216 N Marshall Ave
Litchfield MN 55355


Monday - Thursday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cozy in the Kitchen

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

A cozy kitchen can be a good place to find comfort as the days get darker and colder.  You can visit the library for new cookbooks to try out as you warm up your kitchen this fall and winter.

Taste of Home is a popular magazine that publishes recipes submitted by home cooks.  The company, which is part of Reader’s Digest, also publishes cookbooks.  One of their latest is Taste of Home Kitchen Hacks: 100 Hints, Tricks & Timesavers – and the Recipes to Go withThem.  This sounds like a unique cookbook, focused on tricks to make things easier in the kitchen, like how to chop six hardboiled eggs at once or how to hull strawberries with no mess.  Recipes accompany the helpful hints.  I’m intrigued to look at this one.

Award-winning chef Sean Brock’s second cookbook South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations has been named a best cookbook of this fall by a number of media outlets.  Brock covers the core recipes of Southern cooking here, along with a look at the different regions within the South and their history and specialties. Look for fundamentals like grits and fried chicken, along with less familiar foods like eggplant purloo and rhubarb-tomato conserve, in this artfully photographed book.

The smell of bread baking makes a house feel warm and snug.  The new cookbook Living Bread: Tradition and Innovation in Artisan Bread Making might inspire you to try out some new bread baking techniques.  Author Daniel Leader founded the Bread Alone Bakery in the Catskills in 1983 with help from a French expert.  He produces organic, wood-fired, artisan bread on a large scale using environmentally friendly methods, and he has been influential in the artisanal bread world.  Using this cookbook, you can bake basic breads or more complicated things like sourdough and sprouted breads.

Gathering with friends and family is another way to raise your spirits this time of year.  Author Alison Roman says, “It’s not entertaining, it’s having people over.”  In her new cookbook Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over, Roman presents an array of trendy gourmet recipes that she says are easy to make and crowd-pleasing.  I would say it’s all fancier than what most of us are used to, but the ingredients don’t look overly intimidating.

For another trendy cookbook with recipes that sound a little simpler, you can look for Antoni in the Kitchen.  Author Antoni Porowski is the food and wine expert on the popular Netflix show Queer Eye, and he specializes in teaching people how to become more confident with their cooking.   The cookbook includes sections on vegetables, pasta and rice, meat, and baked goods, as well as a chapter called “weeknight healthyish.” 

For a cookbook with more exotic ingredients, check out Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman.  “Sababa” is Hebrew for “everything is awesome” (cue the catchy song from the Lego Movie). This cookbook takes a cheerful approach to sharing the foods Sussman has learned about since moving from America to Israel, especially things she finds in her local outdoor market. 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, with all of the delicious food involved in that day. Oscar Wilde said, “After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relatives.”  Check out one of the vast numbers of cookbooks at the library and find some recipes for good dinners to make at your house.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

No Makerspace in November

The Litchfield Makerspace program for grades 4-6 will not be held in November since the library will be closed for Veterans Day.  Join us on December 9th for the next Makerspace program!

Closed for Veterans Day

Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Monday, November 11, for Veterans Day.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Library closing early Nov. 30, no teen program

The Litchfield Library will close at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 30, for carpet cleaning.  There will be no teen program that day.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Quirky: Characterized by Peculiar or Unexpected Traits. As in "her sense of humor was decidedly quirky"

 By Jan Pease

“Bet You Didn’t Know! 2: outrageous, awesome, out of-this-world facts!”  This quirky book is by the staff at National Geographic Kids.  The book is packed with colorful pictures and all sorts of information that you probably don’t know about. You might not know that you need this book, but you do.

Another quirky book comes to mind, “The Big Book of Silly Jokes for Kids,” by Carole P. Roman.  This book contains more than 800 jokes for kids. The jokes are oldies but goodies like “What word is always spelled wrong?  Answer: the word, wrong.  The quirkiest user of this book was a mom who cut out jokes and put them in her child’s lunchbox.
always spelled wrong?

“Did You Burp? How to ask questions…or not!” is a slightly quirky book by April Pylley Sayre that answers important inquiries such as “what makes a good question?” or “what makes a rude question?” This is an important social skill, and it is useful in many situations.  But it has to be learned, as any parent who has survived the hundreds of questions asked by  young children on any given day.


The “Peanuts” comics can be a little melancholy:  think of that poor little Christmas tree, or Charlie Brown never, ever kicking that football.  But “hopeful joy” is how a reviewer at describes Charles Schulz, and his biography, “Born to Draw Comics.”  Ginger Wadsworth wrote, and Craig Orback illustrated this colorful biography of one of the most influential comic strip artists of our time.

“Prehistoric,” by Kathleen Wiedner Zohfeld, gives a broad look at prehistory.  Contrary to popular supposition, I am not a living fossil. 

Another book, "Megabugs: and other prehistoric critters that roamed the planet," by Helaine Becker, also looks at prehistoric animals, but is limited to insects.   I hope no one gets the idea to clone a bunch of prehistoric insects, including the millipedes that were as big as crocodiles!"

“Charlotte Bronte before Jane Eyre,” by Glynnis Fawkes is a book that is quirky because of its format.  This is a  biographical graphic novel.  It shows the Bronte sisters early life and education and ends with the publication of “Jane Eyre.”  I have affection for this book, because one of the comics I owned as a child was a Classics Illustrated volume of “Jane Eyre,” probably published around 1965.  I read it again and again.  And nostalgically just ordered it online.     See you at the library!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Treat Yourself to a Scary Book

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Halloween is almost here, so it’s time for some scary books.  This could mean mysteries, crime thrillers, ghost stories, vampire novels, or anything spooky or frightening.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have a new book out that’s pretty scary.  Old Bones features a young archaeologist who is asked to lead a team in search of the supposed “Lost Camp” of the Donner Party, the notorious pioneers who descended to cannibalism when trapped in the mountains.  As the members of the expedition excavate the site, they discover even more shocking details, and they find their own lives at risk.  Characters Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson spin off of a previous Preston and Child book series in this start of a new series.

For some Victorian crime atmosphere (think gas lamps and fog), you can pick up Mycroft and Sherlock: The Empty Birdcage by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Anna Waterhouse.  Set before Sherlock Holmes meets Dr. Watson, this mystery finds Sherlock helping his brother investigate a serial killer who has killed a distant relative of Queen Victoria.  This is the third in the Mycroft series by NBA star Abdul-Jabbar, all of which have gotten good reviews.

Zombies are good Halloween subject matter.  The new novel Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff features a post-apocalyptic Ireland overrun by zombies called the skrake. A young woman named Orpen has been raised on a small, safe island off of the coast, living only with her mother and her mother’s partner.  She wishes to go to the mainland and meet other survivors despite the risk of the skrake, and when disaster strikes her island, she has no choice but to cross the water and prepare to fight for her life.

If serial killers are more your thing, look for The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup, a Danish television and film writer.  It’s Scandinavian noir, along the lines of Steig Larsson and Jo Nesbo.  A psychopath is leaving a doll fashioned from chestnuts at the scene of each murder, and a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to find the murderer.  Netflix is developing the novel into an original series.

Minnesota mystery author Ellen Hart writes the long-running Jane Lawless series.  Installment #26 is the newest book: Twisted at the Root.  A widower’s family contacts Jane for help proving he was wrongly accused of murdering his husband, and Jane finds that her missing brother was involved in the trial.  Reviewers have praised the fully-realized characters and the ramped-up creepiness of the plot. 

Have you tried an escape room?  The novel The Escape Room by Megan Goldin takes the idea to a terrifying level.  Four Wall Street financiers are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise in an escape room that turns out to be a tense game of survival. Kirkus Reviews says, “Cancel all your plans and call in sick; once you start reading, you’ll be caught in your own escape room.”

Dean Koontz is well-known for creepy books.  His newest novel is The Night Window, the last in his Jane Hawk series.  Jane is a rogue FBI agent with a mission to take down the powerful people trying to control America through an army of mind-altered people.  Reviewers say this is best book in the series, carefully plotted and entertaining.

If you like a book that will scare you one way or another, the Litchfield Library offers plenty of choices. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Silly, Scary and Interesting!

By Jan Pease

New books: be on the lookout for these interesting titles!

Sometimes a book just resonates with you.  Sometimes an author surprises you.  Eoin Colfer has accomplished that in his new book, “The Dog Who Lost His Bark.”  Mr. Colfer usually writes suspenseful, humorous stories like the “Artemis Fowl” series.  “The Dog Who Lost His Bark” is a sweet story that is beautifully illustrated.  Although it touches on some heavy subjects like abuse and abandonment, things work out in the end.   I was interested in this book because I re-homed a tiny little dog that had been debarked.  She has about half a bark, and it’s surprising what a difference that makes in her vocalizations.  If you’d like to see a clip of her bowing and grinning, visit my Facebook page.  Go to and type Jan Pease in the search bar.

Another beautifully illustrated book was just published by Patricia MacLachlan, “The Hundred-Year Barn.”  Ms. MacLachlan is an award-winning author, and illustrator Kenard Pak is an award-winning artist and animator.  This book is just lovely.  It captures the feeling of generations living on a farm  
throughout many seasons.

I love koalas.  Actually, I like to watch animal and veterinary shows on PBS, National Geographic Wild, National Geographic, and Animal Planet, to the despair of family members who prefer “something with a plot.”  “Don’t Call Me Bear!” is a funny book written by Aaron Blabey that tells the story of a koala who resents being called a bear.  As in “koala bear,” which is what most of us call this adorable marsupial.  The Koala says, “G’day my name is Warren and I’ve got something to share…Just because I’m furry DOESN’T MEAN THAT I’M A BEAR!” 

“Bruce’s Big Storm,” by Ryan T. Higgins, is another grumpy animal story.  This is the new book in the “Mother Bruce” series.  Instead of Mother Goose, we have Mother Bruce, who raises a family of  baby geese.  In “Bruce’s Big Storm,” Bruce gives shelter to his animal friends and ends up with a very full house in spite of his grumpiness.

Just in time for Halloween, the library has received two very silly “scary” books.  “Giracula,” by   Hide your pies and cakes!  “The Curse of the Werepenguin,” by Allan Woodrow, is written for slightly older but still silly readers.  A boy named Bolt visits a baron who claims to be a distant relative but seems to be a twelve-year-old boy who wears tuxedos and shouts at people all the time.  When Bolt is bitten by the baron, he turns into a half-boy, half-penguin creature.  And it only gets worse from there.

Caroline Watkins, is about a vampire giraffe that has a taste for sweets.

 These sentimental, interesting and silly books are waiting for you at Litchfield Library.  See you there!