Most of us have read at some time in our lives Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl. We all remember Anne! But do you recall Anne’s older sister Margot? To be honest, I didn’t. The historical fiction book I read recently titled Margot by Jillian Cantor puts a new twist on Margot Frank’s story as if she did not die in the concentration camp. To cope with her past Margot attempts to recreate herself in America. Margot longs to become someone new, free of her Jewish faith and her tragic history. She calls herself Margie Franklin. She lives in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love and works for a Jewish law firm. No one knows her history. No one has seen her tattooed arm with her number from the concentration camp. Her true identity remains hidden, under her fabrications and her long sleeve sweater. Margot’s struggle to retain this mask overwhelms her when the diary her sister Anne wrote, while hiding in the attic, is published by her father, Otto Frank and shortly thereafter the movie is released. In the end Margie’s truth is slowly revealed. This well-written book has made me want to reread Anne’s diary and see the movie Margot would have seen in 1959.
My husband and I took a trip up north in mid-February to see the ice caves on Lake Superior. We had a wonderful time, both there and on the long drive north. We traveled about 800 miles in total, and I must say; I enjoyed my time in the car due to the great audiobook we heard.
Dave Barry and Alan Zwiebel’s book titled Lunatics is a riot. I laughed most of the way north, in spite of slippery roads and lots of traffic. It is rare that I can find an audiobook that appeals to both of us. This one was a winner.The story is about two guys who meet by chance at a soccer game where they get in a shouting match over an offsides call; from there their lives are thrown together from one mad catastrophe to another. The guys are complete opposites; one a nice guy who plays by the rules and the other an arrogant “jerk.” The plot is insane. It is so convoluted and crazy that the only title possible for this book is Lunatics. Please be aware the jerk in this story has a potty mouth and says pretty much everything your mother and mine told us not to say. You have been warned in this recommendation. Drive safely and laugh yourself silly!
As the cold January wind continues to blow snow around, spring seems like a long time away. We have definitely had our share of cold, snow and wind this winter. Earlier this week when the wind chill warning was extended, a radio DJ joked that it was in effect through April. So what do we do while we are waiting for spring? My thought was to do some reading and plan for a new addition to my garden.
I have always liked to plant flowers, bushes and trees in my yard. I love to sit outside in the morning with a cup of coffee and see the yard change through the seasons. In the past, I have only attempted to grow a few things for eating. I usually stick a couple of tomato plants in each year and I also put a few herbs in planters on the deck. Now that my kids are grown, I have a little more time so I am ready to try a vegetable garden.
Most of my yard is on a slope so I need ideas to grow things in small spaces. It didn’t take me long to find just what I was looking for at the library. My first find was All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! by Mel Bartholomew. He has also published a 2nd edition that I placed on hold from another library in our system. Both of these books show how to create raised garden beds and how to extend your space with vertical gardening. I continued to search for additional books on vertical gardening and found a variety of great books.
I am still looking forward to warmer weather but now I have something to keep me busy until then. Is there a new hobby that you would like more information on? If so, don’t forget to stop at the library to find just the right book to help you get started.
When my kids were in grade school, college seemed so far away. I remember dreaming of days when the laundry hamper wasn’t always overflowing and the question, “Is there anything good to eat?” was asked a little less often. Now don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed being a mom and doing things for my family. However, I did remember a time in my life when I had a little more free time and thought wouldn’t that be nice again someday. Well someday is here.
When my youngest child went off to college in August, I have to say it was a transition that took some getting used to. I have always enjoyed coming home after work to see the rest of my family and catch up on our day during dinner. Many times, especially in the last four years, that dinner has been from the crockpot after basketball and baseball games. My collection of recipes had grown over the years to include many crockpot recipes that fed the family. Several of these recipes came from great cookbooks at the library.
When I was faced with the challenge of changing my cooking from “family sized” to “just for 2,” I again went looking at the library. I knew I could find great recipes on the internet but paging through cookbooks is much more appealing to me. I realized that there were lots of great sandwich recipes that worked well for 2. I started with what I found at the Fort Atkinson library and then placed some holds for books from other libraries. What I discovered was a variety of sandwiches including panini and wrap recipes. To date my favorites have come from the book, Taste of Home Sandwiches, Wraps and More! I made a seafood salad recipe that was delicious and BBQ chicken quesadillas with a fantastic mango salsa.
I will continue to add to my “cooking for 2″ recipe collection so let me know if you have another good cookbook to suggest. I will also look forward to having the whole family home for a big Thanksgiving dinner this year. Since I always like to try something new, I am sure I will be browsing the shelves for something fun and delicious to add to that dinner.
One thing I forgot to mention (!) in my last post regarding tools that you can use to help you remember things is our SHARE system’s ‘My Reading History’ service. Once enabled, you can keep track of what you’ve checked out in the past. That way if you can’t remember if you read something, the system will allow you to check to see BEFORE you take it home and get halfway through the first chapter.
It’s important to point out that due to privacy considerations, we do NOT track people’s reading history as the default. In fact, libraries in this country have long been champions of privacy rights of individuals. That’s particularly important to note in today’s world not only from a government surveillance standpoint but also from a commercial standpoint where so much of a person’s life is sold in an effort to collect marketing data. Libraries believe that a person’s speech, research and exploration are private and that this privacy is critical to a democratic society. You can read more about the issue of privacy and how that intersects with libraries here. In Wisconsin, there is a state law that requires confidentiality of library records. In short, we take your privacy very seriously.
But you might want to remember what you’ve read! If that’s the case, we do offer a service called “My Reading History.” It can be turned on and off…at your direction. You can log into the system, go to your library account, and then look at your past checkouts. It only lists them from the time you enable the service until the time you disable the service. So you have full control of your list.
If you are interested in this service, please talk with a library staffer!
I’ve found that the older I get, the harder it is to stay on top of things. I forget things and lose focus more easily. They tell me it’s a natural sign of aging. (I don’t remember who told me, but it was MORE than one person.) Anyway, back to the story. (See what I mean?) On Monday, I wore mismatched shoes to work. I am not kidding you. In my defense, both were black and had the same heel height. I was shocked when I got home from work and discovered my fashion faux pas.
So you can see, I need help. Superior organization and simplification are high on my bucket list. In the meantime, I use tools to help me manage. For example, I now use an integrated email and calendar system that helps remind me of meetings. There are actually quite a few ways technology has improved my ability to stay on top of my life. I use an online password registration site, a cooking app, a file sharing site, and a committee meeting scheduler. When I travel, I can remember where it is I wanted to go by using one of several excellent trip apps. (You can click on any of the words in bold to see the particular software.)
So you can see–I think tools really help manage life. And maybe that’s why I’m always looking for ways to help people manage their library accounts. In short, I feel the pain. I can report that ever since I signed up for our library’s email and text notifications, I am much better about getting my library materials back on time. Sometimes I’m even early because I get notices IN ADVANCE of the due date. It’s a bit like having your mother remind you–but with no guilt attached!
I can’t actually guarantee that you’ll never have an overdue again. But these notifications help you manage your life so it certainly improves your chances! I haven’t heard of any software tools that help with shoe selection. Even Google can’t help with that.
I have always been a fan of historical fiction especially if it is written about the Civil War. I guess my love for this goes back to watching Gone with the Wind with my mom when I was a kid and the fact that history was always my favorite subject in school. I have read great books like The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara that weaves historical detail into a fiction book about the battle of Gettysburg. I also recently listened to the Land of the Lone Star series by Tracie Peterson. They were lighter reads that depicted family life and struggles in Texas during this time.
When I saw The Lincoln Letter by William Martin as I was shelving one afternoon, I knew it had to go home with me. This book combines current day action along with a storyline set in Civil War time. The hunt is on in both time periods to find the diary of Abraham Lincoln. Does this diary really exist and if it does how will the contents affect our nation?
As I was almost finished with this book, I was notified that my hold for the movie Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis was waiting for me at the library. As I watched it that weekend; I thought the timing couldn’t have been better. If you enjoyed that movie, I suggest you read The Lincoln Letter. There were many similarities between these two works but each was unique and worth the time watching or reading. If you have a suggestion of another Civil War historical fiction book or movie, add a comment because I am always looking for another good title.