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SEPTEMBER 29, 2008
Chihuly Who?

David Chihuly, that is...

There's still time to visit Contemporary Glass: Chihuly and Beyond, an exhibit of glass works on display at The New Britain Museum of American Art. It won't cost you a dime if you take advantage of the museum pass provided by the generosity of Friends of the Library. The pass admits any four persons free. The Chihuly exhibition continues through October 26, 2008.

Climbing the stairs to the second floor exhibition space, you'll view the first impressive and permanent piece to the collection, the 9 ft. x 7 ft. chandelier in all it's sapphire splendor. It is composed of 252 individually blown glass pieces and makes a spectacular focal piece to the rise of the stairway.

Entering the main exhibit room you be dazzled and captured by the works of Chihuly, Tagliapietra and 50 other glass artisans.

The exhibit poses the question, “Is glass art or craft?”. “Glass as an art is a debate in itself – is glass art or is glass craft? This age old discussion, which labels art as an element of human culture created specifically for aesthetic appreciation and craft as something with a ulitarian purpose, certainly comes to mind in this survey of glass objects. Some are decorative, some functional, but all have an inherent aesthetic quality that makes it impossible to label any on of these objects “craft”.
...quoted from the exhibition program ~ NBMAA

Dale Chihuly has been credited with establishing the blown glass form in the art world today. He calls his works strongly autobiographical and many feature flowers in an abstracted form. In 1971 he co-founded the Pilchuck School in Stanwood, Washington and served as its first artistic director until 1989. Read more about Dale Chihuly on his website, or read one of the many books about the artist available through interlibrary loan. Our library can offer The Essential Dale Chihuly by William Warmus.

The making of glass and glass blowing has a long, varied and fascinating history. You can finds a great deal of information on the Internet or in books as to its origins and history. Murano, Venice has been a noted glass supplier from the 1200's. Some of the finest glass has been produced here by the most respected artisans.

These books about glassblowing or glass as an art form, both fiction and non-fiction might be of interest:


The Essential Dale Chihuly William Warmus

Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture ~ Ross King
Novelist Ross King offers an account of the remarkable design and construction of the largest dome in the world (even today): the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. Reading with the excitement of a good novel, the book focuses on the innovative techniques used and the social and political context in w

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by ckubala


SEPTEMBER 26, 2008
Rainy Day Reading

    Blah. It's a gray, rainy- scratch that- REALLY rainy, Friday. And it's supposed to rain all weekend too. Blah, blah, blah.

    I have a new puppy at home, so this morning when I suited up in boots and an over-sized raincoat to tramp around my flooded yard so he could 'do his business,' I was cursing the rain. But now that I am here in the library, surrounded by books and listening to the rain pouring down outside, I am actually looking forward to a lazy, indoors, reading kind of a weekend.

    Right now, I'm a few short stories away from finishing Armageddon in Retrospect, the new (posthumous) collection of previously unpublished writing on war by Kurt Vonnegut. Most of the stories were written before his major success, many about the destruction of Dresden during World War II, an event in his life that later inspired Slaughterhouse 5. I'm a HUGE Vonnegut fan, and this read has been really interesting. It's not quite what you expect from him, so far there has been none of the science fiction elements that normally accompany his writing. I am enjoying it, it gives insight into Vonnegut as a developing writer and thoughtful reflection on war, peace, and violence. Although, if you've never read Vonnegut, don't start with this one. Try Galapagos, Cat's Cradle, or Sirens of Titan first to get a real feel for his writing.

    Once I finish Armageddon in Retrospect, I have our next Book Thieves Book Club novel to start, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick. (The Book Thieves is a new Book Club here at the library for those ages 10-13). Its a big thick book, but from what I hear it won't take that long to read because the story is told through both writing and pictures. In fact, it won the Caldecott for it's illustrations this year. I am very excited to get started on this one. Hopefully, with all this sloppy weather, I'll start AND finish it this weekend!

    So, for all of you stuck inside this weekend, stop by and get your fill of books, DVD's, and audio books. And, being a Children's Librarian, I can't resist throwing some rainy day children's books up here too, so check out the following books on rain, mud, and rainbows! Have a great (wet) weekend!

Red Rubber Boot Day, by Mary Lyn Ray

Drip Drop, by Sarah Weeks

Mud, by Mary Lyn Ray

The Rainbow, by Felicia Law

In the Rain with Baby Duck, by Amy Hest

Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by Megan Q


SEPTEMBER 24, 2008
Yelling at the Disc Player
About a decade ago there was a book titled, Stop Yelling At The Microwave. It called for readers to ‘slow down,’ smell the roses, and recognize that our world was already fast- paced. I think of this title not only as I sigh impatiently at the microwave, but also, often, as I wait for computers to do their thing.
Today, I had a unique experience.  I was, literally, yelling at my CD player.  I was driving (to work),  listening to the audio book, Body Surfing by Anita Shreve.  Both story and I were traveling along… happily and smoothly, when the story surprised me. I became so annoyed with a particular character, I found myself yelling at him.  Fortunately, I did not have any passengers with me.
If you have not read the book, I will not provide the spoiler here as to what caused me to yell. Read the book and you will, undoubtedly know.
It started me thinking, however. How many books have sponsored such an emotive response as to call forth speech to the inanimate object before us?   It is not like I expected an answer or my verbal response to change the situation.  Is this the sign of a good book? A good author? A lunatic reader? 
Although I was angry at the character, I am pleased by the author. Ms. Shreve allowed me to identify with the characters enough to be angry with some and to empathize with others. She has made me care enough, that I need to know what happens next. Whether ultimately I decide that I like the book or not, I already know it will stay with me for a long time. 
Body Surfing and other books by Anita Shreve are available at the library!

Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by Su


SEPTEMBER 22, 2008
A Pirate's Life for Me!

Who would have known? I certainly didn't! Talk Like A Pirate Day was September 19th and Megan, our Children's Librarian was the first to know. She did a fine blog entry, Shiver Me Timbers, last Friday which explained the history behind the celebration. She soon had us all talking like pirates and calling each other "Me Hearty" (friend of a shipmate), dreaming of pieces of eight, and threatening anyone misbehaving with “walking the plank”!

All this pirate talk reminded me that pirate stories are well represented in the adult collection too. From Treasure Island to stories of Blackbeard we've always had a fascination with these swashbucklin' rogues.

One book, The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson was a hit with critics and reader's alike this past year. It's a tropical adventure of a storm-wrecked boat carrying Hollywood's most famous swashbuckler, Errol Flynn. The boat lands accidentally in Jamaica and Flynn spends much of the last years of his life throwing parties and sleeping with increasingly younger girls. Flynn has an affair with Ida which produces a daughter, May, who is therefore The Pirate's Daughter, May only meets her father one time but her destiny is intertwined with that of her famous father. Both Mother and daughter dream of a living a life in a more glamorous world and seek an independence not known to them while striving to find out who they are and where they belong. You can read an interview with the author where she talks about the research she did about Errol Flynn and why she chose him to be part of her novel.

Same name, different story is this selection written in 1997 by Robert Girardi. This Pirate's Daughter is about a woman, Cricket Page, who has a chance meeting with Wilson Lander. He buys her dinner. One thing leads to another and slowly he is seduced by Cricket, convincing him to board a tycoon's yacht and begin a journey across the great Sargasso Sea. This romantic adventure soon becomes treacherous for Wilson as he learns Cricket is a pirate's daughter. Though he desires her, there is danger for him in this exotic land. He must find a way to escape this woman who has stolen his heart.

A few other true adventures form our shelves...

Hooked: Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish
Bruce G. Knecht

Pirates: An Illustrated History
Nigel Cawthorne

An oldie but goodie on DVD, The Black Swan , stars Tyrone Power as Pirate Morgan who is pardoned and made the new governor of Jamaica on one condition - he must stop his fellow pirates from doing their criminal actions.

Hope you enjoy these pirate tales, mat

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SEPTEMBER 19, 2008
Shiver me timbers!

Ahoy matey! Betcha didn't know it was International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Don't feel bad, I didn't either until a few weeks ago. September 19th was declared 'Talk like a Pirate Day' by two regular guys, John Baur and Mark Summers (otherwise known as Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket). Long story short, the day started as an inside joke between the two friends but gained national attention when it was written about in an article by nationally syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry. Read the article here:

"Why do we need a day to talk like a pirate?" Most sane people might ask. According to John and Mark's website there is no real point, other then the sheer silliness of it. In fact they claim that “silliness is the holiday's best selling point.”

The two friends now run a website and sell merchandise related to the day:

Straight from the official website, here's a glossary of 5 essential phrases for you to use on this year's 'Talk Like a Pirate Day.'

Ahoy! - "Hello!"

Avast! - Stop and give attention. It can be used in a sense of surprise, "Whoa! Get a load of that!" which today makes it more of a "Check it out" or "No way!"

Aye! - "Why yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said or did."

Aye aye! - "I'll get right on that sir, as soon as my break is over."

Arrr! - This one is often confused with arrrgh, which is of course the sound you make when you sit on a belaying pin. "Arrr!" can mean, variously, "yes," "I agree," "I'm happy," "I'm enjoying this meal," "My team is going to win it all," and "That was a clever remark you or I just made." And those are just a few of the myriad possibilities of Arrr!

I haven't been talking like a pirate yet, but I was inspired to do a pirate-themed Story Time today. And believe me, there is no shortage of pirate books and movies here at the library if you are in the mood for celebrating. Come on in and check out one of the items below:

Bubble Bath Pirates, by Jarrett Krosoczka

Pirates Don't Change Diapers, by Melinda Long

Pirates of the Caribbean DVD's

How to be a Pirate, by Hiccup Horrendous Haddock lll; translated from the Old Norse by Cressida Cowell

The Not-so-Jolly Roger, by Jon Scieszka

Treasure Planet DVD

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by mquigley


SEPTEMBER 18, 2008
Pillars of the Earth is a Monument

On Thursday September 25, 2008 Beckish Senior Center’s BookWorms will be discussing Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth.  When this book was chosen for our book group I inwardly winced.

I must admit, by description it is everything I do not like in my personnel reading:  It’s unbelievably long (over 800 pages).  It’s about monks, architecture, and politics.  It’s historical.   I must also confess I approached it with dread, sure it would be a chore.

I recognize this is NOT the way to approach a book and certainly can unfairly doom it before the cover is cracked.  At the same time, several people I trust told me they had enjoyed the book.  It received wonderful word of mouth reviews and was chosen by Oprah.  I was still leery.

I have just finished the book and much to my surprise, I truly enjoyed it.  Descriptions of the book and its contents do not do it justice.  True it is all those characteristics described, but much more.  It is a book about faith, family, the cycles of life and the triumph of justice.  It prompted me to research facts and figures referenced in the story and changed my vision, such that I will never look at a cathedral the same way again.

I believe it is a strong testament to a book that can be approached with such negativity and still win the heart of its reader.  This was a book I would have never picked and am now considering reading its sequel, World Without End.  It is nice to be reminded that we can take a chance on a book and be pleasantly surprised.

If you’ve not read Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, I do recommend it.  If you have, I’m certain all of us  Bookworms would enjoy hearing your thoughts.

  Both Pillars and World Without End  are available at the Library.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Su


SEPTEMBER 15, 2008
Da Vinci's, not the code, but the Inquest

My husband frequently channel surfs in the wee hours of the morning. He's quick with the remote and goes from station to station sampling a piece of this and a bit of that. He stumbled on DaVinci’s Inquest about two years ago. Every morning I'd hear DaVinci this, DaVinci that. Not one to be up at 2:00AM watching TV, I decided to buy the first season figuring I could watch it commercial free at my leisure. Two episodes in and I was hooked!


Nicholas Campbell stars as Dominic DaVinci, an unconventional, likable, Vancouver coroner, who seeks the truth the dead will tell in the cases he investigates Partially based on real life experiences of Larry Campbell, the former chief coroner of Vancouver, British Columbia, there were 7 seasons filmed from 1998-2005. I love the characters and there are quite a few including Dominic's ex-wife and Chief Pathologist, Patricia Da Vinci, Donnelly Rhodes as detective Leo Shannon, and Ian Tracey as detective "Mick" Leary. Shannon is my hands-down favorite!

What I like about the show is the subtle humor, the humanness of the main characters, the camaraderie and loyalty of a working team, and the realistic portrayal of life. The good guy doesn’t always win, the bad guy doesn’t always get caught, the story is not always wrapped up in a 60 minute neat package. The actors are not all beautiful, but you’ll start being attracted to them just the same. After watching the first season, I read that the producers planned to steer away from the personal lives of the characters and concentrate more on the job. I worried that the show would lose its' appeal. Like many good TV shows, the goings on in the personal lives are what makes you come back for more. The producers must have reconsidered because if anything the second season was better than the first.

The show can be gritty, but there are also moments that will touch even the worst cynic’s heart. Who could not help but love big, clumsy Shannon, taking a dancing lesson in episode 4 of the 3rd season, “Do You Wanna Dance?”. Or the last one I watched where Da Vinci takes a piano lesson with his daughter’s teacher.

My only regret is that I’m on vol. 3 of the third season and wonder how long I’ll have to wait for season 4. I’m savoring each episode to prolong the pleasure. Fine acting, good stories and Vancouver as a backdrop. What could be better? If you're a fan of The Wire, CSI, or Criminal Minds give DaVinci's Inquest a try. Official website

And if you’re looking for another fine series, McCallum might be worth a look. Produced by the BBC, this series ran from 1995-1998, stars John Hannah as Dr. Ian McCallum, a forensic pathologist for St. Patrick’s Hospital in London. Heavier on the love life of the main characters, and leaving less to the imagination than Da Vinci, I still find much to like in this show. Character development is prime. The producers seem to get London’s seamy side right, and my husband likes them too, a real plus in our house. Hannah has a heavy accent which took time to adjust too, but now I find it delightful. Bought the second season and then waited with great anticipa

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SEPTEMBER 12, 2008
It’s a razztwizzler. It’s gloriumptious!
I’ve got a few questions for you:

What is the only country that people-eating Giants do not visit?

How many witches were living in England before their last annual general meeting?

In which factory storeroom does Willy Wonka store his hair cream?

Whats a whizzpopper?

Don’t know?!?

Well then, pick up The Witches, The BFG, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, all by Roald Dahl, to find out. Today (September 13) is 'Roald Dahl Day' in honor of the late authors birthday, and its time to brush up on your Roald Dahl trivia!

I have to assume that most of you have read at least one Roald Dahl book in your lifetime, or seen one of his books recently turned into movies. If you're not sure, click on the link below to see a list of his works:

But, on this day I can't help but urge- READ THEM AGAIN! Or read them to your kids! In my humble opinion there are not many children's book authors that match Dahl's creativity and humor.

My very, very, very,(and it's hard to pick!) favorite is The BFG. I've read this book too many times to count, and when I was teaching I also read it to my preschoolers during nap time. For those of you who know the premise, I know what your thinking, man eating giants - sweet dreams, right!?! But the story is silly enough and sweet enough to not be scary.

So get started on your reading, let your imagination run wild, and let us know what Roald Dahl story is your favorite!

Websites to visit for some more information:

Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by mquigley


SEPTEMBER 10, 2008
Twilight or Dusk?
Every now and then a cover grabs my attention and no matter what I have to read the book. This was the case with Stephanie Meyer's first book, Twilight. The book is a young adult title that tells of the reluctant romance between a clumsy, teen age girl and a vampire immortalized at the age of 17.
I loved the book. At the first opportunity, I read the second book, New Moon. I was still hooked. But by the third, Eclipse, I was disappointed. I had found the characters consistent and believable, but the trouble was, the more I got to know them… the less I liked them. Any of them.   But the series did generate thought and discussion. Out to dinner with 6 other librarians, we had a heated discussion: Edward or Jake? 
By the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, released in August. I wasn’t committed, but I needed to know what happened. I then heard Twilight has made it to film. The current release date is November 21, 2008. I was disappointed. 
What I remained liking about Edward and Bella and the first novel was the way it brought you into thoughts and perceptions. I’m not sure a film can do that justice and I couldn’t help but feel that Ms. Meyer ‘sold out’. I know having a film made of your book is a flattering and I’m sure lucrative thing, but…
A day or so ago, I heard another interesting bit of information about the series and Ms. Meyer. Apparently there was to be yet another book, this one starting at the beginning but through Edward’s perception. However,  someone close to the author illegally released the first and unedited chapter online.
On her website, Ms. Meyer wrote:
I did not want my readers to experience Midnight Sun before it was completed, edited and published. I think it is important for everybody to understand that what happened was a huge violation of my rights as an author, not to mention me as a human being. As the author of the Twilight Saga, I control the copyright and it is up to the owner of the copyright to decide when the books should be made public; this is the same for musicians and filmmakers. Just because someone buys a book or movie or song, or gets a download off the Internet, doesn't mean that they own the right to reproduce and distribute it. Unfortunately, with the Internet, it is easy for people to obtain and share items that do not legally belong to them. No matter how this is done, it is still dishonest. This has been a very upsetting experience for me, but I hope it will at least leave my fans with a better understanding of copyright and the importance of artistic control.
So where does this leave Midnight Sun? My first feeling was that there was no way to continue. Writing isn't like math; in math, two plus two always equals four no matter what your mood is like. With writing, the way you feel changes everything. If I tried to write Midnight Sun now, in my current frame of mind, James would probably win and all the Cullens would die, which wouldn't dovetail too well with the original story. In any case, I feel too sad about what has happened to continue working on Midnight Sun, and so it is on hold indefinitely.

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What's In Your Wallet?

What's in your Wallet? (Capitol One), Don't Leave Home Without it! (American Express), Spend Smarter (Discover Card) are catchwords for all those credit cards we own. These companies spend billions advertising their product. Libraries are notorious for being modest about our services. We don't have lots of money for large campaigns or advertising slogans. Though I carry a few of these, the most valuable card in my wallet is my library card! 

The amount of money I save each year is hard to calculate but I know it is a goodly sum. I can borrow books, magazines, books on cd, music, movies, read a newspaper, use the computers, do reserach in the databases available on Iconn either within the library or 24/7 at home. If our library doesn't have the material I'm looking for, I can request it via Interlibrary Loan and have it delivered to Saxton B. My public library card makes me welcome in virtually any public library in the state and allows me to borrow their materials. I can drop these off at our library. If I need a copy or to send a fax, I can save gas money by doing it at the library. Friends of the Library provides many passes, either with reduced or free admission, to many area museums. I can bring my children to weekly story-times, get homework help, join any of several book groups or attend programs available  for all ages.

All this and all you have to do is visit the library and sign-up for a library card. It's free and all that's required is proof of residency, anything with your Columbia address on it, most usually a driver's license.  Saxton B. is open Monday, Friday, Saturday, 10-5 and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 10-8

Each year the American Library Association (ALA) proclaims September Library Card Sign-up Month. This year Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the Honorary Chair. Hear him speak as he  announces "2/3 of Americans have library cards". Stop by and get yours today.





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Read at Your Own Risk!

I spent this morning at work wrapping over twenty of our books in plain brown paper. Then I tied up each of the books with yellow caution tape. Why, you might ask. Are they dangerous? Contaminated?

Well, neither actually. We are preparing for Banned Books Week here at the library. Banned Books Week celebrates the “Freedom to Read” and is observed during the last week of September each year. This annual American Library Association (ALA) event was created to remind Americans not to take this democratic freedom for granted. This year will be the 27th anniversary of Banned Books Week, and it will be celebrated at libraries, bookstores, schools, and more, September 27-October 4.

Here is a further explanation of the annual celebration from the ALA’s website:

“Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose, or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.”

But back to those wrapped up books… Books that have made their way on to banned and challenged lists will be wrapped up and out on display during the month of September. They will be available for checkout, sight unseen, for those who DARE! Unwrap one at home and read for it for yourself, form your own opinion, and maybe even try to find out why it was ever challenged in the first place!

Below are some links to find out more about banned books, lists of frequently challenged books, and recent news articles relating to book banning and censorship. Check them out and let us know your thoughts!

ALA Banned Books Week; Celebrating the Freedom to Read

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2001

Palin asked Wasilla librarian about censoring books:

She'd rather go to jail…


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by mquigley


Lights! Camera! Action!

Many of you know that I started my professional career with a doctorate in Sociology, specializing in Criminology. Some of you might know that the research for my dissertation involved the insane task of watching and taking notes on over 350 films.

While this may not sound like a painful, grueling process, the reality was that after the first dozen or so, it was not a pleasant experience. In fact, much to my family and friend’s dismay, the result was that I couldn’t tolerate sitting through a feature length film for years after that. Consequently, there is a huge gap in my cinematic experience.

Slowly, I am making up for lost time.

Starting in the month of September, the Library in conjunction with the Friends is sponsoring a film series. Once a month for the next three months, on a Monday evening the Saxton B. Little Library will transform with movies, popcorn and hopefully entertainment and discussion. Our winter film series will take place on Sunday afternoons.

I’m excited about our Fall line up, The Astronaut Farmer (September 15), Freedom Writers (October 20) and The Visitor (November) are three films that I’ve yet to see. I think each of these films will offer something to think about and I look forward to hearing what others think.

So, pass the popcorn and see you there.  But if not, remember the library has thousands of other choices for you to check out! And I am always looking for good recommendations.


For those interested, the Fall Film series is accepting donation of $5.00 for tickets per movie, or a ‘season pass’: tickets for all three films for $10.00. All proceeds will go towards the purchase of DVDs and movie licensing for the library. Please feel free to call the Library for more details.


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Working Life Part Two
The term working stiffs is slang for the working class and no where can you find better examples of all those poor souls and their jobs than in fiction. Consider Elaine Viets Dead End Mystery Series, where each title features another boring, unappreciated job; salesclerk, survey taker, telemarketer, dog caterer in a boutique, mystery shopper, wedding gown salesperson. Can you imagine that Elaine Viets has actually worked most of these jobs!

It seems no job is left undone in fiction. Most of us are familiar with Janet Evanovich's character, Stephanie Plum, Bounty Hunter but how about Londoner Eva Wylie, a professional wrestler, junkyard security guard in Liza Cody's Bucket Nut? Donna Andrew's Murder With Peacocks, stars amateur detective, Meg Langslow who is a blacksmith. And Elizabeth Lowell's A Woman Without Lies features a stained glass artisan. And in another Lowell novel, Valley of the Sun, the hero is a water douser. John Rain is an assassin for hire in the popular books by Barry Eisler. Nevada Barr's heroine is Anna Pigeon, Park Ranger and Barbara Neeley has cleaning woman Blanche in her hilarious novels. Forensic Pathologists abound as evidenced by Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta, Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhymes, Kathy Reich's Temperance Brennan and Karin Slaughter's, Dr. Sara Linton to name a few. Even undertakers are fairly well represented on the printed page. Tim Cockney has a Hearse series with Hitchcock Sewell, Shrouded by Carol Anne Davis, Dark Undertakings by Rebecca Tope. And what could be stranger than Sheri Holman The Mammoth Cheese whose main character makes illegal gourmet cheese by hand which she sells to chefs in NYC.

Besides the few mentioned in the list above, amateur sleuths lend themselves well to odd day jobs. There are archaeologists, artists, actors, nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers, policemen and women, fisherman, golfers, gardeners, nuns, priests, and even librarians who solve mysterious when they're not shelving books.

Romance authors give their characters a variety of occupations, some mundane and others unusual. The list includes, fireworks maker, rat catcher, asylum nurse, botanist, magicians, judges, strippers, psychics, UN translator, antique dealers, cosmetic camouflage, cosmetic surgeon, and even super heroes.

Ever wanted to join the circus? You'll find lots of books with a backdrop under the big top. Aerialist by Richard Schmitt is about Gary Ruden quits high school in 1969 and becomes a high-wire walker/aerialist. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen is about Jacob Jankowski whose initial goal to become a vet, is changed when his parents are killed in a tragic accident. Instead, he hops a circus train and joins that life. Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon has a circus trapeze artist, Madeline is Sleeping by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum has a character who joins a gypsy circus, Circus in Winter by Cathy Day is all about the circus life and The Final Confession of Mable Stark by Robert Hough is about the greatest tiger trainer in history.

Upton Sinclair's classic The Jungle is an honest portrayal of Chicago's meatpacking business, and Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris is a perfect book about the workplace. Anne Tyler's Patchwork Planet has a character Barnaby Gaitlin works for "rent-a-back" doing chores for elderly customers.

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