March 16, 2017 - Crane Migration
I am writing this from an undisclosed place in Kearney, Nebraska on what shall be last weekend. As many of you know, I make an annual pilgrimage to see the Sandhill crane migration through the North American central flyway. Usually, I go in February. This year an ice storm canceled that trip and pushed the trip forward into March. This is a good thing since there are many, many more cranes in March than in February; and a not so good thing because there are many, many more people (with cameras, spotting scopes, and tripods parked along the sides of the roads and, oftentimes in them). The Crane Trust does an aerial flyover to estimate the crane population. The latest number was 406,000 on March 8th but large numbers fly in every day. To give you an idea of how many cranes we’re talking about, I spotted a large roost of cranes on cornfields along a gravel country road. I checked the odometer and the congregating crane roost was a mile long. Now if, on average, the roost is fifty cranes deep and you divide your count into ten foot wide bands that gives you 528 bands in a mile times 50 cranes each for a total of 26,400 cranes in that roost alone. The numbers and the noise are truly astonishing. There really are cranes to the left of you; cranes to the right of you; cranes in front of you and behind you; and then of course you have the cranes above you as well. Usually, there are cranes in Wisconsin when I return from this pilgrimage. This year there were cranes in our neck of the woods by the third week of February. They are already starting to settle on their nesting grounds. If you need an excuse to get out in nature and watch a sunrise and do some citizen science, the Midwest Crane Count is coming up the 8th of April. And speaking of getting out into nature, our first book title this week addresses the benefits that nature can provide. There is also a whole parcel of other books listed below for your reading pleasure as well. Enjoy!
- The lost book of the Grail, or, A visitor's guide to Barchester Cathedral / by Charlie Lovett. An obsessive bibliophile and Holy Grail fanatic combs through centuries of history to uncover a long-lost secret about the medieval Barchester Cathedral library at the side of a young American charged with digitizing the library's manuscripts. By the New York Times best-selling author of The Bookman's Tale .
- Heartbreak Hotel : an Alex Delaware novel / by Jonathan Kellerman. Surprised by a nearly 100-year-old new client who refuses to explain the reason she needs his services at their first session, Alex Delaware is shocked by the woman's subsequent murder and teams up with detective Milo Sturgis to investigate her mysterious life and death. By a #1 New York Times best-selling author.
- I see you / by Clare Mackintosh. Spotting her own picture in a classified ad referencing a mysterious website, Zoe discovers that other women who have appeared in the ad have become the victims of increasingly violent crimes. Discussion guide available online. By the international best-selling author of I Let You Go . Tour.
- Most dangerous place : a Jack Swyteck novel / by James Grippando. When an old school friend's wife is accused of murdering the man who had assaulted her, Jack Swyteck finds the case unexpectedly complicated, in a thriller based on true events. By the New York Times best-selling author of Gone Again . 40,000 first printing.
- The possessions : a novel / by Sara Flannery Murphy. A young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances. 50,000 first printing.
- Shining city / by Tom Rosenstiel. The president of the United States hires fixer Peter Rena to vet his nominee for the Supreme Court.
- The undesired : a thriller / by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. Decades after two boys go missing from a juvenile detention center in rural Iceland, a single father investigates alleged abuse at the center before discovering baffling links between the long-ago disappearance and the accident that killed his ex-wife. By an international best-selling author.
- Murder at an Irish wedding / by Carlene O’Connor. The O’Sullivan clan of County Cork, Ireland, are thrilled to be catering the matrimonial affairs of a celebrity couple—until a cunning killer turns an Irish wedding into an Irish wake.
March 9, 2017 - Spring
Okay. Okay. I know it was a little risky, declaring spring had already arrived. I realize the weather makers – whoever they may be—might have considered this declaration a taunt or a challenge. But one small blast of mixed precipitation and colder temperatures does not a winter make (or prolong) any more than one robin makes a spring. Speaking of robins and spring, there is a loose flock of robins hanging around DeForest and the middle of last week saw the red-winged black birds return. Now I’m not sure if they stuck around once the ice pellets started bouncing around, but with warmer weather already here and looking like it will stay a while (although it will be more seasonable in its warmth) spring still looks to be arriving in a timely fashion. Speaking of spring and arrivals, below you will find some of the new spring arrivals from the publishing houses that arrived recently at your local public library. Enjoy!
- Portraits of courage : a commander in chief's tribute to America's warriors / by George W. Bush. A vibrant collection of military oil paintings and stories by the 43rd President, published to benefit the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, stands as an official tie-in to the exhibition scheduled for March 2017 at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
- Pontius Pilate : deciphering a memory by Aldo Schiavone. The renowned classicist and author of “Spartacus: Revealing Antiquity” presents a revisionist portrait of the controversial biblical figure that reconstructs the social, religious and political climates behind his fateful encounters with Jesus.
- The Alps : a human history from Hannibal to Heidi and beyond / by Stephen O’Shea. Blends contemporary travelogue and historical narrative in a history of the Alps that traces the real and imagined journeys of travelers ranging from Hannibal and Hitler to Sherlock Holmes and Napoleon to reveal the profound influence of the Alps on human culture.
- The cheese trap : how breaking a surprising addiction will help you lose weight, gain energy, and get healthy / by Neal Barnard. Cites the health-compromising qualities of cheese and its immoderate consumption, outlining a radical program for losing weight, improving overall health and managing cheese cravings.
- Dodge City : Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the wickedest town in the American West / by Tom Clavin. An account of the taming of the Wild West as it unfolded in violent Dodge City cites the roles of lawmen Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp, tracing their notable friendships and devastating losses while interacting with the likes of Wild Bill Hickock, Jesse James and Doc Holliday.
- High noon : the Hollywood blacklist and the making of an American classic / by Glenn Frankel. The story behind the classic movie High Noon shares insights into the toxic political climate in which it was created, recounting how, during the film shoot, screenwriter Carl Foreman was interrogated and blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. By the New York Times best-selling author of “The Searchers”.
- The Lonely Hearts Hotel : a novel / by Heather O’Neill. Two orphaned soul mates—one a piano prodigy, the other a dancing savant—dream up a plan for the most extraordinary circus show the world has ever seen against a backdrop of the Great Depression. By the award-winning author of “Lullabies for Little Criminals”.
- Robert B. Parker's Revelation / by Robert Knott. When a particularly intimidating criminal and his cold-blooded posse escape from prison, Cole and Hitch join their Territorial lawmen team to capture the fugitives and rescue a woman who was kidnapped during the escape.
- The typewriter's tale / by Michiel Heyns. A tale told from the perspective of Henry James' fictional typist finds her struggling to live up to the fame and challenges of the celebrated author before finding herself at the center of an intrigue that tests her character and loyalties. By the award-winning author of “Lost Ground”.
- The crow trap / by Ann Cleeves. A first U.S. publication of a book in the popular series that inspired the television mystery Vera finds the leader of an environmental survey struggling to manage the schemes of her rival team members before a friend's suspicious suicide introduces her to unconventional detective inspector Vera Stanhope. By the award-winning author of “Raven Black”.
- Death of a ghost : a Hamish Macbeth mystery / by M.C. Beaton. Spending an investigative night at a local castle reputed to be haunted, Sergeant Hamish Macbeth and his policeman associate, Clumsy, discover a dead body that suddenly goes missing. By the New York Times best-selling author of the Agatha Raisin series.
- Garden of lamentations / by Deborah Crombie. While Gemma James investigates the murder of a young nanny who appears to be one of a series of victims, Duncan Kincaid uncovers disturbing information about seemingly unrelated cases that may be putting his friends and family into mortal danger. By the New York Times best-selling author of “To Dwell in Darkness”.
- The Ripper's shadow : a Victorian mystery / by Laura Rowland. Supplementing her meager income by shooting illicit "boudoir photographs" of the local ladies of the night, photographer Miss Sara Bain and her motley crew of friends are embroiled in the crime of the century when two of her clients are murdered by Jack the Ripper.
- Always : a novel / by Sarah Jio. Encountering a ragged homeless man on her way to a romantic dinner with her fiancé, Kailey Crane discovers that the man is the ex she never got over and confronts an impossible choice against a backdrop of the 1990s music scene in Seattle. By the New York Times best-selling author of “The Look of Love”.