Friday, August 12, 2011

A Midsummer's Review

In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming

In the Bleak Midwinter is the award-winning first book in a mystery series featuring Reverend Clare Fergusson. The main character is an Episcopal priest and former Army helicopter pilot in the fictional town of Miller’s Kill in upstate New York. Even though the title for each book in this series comes from a hymn, readers aren’t treated to a sermon. Clare is a serious do-gooder, but she drinks and cusses. Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne is the other major character in this series; he is also retired from the Army. He and Clare are fast friends when they discover their common bond of both formerly being in the Army. 

I discovered this series thanks to a recommendation from another fan of the Maisie Dobbs mystery series. There are similarities with these two series in spite of their very different settings. Both women provide emotional counseling in the course of their responsibilities. Maisie Dobbs is a detective and former Army nurse in London during the era of World War I and Clare Fergusson is in the fictional town of Miller’s Kill in upstate New York in present time. This is a wonderful book. I’m looking forward to reading the whole series!

- Shirley, Adult Services.
.More on the book

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Perks Include Awesome Music

Charlie- the bright, sensitive narrator of The Perks of Being a Wallflower- appreciates when the perfect song comes on the car radio. I created a playlist that I imagine this introverted character would enjoy listening to in the car. Here's to you Charlie!

Jenny C - Children's

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Squirreled Away

Kansas Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, & Other Offbeat Stuff by Pam Grout
 Earlier this summer, I got to play tour guide to my good friends Cory and Karen, who were visiting from Iowa and looking for a Kansas adventure. Although they probably would have enjoyed the local Lawrence scene — Sylas & Maddys Ice Cream, the William Burroughs House, Free State Brewery — I thought their visit would be a great excuse to get out and see some of the sights I’ve been wanting to see since moving to Kansas about a year ago. You know, Council Grove, Holy-Field Winery, The Garden of Eden…

Instead? I checked out this crazy book from the Library and we wound up 2 1/2 hours north in Marysville, KS, to see some black squirrels. Sometimes the library will lead you astray.

To be fair, the book makes it sound like a great bet:

"Drive in any entrance to this prosperous river town and you’ll see big signs proclaiming it “The Black Squirrel City.” Indeed, coal black squirrels have the run of the town, with a city-proclaimed right-of-way on any street, alley, or railroad track. Anyone who dares hurt one is fined $25. In 1972, city commissioners made black squirrels the official town mascot, granting them immunity from all traffic regulations, freedom to trespass on all county property, and the first pickings of the town’s black walnuts.

 "No one knows for sure where the huge population of black squirrels came from, but the most persistent legend claims a local hooligan unlocked a cage of the dark rodents from a carnival of Gypsies who camped in City Park for three nights in the 1920s."

But, did black squirrels overrun our vehicle when we crossed the city line? Of course not. After (creepily) trolling the streets from our car for half an hour, we finally spotted our first black squirrel. Which ran away. And then we took some afternoon refreshment at the local taqueria. At least the salsa was spicy and the company was great!

Rachel - Programs

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

TV Zombie

With the best of intentions, and more than a little self-satisfaction, I canceled my cable.  I was excited to free up my time and money to focus on more high-minded pursuits.  Maybe I would learn to play the piccolo, or read Voltaire, or at the very least figure out who Voltaire was.  Plus, I would be able to lord my new sophistication over my TV watching friends.  Whenever I found myself ensnared in the inevitable conversation about Snooki’s antics, or the bloviating of a cable news talking-head, I would be able to derisively assure the person that I had no idea what they were going on about.  “What is this Snooki?” I would say, maybe while worrying the chain on my monocle.

Well, it’s been a few months, and as a librarian I’m a little reluctant to report that not having cable leaves a lot to be desired.  This is especially true since I haven’t actually stop watching TV; I’ve just lowered my expectations to the point where I’m willing to fuss with rabbit ears for half an hour to catch a few glimpses of a rerun of The King of Queens.  Today, I’m pre-mourning missing out on the new fall lineup, particularly the second season of The Walking Dead on AMC.  If you missed the first season, let me deconstruct the plot a little bit:  Zombies.   Season Two starts on October 16, which gives me a couple more months to determine if maybe cable and I are just on a break.   In the meantime, I can read the graphic novels that inspired the show or borrow a copy of Season One to relive some zombie unpleasantness (remember that poor horse?) and hopefully slake my cable jones.

Since we’re on the subject of zombies, check out this recent article in the New York Times about zombies in literature – clearly they’re the thinking-man’s/woman's paranormal antagonists du jour (and you can find almost all of the titles mentioned in the article right here at LPL).

Ransom - Reference

Monday, August 8, 2011

Recommendable Reads: Criss Cross by Lynn Rae Perkins

Jenny from Youth Services discusses the good-for-all-ages book Criss Cross by Lynn Rae Perkins.