Jan's Column 2021
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June 17, 2021 - Summer Reading Program Update
We are well into the month of June and a month and a couple of days into the Summer Reading Program. Since the Reading Program doesn't end until August, you still have oodles of time to join in, read and log books, log activities, and earn dragon dollars (which, as we all know, can be spent in our Summer Reading Program store or donated to one of 5 (or is it 6) designated charities). Each book you read and log gets us that much closer to achieving the community challenge of reading 15,000 books. As of today there are just under 8,800 books left to be read to meet that lofty goal. We need you to do your part! The publishers' summer reading lists are flowing in to the library with each delivery from the man in brown. This means that there are many new and interesting books for you to read.
Two important dates are coming up next week. Father's Day is this coming Sunday. Remember to do something nice for your dad. Perhaps using your dragon dollars, purchase something for him from the library store. Or, show him how to use the Libby app to download free books and audio books on his phone! (This will only cost you the time it takes to show him. The app and the books are free!). On that same date, June 20th at 10:31 p.m. the summer solstice will occur. I know everyone celebrates this day and usually I'm a glass-half-full kind of person, but all I can say about the summer solstice is "It's all downhill from here. The days start getting shorter and shorter. The nights start getting longer and longer. Sad." What do I do when I'm in this Eeyore-like mood? I read. Below you will find a sample of just some of the recently-arrived books at our library. Enjoy!
Full Spectrum: How the Science of Color Made Us Modern by Adam Rogers. Offers an account of our age-old quest for brighter colors, which changed the way we see the world, from the best-selling author of Proof: The Science of Booze.
Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing by Pete Davis. In a culture of restlessness and indecision, which causes tension in our lives, a civic advocate, using examples from history, personal stories and applied psychology, shows how purposeful commitment can be a powerful force.
Live Free: Use of Power of Setting Expectations to Transform Your Life by Devon Franklin. The award-winning Hollywood producer and author of The Hollywood Commandments counsels readers on how to find life fulfillment by casting away expectations and refocusing on existing achievements and relationships.
Let’s Talk About Hard Things by Anna Sale. The host of the popular WNYC podcast “Death, Sex, & Money” provides a profound meditation on why communication can connect us instead of divide us and how we can all do it better.
The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery. Brought back together when Cassidy, the little sister they have in common, suddenly needs them both, Daisy and Sage must cast aside their hatred for each other to care for Cassidy and are caught off guard when long-buried secrets lead to forgiveness and a powerful friendship.
Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon. Fleeing from the strict religious compound where she was raised, Vern, in the safety of the forest, gives birth to twins, and to keep her small family safe, unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of.
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. A century after daredevil female aviator Marian Graves’ disappearance in Antarctica, actress Hadley Baxter is cast to play her and immerses herself in the role as their fates— and their dreams—become intertwined.
The Darling Dahlias and the Voodoo Lily, No. 9 (Darling Dahlias) by Susan Albert. Spring 1935 finds the little Alabama town of Darling excited about their new local radio station, WDAR; but there are problems brewing at the newspaper, where a trio of new hires causes headaches for editor Charlie Dickens.
Robert B. Parker’s Payback, No. 9 (Sunny Randall) by Mike Lupica. When her best friend Spike’s restaurant is taken over under a predatory loan agreement, PI Sunny Randall begins to investigate while helping a victim of another crime—two seemingly different cases that converge into one deadly mystery.
Project Hail Mary (Diagram in Front Matter) by Andy Weir. The sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission to save both humanity and the earth, Ryland Grace is hurtled into the depths of space when he must conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
Legacy by Nora Roberts. After launching her own line of yoga and workout videos, Adrian Rizzo begins receiving death threats, which lead her back home to Maryland, where she, with the help of her childhood crush, must find the truth when the threats escalate to murder.
The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews. After her sister is murdered, Letty Carnahan goes on the run with her 4-year-old niece to Florida’s Gulf Coast where she is taken in by a hotel owner and her cynical son, a police detective, who believes she is a danger to them all.
The Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn. A clever reimaging of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy follows the disappearance of popular fitness coach, social media influencer, and possible murderer, as her secret life and what she risked to have it all are exposed.
June 10, 2021 - Summer Arrived
Summer arrived in all it's hot, steamy glory this past weekend with temperatures hovering near ninety degrees (in the shade). School has ended the dawn chorus is full-throated in the extremely early hours of the morn. Plants are putting forth great efforts in foliage and blossom production. Trees and grasses are emitting prodigious amounts of pollen that wafts everywhere on those not-so-gentle-at-times breezes. The Summer Reading in well underway with many of you already signed up and logging books and activities in your Beanstack account (more information about the program and about downloading the Beanstack app is located here: https://www.deforestlibrary.org/reading-program ). As if more proof were needed that summer has indeed arrived, I cite three and possibly four of the titles listed below that have the word "summer" in their titles i.e., The Summer of Lost and Found, A Summer to Remember, and That Summer. I think you could argue (and I'd back your argument) that the non-fiction title, On Juneteenth refers to a day (June 19th) only two days away from the summer solstice so that in its own way, this too is a summer book. Below, along with these four "summer" titles you will find some other books that will make excellent summer reading even though their titles don't contain that season-indicating word. Join the Summer Reading Program and Enjoy!
How to Change: The Science of Why Some People Have Breakthroughs and Other’s Don’t by Katy Milkman. An award-winning Wharton Professor and Choiceology podcast host, drawing on her original research, offers an invaluable, science-based blueprint for achieving your goals, once and for all.
American Republics: A Continental History of the United States, 1783-1850 by Alan Taylor. In a history of America’s formative period, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian upends the traditional story of a young nation confidently marching to its continent-spanning destiny and illuminates the continuities between our own social and political divisions.
The Indispensables: Marbleheads’ Diverse Soldier-Mariners Who Shaped the County, Formed the Navy, and Rowed Washington Across the Deleware by Patrick O’Donnell. In an addition to the literature of the American Revolution, a best-selling historian dramatically recounts how and why the Marblehead Regiment, led by John Glover, was truly indispensable.
Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard. The authors, in the 10th book in a multimillion-selling Killing series, take on the Mob, tracing the brutal history of 20th Century organized crime in the U.S., turning the most legendary criminal and their true-life escapades into a riveting crime novel.
On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed. The descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas in the 1850s recounts the origins of Juneteenth and explores the legacies of the holiday that remain with us.
The Guncle by Steven Rowley. When Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP) for short, takes on the role of primary guardian for his young niece and nephew, he sets “Guncle Rules,” but soon learn that parenting isn’t solved with treats or jokes as his eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility.
Hidden (Lost and Found) by Fern Michaels. In the first in a brand-new series from a #1 New York Times best-selling author, brother and sister Cullan and Luna Bodman are drawn into a dangerous mystery through an antique with a complicated past.
The Summer of Lost and Found by Mary Alice Monroe. With her family, finances, emotions, relationships and health teetering on the brink, Linnea Rutledge finds her life further complicated by her feelings for John, an old flame who turns up from California and is quarantining next door.
A Summer to Remember by Erika Montgomery. When a mysterious package arrives, containing a photograph that changes her life forever, 32-year-old Frankie Simon, the owner of a movie memorabilia shop on Hollywood Boulevard, discovers the meaning of home and the magic of true love.
That Summer by Jennifer Weiner. While trying to pinpoint the root of her dissatisfaction with her life, Daisy Shoemaker beings receiving misdirected emails meant for another woman and begins living vicariously through her until she discovers that their connection was not completely accidental.
Where the Grass is Green and the Girls are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger. When her husband is arrested in an Ivy League admissions sting, jeopardizing everything she worked so hard for, Peyton, co-anchor of a hit morning show, soon discovers that this is not the worst of it as dark secrets in their posh world come to light.
Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau.Taking a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor, straight-laced Mary Jane is introduced to a world of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, which helps her figure out what she really wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.
Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica. When Delilah, who disappeared 11 years earlier when she was only six years old, shockingly returns, the residents of a quiet suburban neighborhood want to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find.
June 3, 2021 - National Days
How did it get to be June already? We are halfway through the year. The summer solstice is only weeks away. Crops are planted. First crop hay has been cut and baled. Spring lambs, calves, and foals have been born and are frolicking and gamboling. And the Summer Reading Program is already a couple of weeks old (so why haven't you signed up yet?_ We haven't explored the national days and dates for upcoming months and days for a while so I thought I'd indulge my curiosity, while, I hope piquing yours. As everyone from Wisconsin knows, June is Dairy Month, but did you Know that it is also National Zoo and Aquarium Month, African-American Appreciation Month, LGBTQIA Pride Month, Adopt a Cat Month, National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month as well as the seemingly contradictory National Candy Month. and many other "months" that I don't have room to mention. Today, June 3rd has few National Days to recommend it: National Egg Day, National Repeat Day ( I said, "It's National Repeat Day" so do something twice.) and National Chocolate Macaroons Day (which, I'm sure many of us wouldn't mind doing twice!). In case your reading this too late on the 3rd to celebrate any of the aforementioned days, June 4th has Cheese Day, Cognac Day, Doughnut Day, and Hug Your Cat Day (if you dare). As you're enjoying all these opportunities to celebrate, why not check out one of the recently arrived books below?
The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees by Douglas Tallamy. The best-selling author of Nature's Best Hope reveals the ecological importance of the oak tree, discussing its month-by-month role in the planet's seasonal cycles and home safety provisions for essential insects and animals.
My Remarkable Journey by Katherine Johnson and others. In this extraordinary memoir, the woman at the heart of the smash New York Times best-seller and Oscar-winning film Hidden Figures shares her personal journey from child prodigy in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia to NASA human computer.
The Windsor Diaries: My Childhood with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret by Alathea Fitzalan Howard. The never-before-published diaries of Alathea Fitzalan Howard—who spent her teenaged years living out World War II in Windsor Great Park with her close friends Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth, the future queen of the United Kingdom—provide an extraordinary and intimate look at the British Royal Family.
Beyond: How Humankind Thinks About Heaven by Catherine Wolff. Offers a thought-provoking cultural history of heaven.
Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine by Robert Lustig. The “New York Times” best-selling author of Fat Chance and pediatric neuroendocrinologist explains the eight pathologies that underlie all chronic disease, proposing an urgent manifesto and strategy to cure both us and the planet.
The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance by Ross King. The best-selling author of Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling captures the excitement and spirit of the Renaissance in a chronicle of the life and work of “the king of the worlds booksellers” and the technological disruption that forever changed the ways knowledge spread.
The Saboteurs, No. 12 (Isaac Bell) by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul. Thwarting the attempted assassination of a U.S. Senator, detective Isaac Bell traces the attack to a plot involving the nearly constructed Panama Canal and a local insurgency that would prevent its completion. By the authors of The Titanic Secret.
Deadly Editions, No. 6 (Scottish Bookshop Mysteries) by Paige Shelton. Mysteriously invited to participate in an eccentric socialite's exclusive treasure hunt, bookseller Delaney Nichols investigates her hostess's dangerous past when a man connected to the competition is found murdered.
The Unkindness of Ravens by M.E. Hilliard. Librarian Greer Hogan matches wits with a deviously clever killer in a chilling series debut.
The House of Always, No. 4 (A Chorus of Dragons) by Jenn Lyons. As the enemies of Kihrin move forward with their plans to free the King of Demons, the Eight Immortals must decide if they can save the world while saving Kihrin, too, or watch him become the very evil they have all been sworn to destroy.
The Blackmailer’s Guide to Love by Marian Thurm. A 25-year-old assistant to a famous New York editor (known to be a notorious philanderer) at a prestigious mainstream magazine, begins to sell her short stories to the “New Yorker”, complicating her relationship with her boss and exerting pressure on her marriage.
The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian. Murder breaks through the racial divide that separates two teenage girls, forging an unlikely friendship. A first novel
Madam by Phoebe Wynne. While working at Caldonbrae, a prestigious boarding school high above the rocky Scottish cliffs, 26-year-old Rose Christie discovers the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose when she tries to find out what really happened to her predecessor.
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. After her husband disappears, Hannah Hall quickly realizes he isn’t who he said he was and that his 16-year-old daughter, who wants nothing to do with her, may hold the key to figuring out his true identity.
May 27, 2021 - Summer Weather
The summer weather pattern certainly arrived over the weekend with heat, humidity, and a little bit of rain now and then. Since the official start of summer has yet to arrive and since it could be either Memorial Day or the summer solstice (It's your choice) neither of which we have gotten to yet on the calendar, the summer-like weather is do to retreat rather quickly by the middle of this week. Even if the temperatures retreat a bit the oat crops and hay fields are growing apace. Corn fields are planted in many fields along I 90 between here and Tomah and in many places the corn is starting to emerge. First crop hay has been cut and is drying in winnows in some fields (Why, I remember when we didn't cut first crop hay until Memorial Day weekend so this seems remarkably early to me, and so I am remarking upon it.) At the library, the Summer Reading Program, began on May 15th, so sign up now before you get overwhelmed by all the many things you want to do this summer. The summer books have begun to arrive from the publishers as well. While I don't think any of the titles listed below would qualify as "beach reads" which is a subgenre all its own, you could certainly take any of these books to the beach or anywhere outside ( or inside, they're not really fussy) and have a nice read. Enjoy!
The Happiest Man on Earth: The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor by Eddie Jaku. A 100-year-old Holocaust survivor who, despite all he suffered calls himself the “happiest man on earth,” shares his wisdom and reflects on how he has led his best possible life, talking warmly and openly about the power of gratitude, tolerance and kindness.
Beautiful Things: A Memoir by Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden writes in this deeply moving memoir of addiction, loss, and survival.
How Stella Learned to Talk: The Groundbreaking Story of the World’s First Talking Dog by Christina Hunger. An incredible, revolutionary true story and surprisingly simple guide to teaching your dog to talk from a speech-language pathologist who has taught her dog to communicate using simple paw-sized buttons associated with different words.
Lincoln in Private: What His Most Personal Reflections Tell Us About Our Greatest President by Ronald White. The “New York Times” best-selling author of A. Lincoln and American Ulysses and renowned Lincoln historian walks us through 12 of Lincoln’s most private notes, showcasing his brilliance, empathy, very human anxieties and ambitions.
Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome. A coming-of-age memoir about Blackness, masculinity and addiction follows the author, a poet and screenwriter, as he recounts his experiences, revealing a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in.
When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain. Retreating to her childhood foster home in the wake of a tragedy, a veteran missing-persons detective becomes entwined in the search for a local teen whose disappearance eerily resembles an unsolved case from the detective's past.
The Perfect Daughter by D. J. Palmer. When the abandoned girl she adopted years earlier is locked in a decaying psychiatric hospital amid murder allegations, Grace embarks on a desperate search for the origins of her daughter's multiple-personality disorder. By the author of “Delirious”.
The Night Gate by Peter May. Enzo's investigations reveal an unexpected link between two murders—the Mona Lisa.
You’ll Thank Me for This by Nina Siegal. A psychological thriller is based on the popular Dutch tradition of blindfolding and dropping teens and pre-teens in the middle of a forest—and what happens when it goes horribly wrong.
The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman. When he tries to rob Galva, a knight and handmaiden of the goddess of death, thief Kinch Na Shannack finds their fates intertwined as they, due to common enemies, embark on an epic journey where honor is a luxury few can afford.
An Amish Surprise (The Berlin Bookmobile Series) by Shelley Shepard Gray. Returning the Amish community of Berlin, bookmobile owner Sarah Anne Miller helps Miriam and Calvin Gingerich for the family they’ve always prayed for when she meets a 10-year-old boy named Miles who needs a home.
A Dog’s Courage, No.2 ( A Dog’s Way Home) by W. Bruce Cameron. A weekend camping trip in the Rocky Mountains turns into a harrowing struggle for survival when a raging inferno separates Bella from her people, and, alone in the wilderness, must protect two defenseless mountain lion cubs as she searches for Lucas and Olivia.
21st Birthday by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro. Investigating the disappearance of a young mother and her baby girl, Detective Lindsay Boxer is presented with evidence that not only proves the innocence of the husband but places the lives of women all over the state of California in grave danger.