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Mystery Binge, March 2013

I have been an avid reader ever since I COULD read. Actually…even before. There are stories about the toddler Kristine who didn’t like to go to bed at night but DID like to have her Dad read to her while she ate Rice Krispies, one at a time, off the tray of her high chair. Since I’ve become the Director of the Forest Lodge Library, I find that I’m reading even more than I used to! Although I was a sometimes mystery reader, I now find myself reading a lot more mysteries. We have a lot of mystery readers here at the Forest Lodge Library, and I like to research great writers that maybe don’t make the block-buster lists…but, really and truly know how to develop great characters and tell great stories. Thus I have, over the last month, been on a total mystery binge. A SATISFYING mystery binge…

I started off with the latest Flavia de Luce, the 11 year old poison connoisseur and increasingly less amateur sleuth. Speaking from Among the Bones is number five in the series from Alan Bradley (C. Alan Bradley, to be absolutely correct) and let me just say this: Flavia NEVER disappoints. For me Flavia is right up there with the great contemporary female characters…like Lisbeth Salander,(Steig Larsson’s Milennium trilogy)  Katniss Everdeen ( Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series) and Vanessa Michael Munroe (Taylor Stevens The Informationist and The Innocent.) Only, the Flavia books could actually be considered “cozies.” People are killed, yes, but there is no sex, (just sneers at the romantic entanglements of an older sister) no bad language and no superfluous violence. I would…and have…recommend(ed) the Flavia de Luce mysteries to any reader of any age. They are an absolute delight. If you haven’t read them yet, I would encourage you to begin at the beginning with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Not only will it provide you with full background on the characters and their living situation at the crumbling Buckshaw mansion located nearby the village of Bishop’s Lacey in 1950’s Great Britain….but, the opening to this novel is one of the best EVER!

Next I moved on to Blue Monday, by Nicci French, a husband and wife British crime-fiction writing team.  Their character, Frieda Klein, is a psychotherapist. News reports of a lost, possibly abducted five-year old boy sound just way too much like the dreams one of her clients has been relating to her. Should she, or should she not tell the police about it? At first the police don’t take her conjecture too seriously, but, soon she is in, way in the middle of the case, which also has links to an abduction case from twenty years previous. Frieda Klein is an interesting character, with an intriguing mind. This series will be one to follow.

From there it was on to Blessed are those who Thirst by Anne Holt, a Norwegian writer. I was first introduced to this writer and her character Hanne Wilhelmsen in the remarkable 1222, from 2011. 1222 is definitely on my list of top ten best books read in the last couple of years. I absolutely loved the scene, the characters, the action. I loved that the Hanne Wilhelmsen character was…not really very likeable, but, her intrepid intelligence kept me turning pages and it wasn’t long before I was totally hooked. In 1222 Hanne is in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down by a gunshot from her days on the Oslo police force. Since 1222, back titles in the series are being released in the U.S. Blessed are those who Thirst is the second in the series, and in those days Hanne was an able-bodied, highly respected detective. It’s been interesting to see Hanne develop as a character…and Anne Holt as a writer, as the series continues. Highly recommended! Especially if you like Scandanavian Crime Fiction!

After that I picked up the second volume in Sallie Bissell’s Mary Crow series, another writer I decided to check out because her work was recommended in the Library Journal, and she has a new book in the series coming out soon. The first of hers I read is the first in the series, In the Forest of Harm. Yes, GREAT TITLE! Her central character is one Mary Crow, a half-Cherokee prosecutor in the Atlanta D.A.’s office with ties to the misty Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. I thought In the Forest of Harm (2001) was terrific…and that it might be a hard act to follow. A Darker Justice the next in the series, was, if anything, even better. Mary Crow is definitely a character any reader would cheer for, and Bissell has created wonderful characters to accompany her…some good, some bad…all complex, intelligent and interesting. I’ve just inter-library loaned the Legacy of Masks, the next in the series available through our own library system. I think our library may have to purchase Call the Devil by His Oldest Name, since none of the Northern Waters libraries owns it. I’ll definitely be purchasing for our collection the newest in the series, Music of Ghosts, coming in April 2013.

Now I’m flying through the most recent in the Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway mysteries, A Room Full of Bones. (the next one in the series, Dying Fall, releases this month.) Ruth Galloway is yet another wonderful character, a professional in a profession other than crime. She’s an archeologist, an expert in old bones, of which there are a surprising lot in old England! This is another series that I heartily recommend to all mystery readers. Beginning with The Crossing Places this series offers a wonderful landscape, carefully crafted characters, plenty of action, but, here again, not too much in the overt violence, bad language or superfluous sex department.

Whew! QUITE a binge! I should maybe take a break and try reading some…non-fiction! Game Change has been on my “must read” list for quite awhile now, along with a few other promising titles.

All righty then…read on!

February 2013

February in Cable is all about the American Birkebeiner…and attendant races and festivities.

Out there in the rest of the U S of A it’s OSCAR season! The 85th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony is happening on Sunday, Feb. 24th, giving us something to enjoy while we’re relaxing after a busy Birkie week!

We love movies here at the Forest Lodge Library. Well, okay, I definitely love movies! And it is also true that film check-outs represent about 35% of our circulation, so I’ve been trying to direct a more appropriate portion of our collection development budget towards movies and documentaries for patrons of all ages and interests. (for example, coming soon…Yoga and Zumba work-out DVDs.) While most of the Oscar-nominated films have yet to BE released on DVD, we do have, in collection, a few of those that have been made available. We have Best Picture nominee Beasts of the Southern Wild; Flight, Denzel Washington’s Best Actor-nominated performance, Animated Feature nominees Brave and Frankenweenie and Searching for Sugar Man, nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category. We’ll be screening Searching for Sugar Man on Thursday evening, Feb. 14th. (something sweet for Valentine’s Day!) I’m not necessarily saying that you’ll find any of these films actually on the shelf when you come to the library…but, we do own them and you, yes you, can put them on HOLD to ensure that you are among the very first to view them!

Of course, it is true that you can put any book or movie on HOLD! Yep…if you know that the next Flavia DeLuce mystery by Alan Bradley is printing this month (and, that’s TRUE! We just got our copy of Speaking from Amongst the Bones last week!) and want to get your hands on it as soon as possible, put it on HOLD! We can do it for you, here, if you drop in or give us a call. Or…it is also easily done from the comfort and privacy of your home. All you need is your library card. 

January 2012

After an exciting, satisfying 2011....we look forward to even MORE excitement in the NEW YEAR!

A couple of upcoming special events I just MUST mention:

On February 10th, a Friday, we welcome an old friend of mine from Green Bay days, Jim Moran. Back in the day, Jim and I were in a writing group together and he was working at the family print shop in downtown Green Bay. I had rather lost track of him, but, found him late last summer when his photo turned up on the cover of Wisconsin People & Ideas Magazine, a publication of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Turns out my friend Jim is currently the Director of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, WI. "The Hamilton" is not just a repository of letterpress printers, it's a working museum. There's been a resurgence of interest in the printing technology that was abandoned in the mid-1980's with the arrival of Apple computers and digital print software. The Hamilton offers interships and welcomes folks from all over the world. They've also recently offered workshops for Nike ad executives and images from the Hamilton's collection will be used to launch a Target clothing and accessory collection to be released this summer. Well, I'll have lots more to say about this event in coming weeks...but, STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU to get it on your calendar. Jim will show a documentary made about the work he's doing...and talk about the work and the Hamilton.

Many Cableites enjoyed our October Antiques Appraisal Event...and we'll be bringing back appraiser Mark Moran for another such event on May 11th. This year we'll take our very own Roadshow to the Cable Community Center and will start taking reservations for times to bring in YOUR antique for appraisal sometime in February. Appraisal times will be during the day...and then we look forward to a social event to cap off the day. We'll offer a wine-tasting with some tasty hors doeurves, there'll be an "appraisers choice" silent auction of donated antiques, our appraiser will offer some remarks about his life as a roadshow warrior and we'll wrap the evening with a fine-art auction of just a few, select pieces. Mark Moran is a former senior editor for antiques and collectible books with Krause Publications out of Iola, WI and is the author or co-author of more than 25 books on antiques and collectibles and has bought and sold antiques for over 30 years, specializing in vintage folk art, Americana and fine art. He has been active as an antique and fine art appraiser for more than 20 years, has served as a guest expert on Antiques Roadshow. 

Mark has also donated a two-hour in-home appraisal to the Forest Lodge Library to help us raise funds with this event! We'll start selling raffle tickets to win this valuable prize of service about the same time we start taking reservations. Moran generally charges $75/hr for this service, so, if you've got a lot of antiques you're wondering about, this is a great opportunity to receive an expert appraisal!We'll draw the winner early in May so that Moran can schedule the appraisal while he's in the neighborhood! We are deeply grateful for his generous offer...and this makes it an even more amazing event! It IS possible to schedule an appraisal with Moran if you should not win the prize...give us a call and we'll be happy to supply his contact information!

And, no, it's not just a coincidence that these two gentlemen have the same last name...they're brothers! Jim is an old friend, Mark has become a new friend...they are a large and talented family and this might not be the last Moran we bring to the Forest Lodge Library.

In the meantime, we continue with our Community Conversations and our My Favorite Film series, as we continue looking at the films of Woody Allen...We'll also be showing some documentaries...and hope to institute an opportunity to read and discuss the U.S. Constitution.

Stop in...visit the website regularly...ask to be put on our email list...or follow us on Facebook...but DO resolve to keep track of what's going on at the library in the New Year. You wouldn't want to miss anything!

July 12, 2011

It's a lovely summer day here in lovely downtown Cable, WI. We're certainly seeing summer traffic here at the library! Folks are waiting in queue to use our public access computers and folks with their laptops line our long table...and can sometimes be found sitting on the front steps before or after hours! Let that be a word to the wise! A computer might not be available as soon as you walk in the door, and, because of heavy traffic, you may be limited to a half-hour session. Also, because of the strain it places on bandwidth, internet gaming could be restricted during times of heavy use.

IF you need to use the computer to take a test, or for some other reason cannot squish your session into half an hour let us know and we'll hook you up with one of our laptops.

We are in hiatus from our Community Conversation series until late August...when we'll be showing "Green Fire", a documentary about Aldo Leopold at 6:30 on Wednesday, August 31st. Joan Cervenka, a Forest Service representative, will be bringing the film and offering up a little background and sticking around for any post-discussion.

We continue to screen a movie a month! Check our Home page and/or calendar for information!

There's a couple of other interesting events in the works....STAY TUNED!

...And HAPPY SUMMER! Stay hydrated!

June 26, 2010

Goodness, where HAVE I been! Well, busy at the library, for one thing!

Winter is now L O N G past...and ended quite abruptly not long after my last posting. We had a lovely long spring. We had an April that was like May....and a May that was like an April. We were in a drought...but have been experiencing heavy rains for the last several weeks...which has turned Cable into a mushroom garden!

                           

You wouldn't want to be EATING these mushrooms, lovely as they are! They are Fly Agaric or Aminita Muscaria...and considered to be poisonous.

There's lots going on at the library! We're two weeks into our MAKE A SPLASH summer reading program. We're excited to offer fun...interesting and educational programs on Friday mornings at 10:30 through July 23rd. Most programs are held at the Community Centre...with the exception of our Tom Pease program finale, which will be held "on the lawn" between the library and the Cable Natural History Museum. (We do have the Cable Rec Park as a "fallback position" if there should be inclement weather.) An ongoing reading program accompanies these EVENTS. Kids can accumulate points for the books they read. Points are rewarded with "scrip" that can be spent at Redbery Books or the Ideal Market. Points also entitle kids to put some scales on our MakeWish BookFish...and specially marked scales entitle kids to pick a prize. We might even let you feed Flash our MAKE A SPLASH fish!

Our Community Conversation is taking a month off...spend your Wednesdays at the Cable Natural History Museum's Joe Jenkins Lecture Series! This lecture series also takes places at the Cable Community Centre. For more information on this series...or any Museum programming, visit their website at www.cablemuseum.org.

We've started our My Favorite Films monthly screening. In July we'll be viewing The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, yes, that's right! This is the Swedish film made from the blockbuster novel. Hollywood will be making their own version...but, I, for one, am very anxious to see this one! We have the item on pre-order...and have every reason to think that it will arrive in time for our scheduled 7/29 screening.

 We're celebrating our 85th Anniversary this summer! Our Board of Trustees threw a Tea Party early in June, a lovely event on a lovely summer's day. Everything was just as delicious as it looks!

                                              

The Forest Lodge Library Staff presented a Patron Appreciation spread for three days towards the end of June. We hope to offer up a few additional events as the year progresses. For example...on July 22, author Bill Mathias will come to the Cable Community Centre to talk about his book Monster Fire, about the big fire in the Minong area in 1972. We hope to involve the local fire departments and turn it into a fun, family, educational and interesting event! We'll also plan to screen a film that was popular back in 1925, have a "especially for kids" event....when our Libri Foundation granted books arrive...and, well, although it's half-past, we've yet to see what all the year may hold!

Hope to see you at the Forest Lodge Library sometime this summer!