Friday, October 24, 2014

Julie's Journal : Unspoken by Dee Henderson

I think it is clear by now that I read voraciously in a variety of genres.  I enjoy bestsellers, classics, mysteries, science fiction, juvenile and young adult fiction, and nonfiction. 

One of our most popular sections here at Franklin County Library is the Inspirational Fiction section.  These books are written from a Christian point of view and are usually light escapist romances.  They are great reading for a cold, rainy, dreary day!

Inspirational Books cover both sides of this shelf!

However, occasionally, I find an author who's works are deeper and more intriguing than the norm for the genre.  Lately, I have been thoroughly enjoying everything by Dee Henderson, especially her more recent books.  Of her three more recent titles, Full Disclosure, Unspoken, and Undetected, I think Unspoken is my favorite. 


It begins with businessman Bryce Bishop closing up shop at the end of a long day.  He is the owner of an exclusive coin shop, dealing in rare and valuable coins.  He is reflecting on the success of his business and the fact that he is bored at work.  As he leaves, an intriguing woman introduces herself as Charlotte Graham and invites him into the shop next door.  She has set up a coin store rivaling his in every way.  She offers him an ultimatum - either he buys her out, or she opens up as a competitor.  Feeling as though he has no choice, Bryce agrees to buy her out.  Charlotte tells him that she has another group of coins that she will offer him for purchase in a few weeks and disappears.

Over the next months, Bryce gets to know the mysterious woman and finds out that she was once at the center of the most famous kidnapping case in Chicago's recent history.  She has changed her name and moved on with her life, but disposing of an inheritance, of which the coins are only part, has brought her back to Chicago.  Bryce finds himself intrigued both by Charlotte herself and the many secrets she holds close to the vest.  He is certainly not bored anymore!

I enjoy Ms. Henderson's style of writing.  She researches her books well, so that every scenario is believable.  Her characters have deep backgrounds that are slowly revealed.  At the end of each book, I feel like the characters still have depths left unplumbed.  Many of her books deal with members of the police, FBI or military, particularly the Navy. 

I highly recommend any of her books.  I hope she puts out something new soon!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Did you know? : TV Series

Did you know that Franklin County Library has TV series available for checkout?  If you've heard everyone you know raving about Justified, Criminal Minds, or Downton Abbey, but haven't seen any of them, we can catch you up.   


Series available at FCL are:
  • Criminal Minds
  • Duck Dynasty
  • Downton Abbey
  • Firefly
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Justified
  • Longmire
  • NCIS
  • Once Upon a Time
Come on in and check them out!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Catching Up!

You may have noticed that there hasn't been much activity on the blog lately.  I'm going to try and remedy that over the next few weeks.  Now that computer classes have ended for the fall, I'll have a little more time to catch  up on a few projects.....including updating this blog.

Speaking of computer classes, we had a great turnout for our fall series.  The library hosted excel, social media, app, and photo editing classes in September and October.


We also gave away a wreath this fall at CountryFest!  Marcia Cargile won the beautiful wreath that Lisa made.

 
Don't forget to stop in and get your chance to win the Christmas wreath Lisa has made.  Tickets are $1.00 or 6 for $5.00.  Proceeds benefit the Friends of the Franklin County Library.
 
Marvelous Mondays have also been going on all fall.  I didn't get any pictures, but this week we used fire to suck a hard-boiled egg into a jar.  The kids were fascinated, and I was excited that it was a success!

Hopefully, in the coming days and weeks, I'll have a few interesting things here on the blog.  I hope to have some book and movie reviews, and perhaps a recipe or two for the holidays.  I'm always needing good ideas for things to put on the blog, so if you have any thoughts let me know.

Have a good day!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Did you know? : Magazines

Did you know that Franklin County Library has magazines available for checkout? 


Upstairs in a little alcove, we have a whole wall of magazines.  Included are titles such as : Better Homes and Gardens, Country, Field and Stream, National Geographic, Poets & Writer's, Reader's Digest, and Taste of Home.  We have 32 titles available.  They are available on a two-week check out, just like books.

Just today, our mailbox was full of new magazines.


Come on in and get your magazine fix, for FREE!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What were we up to yesterday!

You may have noticed that we were closed yesterday for a staff workday.  We had just a little rearranging to do.  We have moved the kids' nonfiction and created an alcove for our Juvenile Fiction (ages 8-12). 
 
 
 
We moved the red couch in for seating and turned the computer for a little more privacy. 
 

These changes allow us to keep the Vault completely for teenagers. 

 
 
Although the Vault looks a little sparse right now, we have lots of ideas for the space.  Keep coming in to see what we do next!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tom's Two Cents: A Passage to India by E.M. Forster


 

Published in England in 1924, E. M. Forster's "A Passage to India," considered his finest work, seems amazingly relevant to our own times.  The story of a young English woman's visit to British Colonial India and her unfortunate encounter(?) in the famous Caves of Marabar with a young Muslim Indian doctor provides the substance of the story, along with the perplexing question (hence the question mark in the parenthesis above) of whether or not there actually was an encounter at all!  If you are a reader who looks for finite answers to questions, this book is not for you.  On the other hand, if you are open to the view that our world raises far more questions than it answers, and that one religious view of the cosmos cannot possibly provide all the answers, you should find this an intriguing and stimulating read.

Anglo-India of the 20's was still very much British Colonial India (India did not receive its independence from Great Britain until 1947 under the leadership of Gandhi with the creation of Pakistan that same year under Nehru), but long before that it was a conglomeration of Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists, and beginning with the Christian Era, Christians, Muslims, and even Jews.  The subjugation of the Indian sub-continent by the British East Indian Trading Company in the late 18th century brought together a confluence of cultures that has existed into modern times.  All this serves as background that centers in "A Passage to India" on the tensions between Hindu and Muslim India and Anglo -Indian Britain.

The story itself centers about a young English woman, Adela Quested, who has come to India to visit her fiancĂ© and see "the real India."  An overly zealous young Muslim doctor, Aziz, takes it upon himself to introduce her to "the real India" with a visit to the famous Marabar Caves, where an unfortunate series of incidents takes place that results in Adela bringing charges against Aziz for assault.  In a subsequent trial pitting Hindu against Muslim against Protestant, the melting pot boils over, and Anglo-Indian relations are tested to the core.  Adela leaves for England, her engagement broken, as Aziz and his chief defender, the English principal of the local Anglican school, find their friendship sorely tested.

Not the most exciting plot, you say?  Well, no, but much of the excitement and mystery stems from what is NOT known for certain, from the subtlety and angularity with which Forster tells his story.  A subsequent film directed by the highly regarded David Lean, (Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago) came out in 1984, highly praised.  The film, however, could barely incapsulate the beauty of Forster's English prose, of which he is a master.  Not for everyone, but surely for those who value style and substance over plot and character.  And for a book group a subject for discussion galore!
 
"A Passage to India" is available through Franklin County Library's e-book collection.  Come in to set up an account and download the Overdrive App to access e-books!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Computer Classes : Overview and Materials

As you may know, we are in the middle of a series of computer classes at Franklin County Library.  For a while now, I have been trying to figure out how to  make the materials for these classes available on the blog, and I think I have finally figured it out.
 

Last week's class was on Facebook and other social media.  Chance wrote a very helpful guide to performing some of the basic functions of Facebook, such as commenting, status updates, and blocking users.  That material can be found here
 
Tonight's class is on apps.  Apps are small programs that are downloaded to a mobile device to allow the user to perform a specific function.  For tonight's class, I have created a list of good apps.  That document can be found here.

 
You may have heard the phrase, "there's an app for that!".  There are literally millions of apps available to perform a myriad of tasks.  The list I have created is just a small sampling of all the apps available.  I just wanted to give you a taste of the possibilities. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Did you know? : Books for Sale

Did you know that the library has books for sale?  And at bargain basement prices, too!

 
Many of our generous patrons donate their used books to us.  When we can or have a need, we put those books on the shelves for check out.  However, often times we already have a copies of the donated books or don't need them.  When this happens, we add them to our book sale. 


What's the price, you ask?  Well, that's the best part.  We accept any reasonable donation for our used books.  This means that YOU get to decide what to pay for the books! 


As you can see, there is a huge variety in our sale books.  In just this small sampling I can see religious books, a dictionary, non-fiction, and popular fiction.  Sometimes, movies and magazines are donated as well.  (Usually we give the magazines away for free!)

Come in and see what treasures can be found in our book sale.  The titles available change frequently, so come in often and see what's new! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

I Work at a Public Library

Recently, I came across this blog - iworkatapubliclibrary.com.  If you have a few extra minutes, you ought to take a look at it.  It is hilarious, and touching, and very, very true.  Gina Sheridan, the author of the blog, also has a book out by the same name.  I am HOPING that Franklin County Library will be getting it, just because I want to read it.



Her stories include odd happenings, such as the person who admired the librarian's eyelashes so much that he/she wanted to pluck them out with tweezers. There are also those unpalatable stories, like the librarian who helped a man find a source for fresh possum so that he could make a possum pie.  And then there are the sweet stories, such as the woman who moved and returned her library card with a note saying how wonderful the library had been to her and the man who just needed someone to talk to after a cancer diagnosis.   

I won't tell you how many of the stories on Ms. Sheridan's blog have happened here at Franklin County Library, but it's more than a few!  It is both a joy and a curse that every morning when we come to work we don't know what we'll be getting into.  If you want an inside look at life at a public library, check out her blog. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chance's Corner: Home from the Hill

"When you talk of GREAT Motion Pictures you will talk about this one!" is the tagline for Vincente Minnelli's film Home from the Hill. It's a very ambitious statement that isn't necessarily true anymore. Home from the Hill has fallen into obscurity since 1960 due to circumstances unknown. However, in my opinion, I think it is a movie that should be talked about more.

Home from the Hill takes place in the small town of Clarksville in the northeast region of Texas. Wait, what? The Clarksville, Texas that is just 36 miles from Mount Vernon? Yep, that's the one. Portions of the movie were actually filmed on location. The most recognizable location is the downtown square where the group of old timers are whittling and playing music.

Let's go Snipe huntin'.

The movie stars big name actors such as Robert Mitchum (The Night of the Hunter), George Peppard (Breakfast at Tiffany's), Eleanor Parker (The Sound of Music), and George Hamilton (that really tan man). Now who in the world could imagine that these four and Vincente Minnelli would be caught dead in Clarksville? I mean, Minnelli is known mostly for his elaborate musicals such as An American in Paris starring Gene Kelly and Meet Me in St. Louis starring Judy Garland (his wife at one time). Home from the Hill is well-noted departure from his usual film style, and perhaps that is why it is his least known work.

The main reason Clarksville was chosen is because it is the central location in the original novel by William Humphrey. The story revolves around the titular macho-man Captain Wade Hunnicutt (Robert Mitchum) and the trouble his wild oats has brought upon his wife, Hannah (Eleanor Parker), and his son, Theron (George Hamilton). Oh, and one of his wild oats just happens to be named Rafe Copley (George Peppard).

Theron's mine now.
The film is mainly a study of masculinity. Captain Wade Hunnicutt wants his son to be the "... kind of man that walks around with nothing in his pockets, no identification because everyone knows who you are. No cash because anyone in town would be happy to lend you anything you need. No keys 'cause you don't keep a lock on a single thing you own. And no watch because time waits on you."

Let me show you... love...
In order to achieve this level of manhood, Captain takes Theron under his wing, against his  resentful wife's wishes, and teaches him to hunt near the Sulphur Bottom. Rafe, treated as just some ranch hand by Captain, is also recruited to  help Theron "just like a big brother." There's plenty of hunting action at the beginning of the film, but the central plot circulates around Theron as he grows, falls in love, and as he is eventually corrupted by his father's legacy.


Robert Mitchum and company are all great in their parts, but the real star in this film is George Peppard. Rafe Copley, the cast-off son of Captain Wade, taken in but dejected in every other way. He longs for his father's love, even just the recognition that he is his son, but as chance would have it... I can't spoil the ending.

Sulphur Bottom is a bit more majestic and smoky than I remember.

Overall, Home from the Hill is an interesting snapshot of what small Southern town life can be. Everyone knows everyone's business. Everyone talks. Things eventually catch up with you. Just ask Eleanor Parker. 


If you're interested in seeing Home from the Hill, you can rent it at the Franklin County Library.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Marvelous Mondays! : Tornado in a Jar

Yesterday afternoon at Marvelous Mondays, we made tornadoes in a jar or pet tornadoes.  They are very simple to make and the kids loved playing with their tornadoes.


All you need is a Mason jar with lid, water, dish soap, and a little glitter. Simply fill the jar mostly full of water.  Add a squirt or two of dish soap and a little glitter.  Replace the lid and swirl the ingredients together.  And there you have it - your very own pet tornado!

 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week 2014

The American Library Association has declared the week of September 21st Banned Books Week. 
 
From the ALA website : "Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular."  "The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools"
 
 
A few books that have been banned at one time or another:
 








 
 
All of the above books are available for checkout at Franklin County Library.  For more lists of books that have been banned at one point or another see:
 
What do you think of the practice of banning books?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review : Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

More often than not, given a choice, I (Julie) will read fiction before I read non-fiction.  However, when Princesses Behaving Badly : Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings came in, I flipped through it and was intrigued. 

 
In her introduction, Ms. McRobbie discusses the current little-girl obsession with princesses; fairy-tale weddings, tiaras, and all things pink.  However, the Disney idea of a princess finding her true love and living happily ever after has very little basis in reality.  Real princesses were and are real women with all the strengths and failings of the rest of us.  Depending on the time and culture they lived in, some were able to rule, others were used as pawns between rulers - married off to the most convenient husband. 
 
Princesses... is divided into seven parts: Warriors, Usurpers, Schemers, Survivors, Partiers, Floozies, and Madwomen.  Within these sections, Ms. McRobbie introduces us to over 50 real princesses.  One princess left her royal upbringing to become a pirate then went back home, married, and had children to carry on the royal line.  Another went to war with her toddler son strapped to her back.  Others literally slaughtered their way to power, sparing no one who might threaten their claim to the throne.  Still others pretended to be, and convinced the world that they were, princesses when they had no claim to the title whatsoever. 
 
Most intriguing to me were the women who tried to take control of their own destinies.  Sometimes they succeeded, but more often they failed.  The chapter on Justa Grata Honoria begins with her brother, Roman Emperor Valentinian III, trying to marry her off.  Rather than go quietly, she sat down and wrote a letter asking for help.  The letter was addressed to Attila the Hun!  Unfortunately, her scheme didn't work and she was married anyway, but she sure made life interesting for her brother for a while. 
 
I have a couple more stories to read, then I'll be putting it back on the shelves for check out.  The stories are short and easy to read.  Give it a try and tell me what you think!