Library Column–April 27, 2006

Please help out! One of our Archer Mayor books has reached the end of its readable life. Unfortunately, his early titles are now rare books, and priced accordingly. Unless I can find an inexpensive used copy of this book, it will have to be replaced with a paperback. The book is Open Season. If you have a copy in good condition that you are willing to donate, just give me a call or bring it into the library.

The logo contest is on its way—we already received our first applications) and we are eagerly looking forward to more examples of original artwork. Check our web-site (www.warrenlibrary.com) or call the library for more information.

Do you know about the paperback collection? It is in the hall leading to the library, so it is open every day (except Sunday), even when the library is shut. You don’t need a library card to borrow books and there are no due dates. Just mark the number of books you are taking on the circulation counting sheet and go! Some great new additions recently donated to the shelves: Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with kids) in America by Michelle Kennedy, The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit by Shirley MacLaine, Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss and The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant. People have been very generous in donating paperbacks to this collection so there is a steady stream of new additions. Check it out!

I’m afraid I’ve been doing a lot of reading:

The Ballroom on Magnolia Street by Sharon Owens. A Belfast story about a man who owns a ballroom, two sisters who visit the ballroom looking for love, plus some complicated family secrets. Although there are some mentions of the "troubles," that side of Irish life stays firmly in the background of the story.

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly (audio cassette or book). A terrific read—first it tells you a lot about being a defense lawyer in America, but it is also a super suspense novel with a convoluted plot—who is guilty and what did they actually do? Included are great courtroom scenes and a surprise ending.

The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland (audio CD or book). The story of a woman artist in Rome and Florence in the 1600s, based on the life of Artemisia Gentileschi. The historic background is vividly realized and the protagonist’s passion for painting is believably presented. After I finished the book I went searching for some examples of her work on the Internet. Artemisia is an excellent example of someone who was able to transform suffering and trauma (she was raped) into amazing works of art.

I’ll Never Be Long Gone by Thomas Christopher Greene. A Vermont theme and author, with lovely descriptions of scenery and food. The story is about a family restaurant, where fine cooking is an obsession; and a family divided.

Spin Doctor by Leslie Carroll. A variation on the book about a book club genre only in this case the characters are a therapist and her pro bono clients. The therapist meets with her clients in the laundry room in the basement of her apartment building, so instead of book discussions as a background, there are laundry problems. Light and amusing.

A Fool’s Gold: A Story of Ancient Spanish Treasure, Two Pounds of Pot, and the Young Lawyer Almost Left Holding the Bag by Bill Merritt. One truly hilarious story, which has got to be non-fiction (for real) because I would never, never believe this tale as a novel. The book includes elements of the legal thriller, the ancient treasure/archaelogy mystery, and the eccentric rural oddballs comedy. I actually laughed out loud at one point.

The Summer Snow by Rebecca Pawel. An excellent mystery in an unusual setting: Franco’s Spain in 1945. The author does a superb job of evoking the culture, events and flavor of the time and place. We have The Watcher in the Pine by the same author.

The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question by Scott McCrea (regional library). We’ll have this book for 3 months, so do feel free to check it out. An excellent and entertaining read, but also a serious study of the question of who wrote Shakespeare’s works…the Bard…or some other genius.

No Peace for the Wicked by Pip Granger. A lively and light mystery set in 1950s Soho London. The characters are bizarre and eccentric and outspoken, the ambiance is perfectly drawn and the story is entertaining.

The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett (audio cassette). Dry British humor/mystery, wherein a body turns up on the beach and then disappears again, leaving a very respectable middle-aged woman embarrassed and irritated. We have more titles by this author, one in audio and two in the mystery section

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