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We invite the public to post reviews to our catalog by logging into our online catalog. Reviews will then be posted to this blog. Comments can be added to existing posts or may be added as separate reviews on our catalog
AUGUST 30, 2010

One of my favorite book related newsletters is BookWomen: A Reader's Community For Those Who Love Women's Words. Published bi-monthly  by BookWomen Cener for Feminist Reading,Minnesota Women's Press, Inc., this little newsletter is just chock full of book reviews and articles pertaining to  women and reading. I read my issue cover to cover as soon as it arrives and always find something new to read, recommend and contemplate. I just wish this were a monthly publication.

For a free sample copy of BookWomen, call 651-646-3968 x303 or e-mail

Minnesota Women's Press also publishes a wonderful book, The Great Books...because women say so!  It contains more than 400 titles, selected by book groups from 1986 through 2009, plus books they have used around themes on reading retreats.

In the most recent issue of BookWomen, August-September 2010, The Great Books list has increased with this list of titles from 2009 (reprinted with permission from Minnesota Women's Press, Inc.)

Just what is a Great Book?
"Each year readers in book groups, book retreats, at Minnesota Women's Press select the book of all they've read, that most intrigued, inspired and stretched them, that provoked the strongest discussion, the one they most want other readers to know about. These are the Great Books."

Four of the following titles are considered The Greatest of the Great, those titles that have now been chosen by more than one group.

These are The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams and The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell.

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobbs (1996) science fiction
Astrid & Veronika by Linda Olsson (2007) fiction
Blackwater by Kerstin Ekman (1993), mystery
Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine (2008) young adult fiction
City of Light by Lauren Belfer (1999) historical fiction
Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell (2008) historical fiction
Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barber (2008) fiction
Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Wiliams, essays
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pell Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & annie Barrows (2008) historical fiction
Here's to You, Jesusa! by Elean Poniatowska (1969) fiction, translated from Spanish
The Latecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia yang (2008)
Lottery by Patricia Wood (2207) fiction
Lovesick by Angeles Mastreea (1997) fiction, translated from Spanish
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout (2008) connected short stories
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (2008) fiction
People of the Whale Linda Hogan (2008) fiction
Persuasion by Jane Austen (1818) fiction
Still Alice by Lisa Genova (2009) fiction
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney (2006) historical fiction
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee fiction
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell (2006) fiction.

When I'm looking for something good to read I often turn to these lists. The 2009 list contains many that I've already read and that our library owns. I can highly recommend City of Lightby Belfer, Still Alice by Genova, and Tenderness of Wolves by Penney.

Our Second Tuesday Fiction Group has chosen two of these titles to read this year, and not even at my suggestion.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks on September 14th
Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell on May 10th or 17th depending on the town budget meeting.

Happy Reading!

Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by CarolK


AUGUST 29, 2010
This is Dedicated...
Bill Thomson
Marshall Cavendish Children, c2010. 

This book is dedicated with love
to the miracles in my life...
my wondrous sons, Billy, Nik, and Ethan

I love working in our library. Some of the reasons are evident for anyone who is a bookaholic. I love being surrounded by books, buying books and talking about books with our patrons on a daily basis. 

Today was a really special day. Three of our young readers stepped up to the desk with a book they gave such an enthusiastic review that I just had to stop and read it for myself. It's a wordless book called Chalk, stunningly illustrated by Bill Thomson, an associate professor of illustration at The University of Hartford. My young patrons knew all about Bill as mom had read the fly leaf to them As I flipped through the pages of this story told in pictures, each of the children told me the story in their own words and interpretation. 

The kids discovered Chalk at the Jonathan Trumbull Library in Lebanon. They're library pros who know that they can use their public library card in most public libraries in Connecticut and they take good advantage of this option. We wondered if Saxton B. owned Chalk too. I should have had more faith that our wonderful Children's Librarian Megan Q., wouldn't have missed this gem. 

Their obvious love of Chalk and their sharing it with me truly made my day. It's on our Star Cart if you'd like to read it and find out for yourself just what makes Chalk so special.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


AUGUST 26, 2010
If only I wasn't married!

If only I wasn't married! Well, not really but recently I've been reading about this new website that allows you to pick your date by their reading tastes. So where were these guys 40 years ago when I was looking for a compatible mate. It never even occurred to me that I should look for someone who likes to read as much as I do. I can't find the post I read some time back that asked if a reader could be happily married to a non-reader. I somewhat smugly replied that I had been married to a guy who doesn't read for over 40 years, finding other interests that we enjoyed together. But what if I could have taken advantage of Alikewise?

Much like other dating sites, you create a profile stating who you're looking for and your basics interests. Presently it's free to join.

So what do you think? Does this site make sense or can two people date and/or be happily married and not like to read the same things?

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


AUGUST 25, 2010
NPR Fans Pick the 100 Best Thrillers

Though posted August 4th, I wanted to be certain everyone got a chance to see this list of thrillers as chosen by listeners of NPR.

Over 600 novels were nominated by the NPR audience and more than 17,000 votes were cast. Thriller readers know what they like but have very individual tastes.

You can view the  final roster of winners by clicking on the link.

I certainly can't complain I have nothing to read with this great list. I'll just have to eek out more time to read some of these page turners.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


AUGUST 23, 2010
This is Dedicated...
I was away yesterday so this post is a day late...

Across a Hundred Mountains
Reyna Grande
Washington Square Press, c2006

to my son , Nathaniel,
and to those who have perished to get
to El Otro Lado

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


AUGUST 19, 2010
Velocity - Dean Koontz

Velocity - Dean Koontz

The word velocity is defined as speed, especially in a given direction. I think my thoughts of what velocity means was the reason I picked up this particular book when I decided it was time to catch up on some Koontz. I like him and I’ve read lots of his books over the years. He’s just prolific enough that I haven’t read them all. I like his stories that are explorations of good vs. evil, you know, the kind that show what evil man can do. When Koontz ventures to machines gone crazy, he leaves me behind. Anyway, Velocity was just right. It’s pure Koontz and though nothing can top From the Corner of His Eye for me, Velocity was satisfying. Though this is a full speed ahead thriller, Koontz had other reasons to name the book, and they come out in the story.
Billy Wile works in a bar and is just an ordinary guy like most of us. But one night when leaving his job he finds a typewritten note under the windshield wiper on his car.
“If you don't take this note to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blond schoolteacher. If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have four hours to decide. The choice is yours.”
If that hasn’t grabbed your attention, I’m not certain what will. Just this is what I love about Koontz. I’m hooked. Immediately wondering what would I do? At first Billy thinks it’s a joke and his cop friend does too, but when the lovely blonde schoolteacher is murdered, Billy knows the threat is real. Another ultimatum is delivered… you'll have to read the book to find out what happens!

Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by Carolk


AUGUST 16, 2010
Murder Room ~ Michael Capuzzo

Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo

I feel creepy saying I loved this book that deals with murder. Maybe a better word would be fascinated but even that sounds crude in light of the subject matter. I know I'm not alone in wanting to know what makes someone who can kill, tick. I also have a thing for cold cases in both fiction and non-fiction so when I heard about The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo, I knew it would be on my list. I had read Capuzzo's Close to Shore about a series of shark attacks in 1916 on the Jersey shore. Having read that I felt he had the credentials to pull this one off.

The subtitle of The Murder Room, The Heirs of Sherlock Homes Gather to Solve the world's Most Perplexing Cold Cases is an excellent description of the premise of this look into the sleuths of The Vidocq Society. The society was the dream of three men, William Fleisher, Richard Walter, and Frank Bender, possibly the best of the world's crime solvers. Named for Eugène François Vidocq, the ground-breaking nineteenth century French detective who helped police by using the psychology of the criminal to solve "cold case" homicides, NPR calls this a dedicated group who solve mysteries over soup. Part one of The Murder Room invites you to a luncheon like no other. After a 5 course meal including such gourmet food as pork and mallard duck sausage hosted in an elegant hall with glittering eighteenth century chandeliers, coffee is served to backdrop images of the battered remains of a blond young man cast aside in a restaurant alley. I'm hooked.

Capuzzo's style here, give the reader a teaser in each chapter, leave em' hanging for the outcome, and then providing closure somewhere down the road, if known, can be a bit frustrating at times. But liken this to the "not knowing"that the families of cold case victims live each and every day, sometimes forever, and I decided Capuzzo's method was fitting, if not a dead on perfect way to format this book.

The Murder Room outlines many gut wrenching cases with many being solved but not all. What hits home loud and clear is the dedication and drive of the men and women who make up The Vidocq Society; professionals who will not rest until the case is closed, justice is done and the families know the victims have not been forgotten. Fascinating reading it is!

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AUGUST 15, 2010
This is Dedicated...
Today's dedication was emailed to me by one of our dedicated reviewers, and library supporters, bas bleu...

Bas bleu states:
I know you are seeking worthy "dedications" to post on your website.  Here's one I came across today that I really, really like: 
The Charm School, by Susan Wiggs
MIRA Books, c.1999.
"To the most charming group of people I know:
    You probably don't remember my name, but you saw me every week.  I was the quiet child with the long pigtails and the insatiable appetite for Beverly Cleary, Carol Ryrie Brink and Louise Fitzhugh.  I was the one you had to tap on the shoulder at closing time, because I was still sitting on a stool in the stacks, poring over Ramona's latest adventures or sniffling as I read Anne Frank's diary.  I was the little girl with the huge wire basket on the front of her bike - for lugging home a stack of books that weighed more than I did.  I never thought to thank you back then, but I didn't understand how very much all those hours, and all those books, and all your patience meant to me or to the writer I would become.  But I understand now.  So this book is dedicated to you, to all of you, in gratitude for bringing books and readers together."
Pretty cool, huh?  And I'd like to add my "thank you" to Susan Wiggs'!!!

Couldn't agree more, bas bleu. This is a gem in the realm of dedications. Hope others will share any dedications they find that touch their hearts.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


AUGUST 13, 2010
Three Miss Margarets ~ Louise Shaffer
*****reviewed by Judy M

Three Miss Margarets  by Louise Shaffer

Peggy Maggie & Li'l Bit

This book was published in 2003; so why did it take me so long to pick it up to read? Set in Georgia, the heart of the South, this novel focuses on the lives of three elderly best friends. It begins with the mysterious death of a very successful, black, young doctor in her old home -- a death that has the author of the doctor's biography and a local news writer (usually focusing on bake sales, etc.) searching for old history of the three Margarets and a black family. Many twists and turns riveted my attention, reminding me of the novel Help or maybe a serious Evanovich (who wouldn't be able to totally avoid a bit of humor) novel.

Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by CarolK


AUGUST 10, 2010
In the Author's Own Words - David Howard

Please welcome guest blogger David Howard, author of
Lost rights : the misadventures of a stolen American relic

Here is one of those ironies you can appreciate best only after spending years as a freelance writer trying to think up great ideas. The biggest story of my life arrived when my mind was several thousand miles away. It’s true: I was sitting in my office in my apartment in New York City one spring morning in 2003, planning a trip to Guatemala. The phone rang. Just that quickly, the trajectory of my life would change.
It was Charley Monagan, the editor of Connecticut Magazine. I had written a number of stories for Charley in the past, and was always glad to hear from him. But that day he was calling with one of the more bizarre-sounding stories I’d heard in a while. He said the FBI had just seized an original Bill of Rights in a sting operation down in Philadelphia. An antiques dealer from Woodbury named Wayne Pratt had been trying to sell the document for $5 million dollars to a museum, and did I want to look into it?
It would’ve been easy to say no. I had a lot going—probably more than I could handle right at that moment. Instead, I immediately blurted out yes. I love complicated stories, and I love history—and already my mind was spinning with questions. Like a lot of people, I assumed there was only one copy of the Bill of Rights (as I later learned, there were actually 14 handmade originals), and the idea that one was floating around out there for sale was just unfathomable. It was as if someone was trying to auction off the Liberty Bell or the Brooklyn Bridge.
Once I plunged in, I encountered a number of questions that weren’t easy to answer. The document had been taken from North Carolina’s Statehouse by a soldier in Sherman’s army near the end of the Civil War. One family in Indiana had possessed the Bill of Rights for most of the 138 years it had been missing. But how had it reached Pratt, and how did he come to try and sell it for $5 million?

That wasn’t easy to figure out. Pratt was not talking. His lawyers were fielding questions for him, saying he wasn’t available because Pratt was facing potential arrest, and there was a court case looming over ownership of the document. After writing the article, I was more fascinated than ever. I knew that if I circled back later, some of the smoke would clear and the lawyers would have packed up and gone home. I could get the full story.
I let about three years go by. In that time, lots of things happened in my life: I went to Guatemala, which resulted in an article for Travel Leisure; my wife and I had a son and moved from New York to eastern Pennsylvania, where I took a job as a magazine editor; we bought a little house from the early 1800s that was filled with big projects.
But I never let go of the story of the Bill of Rights—and in the fall of 2005, when a literary agent approached me asking whether I had any book ideas, I told him I had one that was burning a hole in me.
The end result is Lost Rights: The Misadventures of a Stolen American Relic, which came out over the Fourth of July weekend. I’m proud of the book. When I hold it in my hands, I think of my long journey, and the even longer journey of an amazing artifact, and how, as a writer, no matter how busy I am, I need to be wide open to the next big idea that drops in out of the sky, and then I have to grab hold and hang on tight, and stay with it wherever it carries me.

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Category: Meet the Author


AUGUST 9, 2010
DILYS Awards

Recently I've been seeking out book awards that are new to me and I'm finding there's no lack of possibilities. The DILYS Awards are given by the IMBA (International Mystery Booksellers Association is named in honor of Dilys Winn, the founder of the first specialty bookseller of mystery books in the United States and has been given annually since 1992. What makes this one interesting to me is that is awarded by the members for the book they have most enjoyed selling. I'm thinking that if they enjoyed selling it, they must have enjoyed reading it too.

The 2010 winner is none other than a book that I have told many about and wrote about in March on this blog:

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
You can read my review and see if it's available at our library by just clicking the title. Stop by our catalog and comment, or write your own thoughts about the books you've read.

Another reason I like to the books that won is to find new titles to read. I'd have to say I'm somewhat of a mystery or thriller fan so awards honoring these appeal to me. Of the seven nominees and eventual winner of the 2010 DILYS Award, I've only read the winner. We don't own them all but if you're interested in one that is not on our shelves we could get it for you via interlibrary loan. One of the great perks of living in Connecticut and being a member of ReQuest.

I'd like to note that two of the nominees, both series titles, Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire (2nd) and Louise Penny's The Brutal Telling (5th),  have been very popular with readers in Columbia. So if you're looking for something new to read you couldn't go wrong with these authors.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


AUGUST 8, 2010
This is Dedicated...

The Nanny Diaries
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
St. Martin's Press, c.2002

To our parents, for always reading at least one bedtime story
   (with voices) no matter how tuckered out they were.

And to all the fabulous kids who have danced, giggled,
   and hiccuped their way into our hearts.

We root for you still.


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


AUGUST 4, 2010
Book Cover Trivia

So you think you know your books? Sporcle's game section recently posted this trivia challenge for book lovers everywhere.

Can You Name the Book? just by looking at the its' cover?
Let us know how you did. I nailed 20 but was surprised at the ones I missed!

A special thanks to Morton Grove Public Library's By the Book for alerting me to this great quiz.!

Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by CarolK


AUGUST 2, 2010
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else ~ Erin McCahan
****comments by Mercedes

I Now Pronounce You Some Else by Erin McCahan

I like this book. I will admit it wasn't exactly what I expected but I still like it. It was an enjoyable break from the catty, sex-crazed teen novels, or the teen vampire novels, or the dark, depressing, anguish-filled teen abuse novels that are in abundance. It isn't that these other books don't have a place but I frequently crave a book about a normal girl, with normal friends who isn't sleeping around, drinking, swearing, dressing like a vamp (or eating like one), and has normal dreams and aspirations. And although I would say our heroine Bronwen fits these criteria, she is also not normal. After all, who is? Bronwen is a high school senior, loving her boyfriend and eager to marry him. After all, he's perfect, they're perfect together. She's not crazy about her family, loves his. Marriage right after high school will solve all her problems or will it? Although I'll admit that Bronwen loves Jared and they're love is more than just lust or a moment, some of Bronwen's desires to belong to a family that appreciates her and loves her unconditionally drive her to Jared and his offer of marriage. It's something that I've seen a number of times in my own friends lives - a hope and desire that they will be better and have better lives by marrying someone. And while I think this can be true (my husband has helped me to be a much better person than I would be on my own - it can't be denied), still to put all your hopes for something better into someone else can only end in disappointment. Bronwen's struggles to understand who she is and what she wants out of life are well-written and understandable and I think the book could help any teenager to realize that young marriage isn't categorically wrong but who you are in high school, college, as a teen, in your twenties changes rapidly so that often who you were one year and the things you wanted are much different later. The themes of acceptance and unconditional love run throughout this book and I found Bronwen's relationship to her stepfather and even her mother to be profound and heartbreaking. In this seemingly light YA novel, so much more was at play, without being heavy or depressing. I ended the book with the urge to hold my husband and thank him for who he was, who we were when we were married, and for how far we've come along. I Now Pronounce You Someone Else was a lovely read, enjoyable and thought-provoking. I can only hope that teens who read it will find solace and enjoyment in reading a book about a girl who can have a high moral ground without being a loser, can make mistakes but find reparations, and knows how to find herself and the things she wants without losing sight of her dreams and hopes.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Carolk


AUGUST 1, 2010
This is Dedicated
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis


My dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be

your affectionate Godfather,


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