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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Minnesota mystery author Dennis Herschbach

Meet Minnesota author Dennis Herschbach Wednesday, June 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room of the Litchfield Public Library.  He will be here to discuss the 3rd book in the his Two Harbors mystery series, A River Through Two Harbors.

Fictional law enforcement officer Deidre Johnson uncovers a crime ring trafficking native girls to the harbor in Duluth.  She faces the conflict between the normalcy she sees around her and the long-kept secret river of victims that flows through her small town.

Hosted by Litchfield Library's Mystery Book Club and sponsored by member Pat Hanson.  Refreshments will be served.

Friday, June 9, 2017

True stories can tell good stories

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Good stories aren’t limited to novels.  Many memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies tell very interesting stories, and we have many new ones at the library.

Between Heaven and the Real World: My Story is Stephen Curtis Chapman’s new autobiography.  The contemporary Christian musician starts with his childhood, chronicles his rise to stardom and his marriage, and shares stories of the children born and adopted into his family.  Chapman lost his five-year-old daughter in a tragedy in 2008, and he discusses this in the book.  He also tells the stories behind his songs.

Between Them: Remembering My Parents is novelist Richard Ford’s account of his parents’ lives.  It’s really two short memoirs in one, the first section about his father and the second about his mother, with the whole book being only 179 pages long. In it, the author examines his parents’ lives before and after his birth; they were married for sixteen years before he was born.  Book reviewers say this is a beautiful book about Ford’s love for his parents, as well as their love for him and each other.  Ford won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his novel Independence Day.

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom is a dual biography by Thomas E. Ricks.  Rather than covering their entire lives, the book focuses on the 1930s and ‘40s, when each did his part to fight authoritarianism.  In the mid-1930s, they both had close calls: Orwell was shot in the neck in the Spanish Civil War, and Churchill was hit by a car in New York City.  At the time, neither was experiencing success in his work.  These Englishmen went on, in their own ways, to help the world see that freedom is essential and that it requires, as the Star Tribune put it, “intellectual clarity and moral courage.”

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage is a memoir by Dani Shapiro.  Shapiro is a respected author, having previously written memoirs on family tragedy, writing, and the search for meaning.  This time she examines her eighteen-year marriage, not as a chronological story but, again, as a search for meaning.  She highlights the fragility and strength of a marriage relationship, reflecting on how the events that happen in their lives shape it.  Together they have faced the loss of their parents, changes in their careers, and nearly losing their son to an illness. 

Jackie’s Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family is Kathy McKeon’s memoir of her thirteen years as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ personal assistant. McKeon was a new immigrant from Ireland when she began working for Jackie the year after JFK’s assassination.  She served as a nanny to the Kennedy children, as well.  Reviewers say the memoir is both honest and kind, a well-written insider’s perspective that really doesn’t violate the family’s privacy. 

Other new biographies and memoirs at the library include Man of the Year by Lou Cove; Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood; This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe; Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life by Sally Bedell Smith; and Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution by Peter Andreas.  Look for these and other true stories of people’s lives on the nonfiction shelves, both on the shelf of new books and in the main collection.

Family musician Paul Spring at Saturday storytime

Children's author Michael Hall at storyhour

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

New fiction at the library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Summer is beginning, and for some people that means a chance to lounge on the patio with a good book.  Some of the new books at the library might be just what you’re looking for.
“Miramar Bay” by Davis Bunn is a gentle romance that has been compared to the novels of Nicholas Sparks.  Bunn has been a bestselling Christian fiction author for some time, but this book doesn’t have the inspirational aspect he’s been known for.  A Hollywood actor flees his life of fame and an engagement to an heiress, taking a job in an idyllic small town working as a waiter. Reviewers say it’s emotional and captivating. 

“The Burial Hour” by Jeffrey Deaver is the thirteenth book in the Lincoln Rhyme series.  Rhyme is a wheelchair-bound forensics expert who is making wedding plans when he and his fiancĂ©e get involved in the case of a businessman kidnapped from a New York City street in broad daylight.  The kidnapper left a miniature noose at the scene, and soon a video appears of the victim struggling for his life.  Book reviews say this one has a very complicated, even improbable, storyline and that it isn’t the strongest installment in the series, but it’s still a solid mystery novel.

For those who like historical romance, “My One True Highlander” by Suzanne Enoch may be your cup of tea.  Scottish Highlander Graeme must deal with the disaster his foolish younger brothers have caused when they kidnap Lady Marjorie, the daughter of their English neighbor.  Reviewers call it “thrilling,” “colorful,” and of course “romantic,” set in a beautiful summertime landscape in the Highlands. 

Donna Leon’s latest Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery has been getting stellar reviews.  “Earthly Remains” finds the reliable Brunetti burning out on handling the criminals of Venice; he takes a leave of absence in the villa of a relative, out on an island in the lagoon.  When the villa’s caretaker disappears, Brunetti feels he must return to his job to investigate.  Reviewers say these novels are strong on character development and a sense of place.  Kirkus Reviews described this book as “a vacation for your own soul.”

“The Stars are Fire” is Anita Shreve’s newest novel.  The fictional story of an unhappily married mother is set within the true story of the Maine fire of 1947.  Between October 13 and 27 of that year, nine towns were entirely destroyed, 851 homes and 397 seasonal cottages burned down, and half of Acadia National Park was wiped out.  In this novel, a pregnant woman flees to the beach with her two young children, watching her house burn to the ground while her husband works with the other volunteer firefighters in an attempt to save the town.  Reviewers say the plot of this one is not really very strong, but that it’s worth reading for the history and the writing style. 

For those who prefer science fiction, there’s “The Book of Joan” by Lidia Yuknavitch.  A retelling of the story of Joan of Arc, this novel is a dystopian nightmare set on a platform floating over the destroyed and radioactive Earth.  Humans are damaged echoes of what they used to be, saving stories from history by branding and grafting them onto their skin while they live under a dictator’s rule.  A group of rebels takes inspiration from young eco-terrorist Joan’s story. 

Science fiction, literary fiction, mystery, or romance – find the book you want for a leisurely summer day by visiting the library.

Friday, June 2, 2017

It's Here!

By Jan Pease

This is the week!   Everything starts!
Please pick up a bright yellow bookmark, available at the checkout desks, so you will know exactly what’s going on for young people at Litchfield Public Library.  It’s time to register to participate in summer reading and start to combat summer slide.

What do we mean by summer slide?  Children routinely forget 2 or more months of what they learn through the school year.  It’s the reason teachers have to review and review at the beginning of each school year.  It’s the reason some of my piano students, sadly, didn’t get past book two because they had to re-learn everything from the previous year.    

Michael Hall, a well-known children’s author, will visit the library Friday, June 9th at 10:00.  I can’t wait to meet him.  His books include “Frankencrayon,” “It’s an Orange Aardvark!” and many other favorites.  According to his website, before becoming a children’s author, “Mr. Hall was an award-winning graphic designer whose work included graphic identities for the City of Saint Paul, Macalester College, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the Hennepin County Medical Center.”  Mr. Hall lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  “My Heart is Like a Zoo” is my personal favorite among his books.

On Saturday, June 10th, Paul Spring will return to Litchfield Public Library for a free concert.   Mr.  Spring is so talented!  He is a marvelous guitar player, he sings, and he writes music.  And he puts on a wonderful, interactive program.  He will start at 10:00.  Mr. Spring  lives in Minneapolis but last year he mentioned  how much he enjoys getting out of the city.

Thanks to the teachers and staff at Ripley School who welcomed me in to present the summer reading program to several classes. We have traditionally offered field trips to classes, but elementary students have changed over the years.  Field trips take a lot of time and chaperones.  I visited the Kindergarten classes as well as 3rd and 4th grade   classes. This experiment was very successful and next year we plan to give teachers a choice of a field trip or a visit at the school.   I came away from this positive experience knowing that I couldn’t do their job!