lyric comes from "Here Comes the Sun," track 7 (first track of side B if you’re into vinyl), the beginning of the lead-up to that glorious "Medley" of brief song-poems I once actually heard played in its entirety on the radio ... Or not.  No biggie. 

    (But seriously, if you’re not sure what I’m talking about please click here.)

    by Becky C | May 17, 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!
    Nabokovs Favorite Word
    This Time Together
     Down City
     Something Strange and Deadly
     Zoo Station
     Wounded Prophet
     Stranger in the Woods
     Cocktail Hour Garden
     Norse Mythology
     Cows Pigs Wars Witches
     To Kill a Mockingbird
     Dorothy Must Die
     Lost City of the Monkey God
     Collapsing Empire
     Rescuing Penny Jane
     Paper Girls
     One Good Dog
     Food Health and Happiness
     Fraulein M
     King Baby

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Becky C | May 15, 2017
    May is Get Caught Reading month, a nationwide campaign to remind people of all ages just how much fun taking a break with a good book is.  Sure, we all have To Do lists that seem never-ending and sometimes it’s hard to set aside some me-time — but isn’t it wonderful when we do?

    Several famous people have been caught reading recently — click here for their pics!  ACPL is joining in on the fun — look who we “caught” reading on their breaks and lunch hours!  It’s one of life’s ironies that although we are surrounded by books all day long, reading is generally NOT part of our job description.  Sigh.

    Get Caught Reading A Good Day for a Hat
     Get Caught Reading Craig
     Get Caught Reading Sara  Get Caught Reading Kara  
     Get Caught Reading Kris  Get Caught Reading Mariah  
     Get Caught Reading Evan  Get Caught Reading Nerija  
     Get Caught Reading Megan

    Would you like to join us?  Please feel free to send your photos to with the subject line Caught Reading.  I will share in a follow-up post later this month!

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Becky C | May 12, 2017
    Editor's Note:  As You Like It began publishing content in 2011.  That's six years of awesomeness!  As we celebrate Mothers' Day this weekend, here's a look back at one of our favorite posts.  Originally published May 9, 2012.

    As we prepare to celebrate Mothers’ Day, I not only think of my mom and my friends’ moms, but also the great moms I’ve encountered in fiction.  Here’s a short list of some of the best moms in fiction — who would you add?

      Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan is a force to be reckoned with.  Before marrying Aral Vorkosigan and having a child, she was commander of her own spaceship.  In Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold, Aral may have the military reputation and the nickname “The Butcher of Komarr”, but the men of Barrayar would be advised to take Cordelia at her word when she warns them to avoid annoying her.  Love Cordelia! 
       In Tehanu, a book in the Earthsea Cycle, we spend time with Tenar, a former high priestess of the Nameless Ones.  Tenar has a generous maternal spirit:  despite the turmoil around her she adopts and raises a maimed, abused girl, making Tenar one of the greatest fantasy moms ever.
     Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
       I think Molly Weasley is simply awesome in all of the Harry Potter books but I selected The Deathly Hallows for this list because of her deadly duel with Bellatrix Lestrange.  Go Molly!
     Crocodile on the Sandbank
       Amelia Peabody is a strong-willed, no-nonsense woman — as the series begins in the late 1800s, she certainly stands out.  This spunky amateur archaeologist/sleuth has a warm heart — in addition to one biological child, she and her husband adopt a few other children over the course of the series.  Crocodile on the Sandbank is the first title in the series.
     Confessions of Super Mom
       Confessions of Super Mom. What do you get when you mix chick lit with the comic genre? Super Mom!  After an ill-advised mixture of all the cleaning products in the house knocks her out cold, Birdie Lee awakes with miraculous cleaning powers and an uncanny ability to anticipate when children are in danger. With wit, humor, and some sage motherly advice, Super Mom gives readers a true hero for our time.

    You may also like this previous Mothers' Day post from As You Like It:

    Memorable Movie Mothers:  Way back when, David wrote a thorough post examining some of the more memorable mothers depicted on the big screen.  Posted May 10, 2014.

    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 | May 10, 2017
    You know when I read a romance novel, I often ask myself “would this relationship really
    work?” Would a stuffed-shirt aristocrat really go for a wild-eyed suffragette? Would a h_guhrkePankhurst thumping suffragette really go for an “I’m-better-then-you-I-rule-the-world" man? We live in such a fantasy world in Romanceland, sometimes I think we believe that these relationships would work. We rely heavily on the author to “make it so.” When I picked up The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke, I pretty much thought that no matter how different the hero and heroine were, in the end I would be sure they would have a believable happy ending. You see, Laura Lee Guhrke excels at writing complex characters which match up. So, I started reading.

    The book starts out promising. Henry Cavanaugh, Duke of Torquil, is a little peeved because his mother has sent a letter to Lady Truelove (a gossip advice columnist) asking for advice. You see, his mother is in love with a man much younger than herself and that man is an artist – gasp. Well, Henry is a tried and true top-drawer aristocrat. His word is the law, his hand is iron, and he jumps tall building in a single bound (oops, wrong guy). Dressed in his most threatening ensemble, he rushes down to confront Lady Truelove only to be greeted by Irene Deverill, the editor of the newspaper. First of all, he is shocked that it is a woman who has control of the paper -- then he is shocked because she refuses to retract the story or give his mother’s correspondence to him. He would probably be even more shocked if he knew what we the readers know – she is Lady Truelove. She doesn’t back down. The newspaper is her baby and I say that in the strongest words I can. She has taken over the family’s crumbling paper and made it into a success – she loves what she’s doing. This is not a standard Romanceland device created to make her look spunky. No, the author has created a strong woman who actually believes in what she’s doing. She. Loves. Her. Work. She is also a suffragette and that too is written in such a strong way I’m not really sure it works in a historical romance. And, for me this is where I start running into problems. Both Henry and Irene have stronnnnggggg convictions. While I may not agree with some of Henry’s bulldozing techniques, he is a responsible man who cares for his family and the people who are his responsibility. He is a landowner in a changing country, he knows there are people who depend on him just to survive.

    The Truth about Love and Dukes was an interesting study in two different dynamics, two different ideologies. There was a constant battle between the two, but all the while the hormone monkey was playing with them. For me the lines are drawn so realistically that I had a hard time accepting this couple would have a happy ending. The only way I could see for a historical Romanceland happy ending was for one of them to give in, to dilute their beliefs. In the end, both do some giving. But I was not a happy camper and here’s why.

    My muddled reasoning. For almost the entire book, whenever Irene and Henry are together I felt as if I was watching a debate team. It was a constant battle between the two of them – over and over. That is, of course, between protected humpy-bumpy (if you get my drift). I grew tired of the constant battle of ideologies. Maybe I was in a bad mood, maybe I had outside stress weighing me down, maybe I should have put the book away for another day – but I didn't. It wasn’t until almost the very end when Irene ripped into Henry about his standards that I started to enjoy the book. That was when she turned from a constant, nagging, I’m-on-my-soapbox woman into someone who made sense – and said the right things. I think what really bothered me was that Irene and Henry were so far apart in their beliefs, I had a hard time believing even with their giving/taking at the end that they could ever have a good partnership. I say that because even though we like to see opposites attract, I really think a good partnership/marriage/whatever must be based on having something in common, a sharing of ideas and supporting those ideas.

    Bottom-line. I was disappointed with The Truth About Love and Dukes. Laura Lee Guhrke has always been a solid writer for me, but, in this case, I don’t think she succeeded with the complex issues she was trying to bring forth. For some people, this will be a fantastic read but for me the couple were too far apart in their beliefs and the constant haranguing continued for far too long.

    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 Craig B | May 08, 2017

    cover for Brantley Gilbert's album, The Devil Don't SleepGilbert’s new album, The Devil Don’t Sleep, has its moments of ascension, like the pronouncement of a female acquaintance to be a “smokin’ gun” and the keening quality of a cry to “let it rain, let it rain, let it rain”.  If you like rock-infused country you should give this album a try.  It certainly delivers on the “infused” part with nearly every one of the album’s mid-tempo songs borrowing something from that other genre of music.  And I just have to publicly appreciate this level of commitment, the borrowing even goes down to the title of track 1, “Rockin’ Chairs”

    Suggested Use: Again, if you dig rock-infused country music, this is a great album to order fast food to on a Friday night; tunes to blare from your Pioneers as you grin at the folks on the other side of the drive-thru window letting them know you’re about to have a great weekend.

    by Kay S | May 05, 2017
    Beverly Jenkins has been awarded the 2017 RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement beverly jenkinsAward. This is one of the highest honors Romance Writers of America bestows on authors. This award is presented to a living author in recognition of significant contributions to the romance genre. 

    Beverly has been in the business of blood, sweat, and tears (that's writing) since her first book Night Song was published in 1994. She specializes in 19th century African American life and has over thirty published novels to date. Born in Detroit, she graduated from Cass Technical High School and attended Michigan State University where she majored in Journalism and English Literature. 

    Congratulations Ms. Jenkins!!!

    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 | May 03, 2017
    Serious geeks may be disappointed by Helen Keen's recent book, The Science of Game of Thrones. The British comic and science TV personality doesn't reveal how to wake the dead or mother your own dragon.

    Lighthearted nerds, however, will enjoy Keen's spritely style and her research into just how close this world is -- or is not -- to the many fantastical elements of George R. R. Martin's great creation. He is the author of the Song of Ice and Fire book series, which is the inspiration for the Game of Thrones TV series.

    The Science of Game of ThronesYou want to make  your own Valyrian steel sword? Keel will get you as close as she can, including what to look for in just the right iron ore meteor.

    It is known that Winter Is Coming in Westeros, but Keen notes that Martin said his tale is partly an analog for what scientists say about our real world: Summer Is Coming. She tells how, ironically, bubbles in Antarctic ice cores help drive that prediction. 

    Giants, choking poisons, dire wolves, the surprisingly successful sex lives of beta males (Samwell Tarly), the magical power of a king's blood -- Keen brings you up to date on these and many more just in time for the TV show's much-anticipated new season in July.

    As to the even more-anticipated sixth novel  in the series, making it arrive immediately is beyond anyone's scientific or magical powers. So, in the mean time, check out Keen's  little book and then amaze your friends with the physics of 700-foot-high ice walls before the big one (maybe?) comes tumbling down. And if you've got other Game of Thrones-related fan books to recommend, post your suggestion in a comment below. 

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Becky C | May 01, 2017
    Are you ready for festival season in Fort Wayne?  It's just around the corner.  The Cherry Blossom Festival, now in its 11th year, will take place May 7th at the Main Library.  If you'd like to experience a bit of Japanese culture ahead of time, we have a variety of items in our collection.  Here's a peek:

    Japanese Melodies for Flute and Harp
     Storytelling in Japanese art
     Art of Sumi
     Six Hidden Views of Japanese Music
     Walking the Kiso Road
     The Japanese Tea Ceremony
     Japanese Art
     Japanese Cooking
     Art of the Japanese Sword
     Art of Japanese papercrafts
     Japanese Ghosts and Demons
     Art of Japanese Gardens
     Japanese Art of Stone
     Classic Haiku
     Japanese Culture
     A Zen Harvest
     Shanks mare

    Previous Cherry Blossom Festival posts:

    Festival season begins.  Includes a few facts about this event and our sister city relationship with Takaoka, Japan.  Posted May 18, 2012.

    Cherry Blossom Festival.  This is a link to several posts from our What's Happening blog.  2014, in particular, is worth a look as it offers a few photos from previous years.

    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 Evan | Apr 26, 2017
    Allen County Reads Laurie ProctorIn this month’s Allen County Reads, Laurie Proctor, minister emerita at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne, shares her love of reading. 

    "My parents were rather voracious readers and I’m sure their habits influenced me for the good.  I can’t imagine life without reading books."

    When I was three, my mother, father, and I moved to a new post-war development in what was then the little town of Belmont, California, south of San Francisco, the city of my birth.  As soon as we moved, we began making trips downtown to the library which was located in city hall.  We went to the library every week and checked out the limit which I think was seven books.  When I was old enough (I think I had to be able to write my name), I got my own card.  The librarian, who lived around the corner, said she loved my parents because they kept the circulation count up.  The library later moved into a much larger facility closer to where we lived, and I went with my parents or rode my bike by myself. 

    I had a two-book set of fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm.  I looked forward to waking up very early on weekend mornings, before anyone else was awake and sometimes before the sun was up.  It was a treat to read these tales in bed in the quiet part of the day.  Later I read Nancy Drew mysteries, but other than those, I did not have a favorite genre such as horse books, which were common among my girlfriends.  Our fourth grade teacher read Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins series to us.  They were such fun and I probably read some of those and others like them.

    I was a good reader, near or at the top of my class which is ironic given that I scored very poorly on a reading readiness test that I took before kindergarten.  My parents did not censor my reading so I moved onto “adult” books at a relatively young age.  I read Peyton Place when I was thirteen (not that I really knew what was happening) and Psycho when I was a sophomore.  I think I took my reading cues from my mother, although I never acquired her love of sci-fi.

    My love of mysteries has grown over the years.  For a time in my 30s and 40s I sought out women authors writing about women detectives such as Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, and Nevada Barr.  Later in life, I have been attracted to detectives’ stories with male protagonists who are reflective, wondering about the meaning of life.  My favorite authors include Henning Mankell, P. D. James, Michael Connelly, Louise Penny, and Ian Rankin.  I’m a fan of British and Scandinavian mysteries as well as those by Carl Hiaasen, whose characters could not be described as reflective, but they are enjoyable.

    Mysteries provide a counterpoint to the non-fiction writing into which I plunge, tackling various subject areas.  Politics and social criticism are favorite topics.  When I was studying for a Master’s Degree in Earth Literacy at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, my reading was heavy with science and environmental books.  Then it was gardening, especially sustainable efforts, and always cookbooks, although I admit to reading at them, not cover to cover, as the mood strikes me.  I almost forgot my obsession with self-help books of all kinds: decluttering, diet and health, time management.  And then there is Zen Buddhism.  

    I am now in two book groups.  I joined both primarily because I enjoy the people, but also to challenge myself to read more fiction.  Given the times in which we live, I try fiction from other cultures as a way of understanding people.


    by Emily M | Apr 24, 2017

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

    Book Review:  The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber


    The opening sequence of this book features a mother who, along with her husband and two older children, is lowering her six-year-old daughter into a well.  The mother, Rachel, is frantic, terrified, praying ceaselessly for her daughter’s safety, yet she doesn’t stop from placing her young child into this dark, dangerous place.  Why would someone do such a thing?  Because the DuPrees are a homesteading family in the Badlands of South Dakota in the early twentieth century.  There’s no running water, no nearby neighbors, and the family’s well has run so low that simply lowering a bucket into it yields no results.  Six-year-old Liz can use a cup to scoop the last dregs of water into the bucket, keeping the family and their livestock hydrated for just a few more days. And so begins the story of Rachel DuPree and her family’s attempt to survive in one of the most formidable landscapes in the country.

    For fourteen years Rachel and her husband Isaac have homesteaded in South Dakota, and as a result have 2500 acres and a wooden (rather than sod) house to show for it.  However, as the drought worsens and more and more of their neighbors are giving up and leaving their homesteads behind, Isaac remains determined to do whatever it takes not only to hang on to what they have, but also to acquire the land their neighbors are relinquishing.  As an African-American man, Isaac believes that land ownership is the secret to gaining equal status to white men.  Rachel, on the other hand, is worried for their children, for their current needs that so often seem to go unfulfilled, as well as for their future prospects.  Through a series of flashbacks, the reader learns about the non-conventional start to the DuPree’s marriage, and how that start has influenced Rachel’s unwillingness to confront her husband on the decisions he makes.  While the DuPree family wrestles with the forces of nature that threaten their survival, Rachel wrestles with balancing her desire to please her husband with what she believes is best for her children.

    Book Review:  A Square Meal:  A Culinary History of the Great Depression by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe


    I’m completely fascinated by what people eat and why, so when I saw the title of this book, I knew I had to read it.  Ziegelman and Coe set the stage for their culinary exploration by looking at how Americans ate prior to the Great Depression (World War I and the 1920s), allowing the reader to see how the 1930s diet differed from the preceding years.  Additionally, they provide a thorough explanation of the differences between how rural and urban Americans ate (generally speaking, of course).

    Two large factors in how Americans ate during the Great Depression, which the authors delve into with great detail, were emerging nutrition science and the types of relief aid granted to hungry Americans.  In fact, I learned much more than I expected about how the U.S. government approached providing relief during this time period. (It was different than I thought!) 

    Finally, some of the most interesting, although not necessarily appetizing, aspects of this book were the sample recipes from the time period.  So if you have a hankering for creamed spaghetti with carrots, prune pudding, liver loaf, or jellied lime and grapefruit salad, be sure to pick up a copy of A Square Meal.

    Book Review:  The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    TheGoodEarthWinner of the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, The Good Earth was written by Pearl S. Buck, the daughter of American missionaries who spent most of the first 40 years of her life living in China, and explores the life of a Chinese peasant farmer, Wang Lung, in the early years of the twentieth century.  The reader meets Wang Lung as a young adult on his wedding day and follows his story for decades through marriage, children, poverty, and wealth.  While the Chinese Revolution wages in the background, Wang Lung remains mainly ignorant of its existence as he focuses with ruthless singularity on his land: keeping it, expanding it, providing for his family with it.  Wang Lung is portrayed as a man of good moral character, who struggles with the corruption that wealth so often brings. 

    While The Good Earth is Wang Lung’s story, it is also an exploration of traditional Chinese culture, particularly the oppression of women.  Wang Lung’s wife, O-lan, is the epitome of what a good wife should be – dignified, nearly silent, and unendingly hard-working for the benefit of Wang Lung, yet Wang Lung seems largely unappreciative of her efforts, and rewards her with disloyalty and, at times, cruelty. 

    Ultimately, The Good Earth is a rich, compelling read, exploring the complexity of humanity, of family, of tradition, and of wealth and poverty.

    What good books have you read lately?

    Click here for more book reviews written by Emily

    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 | Apr 21, 2017

    This Summer ACPL will be turning the Great Hall of the Main Library into a bazaar of unique contributions from a variety of local artists.  Here are a few folks we are happy to introduce as participants:

    Robert Owen

     original image by Robert Owen

    Gregg Coffey

     original image by Greg Coffey

    Heather Houser

    original image by Heather Houser

    Valerie McBride

    original image by Valerie McBride


    Janelle Young

    original jewelry by Janelle Young


    It’s not too late to join in the fun.  Artists apply here by May 1 for a booth space.  Art enthusiasts join us between 10 am and 3 pm on Saturday, July 15th, the last weekend of the Three Rivers Festival, for the Artist Fair itself.  Budding artists take advantage of the several programs being offered throughout the day on July 15th designed to allow you to bloom including Watercolor, Simon Says Art, and Chainmaille Jewelry!

    And don't forget to check out our online calendar for more Summer events!