Jan's Column 2024

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Today is an important day for Norwegians.  Syttende Mai is a holiday that is celebrated with great gusto by those of Norwegian descent, no matter how many generations away  they are from having actually dipped a toe in a fjord. The 17th of May for Norwegians is like the 4th of July for us.  It commemorates the signing of the Norwegian Constitution in 1814 at Eidsvoll. It was the day that Norway became independent from Denmark, elected a king (Christian Fredrik), established a bicameral legislature, abolished the aristocracy, vested taxation in the legislature, and created a set of criteria establishing the right to vote that extended to men who were either farmers who owned their own land, civil servants, or urban property owners. This meant that almost half of all Norwegian men earned the right to vote, which was a radical proposition in 1814.  Norwegians have a lot to be proud of on Constitution Day. Because we live in an area where there is a high percentage of Norwegians in the population, you might think that Syttende Mai is the only thing that ever happened on the 17th of May.  Well, if you thought that you’d be wrong. Another important thing that happened on May 17th is that you sat down to read this newspaper and that enough books arrived earlier this week for me to be able to tell you about a whole lot of new books which are listed below. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction:

“Small Acts of Courage: A Legacy of Endurance and the Fight for Democracy” by Ali Veishi. Tapping into 125 years of family history to advocate for social justice as a living, breathing experience, the Chief Correspondent for MSNBC relates the stories of regular people who made a lasting commitment to fight for change, even when success seemed impossible, and urges us to do the same.

“What a Fool Believes” by Michael McDonald & Paul Reiser. In his candid, laidback memoir, written with his friend, Emmy Award-nominated actor and comedian Paul Reiser, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Grammy Award-winning and platinum-selling icon tells the story of his life and music, relaying the lessons he’s learned along the way.

“You Never Know: A Memoir” by Tom Selleck. An American icon and famed actor brings us on his uncharted but serendipitous journey to the top in Hollywood, clearing up misconceptions; sharing dozens of never-before-told stories from both his personal and professional lives; and offering a truly fresh perspective on a changing industry and a changing world.

“The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America” by Larry Tye. Based on more than 250 interviews, this meticulously researched history of Black America in the early-to-mid 1900s through three longtime kings of jazz—Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Count Basie—who opened America’s eyes and souls to their magnificent music, writing the soundtrack for the civil rights movement.

“The Loves of Theodore Roosevelt:The Women Who Created a President” by Edward O’keefe. Celebrating the five extraordinary yet unsung women who profoundly shaped the life of one of America’s most significant presidents, this spirited and poignant family love story reveals Theodore Roosevelt, an icon of rugged American masculinity, as we’ve never seen him before.

New Fiction:

“Daughter of Mine” by Megan Miranda. Returning to Mirror Lake after inheriting her childhood home, Hazel discovers long-hidden secrets that may explain the mystery of her mother's disappearance, in the new novel from the New York Times best-selling author of “All the Missing Girls”.

“A Game of Lies” by Clare Mackintosh. Seven reality show contestants are trapped in the Welsh mountains, facing the shameful worldwide reveal of their deepest secrets, but when the disappearance of a contestant triggers a more deadly game, DC Ffion Morgan is employed in an investigation more complex than she had ever imagined.

“The Gathering” by C.J. Tudor. When a boy is found with all the blood drained from his body, Detective Barbara Atkins must determine if a member of the Colony, an ostracized community of vampyrs, is responsible, or if she’s dealing with a twisted psychopath as she uncovers secrets darker than she ever could’ve imagined.

“Nothing But the Bones” by Brian Panowich. With lyrical prose and hard-hitting depictions of the hardscrabble life in the rural south, the author of Bull Mountain delivers a gripping new chapter in his tales of McFalls County.

“One of Us Knows” by Alyssa Cole. From a critically acclaimed and New York Times best-selling author of When No One Is Watching comes a thriller about the new caretaker of a historic estate who finds herself trapped on an island with a murderer—and the ghosts of her past.

“The Reaper Follows” by Heather Graham. Agents from the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate a series of murders linked to conspiracy theorists and doomsday cults.

“A Spy Like Me (Double O)” by Kim Sherwood. While grieving the loss of a loved one, MI6 agent 003, Johanna Harwood, sets off on an unsanctioned mission to find James Bond in the second novel of the trilogy following “Double or Nothing”.

“Mind Games: A Novel” by Nora Roberts. With the ability to see into minds and souls, Thea, who brought her parents’ killer to justice years ago, discovers the inmate who shattered her childhood has the same ability when she can hear his twisted thoughts and witness his evil acts from miles away as he plots his revenge.

“I Will Ruin You” by Linwood Barclay. A teacher’s act of heroism inadvertently makes him the target of a dangerous blackmailer who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

The countdown to the Summer Reading Program has begun. Registration will begin the last week or so of the May with the actually kickoff on June 6th.  Assuming you are reading this on the publication date of Friday, May 10th, then there are exactly 27 days. That’s 27 days, or 648 hours, or 38,880 minutes. I could keep going with smaller measures of time, but I shall desist. This all goes to show that the Summer Reading Program will soon be upon us. It also goes to show that there is plenty of time for getting your reading list assembled, to get your eyes use to reading for long periods of time, and to establish a routine for recording the titles –or number of titles—that you read.  There are many ways to keep track of your reading:1) you can use the BeanStack app on your phone or on a computer and type in the title, 2) You can scan the ISBN number into the app on our phone, 3) Using the app you can just say how many titles you have read and not type or scan in the titles, and 4) you can make a list and library staff will put that information into the app for you. There are probably more ways to record the titles you have read, but none leap to mind at this writing. Below you will find some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. You can put them on hold to read this summer or you can read them now and perhaps, finish them just as the Summer Reading Program begins. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction:

“Power and Glory: Elizabeth II and the Rebirth of Royalty” by Alexander Larman. A master chronicler of the House of Windsor brings his acclaimed trilogy to a dramatic and poignant conclusion.

“Warren and Bill: Gates, Buffett, and the Friendship That Changed the World” by Anthony McCarten. An Academy Award-nominated screenwriter presents this fascinating account of the extraordinary friendship between Warren Buffet and Bill Gates that impacted each man and led to change on a grander scale as they jointly addressed some of the world’s most critical problems by giving their wealth away.

“Alien Earth: The New Science of Planet Hunting in the Cosmos” by Lisa Kaltenegger. An astrophysicist unlocks the mysteries of alien worlds, from lava planets to multi-sun systems, using Earth as a key and humanity's curiosity as fuel, in a thrilling quest to answer whether we are alone in the universe.

“Every Living Thing: The Great and Deadly Race to Know All Life” by Jason Roberts. The best-selling author of A Sense of the World tells the story of two scientific rivals and their mission to survey all life and the clash of ideas that had profound consequences for humanity. 

New Fiction:

“Patchwork Quilt Murder, No. 30 (Lucy Stone Mysteries)” by Leslie Meier. When the director of the new community center and her young employee are found dismembered, part-time reporter Lucy Stone, trying to piece the clues together, discovers the truth rests somewhere between wild rumors, a trusted friend’s emotional new sewing project and the authenticity of a mysterious300-year-old patchwork quilt.

“An Unfinished Murder, No. 5 (Medlar Mysteries)” by Jude Deveraux. A novelist, Sara Medlar, and her friends use all their amateur sleuthing skills to solve a crime when a literal skeleton is discovered in a closet, in the fifth novel of the series following “A Relative Murder”.

“Just for the Summer” by Abby Jimenez. With every person they date finding their soulmate the second they break up, Justin and Emma decide to date each other and break up to cancel each other’s curse out, but their quick fling turns something more when their families get involved and they catch real feelings for each other.

“The Summer We Started Over” by Nancy Thayer. Returning to Nantucket to help her younger sister with the grand opening of her gift shop, Eddie Grant must face all she left behind: her father’s increased eccentricities; her sister’s resentment of her leaving; and a past love connection, discovering a long-buried family secret that will change them all forever.

“Tourist Season” by Brenda Novak. Trapped alone in her fiancé’s family “cottage” as a hurricane bears down on Mariners Island, Ismay Chalmers, as she prepares for the storm, discovers some disturbing items hidden in a closet that have her questioning everything she knows about the seemingly perfect Windsor family—especially her fiancé.

“City in Ruins (Danny Ryan Trilogy)” by Don Winslow. A Las Vegas casino mogul with a spotty past must fight for the life he created and everything he holds dear after old enemies surface, in the third novel of the series following “City of Dreams”.

“Darlings Girl” by Sally Hepworth. Two women who escaped an overly strict home with a foster mother on a farm are called back to their childhood home and into the orbit of their former guardian when human bones are discovered beneath the farmhouse.

“Extinction” by Douglas Preston. Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Frances Cash investigates after a billionaire's son and his new wife are kidnapped and murdered by a gang of eco-terrorists at a park where extinct animals are brought back through genetic manipulation.

“The Murder Inn” by James Patterson & Candice Fox. The owner of the Inn at Gloucester, a place open to anyone running from trouble or hiding from life, former Boston police detective Bill Robinson must defend his town, his chosen family and his home when a newcomer in town launches a series of attacks.

“Toxic Prey, No.34 (Prey)” by John Sandford. When a renowned expert in infectious diseases disappears without a trace, Letty Davenport, with the world on high alert, calls in her father, Lucas, to locate him, and when their worst fears are confirmed, they must race against time to stop the virus he created from becoming the perfect weapon.

I looked at the calendar today to see the date of publication for this column and saw to my great alarm, that we are looking at the month of May. How did it get to be May already? Now that I think about it, we’ve had all those April showers which, apparently, following the adage, are bringing forth May flowers. The trees, with this last round of rain, decided to suddenly leaf out. The migratory birds keep migrating in. In fact, this past Sunday morning, I heard and then saw White-crowned sparrows. These sparrows migrate through Wisconsin to their breeding grounds in Alaska and arctic Canada. They usually only hang around long enough to fuel up before heading further north. I checked my calendar from last year (Yes. I admit it. I do keep track of information like this and I do categorize things. And yes, this probably explains how I ended up being a librarian.). Last year the white-crowned sparrows didn’t show up until May 9th. They are 12 days earlier this year. The goldfinches are wearing their gold feathers already and the frogs are starting to sing. If it is May, and I believe we all agree it is May, then can the start of the Summer Reading Program be far way? I shall answer that rhetorical question with a resounding “No. It can’t be far away!” It will be upon us sooner than you think. Stay tuned for further details. In the meantime, keep your reading eyes in shape by perusing some of the recently arrived titles at the library. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction:

“The Swans of Harlem: Five Black Ballerinas…” by Karen Valby. Steeped in the glamour and grit of professional ballet, this captivating account of five extraordinarily accomplished black ballerinas, the Swans of Harlem, celebrates both their historic careers and their 50-year sisterhood, offering a window into the history of black ballet, hidden for too long.

“The Age of Grievance” by Frank Bruni. A best-selling author and longtime New York Times< columnist examines the ways in which grievance has come to define our current culture and politics, on both the right and left.

“House Rules: How to Decorate for Every Home, Style, and Budget” by Myquillyn Smith. The New York Times best-selling author, also known as “The Nester,” presents 100 decorating truths for any house, style and budget that can help beautify any room and create more vibrant and livable spaces.

“Secure Relating: Holding Your Own in an Insecure World” by Sue Marriott & Ann Kelley. Integrating modern attachment theory, relational neuroscience and depth psychology into practical tools, two experienced mental health professionals and hosts of the Therapist Uncensored podcast offer a fresh and innovative approach to understanding and improving relationships in today’s increasingly polarized world. 

New Fiction:

“The Cemetery of Untold Stories” by Julia Alvarez. Inheriting a small plot of land in the 
Dominican Republic, celebrated writer Alma Cruz creates a graveyard for the characters whose lives she tried and failed to bring to life, but they have other ideas as they rewrite and revise themselves, revealing their true narratives to those who will listen.

“Real Americans” by Rachel Khong. In this intricately woven tapestry of class and striving, race and visibility, and family and inheritance, 15-year-old Nick Chen, who cannot shake the feeling his mother is hiding something, sets out to find his biological father—a journey that raises more questions than provides answers

"Miss Morgan’s Book Brigade” by Janet Charles. The New York Times and internationally best-selling author of The Paris Library returns with a novel based on the true story of Jessie Carson—the American librarian who changed the literary landscape of France.

“Only the Brave” by Danielle Steel. During World War II, Sophia Alexander, after her mother dies and her father is sent to a concentration camp, becomes increasingly involved in the resistance and while working with the convent nuns, the Sisters of Mercy where she risks everything to help those in need—no matter what the cost.

“Circle in the Water, No. 36 (Charon McCone Mysteries)” by Marcia Muller. Sharon McCone is hired by a coalition of concerned San Francisco homeowners whose homes have been targeted in a series of "pranks," in the latest installment of the long-running series following “A Midnight Puzzle”.

“Feline Fatale, No. 32 (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries)” by Rita Mae Brown. Mary Minor "Harry" Harristeen investigates a murder in Albermarle County, Virginia with assistance from her beloved pets, including cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter and dogs Pirate and Tucker in the latest novel in the long-running series following “Hiss and Tell”.

“The Museum of Lost Quilts (Elm Creek Quilters)” by Jennifer Chiaverini. While staying at Elm Creek Manor to finish her thesis, Summer, the youngest founding member of Elm Creek Quilts, instead researches the antique quilts on display for a fundraiser to renovate the headquarters of the Waterford Historical Society, discovering its troubled history of racism, economic injustice and political corruption, past and present.

“Lost Birds (Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito)” by Anne Hillerman. Retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, P.I. Joe Leaphorn is hired to find the birth parents of a woman raised by a bilagaana family, which unexpectedly turns into a complicated case, while Officer Bernadette Manuelito investigates an explosion linked his investigation.

“Pay Dirt (V.I. Warshawski)” by Sara Paretsky. While visiting Angela, one her protégées in Kansas, V.I. Warshawski, when Angela’s roommate goes missing and V.I. finds her near death in a drug house, is pitched headlong into the country’s opioid crisis and a local land use battle with roots going back to the Civil War.

As of the publication date -- one assumes Friday, April 26th-- of this column, there are only a handful of days left in April which means that May is right around the corner. If May is just around the corner, with all those May flowers the April showers helped bring forth (and that the April freeze at the beginning of this week attempted to thwart). And if May is just around the corner, that means that the start of the Summer Reading Program is also around the corner.

If one assumes a publication date of April 26th, then today is also the Eve of the library’s first ever Bluey Party.  It starts tomorrow -- that would be Saturday, April 27th-- at 9:30.There will be crafts, a treat, and, I have it on good authority, Bluey and Bingo will be making an appearance. While many think Bluey is only for younger children, I am one adult who has binge-watched the entire oeuvre (more than once, she admits, blushing) and am a huge fan. It is sweet and funny and has subtle life lessons. It also has dancing -- individually and as a family-- and imaginative play.  Our party will try to capture some of that spirit! It’s from 9:30 to noon. Hope to see you there!

Below are some of the new spring titles which recently arrived at the library. We are still getting books from the publishers’ spring lists. Any minute now the Beach Reads will begin to arrive. In the meantime, check these out or put them on hold, Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction:

“The Rulebreaker : The Life and Times of Barbara Walters” by Susan Page. The definitive biography of one of the most successful female broadcasters of all time—Barbara Walters—a woman whose personal demons fueled an ambition that broke all the rules and finally gave women a permanent place on the air.

“Shakespeare : The Man Who Pays the Rent” by Judi Dench & Brendan O’hea. For the very first time, a noted actor opens up about every Shakespearean role she has played throughout her seven-decade career, from Lady Macbeth and Titania to Ophelia and Cleopatra.

“Dogland: Passion, Glory, and Lots of Slobber at the Westminster Dog Show” by Tommy Tomilinson. From a Pulitzer Prize finalist and the author of The Elephant in the Room comes the first inside account of the Westminster Dog Show—America’s oldest and most beloved dog 
show—following one dog on his quest to become a champion.

“Age of Revolution: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present” by Fareed Zakaria. The CNN host and best-selling author explores the revolutions—past and present—that define the polarized and unstable age in which we live. 

New Fiction:

“Crow Talk” by Eileen Garvin. The best-selling author of “The Music of Bees” returns with the story of the unlikely friendship between a lonely ornithologist and an Irish musician working to save an injured crow in the wild beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

“The Paris Novel” by Ruth Reichl. Resigning herself to honor her mother’s last wishes, Stella travels to Paris where she meets an octogenarian art collector who introduces her to the who’s who of the 1980’s Paris literary, art and culinary worlds, helping her understand what it might mean to live a larger life.

“Ash Dark as Night, No.2 (Harry Ingram Mysteries)” by Gary Phillips. After being beaten unconscious for taking a photo during the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles, Harry Ingram agrees to help a friend track down a missing business associate, in the second novel of the series following OneShot Harry.

“Close to Death (Hawthorne and Horowitz Mysteries)” by Anthony Horowitz. When Charles Kentworthy is found dead on his doorstep after moving his loud, boisterous family into an idyllic gated community, Detective Hawthorne investigates, in the fifth novel of the series following “The Twist of a Knife”.

“Death by Chocolate Raspberry Scone, No. 7 (Death by Chocolate Mysteries)” by Sarah Graves. Passamaquoddy Bay bakers Jake and Ellie search for the remains of a skilled fisherman who vanished with a valuable gold doubloon inherited from his grandfather in the seventh novel of the series following Death by Chocolate Marshmallow Pie.

“Lucky” by Jane Smiley. Coming of age in recording studios, backstage and on tour, rising folk musician Jodie Rattler, trying to hold her own in the wake of Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell, feels like something is missing and sets out on a journey in search of herself.

“The Poison Pen, No. 9 (Scottish Bookshop Mysteries)” by Paige Shelton. The ninth installment in the cozy mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Delaney Nichols is set in a specialty bookshop in Edinburgh called The Cracked Spine.

“Funny Story” by Emily Henry. After being dumped for her boyfriend's lifelong best friend, Petra, Daphne agrees to room with Petra's freshly heartbroken ex until she can figure things out, in the new 
novel from the New York Times best-selling author of Happy Place.

“A Calamity of Souls” by David Baldacci. In a Virginia courtroom in 1968, a reluctant white lawyer and a dedicated black attorney must bridge their differences to fight for a black man's life against racial prejudice and powerful forces seeking to undo civil rights

April is quite the literary month. Two of the biggest names in English Literature are associated with the month.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s magnum opus, “The Canterbury Tales” begins with these famous lines (quoted in Middle English) which I’m sure many of you had to memorize at some point in your educational career:

“Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote, /The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licóur /Of which vertú engendred is the flour;” 

This prologue insists that April is the perfect month for going on a pilgrimage. In modern parlance, a rough translation would be, “April is the perfect time for a road trip (possibly with the Harley.  The other big name in English Lit, is William Shakespeare whose birthday is celebrated as April 23rd (it is also his purported death day). He wrote an whole lot about spring and birds singing and flowers blooming. Here is a tiny sample from “As You Like It”, 

“It was a lover and his lass, /With a hey, and a ho, and a hey non-i-no,/That o’er the green cornfield did pass,/In the Spring time, the only pretty ring time,/ When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding./Sweet lovers love the Spring.” 

Not a lot of deep messages in this sample, but you catch the drift. Spring is a frolicsome time. The birds are singing up the dawn every day. The butterflies are returning. The dandelions are sprouting. Motorcycles are emerging from their winter hibernation. Lawn mowers are being tuned-up, gassed up, a ready to go. But, before you get too wrapped up with all the yardwork and gardening to be done. Remember that April showers accompany the blue-sky days and those days are the best for curling up with a good book. Below you will find some splendid books that are just perfect for reading any time, in any weather, but which are particularly good for rainy spring days. Enjoy!

New Non-Fiction:

“Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder” by Salman Rushdie. The internationally renowned writer and Booker Prize winner speaks out for the first time about the traumatic events of August 12, 2022, when an attempt was made on his life, in this deeply personal meditation on violence, art, loss, love and finding the strength to stand up again.

“The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians: Their Stories are Better Than the Bestsellers” by James Patterson & Matt Eversmann. Showcasing the smart and talented people who live between the pages, this inspiring collection of true stories, as told to one of the greatest novelists of our time, invites us into a world where we can feed our curiosities, discover new voices and find whatever we want or require.

“Good Housekeeping Organize Your Life” by the Editors of Goodhousekeeping. Decluttering your home has never been easier with this step-by-step action plan, plus hundreds of genius tricks help you create a calm and tidy life.

“Somehow: Thoughts on Love” by Anne Lamott. Full of her trademark compassion and humanity, the New York Times bestselling explores the transformative power of love in our lives: how it surprises us, forces us to confront uncomfortable truths, reminds us of our humanity and guides us forward.

“Think This Not That: 12 Mineshafts to Breakthrough Limiting Beliefs and Become Who You Were Born to Be” by Josh Axe. Teaches 12 powerful mindshifts to break through limiting beliefs, spark personal transformation and build a more meaningful life.

New Fiction:

“Dragon Rider (Soulbound Saga)” by Taran Matharu. A royal hostage, gifted with a stolen dragon hatchling, flees to forge his own destiny and seek revenge and reclaim his rightful land, in the new series from the best-selling author of the “Summoner” series.

“Midnight Harbor, No. 8 (Miramar Bay)” by Davis Bunn. When his Aunt Amelia, his closest friend and greatest supporter, passes away, leaving him her home in Miramar, classical guitarist Ian Hart uses this opportunity to reflect and move forward after a scandal destroyed his career but instead finds himself drawn to another newcomer, artist Kari Langham, who changes everything.

“Sweetness in the Skin” by Ishi Robinson. A young teenage girl in Jamaica is determined to bake her way out of her dysfunctional family and into the opportunity of a lifetime.

“Village Weavers” by Myriam Chancy. Confronts the silences around class, race and nationality, charts the moments when lives are irrevocably forced apart, and envisions two girls—connected their entire lives—who try to break inherited cycles of mistrust and find ways back into each other’s hearts.

“The Limits” by Nell Freudenberger. Sent to New York to stay with her father, an overworked surgeon, and his new wife, 15-year-old Pia, rebelling against her stepmother when COVID sends them into near total isolation, finds her life colliding with 16-year-old Athyna, who’s caring for a toddler full time, as they spiral toward parallel but inescapably different tragedies.

“Sharpe’s Command: Richard Sharpe and the Bridge at Almaraz, May 1812(Sharpe)” by Bernard Cornwell. Sent on an undercover mission to a small village in the Spanish countryside in the early 19th century, far behind enemy lines, the formidable Captain Sharpe and his group of men—with their cunning and courage to rely on—must stop two French armies from meeting on the Almaraz bridge.

“The Titanic Survivors Book Club” by Timothy Schaffert. Paris bookshop owner Yorick, joining a secret society of other Titanic ticket holders who didn’t board the ship, forms a book club where they can grapple with their good fortune and anxieties through heated discussions of literature, but when one of them unexpectedly dies, he wonders what fate has in store.

“It Had to Be You (Under Suspicion)” by Mary Higgins Clard & Alafair Burke. Years after their parents’ murder, identical twin brothers, determined to clear one name at the expense of the other, ask Laura Moran and her Under Suspicion crew to solve this brutal crime and as they get close to the truth, they find the danger from the past finding its way into the present.

Today is the antepenultimate day of National Library Week 2024. This means, among other things, that there are only three more days (including today) to celebrate your favorite week of the year!  It also means that today, April 12th, is the eve of our National Library Week Open House. That’s right! Tomorrow you are invited to attend an open hours from 10 to 12. To top off the festivities Duke Otherwise will be performing a fun, musical program. There will be demonstrations of some the amazing equipment you can check out from your library. I have it on good authority that there will be demonstrations and/or product made using the equipment that includes metal detectors, the lefse maker, and some cake pans. There will be crafts to make, Stop by and find out about all the astonishing things available at your public library. And not only do we have an astonishing and expanding array of equipment and cool items for you to check out, we also have books.  The spring book lists have been arriving steadily. Below you will find a sample of some of the recent titles available for you to check out – or at least to place a hold on. Enjoy!

How did it get to be April 5th already? We sailed right past Easter, April Fools Day, and are coming up to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four this weekend as well as the start of National Library Week.

April is one of two months that are particularly dear to librarians’ hearts (I know. I know. You are shocked to learn that librarians have hearts. But we do! At least some of us.). We, in the trade, are rather fond of National Library Week and the entire month of September which you all know is National Library Card Signup Month.  To celebrate National Library Week (April 7th through the 13th) we are having a month-long Bingo challenge/contest (details to follow) and an open house on Saturday, April 13th, from 10-noon. At the end of the Open House, Duke Otherwise will be putting on a show. Be sure to stop by and checkout all the neat equipment and services that will be showcased during the Open House and then stay for an energetic performance. Duke Otherwise, as some of you may recall, during the pandemic, performed on the intersection of the two book cases in the Circulation corral while the audience stood around the mezzanine railing. It was quite the performance! While the Duke has demurred about performing on the circulation desk, he will provide a memorable show. Be sure to get these events on your calendar. While you’re waiting to attend these must-see events, there are a few book titles listed below which will help you pass the time. Enjoy!

We made it through the high school basketball tournament with nary a snowflake, but … The NCAA Basketball tournament got off to it’s start a week ago Thursday, and just like clockwork, snow was in the forecast with dire predictions of at least six inches of snow. We did get snow, about 3 inches (at least on my porch), but it mostly melted by day’s end.  The publication date of this will be day two of the Sweet 16 playoffs. By Saturday we will be down to the Elite Eight and the forecast is for precipitation, but this time we’re talking about rain.  I am not quite ready to take my winter coat and snow shovel out of the back seat of my car, but I starting to think really hard about doing it. What restrains me is my fear that I might be tempting fate. That I might in some way be encouraging a snow storm to deliver one more storm. The tulips and daffodils continue their upward journey. They don’t seem to mind this late-season snow. Nor do I. I don’t mind it, but I am ready for it to be done. Anytime. In the meantime there are many spring books arriving, poking their little heads over the tops of the Baker & Taylor boxes, hoping to make their way into your hands. Below are some of the recently-arrived books hoping for a vacation, Gentle Reader, in your domicile. Enjoy!

“Are these snowflakes which I see before me?”, I asked myself Sunday and Monday. We are halfway through the month of March and the grass is greening, the birds are singing and thinking about nesting, the spring books are arriving in goodly numbers weekly, and now the weather has decided to make a turn back towards colder temperatures and solid precipitation. The NCAA basketball tournaments are about to get underway and the forecast, though chilly, hasn’t mentioned “blizzards” or measurable snowstorms (knock wood). I find these cold, gloomy days perfect for settling in with a good books, and a hot cup of something, with possibly a cat, dog, significant other or perhaps all three snuggling nearby.  Below you will find some books which you might just find perfect for curling up with and forgetting what’s happening outside while we all wait for spring to arrive. And, well, actually. Spring did officially arrived this week on March 19th at 10.06 p.m. Since March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, it shouldn’t be long until more spring-like weather arrives. Until then, curl up with one of these dandy new books. Enjoy!

It looks like Booky, the library’s prognosticating Badger, made the correct call on Groundhog’s Day. Winter seems to have withdrawn while spring exerts its influence more and more each week. Birds are literally flocking back. The dawn chorus has started up and early signs of nest building can be found. We have already rolled past the Girls WIAA basketball tournaments with nary a flake of snow to be seen. The Boys WIAA basketball  tournament gets underway on March 15th and if you believe the Weather Kitty app -- which I do-- the only precipitation in the forecast is rain. So, it would appear that we have dodged that potential blizzard magnet. This upcoming weekend is also the selection weekend for the NCAA Basketball Tournaments. Those tournaments pose the last of the big-snow-attracting events. While my Weather Kitty app doesn’t forecast beyond 7 days, by the end of March the probability of snow diminishes weekly. All that being said, the spring book titles are popping up at the library like croci and daffodils reaching towards the sun. Below you will find some of the many new titles which recently arrived at the library. With the milder weather and more light at the evening end of the day, why not sit and read daylight? Enjoy!

Here it is, second week of March, and (knock wood) so far, not a snowflake to be seen. There’s nothing much in the 10-day forecast either.  I read in a newsletter – either the International Crane Foundation or Aldo Leopold Newsletter – that this year there has been 18 days of winter. The sandhill cranes left the Baraboo area on January 12th and had returned by February 12th, The 18 days of winter included those couple of snows and the deep-freeze plunge with high winds. That’s been it so far (knock on wood).  I keep reminding folks that even with fortuitous weather forecasts that get us to the middle of March, we are not truly out of the snow/blizzard season until we have gotten through the WIAA basketball tournaments (and possibly the NCAA ones as well). Every day gets us closer to Easter on March 31st (it is a fairly early Easter—the earliest possible is March 22nd) which gets us that much closer to April. [However, I do remember the Chicago Easter snow storm on March 29th, 1964 when 7.1 inches fell. We had to drive to our cousin’s for dinner and the snow kept coming down. We ate and left almost before dessert was served (My dad refused to go before he had his slice of coconut-covered-lamb-shaped cake festooned with jelly bean eggs. He was driving so he had his cake and got us home safely]. But I digress. Below you will find some of the new books which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

The weather certainly has been a rollercoaster lately. Monday was in the low 60s, Tuesday in the high 60s, and Wednesday, forecast to struggle to make it to the high 20s.and then back to close to 70 degrees by the weekend. I keep asking people if it’s still February and up until today (assuming the publication date of Friday, March 1st) the answer has been in the affirmative. The high school boys and girls basketball final tournaments are yet to be played and we all know that those tournaments, in the past, have acted as a snow-storm magnet. Who knows if that will be the cast this year? In the meantime the grass continues to green and new birds are migrating back into the area almost daily (I saw a migratory flock of starlings over the weekend and while starlings tend to hang around most of the year they do come south to find warmer temperatures and more available food and they do flock-up when they make these moves).  Speaking of books, the spring titles are flocking to our shelves almost as quickly as the birds.  Below you will find some of the new titles which recently arrived at the library.

I am writing this on Monday, February 19th, which, I’m sure, most of you will recall, is Presidents Day. This holiday was originally designated to celebrate George Washington’s birthday which is actually on February 22nd..  As the years went on Lincoln’s birthday (February 12th) was also included under the umbrella term “Presidents Day”.  In 1968, Presidents Day became a federal holiday which means there is no U.S. mail (which I shall have totally forgotten about when I stop to get my mail on the way home) and banks and a few other businesses may be closed.  Presidents Day is a fine opportunity for sales and many retailers both online and in brick-and-mortar stores take advantage of the holiday to offer discounts.  The funny thing about Presidents Day, also known as George Washington’s birthday is that for all the places that you will find his birth date as February 22nd, 1732 in fact, he was born in Virginia on February 11th, 1731.  How is this possible, you ask? Well he was born when the Gregorian calendar was being used. In 1752, Britain and its colonies switched to the Julian calendar which added one year and 11 days to preceding dates.  I won’t go into why one calendar system was preferred over the other now. Suffice it to say, the three-day federal holiday celebrating various presidential birthdays makes it a moveable feast which Washington’s birthday sort of was anyway.(Lincoln’s birthday has moved around at all). Below are some of the new books which recently arrived at the library – none via U.S. mail on Monday, however – Enjoy!

Is this indeed an early spring?  I know we have recently sailed past Ground Hogs’ Day and Super Bowl Sunday and it is still only the second (full) week of February, but the piles of snow are all but gone, the grass is greening up nicely, and the chickadees have started singing their “phoebe” song. I saw power line full of dark, medium-sized birds at the beginning of the week.  Could these have been early migrating red-winged blackbirds? Could be. I’ve seen big skeins of geese heading north. These feel like migrants, not locals who are going to just circle back and land on a pond.  Although they could be geese that wintered over here and are practicing to make the big push north. And you know me and sandhill cranes. I can just feel them coming north. My google feed showed me a newscast from Kearney, Nebraska this morning talking about how early the crane migration is this year. As we all know, typically, cranes don’t start staging north until Valentine’s Day – which at this writing has yet to happen.  But the cranes are already starting to appear at the Kearney flyway. I got a text from my friend and fellow craniac telling me by crane instincts were right on. She heard cranes calling in her marsh on Monday morning.  And speaking of spring, the spring book titles are also flocking north (ur book jobber is in Momence, IL). Below are some of the titles which recently appeared at the library. Enjoy!

A trifecta of prognosticating animals (Booky, Phil, and Jimmy) declared on February 2nd, that there would be an early spring. The weather during the last part of January and so far this month and even into the 10-day forecast seems to be bearing their prognostications out.  The days are noticeably longer – we are gaining a little over a minute everyday at sunset and making very slow progress on the sunrise end of things. But still. Progress is progress.  While the snow cover has mostly left except where there huge piles (mountains some would say), that green grass showing through heartens the winter-weary soul. One almost expects the birds to begin returning. I haven’t spotted any returning birds yet. Only the usual suspects are hanging out on my porch, but the squirrel activity has certainly ramped up. And the very best news for library users is that the book drought we had been experiencing seems to have lessened. The UPS guy has been like a rainmaker this past week. Bringing little showers of books into the library on an almost daily basis.  This week we have a full baker’s dozen of book titles for you to peruse. Enjoy!

Happy Ground Hog’s Day! At this writing, our prognosticating Badger, Booky, has yet to take a squint outside to see what he sees and make a prediection. Will he see his shadow thus forecasting an additional 6 weeks of winter? Or will he not see his shadow and the January thaw we have been experience for the past week or more, will continue? Tune in on the actual day to see what Booky predicts. Booky, as you probably recall, has a perfect record for Ground Hog Day predictions. While badgers and ground hogs are both, squat, short-legged mammals the similarity ends there. Groundhogs (Marmota monax) are grazing members of the rodent family; badgers are hunting members of the weasel family, (Mustelidae). This pretty much means, theoretically, a badger could eat a groundhog for lunch which is probably why our badger’s predictions trump the local groundhog’s prediction consistently. Ground Hog’s Day is a nice way of celebrating that spring might just be about to appear over the horizon. Sure, February, over the decades has had days that don’t get above zero and March is rather notorious for dumping large amounts of snow during high school basketball tournaments. But still, we are at least at the top of the hill, and will be rolling towards spring any day now. The seed catalogs and seed packets are beginning to appear in mailboxes and in hardware stores. The spring book titles are also beginning to appear.Below you will find some of them. Enjoy!

As the days have noticeably begun getting longer and the brief bout of bitterly cold wind chills has loosen its grip, and the mountains of snow are slowly turning into mere hills of snow, the drought of new books reaching this library has also begun to end. Below you will find ten (count them, 10!) new book titles. Indeed some of them are so new that they technically haven’t been published yet even though the physical book is sitting on a shelf in our backroom even as I write. “How is this possible?”, I hear you. “So glad you asked,” I reply. Publishing a book is the final part of the process of bringing a book from the writer’s pen to the physical or digital book that you, gentle reader, can sit down and read. Formatting, editing, designing cover art, determining fonts, chapter headings, etc. all precedes publishing as does the printing, binding, and shipping from the publishers. Releasing the final product into the world is the final step of getting a book into your hands. That releasing of the book is the publishing, Due to mostly market consideration, books are not “published” until certain dates. So right now three or four of the books listed below will not be published until the 30th. That doesn’t mean you can’t put a hold on the book, it just means we can’t release it by wanding the barcode to make it available to fill holds. Occasionally we get books with strict “on-sale” date which threatens dire consequences if we let those books loose before that date. All that being said, below are some new titles which recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

This week I have very few books to regale you with. I blame the supply chain. The two major winter storms the past week, I believe, slowed down the delivery of the many, many books we have on order. As of this writing, because of the holiday, neither the USPS nor UPS are making deliveries. Soon, we will have many books to tell you about. In the meantime, there are a half dozen listed further down the page. But since there is a lacuna in the titles of hard copy, print materials, let me tell you about some other hard copy, print materials we have.  Did you know that the library subscribes to 126 magazine titles?  We have many of your “classics” like “Better Homes and Garden”, “Consumer Reports”, “People”, “Popular Mechanics”, “Prevention”, and “Newsweek”.  But we also get some titles that are a but more esoteric like :”Elle”, “The Atlantic”, “Lighthouse Digest”, “The Cottage Journal”, “Flower”, “F1 Racing”, “Game and Fish Midwest”, “Writer’s Digest”, and “US Weekly”.  These magazines live upstairs at the end of Fiction on the Library Street side of the building. You should be able to locate them and other magazine titles that may be of interested, in the library catalog. Placing a hold on a specific issue can be a bit tricky, so if you need help. Ask at the Circulation desk.  Overdrive, the online resources available through the Libby App, has a large number of magazines available in digital format.  Check out the Libby App. Check out our magazines. Check out the titles listed below. And enjoy!

By the time you read this, assuming you read it on the paper’s publication date, Friday, January 12th, then we shall have, perhaps, passed the first major snow event of the season that has any chance of staying around.  As of this writing on Monday, the forecast is full of possibilities, but nothing tangible yet.  Libraries, like grocery stores, sometimes experience a run in front of major snow storm predictions. There is often a run on milk, eggs, and bread at one place and books, dvds, board games, and puzzles at the other. Everyone is stocking up in order to make it through a couple of days without easy access to what might be needed.  I hope you had a chance to stock up, or if not, that the potential forecast didn’t pan out.   I would like to note that as of January 10th, we started gaining a minute of light in the morning which will accelerate to a minute every couple of days going forward. At the evening end of the day, since the earliest sunset which occurred at 4:22 on 8th, 9th, and 10th of December, we have already gained 20 minutes. Of course, we all know the old weather adage about January, don’t we? As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens. As we head towards the coldest couple of weeks in the year, there are some new book titles, listed below, to keep you warm.  Enjoy!

I, for one, am hoping that this shiny, hardly-used, new year will be better than the previous year. You get to a certain age-- and trust me, I am well past that certain age--and the names of friends, acquaintances, and colleagues start appearing in the obit section of the newspaper. 2023 was one of those years for me. I imagine you all have your stories of loss and blessings from 2023 to tell. Stories are really important. They help us organize our thoughts in not only a linear, chronological fashion, but also causally and etiologically (the non-medical definition). Stories help us make sense of the world and of our actions. I believe that stories define what it is to be human as much as, if not more, than tool making.  Science has found any number of animals that use tools of some sort. Story tellers in other species have yet to be found.  (Although I do think my cats tell each other stories about, say, their trips to the vet or the birds they just saw on the porch.) The stories we tell delve into motivation as well as telling a series of events. Our stories sometimes describe not only how we behaved but how we could have or should have behaved. Stories can help us understand other people’s circumstances and the reasons for their actions. They can create empathy. Libraries are filled with stories. Some of those stories are telling a series of facts in a narrative frame to aid understanding of the events and motivations of people. That is non-fiction. Libraries are also filled with fiction stories too which ask us to imagine plots, people, and even different worlds. If you’re reading this you probably like stories too. Below are some of the recent titles of books filled with stories some of which may help you understand your own story better. Enjoy!