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!
Dog Flowers by Danielle Geller. An award-winning essayist draws on archival documents in a narrative account that explores how her family's troubled past and the death of her mother, a homeless alcoholic, reflected the traditions and tragic history of her Navajo heritage.
With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism by Laura Lovett. Presents the first biography of Dorothy Pitman Hughes, a trailblazing black feminist activist whose work made children, race, and welfare rights central to the women’s movement.
Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness by Roy Grinker. The author of “Unstrange Minds” presents a compassionate history of evolving attitudes toward mental illness and the ongoing fight to end elated stigmas, sharing the story of his own family's four-generation involvement in psychiatry
Out of Hounds, No. 13 (“Sister” Jane) by Rita Mae Brown. Sister Jane investigates when a series of art thefts and acts of vandalism targeting the Jefferson Hunt Club escalates to the murder of a retired foxhunter. By the best-selling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries.
Before the Ruins by Victoria Gosling. A multilayered debut by the founder of The Reader Berlin finds a woman forced to confront a haunting summer from the past shaped by a stolen diamond necklace, a man on the run and a devastating betrayal.
The Russian, No. 13 (Michael Bennett) by James Patterson & James O. Born. Investigating a trio of horrifying murders in three major U.S. cities against a backdrop of his impending nuptials, Detective Michael Bennett risks getting caught in a deadly trap set by a particularly elusive killer
How I Learned to Hate in Ohio by David Stuart MacLean. Bonding with a Sikh newcomer to his insular 1980s community, a bright misfit engages in reckless adventures that expose the racist views of his neighbors. A first novel by the award-winning author of “The Answer to the Riddle Is Me.”
Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton. Cadie returns to her childhood home to confront her estranged best friend and the dark secret they both share and must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the land she loves.
The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. Two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation find refuge in each other while transforming a quiet shed into a haven for their fellow slaves, before an enslaved preacher declares their bond sinful. A first novel
The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard. Exploited by the white family that took him in as a servant 15 years earlier, a Black orphan becomes tragically enraged by how his employers mindlessly profit from the talents of a hired Black cook.
Summerwater by Sarah Moss. A series of vignettes offer the idle thoughts of a group of strangers vacationing in a Scottish holiday park during a very rainy day, lost in their own little worlds, until a shocking event unites them.
The Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson. Born on a plantation but set apart from the others by her mother's position as a medicine woman, a young slave is forced to leave home at 18 and unexpectedly finds herself in an infamously cruel jail.
The Scorpion’s Tail, No. 2 (Nora Kelly) by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Childs. A sequel to “Old Bones” finds FBI agent Corrie Swanson and Santa Fe archaeologist Nora Kelly investigating the mummified corpse of a long-dead victim who died in agony while holding a mysterious 16th-century gold cross.