Something about the change in the seasons makes us want to take stock of things - we inventory our lives by way of our houses, our clothes, our yards, and take note of what's been accomplished and what still needs to be done. The change from winter to spring seems to especially inspire us to take stock and prepare for the warm months ahead. Readers tend to do this as well. This time of year finds readers thinking about what they've read and what they plan to read in the coming months while they relax on porches or decks, bask in the sun at the beach or while away the time on vacation. We're going to share what we've read so far this year and later we'll share what we hope to read in the coming months. The lists are long (well, two of them are anyway) so you should get many good ideas for your own reading life. The titles are linked for those of you who reserve online through infosoup.org. Read more »
Last week-end was one that revolved around books and authors in a big way. It started Friday evening when Lyn and I attended a presentation by author Pam Flowers at Manawa Elementary School. Kudos are in order to Jeni Mursau and the Manawa School District administration for bringing Ms. Flowers to Manawa. Flowers is an adventurer who, along with various dogs, has raced in the Iditarod, trekked 2,500 miles across the Arctic Circle on a sled, and hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. Flowers also writes books about her adventures, and travels all over the United States visiting schools to give presentations about her experiences, her books, and her dogs. Friday evening she talked about her trip down the Trail with her dog Ellie. Ellie's Long Walk is the book she wrote after their long adventure. Sadly, the week before Flowers and Ellie were coming to Manawa, Ellie died from Botulism poisoning after ingesting some unknown substance on a beach in Texas. Ellie lives on in Flowers' book about her and she sounds like an extraordinary dog. The Library purchased all of Flowers' books and within one hour of them getting on the shelves they were checked out. I think they will be popular for some time to come.
Saturday evening found me in Spencer, Wisconsin, by way of Marshfield, where a friend had a show of his art work at the LuCille Tack Center for the Arts. It just so happened that the Center was also hosting Michael Perry that evening and that Marshfield was a central location for several of my college friends to meet up so we could enjoy both shows together. Read more »
In this photograph I am standing on a street in Madison, close to the campus. Husband and I were enjoying a walk-about a couple of weeks ago when he spotted this cute little structure set back a bit from the sidewalk. It's called a "Little Free Library" and these things are popping up here and there left and right. It's an idea born right here in Wisconsin in 2009 by Rick Brooks of Madison and Tod Bol of Hudson. The little free libraries are wooden structures, each decorated in their own unique way by their creators, which have shelves inside to hold free books. They are built along sidewalks, paths and trails that have frequent foot and bike traffic. The idea is for people to help themselves to a book and then maybe someday down the line leave another book in its place. Some of these libraries are on private property and under the care of individuals and some are built in public places and maintained by organizations or businesses. There are now thousands of these libraries in 36 countries around the world. Read more »
We like this time of year here at the Library. Of course the holidays play a part in that, especially since the Library is decorated so festively. (Thank you Elizabeth Berkholtz). But the other reason we like this time of year is because we get to read all of the "best of" book lists that come out for the year about to end. Read more »
Sturm Memorial Library has had a book club for over 10 years. We tried to recollect exactly when the club started but we really can't pinpoint the date. We know it was in the late 90s though. Through the years we've seen people come and go but always there has been a core group of readers who love to get together and discuss a book. There may be a lot of talk lately about the death of the book as we know it, but book clubs are out in force all across the country. Rough estimates are that close to five million people belong to a book club. Pretty impressive numbers. What's more interesting though is that these five million people are from all walks of life - rich, poor, democrat, republican, old, young - you get the picture. Read more »
Sunday was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. This event is so permanently etched in the collective imagination of the United States that I don't even have to explain what the "sinking of the Titanic" was. The maiden voyage of that magnificent ship ended way too short and way too tragically. Today, the events of that night and the legacies they produced still resonate with the public. So many lives were lost that cold April night and of course we now know that it didn't have to end that way. A majority of the more than 1500 people that perished that night died not from drowning, but from freezing to death in the ice cold Atlantic waters. This, while lifeboats from the ship were carrying sometimes half of their capacity. I became a little fascinated by these events when I was a young child and watched the movie "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" with Debbie Reynolds. It was at that time that my mother told me her parents were married in 1912 and that her father wanted to plan the wedding and honeymoon so that they could return on the Titanic. Her mother had other ideas, fortunately, for all of us that followed. This little tidbit, whether true or just family legend, held fast to my young imagination and so too, did the ship and its fate that cold dark night. The Titanic continues to fascinate succeeding generations as witnessed by the amount of books written for young and old on this subject.
We are decidedly well into the year 2012. I like getting to this point in January. The days are noticeably longer, the holiday hubbub is over and we delude ourselves into thinking once this month passes, winter will be a breeze. This is also the time of year when I am plotting my reading journey for the next several months or so. This journey is the result of all of the “best of 2011” lists that we’ve been reading in review magazines, online blogs and websites. This is an annual rite of passage that we eagerly look forward to here at the Library. We compare the lists against what we have, we compare the lists against what we’ve read, we voice strong opinions about what books made what list and we make plans to read the books we somehow missed.Read more »
While my reading taste falls heavily towards fiction I find myself drawn to adventure/survival stories of one kind and another. I have often pondered why this is because I am not really the adventurous type. My big adventure of the year is jumping in an icy cold lake on New Year's Day. It's all of 30 seconds. My idea of an extended adventure is taking a day hike. I once spent six days in the Appalachian Mountains backpacking during a college spring break. In those six days my girlfriend and I racked up 16 miles. I considered it an amazing feat, but most people laughed in our faces when they found out the distance we covered. So, I think I read adventure/survival stories because I'm amazed at the limits that people will push themselves to achieve a personal goal or survive a situation thrust upon them. Read more »
Reading is such a highly subjective experience. So much of a reading experience is what goes on inside a person’s head during the reading – characters are formed, scenes re-created, motivations examined. It is against this backdrop that books made into movies generate buzz, anticipation and even a little anxiety in readers. The main concern of course is who will be cast to portray a book’s characters. Read more »
I just got off the phone with author Jerry Apps and we have re-scheduled his appearance for Tuesday April 19th at 7pm. So many of you who read the book expressed interest in a re-schedule so we hope you can make it. We are relieved Mr. Apps is OK and we look forward to spending a night discussing his books, his writing life, and his experiences growing up on a farm and working summers in a pickle factory. If you haven't yet read the book you still have time. It's a quick, enjoyable read and we even have a copy here at this moment. This is the first time in months there has not been a waiting list for this book. Thanks again for being so understanding about the cancellation and for your interest in the One Book/One Community program.