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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
FEBRUARY 17, 2010
Nutmeg Winners Announced!

I just recieved an email announcing the 2010 Nutmeg winners. Students across the state had the past year to read the 10 intermediate nominees and and 10 teen nominees. Well, the votes were tallied and here are the two winners. Drum roll please.....

2010 Intermediate Winner:


  Double Identity, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
2010 Teen Winner:


  Life as We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer    

Stop by to pick up one of the winners today!

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Megan Q.


FEBRUARY 16, 2010
James Arden Holstein 1949-2010 ~ A Reading Man
A couple of months ago one of the blogs I read faithfully asked the question if two people could live a good life together if one is a reader and the other not. I remember answering that question at the time with a resounding yes, as I've been married for 40 years to a man who reads little. There are many other interests we share but reading is not one of them.

But for some, the love of reading is one of the glues that bond them.

Yesterday, I read Lesa's Critiques, another favorite blog. Lesa Holstine gave tribute to her "reading man", her husband James Arden Holstine who died February 15th of metastatic cancer.  The beauty of their relationship and their shared love of reading and books is worth taking the time to read. in Lesa's non-newspaper obituary is posted here:

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FEBRUARY 15, 2010
Author Dick Francis Dies

The beginning months of 2010 have been sad indeed for fiction fans what with the deaths of these notables. J.D. Salinger, Robert Parker, Kage Baker and yesterday, Dick Francis.

Francis, a former jockey turned writer thrilled fans with his horse racing mysteries. He died February 14th at the age of 89 in his Caribbean home in Grand Cayman, according to his publicist.

You can read more about Dick Francis at

and certainly can find his books in our library.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


FEBRUARY 14, 2010
2009 Hammett Awards Nominees
"The International Association of Crime Writers awards THE HAMMETT PRIZE annually for literary excellence in the field of crime-writing, as reflected in a book published in the English language in the US and/or Canada. The winner receives a "Thin Man" trophy, designed by sculptor Peter Boiger."

This year's nominees are as follows:

Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott(Simon & Schuster)
Megan Abbotthas taught literature, writing, and film at New York University and the State University of New York at Oswego. She received her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University in 2000, and in 2002 Palgrave Macmillan published her nonfiction study,The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Fiction and Film Noir.She lives in New York City.
distributed by Syndetic Solutions, LLC.

Devil's Garden by Ace Atkins (Putnam)
From the critically acclaimed, award-nominated author comes a new noir crime classic about one of the most notorious trials in American history--the 1921 manslaughter case against silent-screen comedy star Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle.
distributed by Syndetic Solutions, LLC.

The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (Penguin)
In this tightly plotted debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people's dreams.
distributed by Syndetic Solutions, LLC.

The Long Fall by Walter Mosley (Riverhead)
In this tightly plotted debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people's dreams.
distributed by Syndetic Solutions, LLC.

The Way Home by George Pelecanos (Little, Brown)
Thomas Flynn's rocky relationship with his son Chris is finally moving away from distrust and scorn, a decade after Chris served time. When a burglary break their uneasy detente, will Chris be pulled back into treachery and violence?
distributed by Syndetic Solutions, LLC.

If we don't own any of these titles, we'd be happy to try interlibrary loaning your choice from an area library. Just ask, we'll try!

Read any of these? Who should win in your opinion?

See previous years winners at

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


FEBRUARY 11, 2010
Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery ~ Spencer Quinn


I'm not exactly a dog lover but that didn't keep me from enjoying
Dog On It!: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn. I had read several favorable reviews that called this debut novel light hearted, creative, hilarious, and promised something different. It seemed like the perfect laid back read for the holidays. Dog On It! delivered. Not just a mystery, but an insightful look into a special relationship as Chet, our canine narrator and his human assistant, Bernie, sink their teeth into solving the case of a missing teen.

Chet is a skilled four legged storyteller as any human could be. He's curious, loyal, funny and ferocious when needed and loves to eat, and not just the usual dog food. Chet frequently woofs about his people, his kind, and his tribe. By the end of the book I wanted to join his tribe too.  

The second Chet and Bernie mystery, Thereby Hangs a Tail: A Chet and Bernie Mystery, has just been released and is available at our library. Treat yourself to either. They're delightful! 

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


FEBRUARY 8, 2010
An Every Woman Reading List from More Magazine
I love reading lists and rarely pass up the chance to browse one. One I came across recently was in More Magazine:

Top 100 Books Every Woman Should Read

The first 21 books consist of classics but you've got to wonder at some of the choices. I'm not certain how Erica Jong's Fear of Flying is keeping company with Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Little Women but all in all it's a pretty good list.

Part II covers Noteworthy titles, which includes one of my favorites, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and the perennial Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Somehow, Fear of Flying shows up again.

Part III Nonfiction has the superior West With the Night by Beryl Markham, The Liar's Club by Mary Karr and a favorite of one our staff and a pulitzer prize winner to boot, The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed.

Part IV is probably the list that I'm the least familiar with, this one being Poetry.

100 books is a lot for one list of recommendations and a lot for most women to read in a life time. I'm certain some women will try. Looking over the list you'll probably find you've read many already. Myself, I've read several but there's a few  I've never come across. I think I'd like to read this one and will add it to my GoodReads list:

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
A Chinese American woman tells of the Chinese myths, family stories and events of her California childhood that have shaped her identity.

Even with 100 books, there's always something missing though it's not hitting me over the head right now. How about you? What flagrant omission do you see?


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


FEBRUARY 4, 2010
Amelia Bloomer Awards 2010
Each year since 2002,  a committee of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table, The American Library Association, compiles the Amelia Bloomer List. The books chosen are well-written, well-illustrated books featuring significant feminist content and would appeal to readers ages birth to eighteen.

If you've never seen the list take a moment to see what's this year. The 2010 list has 54 choices, both fiction and non-fiction, is varied and has some excellent selections. Let me give you a sampling of just a few:

Fleming, Candace. Imogene’s last stand. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. 2009. 40 p. Schwartz & Wade Books, $16.99. (978-0-3758-3607-7). Grades K-2. When her local historical society building is scheduled for demolition, Imogene takes dramatic action, mobilizing the townspeople to save the building and preserve the history of their town.

Pennypacker, Sarah. Sparrow Girl. Illustrated by Yoko Tanaka. 2009. Unpaged. Disney/Hyperion, $16.99. (978-142311187-0). Grades K-3. When Mao Tse-Tung orders Chinese farmers to kill sparrows to increase the wheat crop, Ming-Li rescues a few of the frightened birds, releasing them when the locusts come to eat the crops and saving the village from famine.

Springer, Nancy. The case of the cryptic crinoline. 2009. 162 p. Philomel, $14.99. (978-0-399-24781-1). Grades 4-6. When her landlady is kidnapped, Enola Holmes takes the case only to learn that the kidnappers have mistaken Mrs. Tuppet for one of Florence Nightingale's spy birds. Enola must enlist the help of the famous nurse/spy in order to effect a a rescue while avoiding her brother Sherlock who wishes to send her to finishing school.

Nelson, Marilyn. Sweethearts of rhythm: the story of the greatest all-girl swing band in the world. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. 2009. 80 p. Dial Books, $21.99. (9780803731875). Grades 4-up. Connected through their passion for music, the all-girl African-American swing band laid down a rhythm that overcame sexism and racism to swing the hearts and tap the toes of those who heard them.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Wintergirls. 2009. 278 p. Viking. $17.99. (978-0-670-01110-0). Grades 9-12. Once friends, Lia and Cassie become the wintergirls, locked in a contest to see who can be skinniest, but Cassie is dead and Lia did not pick up her calls the night she died. Will Lia continue the contest or are there other choices for her?

You can read what one of our own community members had to say about Wintergirls by finding the April 22, 2009 post on our blog

You can bet we'll be adding several of The 2010 Amelia Bloomer List to our selections at Saxton B.

You can view all the Amelia Bloomer lists since 2002 at

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


FEBRUARY 1, 2010
Picking Bones from Ash
Welcome our guest blogger, Author, Marie Mockett, as she tells us a bit about herself and about her debut novel, Picking Bones from Ash.

I always knew that my novel, Picking Bones from Ash, was going to be haunted—I’ve long been fascinated by ghosts. As a child, I had the feeling that ghosts were more “alive” in Japan than they were in my home in California. In Japan, ghosts pop up in pretty much every medium of art and entertainment: from five hundred year old Noh plays, to manga—Japanese cartoons that are now so popular with youth in the west. Every summer, Japanese children dress up in yukata, or summer kimonos, and do the Obon dance to entertain the spirits of the deceased. Homes routinely house ancestor shrines, and display large, bold portraits of loved ones, to whom one lights incense and serves tea and perhaps some sweets each morning. The dead get a lot of attention in Japan.

But how to write a good ghost story—one that mattered? Initially, I just tried to create something atmospheric and scary. I quickly realized, however, that this would be a facile way to proceed—stories don’t captivate or grow on fear alone. So I asked myself what it was about ghost stories and Japan that so fascinated me. I know that people often have the impression that Japan is a rigid and somewhat impersonal place. But what may seem like rigidity to outsiders, as I understand it, is in fact a desire to take the feelings of others into account before any action is undertaken. In other words, most Japanese people I know are very tightly connected to and concerned for each other—and this is reflected in the care shown for the dead. Slowly I began to understand my characters, and their wants and needs both from each other and the world around them.

I had the strange experience of having to further rethink ghost stories when my father died, a year and a half before the publication of my book. He, along with my mother and husband, was my greatest champion. He lived long enough to know that my novel would be published—my first phone call, after getting the news, was to him, and we both cried, relieved that this long spell of aspiration and waiting had finally ended. He didn’t get to see the book in print or even admire the cover; I console myself that at least he knew the book would be a real thing.

I miss my father every day. Every now and then someone—a stranger or perhaps a friend—will say something that I recognize as an idea or opinion my father might have shared with me. And then I will think to myself that I am still maintaining a relationship with him, even though he is not here. Most of us aren’t in minute-by-minute contact with the people we love. Adult lives are busy. But the reach of people we love—particularly those who have been with us for a long time—is long and deep. A part of them remains somewhere in the psyche, prodding and pushing us, buoying us if we are lucky and tormenting us if we are not. Ghosts, I realized, are like this. They are the most personal connections we can have.

Among the scenes I was careful to re-read and edit before publication were those involving the ghost. To be haunted, I now understood, meant to continue a relationship with someone with some personal news to deliver. And this, after all, is what makes ghost stories work, either by frightening us or moving us—the idea that someone can see through to the core of who we are and what we need to know, and that this person will continue to reinforce this important bit of truth, even after he or she is no longer here.

Visit Marie's  
web site at

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