Archive for June, 2012

In The Woods by Tana French

In the Woods is first in an excellent series about the Dublin murder squad. The 4th installment, Broken Harbor, comes out on July 24th so I’ve been re-reading them all. Or in my case, re-listening. I highly recommend Tana French books in general but especially in Audiobook format. The opening scene of In The Woods takes place in a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984.  Evening approaches and mothers are beginning to call their children home. But on this particular evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror. He is wearing blood-filled sneakers and is unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. Twenty years later that boy, Rob Ryan,  is a detective on the Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But the secret comes out when Rob Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox are called in to investigate another disappearance. That teaser on the book jacket was enough to make me want to read more. Once I finished In The Woods I could not wait to read The Likeness, which focuses primarily on Cassie Maddox and Faithful Place featuring another detective on the same squad. That’s one of the many great things about this series – you don’t have to read them in order. It helps but is not necessary, as they all feature a different character from the same Dublin Murder squad.  If you enjoy Harlen Coben or Val McDermid, I think you will also enjoy Tana French. If you love Irish accents, try the audio versions!


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The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

With zombies being so popular these days, a lot of horror books are coming out about our undead friends, but not many evoke the fear they aim to make their readers feel. Fortunately, it’s safe to say that the third entry in Carrie Ryan’s young adult trilogy, The Dark and Hollow Places, certainly placates the desire for horror and even manages to interweave a love story while raising a chilling question: in a dystopian world overrun by undead assailants who pose a constant threat, is the real danger the zombies outside the barriers or the degradation of mankind’s moral conscience inside the safe zones? Follow a girl named Annah’s bleak journey to escape from a city literally dying around her as she searches for her family and fights for survival, love, and happiness against the undead and the very soldiers who are supposed to protect her. Can she escape the massive zombie horde and an army of very inhuman humans? The answer, which involves a daring escape plan, a hot air balloon, and a long edge-of-your-seat trek through subway tunnels, may surprise you! Well-written and chock full of suspenseful encounters that will make you gasp out loud, this book and the other two in Carrie Ryan’s trilogy, The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves, are definite must-reads for zombie and horror fans!

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In Marion  6/27/12


House Beautiful Kitchens

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo

Foods in Jars by Marisa McClellan

Screwed! By Dick Morris

Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss

It’s Even Worse Than It Looks by Thomas Mann

When Women Were Birds by Terry Williams

The Candidate by Samuel Popkin

Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn

Dropped Names by Frank Langella

Story by Robert McKee

Lost Communities of Virginia

We Can All Do Better by Bill Bradley

Builders of the Pacific Coast

The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking by Louis Van Dyke

The Scientific Approach to Catching More Fish by Keith Jones

Half in Love by Linda Sexton

Virtual Reference Guides Trees

Kitchen Ideas That Work

What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You

Complete Idiot’s Guide to Linkedln

Facebook Marketing

Complete idiot’s Guide to Staging Your Home to Sell



Ties That Bind by Marie Bostwick

Things Left Unspoken by Eva Everson

Cold Rain by Craig Smith

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Chasing Sunsets by Eva Everson

The Key on the Quilt by Stephanie Whitson

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

The Spoiler by Annalena McAfee

Derby Day by D. J. Taylor

The Reverend’s Wife by Kimberla Roby

Dancing in the Dark by Susan Moody

Sacrilege by S J Parris

A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson

Never Tell by Alafair Burke

The Long Earth by Stephen Baxter

The First Warm Evening of the Year by Jamie Saul

As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson

Great Tales of Horror by H P Lovecraft

The Chessman by Jeffrey Burton

The Key by Simon Toyne

Born of Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Don’t Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman


Young Adult Fiction

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Immortal Hearts by Ellen Schrieber

The Wicked and the Just by J.Anderson Coats

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Second copy)

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Insurgent by Veronica Roth (second copy)

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Drama High Series

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Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell

If you enjoy Westerns or have any interest in Historical Fiction, “Doc” might just be the book you’re looking for. My motivation in selecting this book was not an interest in the wild west. I picked up this book because one of Mary Doria Russell’s  other works, “Thread of Grace” is on my short list of favorites. I had also just finished re-reading Gone with the Wind and I knew there was some connection between Margaret Mitchell and Dr. John Henry Holliday. As it turns out they were cousins. “Doc” Holliday  was born to the life of a Southern Gentleman, much like a character out of “Gone With The Wind”. This book, a work of historical fiction, starts with his Southern upbringing and carries the reader through to Dodge City with a few stops in between. You’ll be introduced to the Earp brothers though this book takes place before the O.K.  Corral. Westerns are not typically my genre of choice, I just hoped the book would be worthwhile. Doc:A Novel did not disappoint! Not only was it an excellent read but it has sparked my interest  in reading more historical fiction books of the  same time period.The bits about dentistry  in the wild west were fascinating.  I  walked away with an intense desire to play poker and listen to classical music. Did you know Doc Holliday was a classical pianist?! Doc: A Novel is available in both Marion and Chilhowie.

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We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

If you enjoy fun, easy reading, Lionel Shriver’s novel We Need to Talk about Kevin is not for you.  Shriver plumbs the depths of the human psyche in this chilling and provocative book about motherhood, family, and the evolution of evil.  Eva Khatchadourian is mother to Kevin, a mysterious and maniacal boy who seems disconnected from her since birth.  When he becomes infamous for a particularly horrible high school massacre, Eva attempts to parse out her culpability in the crime through letters to her husband.  As Eva attempts to find answers, the reader is taken on a journey through motherhood that is both banal and terrifying.  This book is as finely written as it is unsettling, and I highly recommend it

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Shelf Life: “ America the Beautiful”

By Tod Owens


While many of us associate Independence Day with the onomatopoeic sounds of exploding firecrackers, I prefer the much more melodic sound of “America the Beautiful.”  I’m not alone in my appreciation of the song since the lyrics of the patriotic tune have been described as being more familiar to the average citizen than those of “The Star-Spangled Banner”; however, the origin of “America the Beautiful” is not as famous a story as the often told narrative of Francis Scott Key’s creation of “The Star- Spangled Banner “during the War of 1812. Lawyer Key’s observation of the British attack on Fort McHenry and the inspiring sight of its still intact American flag on the following morning, led him to write the words to what would become our National Anthem. While that story is well-known, many people have never heard of how Katherine Lee Bates composed “America the Beautiful.”

Katherine Lee Bates was a college professor and an advocate for higher education for women. She worked in the English Department of Wellesley College for thirty-four years and was largely responsible for the creation of a well-respected faculty that attracted national praise and recognition.  Her ancestors included scholars, ministers, and a Revolutionary War soldier.  She was born in 1859 in Falmouth, Massachusetts. When her father’s death pushed the family into economic hardship, her older siblings entered the working world and pooled their resources to send the poetic and gifted Katherine to Wellesley in 1876. Katherine had already begun to earn extra money through publishing poems and stories in local newspapers.  She excelled at the all female college and became class president of her 1890 graduating class. After teaching at a high school and earning an advanced degree at Oxford University, Bates became head of the Wellesley College’s English Department.  At Wellesley she made her mark as a teacher, poetry critic, and author of a popular textbook called English Religious Drama.  In 1893 she was invited to teach a summer course on the subject at Colorado College and her journey across the country changed her life forever as the natural grandeur of the sights of the American countryside inspired her to write “America the Beautiful.”  As she marveled at the view from Pike’s Peak after her prairie wagon tour reached the summit, she began to compose the descriptive phrases that celebrated sights like spacious skies, amber waves of grain, and purple mountains.   She revised her composition several times before it saw publication on July 4, 1895. The poem became a song when the words were added to the tune of Samuel Ward’s “Materna.” By the time Bates died in 1929, her creation had become a beloved celebration of American identity.

“America the Beautiful” is far more than a melodic travel guide that inventories the scenic wonders of the nation. Bates included several prayerful requests for God to “shed His grace” upon the country and “mend its ev’ry flaw” and “refine” its accomplishments into noble and divine goals.  She also memorialized American virtues such as the courage, selflessness, and faith of its founders.    My favorite line in the song refers to the “patriot dream that sees beyond the years.” I’ve always felt that line figuratively evoked both the great Americans who came before and those who came after the creation of the song. Surely, the sacrifices, deeds, and words of patriotic visionaries like Nathaniel Greene, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Henry Clay, Franklin Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan are forever interwoven within the fabric of American idealism.  One of the reasons many Americans prefer “America the Beautiful “ to  “The Star-Spangled Banner” is because its creation was not linked to a specific war and thus,  its message carries more of a timeless appeal than does Key’s poem. I like both songs and find them both to be infinitely more appropriate for the celebration of America’s birthday than the noisy sound of firecrackers.  No matter what your preference is, we wish you a safe and festive Independence Day!

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Local friend Darin Handy will bring his collection of wild creatures our libraries today!

Bland Library – 10:30 a.m.

Chilhowie Library – 2:30 p.m.

Marion Library – 6:00 p.m.

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