When you check your mailbox for the day’s mail, how excited are you to find a few pieces of junk mail you never solicited? Probably not very. Add to that let-down feeling the worry about the unnecessary waste of paper. Sigh. By contrast, what do you feel when you pull a handwritten card or letter from your mailbox? A happy little thrill? Mm hmm, I thought so.
With the advent of electronic communication we have experienced the decline of this happy little thrill in our lives. Handwritten cards and letters have been replaced with emails, text messages, live phone calls or voice mails, except, fortunately, around holidays and birthdays, when we still get to experience this dear form of communication as it comes through the snail mail. Continue reading “April Is National Card and Letter Writing Month”
“It occurred to me that at one point it was like I had two diseases – one was Alzheimer’s and the other was knowing I had Alzheimer’s.” – Terry Pratchett
Having Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging both physically and psychologically. How can people deal with these challenges on them and their loved ones? Check out these docs to see how various people face the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Alive Inside” (2014)
This film chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. It’s a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Continue reading “The Aging Mind: Docs Featuring People With Alzheimer’s Disease”
Today, April 19, marks the anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War. The war was long, lasting over 8 years. Countless lives throughout the colonies were affected by those seemingly endless years of fighting as the new nation came into being. The Revolutionary War years were filled with drama, so it is not surprising how many fiction titles are set during that time. Here are some novels at the library that readers who enjoy historical fiction may want to explore:
“America’s First Daughter” by Stephanie Dray: we’ve heard stories about our Founding Fathers, but what about the rest of their families? Dray’s book offers a fictionalized look into the life of Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph. Patsy was close to her father and served as a stand-in First Lady to her widowed father. Dray’s book, which is based on letters and historical documents, follows Patsy’s journey from Monticello to Paris and ultimately to the White House, and offers insight into the personal sacrifices she made in order to help her father achieve the presidency. Continue reading “Revolutionary War Fiction”
Now that we’re shaking off the shackles of winter and stepping into the significantly more comfortable zipties of spring, it’s a good idea to read a novel that will prepare us for the sun-scorched seatbelt buckles of summer. “The Summer That Melted Everything” by Tiffany McDaniel is exactly that novel. Partly because the word summer is in the title, but also because it is, as one might suspect, set during the titular summer, and McDaniel wields her immense powers of description with the dexterity and precision of an ice cream truck driver piloting his vehicle around swarms of children that desperately want ice cream on a hot summer day but lack the money one must exchange for it, and therefore, after the ice cream truck evades their attempts to topple it, must retreat to their homes, where, if they’re lucky, there is a freezer burned bag of peas that they can lick. (This novel is hot, and it makes you feel like you’re in the heat.)
“The Summer That Melted Everything” will remind readers that have read “To Kill A Mockingbird” of “To Kill A Mockingbird” (in a good way). McDaniel’s novel is narrated by Fielding Bliss, son of Autopsy Bliss, whose name is the perfect representation of the similarities and differences between Lee’s novel and McDaniel’s. Like Lee’s Atticus Finch, Autopsy Bliss is a noble lawyer and caring family man. Unlike Atticus, Autopsy places a letter in the local newspaper inviting the devil to visit their town. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Tiffany McDaniel”
Each month, we host Facebook Friday Recommendations online. You can get personalized recommendations — all you need to do is find our Facebook Friday post and comment with two or three books or authors you like, and we’ll help you find your next great read! Here are the recommendations from April 2017.
Request: I’ll go first! The last three books I read that I LOVED were “Americanah” by Chimamanda Adichie, “The Mothers” by Brit Bennett and “Commonwealth” by Ann Patchett. I really like fiction that tells a complex story. I love to learn something new even when I read fiction. I’m trying to read lot of immigrant and refugee books right now. I just finished “Exit West” and loved the premise but the style wasn’t my favorite. Any good recommendations for me?
Recommendation: For books that focus on the immigrant experience, you might try “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears” by Dinaw Mengestu, or the illustrated memoir “The Best We Could Do” by Thi Bui. And, since dynamic, multi-layered stories are your jam, be sure to check out “Swing Time” by Zadie Smith, “Another Brooklyn” by Jacqueline Woodson and “The Nix” by Nathan Hill. Continue reading “Facebook Friday Archives- April 7, 2017”
Here’s a look at some of the most exciting books being published by first-time authors in April.
“The Witchfinder’s Sister” by Beth Underdown
50 years before the Salem Witch Trials, there was “Witchfinder General” Matthew Hopkins, responsible for the deaths of over 300 women who were hanged as witches. This is his sister’s story.
1645: when Alice Hopkins returns to the small town of Essex, England where she grew up, she discovers a town cowering in fear. Her brother, Matthew Hopkins, has made it his mission to hunt down and hang suspected witches. Horrified by the man her beloved brother has become, Alice digs deep into the dark secrets of her family’s past, searching for answers and a way to prevent her brother from killing more innocent women.
Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: April”
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan
Let me take this opportunity to express appreciation for science writers who open the universe of incredible discoveries to the rest of us. For those of us who are fascinated by scientific discoveries, but have neither the training nor desire to get information from academic journals, popular science books fill a need. Several outstanding titles have been published in the last year. Here are a few:
“Mask of the Sun: The Science, History and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses” is a timely work for Mid-Missourians who reside in this year’s total solar eclipse zone. The book opens, in fact, with a page showing the coverage of upcoming August 21 eclipse. Author John Dvorak provides explanations of the science aspects of eclipses and delves into the human history and beliefs surrounding these celestial events. This includes some significant changes in religious doctrine over the years. Continue reading “Popular Science Reads”
This quote by Jorge Luis Borges is rather perfect for this week: National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association, and it is April 9-15 this year. The theme is “Libraries Transform.” Libraries have gone through their own transformation in the digital age — it’s not just books anymore. Libraries provide everything from internet access and computer classes to film screenings and classes on cooking and exercise.
Just seeing a library is enough to inspire me, whether it is one of the creative Little Free Libraries or the Library of Congress. Libraries have always been magical places that make me want to be better and know more, and I feel so lucky to be a part of one. But you are a part of one, too, even if you didn’t know it! This library belongs to all of us! Continue reading ““I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.””