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Litchfield MN 55355

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Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Eight Books That Will Keep You Turning Pages!

By Jan Pease

I love how new books smell and feel, are all shiny and exciting and are just waiting to be opened and shared.  Here are some new books in the juvenile and young adult areas of Litchfield Public Library.

First I’ll tell you about two books that are silly and whacky, and then we’ll get down to some more serious young adult reading.  “Just My Rotten Luck,”   by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, is the seventh “Middle School” novel.   Yes, he’s THAT James Patterson.  The “Middle School” series would be perfect for people who loved “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” but with a bit more substance.  In this book, several important questions are answered, but the most important question of all is “Why can’t Rafe ever stay out of trouble?” 

“Cakes in Space,” by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, is even sillier.  A
customer review at amazon.com says of this book, “My eight-year-old loves it.  I read through much of this book myself and I can’t quite figure out why. “Like the “Captain Underpants” books and the “Lunch Lady” series, these “not-so-impossible tales” are just plain fun.

 Imagine Earth devastated by heat as the sun turns into a red star.  Most of the inhabitants have
left or died, and a young woman named Tora Reynolds holds the secret of weapons her father feared would fall into the wrong hands.  Her goal is to get off the planet, as impossible as that seems.   “Burn Out” is Kristi Helvig’s first novel, and it was followed by her second novel, “Strange Skies.”    I don’t know when the third book will come out, but I’ll be watching for it.

Don’t you just hate it when we have books one and three of a trilogy but not book two?  “Unhinged,” by A.G. Howard, the second book in the
“Splintered” trilogy finally arrived.  Book one of the trilogy is “Splintered,” and book three is “Ensnared.”  The three books tell the story of a descendent of the inspiration for “Alice in Wonderland” as she tries to survive the craziness and chaos of Wonderland and her own insanity.  This is one of those trilogies that librarians tended to ignore, but fans seem to adore.


We’ve been purchasing novels by author Ilsa J. Bick that push the envelope a bit. “The Dickens Mirror” is the second book of “The Dark Passages” series, following “White Space.”    I think her perceived audience is   “new adults,” at the upper end of the young adult continuum.  She lives in Wisconsin, near a Hebrew cemetery, and sounds like an interesting person.  She says of herself, “I’m peripatetic, easily bored … and I write books.”   I passed these by at first, but later ordered them because of positive reviews.  Read them and let me know what you think.



Finally, “Pure,” by Terra Elan McVoy is one I missed when it was published, but ran across while doing some professional reading. It is highly recommended as   a coming of age story from a conservative viewpoint.  It is certainly an interesting look at friendship, faith, and betrayal.  I’d like to
know your opinion on this book.   


Summer is the perfect time to read longer books or series.  The “Splintered” series alone promises you 1200 pages of enjoyment.  See you at the library!

Monday, June 22, 2015

What will you read this summer?

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Can you believe the Fourth of July is next week?  Summer is in full swing.  What’s on your summer reading list?

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand is one I keep seeing in our deliveries of items that customers have ordered.  On one recent afternoon, there were three copies waiting here for Litchfield people to pick up!  Hilderbrand is a modern standard author for beach reads.  The Rumor is about two seemingly-perfect families on the island of Nantucket and the rumors that begin to swirl about them: the author’s writer’s block, her best friend’s close working relationship with her landscaper, their children’s rocky romance… Everyone is talking about how things aren’t as perfect as they seem.

In a whole different vein for summer books, Stephen King has a new novel out, Finders Keepers.  It’s the sequel to last year’s Mr. Mercedes, although you don’t need to read that book first.  It’s a bit like King’s novel Misery, since it is also about an obsessed, dangerous fan of an author.  In Finders Keepers, the fan has already killed the author and stolen his money and manuscripts.  He hides them before going to prison for decades.  In the meantime, a teenage boy finds them, and then finds his life in danger when the murderer is paroled.  Book reviewers have fantastic things to say about this one.

Judy Blume, another always-popular author with decades of best sellers, has a new novel out for adults.  In the Unlikely Event is set in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where Blume grew up and where three airplanes crashed in three months in the early 1950’s.  Blume tells the story of three generations in a heartwarming novel that encourages readers not to be afraid.  Book critics like this one, too.

Everyone’s looking for the next Gone Girl.  One that’s being compared to it this summer is Disclaimer by Renee Knight.  This psychological thriller is told by two narrators, leaving the reader to wonder who to believe.  The book begins with the main character finding a novel next to her bed that tells the secrets she has hidden for years that only one other person knew, and that person is dead.  The disclaimer at the front of the book mentioning “any resemblance to persons living or dead” has been crossed out in red ink.  Sounds exciting!

One really unique nonfiction book this summer is writer and director Judd Apatow’s Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy.  Apatow is known for the TV shows “Freaks and Geeks” and “Girls” and movies such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.”  He started interviewing stand-up comics for his high school radio station in New York when he was sixteen.  These included Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Allen, and Jay Leno in 1983 and 1984.  He has continued to talk to comedians, and now he has put together a whole book of these conversations.  Because Apatow is now an entertainment insider himself, more recent discussions are especially candid and unlike typical press interviews.  Reviewers say it’s insightful as well as funny.


Whether your idea of a great beach read is humor, thriller, or romance, we can get you what you need.  Order one of these or another intriguing book and add some fun and excitement to your summer.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Things I Learned Today


By Jan Pease

 What do you call a book that is fun to read, looks like a picture book, but is full of information?  Great nonfiction, and that is what these new books have in common.  They are nonfiction books that masquerade as picture books.

“Do you have any books about honey badgers?” asked a young patron. Now we do, a  book from the series, “Bad to the Bone: Nastiest Animals.” The title of the book is “Honey Badgers,” and it was written by Marie Roesser.   If I thought about them at all, I thought of them as a cuter cousin of our own American badger.  I learned that while they are from the same family as otters, badgers,  weasels, martins, and polecats,  Mustelidae, honey badgers have their own  subfamily, Mellivorinae.  Their scientific name is Mellivora capensis.  Their main predators are lions, leopards, and man.  They are fearless, and will stand their ground against a lion or leopard.  Some people hunt them for meat, but it is said that they don’t taste very good.   This is an unusual animal, which is  beginning to be threatened in Africa, India, and the Arabian Peninsula.

Today I also learned that famous children’s author Kathleen Krull was fired from a part-time library job when she was fifteen.  The reason?  She was reading too much while she was supposed to be working. She writes award-winning nonfiction books about interesting people, and her new series, “Women Who Broke the Rules,” gives readers a glimpse into some interesting lives.  The first three books in the series are about writer Judy Blume, Supreme Court judge Sonia Sotomayor, and incredible guide Sacajawea.  Ms. Krull has an easy, breezy style but includes a lot of information.  Each book includes an index, list of sources, and websites for further reading.

Today I also learned about fractals, which didn’t exist as a concept until 1975.  I still can’t say I understand them, but I love the word.  Sarah C. Campbell  and her husband, Richard C. Campbell have written and illustrated a book titles, “Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature.”    The afterword in the book was written by Michael Frame, a mathematician who worked with the late Benoit Mandelbrot, the inventor of the word, “fractal,” who developed the theory of fractals in nature.   Mr. Mandelbrot thought in shapes and liked to find connections between ideas.  He realized that the things he had been studying were made up of little parts that looked like the whole thing.  An example could be a head of broccoli, a tree, or lightning.  At first other scientists ignored his work, but now many scientists have realized that people can build things the same way nature does.  Mr. Frame says that Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak would have been made of fractals.  Now that’s a reason to study math!
 
Stephanie Roth Sisson has illustrated more than sixty books for children,  but now has written and illustrated  her own  book, “Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos.”   You may
remember his television series, “Cosmos,” which is available on dvd through Pioneerland Library System.  His imagination was limitless; his statement that “the Earth and every living thing are made of star stuff,” has led many young people to investigate space and beyond. Today I was reminded  that the Voyager Spacecraft, which was one of Mr. Sagan’s projects, left our solar system in September 2013 and is still traveling among the stars.  Incredible. 









Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sign up now for our bus trip to the Ray Fagen Memorial Airshow!


The bus will pick up in three locations:
Dassel 9:45 a.m.
Litchfield 10:15 a.m.
Grove City 10:45 a.m.

We will leave the airshow grounds at 6 p.m., arriving back at the libraries at approximately these times;
Grove City 7:30 p.m.
Litchfield 7:45 p.m.
Dassel 8:00 p.m.

Sign up by Wednesday, June 17, to reserve your seat!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Bombs Away!

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

If you enjoy airplanes or World War II history, we’ve got an event for you.  The library is offering a bus trip to the Ray Fagen Memorial Air Show on June 20 at the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum in Granite Falls.  For no charge, you can catch a bus from the Dassel, Litchfield, or Grove City libraries, get into the museum and grounds, and watch a ground battle reenactment and an air show.

You can learn more about the museum and the event by visiting www.fagenfighterswwiimuseum.org.  They also have a Facebook page with information about the air show.

Sign up by stopping in to or calling the Litchfield, Grove City, or Dassel libraries.  Space is limited as we are taking one bus for the three communities.  This trip is free to attend because it is funded with money from Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage fund

Minors must be accompanied by an adult and must have a waiver form signed by their parent or guardian in order to attend.  Participants must ride the bus.

The bus will pick up from the libraries in the morning in order to arrive at the museum around noon, and it will return in the evening, leaving the event at 6 p.m.  Participants will need to plan for lunch and supper.  Food can be brought along but must be eaten on the bus; no food or drink can be brought onto the event grounds.  Food will be available for purchase at the event.  The library will not be providing meals.

Participants will also need to bring their own chairs.  Hearing protection is recommended.

The bus will pick up those who are signed up for the trip in front of the libraries at the following times:

Dassel 9:45 a.m.
Litchfield 10:15 a.m.
Grove City 10:45 a.m.

Return times are approximately as follows:

Grove City 7:30 p.m.
Litchfield 7:45 p.m.
Dassel 8:00 p.m.

The ground battle reenactment begins at 1:00 and the air show begins at 3:00.  If it rains, the air show will be postponed to another day.  If we know by that morning that the air show will be postponed, the trip will be cancelled.

Our group will not be staying for the Craig Morgan concert in the evening or the evening air show that will take place after the concert.  The length of the afternoon air show is not yet known, and our bus will leave at 6 p.m. whether the air show is over or not. 

The theme of the show is “Bombs Away”.  Tours of the B-17 Aluminum Overcast will be available throughout the day.  The B-25 Maid in the Shade will be available for rides before and after the air show and for tours throughout the day, as well. 


I keep hearing that the Fagen museum is a very interesting place to visit.  Join us for this free trip to visit the museum and see history brought to life.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Books are Amazing!

By Jan Pease

One of my mother’s catch phrases was “it’s a buggy year.”  It almost always was a buggy year, no matter what state we lived in.  Perhaps she would have approved of a charming book by Sarah Albee, “Bugged: How Insects Changed History.”  The book is printed in purple ink with green accents, and as the cover says, it’s “swarming with facts!”    Chapters include “Close Encounters of the Ancient Kind,” “More Thinking but Still Stinking:  The Renaissance,” and other great chapter titles.
 
Two new nonfiction picture books tackle significant issues.  “Harlem Hellfighters,”  by J. Patrick Lewis and Gary Kelley,   tells the story of the 369th Infantry Regiment, the 15th New York National Guard in the First World War.  The army was segregated, and these brave black men from New York City proved themselves as they did whatever was required of them.  They also brought the sound of Harlem jazz to France.    

  “Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation,” by Duncan Tonatiuh, received both the Pura Belpre Award and the Robert F. Sibert Honor Book.  This remarkable book explains how a brave girl and her family fought for her right to attend regular school in California. 

“Over the Hills and Far Away” is a treasury of nursery rhymes collected by Elizabeth Hammill.  The rhymes are both familiar and exotic, but the illustrations will blow you away.  Seventy seven artists contributed stunning, full-color art for this collection.  It really is a treasure.


“The Pilot and the Little Prince,” a nonfiction picture book by Peter Sis, tells about the life of Antoine De Saint Exupery, the author of “The Little Prince.”    Information about the early days of aviation is packed into this slim volume  about a beloved author and incredibly interesting man.



David J. Smith has written a nonfiction picture book titled “If… A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers.” For example, Mr. Smith says, “If all the food produced around the world in one year were represented by a loaf of bread with 25 slices … 11 slices of bread would come from Asia, but 13 ½ slices would be eaten by Asians. “  It really is an interesting way to look at global issues. 



Finally, a substantial nonfiction book by Gail Jarrow, “Red Madness,”  explores Pellagra,  the devastating illness caused by poor diet.   This is the reason our bread and so many other foods are enriched, but for many years it was a medical mystery. 


These books are waiting for you at Litchfield Public Library.