Library Column – November 2, 2006

Stick season rolls around again, cold, damp, grey, but Vermont is still beautiful. November 1st marks the beginning of my 3rd year as the Director of the Warren Public Library. Just wanted to thank everyone who helps make this library a very special place: my super wonderful library commissioners, the great Friends of the Warren Library, all of the volunteers who make it possible to keep the library open over 30 hours a week, the hardworking staff, the Warren taxpayers and the consistently delightful patrons. Come in and say hello and check out a book, an audiobook, a movie or a toy.

Some of my recent reading and viewing:

The Orchid Shroud by Michelle Wan. Death in rural France…death by dangerous wild animal…or is it something else? Death in the past with the gruesome discovery of a dead body hidden inside a wall. Also includes a mysterious orchid for lovers of exotic flora. A well-written, complex modern mystery.

Let Me Finish by Roger Angell. A delightful memoir, written in short, beautifully composed essays by the great baseball writer (who also wrote for the New Yorker). He writes so well that I even enjoyed his baseball essays—and I hate sports!

Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill. Third in an interesting mystery series set in Laos during the 1970s. The new communist government is consolidating their takeover, while the eccentric national coroner (and his assistants) keep running into exceptionally weird murders.

The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization (DVD). The story of how the Athenians created an amazing civilization and then blew the whole wad by trying to become the top guys in ancient Greece. Lively, entertaining and beautifully filmed.

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich (audio CD and book). Her usual lively cast rushes around, eating junk food and tripping over the bad guys. The audio includes an interview between the author and Lorelei King, who has recorded all 12 books in the series.

Windy Acres (DVD) The complete first season of the TV series on two discs (also available on video).
Vermont humor, much of it at the expense of the “flatlander” but none of the jokes are mean-spirited.

Undue Influence by Steve Martini (audio cassette). Legal mystery with great courtroom scenes. I have this gloomy suspicion that real courtroom scenes are never, ever this exciting. Sigh.

The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner. Super entertaining fantasy novel…set in a mysterious country…about a teenager who is suddenly pulled from her home and trained in swordfighting. No magic, just politics, romance, intrigue and adventure.

Delivering Justice: Work@Home Scams: They Just Don’t Pay! (DVD) from the US Postal Inspection Service. Some dirty deals are worse than others. This short film tells the true story of a young mother who took a job re-mailing parcels. Turned out she was innocently assisting in a credit card fraud. Scary.

The Flying Tiger: The Story of General Claire Chennault by Jack Samson. Forget the daring young man on the flying trapeze—remember the fearless Flying Tigers—a small group of volunteer American fighter pilots, sometimes flying patched up airplanes, who single-handedly held back the Japanese air force and army in China—before America was swept into WW II. They were pooh-poohed by the Washington military establishment…until the reports started coming in! But they were responsible for establishing the devastating air war that brought about the defeat of the Japanese Empire. If you served in any war—or are interested in WW II history, this story is a significant part of it. (Reviewed by a WW II Air Corps Vet.)

See you at the library!

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