Library Column–February 22, 2006

Upcoming fun events at the library: Rug Hooking, Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 P.M.; Book and Bake Sale, Warren Town Hall, Saturday, Feb. 18th, 10-6; Book Discussion, The Color of Water by James McBride (books available at the library), Sunday, Feb. 19th, 3:30 P.M., Warren Library.

We have waaaaayyyy too many new books on the window sill. Please help us out by wandering in and taking one or two! One of the nice things about the Warren Public Library is that it is rare for a new book to be on a waiting list. I also have an excellent selection of books from the Regional Library.

Warm thanks to everyone who cooked and baked and sorted books and toted books for our very successful and enjoyable book sale. The Friends of the Library will be able to continue to support the library in the style to which we have become accustomed thanks to the support of all of our patrons who stopped by and bought books and cookies.

Let’s starts with something new and different: a DVD review and a review by my library assistant, J Butler. The rest of my reading was a lively mix: politics, biography, romantic suspense, sexual diversity and a Native American adoption crisis.

The Real Olympics: A History of the Ancient and Modern Olympic Games from PBS (DVD). I’ve finally managed to watch one of the DVDs bought with the tail end of the Vermont Public Library Foundation grant last year. PBS did a good job with a budget that was just a bit too small. The footage of actors recreating aspects of the ancient Greek Olympic games kept getting reused, and reused. Plus, there was a lot of footage of "talking heads." All that said, the cultural similarities and contrasts made for an interesting story. Warning: the combat scenes from the ancient games are extremely violent, but the actors do wear g-strings, unlike the original Greeks who raced and fought and launched javelins in the altogether.

From Moretown resident John Hilferty, comes Moonlight in Vermont, a novel about what everybody in the valley loves…Skiing! But I have to say that I found this book to be as much about the act of skiing as The Old Man and the Sea has to do with the act of fishing—skiing here is merely a catalyst for exposing the risks of competition, and ultimately something much deeper and more profound: what happens when victory is out of reach. So, for a trip down some of the local runs, a trip down some of the world’s greatest slopes, and a trip down the steep and oft perilous paths of love and love lost, Moonlight in Vermont is the book for you. Check it out! (review by J Butler)

Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter (audio CD). A political critique by an ex-president and a religious critique by a devout Christian: an all around hard look at the policies of our current administration. I didn’t agree with everything he said, but I thought he had an interesting point of view to share.

The Mysterious Private Thompson: The Double Life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier by Laura Leedy Gansler. A great book for anyone interested in the real lives of 19th century women or for anyone interested in Civil War battle experiences of ordinary soldiers. Sarah disguised herself as a young man to avoid marriage, had a successful career as a book salesman and then joined up as a soldier early in the war. Later she became an author, a wife, a teacher and the only acknowledged woman to receive a soldier’s pension from the U.S. government for service in the Civil War.

Countdown by Iris Johansen. Romantic suspense with archaelogy, violence, mind-control and a plot to blow up a nuclear reactor.

Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian (audio CD, abridged). A lively tale of gender, small town intolerance, sex, love, romance and misunderstandings. What makes a woman a woman? What makes a man a man? Is it the plumbing, the soul, or?

Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver (audio cassette). This is the sort of story that could easily become tiresomely PC (or equally tiresomely politically incorrect) but Ms. Kingsolver’s humor, compassion and excellent writing manages to guide us through this sequel to The Bean Trees without falling into either tedium. The center of the story is a lost and found child named Turtle who is claimed by the mother who found her and the Cherokee tribe that lost her.

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