Jan's Column 2021
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September 23, 2021 - The change of seasons is definitely upon us.
Fall officially arrived a couple of days ago and right on cue, the weather turned autumnal. That high temperature on last Sunday that got rather close to 90 degrees might have been the last gasp of summer as temperatures the rest of this week will be staying in the mid-to-upper 70s. And shall we talk about the overnight lows? That five letter word that begins with “F” is yet to be in the forecast, but lows in the 40s are being predicted. The cold will certainly stunt if not stop the growing season. At this point, I will be happy to see it end. I have been overwhelmed by tomatoes and there are many still on the vines threatening to ripen and demand entrance into my house. I was out driving about and noticed that the turkey vultures seem to be flocking up. Mehintks they are starting to make migration plans. There was a flock of robins on my driveway the other morning, eating the berries that have fallen off a tree. These birds are definitely on the move. It’s been a while since of seen any individual robins around the neighborhood. This group might be migrants from further north as they make their way slowly south. The change of seasons is definitely upon us. While the leaves aren’t departing from the trees (much) yet and only a few trees are blushing with color, the fall book titles have been leaving the publisher’s warehouses and arriving on our shelves. Below are some of the more recent books that have arrived at the library. Enjoy!
The Failed Promise: Reconstruction, Frederick Douglass, and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson by Robert Levine. Drawing on letters, articles and the most important African American newspaper of the time, the author recreates the conflicts that brought Frederick Douglass and the wider Black community to reject President Andrew Johnson and call for a guilty verdict in his impeachment trial.
The Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis De Lafayette in the Age of Revolution by Mike Duncan. The “New York Times” bestselling author looks at the life of the Marquis de Lafayette, who helped fight and finance the American Revolution as well as the French Revolution and the overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty.
The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World by Arthur Herman. In this compelling historical narrative with cutting-edge archeological and DNA research, a New York Times bestselling historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist chronicles how the Vikings and their descendants have shaped history and America.
The Bookseller’s Secret: A Novel of Nancy Mitford and WWII by Michelle Gable. This dual-narrative set at the famed Heywood Hill Bookshop in London follows a struggling American writer’s search for a lost manuscript written by Nancy Mitford – a bookseller, spy, author and aristocrat – during World War II and the surprising link she discovers between the past and present.
The Women of Troy by Pat Barker. Held captive by the victorious Greeks, one time Trojan queen Briseis, formerly Achilles’s slave, forges alliances when she can with Priam’s aged wife, the defiant Hecuba and the disgraced soothsayer Calchas, all the while shrewdly seeking her path to revenge.
The Bitter Taste of Murder, No. 2 (A Tuscan Murder) by Camilla Trinchieri. When his Tuscan hometown of Gravigna is shaken by the poisoning of a vindictive wine critic, ex-NYPD detective Nico Doyle is recruited by Italian authorities to help solve this high-profile murder case.
Bloodless, No. 20 (Pendergast) by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. When completely exsanguinated bodies are found in Savannah, Georgia, FBI Agent Pendergast investigates amid growing panic and whispers of an infamous local vampire in the 20th novel in the series, following “Crooked River”.
The Darkness Knows by Arnaldur Indridason. When the frozen body of a businessman who disappeared 30 years earlier is found in the icy depths of the Langjökull glacier, former detective Konrad is called out of retirement to reopen this case that has weighed on his mind for decades.
Murder at the Lakeside Library, No. 1 (Lakeside Library Mysteries) by Holly Danvers. Widow Rain Wilmot, while preparing to reopen her mother’s informal library, discovers the body of a real estate buyer on the premises and, under the suspicious eyes of the community, pieces together the clues to solve this mystery before she meets the same fate.
The Madness of Crowds, No. 17 (Inspector Gamache) by Louise Penny. When a visiting professor spreads lies so that fact and fiction are so confused it’s near impossible to tell them apart, leading to murder, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache must investigate this case as well as this extraordinary popular delusion – and the madness of crowds.
Whiplash, No. 2 (The Champions) by Janet Dailey. Returning to the family ranch, Val Champion, whose dreams of a Hollywood acting career have become a nightmare, finds that she is no safer at home when she comes face-to-face with her first and only true love – rodeo man Casey Bozeman.
Viral by Robin Cook. With his wife in a coma after contracting a rare and highly lethal mosquito-borne viral disease, Brian vows to seek justice against the hospital and insurance company that won’t cover the costs by exposing the dark side of a ruthless industry and bring down the executives preying on the sick.
September 16, 2021 - Fall is coming
In a little less than a week -- 6 days to be more precise-- at 2:21 p.m. on September 22nd, Fall will officially arrive in this area. While we have yet to have that six-letter word that begins with "f" in the forecast or even that five-letter word that begins with "f" in the forecast or in a warning, the days are surely turning autumnal. The day time temperatures are hanging below 80 degrees (for the most part) and the overnight lows are holding in the mid-50-degree range (mostly). A few early, show off trees, have started to change colors while the fields and grasses have begun to lose their lush greens, exchanging them for brown and beige and tan. If you are an early riser you will have noticed already how long it takes for sunrise to occur. It's a good hour and a quarter later (6:40 a.m.) than the earliest of times we see in June (5:15 a.m.). I don't know if we even want to talk about sunset which is happening around 7:10 nowadays when once it was happening closer to 8:40. The nice thing about dwindling hours of daylight is that there aren't many chores you can do while waiting for sunlight in the morning or after sunset in the evening. Those times are perfect for reading! Sure, you have to turn a light on unless you're using an electronic reader or reading on your computer, but what other downside is there? Below you will find some of the recently-arrived book titles at the library. Time to settle in with a good book and enjoy!
The Auschwitz Photographer: The Forgotten Story of he WWII Prisoner Who Documented Thousands of Lost Souls by Luca Crippa & Maurizio Onnis. This eye-opening nonfiction narrative focuses on Wilhelm Brasse, the brave photographer forced to record the horrors of Auschwitz. Despite orders to destroy his photos, he saved them so we might never forget.
A Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People, Lost and Found by Rick Bragg. In this heartwarming and hilarious story, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author shares how his life was transformed by Speck, a badly behaved, half-blind stray dog who helped him through a moment of looming uncertainty.
Rule of Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything by Martin Ford. The “New York Times” best-selling author of Rise of the Robot's shows what happens as AI takes over our lives.
The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War by Craig Whitlock. The groundbreaking investigative story of how three successive presidents and their military commanders deceived the public year after year about the longest war in American history by a “Washington Post” reporter and a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist.
The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: The Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II by Mari Eder. Experience the untold story of 15 women who changed the course of history as part of the Greatest Generation.
Paper & Blood, No. 2 (Ink & Sigil) by Kevin Hearne. A master of ink and sigil magic, and part of a global network of agents who use their powers to protect the world, Al MacBharrais, when his colleague goes missing in Australia, teams up with a ragtag group of heroes to confront a legendary monster not seen in centuries.
The Education of Nevada Duncan (Family Business) by Carl Weber & C.N. Phillips. Heir to the Duncan and Zuniga crime family fortunes, Nevada Duncan must attend the world’s most elite school for the children of underworld figures where he learns the importance of friendship as an enemy lurks in the shadows who wants what Nevada has.
Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy. When a farmer is mauled to death after she reintroduces fourteen gray wolves into the remote Scottish Highlands, Inti Flynn knows where the town will lay blame and makes a reckless decision to protect them no matter what the cost.
The People We Keep by Allison Larkin. Chronicling her life in the songs she writes, April Sawicki, after leaving home for good, finds her way to Ithaca, New York where she finally finds a sense of belonging but cannot shake the feeling that she’ll hurt her new friends that way she’s been hurt.
Tin Camp Road by Ellen Airgood. In a novel set against the wide open beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a young single mother and her 10-year-old daughter stand up to the trials of rural poverty and find the community they need in order to survive.
We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange. Returning to the east coast to recover from a drunk driving accident she caused, 29-year-old Sunday Brennan must protect her family from a man from her past who brings her family’s pub business to the brink of financial ruin.
Another Kind of Eden by James Lee Burke. After hopping off a boxcar in early 1960s Denver, aspiring novelist Aaron Holland Broussard meets and instantly connects with Joanne McDuffy, a college student who is involved with a shady professor caught up in a drug-addled cult.
The Noise by James Patterson with J.D. Barker. After a mysterious explosion kills thousands in the Pacific Northwest, two survivors are left – 16-year-old Tennant and her 8-year-old sister, Sophie, in this new novel from the master of psychological suspense.
Vortex by Catherine Coulter. While FBI agent Sherlock helps an investigative journalist piece together the past to bring a killer to justice in the present, FBI agent Savich becomes a target as he protects a CIA operative who was betrayed on a compromised mission in Iran.
September 9, 2021 - National Library Card Sign-up Month
I hope you all enjoyed the last holiday of summer. The weather was perfect and we seem to be transitioning nicely towards more autumnal weather. Corn is firing, grains have been harvested, what one would assume to be the last crop of hay lies windrows, and if you squint at some trees you might notice they are thinking about changing colors. These early indicators of the change of seasons also indicates that National Library Card Sign-up Month is upon us. Not only can your library card empower you to dream, create, learn, explore, and connect. Your local library card also allows you to connect and save at these local businesses: Hometown Pharmacy DeForest: 10% off Hometown Living, Norske Nook-DeForest: $3 off an 11" pie (excludes the pie of the month), The Poppy Seed: 10% off drinks, and The Sage Apothecary: 10% off regular priced items. Just show your library card during the month of September and save!. If your library card is looking a bit raggedy, or if you've misplaced or lost it, during the month of September we will give you a free replacement. If you don't already have a library card, now would be the perfect time to get one. You can not only then take advantage of the savings mentioned above, but you can also check out some of the new books mentioned below! Enjoy!
Chasing Me to My Grave: An Artist’s Memoir of the Jim Crow South by Winfred Rembert & Erin Kelly. The late celebrated artist tells his life story of growing up in the segregated south, joining the civil rights movement and surviving a near-lynching through a series of drawings and paintings.
My Brother the Killer: A Family Story by Alix Sharkey. In this penetrating and unforgettable memoir, a journalist recounts his own journey to come to terms with his brother’s terrible crimes of sexual violence against women – and to find justice for the 15-year-old girl he kidnapped and murdered.
19 Yellow Moon Road, No. 33 (Sisterhood) by Fern Michaels. Maggie Spritzer and the other members of the Sisterhood investigate The Haven, a commune run by the dubious sons of a disgraced, Ponzi-scheme-running Chicago businessman in the latest novel of the series following Bitter Pill.
Breathe by Joyce Carol Oates. After her husband comes down with a mysterious illness, Michaela contemplates widowhood at age 37 and refuses to surrender her love in the new novel from the best-selling and prize-winning author of The Fall’s.
The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye. After his Broadway theater baron father dies mysteriously, Ben Dane, his best friend Horatio and his artist ex-fiancé Lia, on one explosive night, are drawn into otherworldly events where the only outcome is death.
The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams. Working at the local library, Aleisha reads every book on a secret list she found, which transports her from the painful realities she’s facing at home, and decides to pass the list on to a lonely widower desperate to connect with his bookworm granddaughter.
The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson. June Jones emerges from her shell to fight for her beloved local library, and through the efforts and support of an eclectic group of library patrons, she discovers life-changing friendships along the way.
The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blakemore. In a small English town in 1643, Rebecca West, when a newcomer who identifies himself as the Witchfinder General arrives, to save the women of Manningtree, must quell the rumors of covens, pacts and bodily wants to save them all from themselves.
The Coldest Case, No. 14 (Bruno, Chief of Police) by Martin Walker. An anonymous skull, an unsolved murder, sinister rumors from the Cold War era of espionage—Bruno’s investigation into a long-standing cold case finds him caught between an enigmatic winegrower and a menacing Communist organization from the past.
Complications by Danielle Steel. After four years of renovations and the death of its beloved manager, a popular Paris boutique hotel reopens with new staff looking to make good impressions and guests seeking luxurious accommodations, but what they all find is unrelenting drama.
Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown. A moonshiner in Prohibition-era Texas must deal with murder, lust, greed and other mayhem in the new novel from the “New York Times” best-selling author of Thick as Thieves.
Class Act, No. 58 (Stone Barrington) by Stuart Woods. Returning to New York from Maine, Stone Barrington helps out a former client who mistakenly thought an old feud would remain in the past in the latest addition to the long-running series following Double Jeopardy.
The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones. While in Portugal for her brother-in-law’s wedding to Ali, who rubs everyone wrong way, Rachel discovers something about Ali that changes everything and threatens to unravel friendships and marriages in a place where jumping to conclusions becomes the difference between life and death.
September 2, 2021 - The Season is Beginning to Turn
After a few near-ninety degree days last week, summer seems to be loosening its grasp this week. High temperature's near 80 degrees, low humidity, some sun thrown to brighten things up and fall seems to be strengthening its hold on the calendar. We are in September, school has started, and Labor Day will be upon us this weekend. Lots of plants are beginning to finish production weather we are talking about tomatoes or four o'clocks. Tomatoes are ripening so fast they are hopping off the bushes and walking into the house. The flowers are dropping seeds right and left. The fall crickets started chirping about three weeks ago, which, as we all know, means that the first frost is only about three weeks away. If you are an earlier riser you will have noted how much later it is until the first light appears in the world and that the dawn chorus has gotten progressively quieter. Dusk descends upon us a whole lot sooner than it did only a couple of months ago. The season is beginning to turn. The "beach books" or "summer reads" are being replaced by the publishers' fall list of titles. "What's the difference?", I hear you saking. "Not much", I would reply. The summer fare seems to be slightly lighter in subject matter and treatment. The fall titles might have a bit more substance, but since these descriptors are highly subjective, I'll stand by my not-much answer. Below you will find some of the titles that recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!
The Debt Trap: How Student Loans Became a National Catastrophe by Josh Mitchell. Charting the 70-year history of student debt in America, a reporter in the Washington bureau of "The Wall Street Journal" tells the untold story of the scandals, scams, predatory actors and government malpractice that have created today’s central economic issue
The Art of Patience: Seeking the Snow Leopard in Tibet by Sylvain Tesson. In this celebration of the power and grace of the wild, a restless adventurer embarks on a perilous journey to Tibet in search of one of the most elusive creatures on the planet – the snow leopard – during which he learned to embrace the virtues of patience and silence.
The Family Firm: A Data-driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years (Parentdata) by Emily Oster. From the best-selling author of Cribsheet and Expecting Better comes the next step in data-driven parenting from a noted economist.
Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family by Melissa Shapiro/ Mim Eichler Rivas. In this extraordinary story, a Connecticut veterinarian opens her heart and home to Piglet, a deaf and blind pink dog whose purpose becomes teaching the power of empathy, love and kindness.
American Marxism by Mark Levin. A "New York Times" best-selling author, Fox News star, and radio host explains how the dangers he warned against in “Liberty and Tyranny” have come to pass.
The Devil You Know, No.2 (Mercenary Librarians) by Kit Rocha. Maya, genetically engineered for genius and trained for revolution, vows to stop an operation trading in genetically enhanced children with the help of Gray, who, unable to escape the time bomb in his head, has found his purpose in his final days – keeping Maya safe.
Feral Creatures by Kira Jane Buxton. After rescuing pets who had been trapped in their homes during the apocalypse, a Cheeto-loving crow, S.T., and his bloodhound bestie, Dennis, discover humanity's last hope for survival in this follow-up to Hollow Kingdom.
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Jones. Protected by horror movies – especially the ones where the masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them, Jade Daniels, an angry, half-Indian outcast, pulls us into her dark mind when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian lake.
Prime Directive by T. Davis Bunn. Lieutenant Amanda Bostick is ordered to investigate why scientists on a distant outpost on the planet of Lorian are being murdered with no alarm raised.
She Wouldn’t Change a Thing by Sarah Adlakha. When 39-year-old psychiatrist, wife and mother Maria Forssmann wakes up in her 17-year-old body, she desperately tries to get back to her home and life, and wonders if she can change time and still keep what it’s given her.
All’s Well by Mona Awad. A college professor with chronic back pain, painkiller dependence and a failed marriage meets three strange benefactors who know her past and offer her a tantalizing future in this new novel from the critically-acclaimed author of Bunny.
Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson. A mother and midwife inadvertently threatens the fortunes and livelihoods of her family and their neighbors after noticing an increase in local miscarriages and believes it's caused by the pesticides used by the Sanderson Timber Company.
Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah Ferguson. Expected to make an advantageous marriage, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott rebels shortly before her betrothal is announced and flees to Ireland, befriending a group of similarly-minded, independent women in this new novel from the Duchess of York.
Billy Summers by Stephen King. A former Iraq war vet working as an assassin-for-hire who only accepts jobs when the target is truly a bad guy seeks retirement in the new novel from the legendary best-selling author of over 60 novels.