Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tom's Two Cents : "Gone Girl" : Where Did She Go?

I'm not very good at keeping up with the latest books; thus I'm just now getting around to a best seller of 2012, "Gone Girl," by Gillian Flynn.  Urged by a friend to read it, I just finished this morning, both amazed and appalled by what it takes these days to make it to the best seller charts.  In the Forties ( yes, I was alive then!) titles like "I Married a Killer" were most likely to appear in pulp "crime" magazines rather than the book pages of The New York Times.  No more.  Of course a more apt title for today like "I Married a Socio/Psychopathic Killer," would not necessarily be understood in the Forties--people were considered sane or insane in those days and mostly talked about in those terms.  Nowadays there are so many shades of gray, fifty to be exact, that any amount of variation can be talked or written about.

So it is with Amy Dunne, the female protagonist and the "gone girl" of the title. Flynn's highly suspenseful book is about a marriage gone wrong and a disappearance gone--well to hell in a hand-basket, and then some.  The story is consistently and uniformly told from two points of view--Amy's, and her befuddled, confused, angered and finally frightened husband's, Nick Dunne.  A movie is forthcoming, and it should make a good one, for the book has all the elements of a major hit: mystery, murder, self-mutilation, sex, nudity, cops and robbers, offensive language to the extreme, etc. etc. (Will the public ever get enough of this?  The answer is apparently a resounding NO!)

Not to suggest that this is nothing more than a formulaic novel--far from it.  In plotting and structure it's nothing short of ingenious.  And Amy Dunne is a character worthy of the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe--a bizarre embodiment of the evil genius wrapped up in a very attractive package that is, of all things--female.

The reversal of the typical role relationship -- the wife caught in the grips of a fiendish husband (think Bluebeard's Castle) -- is in its way quite brilliant, as is the author's ability to almost win the reader to Amy's point of view against her dolt of a husband, until, until, well...you know if you've read it, and if you haven't...

Is this book pure escapism, or does it simply go to the extreme to illustrate a prevailing female viewpoint that men are stupid pigs who have to be fattened and then led to the ultimate slaughter?  As one of the stupid pigs, I'm really not sure.  All I can say for certain is that if you are contemplating marriage to someone you are not sure you really know, then forget it and run like--you know what!

Book in a Jar Winners!

All summer, I've had a "book in a jar" contest set up on the counter above my computer.  This morning, I had Kristin draw three winners.  They are:
  • Ellen Eggleston
  • Cutter Bohler
  • John Duvall
Congratulations!!  Come by the library anytime to pick up your prize!

(By the way, if you are curious, the book was Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer 2014

Tuesday marked the end of Summer Reading 2014.  We had a very busy summer here at Franklin County Library.

For the kids, we hosted "Whirled on a String" - a yo-yo show, Dr. Flakenstein - a magician, a petting zoo, Pint Sized Polka, Miki the Monkey and Bubble Day  We co-hosted a music show with Mt. Vernon Music.  We will finish up with Ice Cream Day tomorrow and Watermelon Day next Friday. 

We also hosted Franklin County Veterans on Flag Day and Northeast Texas Librarians (NetLibs) on July 21st.

(Kristin taught me how to do this!)

Our theme this summer was Fizz, Boom, Read!  We displayed all sorts of science decorations.  We hung a solar system from the ceiling and the life cycles of butterflies and frogs from light fixtures.  We discovered the super absorbent powers of polymers, learned about evaporation with our drinking bird, and watched a tree grow crystals.  All in all, a very educational summer! 

At the beginning of the summer, Mrs. August gave the kids a challenge.  Every time a child turned in a sheet full of books they had read they could put a link in a pink, green, or blue chain.  At the end of the summer Mrs. August had to dye her hair the color of the longest chain. 

It may be a little hard to tell in this picture, but Mrs. August's hair is definitely BLUE!!  All together the kids read over 3400 books or chapters.  Way to go!
Now we have a little time to catch up on our projects before we jump into fall.  Our first big event of the fall is the craft show beginning on September 2nd and running through the 12th.  We plan to have a craft supply swap on the evening of September 11th.  Start working on arts and crafts to show off!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chance's Corner: Texas Traveler

Sometimes you have to get out of town for a day or two, and that's just what I did. I didn't go very far, though, because I knew I had to be back at the Franklin County Library before anybody missed me. So, what did I do this time? I took a tour of the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Let's just get this part out of the way. The AT&T Stadium is HUGE! How huge?
  • You could fit three Texas Stadiums (the old stadium) inside of it. 
  • The Statue of Liberty can stand up in it, and she still wouldn't touch the ceiling. 
  • There is a mile-long concrete ramp that extends from the top all the way down to the bottom.
  • There is a six-story video screen dangling from the ceiling.
  • There are over 3,000 other video screens throughout the stadium (a record number for a sports venue).
  • There are over a 1,000 toilets (most of them are for women).
  • And the entire joint cost over a BILLION dollars to build, most of it came out of Jerry Jones' own pocket.
Whew! That's big. And here's the pictures to prove it!

Oh dear! Where's the field? Unfortunately, the field was tucked away in the basement because they were preparing for a Beyoncé concert.
The six-story video screen
The view from Jerry Jones' private box
Jerry Jones' private table
Never miss a play while waiting in line at the concession stand!

A private box that you can own... for 10, 20 or 30 years. Prices start in the thousands and keep going, going, going into the millions.


The bowels of AT&T Stadium.


Football ambiance
The Center Field Star!
The playing field all rolled up in Jerry Jones' private parking garage.
The club that the Cowboys run through to get to the field.

And what good Mount Vernon individual wouldn't take the time to look for some sign of Don Meredith?

Overall, I really enjoyed the tour of the AT&T Stadium. If you ever get an opportunity, you should swing by and take a look at it for yourself. It's an amazing sight to behold!


My family took a little detour on the way home from Arlington and drove over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. We got honked at, but the photo results were well-worth it.


Monday, July 21, 2014

"Real" book vs. E-reader

I've mentioned before that I (Julie) read a lot of library and book blogs looking for new books and ideas for the library.  Very often, in my virtual ramblings, I see discussions about e-readers versus physical books.  Believe it or not, these discussions can get quite heated!   

The pro "real" book people wax poetic about the feel, the smell, and the heft of real books. They talk about the joy of having full bookshelves. They enjoy being able to make notes in their books and the ability to pass books along to friends.  "Real" book people love the experience of browsing through titles in the bookstore and finding previously loved books at the discount bookstore.  They despise the thought of switching to an e-reader.

On the contrary, the e-book lovers talk about the ease of carrying an entire library with them wherever they go.  They use the dictionary and highlight features of their e-reader.  They love the ability to download something new almost instantly. 

I, however, think that a reader can have the best of both worlds.  Franklin County Library recently added e-books to our collection through Overdrive.  Now, whenever I find out about an interesting book, I look to see if we own it in both our physical collection and our electronic collection and I read it wherever I find it. 

I don't ever see a time when real, physical books are not important in our lives, but e-books open up so many more options for finding the books a reader wants to read at the best price.  If you are using Overdrive through us, that price is FREE!! 

How do you feel about e-books versus physical books?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chance's Corner: Kingdom Keepers Series

Have you ever wanted to sneak into any of the parks at Walt Disney World after hours and have the whole park to yourself? If you just screamed yes at your computer screen, then I have a series for you! It's called the Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson, and we have it right here at the Franklin County Library.

The Kingdom Keepers series is about a group of young kids who are chosen to be holographic Disney Host Interactive (DHI) tour guides at the Disney Parks. Sounds great, right? Well, the new DHI program has some unexpected side effects for the kids. At night, in their deep sleep, the kids wake up as their holographic replica inside the Magic Kingdom. Is it a dream? Nope. Is it fun? Yeah! Well, it is for awhile... until a mysterious, old Cast Member (Disney employee) named Wayne tells them of the sinister Overtakers who want to take over the parks for themselves. Who are the Overtakers? Oh, it's just all the Disney villains such as Ursula, Jafar, Cruella de Vil, and the baddest villain of them all... Maleficent.  With Wayne's guidance, it is now the Kingdom Keepers' goal, over the course of seven books, to solve puzzles and riddles, while fending off dangerous and deadly traps, to stop Maleficent and her minions once and for all.

Overall, the Kingdom Keepers series is just a light-hearted Disney romp for Youths, but the young at heart are sure to love it as well. I know I do. The real magic is in the detail that Ridley Pearson puts into the Disney Parks. I've been to Disney World several times, and as each book traverses the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney Studios, and Animal Kingdom, I actually feel like I'm there again. It's a wonderful feeling to be home away from home.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lisa's Cheesy Summer Vegetables

Looking over the blog, I realized that it has been awhile since I've put up a recipe.  To remedy that, I am posting Cheesy Summer Vegetables.  Lisa brought this recipe to our recipe exchange back in May.  I (Julie) was a little hesitant about it because I generally don't like baked squash.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is.  I made it and took it to a meal with my husband's parents and grandparents and they all liked it as well, so I judged that a great success!

Cheesy Summer Vegetables
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium potato
1 medium tomato
1 medium bell pepper*
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Italian cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic.  Saute both in a skillet with olive oil until softened (about five minutes).
  2. While the onion and garlic are sauteing, thinly slice the rest of the vegetables.
  3. Spray the inside of an 8x8 or round baking dish with non-stick spray.  Spread the softened onion and garlic in the bottom of the dish.  Place the thinly sliced vegetables in the baking dish vertically, in an alternating pattern.  Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and thyme.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil, top with cheese, and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.
*The original recipe does not call for bell pepper, but Lisa doesn't like tomatoes, so she substituted the pepper for the tomatoes.  I used both pepper and tomatoes.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Book Hate

One of the functions of a library blog should be recommending new books and authors and reviewing books.  But what if we read a book and absolutely hate it?  Wouldn't you want to know that as well?

I (Julie) found an article online today about Book Hate.  http://the-toast.net/2014/07/04/lets-talk-books-hate/#idc-cover  I am still reading through the comments about all the books that readers have absolutely hated.  The commenters are almost gleeful about finding a safe place to vent their hatred for certain books.  It's as though someone finally gave them permission to express their secret dislike of some of the most popular books out there.  All genre's are mentioned; romance, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, and, of course, classics we are all supposed to love. 

I asked Chance what books he had ever read and hated and he had his answer for me almost before I finished the question.  He HATED The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner.  He said he had a hard time grasping Faulkner's stream of consciousness writing.  He also didn't like Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger because the main character was jaded and blamed a lot of his problems on other people and near the end he went "a little nuts".  Chance said the boy had nothing else to do but gripe.  

As for me, I hate Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  It's completely depressing and never gets any better.  It's basically about falling in love with people you can't have and then you die.  Oh joy.  I've tried it a couple of times at different points in my life, but I never connected with it.  I am also not a fan of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which is one of Chance's favorite books.

So, I am throwing the question to you?  What book have you read and hated?   Has anyone ever enthusiastically recommended a book to you and then you hated it?  Do you normally finish books you hate, or do you put them down once you know you hate them?  Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Julie's Journal : Learning Something New From Everybody

All my life my father has told me to try and learn something new from everybody I meet.  It is a philosophy that has been very useful to me.  And though, of course, sometimes the things I learn are negative, most people have something positive, useful, or just interesting to teach me. 

The last two years I have put this idea into practice with our summer help.  You may remember Abby from last summer.  She taught me how to use Twitter, which is something I use everyday now, and she taught me about a really awesome drink combination from Sonic.  Ask for a Peach-Cranberry Sprite sometime.  It is AMAZING!  It tastes like the Peachie-O's candy. 

This year's summer worker is Kristin.  Kristin has taught me about Instagram (see the new tab at the top of this blog for a link) and origami.  A few days after she started working here, I noticed a tiny little paper crane sitting on top of one of the computer monitors.    Well, naturally, I wanted to know how to make one.  And then...........well, we made a bunch!  Now we have several hanging in the front window. 
We have also learned how to make pretty little dresses, and Kristin even made a jacket and pants.  Next I think we're going to learn how to make butterflies.  We may have all kinds of fluttering creatures in here before the summer is over. 
What have you learned recently from the people around you?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Giveaway and a Monkey

Cindy Maxton and Cassie Cochran are our winners!

Don't forget our ongoing giveaway!  Just comment on this blog or like our post on Facebook to be entered to win one of two summer prize packages. 


Also, we are hosting Miki the Monkey this afternoon at the First Baptist Church gym.  Come and see his crazy antics at 2:00!

Monday, June 23, 2014


We are giving away two summer gift baskets.  They include books, beach towels, sunscreen and book related paraphernalia.  One is themed for adults, and the other for children.
To enter to win, either comment on this post or like the Giveaway post on our Facebook page.  We will draw for winners at 2:00 on Tuesday, July 1st.


Good luck!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Book in a Jar

Recently, Lisa saw this idea online and we thought we would try it.  We took a book that had been removed for the shelves due to poor condition and put it in a jar.

If you can guess the title of the book, you will be put into a drawing for a cool prize.  You are allowed to pick up the jar, shake it, and turn it, but you cannot take off the lid.  We have several books we have removed from the shelves lately so we will be changing out the jar regularly.  Come on in and see if you can guess what the book is!!

Also, come back to this blog next week for a GIVEAWAY!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

Josh Hanagarne can bench press 350 pounds, which he says won't impress anybody in a power lifting gym, but is impressive in the world of librarians.  His fascinating book details his struggles with Tourette's syndrome and his faith (Mormonism).  He tells how he came to use weight lifting as a means of combating his Tourette's symptoms. 

He also is a librarian at Salt Lake City's Public Library, a massive building housing about 500,000 items at a time.  The collection actually numbers over 1,000,000 items, but according to Mr. Hanagarne about half of the items are checked out at any one time.

Mr. Hanagarne's thoughts on libraries and their function in a community are intriguing:

  • "It's a safe place to explore, to meet with other minds, to touch other centuries, religions, races, and learn what you truly think about the world."
  • "A community that doesn't think it needs a library isn't a community for whom a library is irrelevant.  It's a community that's ill.  It doesn't know what it needs."
  • "Anyone could enrich their life by spending some time here, if only they were willing to look around."
  • "I really want this building to serve the purpose for which it was intended - as a breeding ground for curiosity."
  • "The public library contains multitudes.  And each person who visits contains multitudes as well.  Each of us is a library of thoughts, memories, experiences, and odors."
  • "The library taught me that I could ask any questions I wanted and pursue them to their conclusions without judgment or embarrassment."
Embedded at the bottom of this page is a video of Mr. Hanagarne speaking about his Tourette's.  It's impossible to imagine having to live with the issues he has.  The book is engaging and compelling.  It is available for check out at Franklin County Library.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Chance's Corner: Hot Air Balloons

Ever had one of those "spur of the moment" adventures? Well I had one this past Saturday in Sulphur Springs, Texas at the Hopkins County Dairy Festival. There was a FREE hot air balloon show behind the Shannon Oaks Church, and I just can't turn down anything free. As usual, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

I was very impressed with the hot air balloon show. I plan to attend next year!