Jan's Column 2020
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May 28, 2020 - Forward Dane
As some of you are aware, Dane County entered Phase One of the Forward Dane plan on Tuesday, May 26th. This allows businesses, community centers, libraries, and other operations to be open at 25% of capacity. The library building has many rooms with varying capacities. Our collection right now has been quarantined for a couple of months. The newly returned items are doing their time in quarantine before being returned to the shelves. In order to allow public access that will keep our patrons, our staff, and our collections safe we will be reopening using a phased approach as well. We all wish it were possible to go back in time and just fling the doors open and proceed with business as usual, but we can't. Beginning, June 1st, in order to monitor the number of people in the building we will be making appointments for library use. The appointments will be for 45 minutes which will give you time to use a computer, make copies, print out forms, and browse the collection. At the end of the appointed time all patrons will leave the building and computers and other areas will be sanitized. More details will follow on our website and social media.We apologize in advance for this transition phase. Please bear with us as we try to keep everyone safe and follow the public health directives. Curbside service will continue. Our hours are 9:30 to 5:30 Monday through Saturday. Hours will expand back to our regular hours as restrictions are lifted. We look forward to seeing you ! Below are some new books. Enjoy!
Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care by Anne Basting. The MacArthur Grant recipient and author of “The Stages of Age” outlines radical approaches to drug-free elder care that uses theater, improv and other medically supported therapies to promote engagement and better life quality.
The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think by Jennifer Ackerman. The best-selling author of The Genius of Birds draws on paradigm-changing scientific research into bird emotions and intelligence to explore advanced behaviors ranging from communicating and giving gifts to forming cooperative groups and dancing.
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez. Reeling from her beloved husband's sudden death in the wake of her retirement, an immigrant writer is further derailed by the reappearance of her unstable sister and an entreaty for help by a pregnant undocumented teen.
Miss Julia Knows a Thing or Two, No. 21 (Miss Julia) by Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia's efforts to help a friend escape unemployment are complicated by her husband's mysterious illness and the abrupt appearance of a suspicious grandchild she has never met on her doorstep. By the author of Etta Mae's Worst Bad-Luck Day.
The Stolen Gold Affair, No.9 (Carpenter and Quincannon) by Bill Pronzini. While Quincannon goes undercover to investigate a string of gold thefts in a lucrative mine, his bride-to-be, Sabina, tackles an audacious real-estate scam and an abusive young man's villainous secret. By the award-winning author of The Bughouse Affair.
Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr. A contemporary woman navigates her journey from a devoted parental caregiver to a person capable of embracing her own joy in the face of hardship. By the best-selling author of the Virgin River series.
The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson. A family’s discovery of a priceless inheritance leads them on a pursuit for the truth that transforms their lives in unexpected ways. By the best-selling author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays.
A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky. Returning to her family's Rhode Island beach home after a 20-year estrangement, a real estate photographer navigates painful family secrets that test her bonds with her sisters, while her 13-year-old daughter pursues desperately wanted family ties
Furmidable Foes, No. 29 (Mrs. Murphy) by Rita Mae Brown. Mary Minor "Harry" Harristeen and her pet sleuths investigate hidden enemies in their effort to expose a scam involving an upmarket organic grocery store that is selling substandard produce. By the author of the Sister Jane series.
Seeing Darkness, No. 30 (Krewe of Hunters) by Heather Graham. When a terrifying past-life regression during a girls' weekend in Salem reveals a local politician's sinister nature, FBI Krewe of Hunters special agent Jon Dickson teams up with an apprehensive witness to stop a twisted serial killer.
If It Bleeds by Stephen King. The award-winning literary master presents a collection of four novella-length tales, complementing the title piece with the stories, “Mr. Harrigan's Phone”, “The Life of Chuck” and “Rat”.
The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine. When the husband she has been patiently supporting for years ends their marriage upon falling in love with another woman, Joanna finds herself enmeshed in an ugly custody battle while struggling with a therapist who dismisses her concerns
May 21, 2020 - Spring
There are many things that are hard to believe about the spring of 2020. How quickly time moves on and how quickly the season advances are only two of those things. The white-throated sparrows have migrated through (at least in my backyard) on their way to their breeding grounds in Canada. The song of the white-throated sparrow is said by some to sound like "Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody" or if you live across the border to sound like "Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada". No matter what song they may be singing, they have certainly moved on which is a sign that spring has not only arrived, but that it is progressing.There are geese with good-sized goslings by the pond down by Portage Road and Hey 19. The corn is popping out of the fields all over the place. Dandelions and Yellow Rocket (Barbarea vulgaris) are littering the fields and ditches with their cheerful yellow flowers ( Did you know that both sources of edible greens in early spring? Neither did I until just now.) Nature is moving us rather quickly towards summer. And we all know what summer means, right? The start of the Summer Reading Program which is already getting underway. Keeping tracks of books read will once again be electronic using the Beanstack app from phone or computer. So far, all our plans for programs are virtual.As public health orders evolve, so will our plans. There are new books listed below which, once read, can be added to your summer reading program list which will earn you Dragon Dollars for prize purchases or for donations to selected charities. Enjoy!
Economic Dignity by Gene Sperling. The Director of the National Economic Council and author of “The Pro-Growth Progressive” presents a compelling big-picture vision of why the promotion of dignity should be the singular end goal by which we chart America's economic future
1939: A People’s History of the Coming of the Second World War by Frederick Taylor. The best-selling author of Dresden draws on contemporary sources in an account of the fateful months between the Munich Agreement and Hitler's invasion of Poland that offers insight into the decisions of key leaders and the experiences of everyday citizens.
Troop 6000: The Girl Scout Troop That Began in a Shelter and Inspired the World by Nikita Stewart. Describes how hardworking mother of five Giselle Burgess rose from poverty and homelessness to establish Girl Scout troops in 15 New York City shelters to bring pride, life-skill training and community to disadvantaged urban girls.
Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore. An uproarious hardboiled mystery inspired by Shakespeare's most-performed play finds The Serpent of Venice's Pocket of Dog Snogging assuming the duties of a murdered Puck to identify hidden adversaries who have complicated an arranged marriage.
Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas. A dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students and the dark truths beneath their school's promises of prestige.
Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer. Skeptical about their mother's Nantucket romance with a younger man, siblings Juliet and Theo navigate their own tangled relationships involving an idealistic environmentalist and a girl fighting the trauma of a school tragedy.
On Ocean Boulevard (Beach House) by Mary Alice Monroe. Returning to Charleston after a 16-year absence, Cara Rutledge reconnects with family members before her second wedding is abruptly halted by a devastating illness. By the best-selling author of The Summer Guests.
To Wake the Giant: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Jeff Shaara. The best-selling author of The Frozen Hours draws on extensive research and unprecedented access to the Pearl Harbor memorial and museum archives in a high-suspense, historically accurate thriller inspired by the 1941 attack.
The Murder of Twelve, No 51 (Murder, She Wrote) by Jessica Fletcher & Jon Land. Jessica Fletcher tackles an Agatha Christie-style mystery when a sudden blizzard traps her in a hotel with hostile strangers who are barely tolerating each other during the nuptials of a bride and groom from rival families.
The Shooting at Chateau Rock, No. 13 (Bruno, Chief of Police) by Martin Walker. When a wealthy farmer is found dead amid revelations about his disinherited family, Bruno follows leads to a Russian oligarch and a shadowy multinational conglomerate in a case involving the chief suspect's daughter and an aging rock star.
Wrath of Poseidon, No. 12 (Sam and Remi Fargo Adventures) by Clive Cussler & Robin Burcell. A latest entry in the best-selling series that includes, The Oracle, continues the high-risk exploits of husband-and-wife treasure-hunting team Sam and Remi Fargo. Co-written by the co-author of the Dirk Pitt Adventures.
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld. This powerfully imagined tour de force of fiction of what-might-have-been follows Hillary Rodham as she takes a different path, blazing her own trail – one that unfolds in public as well as in private – and one that crosses paths again and again with Bill Clinton
May 14, 2020 - Firsts
Well. What an interesting Mother's Day we had. I can't recall the last time there was snow on Mother's Day, although just because I can't recall it doesn't mean that it hasn't happened before. What I believe may not have happened before is that there was snow combined with a pollen alert. These past few months have certainly been a time for firsts. First time doing curbside delivery from the library; first time closing the library for a pandemic; first time delivering programs virtually; and first time heading into a Summer Reading Program that looks like it will have a large (if not total) virtual component.
Previously in this column, I had mentioned some titles that might help one think about sheltering at home during this covid-19 time. My hold came up this past weekend on Albert Camus's "The Plague". It is about the city of Oran being in an extended lock down. because of the bubonic plague Perhaps not the happiest of books to be reading, but it does give one some perspective. Camus's description of the inhabitants's response to the increasing death toll and rising restrictions on personal life resonates in our time. The outbreak of the plague in the book lasted for months and months. This took place in the 1940s and it's interesting that people keep meeting in groups, that cafes stayed open, and social distancing was unheard of at that time. The book ends on an optimistic note. Here are two quotes: "So all a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories." and "What we learn in time of pestilence is that there are more things to admire in men than to despise." I'll leave you with that and encourage you to read the book if you get the chance or can find it in a stack of your old college books
Below are some new books -- not necessarily Nobel Prize literature caliber--. Enjoy!
Galileo: And the Science Deniers by Mario Livio. The leading astrophysicist and best-selling author of Brilliant Blunders presents a fresh interpretation of the life of the "father of modern physics" that offers new insights into Galileo's discoveries and the challenges he faced from religious opponents.
Officer Clemmons: A Memoir by Francois Clemmons. An intimate debut memoir by the Grammy Award-winning artist who famously played "Officer Clemmons" on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood traces his Oberlin College music studies, his embrace of his sexual orientation and his life-changing chance encounter with Fred Rogers.
Whatever It Took: An American Paratrooper’s Extraordinary Memoir of Escape, Survival, and Heroism in the Last Days of World War II by Henry Langreher & Jim DeFelice. Published to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, a never-before-told first-person account of World War II tells the true story of an American paratrooper who survived D-Day, was captured and imprisoned in a Nazi work camp and made a daring escape to freedom.
What Makes a Marriage Last : 42 Celebrated Couples Share the Secrets to a Happy Life Together by Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue. The Presidential Medal of Freedom-winning actress and activist and the Emmy Award-winning Donahue host share intimate, engaging conversations with celebrity couples, from Sting and Trudy Styler to Billy and Janice Crystal, that illuminate the secrets of a healthy marriage.
24: Life Stories and Lessons From the Say Hey Kid by Willie Mays & John Shea. A man widely regarded as one the greatest all-around players in baseball history reflects on his lifetime of experience meeting challenges with positivity, integrity and triumph.
The Last Blue by Isla Morley. A narrative inspired by the fascinating real case of “the Blue People of Kentucky" probes questions of identity, love and family
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner. A woman confronts the dynamics of friendship and forgiveness while visiting Cape Cod to attend an old friend's increasingly disastrous wedding. By the best-selling author of Good in Bed and Mrs. Everything.
Someone Like You (Baxter Family) by Karen Kingsbury. Shattered by the discovery that she is not the biological daughter of her parents, Maddie abruptly ends an engagement and moves away before connecting with the grieving friend of a sister and family she never knew existed.
Katheryn Howard, the Scandalous Queen No. 5 (Six Tudor Queens) by Alison Weir. A latest series entry traces the story of the tragic fifth wife of Henry VIII, Katheryn Howard, a teenage beauty who succumbs to the courtship of the ailing king and tries to bear him a son while hiding a dangerous secret.
A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight. Begged for help by an old friend, an overworked lawyer investigates a suspicious death in a Brooklyn brownstone before she is confronted by a close-knit circle of parents who would protect an exclusive school.
The Goodbye Man, No.2 (Colter Shaw) by Jeffery Deaver. A sequel to The Never Game finds Colter Shaw investigating a mysterious organization in Washington State that is either a therapeutic healing colony or a dangerous cult under the sway of a charismatic leader.
May 7, 2020 - May Flowers
April showers have certainly brought May flowers, at least around the library. The tulips and daffodils and crocus are blooming even with more frosty evenings in the offing. The trees are leafing out. Those trees that haven’t quite made it to full leaf are providing lacey silhouettes, softening the landscape. The grass is so green that if humans could eat and digest it, we’d all be taking spoons to it. It looks so lush and tasty. Songbirds are busy feathering their nests. The males are singing their little hearts out looking to impress some likely lass. The geese have not only found their true loves, they are already rearing offspring. Lerner and Loewe referred to May as that lusty month in the musical, “Camelot”. If you look around at all the bird activity you can see why. At this very minute, outside my office window at the library, two house sparrows (males) are chasing each other round about a tree. This tree has provided a nesting site before so I’m sure the two sparrows are disputing who has the right to set up housekeeping there. It truly is a lovely time of year as all the new life and the relentlessness of the seasons brings hope. The spring list of books from publishers also bring hope to bibliophiles. The United States Post Office and UPS bring books to the library which brings more, tangible, hope. Below are some books you might hope to get your hands on. These books recently arrived and shall have remained in this library (at least for now) until one of you, Gentle Readers, requests it. Enjoy!
The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President – and Why It Failed by Brad Metzler and Josh Mensch. The best-selling authors of The First Conspiracy share the lesser-known story of the 1861 assassination attempt on the 16th president by a secret pro-Southern society that organized an elaborate plot targeting a newly elected Lincoln on his inaugural train journey.
Medical Medium Cleanse to Heal: Healing Plan for Sufferers of Anxiety, Depression, Acne,…… by Anthony William. From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Celery Juice and Liver Rescue comes everything you need to know about cleansing to transform your health—and your life.
Queen, No.3 (Sibyl’s War) by Timothy Zahn. A conclusion to the space-opera trilogy that began with Pawn finds Nicole and her fellow sentients swept up in a faction war that complicates her efforts to restore freedom to the shanghaied prisoners aboard the alien ship, Fyrantha.
Murder on Pleasant Avenue, No. 23 (Gaslight Mysteries) by Victoria Thompson. When Gino Donatelli is wrongly implicated by the police in a brutal murder, Frank and Sarah navigate long-simmering precinct resentments to uncover the truth. By the Edgar Award-nominated author of “Murder on Trinity Place”.
The Stolen Letter, No. 5(Scottish Bookshop Mysteries) by Paige Shelton. Bookseller Delaney Nichols meets a woman who believes she is Mary, Queen of Scots, reborn; and when the Cracked Spine book shop is royally threatened, she must work to save the shop. By a “New York Times” best-selling author.
All Adults Here by Emma Straub. A matriarch confronts the legacy of her parenting mistakes while her adult children navigate respective challenges in high standards and immaturity, before a teen granddaughter makes a courageous decision to tell the truth. By the best-selling author of “Modern Lovers”.
The Trustworthy One, No.4 (The Walnut Creek Series) by Shelley Shepard Gray. A broken young woman's search for peace leads her back to her hometown, where she rediscovers her faith and reconnects with those she loves most. By a “New York Times” and “USA Today” best-selling author.
Old Lovegood Girls by Gail Godwin. Separated by a devastating loss, two estranged college roommates reach out to each other years later in the face of unpredictable hardships before discovering the power of their unbreakable bond to transform their lives.
Robert B. Parker’s Grudge Match, No. 8 (Sunny Randall) by Mike Lupica. Reluctantly taking the case of a long-time gangster associate who will forgive a betrayal in return, private investigator Sunny Randall tracks down the man's missing girlfriend and business partner before the murder of a witness reveals unanticipated dangers.
Close Up, No. 4 (Burning Cove, California) by Amanda Quick. Protecting a crime-scene photographer who has identified elusive details connecting a string of murders, reclusive investigator Nick Sundridge uses his own uncanny talents to tie the killer to 1930s Hollywood society. By the best-selling author of the “Arcane Society” series.
Hello Summer by Mary Kay Andrews. When the dream job she has pursued all her adult life suddenly disappears, an ambitious journalist returns to her family's small-town newspaper before witnessing a car accident that ends the life of a local war hero.
April 30, 2020 - Curbside-Pickup
The good news is that the library is back in the curbside-pickup business. We started providing this service on April 24th and shall continue serving you this way until we can do more. While we are ramping up this service, we ask your kind indulgence. We are still figuring out some of the logistics. Right now our hours are 9:30 to 5:30 Monday through Saturday. We may adjust hours as we move forward and figure out what works best for you, Gentle Reader. Please watch our website for changes.
The better news is that as of right now, the new books you have been reading about recently in this very column, are in our library. Because the delivery service of our library system is not moving books between libraries, our new books are likely to stay around for a while. If you don't know exactly what you want, we have a Grab Bag form on our website which allows you to tell us vaguely what you are interested in and we will vaguely try to match your request and bag those items up for curbside delivery.
The best news is that I have some new books to tell you about this week. Books have been ordered all along so new books will continue to arrive -- maybe not almost daily as was their wont, but they do keep on coming. Below you will find some of our newest titles. Enjoy!
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd. A testament to the author's talent for creating both compelling characters and intriguing story lines, this audacious novel centers on Ana, the fictitious Galilean wife of Jesus and sister of the infamous disciple Judas. By the author of The Invention of Wings.
Dead Land, No. 20 (V.I. Warshawski) by Sara Paretsky. In 1913, while on a break from her duties as a lady’s maid in Gilded Age New York, Jane Prescott is drawn into a murder investigation after a woman’s body is found outside of a refuge for women run by her.
The Wedding Dress by Danielle Steel. A treasured wedding gown made in 1928 Paris is handed down through four generations of women in a family shaped by the San Francisco social scene, two world wars, the Civil Rights era and the rise of Silicon Valley.
The Moment of Tenderness by Madeleine L’Engle. A collection of short stories by the late author of the Newbery Award-winning A Wrinkle in Time draws on L'Engle's early life, career and faith to convey uplifting messages about the power of hope.
Camino Winds, No.2 (Camino) by John Grisham. The best-selling author of The Firm presents a follow-up to Camino Island that finds novelist Mercer Mann's continued efforts to find literary inspiration in the idyllic region complicated by mysterious intrigues.
Pretty Things by Janelle Brown. To save her mother, a con artist who hustled to give her a decent childhood, Nina must run her most audacious, dangerous scam yet that involves a privileged young heiress as they both try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.
Walk the Wire, No. 6 (Amos Decker) by David Baldacci. The best-selling author of The Fix presents a highly charged thriller in which fan-favorite character Amos Decker embarks on an action-packed investigation that is complicated by Baldacci's signature twists and turns. One million first printing.
The Business of Lovers by Eric Jerome Dickey. While a father struggles to reconnect with his estranged son and spiteful ex, his bodyguard brother is invited by three women escorts to consider a job as a male prostitute. By the NAACP Image Award-winning author of A Wanted Woman.