Jan's Column 2014

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Past Columns

December 31, 2014 - Year End Comments

Well, I’m going to assume that this column will publish on the last day of 2014, so I won’t be doing any beginning of the year shtick, but will stick to end-of-the year comments. This certainly has been an interesting year in many ways, but the most exciting thing for this library was we turned fifty years old on December 1st (which I guess makes the library a Sagittarius). Turning 50 years old meant a countdown to the big day, a big celebration, the start of an endowment fund to help ensure the next fifty years, and lots of plans for continued celebrations and programs throughout our entire 50th year. So stayed tune for those. We have been experience warmer than normal weather but it has – until Christmas Day and Boxing Day – been accompanied by dark and gloomy skies. With the return of the sun on those two, all-too-rare days, sunset didn’t seem to be occurring shortly after 3:30 in the afternoon. There was still light in the sky at 5 p.m. (if you could see the horizon). The good news is, as of today, sunset is now 10 minutes later than it was on the 8-10th of December when the earliest sunsets occur (at 4:22 p.m.). The even better news is that we are no longer losing light in the morning with later sunrise times. Sunrise is now at 7:29 a.m. and will remain there until January 8th when we will start gaining light at that end of the day as well. All this good news and the start of a new year with a whole new blank canvas to fill in. Below you will find some new books to start off your reading for 2015. Enjoy! Happy New Year!

December 25, 2014 - Holiday Greetings

You may or may not be reading this on Christmas Day. No matter when you are reading it, let me extend the warmest holiday greetings of the season from the entire library staff. No matter how you celebrate the holidays that group around this time of year, we hope this time of year is merry and bright for you and your family. While the library closed (closes depending on when you read this) at 3 p.m. on December 24th and is closed all day on the 25th, we will be open for business as per usual on Friday, December 26th. Even on these days when the library is closed you can still visit our website through LinkCat place holds on books and ebooks and if you’re very lucky you could possibly download an ebook from Overdrive or pick up an electronic hold that may have become available while the library is closed. Below are some of the new titles that arrived recently. Enjoy them, and have a very, merry Christmas!

December 18, 2014 - Warm Weather

Well the weather certainly has been unseasonably warm these past few days, enough so that the grass has really greened up nicely and in some places looks like it could stand another mowing. Already, though the temperatures are returning to more normal ranges. It has been not only unseasonably warm but rather unseasonably dark and drear. All that warmth has created fog to shorten the days in the morning and the evenings as the melting snow and thawing earth ooze into the atmosphere. The good news is that as of yesterday the length of day has stabilized. Sunrise continues to get a minute later, but we gain that minute on the sunset end. This will continue until December 26th when we actually gain a minute and then we start gaining about a minute every couple of days (at the sunset end) from then on (until, oh, somewhere around June 21st). The other good news is that Christmas is only a week away and since you have already bought and wrapped all your gifts for family and friends, that means you will have plenty of time to come down to the library and check out these new books that have just recently arrived. Enjoy! And Happy Holidays!

December 11, 2014 - Christmas Countdown

Well. The countdown to Christmas is certainly getting serious now. As of today, December 11th, there are 14 days left until Christmas Day or 13days if you celebrate on Christmas Eve. That translates to 1,209,600 seconds, 20,160 minutes, or 336 hours. Any way you look at it, time is beginning to run out if you haven’t done you Christmas shopping yet and even if you have done all your shopping, time is still running out to locate those presents and get them wrapped. Yet, while time is running out, there is still time to find a few minutes throughout the day or before settling in for you long winter’s nap, to read a few pages. Below you will find a number of new titles—some with Christmas in their titles, because after all, ‘tis the season—for your reading enjoyment.

On Saturday, December 13th, Santa (Yes. Really. That big guy in red.) will be in the Story Hour room at 10 a.m. Children and their parents, their grandparents, their great-great grandparents, etc. are invited to attend.

December 4, 2014 - Holidays

It’s December already. Where did the time go? Three weeks from today is Christmas Day. Do you have all your shopping done? Do you know who has been naughty and nice? Are you all set for St. Nicholas Day – which is December 6th(St. Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus he became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of "Saint Nikolaos"—according to Wikipedia). This is an eve for little gift giving (placed in the shoes you’re supposed to set out) and giving to the needy. Santa will be at the library on Saturday, December 13th at 10 a.m. Be sure to mark your calendar. You can then plead your placement in the naughty or nice category in person! While you’re counting down to Christmas, as the days slowly shorten leaving long periods of darkness in which to read, there are some new titles listed below – some seasonally appropriate—for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

November 27, 2014 - Crazy Weather

What crazy weather we’ve been having. The first 22 days of November tied for the 2nd longest run of consecutive days in November below freezing since 1880 (at least that’s what I saw on tv so it must be true!). The average temperature for those 22 days was higher than the average for those days in 1880 which is why we’ve only endured the 2nd coldest start of November. And then, the weekend with absolutely balmy temperatures (50 degrees is balmy in November especially after such a cold snap) and rain which will transition to snow while getting cold again just in time for Thanksgiving. I’m not sure of the publication date of the paper this week, or for that matter when you might actually have a chance to look at it. If it’s Wednesday, before we close – then there are all these great new books to choose from while you’re waiting for the turkey to cook , company to arrive, or before you saddle up to leave for wherever you’re going for dinner on Thanksgiving Day. If you’re reading this on the Friday after, you still have most of your long weekend left with plenty of good books to choose from and plenty of time to read them. No matter when you are reading this the entire library staff wishes you a very happy Thanksgiving. We are very thankful for you, dear reader. So have another piece of pie and enjoy some of these new books!

November 20, 2014 - A Polar Plunge

A week from today is Thanksgiving Day. It’s hard to believe in a way that it hasn’t already been and gone what with the weather we’ve been experiencing. I mean really. A polar plunge, snow-- more than what’s need to track a cat in (In fact, cats don’t even want to go out in it.). There have been many a Thanksgiving Day when I’ve been driving over to see my east-coast (of Wisconsin) cousins, listening to football on the radio, looking at the winter wheat and hay which are still brightly green basking in the warm November sun. It may be a real stretch to get to a that warm November sun with pleasant, balmy, days approaching 50 degrees that warm the car (and the house) so that you don’t need to run the heat. But, it is Wisconsin and there still is an entire week to go until I need to get in a car and go anywhere. Whilst counting down the days to Turkey Day and thence to Christmas – but we’ll ignore that approaching holiday for now while it’s still very small on the horizon—there are any number of new books for you to read. A sampling of what is available is listed below. Enjoy!

November 13, 2014 - Veterans Day

Earlier this week we celebrated Veterans Day which marks the end of War World I. In 1918, the hostilities ended with a cease fire on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. During the course of that war over 65 million soldiers were mobilized. Experts think 10 million soldiers died and another 20 million were wounded. Some of the outgrowths of that war were the Russian Revolution that occurred in 1917, the redrawing of the maps of Europe after the war and a generation of young men who died or suffered battle fatigue or injuries from exposure to poison gas. It was a war fought with many of the same weapons used in the U.S. Civil War but with tanks, airplanes, some motor vehicles and zeppelins too. It was a horrific war. It was called the “war to end all wars”, but it didn’t. Instead, it did set up the conditions for the next world. We celebrate November 11th as “Veterans’ Day” while in the British Commonwealth countries, it’s called “Remembrance Day” or “Poppy Day”. It probably is a good idea to reflect on the costs and sacrifices of wars at least annually. The day peace broke out to end that first global war seems a good time to do that. I’ll leave you with the first verse of John McCrae’s famous poem: “In Flanders fields the poppies blow/ Between the crosses, row on row,/That mark our place; and in the sky/The larks, still bravely singing, fly/ Scarce heard amid the guns below.”

November 6, 2014 - Lore

This past week has been rather exciting. On October 31st, we had our first snow and while it didn’t show up as measurable on any of the weather stations/sites that I follow, there was enough snow to track a cat in. I know this because my cat and I went out for his morning constitutional and you could definitely see his paw prints. I mention this only because the first snow, in weather lore is used to predict the number of snowfalls for the upcoming winter. The lore is: “As many days old as is the moon on the first snow, there will be that many snowfalls by crop planting time.” According to the wise women I learned this from, the snow has to be a snow you can track a cat in (or, I imagine, any other animal). The new moon was on October 23rd, so on October 31st the moon would have been only 8 (or 9 depending on whether or not you count the day of the new moon or not) days old. If this lore pans out, then it’s looking like a dry winter. Guess we’ll just have to stick around and see. In the meantime, there are a number of new books to keep you company on longer evenings that showed up after Daylight Savings Time went away last Sunday. Enjoy!

October 30, 2014 - Migratory Flocks

We are truly in the midst of Fall and perhaps even starting to lean towards Winter. Tomorrow is Halloween which means we will be in November in the blink of an eye. Geese have been flying for weeks now, but mostly these are local geese just practicing formation flying. The white-crowned sparrows passed through a few weeks ago on their way South. Migratory flocks of songbirds are still passing through from further North, but there are fewer robins and red-winged black birds passing through daily. If you’re interested in what birds might be migrating through, check out the website http://birdcast.info/forecasts/ which is maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Birds that you usually see in family units or loose flocks are now grouping into much larger migratory flocks. Geese are a great example. While young are being raised, there’s only the family. Once the young have fledged larger family groups start hanging out together and now ponds are nearly covered with them. Cranes group up too with families of three and four getting joining up with bachelor groups to make up larger groups. By the way, Goose Pond is covered right now – not with all that many geese—but 100s of coots, mallards, and other migrating ducks. There were also 36 swans up there last weekend. The Asian lady bugs and box elder bugs have been hanging around on the South facing of buildings for a while now. When you put all of these portents together, it really does look like we are transitioning from the end of one season towards that start of the next. We have plenty of new books that are still arriving during the Fall publishing season. They are listed below. Enjoy!

October 23, 2014 - Count Downs

The count downs have begun. Here we are in the middle of October (well, more towards the end, actually) so we’re counting down to Halloween. Which is 8 days from today in case you’re counting. Once you’re in November of course you start counting down to Thanksgiving Day – which is on the 27th (so a tad late this year). If you’re doing mental arithmetic we are adding 27 days to the 8 days we already had for a total of 35 days from now until Turkey Day. If you’ve been paying close attention and have been in the library during the past week or two, you’ll know we are counting down to December 1st which is the 50th Anniversary of the day this library first opened its doors to the public. It’s 3 days from Thanksgiving Day to 50th Anniversary Day – which makes it 38 days from today until the library’s 50th Anniversary. Once we’re into December, well it’s only 24 days until Christmas Eve and 25 days until Christmas Days. So I think all we have to do is add 24 days to the 38 we already have added up and you’ll find that it’s 62 days until Christmas Eve. With all those big event days between now and Christmas, you know the time will just fly by. These beautiful, warmish days with the leaves still flamboyantly on the trees will soon be replaced by the bare branches of winter. In the meantime, there are plenty of new, fall books to read. Scroll your eyes further down the page and enjoy!

October 16, 2014 - 50th

Sunday, October 12th (the day on which I am writing this) was (is) fifty days from December 1st, 2014. “And what’s so important about December 1st?” you well may ask. Well, December 1st is the fiftieth (that’s 50th) anniversary of the day the DeForest Area Public Library first opened its doors. 1964 was an interesting year which some of us remember as if it were yesterday. The first Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War was awarded in December, 1964 and police arrested 800 sit-in students at U of Cal, Berkeley. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” premiered on TV. Shooting started for the pilot of “Star Trek”. Comedian Lenny Bruce was convicted of obscenity. That year’s big movies included: “Zorba the Greek”, “The Pink Panther, “Doctor Strangelove”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Mary Poppins”, “My fair Lady” and “Goldfinger” to name just a few. The books the topped the NY Times bestseller list included these in no particular order : “Herzog” by Saul Bellow, “This Rough Magic” by Mary Stewart “ The Man” by Irving Wallace, “You Only Live Twice” by Ian Fleming, “Julian” by Gore Vidal, “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” by John le Carre, and “Armageddon” by Leon Uris. You will discover many more interesting facts about the year 1964 as we get closer to the anniversary date. We also have a number (perhaps 50) programs planned throughout our upcoming 50th year. Watch this page, our web page, our Facebook page, and anywhere we put up flyers for more details. In the meantime, there are a number of new books for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

October 9, 2014 - Maui

A week ago Sunday, I was walking along a beach in Maui looking for shells (fragments of shell since the locals told me finding whole shells is a thing of the past), listening to the susurration of the surf in the distance and the pounding of waves against the lava rocks. A tropical sun was beating down on my be-hatted head as I sweltered in the 90 degree heat and the 80 percent humidity. I moved the porch plants that were still producing and/ or green into the house last Friday night and the overnight low of 31 degrees for a couple of hours finished off everything else. And thus ends this growing season in my household. Sunset in Maui was about 6:20 p.m. I know this because the wedding I was in Maui for took place at sunset. Sunset here is at roughly the same time – but remember we are still on Daylight Savings Time until November 2nd – and sunrise is happening around 6 a.m. We have lost a whole lot daylight and a whole lot of degrees Fahrenheit. But we have gained some things. We have gained longer mornings have your cup of coffee and read for a bit. We have gained longer evenings to sit and read until Morpheus claims us. And we have gained the publishers’ fall list of new titles which works very neatly with the first two things we have gained enumerated above. Below you will find many new titles to help you while away those additional hours you have gained for reading. Enjoy!

September 18, 2014 - Talk Like a Pirate

Today is the eve of that international celebratory day, “Talk Like a Pirate”. In honor of that day one of our self-check machines – if I can figure out how to switch the module – will be helping you checkout with a distinctly piratical accent. Library staff working on that day may also be looking a wee bit piratical as well. You might hear certain phrases issuing forth from the Circulation Desk like “Avast!”, or “Ahoy!”, “ Shiver me timbers!” or “Your holds are in the hold, matey!”. For this one day only we will be accepting gold doubloons and pieces of eight when paying for fines. If you care to learn more about this day, visit the website www.talklikeapirate.com . That site has a countdown to “Talk Like a Pirate Day” running and various quizzes and information about the day. There are links to a pirate name generator (my pirate name is The Dread Pirate Flint), a personality test (I’m a captain) and various translator that take Standard English and turn it into Pirate. For example the sentence “the library has lots of books” translates as “"T' library has lots o' books." You can always throw an “Arrrggghhh” at the end of any sentence to add a little more authenticity. Hope you have fun celebrating “Talk Like a Pirate Day”! And when you’re done, there are lots of new books for you to read. Enjoy!

September 11, 2014 - September is...

September is filled with lots of special days and weeks. For instance, this September 14th through the 20th is Child Passenger Safety Week, National Environmental Services Week, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, and Constitution Week to name a few. We all know what day it is today. Today is nine-eleven or Patriot Day. It was and still is a sad day for the nation. We remember it in much the same way other generations remember Pearl Harbor. September 11th isn’t only Patriot Day; it is also No News is Good News Day as well as Hot Cross Bun Day. September 12th is Video Games Day, the 13th is Roald Dahl Day (the author of the children’s books, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “The Big Friendly Giant”, “James and the Giant Peach”, and “Matilda” to name a few.), the 14th is Hug Your Hound Day, and the 15th is Felt Hat Day (which is about hats made out of the material “felt”, not touching your hat). With all these special days and awareness weeks in September, the one nearest and dearest to a librarian’s heart is the fact that September is National Library Card Sign Up Month. If you are reading this and don’t have a library card, you should get one, because then you could check out some of the marvelous books listed below!

September 4, 2014 - Summer is Officially Over

I think we can safely say that summer is officially over. We have passed the Labor Day weekend, school is back in session, the daily temperatures for the most part have started going down (Although I would have to note that today is supposed be near 90 degrees. But we always have to have one at least a few hot days once school gets back in session. It’s some kind of tradition.) and at least the vegetable crop on my back porch is finishing off. The tomato plants look like sticks with tomatoes attached. The foliage is quickly browning and dropping off. The days too are getting shorter. From that earliest sunrise of 4:18 a.m. (CST) which started on June 8th and persisted until June 22nd and that latest of sunsets of 19:41 (which started on June 21st and persisted until July 2nd. We have lost a lot of sunlight. Sunrise is now at 5:26 and sunset at 18:25. (All numbers are CST and, obviously, in military time.) So if I’m doing my math correctly we went from about 15.5 hours of daylight to roughly 13 hours now. Which means there’s more time to stay inside and read. The publisher’s lists of fall titles have already started to arrive. Below you will find a sampling of the books that have arrived this past week. Enjoy!

August 28, 2014 - Summer Reading Re-Cap

I can’t believe it’s September already and I haven’t done my annual Summer Reading re-cap. All the books have been counted, all the pages and minutes read accounted for, and I can finally give you all of the amazing numbers about how many people read how many books! Every year, for more years than I care to remember, I have been reporting the number of pages read in concrete terms. I have converted the number of pages read (or pages listened to, or time spent reading) into inches, then converted those inches into miles, and then plotted that number of miles on a map. Since I have been doing this annually for enough years for this to have become a tradition, and since I’m wise enough not to tamper with a fine tradition, here goes!

This year 419 people participated in the Summer Reading Program. Those participants managed to read 1,327,358 pages, which is quite an impressive number! Now, on to the calculations which begin with this question: “If you laid all the pages of the books that were read end-to-end how many miles would they stretch?” The average size of a page is 9 inches tall which gives us (1,327,358 times 9” or 11,946,222 inches—always show your work if you want to receive full credit.). Then we take those 11,946,222 inches and divide by 12 to give us 995,518 feet and then divide by 5,280 to give us 188.5 miles. And, voilà! If you laid all the pages read during the Summer Reading Program end to end and drove east on I-90, you would end up about 4 miles west of Portage, Indiana. Or heading north and west on I-90 you’d end up about a couple miles east of the Rochester, MN exit. Any way you look at it, that’s a whole lot of reading was done this summer! Congratulations to all the Summer Reading participants.

August 14, 2014 - Where oh where did the summer go?

I don’t know about you, but the vegetable crops are becoming overwhelming and it’s getting harder and harder to find anyone who wants some tomatoes or zucchini. It’s just that time of year. In fewer than three weeks we shall have past the end point of summer, i.e. Labor Day, and school shall have started. Where or where did the summer go to? While there are still a few of those crazy, lazy, days of summer left, why not kick back and enjoy one of these final summer books. I just finished ordering books which are due to be published in October and it appears as if every best-selling author has a new book coming out (except of course your best-selling, favorite author because that’s just how life works sometimes). Speaking of vacations… You’re correct; we weren’t actually speaking of vacations, only of summer. I was free associating. Anyway, this upcoming week of summer, I shall be vacationing so next week I’m sad to say, there will be nothing from me. There’s a good selection below which should get you through until the last week of August. Enjoy!

August 7, 2014 - First Harvest

It's hard to believe it's already the 7th of August. We have rolled past the Harry Potter Birthday Party which was attended by hundreds of people, many dressed as Harry Potter and Hermione. The Summer Reading Club has ended. We have missed Lammas Day (It was on August 1st. It is a Northern European festival celebrated in Anglo-Saxon countries as the first harvest festival of the year when it was customary to bring a loaf of bread made from the newly harvested grain to church to be blessed. Lammas Day is also known as the "feast of the first fruits". This feast of the first fruits was annually celebrated on the 1st or the 6th of August (which was also the feast of the Transfiguration)). Phew! That was a long digression. I know the first fruits of my porch tomatoes have started to arrive. August 7th is the approximate midpoint of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and it is also National Lighthouse Day. Tomorrow is "Sneak Some Zucchini On to Your Neighbor's Porch Day", and August 9th is "Book Lover's Day when you are encouraged to find a place in the shade and relax with a good book. And speaking of good books, if you look down the page you will find a bunch of dandy new titles that have arrived at the library. Enjoy!


July 31, 2014 - Summer Wind Down

Today is the last day of the month. It is the day of our annual Harry Potter Birthday Party, the 212th day of the year with 153 remaining, the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the end of Trinity term of the English High Court (not to be confused with English universities' (such as Oxford) use of the term which runs from April 20th to July 6th), and the penultimate day of summer reading club activities. The Summer Reading Club and all its sundry activities draws to a close tomorrow. Saturday morning the final wrap up and awarding of prizes and eating of refreshments will happen and thus will the summer-reading-season end at the library. As summer begins its slow wind down towards fall, there are many things to look forward to. For example, the Fall Book Catalogs have been arriving steadily and orders have been placed. Those titles will begin to arrive in the not-too-distant future. Speaking of arrivals, the first tomato on one of my cherry tomatoes turned red and so arrived on my dinner salad last Wednesday. Tomatoes (and other summer crops) will be arriving with greater and greater frequency. And, possibly, best of all, Packer's training camp opened July 25th, and the countdown to first preseason game on August 9th has started at my house. While we're waiting for the fall book titles to begin arriving, there are still some summer reads to enjoy. So, please do!

July 24, 2014 - Weather Lore

I heard my first crickets singing last week. Now, the weather lore I was taught said that the first frost was due to arrive six weeks (or possibly 60 days) after the crickets first started chirping which would put that date anywhere from the end of August to the start of the second week of September. Yes. The second week of September is only sixty days away. There is a competing lore that says that it's the annual cicadas (the dog-day kind) whose singing starts the six week to sixty day clock ticking. I haven't heard any cicadas yet so - possibly-good news. "Frost" is a somewhat vague term in regards to weather. A light freeze is defined as 29-32 degrees which might kill tender plants. A moderate freeze (25-28 degrees) will kill a lot of vegetation and a severe freeze 24 degrees and colder will wipe out most plants. But we all know that weather forecasters predict frosts of varying degree - "light", "widely scattered", and "heavy" to name just a few. So the odds of a weather person predicting a frost by the beginning of September seem a lot more likely. Anyway, crickets and cicadas too emerge when the soil temperature reaches a certain mark (cicadas like 64 degrees) and in typical years this occurs the end of July to the middle of August which puts their emergence about 6 weeks to 60 days from those cold nights you get at the end of the August. While you're waiting to hear cicadas and for the seasons to start their subtle shift, there are plenty of new books to keep you busy. Scroll your eyes down the page to see some of the new titles that arrived recently. Enjoy!

July 17, 2014 - Harry Potter & the Reading Contest!

As of today, there are two more weeks until our annual Harry Potter Birthday Party. Harry Potter, the character from the fictional series that in some ways re-energized and reshaped the book publishing industry has his fictional birthday on July 31st. We have been hosting a party to celebrate that day for over 10 years now. You are invited and you don't need to bring a present. Costumes are encouraged and this year we're having a dragon judging contest, so if you have a dragon you would like to enter in the competition, it's bring your own dragon! The Harry Potter Birthday party almost exactly coincides with the end of this year's summer reading contest. With two full weeks left to go, there is still plenty of time for a come-from-behind surge that could capture first prize. You are encouraged to take as many books as you can (There is an upward limit in the automated circulation system which a few of you have hit, but for the most part...) carry - and we are willing to help you get the books out to your car if need be. Below, you will find some new titles to whet your appetite. Enjoy! We are looking for some volunteers to help with delivering books to the homebound, helping with the Monday Matinee Movie, and putting flyers up around town. If you have a couple of hours to spare a month, give Jane Henze a call at 846-5482.

July 10, 2014 - Days Between Dates

We are already past the 4th of July, that holiday that falls near the middle of summer - or at least between the two holiday's that frame up summer, Memorial Day and Labor Day. This year there are 98 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day ( I say this year, because both of those holidays have become moveable feasts depending on when the last and first Monday of the month fall because of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968). This year that means July 14th, or Bastille Day, is actually the mid-point between the framing holidays. This also means that there is still plenty of time to get your summer reading done. By my calculation there are still more than fifty days left until Labor Day and there are still plenty of books to be read. Oh, and just in case you're wondering, since we have been talking how many days between dates and how many days until, there are, as of today, 168 days until Christmas! You still have 4,032 hours left to get all your plans, presents, and preparations taken care of. If you'll scroll your eyes down the page you will find a sampling of the new books that have recently arrived at the library.  Enjoy!

July 3, 2014 - Happy Independence Day

Today is July 3rd or, I suppose, the eve of the 4th of July. Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago some mighty big decisions were made by a group of over fifty representatives of the thirteen American colonies. A resolution was passed unanimously (with New York abstaining because at the time they lacked authorization) on July 2nd to sever the bands which had bound the colonies to Great Britain. After that resolution passed, the next day was spent editing the document. On July 4th it was printed and published. And the rest, as they say, is history. In my nostalgic memories of an America I didn't actually experience, I "remember" standing in a crowd listening to some elected dignitary reading the 1,337 words of the Declaration of Independence in a strong, clear, steady voice. Standing in a crowd, listening to those courageous words in the hot July sun with fellow Americans, I felt part of the history that reaches back 238 years to the first crowd that stood and heard those words. I still get goose bumps when the signatories, at the very end, pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to this undertaking. These are powerful words and it's a document that should be read regularly. Here's a link to the National Archives where you can view a high-definition image of the original among other things. Happy Independence Day! We are looking for some volunteers to help with delivering books to the homebound, helping with the Monday Matinee Movie, and putting flyers up around town. If you have a couple of hours to spare a month, give Jane Henze a call at 846-5482.

June 26, 2014 - Gardens

This soggy, humid weather is great for growing gardens, grass, and crops - if you don't have low spots in your acreage and your plants aren't underwater. There dreary, wet days provide a perfect excuse to stay inside and read. If you can't be reading on the beach, you can be reading in the house with the air conditioning running. The summer books just keep appearing at the library. Below you will find a sample of the new books that have been arriving. I'm sure you'll find something to delight, enlighten, or astonish you in the titles below. Enjoy!

June 19, 2014 - Midsummer

The summer solstice is this coming Saturday. That's the day of the year when we have the most sunlight. It's also known as Midsummer. In olden times it was a day to celebrate with bonfires, feasting, and merrymaking. It was a time when magic was assumed to be at its strongest. In the United States there aren't very many organized celebrations on midsummer's day (or night), but the custom of barbequing, sitting around a fire pit, and hoisting refreshing beverages on summer's evenings may be a incarnation of this old celebration - only done over the course of the summer on many occasions instead of on just that specific date. It does seem like suddenly we're in the midst of summer. Could this perhaps be because winter lingered an exceptionally long time and we've only just recently had a run of pleasant, spring-like weather? It seems as if suddenly hay was being cut and baled and suddenly the oats are all tall and pale green and corn is well sprouting and starting to grow by inches daily. The summer books are suddenly arriving-almost all at once. Since there are a lot of them, without further ado, I'll let you get to them. Enjoy!

June 12, 2014 - Summer

I think we can safely say that summer has arrived. The Dragon Art Fair has come and gone. School's out. And the reading contest has begun. Our summer reading club has many ways to cash in on the reading you would be doing anyway, but the fact that there is a contest spurs some people on to read more than they ever imagined possible. All the reading you've been doing this spring has prepared you to compete with other readers. Stop by the library and join the summer reading fun and check out some of these new books! Enjoy

June 5, 2014 - The Start of Something Awesome!

It seems like summer has arrived (what happened to spring?) and with it the summer book titles are popping up like dandelions in a lawn. If you're looking for your next book to read, you'll find many excellent titles below in this column. These books are (mostly) chosen because of their predicted popularity (based on the previous performance of the authors or the best guess of the publishers). They are often right off the best-seller lists or will soon be on the best-seller lists. We just added a widget to the front page of our website (www.deforest.lib.wi.us) that says "Awesome". If you've read a book you think is awesome tell someone at the desk when you return the book. They will scan it and add it to this library's "awesome" book page. If you have an awesome dvd, audio book, or cd you thought was awesome - we can add those to that page as well. The Harvard Library Innovation Lab created this awesome project. We like it because it tells you what local readers think are great things to read. It also links you directly to the book record in our catalog so it is easy to place a hold on it. Awesome books will be displayed in their own section of the new items book shelves (east side of the building near the circulation desk). Awesome books don't have to be new or best-sellers. If you read something you think is just great, tell you think it is awesome. Odds are someone else will think it's awesome too. To get you started on your search for "awesome", below you'll find a bunch of new titles. Enjoy!

May 29, 2014 - Cacti Pups

It seems strange to have passed Memorial Day and still have a couple of days left in May as of today. But here we are. Having passed the holiday of Memorial Day means, among other things, that Summer Reading has begun at the library. Think seriously about joining the Summer Reading Club. Since you're reading this column, odds are you are a reader. More details are available on our website. The Friends of the Library are having a book sale starting today (Thursday, May 29th) and going through Saturday, May 31st. There will be plenty of books and various media formats. There will also be cacti. Many years ago I was given a cactus (now referred to as the "Mother Ship"). She has produced 23 babies or pups, every year for at least the last three years. A couple of her "daughters" are now as big as she is and ramping up their own production. This past weekend I plucked the pups off and put them in little pots (collected from the Pet Grass my cats enjoy chowing down on) in cacti potting soil. For some reason the Mother Ship objected to me taking tongs to her pups and launched herself at me from the window sill. With tongs in my right hand, I, of course, attempted to catch her in my left hand. She drove her prickers deeply into my hand and then nestled her head against the top of my armpit. It was a good thing I was wearing a sweater because my upper arm was spared any serious injury. However, my hand was a different story. There were a couple of big drops of blood welling up on the fleshy part of my palm. With the help of tweezers I managed to remove the prickers, but as the day wore on I realized the real damage wasn't the assault of the thorns, but a sprained thumb. And the swelling and bruising from the sprain. So, what would you pay for a cactus pup guaranteed to grow to a height of over 15 inches in only a few years and produce offspring at a prodigious rate? What would you pay for an attack cactus? You're right! These cacti are priceless! Since these cacti pups are looking for their forever homes why not stop by the book sale and pick up a pup?

May 22, 2014 - On This Day

Here it is the 22nd of May - the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend - and finally more spring-like weather has arrived. We're finally getting spring weather just when the holiday that kicks off the start of summer is rolling around. The 22nd of May is an interesting day in a number of ways. It is National Maritime Day which celebrates the American Merchant Marine. It is Swamp Monster Day which is coincidentally on the day that the Loch Ness monster was first sighted in 1933 (which is confusing because Loch Ness is a deep, dark, freshwater lake - not a swamp at all). May 22nd is also Vanilla Pudding Day. It is also the day that Robert Zimmerman (a.k.a, Bob Dylan) was Bar Mitzvah-ed in 1954 and the day that the first episode of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood aired in 1967 (I like you just the way you are!). This was also the day that Johnny Carson made his final appearance on "The Tonight Show" and the final episode of "Newhart" aired. May 22nd, 2014 is the day when I tell you about all the new books that have arrived recently at the library a little further down this page. Enjoy!

May 15, 2014 - The 135th Day

Today is May 15th. This is the 135th day of the year (since it isn't leap year). Some interesting things happened on this day in history. Read on to be astounded, amazed, or just informed. On May 15th in 1918 the first U.S. Airmail Service started between Philadelphia and New York. In 1954, Marilyn Monroe was back rehearsing for her new film "There's No Business Like Show Business". In 1981 the 20 millionth Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line. In 1928 Mickey Mouse made his first appearance in a cartoon called "Plane Crazy". Pierre Curie - husband of Marie-was born in 1859. Today in 1941 was the day that Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak started. This is also National Hug Your Cat Day. Good luck on that! It is also Nylon Stockings Day. On May 15th , 1940 nylon stockings came on the market. I'm not sure if this has anything with hugging your cat day, but I do know that nylon stockings and cats are not a good combination. It is also National Chocolate Chip-a day to celebrate all the delicious wonders of that chocolate-y morsel and all the mouth-watering bake goods that can be made with it. (Subliminal or blatant product placement for bringing your local librarians something made with chocolate chips). While you're fighting the urge to bake, cast your eyes further down the page where you will find some new book titles. Enjoy!


May 8, 2014 - Seasons of Books

We've already passed a number of May holidays - May Day on the 1st, May the Fourth Be With You (on the 4th - I know, it's a terrible, groaner of a pun on the Star Wars theme), and Cinco de Mayo on the 5th. Mother's Day (May 11th) will be upon us in a matter of days The Norwegians are counting down to Syttende Mai. And we're all counting down to Memorial Day (which couldn't be much earlier if it tried) on the 26th because that is the unofficial start of summer. Since we haven't had much of a spring, let's try a new season and see if that works out better than the preceding two. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but in the publishing world there also seem to be four seasons but they tend to be shorter. Right now the spring book lists are ending and we're gearing up for the summer titles - those entertaining, fast reads you take to the beach or on vacation. Those summer titles are not too deep in content and easy to pick up when you've got a few minutes. The summer lists are pretty much done by July and the fall lists start arriving in September. They tend to be a little deeper, a little darker, and take longer to read because, after all, you do have more time to read now that the days are shorter and the nights longer. Prior to Christmas there's a big push of best-sellers and coffee-table books precisely perfect for gift giving. And then we're back to the very beginning of the spring titles. All that being said, there are a number of books listed below for you to peruse. Enjoy!

May 1, 2014 - May Day

Today is the first of May, also known as May Day. This is a holiday celebrated in European countries since pagan times. It is a time for celebrating the arrival of summer. I know, hardly seems possible in these climes, but once upon a time February 1st was considered the start of spring and May 1st was considered the start of summer which is how the summer solstice on June 21st was considered "midsummer". Celebrations - sometimes raucous because, after all, it is summer!-were combined with dancing around a maypole, crowning the Queen of the May, and the giving of May baskets. These celebrations are related to the festival of Flora (goddess of flowers) in Rome, Beltane in Celtic countries, and Walpurgis Night in Germany. May 1st is also International Worker's Day. That day celebrates labor and the working classes and is a national public holiday in a number of countries. That holiday is celebrated by marches and rallies. May 1st was chosen for this international celebration of labor because it was the day in 1886 when the Haymarket Riot occurred in Chicago. Any way you look at it, there are many reasons to celebrate today. One of the best reasons is that the weather is finally getting warm enough for you to enjoy being outside long enough to dance around a maypole, deliver May baskets or join a rally. It does look like April's showers may be extending into the month of May. Fortunately,we have plenty of new books for you to read while waiting for the sun to come out. Enjoy!

April 24, 2014 - April Showers

Now that we're passed the Annual Crane Count, Tax Day, Easter, and the end of Passover, it seems like Spring may have finally decided to not only arrive, but stay. It also seems that now that we're nearly into May (May first is a week from today) the April showers which will purportedly bring May flowers have also decided to arrive. Guess we'll have to wait and see about the May flowers. Signs of spring are popping out like the crocus and tulips around the house. Why this weekend I not only saw people actually riding on motorcycles, I saw people washing their cars, and raking their lawns, and spading up flower beds, and cutting and stacking brush. The rain and thunderstorms have helped the grass turn green and the trees are turning lacy as leaves start budding out. The dawn chorus seems to be starting earlier every day and the days are definitely getting longer on both ends. As the weather improves, it seems like the flood of new books being published has slowed down a bit. But we still have lots of new books for your consideration. So, enjoy!

April 17, 2014 - Annual Crane Count

This past Saturday was the Midwest Annual Crane Count, so of course, I was out counting cranes. The crane count started in 1976 as a survey of the Sandhill Crane population and crane-habitable wetlands in Columbia County. The count expanded over the years to include more and more counties in Wisconsin and in 1994 - the year I first got involved-it also included counties in Minnesota and Michigan and became the Midwest Sandhill Crane Count. Every year, at the beginning of April, (usually before Turkey hunting season but some times during) from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m., I get out of my warm bed, hit the road at 5 a.m. with a cup of coffee in one hand and my yellow legal pad for note taking in the other (Of course I don't drink coffee and take notes at the same time nor do I drive and take notes.) and I head up to the same sites I have been visiting for the past 20 years. Some years I see and hear cranes. Some years I don't see any cranes but hear them. Some years I see cranes across the road from "my" site and can't count them. Some years it has rained so the cranes are silent. Some years it has snowed so the cranes aren't saying much. Some years it has been so cold and windy that even the robins and cardinals are quiet. But I go every year because some years the sun is shining and the cranes have a lot to say and they are jubilantly dancing and there isn't a finer feeling in the early morning hours of an April day. This year, even though the skies were overcast I did have cranes on all my sites. Some were flying. Some were calling. Some were eating breakfast. And there were more cranes on the trip south to DeForest. And now for something completely different... overcast skies produce the perfect circumstances for sustained, indoor reading. Coincidentally the library has a lot of fine new book titles to help you take advantage of the great reading weather. Enjoy!

April 3, 2014 - April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day was this past Tuesday (no fooling!). So I thought I'd give you a little background on that jolly day. The custom of joking and pulling pranks has roots that go back to Roman times (The Feast of Hilaria on 3/15) and in Medieval Times to the Feast of the Fools (12/28). In 1698, Londoners were fooled by a newspaper ad into going to the Tower of London to see the "annual ceremony of the washing of the lions". In current times newspapers and media outlets have kept up this fine tradition. In 1957, the BBC pulled a prank, known as the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest prank, where they broadcast a fake film of Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the video as a prank on the news the next day. Most Swedish and Danish newspapers will publish one false story on 1 April, usually on the first page but below the fold. Google tends to release a new product prank as well ( My favorites are Google Street Roo - using Kangaroos to map Australia using cameras mounted on the Roos' heads-and Gmail Tap - that lets you use only two keys to type your messages in Morse Code.) The book's listed below are no joke. They're just available for your ready pleasure. Enjoy!

March 27, 2014 - Cold Spring

Well. We have actually passed the official start of spring and the weather has once again, snapped cold. Somehow, waking up in the pre-dawn hours, hearing the tentative start of the dawn chorus as the robins, sparrows, chickadees, cardinals, and the occasional red-winged black bird start warming up the voices and then looking at the thermometer and seeing that it's 12 degrees, just seems wrong. Low temperatures in the teens seem not too unreasonable at the beginning of March, but we have entered the last full week of March and are still seeing highs in the 30s. This really needs to stop! I just wish I could figure out who to complain to (besides you, gentle reader). I guess this weather is good if you're tapping maple sugar and I guess this weather is good if you live in low-lying areas prone to flooding because it slows the melting. In the meantime, while we're waiting for warmer temperatures, the spring list of new titles from the publishers keeps rolling in. There are plenty of new books to help you while away the time listed below. Enjoy

March 20, 2014 - Signs of Spring

Spring arrives astronomically today at 11:47 a.m. I qualify the statement about spring arriving because meteorologically spring hasn't decided if it's going to stick around yet. We've had nice sunny days in the 50s followed by overnight lows approaching single digits. Migratory birds have started to arrive but I have yet to see (or hear) a red-winged black bird or a turkey vulture. Of course, the birds I'm really listening for are sandhill cranes but as of Sunday (St. Patrick's Day Eve) they have yet to arrive. I was in Indianapolis for the Public Library Association Biannual (or is that biennial? It happens every two years) Conference last week and came back on Saturday. I did see sandhill cranes in Indiana, turkey vultures, red-winged black birds and motorcyclists too. Spring seems to be creeping its way north. It could creep a little faster as far as I'm concerned! Spring titles from all the publishing houses are arriving almost daily, so while you wait for the snow cover to disappear so you can get outside and start raking and rototilling there are plenty of good books to read. Enjoy!

March 13, 2014 - Winter Reading & Big Jake

The Winter Reading Program ended about on March 1st with our End-of-Reading Program Party. The next day was another one of those below zero nights followed by a single-digit daytime high. But since then, maybe the weather got the hint that since the Winter Reading Program is over, perhaps winter itself should be wrapping things up and moving on. Our winter reading program is based on a theme suggested by an animal-based adage such as "DeForest Goes to the Dogs and Reads" or "DeForest Reads 'Til the Cows Come Home", or "DeForest Reads 'Til Pigs Fly". We have had cats, cows, dogs, ducks, and horses. If you have any suggestions for next year's theme and phrase, our Children's Librarian, Louise is doing a survey - so there's a form out there somewhere-or you can just let staff know. The big caveat is that there should be a variety of books (ideally both fiction and non-fiction) at a variety of reading levels available on the animal. While you're contemplating that, I have one more harbinger of spring to tell you about. Winners of the "Why I want to Visit Big Jake" essay contest went up to Smokey Hollow Farms in Poynette to visit Big Jake - the Guinness World Record holder as the tallest horse-this past Saturday. Big Jake (and all his stable mates) has started to shed - the proof was blowing around in the barn and was in your hands when you gave Jake's head a pat - and this is a sure sign of spring according to Big Jake's owner. I also saw a couple of robins flitting from tree to tree on South Street on Sunday. While spring keeps creeping closer and closer there are a lot of new books arriving some of which are listed below. Enjoy!

March 6, 2014 - Cranes in Nebraska

I got back from my annual pilgrimage to Kearney, Nebraska on March 1st. Sandhill cranes had been arriving along the Platte River since Valentine's Day and there were masses of cranes in localized places. By masses I mean thousands. In places they were a gray carpet on the fields. In other places they were come and going in chaotic swirls and all they time exuberantly calling back and forth to each other. It was 38 degrees and sunny when I was out there. Other birds were singing too. Meadowlarks where arriving in loose flocks and gigantic migratory flocks of red-winged black birds swarmed the fields with standing corn (Think Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds"). It was terrific weather for bird watching and I was out there before the real tourist crush starts, so I had the back roads pretty much to myself and could pull over and take photos and not be in anyone's way. So with spring in my heart, I returned home on Saturday. Saturday was the day the bottom fell out of the thermometer in Nebraska. It was 8 degrees when I left and never got any higher as I made time down I-80. The weather forecaster had promised I-80 would be unaffected by snow and he was right. But as soon as the car started heading north towards Wisconsin the snow started falling. Those last miles from the Amana Colonies, up Highway 151 to home were very long and my hands were cramped from holding the steering wheel so tightly. And now it's back to the deep freeze. Spring is out there - a little bit more so in Nebraska than here were highs on Wednesday are forecast to be back in the 50s - but until it decides to visit Wisconsin we have some good books for you to read. Cast your eyes down the page to see what's new. Enjoy!

February 27, 2014 - Last Day of February

Only a day left in February and I don't know anyone who will be sorry to see it go. This winter seems interminable and persistent. We had that nice warm up last week with rain and thunderstorms so you just begin to hope that we're seeing the beginning of spring and then, wham!, another shot of polar air comes to visit. However this polar outbreak isn't predicted to be quite as deep as previous ones and the daytime highs are predicted to recover to higher temperatures. These daytime rebounds of temperatures are undoubtedly due to the longer days which in turn are due to the angle of the sun. One has to believe that eventually the power of the sun will vanquish the polar express and bring spring once again to the land. I'm beginning to understand why people anthropomorphize and need myths to explain the weather and the seasons. Some sandhill cranes and snow geese have returned to the Kearney, Nebraska area so I'll be heading out there any minute now - to verify with my own eyes that the cycle of nature is rolling forward. If spring is arriving on the Great Plains (and a little bit south of here) it won't be all that long until it gets here. While you're waiting for spring there are a number of new books for you to read. They're listed below. Enjoy!

February 20, 2014 - Vernal Equinox

By the time you are reading this - February 20th - It should be exactly 4 weeks until the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox is when astronomological (and meteorological) spring begins. This has something to do with the plane of Earth's equator passing the center of the Sun. So at the time of the equinox (vernal or autumnal) the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun which results in day and night being about the same length. Now that the hard cold has at least momentarily let go of the strangle hold it has had around our collective necks, snow has become the next exciting winter feature. And we all know what March brings with the high school basketball tournaments and their accompanying blizzards. But that's something we can still look forward to. In the meantime, the days are definitely getting longer, the cats have started to shed their winter coats, male cardinals have started their morning serenades, the chickadees have switched to their "phoebe" song, and, according to a posting on a Nebraska Audubon website, the first sandhill cranes started arriving on the Platte River on February 13th. As you wait for spring and less foolish weather to arrive, there are plenty of new books to read. Enjoy!

February 13, 2014 - Temperatures

Here it is, pretty much mid-February and while we are getting more daylight (about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening) the temperatures stubbornly refuse to budget in an upward direction. The average monthly high for February is 32 degrees and the average low is 13 degrees (above zero). It just seems like we have been getting a couple of days with temperatures in the low teens and overnight lows in single digits below zero. Then it warms up slightly - pushing 20 degrees-and then snows. Then the bottom falls out of the thermometer again and we start the cycle all over again. This repetitive cycle coupled with the recent predictions by both Punxsutawney Phil and Sun Prairie Jimmy both delivering the delay of spring news in stereo reminded me of the movie "Groundhog Day" which starred Bill Murray as Phil the weather forecaster. This quote seems particularly apropos this year Phil: "I'll give you a winter prediction. It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be gray, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life." If winter seems interminable to you there's nothing like a good book to take you away from all the cold and snow. Below are a number of exciting new titles that just arrived at the library. Enjoy!

February 6, 2014 - Super Bowl Sunday

As of this writing (02/01/2014), the outcome of two major, life-changing events still hangs in the balance. Tomorrow is not only Ground Hog's Day (when we may or may not be granted a reprieve from this winter which seems to have gone on forever) but also Super Bowl Sunday (when we get to find out which is the cutest/dumbest/most expensive television commercials ever produced). I think combining these two events in some fashion makes sense. Perhaps if Peyton Manning sees his shadow we could declare that it will be six more weeks of winter. Or perhaps if the Seahawk's UW Badger quarterback sees doesn't see his shadow (Badgers are sort of like ground hogs. They're both burrowing, hibernating mammals after all) it will be an early spring. Or the outcome of the game could determine whether or not spring comes early. It is a lot warmer in Seattle than Denver so maybe if the Seahawks win that would mean warmer weather is coming soon. Letting the football game determine the outcome of Ground Hog's Day lets the poor little, sleepy fellows (whether it's Punxsutawney Phil or Sun Prairie's Jimmy) continue their long, winter's nap undisturbed. By the time you read this you will, of course, know the outcomes of both of these events. So now that all the dramatic tension is out of the month of February, why not sit back, relax and read one of the many new books that have been arriving at your library? Enjoy!

January 30, 2014 - Daylight

It is really hard to believe that I'm already writing the last library column for the month of January, 2014. Of course, being on vacation and missing a few weeks does tend to compress time a bit for me. When I left Wisconsin on January 2nd the days were just about 9 hours long with sunrise occurring at 7:29 and sunset at 16:34 (4:34 p.m.). As of January 30th, sunrise is at 7:15 and sunset at 17:09 (5:09) which is a gain of nearly an hour (56 minutes if my math is correct). As we go forward into February sunrise is a minute early every day (occasionally two minutes earlier) and sunset is also getting a minute-a-day later. The daylight is coming back quickly. Unfortunately, that old weather adage "As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens" seems to be holding true for the Midwest. The good news is that major league baseball begins in just 51 days with the Dodger's playing the Diamondbacks in Australia so I'm not sure if that's actually 51 days or 52 days or 50 days because the International Dateline is involved in there somewhere. The other good news is that books keep arriving at the library and a good way to while away the time as you look outside at the brilliant blue skies and the wind whips the snow past your window horizontally (and it isn't even snowing) and your furnace hums is to get lost in a book. Below you will find a sampling of the new books that have arrived recently at the library. Enjoy!

January 23, 2014 - Australia

While I was on vacation, the new books really stacked up - especially those that deal a bit with New Year's Resolution. My personal observation, after years in the book business, is that more diet books are published in January than during any other month of year. Here is the executive summary of my vacation: Met my nephew in LaCrosse and we flew to Minneapolis. There was a leisurely layover but our plane was late getting in and then there was a "check latch light" that kept us on the runway for about 45 minutes. We got into Dallas late and were met by a Qantus Airline representative with hotel room and food vouchers - even though our plane to Sydney (Australia) didn't leave for 20 minutes. We made it to the gate just as they closed the plane and they wouldn't let us on. We spent a boring day in Dallas at a nice hotel with no luggage - but a brand new toothbrush—because our luggage made it on the plane. We flew out to Sydney the next evening (only one flight per day) via Brisbane. We were taking a cruise out of Sydney and of course that ship had sailed so we were re-routed to Melbourne to intercept the ship when it got into port. Our luggage however went to Sydney - so another night in a very nice hotel - with only our backpacks and a day-old toothbrush. We met up with the ship in Melbourne and had a wonderful time in Tasmania, Fiordland National Park, Port Chalmers, Akoroa, and Auckland. Unfortunately, there was an outbreak of flu on board ship which required increased sanitation methods. Unfortunately, these methods didn't keep my nephew from getting the flu on our last day of vacation - which he spent shivering and sleeping. It was 100 degrees when we got off the plane in Brisbane and mostly in the 60s during the rest of the trip. First light was before 6 a.m. and last light was about 9:30 at night. It was early summer there and everything was green and lush. More details may appear in coming weeks. I still don't know what day it is and this cold and these short days are disconcerting to say the least! Anyway, there are lots of new books to get you through this next cold snap. Enjoy!

January 2, 2014 - New Year

We did a little bit better this week with the number of new titles to describe below. Last week, I only had two titles. This week I have six which is an increase of 300% if my math hasn't totally deserted me. The non-fiction titles, you may note, could conceivably be related to New Year's resolution - such as losing weight or looking younger. In the next few weeks you will be able to see just how many diet and other self-help books get published at the beginning of the year. I'm convinced that book publishers are cashing in on people seeking help to actualize their New Year's resolutions. However, the next couple of weeks, you won't be seeing any new books here. I will be on vacation going to where it is summer right now with days over 15 hours long and temperatures in the 80s (when it isn't pushing into the 90s) and even if I do drop you all a line, I won't be able to do anything about the "New Arrivals" part of this. New books, for the most part, do arrive almost daily here and get put on the "New Book" shelves so if you're looking for something new to read, stop in and take a look. By the time I get back, there should be tons of new books to regale you with. Until then, enjoy!