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    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.

     

    by Kay S | Jan 13, 2017
    The Viscount who Loved Me, written in 2000 by Julia Quinn, is the second book in the Bridgerton series and it's time for the eldest son's story - Anthony.

    The time has come for Anthony to find a bride. As is the case with most heroes injulia quinn
    Romanceland, he doesn't want to find a wife he can love. And, this is why I can't give this book a higher rating. You see, Anthony's parents Edmund and Violet had a loving marriage. They were wonderful, loving parents. Anthony idolized his father. Then when Anthony was nineteen his father had an allergic reaction to a bee sting and died. Anthony, along with everyone in the family, was devastated. Because his father died so young, Anthony has decided he doesn't want a marriage filled with love. Sure, sure, Anthony has some kind of twisted logic about dying young as his father did - that I can understand. But I have no idea why this should make him want to enter into a loveless marriage - it didn't make a whole lot of sense. If his parents had a horrible marriage maybe his reasoning would have made sense, but in this book, for this particular hero, it didn't make any sense to me.

    Other than that foo-foo, this was a delightful story. It had all the elements which make for wonderful storytelling, fun, witty dialog, well-developed characters; great secondary support; and poignancy.

    Anyway, Anthony has his eyes on the reigning beauty of the season, Edwina Sheffield. She's perfect - a beauty, smart enough, and young enough to be reasonably manipulated. There's just one minor problem - her sister Kate. It seems that Edwina has made it clear that she will not marry any man unless Kate approves of him. Anthony thinks - no problem, he can wrap any woman around his little finger. Whoops - he hasn't meet Kate. Kate loathes rakes, rascals, ne’er-do-wells, and rogues. She knows Anthony Bridgeton is a prime example of all of these and she will never allow him to marry her sister. So begins a battle of wills.

    When the battle begins between Anthony and Kate, it starts out over Edwina. As the story moves along Anthony and Kate soften toward each other. They soon become friends and Kate gradually changes her mind. She feels herself falling for Anthony, but also thinks he will be a good husband for Edwina. Buzzzzzzz. Then a bee strikes, again. While Kate and Anthony are having a little chit-chat among the flowers, Kate is stung by a bee - on her chest. Because of the way his father died, Anthony completely loses it. He thinks he must save Kate's life by sucking the venom out. Remember I said the bee stung her on the chest. Well Anthony is in a frenzied state of venom sucking on a woman's naked chest when who should wander onto the scene. His mother, her mother, and the town's biggest gossip. Anthony and Kate are married shortly afterward.

    What makes this story good is that the story doesn't end with the marriage. We get to watch Kate and Anthony working together to make their marriage work. Anthony has to overcome some of his fears about dying. There is plenty of fun and poignancy in store for this couple through the last few pages. We get to watch as they help each other over the roadblocks.

    Pall-mall. A game similar to croquet. In this book we are introduced to a rousing game of Pall-mall, played the Bridgerton way - no rules and a lot of competition. It is during one of these games that Anthony's attraction to Kate becomes full blown.

    Overall, this was a delightful story, full of great characters. I highly recommend this story and except for not understanding Anthony's reasoning for a loveless marriage this was a great read.





    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 11, 2017
    New DVDs are added to the collection on a regular basis.  Here's a quick look at some of the most recent titles to hit our shelves.  Click on a cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    Magnificent Seven
     Sully
     Suicide Squad
     Florence Foster Jenkins
     Southside with You
     Ben Hur
     Amerigeddon
     Love Meet Hope
     Little Men

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Heather G. | Jan 09, 2017
    new yeawrThere are always new books, of course, but turning the page in the new year is a chance to set the count to zero. Whether it is just in tracking the number of books or in refreshing the types of books you read, a reading challenge might be for you. Below you'll find links to a number of reading challenges on the Internet (there are about a million more you'll find with a simple search). And just for extra fun you may want to join in on New York Public Library's #ReadersUnite movement. Post a pic of books as you begin or complete them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media platforms with #ReadersUnite. Need a read? You can search the #ReadersUnite to see what folks all over the country are reading! Read more about NYPL's movement here.

    RHC_cover_pinterestBook Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge: There are 24 challenges as a means to " push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try." Challenges range from a book about war to a superhero comic with a female lead. Their lists will help you find the prescribed books from blog posts past. Head over to ACPL and get those books at your favorite library! (You'll also find a reading challenge roundup from Book Riot here.)


    badge-home-2d9db8a46455f8f5ba6fb30fbe7c637f.pngGood Reads 2017 Reading Challenge: Are you a GoodReads user? It's a pretty slick way to create to-read and read lists as it is available as an app! Walk thru ACPL or your favorite book store and scan books you see but aren't ready to read. Those titles will be there when you need your next read. It works the same to add books to your read list. Just scan the ISBN barcode and add to the list of your choice. It tracks that title with today's date (or another you specify). You can also see the challenge your friends have set up. No certain kind of books for this challenge, just a number you set. And don't forget to visit ACPL's Online Book Club at GoodReads.

    175x175bbPOPSUGAR Reading Challenge: "For 2017's challenge, there are 40 book prompts to help diversify and expand your reading in the new year, PLUS an "advanced" section with 12 books for hardcore readers who complete the challenge before the year is over. That's a book a week for the overachievers out there!" There's even a handy printable list to mark off your challenges as you complete them.

    Reading-Challenge-05The 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge comes from a blog designed to "explore what it looks like to be an accomplished woman in our modern world." There are two lists--one for fun and the other a "stretch" list. It, too, has a handy printable list for keeping track of your goals.

    logoWould you rather create your own challenge list? Lit Reactor gives you a 10 step guide for creating your own book goals for 2017. The author recommends "I really recommend going the handwritten route. Write out your reading challenge by hand. Add illustrations. Color if you want. Add stickers. Make folds. Orient things however you like on the page. Make this list a living, personal thing, something that's special to you."

    There are GoodReads groups for most of these reading challenges if you need a little encouragement from social media.

    Looking for something local? Read26FW is a Facebook group of Fort Wayne area readers who have set a goal to read 26 books in 2017. The members list the books they complete (sometimes as they are completed, sometimes a few at a time). Not only a way to stay accountable but also a source for new titles as the group posts.

    Didn't find a challenge to suit? Here's "The Master List of 2017 Reading Challenges" from girlxoxo.com. You'll find lists for foodies, fantasy and sci fi, classics, dystopians, steampunk, and a few dozen more. 

    Have fun and cheers to more reading in 2017! (Do comment below with your reading challenge if you've chosen to follow one!)
    by Kay S | Jan 06, 2017
    After a dismal month of disappointing new books and dark, angst-filled old books, I decided to turn my eyes in another direction:  Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series. I remember this series fondly.

    Duke and IOnce upon a time in Romanceland, Julia Quinn created the Bridgerton family and I'm assuming made some big bucks in doing so. I think in this case she deserves every bit of money she receives, because this is a very charming series. For those of you who have never read any of the books from this series, the Bridgerton family consists of Violet, the mother and her alphabetical children - Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth. The first book in the series, The Duke and I, jumps over the three eldest boys to Daphne.

    Daphne. Even though the Bridgerton's look alike, each of siblings have distinct personalities. Daphne is the nice sister, the good friend, everyone likes her, but she wants a loving husband and children. She's had numerous seasons in the marriage-mart, but she hasn't found anyone she's interested in. And, none of the men seem to be interested in her. She has been presented with an idea. What if it appears that she is being courted by a handsome, rakish kind of guy? Wouldn't all of the other men become interested in her then? Well of course they would. Who is the one who came up with this brilliant idea? To just pretend? Just a little pretense? That would be Simon, the Duke of Basset - her brother's best friend.

    Simon. Of all of Ms. Quinn's characters, Simon seems to be pretty angsty. But, remember there is a great sight of difference between a Ms. Quinn's hero with angst and a Ms. Stuart, or Ms. Balogh's angst-filled hero. Simon happened to be the long-awaited heir of a man to whom maintaining the family lineage was everything. Simon's mother died in the process of giving birth to him. On top of causing his mother's death, Simon didn't speak for years and when he finally did, he stuttered. His father's reaction to Simon's stuttering was beyond cruel. His father perceived Simon as an idiot, someone who should be locked away. Eventually Simon gave up trying to win his father's love and left, cutting off any contact with him. Simon never forgave his father. Simon's issue: he wants the bloodline to end with him. This is Simon's revenge response to his father - even though his father has long since gone to the great beyond. This means that Simon is really not that interested in setting up a nursery. He doesn't want any children. But the ladies of the ton just will not leave him alone, which is why he comes up with his brilliant idea. He thinks if women see that he is taken, they will leave him alone. At the end Daphne will find her man and Simon can have some peace.

    Of course, this is Romanceland, and we know that this plan is going to fail. Not only are they going to fall in love, but there are numerous wonderful secondary characters who are going to make sure this plan fails. Anthony, Daphne's brother, isn't all that keen on the plan either. You see Anthony and Simon are friends, they know each other, they've been drunk together, had women together - they are rakes together. All of a sudden Anthony is not so happy with his friend Simon.

    I'm glad I decided to reread the Bridgerton series. This was a delicious book with wonderful characters - both the main and the secondary. I loved being in the Bridgerton household, listening to the bickering, bantering, and sibling squabbles.

    Daphne's handling of Simon's problem and a misunderstanding of how he said he couldn’t have children was wonderful. The misunderstanding didn't drag on forever; in fact the pacing in this story was superb.

    Now that I have started this series I am a happy camper. The Duke and I was published in 2000 and was recently released with a 2nd epilogue. Ms. Quinn has written a second epilogue for each book in the series which she has released again. She has also published all of the epilogues as short stories in a book named: Bridgertons: Happily Ever After.

    Next up: The Viscount Who Loved Me



    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 | Jan 04, 2017

    cover for Avenged Sevenfold's album, The StageI like The Stage (Avenged Sevenfold’s new album) best when it concentrates on speaking without words (sorry M. Shadows but your goofy name and disc-grindery vocalizations don’t really do it for me), that is, takes on a purely instrumental approach.  At about 5 and a half minutes into the first track I felt I might actually be getting speaker burn (that’s a compliment), a common effect when assaulted by two guitars (at least one “shredding” almost constantly), a bass guitar, and a double-bassing-his-right-leg-off drummer.  But this band doesn’t stop there.  They find the energy to pump in a Spanish-y guitar interlude and a brass section.  So, I’ll end by saying they’re quite accomplished … whatever that means.

    Suggested Use: I imagine I might enjoy listening to this album while painting my bathroom in the near future.  The precise and incredibly energized musicality seems to reflect the required skill-set of a would-be house painter who works against a deadline but MUST NOT SPATTER THE TRIM.  And that brass section allows me to “sing” along.  My hands will be mostly preoccupied and unable to riff on my air guitar, but complementing the brass section with my own additions can be a hands-free experience, given the versatility and ever-present nature of my mouth trumpet.

    by Becky C | Dec 30, 2016

    Film adaptations of books . . . some of us love them, some of us hate them.  I loved both the Harry Potter books and the films.  I also loved Tolkien's Lord of the Rings as well as Peter Jackson's film interpretations.  And The Martian

    I've yet to read a Bourne book but I love the movies based upon them.  Apparently I'm mostly a fan of page to screen projects.  Mostly -- I was disappointed by the television adaptations of The Shannara Chronicles and Mists of Avalon.

    Here's a look at some of the most anticipated adaptations coming to movie theaters in 2017.  Have you read the books?  Are you excited to see the movie versions?  What adaptations have you loved or hated? 

     The Zookeeper's Wife
     

    The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman. The true story of keepers at the Warsaw Zoo, who saved hundreds of animals and people from the Nazis.

    Coming to theaters March 2017.  Click here for the official trailer.

       
     Its What I Do
     

    It's What I Do by Lynsey Addario. True story of a wartime photographer, one of four journalists held captive by the Libyan Army in 2011.

    Coming to theaters in 2017.  Click here for an interview with the author.

       
     A Book of Common Prayer
     A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion.  Story about two American women whose lives cross in a fictional Central American country on the verge of revolution.

    Coming to theaters in 2017.  Click here for cast information.
       
     The Circle
     

    The Circle by Dave Eggers. Fictional story of a woman’s job at a powerful tech company that takes on a very public life of its own.

    Coming to theaters April 2017.  Click here for a preview.

       
     The Lost City of  Z
     


    The Lost City of Z by David Grann. True story about the disappearance of a British colonel during his search for an ancient civilization in the Amazon in 1925.

    Coming to theaters April 2017.  Click here for the official trailer.

       
     The Dark Tower
     

    The Dark Tower by Stephen King.  Mid-World's last gunslinger, Roland Deschain, roams the post-apocalyptic landscape, searching for the powerful but elusive magical edifice known as The Dark Tower.

    Coming to theaters July 2017.  Click here for cast information.

       
     It
     

    It by Stephen King.  In a small town in Maine, seven children known as The Losers Club come face to face with life problems, bullies and a monster that takes the shape of a clown called Pennywise.

    Coming to theaters September 2017.  Click here for cast information.

       
     Red Sparrow
     


    Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews.  Fictional story about a Russian spy and a CIA agent whose attraction for each other threatens their missions.

    Coming to theaters November 2017.  Click here for cast information.

       
     The Yellow Birds
     

    The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. Harrowing novel about two young soldiers trying to stay alive.  Written by a veteran of the war in Iraq.

    Film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017.  Click here for cast information.

       
     Annihilation
     Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.  Area X has been cut off for decades.  The quest to map the terrain and record what is found there has claimed the lives of eleven previous expeditions.  What will the twelfth expedition find?

    Coming to theaters in 2017.  Click here for cast information.
       
     The Glass Castle
     

    The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Memoir.  Growing up, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals, and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.  A true story of triumph against the odds and unconditional love.


    Coming to theaters in 2017.  Click here for cast information.

     



    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 Emma R | Dec 28, 2016

    There’s an entire month devoted to mental illness awareness. But mental illness — unlike, sometimes, mental illness awareness — lasts all year. 

    Buzzfeed recently put out a list of Young Adult literature dealing with mental illness.  For those of you who want something a little darker or more complex, here’s a list of books featuring characters who struggle with recognizable (and sometimes not-so-recognizable) mental illnesses.

    Yellow Wallpaper
    The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

    When the narrator’s depression is treated by being spirited away into the isolated countryside, she insists to her husband that, at the very least, she doesn’t want to be in the room with the strange yellow wallpaper. But when her husband refuses to move her, and she spends more time in the room, she finds that the wallpaper is not as frightening as it used to be; the reader may not agree.  
       
    Hamlet
     Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. The prince of Denmark gets pulled from school to attend his father’s funeral…and his mother’s remarriage to his uncle. Add the ghost of his deceased father and what looks like some majorly undiagnosed depression to the mix, and Hamlet’s life gets turned topsy turvy as he tries to avenge his father, talk sense to his mother, and grapple with his growing emotional turmoil.
       
     Richard III
     Richard III, by William Shakespeare. Richard III is … not the boy next door, to put it bluntly. And when war in England ends and Richard has to face navigating a world of peace where — he tells himself — he is hated, he decides to take matters into his own hands and get the war starting up again (and if he becomes king in the process, that’s just a perk, right?). Richard’s journey of self-loathing leads the reader into a political and emotional drama that will make picking sides harder than it looks.
       
     Last Report
     The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, by Louise Erdrich. An environmental disaster ends with a young woman who doesn’t remember who she is. When she gets her hands on a dead priest’s garb, she figures any identity is better than nothing and takes the deceased man’s place as a missionary in Indian society. And never leaves. Watch a case of stolen identity become a case of mistaken identity in this page-turner of a novel!
       
     Picture of Dorian Gray
     

    The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. When young Dorian Gray begs the painter of his portrait to let him take the hauntingly beautiful painting of himself home, he was just succumbing to a bit of vanity, right? Years down the line, Dorian Gray is as young and beautiful as ever … but his portrait is not. Readers will be entranced by the wide variety of emotional struggles that Dorian Gray must face …and they will be horrified by the ways in which he faces them.


     


    One of the beautiful things about literature is the fact that it can speak to the human heart. As someone who has struggled with depression and self-esteem, Hamlet and Richard III — both featured on this list — have spoken very deeply to me.  I hope that something on this list will speak deeply to those who need to be deeply spoken to.

    If fiction isn’t giving the help you need, remember that self-help materials for mental illnesses of all kinds are available at ACPL and other libraries, and immediate help is available to all via various hotlines.



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

    by Becky C | Dec 26, 2016
    Ever wonder what library staff like to read?  Wonder no more!  Here's a quick look at some books we've enjoyed this month.  Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

     Click Here to Start
     Born a Crime
     Hidden
     Shadowed
    Dante Club
     
     Family Plot
     Duke and I  Romancing Mister Bridgerton  its-in-his-kiss

    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 Allison S | Dec 23, 2016
    Image of vintage Christmas Card via Calsidyrose flickr page

    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 Allison, appeared in the November 30 issue of this year and is the third in a series of articles focusing on holiday customs. 


    Christmas brings visions of family gathered around the crackling fire with steaming mugs of hot chocolate, snow falling softly while children glide swiftly over the glistening white land with a new sled, carolers huddled around the garlanded front door, singing timeless Christmas melodies that our ancestors sang, and gifts given out on a brisk December morning while coffee is savored in the background. Do any of these narratives sound like your family home on Christmas? What about your ancestors in America? How did they celebrate Christmas?

    To answer these questions, one needs to look at the time period in which one’s ancestors moved to the United States and where they lived. The Puritans in the northeastern colonies did not celebrate Christmas. They considered the day to have morphed into a secular celebration, and it fell against their religious beliefs. In the southern colonies, Christmas was celebrated with a feast and a few trinkets for the young. The traditions we currently ascribe to the holiday were not yet American traditions. There were no Christmas trees, holiday cards, or stories of Santa Claus coming down the chimney. It was a simple holiday for friends and family to spend time together. 

    Washington Irving attempted to interest Americans in Christmas with a series of tales in his book, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., published in installments between 1819 and 1820. While the book included such famous sketches as “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” less well known were his “Christmas Eve,” “Christmas Day,” “Christmas Dinner,” and “The Stage-Coach,” all of which captured the public’s imagination for Yule celebrations. Since his book was both a commercial and critical success in America and England, his stories helped to bring the observance of Christmas into more homes. 

    Another author we need to thank for bringing us more Christmas cheer is Clement Clarke Moore and his poem, " A Visit from St. Nicholas". Originally written by Moore for his children, a friend sent it to the Troy Sentinel to be published anonymously in 1823. Moore claimed ownership of the poem in 1844 by including it in a published book of poetry under his name, though he had already received attribution from the original publisher of the poem and many others. Decades later, the family of the deceased Henry Livingston, Jr, claimed that he was the actual author of the poem. While the style is complementary to Livingston’s, the poem is generally still attributed to Moore.

    It was not until the Victorian Era that Christmas truly became the holiday we know and love today.  The image of Queen Victoria with her family gathered around an opulent Christmas tree inspired the rest of the world to emulate that scene. It is important to note that the first time Queen Victoria sat for a drawing with her Christmas tree was in 1848, a time that corresponds with Americans purchasing Christmas trees. The year 1843 saw the advent of the Christmas card with Henry Cole commissioning the first one. Soon, families across England and then the world were sending and receiving both purchased and homemade Christmas cards. 

    Santa Claus became the jolly man in red in 1863 when cartoonist Thomas Nast drew “Old Saint Nick” for Harper’s Weekly. Not until 1870, however, was Christmas even declared a federal holiday in the United States. Previously, decorating the home at Christmas was minimal at best. During the Victorian Era, it grew into an art form, with evergreens, holly, and ribbons. Publications offered directions so that the lady of the house did not make a mistake in her Christmas décor. The centerpiece of the table became turkey during the Victorian Era. Previously it would be any type of meat available, but wealthier families began to use turkeys. Eventually this tradition drifted down to the middle classes and beyond, when turkeys became easier to obtain. 

    Caroling had been a part of gatherings for decades as a source of entertainment. Not until the Victorian Era did the words of the songs begin to reflect the holiday, and a collection of carols were published. Charles Dickens played an integral part in solidifying Christmas as an important holiday with his book, A Christmas Carol, first published in 1843. Tiny Tim and Scrooge reminded readers to be good, giving people, and that Christmas was a holiday to celebrate with friends and family. While the book was slow to be accepted in the United States, Americans could not hold out for long from loving this Christmas tradition. A Christmas Carol has never been out of print. We have had 173 years to enjoy this story, and it will continue to be for generations to come.

    While we have only touched upon a few of the age-old traditions that take a place in our Christmas-time hearts, it might inspire us to learn more about how our ancestors celebrated (or did not celebrate) the holiday. Perhaps this is a fun holiday project to do with your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews. Gather your loved ones around and take a look at how grandparents, great-grandparents, and other family members would have celebrated the day in their respective eras. You might be surprised and find a new tradition to add to your family experience. Above all, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

    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 Evan | Dec 21, 2016
    Winter Solstice 1
    Timothy Steele's poems.        Rosamunde Pilcher's novel.    Josh Sternfeld's film.

    My favorite day of the calendar is winter solstice. Not for any mystical reason; I just like light more than darkness, and that's the day light stops declining in the northern hemisphere.

    If I had the money, I might buy a second home in New Zealand so I could live in seasons of light and warmth all year long. My bet is that if everyone had such money, the weight of the planet would shift semi-annually -- billions of people moving north at spring equinox and moving south in the fall. 

    Lacking such money, here I am in northern Indiana where it's cold and dark, but as of December 21 this year, the darkness will recede for another six months, and I'll greet the sun accordingly. It won't be warm for months yet, but the light is the key.

    We have 16 items at the library with the phrase "winter solstice" in the title, and many more items about the annual transition from darkness to lightness. Astronomy, poetry, film, music -- the formats vary, but the "darkest day of the year" deserves its universal recognition. For that matter, some scholars think the big kahuna on the modern calendar -- Christmas -- was originally a Christian alternative to pagan solstice celebrations. 

    The transition isn't as important in practical terms today as it was before electric lights were invented -- not to mention before humans first controlled fire. But the need for light and the fear of dark remain ingrained in us. And various warnings -- scientific, novelistic or spirtual -- that civilization could soon collapse remind us how vulnerable we will be if those artificial lights do go out. 

    So, even if it's very cold, step outside for a moment Wednesday and celebrate the fact Earth has revolved around the primal light back to the winter solstice point. That's not so promising for the folks in Auckland -- but then their summer is just starting, so I'm not feeling sorry for them. 






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