Jan's Column 2021

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Past Columns

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!

New Non-Fiction

cover artFull 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.


cover artDedicated: 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.


cover artLive 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.


cover artLet’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.


New Fiction

cover artThe 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.


cover artSorrowland 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.


cover artChina by Edward Rutherfurd. The internationally best-selling author of Paris and New York takes on an exhilarating new world.


cover artGreat 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.


cover artThe 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.


cover artRobert B. Parker’s Payback, No. 9 (Sunny Randallby 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.


cover artProject 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.


cover artLegacy 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.


cover artThe 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.


cover artThe 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!

New Non-Fiction

cover artHow 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.


cover artAmerican 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.


cover artThe 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.


cover artKilling 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.


cover artOn 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.


New Fiction

cover artThe 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.


cover artHidden (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.


cover artThe 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.


cover artA 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.


cover artThat 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.


cover artWhere 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.


cover artMary 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.


cover artLocal 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?


New Non-Fiction

cover artThe 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.


cover artMy 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.


cover artThe 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.


cover artBeyond: How Humankind Thinks About Heaven by Catherine Wolff. Offers a thought-provoking cultural history of heaven.


cover artMetabolical: 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.


cover artThe 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.


New Fiction

cover artThe 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.


cover artDeadly 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.


cover artThe Unkindness of Ravens by M.E. Hilliard. Librarian Greer Hogan matches wits with a deviously clever killer in a chilling series debut.


cover artThe 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.


cover artThe 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.


cover artThe 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


cover artMadam 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.


cover artThe 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!

New Non-Fiction

cover artThe 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.


cover artBeautiful Things: A Memoir by Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden writes in this deeply moving memoir of addiction, loss, and survival.


cover artHow 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.


cover artLincoln 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.


cover artPunch 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.


cover artYearbook: Essays by Seth Rogen. collection of funny personal essays from one of the writers of Superbad and Pineapple Express and one of the producers of The Disaster Artist.


New Fiction

cover artWhen 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.


cover artThe 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”.


cover artThe Night Gate by Peter May. Enzo's investigations reveal an unexpected link between two murders—the Mona Lisa.


cover artYou’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.


cover artThe 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.


cover artAn 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.


cover artA 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.


cover art21st 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.


May 20, 2021 - Early Summer

It's hard to believe we are already into the last couple of weeks of May. The weather has taken a decided turn towards (early) summer. The birds are singing, nesting, and starting to rear their young. The bees have started buzzing. Other pollinators have have appeared just as the early bloomers have burst forth in flower. Trees are throwing around pollen as if they would seed an entire forest. The air is soft with twilights lengthening well into the evenings. It is a little too early to be putting in your garden, or if you have for your garden to require much tending yet. Sure the grass needs mowing, but it will almost always need mowing until November. Take advantage of these longer evenings to sit on the porch -- before the mosquitoes arrive to carry us all off-- and read a good book. Below you will find some of the late spring books which were recently released by their publishers. Enjoy!

May 13, 2021 - Summer Reading Starts

It is almost the middle of May and the weather (until possibly this upcoming weekend) has not been behaving like spring has firmly established it's domination over the frostier months. But, in a mere two days from the publication date of this literary work, the Summer Reading Program shall have begun. On Saturday, May 15th you can register yourself, your children, your grandchildren, and encourage others to register themselves and join the summer reading program. There are badges to earn, challenges to meet, and Dragon Dollars to earn (details will be available on our website). There are a number of terrific prizes available for readers. Dragon Dollars to be earned to spend in our special store or to donate to one of 6 selected charities, and programs to participate in both virtually and (weather permitting) sometimes in person. Since the focus of this summer library program is to keep everyone reading and reading in volumes (pun intended) that would be more difficult if this traditional time for vacationing and just kicking back were not available, I would encourage you to peruse the list of new titles below and check them out. If you can't check them out right now, get them on your hold list so that when you do have the time in those lazy days of summer to unwind you have a book in hand, ready to be read. Enjoy!

May 6, 2021 - Countdown Begins

The countdown to the beginning of the Summer Reading Program continues. May 15th is only 9 days away. This year's Summer Reading Program promises community reading challenges to partake in, activities to engage in, and programs to attend (both virtually and in-person). Keep an eye on our website and Facebook (and other social media) page for more details. To get us all in the mood for the upcoming start of Summer Reading, the weather started out the month with some high temperatures in the mid-80s and windy weather more reminiscent of March coming in like a lion than the gentle warmth, the soft sun lit days, the long evenings, and the flower-scented air of May. Books from the publishers' spring book lists continue to arrive and have already started to turn towards those "beach" reads and "summer" reads which are almost there own genre or sub-genre. Bookriot defined it last year as " a certain type of book, something that will have mass appeal and isn't particularly intellectually stimulating." Blockbuster novels from major authors -- think Grisham, Patterson, etc.--tend to be released in May which makes them a perfect beach read. Titles in that genre are starting to arrive. Below you may not find any title that will become a compulsively readable book that is perfect for the beach -- or wherever you vacation-- but you will find some engaging titles. Enjoy!

April 29, 2021 - Spring

It seems like spring has finally established itself as the dominant season. Sure, there were a couple of freeze warnings last week, but the goldfinches have given up their winter clothes and are now wearing their golden yellow plumage. Motorcycles have been on the roads for weeks now, drop-top cars have also been dropping their tops -- at least on sunny days. The wearing of shorts is rampant in Wisconsin and the twilight is lingering until almost 8 o'clock at night. With all these signs of spring, can summer be far away? The answer to this rhetorical question is that summer officially starts in this area on June 20th which is about 55 days away. However, the start of the Summer Reading Program is a mere 17 days away. This early start to our Summer Reading Program gives everyone more opportunities to read and record what has been read, to participate in community challenges, and to win prizes and earn dragon dollars.With a mere 17 days before the start of the program, you might want to start getting your eyes in shape for competitive reading. Below are some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. Check them out and read fast and read a lot, and most of all, enjoy!

April 22, 2021 - Crane Count

This past weekend, I participated in something that took a year off during the pandemic lock down. I took part in the Annual Midwest (Sandhill) Crane Count. Last year the crane count was called off -- though I could never understand why because it is an activity that can be done alone and takes place outside. Regardless of the reasons for last year's cancellation, I went out and did my own crane count in 2020. This year I did my "official" crane count. There really is nothing quite like being up and out by 5 o'clock in the morning and listening and watching the world come alive. Cranes tend to hang out in marshy areas so not only was there patchy frost on the grass, but there was mist rising of ponds and hovering over ditches and fields. The robins and the red-winged blackbirds compete to be the first birds singing as the eastern sky changes from deep blue to a pale blue that's almost white then lemon and peach until the red tones take over and orange smears the horizon. As light comes the bigger birds start in and geese and ducks join in and finally the cranes start yodeling. It is truly magical and available to all who care to venture out before dawn and sit quietly and wait. I heard many cranes and saw six. There were turkeys, a pair of eagles, ducks, geese, a lone deer, pheasants, killdeer, mourning doves, and the list goes on and on. If you can't get out into nature, you can study up on it by using some of the field guides available at the library. Below are some of the new books which recently arrived. Enjoy! and keep an eye out for sandhill cranes!

April 15 2021 - Jonquils, Hyacinths, and Tulips

There is nothing like a long stretch of cloudy days and rain to green up the world. The grass suddenly needs mowing. The trees have gone from hardly-budded-out-at-all to lacy fingers stretching towards the sky looking for sun. Jonquils, hyacinths, and tulips and other bulbed plants have sprung from the earth with flowers full-blown. Ornamental crab trees, dogwoods, and magnolias are covered with flowers. Other trees, with less obvious flowers such as your oak, maple, elm, and birch trees (to name just a few) are merrily throwing pollen into the air. Suddenly the law is filled with robins. Grackles, red-winged black birds, and crows are calling raucously at all hours of the day and into the night. Geese have their first crop of goslings paddling behind them in ponds. April showers have brought not May flowers, but April flowers as this fecund season takes root. It is the perfect season to get out and visit the library on foot or on bicycle or using whatever form of transport you choose. Books from the publishers' spring lists are arriving daily. Items that have been in storage since the height of the pandemic -- such as Busy Bags, Bags of Books, and Backpacks are finding their way back to their accustomed racks. Make the library your destination as you step out into spring in Wisconsin. Below are some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

April 8, 2021 - National Library Week

National Library Week started on Easter Sunday this year. April 4th was also National School Librarians Day. Tuesday of National Library Week is reserved to honor library workers with their special day. Wednesday is reserved to honor bookmobiles. The rest of the week days are not designated for any particular group or aspect of libraries. Personally, I believe library patrons deserve their own day. of celebration during National Library Week. Without the you, our loyal, library patrons, there would be no reason for libraries of any ilk to exist. So come in on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday of this 2021 National Library Week and celebrate yourself!

Spring has certainly arrived in our area. There are flocks of robins just bob,bob, bobbin' along on lawns everywhere. Songbirds are singing to their sweeties and starting to set up housekeeping. Tis the season. Love is in the air. Not only do we have song birds a singing, we have motorcycles a revving and convertibles -- what would be the verb for driving around with the top down on a car? It couldn't possibly be "converting", could it? And while it is true that many Wisconsinites start wearing shorts when the daytime highs get into the mid 30s, this past week has brought flocks of short-clad natives out into the world. With all these signs of spring, can the arrival of spring book titles be far behind? Absolutely not. Below you will find some of the titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

April 1, 2021 - April Fools' Day!

Happy April Fools' Day! Not only are we at the beginning of a new month and can finally say goodbye to a fickle and windy March, but we are only a few days away from the beginning of National Library Week. National Library Week seems to be a moveable feast. In 2018, it started on April 7th; in 2019 on April 8th; in 2020 on April 19th. This year it starts on April 4th which just happens to be Easter, another moveable feast. There are a number of celebratory events planned for the week. Please check our website and social media for details.

But lets, get back to April Fool's Day. Where did this custom of frivolity and pranking arise?

According to some historians it may date back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar (the new years starts with the spring equinox around April 1st) to the Gregorian (the new years starts January 1st). Those who were slow to adopt the January 1st date became the butt of jokes and were called April fools and had pranks played upon them. According to other historians April Fools Day can be linked to the Roman festival of Hilaria which was celebrated at the end of March. Followers of the cult of Cybele dressed up in disguises and mocked their fellow citizens and magistrates. This was said to be inspired by the Egyptian legend of Isis, Osiris and Seth. These pranking practices spread through Britain in the 1700s and in Scotland a two day event which started off with the hunting of the "gowk" -- the word for a cuckoo (bird) or fool-- which sent folks off on fake errands. Day two -- Tailie Day== involved pinning fake tails on people (i.e. "kick me" signs). Harmless pranking is the name of the game with harmless being the most important word. And now that you know all about today, below you will find some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. No fooling! Enjoy!

March 25, 2021 - Spring Started

Spring started this past Saturday, March 20th, at 4:37 a.m. I believe only the robins and my cats were awake to greet it. Of course once the cats are up and greeting things – the dawn, each other, their empty food dishes, the early birds—I, unfortunately, am not far behind. Perhaps it because I do not watch network television anymore and get my information from newspaper and weather websites, but the arrival of spring this year seemed singularly unheralded. If a co-worker hadn’t mentioned it to me Saturday morning, I would have been completely oblivious to spring’s arrival. I guess it really does pay to go to the library where information is all around you! The birds have been singing about the arrival of spring. The mini flock of cardinals, house finches, sparrows, chickadees, and juncos that have been visiting my porch rail for seeds, have started to drift away. They are able to find food in the wild closer to potential nesting sites. A few long-time porch-perchers seem to be bringing girl friends “home” to enjoy the seed buffet. Spring is indeed in the air. Just like the swallows return to Capistrano every March 19th, and the vultures return to Hinckley, Ohio every March 15th, so the book publishers have begun pushing out their spring list of titles. Below you will find some of the new titles that recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

March 18, 2021 - One-Year Anniversary

I warned you a couple of weeks ago that we were quickly approaching a number of one-year anniversary sates and that I would undoubtedly feel compelled to comment upon them. Well. Here we are. On Match 12th, the Governor declared a health emergency in response to Covid-19. On March 13th, an order was issued to close all schools on Wednesday, March 18th. On March 17th at 5 p.m., all mass gatherings pf 10 or more people were prohibited in the state. We closed the library doors at that time and started curbside service. Social distancing and facility capacity became phrases that were interjected into most if not all conversations. Wearing a mask hadn't yet become the norm. St. Patrick's Day had a very dystopian feel as Wisconsin began to shut down in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus. It is sobering to think that a year later, we are still wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and assessing building capacity as things start to open up. Mass gatherings have increased in size in reverse order of how they decreased in size a year ago. We look forward to offering in-person programming to large groups soon, but room size still constrains our ability to social distance attendees. Watch our website and social media to see when these opportunities become available. In the meantime, you will find some of the new books which recently arrived at the library listed below. Enjoy and stay well!

March 11, 2021 - Winter Reading Numbers

The Winter Reading Program ended mere weeks ago and already I have all the numbers for the 2020/2021 program. This year we had a slightly smaller group of participants – 123 compared to 139 last year. There were fewer competitions undertaken this year –83 compared to 94; fewer activities partaken in – 315 compared to 386; reviews written – 54 compared to 68 and fewer badges earned – 1,542 compared to 1,690. So all-in-all this year seems to show a decline that matches up with fewer participants. However, in one category (and I might argue the most important category), the number of books read this year’s participants read 7,942 books compared to 7,256 books last year. That’s 686 more books or nearly a 9.5% increase. There were some truly dedicated readers this winter! And before you ask, donations to the charities were as follows: The DeForest Area Public Library Endowment -- $293; DeForest Area Needs Network (D.A.N.N.) -- $163; Dane County Humane Society $155; and the Homeless Action Network DeForest (HAND) -- $111. That’s a total of $722 which I shall be donating to those groups in the very near future. Thanks to everyone for participating. Below you will find some new books which recently arrived at the library. I hope you enjoy them!

March 4, 2021 - A Year Ago

A year ago I had just gotten back from attending the Public Library Association's biennial national conference in Nashville with a friend and fellow library director. We sat in large rooms filled with people, we ate at normally-crowded restaurants, we listened to live music in a honky tonk bar where people were jammed in on top of each other. We did all this and thought nothing of it. I wouldn't see this friend until the Christmas holiday when we met in a very large, deserted venue and chatted from five yards apart (masked of course). When I got back from the national conference I went to Illinois to have lunch with my niece. That was the last time I have seen her in real life. As the virus ramped up and the number of people allowed to gather together declined the library started offering curbside service. I will leave this historical retrospective here with curbside service. Tune in next week for the next historical look back. In the meantime, you will find -- listed below-- some of the new books which recently arrived at the library.

While the library is open --except for periodic short closures for sanitizing -- curbside/foyer pickup is still an option as is our electronic locker. No matter how you choose to get your books, I hope you enjoy them!

February 25, 2021 - End of February

How can it be nearly the end of February already? And if it is nearly the end of February, that means it is nearly the end of the Winter Reading Program. And if it is nearly the end of the Winter Reading Program, that means you are running out of time to log the books you have read during the program. (It ends at 5 p.m. on February 26th) It also means that very soon after the end of the Winter Reading Program your opportunity to redeem the Dragon Dollars you have earned will end also (5 p.m. on February 28th). We hope you had fun participating and learning all about owls!

After this past weekend's snow fall, you might be thinking that an early spring is out of the question. If the ten-day weather forecast holds true, we should be having a thaw this week which will head us into the month of March with the feel of spring in the air. NCAA college basketball will get underway in the middle of March which is, unfortunately and predictably, when we can expect a nice big spring snow storm. The nice thing about snow is March is that it usually doesn't stay around long. With spring in the air and just around the corner, the publishing houses are also starting to crank up produation to get the spring lists of books out to libraries and book stores. Below you will find a few of the new titles that recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

February 18, 2021 - Holidays

February is a month rife with holidays. We passed Valentine's Day over the weekend and on this week's Tuesday, Mardi Gras ( also known as Shrove Tuesday) passed us by. This week's Monday also celebrated Presidents' Day -- which conflates Abraham Lincoln's birthday (February 12th) and George Washington's Birthday (February 22nd although he was actually born on February 11th but because of the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar (in 1752) his birthday got moved to the 22nd). And just to jam one more celebration on to February 15th, which is President's Day this year, it is also Susan B. Anthony Day. This day celebrates her birthday on this actual date in 1820. What a holiday rich first half of February we have. I would also note one more date to remember. On February 5th, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in Wisconsin. We sill begin hitting a number of one-year anniversary dates around Covid-19 as we progress through this year. Spring is coming (though though not quickly enough), daylight is returning, the cold snap is passing off, vaccinations are occurring, and the sun is shinning at least some of the time. Spring and life are beginning to stir and so is hope. If you've been hoping for some new books, your in luck. Below are some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

February 11, 2021 - The Days Lengthen

The days certainly have been getting longer. Why, we have gained nearly 25 minutes at the sunrise side of the day and over an hour and a half on the sunset side of things. All of that extra daylight is very much appreciated by most of us. I'm sure that I mentioned this previously. It is old weather lore that says, "As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens." I would have to say that this past weekend, this week to date, and the forecast until Tuesday, the 16th all would seem to confirm that lore. While this is perfect weather to stay in side and read, you might consider venturing over the library on February 14th to listen to some music from our mezzanine celebrating love as well as Mardi Gras which will be on Tuesday, the 16th -- when the weather is supposed to start getting back to more normal temperatures. At the keyboard will be our own, Nolan Veldey. I believe there may be also be cookies. Tuesday the 16th, is also the beginning of a three-book, Read Woke, series. The book being discussed will be "The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963". You can register to join the book discussion from the calendar on our website. I hope to see you there! While we all await the arrival of warmer temperatures, and eventually spring, I would urge you all to read, record your books in our Winter Reading Program, and earn Dragon Dollars for your own use or to give to our designated charities. Below are some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

February 4, 2021 - Booky the Badger

Farewell to January and hello to February. Time seems to be really flying as we head into a new month that brings us two, count them two, major holidays. I am, of course, speaking about Ground Hog Day -- which shall already have occurred by the time you read this-- and the Super Bowl. If the weather predictions hold for Tuesday, and at this writing sunrise on Tuesday is fewer than 24 hours away which improves the accuracy of the forecast many fold, then Booky the library's prognosticating Badger, will undoubtedly see his shadow which means six more weeks of winter. Looking closely at that weather forecast it looks like the upcoming week, including the weekend, will be frigid (would this be an arctic outbreak?). The nice thing about frigid weather is that it provides the perfect excuse to stay inside, with a hot beverage, possibly a pet (cat or dog--absolutely your choice, and your pets, I suppose), possibly a knit or crocheted throw draped over your lap (and under the pet), a fire crackling softly in the hearth (or on your computer screen), and --the most important ingredient of all-- a good book. Below you will find some of the new titles which recently arrived at your library. Enjoy!

January 28, 2021 - Data

Only a few more days, and Booky, our prognosticating badger, along with those weather-forecasting dilettante groundhogs that live in Pennsylvania and Sun Prairie, will be making their duration of winter forecasts. This means we will be at the beginning of the month of February which along with the two important holidays of Ground Hog Day and Valentine's Day is the beginning to the countdown of one-year anniversaries of events marking the arrival of Covid-19. We're not there yet, but we are getting close. Last year at this time, I was still blithely pulling together data for the annual report the library submits to the Department of Public Instruction which eventually ends up at the federal level at the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The data we will be reporting from the year 2020 is going to look a whole lot different from previous years (and future years, I hope!). The physical circulation of materials was greatly diminished as was the physical attendance at in-person programs. Digital use of materials and programs, however, was astounding. I'll keep you posted as the data comes together; I'm sure there will be data points that amuse as well as inform. With a winter weather advisory just finishing up over the past weekend and another one arriving on Monday evening, one would have to say that it's great weather for settling in with a good book. Below are some of the new titles that have recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

January 21, 2021 - Signs of Spring

The third week of January already which means we are well into our Winter Reading Program ( have you joined up yet?) and less than two weeks away from Ground Hogs' Day. With very few sunny days to it's credit, January has still managed to plod along under dreary skies to get us to these last ten days of the month which, by the way, are usually the coldest. The old weather lore, "As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens", is often right, but given the year so far, it's hard to tell if the weather will behave normally when most everything else isn't. About this time of year, as you long-time readers know, I begin looking for signs of spring or for at least winter's end. So here are a few to turn your thoughts towards warmer days. The chickadees have started singing their "phoebe" song which means, among other things, that they are starting to look for dates and are beginning to shop around for nest sites. Speaking of nests, eagles -- including the famous Decorah pair-- are nest building and pair bonding and well on the way to putting eggs in their nests. The area owls (for those of you who have signed up for the Winter Reading Program you would know that owls are our theme because we want everyone to give a hoot about reading) are have become rather quiet because they are most likely already sitting on eggs. Raptors have to bring chicks into the world very early in the year so the young have lots of time to not only fledge but learn to hunt successfully. My final sign is this: I have a garden every year on my porch, in pots. When the weather turns frosty, I drag in the pots and the live by the porch door and get watered every couple of weeks. Some plants live. Some die. This year my impatiens seeded themselves and one of them put forth a little red flower yesterday. One flower might not a spring make, but it certainly gladdens the heart. Below are some new books which may also gladden your hearts. Enjoy!

January 14, 2021 - Cloudy Days

Normally by this time of -- almost the mid-point of January-- I would be optimistically pointing out the lengthening of days and perhaps, begin the countdown to Ground Hogs Day where we would find out if there were six more weeks of winter in store for us. However, these first couple of week so January have been mostly cloudy and if not cloudy, then foggy. It is so very difficult to celebrate the return of more daylight when the street lights are coming on at three o'clock in the afternoon. Indeed, we have gained daylight. There earliest sunset during those dark, December days was at 4:29. At his writing, sunset is at 4:40 p.m. and sunrise has, finally, begun getting later. It is now at 7:31. We haven't seen a sunrise that early since Christmas Day. The good news is that even though we can't see it to be cheered by it, the days are getting longer and that no matter what February 2nd will roll around in just 19 days. And once we're in February you can almost see spring popping it's head up over the horizon. In the meantime, theses dark days lend themselves rather nicely to reading. Below you will find some of the new books that have recently arrived at your library. Enjoy!

January 7, 2021 - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Here we are a week into the new year already. My how time flies during the holidays. This week, finally, some new books have arrived at the library. That pesky pandemic has disrupted the publishing trade a bit. Books that were ordered at the beginning of summer are only just arriving. Publishing dates have been pushed back for many months in some cases. All of which makes having a steady stream of books coming into the library for your reading pleasure a challenge. A challenge we can't do anything about. The books will arrive when they arrive. However, if the year is beginning as it means to go on, then there is hope that there will be weekly deliveries of new books. If 2021, decides to imitate last year, it's hard to say what might have in store for us -- I'm only talking book-wise here. In the meantime, there are plenty of books below some of which might pique your interest. Enjoy!