I have been a reader of Maeve Binchy’s books most of my life. She passed away in 2012, and it was like losing a good friend.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of books that have been
released since her death: A Week in Winter (2013), Chestnut Street (2014)
and in March 2016 a collection of short stories titled A Few of the Girls. If you are looking for a short story to treasure before you drift off to sleep A Few of the Girls is the perfect book for you. This is the book I am currently savoring.
Generally I am not a big fan of short stories but Maeve’s are always a delight. Her stories tell of small town life in Ireland. She writes of love and loss, heartache and joy. She tells stories of family life, the same issues we all face, but Maeve makes them heartwarming!
I love her style of writing and the feeling her stories give me. They are like comfort food at the end of a long day. If you find that Maeve Binchy touches your heart as she has touched mine, you will be delighted by the number of books she has written over the course of her lifetime. Each one will leave you feeling deeply satisfied. Enjoy!
I recently read two books while up north. It was during the last spring snow storm, and I was not going out into it. So, I settled into a comfortable chair in front of the fire and enjoyed my favorite pastime…reading.
The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard was a story I could not put down. It takes place in rural Wisconsin. Most of us will be able to relate to the peaceful farm scenes described. In this tranquil setting tragedy struck or was it murder? A young teenage girl goes missing in a snow storm. Family’s lives are forever altered; a community is torn apart. Nine years later the past is revisited and the terrible truth about the missing girl is revealed. The story is so well written. You will share the emotions of the characters in the story. You will feel their joy of life, their anguish of loss and the fear that someone you love may have committed a terrible crime. Be prepared for a sleepless night. You will have to stay up late to finish this one.
From this suspenseful read I made a one hundred an eighty degree turn and found this delightful book, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. It had me right from the start. It is a story of a friendship based on a mutual love of books. The friends are of different generations and from different countries, who exchange letters and their favorite books. You will be drawn into their unique relationship. The main character, Sara, is from Sweden, and she soon finds herself in Broken Wheel Iowa eager to meet her pen pal Amy. Life happens when you are making other plans and that is clearly the case in this story. The people of Broken Wheel will make you laugh and cry. By the time you turn the last page you will be ready to move to Iowa and will want Sara to find just the right book for you. If you love books; you will be charmed by this one. The moral of this story is there truly is a book for everyone.
I just read a beautifully written book, The Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman. It was recommended to me by a coworker. Once I opened it up I was immediately captivated by the people and their struggle to survive during war times in Italy. The main character, Elodie, is a young woman who is drawn into the Italian resistance forces during World War II. Her exceptional gifts; an incredible memory for detail and her musical talent with a cello, play a significant role in aiding the partisans in occupied Italy. The book also tells another story of a young man, Angelo, who is sent to serve as a Doctor in Ethiopia during Italy’s invasion of that country. Elodie and Angelo’s stories are joined by love and war. This is a beautiful love story. This is not just a story of love for one’s soul mate but for one’s country and a way of life that is being forever altered by war. The description of music is truly breathtaking. It was so moving it got me to sit down at my long neglected piano and play again. This is a story that lingers on with me. May it linger with you too.
Living in Wisconsin it is hard to get anywhere without driving past a farm or two. I have not lived on a farm myself but I know several people that do. Last summer I really enjoyed attending our county fair to watch kids of all ages show their calves and cows. They are much bigger than you think when you see them up close and they can also give those kids a workout when they are trying to lead them around for judging.
When I was covering our copy of Michael Perry’s new book, The Jesus Cow, I was very intrigued so I had to read it. I was hooked from the first page! Farmer, Harley Jackson, discovers on Christmas Eve that his newborn calf has an image of Jesus on his flank. Harley’s only response is, “Well, that’s trouble.” As you continue to read this delightful and funny tale, you will see just how much trouble this situation will bring to Harley and the small town he lives in.
I really enjoyed this book for the humor and the cast of characters that create this novel. I could see pieces of other small town farmers I know and I could relate to how daily life was described in this Wisconsin setting.
If you are looking for a humorous and heartwarming story, I definitely recommend The Jesus Cow!
Also, if you are a fan of Michael Perry, you will be happy to know that The Friends of the Library will be hosting an event with Michael on October 17th. Watch for additional information posted in the library and on the library’s website www.fortlibrary.org as the date approaches for this event.
I wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to our community of patrons. You have been so patient and understanding during our software/catalog upgrade. We are still fine tuning everything, so you might experience a few oddities in your library account. Please do not hesitate to call us or stop in so we can help with any issues you might be having!
As you probably already know, we are upgrading our library catalog. Of course, even in this world of eat, drink, and sleep technology, these upgrades wont happen in the blink of an eye. So while the software adjust to its new library home, we hope that you will be patient with us as we learn to adjust as well.
You will be able to check the library catalog here and at home, searching for the latest best sellers or your favorite film. You can still access your account to see what you have checked out, put on hold, or if you have fines (anything you check out during the week of November 14-19 you will not see in your account).
Starting today, November 14 through November 19, our library staff will only be able to check items out to you with your library card. We cannot check items in, place things on hold, take care of fines or lost items, issue library cards, renew items….whew! There are many functions that we will not be able to perform. We can, however, welcome you with a smile and say hello, offer you a hot cup of coffee, help you get online, recommend a good book on CD or movie, show you where the comfy seating area is with many magazines for you to read, invite you to Lego Club…..
We are so much more than just books and movies! We’re your community meeting place, your hot spot for what’s new and different. Come on in out of the cold and stay awhile.
As we approach graduation time, I wanted to share a couple of interesting things I recently found. The first is a book called What I Wish for You by Patti Digh. This book is a collection of stories and essays written by Patti and followers of her blog, 37days.com. She compiled all of these writings as her daughter was graduating from high school. One of the pieces, written by Celeste Tibbets, caught my eye because it is titled “Live in the Library.” It starts by saying, “bring a pillow if they’ll let you,” and goes on to advise you to “become deep read, crazy deep read, and uniquely read.” This includes exploring areas and collections in the library that you normally wouldn’t look at. My favorite part is at the very end. The writer says, “Make friends with the librarians. Live there. Until they make you leave. And then come back again as soon as you can.”
I can definitely see the benefit of being well read, think of all the things you could learn and enjoy! Have you ever considered that there could be health benefits as well? According to an article from the May 2014 issue of Nature’s Pathways magazine, there could be. One of the health benefits can be stress reduction. Engaging in a good book can help us relax and if you read before bed it can also help you get a good night’s rest.
I plan to share this advice with my niece as she graduates this year. This is also great advice for anyone young or old. So go visit your library, explore it and become “crazy deep read.” Yes, we do make you leave when the library closes for the day but we also welcome you back with a smile when we open for the next day.