216 N Marshall Ave

Litchfield MN 55355


All Pioneerland

While all Pioneerland Library System buildings remain closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Curbside Pick-up of library items is available. You may place items on hold using the online catalog. Library staff will call you to schedule a pickup time once your hold is ready. Pickup days/times vary by location. Please contact your library if you have questions or need assistance in using this service.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Looking for a good novel?

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

One thing never changes in libraries: people are always looking for suggestions for a good book to read.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done an article about new fiction, and this time of year many people could use a book to read while they wait for spring to arrive.  Here are some of the newest novels we’ve gotten at the Litchfield Library:

Norwegian author Jo Nesbo has come out with a sequel to his novel Blood on Snow, although it’s apparently only loosely related.  Midnight Sun tells the story of a hit man who flees Oslo to hide from a drug kingpin and takes refuge in a small Sami village above the Arctic Circle.  The locals are mostly followers of what the publisher describes as “a particularly harsh Swedish version of Christianity”: the Laestadian Lutheran Church, a church more familiar to those of us in Minnesota than to most people in the world.  Nesbo is one of the authors who have made gritty Scandinavian crime novels an international sensation, mainly with his bestselling Harry Hole series.

Rosamund Lupton has had bestsellers with her previous novels Sister and Afterwards.  Her new novel is a thriller called The Quality of Silence.  This story involves an astrophysicist and her profoundly deaf daughter driving through the Alaskan wilderness to find out whether their husband and father has really been killed in an accident as they've been told. A storm pits them against the danger of the cold Alaskan night as well as a human menace following them.  A reviewer from the Washington Post compares this novel to The Revenant and The Hateful Eight in its humans vs cruel nature theme.

Tessa Hadley is a British writer who has been critically acclaimed but not bestselling.  It appears this could change with her new novel The Past.  It tells the story of three weeks at a family's summer home, most likely their last visit before the grown siblings sell it. Beneath the educated, refined surface lie family secrets and rivalries that emerge in the hot summer days.

For another novel that transports you to a sweltering location, pick up Hunters in the Dark by Lawrence Osborne.  This literary thriller tells the story of an English schoolteacher who decides on a whim to disappear from his boring life while on vacation in Thailand.  When he wins money gambling, he gets mixed up with a host of dangerous people and everything goes wrong. 

Cometh the Hour is the second-to-last book in Jeffrey Archer's popular Clifton Chronicles. The series beginning was set in the 1920s and has come up to the present day, telling the story of Harry Clifton, a working class boy from Bristol, his best friend, and his best friend's sister, with whom Harry falls in love.  This family saga includes many suspenseful twists and turns, with this newest installment reportedly ending on a stunning cliffhanger. Archer's books are surefire bestsellers. 

Saving Jason by Michael Sears is part of the Jason Stafford series, which began with the book “Black Fridays.”  Jason is a former Wall Street trader who went to prison and now works as a financial investigator.  In this installment, Jason goes into witness protection with his young autistic son after investigating the Mob. Then his son disappears.  Expect fast-paced action with this one.

As always, this is only a tiny sample of the new books available at our library, not to mention all of those you could order in. For more ideas, stop at our front desk to pick up a copy of BookPage, a book review magazine sponsored by the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library. Enjoy a good book while winter lasts!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Trilogies and More

By Jan Pease


Today I want to tell you about some Interesting new young adult books. One is the beginning of a new series, one is in the middle, and two titles conclude their series.

The Four Horsemen found in the chapter six of the book of Revelation in the Bible make an appearance in “Riders,” by Veronica Rossi. War, Conquest, Famine and Death, along with their horses, join together to try to save humanity from an ancient evil. Watch for other books by Veronica Rossi, because this one feels like the beginning of a series.

“Winter,” by Marissa Meyer is the final book in the series, “The Lunar Chronicles.” The books in this series are “Cinder,” “Scarlet,” “Cress,” and “Winter,” along with short story collections, “Fairest,” and “Stars Above.” The books are based on the fairy tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. The collections of short stories fill in details and back stories of various characters. This series is an interesting combination of familiar fairy tales and futuristic technology and adventure. 

Sometimes I accidentally get the final book in a trilogy first. “Hawking’s Hallway,” by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman, concludes the “Accelerati Trilogy.” The first two books, “Tesla’s Attic,” and “Edison’s Alley” are on order and should be here any day. Science meets quirky characters in this trilogy which has the feel of the “Back to the Future” movies. 
Some time ago, we added the “Dorothy Must Die” books to the library system. Danielle Paige’s imaginative re-telling of the Oz stories created quite a stir when they first came out. The third book in the series, “The Yellow Brick War” is due out in March. Meanwhile, “Dorothy Must Die Stories Volume 2,” helps fill in some of the gaps. These are called prequel novellas, longer than short stories and shorter than the novels. Danielle Paige isn’t afraid to turn the characters of the familiar Oz stories upside down, making Dorothy a ruthless dictator. Amy Gumm, an ordinary girl from Kansas, is sent to undo the Wizard’s magic and free the Land of Oz. 

The pile of new books on my desk also includes two books by one of the most-challenged authors in America, Judy Blume. The titles are “It’s Not the End of the World,” and “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” These copies replace worn out copies of these beloved books. As I skimmed through them, I was struck by how well these titles have stood the test of time. I usually don’t buy books originally published in 1970, but these books really are a special case. Judy Blume’s gift for capturing what teens feel and think is still remarkable.

Revisit a book you read as a teenager, or pick up one of these challenging, unusual YA titles. You’ll be happy you did.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Second Saturday Story Time is February 13th at 10:00. We will read a very sweet story and make beautiful valentines! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

DVDs to go with your books

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

The next time you come in looking for our nonfiction DVDs, you might be surprised to find them missing from the DVD shelf.  This is because we are now shelving them with the nonfiction books. 

Because we are running out of room, we are going to be rearranging some of the sections in the children’s department, and one of the changes is going to involve moving the children’s DVDs over to the movie shelf on the adult side of the library.  We will still keep them separate so that it’s easy for little ones to browse DVDs.  You can also tell that a DVD is rated G or intended for a very young audience by a pink dot sticker we put on the spine. 

In order to create space for the children’s DVDs, we needed to move the documentaries.  I’ve also heard that shelving nonfiction DVDs with books on the same topic actually helps people find what they’re looking for.  Maybe you wouldn’t think to look in the DVDs when you’re planning a trip to Europe, but if you found a related DVD while looking in the travel books, you might want to borrow it.  So we will give this a try.

Brand-new nonfiction DVDs will still be featured next to the other new DVDs.

So what are some of the recent documentaries we have at the library?  One is Antarctica: A Year on Ice.  This New Zealand film shows what it’s like for research teams to live year-round in the most severe environment on earth.  When this DVD is no longer new, it will be shelved with books on Antarctica in the 998 section.

He Named Me Malala tells the story of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.  This documentary tells about the events that led up to the Taliban’s attack on her at age fifteen and her activist work for children’s rights afterward, leading to a speech to the United Nations and her Nobel Peace Prize.  Once this movie is no longer on the shelf of new DVDs, it will be shelved next to her book I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban in the 371 section. 

The new film Amy is nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar this year.  This is the story of the late Amy Winehouse, featuring previously unseen footage of the musician and previously unheard songs.  Amy won five Grammys for her album Back to Black and died in 2011 at the age of 27.  When this movie isn’t brand-new, it will be shelved in the 782 section with books on vocal music, including biographies of singers.

The Drop Box is a documentary that shows the work of Pastor Jong-rak Lee in Seoul, South Korea.  His church has a “baby box” where mothers can anonymously leave babies they don’t want or can’t care for.  His work began when he found an abandoned infant on the steps of his church, and he created this ministry to meet a need in a city where hundreds of babies are abandoned on the street every year, especially those who are disabled or born to single mothers.  When this movie is no longer new, it will be in the 305 section with books on babies and children. 

I hope that this new system will allow you to find more of what you’re looking for.  If you have any trouble, please ask a staff member and we’ll be happy to guide you to the right place.  

Closed for President's Day

We will be closed on Monday, February 15, for Presidents' Day.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Pugs, Noodles, and Cat Tales

By Jan Pease

Many chapter books now are illustrated with fantastic illustrations.    Graphic novels for younger and younger readers are being published, and a famous  series of comic books is now considered to be one of the best graphic novels of our time, an interesting time for children’s writers and illustrators.

With apologies to Ann M. Martin, I used to joke that there would be “Baby-sitters Club” books about the babysitting tweens as they aged through college, adulthood, and old age.  I didn’t expect them to be reborn as graphic novels.  “Claudia and Mean Janine” has been revised by Ms. Martin and Raina Telgemeier.  I really like the updated version, and I think fans will flock to this old but new series.

Tedd Arnold has written and illustrated a graphic novel that feels like the beginning of a series.  “Noodlehead Nightmares” was co-written by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, who wrote a collection of folk stories called, appropriately, “Noodlehead Stories.”   The noodleheads look like

elbow macaroni, and are named Mac and Mac.  An example of their wisdom is their decision to sleep under their beds so they won’t have to make their beds each morning. 

I don’t even know where to begin to describe this next book.  Neil Gaiman has come back to the Sandman epic, with “The Sandman Overture.”  The Sandman stories were originally issued as comic books, but are now considered some of the finest graphic novels in literature today.  Art in this book is incredible and gorgeous, created by J.H. Williams III and Dave Stewart.  Officially described as a prequel, this volume makes me want to read the entire Sandman series. The volumes of Sandman comics are available through interlibrary loan in Pioneerland Library System.  The titles are:   “Preludes & Nocturnes, The Doll's House, Dream Country,  Season of Mists and Game of You.”  They are also available through Mnlink under the title “Sandman Omnibus” volumes 1 and 2. 

Not quite a graphic novel  with more illustrations than the usual chapter book describes “Pugs of the Frozen North,” by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre.  This is another in Mr. Reeve’s   “Not-So-Impossible-Tale” series.   Imagine a sled dog team consisting of sixty-six yapping pug puppies, each wearing  a sleeve from a warm sweater.  The adventures two friends have with these sixty-six puppies are amazing, funny, and almost believable in this fun book for young readers ready for longer chapter books.

The “Bad Kitty” books by Nick Bruel are another example of heavily illustrated chapter books.  “Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet” reminds me of some of the visits I’ve made at the local veterinarians.  I think I remember our Siamese Ichi, biting one of the doctors.  Patches, my favorite cat, used to grab the door jamb with all four feet if he had a chance.  Our current cat, Kitty M, tries to become invisible in his cat carrier.   The “Bad Kitty” books are always very funny.   Mr. Bruel says on his website that Kitty is based on “every cat, every ornery and self-important cat, I have ever known.”  He says about writing, “The hard part is not coming up with ideas.  The hard part is recognizing them when they arrive and making the effort to honor them with thoughtful contemplation. 

For the curious, here are Zoe, Patches, and Ichi, who are deceased, and Harley, sleeping adorbly, who is still with us. 

I don’t know why the current trend is toward heavily-illustrated chapter books, but I’m all for it.  Enjoy these books and many more at Litchfield Library!