Jan's Column 2015

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Past Columns

June 25, 2015 - Literary Day

We officially rolled past the first day of summer on Sunday, June 21st. That day was 15 hours, 22 minutes, and 22 seconds long. The next day we lost two seconds of daylight. Today, we have already lost 14 seconds off the longest day. It’s all a downhill slide from here on out until the end of December when we’ll start gaining daylight again. How quickly time flies! Speaking of time flying, on June 16th we rolled past a literary day, celebrated world-wide. It is a day that celebrates a novel that is approximately 265,000 words in length, uses 30,030 words (including proper names, plurals and various verb tenses), and is divided into eighteen episodes. This novel transformed modern writing with it use of stream-of-consciousness technique, its use of structure, and its experimental prose. Here is the opening of that famous work, see if you recognize it: “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stair head, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressing gown, ungirdled, was sustained gently-behind him by the mild morning air.” Yup. You guessed it. We missed Bloomsday. Next year for sure we should have a celebration. Perhaps we can travel around the area reading excerpts from the book, quaffing a pint or two of ginger beer or root beer or a cuppa tea while arguing about what it all means. I really think we should do this. “yes I will, yes.” But until next year, we will leave “Ulysses” and move on to the newly-arrived books. They are listed below for your perusal and your pleasure. Enjoy!

June 18, 2015 - Cool Days

After the deluges of last week we seem to have settled into a cool (for mid-June) weather pattern with only occasional showers. While this might not be ideal weather for outdoor summer activities, it is pretty darn good weather for reading! Cool days, with a few clouds thrown in for atmosphere, let you stretch out on the sofa (davenport/ couch/divan/chaise longue/ chesterfield/settee/love seat/ottoman –what have you), throw a light covering (blanket/quilt/comforter/etc.) over you, invite your pets (preferably mammalian and able to appreciate and at the same time be a heat source) to join you and settle in with a good book. Below you will find a list of many of the good books that arrived at the library this past week. Remember you can redeem all the reading you do this summer for Dragon Dollars which can be used to purchase many fabulous items available in the “Summer Lair” or which can be donated to the DeForest Area Needs Network or the Dane County Humane Society. Your donated Dragon Dollars will be converted into legal tender and given to those worthy causes at the end of the summer program. Enjoy!

June 11, 2015 - Time

Have you ever noticed how the seconds, minutes, hours in a day go faster or slower depending on the time of year? For instance, during the darkest, coldest days of winter when we get this side of nine hours of daylight each day, I have calculated minutes to actually last 88.8 seconds instead of the standard 60. This means hours instead of lasting 3600 seconds, actually last 5,328 seconds which means days last 127,872 minutes instead of the standard 86,400. No wonder winter days drag on and on. Conversely, when we get to the spring and early summer days (prior to the summer solstice when things start heading downhill again) when those bright, sunny days with rosy-fingered dawns and light in the evening sky until all the stars are strung across it, on those days when we are getting over 15 hours of daylight, I have calculated minutes to actually last 31.2 seconds. This is why those perfect days of spring and early summer seem so fleeting – they actually are. While the numbers assigned in these calculations are purely figments of my imagination the numbers bear me out. During summer a minute is experienced as 48% less than a standard (or average) 60 seconds. During the dark days of winter a minute is experienced as 48% more than an average minute. And if you average the 48% above average with the 48% below average, you get your average 60 second minute. Voilà! Another mystery explained. If you’re in the mood for more fiction, scroll your eyes down the page where you’ll find our latest selection of fiction and non-fiction titles. Enjoy!

June 4, 2015 - Summer Reading

Mother Nature has sure been doing a good job of providing perfect reading weather. This past weekend what with the cold and the dark and the rain there wasn’t a better activity to find than curling up with a good book under a nice warm comforter with a cat, a dog, or your significant other (or any combination thereof). While summer seems to be a little shy about walking through the door – first one step in, then a couple of steps back—the summer library/learning/reading program has walked right in and made itself at home. If you are a reader, no matter what your age, you can participate. Reading translates to earning Dragon Dollars which you can use to purchase fabulous prizes in our “Summer Lair” or which you can donate them to one of two charities 1) the DeForest Area Needs Network (D.A.N.N.) or the Dane County Humane Society. At the end of the summer library/learning/reading program those dragon dollars will be converted into real dollars and presented to those charities. Reading pays off in many ways! So while you’re waiting for summer to arrive, you will find a list of dandy books to read huddled up in a blanket or sunning on a beach (I’m being optimistic here). Enjoy!

May 28, 2015 - Decoration Day

It’s hard to believe that here it is Thursday, May 28th and we are already 3 days past Memorial Day. Back in the day, Memorial Day used to be observed on May 30th and used to be called, Decoration Day. It was a day to decorate the graves of those who had died in service to their country and began at the end of the Civil War. Quoting Wikipedia, “Copying an earlier holiday that had been established in the Southern states, on May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the veterans' organization for Union Civil War veterans, General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for "Decoration Day" to be observed annually and nationwide.[3] It was observed for the first time that year on Saturday May 30; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle. According to the White House, the May 30 date was chosen as the optimal date for flowers to be in bloom.” Decoration Day slowly turned into Memorial Day and then turned into one of the holidays covered by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 which moved four holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. Now that you know more than you wanted about the holiday we just celebrated, let me note in passing that this year’s observation of the date on May 25th was the earliest the last Monday of May can occur. So we are having an early start to summer which is good because a whole lot of books, perfect for summer reading, have started to arrive and are listed below. Enjoy!

May 21, 2015 - Summer Reading Training

While the weather flirts with summer-like humidity and temperatures and then frosty rooftops in the next morning there’s still plenty of time to train for the summer reading/ learning program at the library. As is our wont for low these many years you can earn dragon dollars ( good only in this public library) which can be used to purchase fabulous prizes from our “store” or which can be donated to the DeForest Area Needs Network or the Dane County Humane Society (those dragon dollars will be redeemed by an anonymous donor). So get in shape to do some serious reading this summer. Below you will find some new titles that recently arrived at the library. Some are weighty tomes, some are light reading but I believe you are supposed to mix things up when you are talking physical fitness. Some cardio, some light weight lifting. If you’re a runner that would be long, slow, distance mixed with sprints. No matter what your training regimen is, you should find something below to suit your needs. Enjoy!

May 14, 2015 - Watchman

If you managed to miss all the hoopla that has been happening at the library around the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” there’s still one more opportunity for you to participate in this community event. This Saturday, the classic, feature-film version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” starring Gregory Peck, will be shown as our Saturday matinee. All the activity of the past weeks was in anticipation of the publication of Harper Lee’s book “Go Set a Watchman”. That book is due to be released on July 14th (Bastille Day, but I doubt there is any significance in that!) and I imagine there will be a whole lot of holds on it. Will this book compare well with “To Kill a Mockingbird”? That’s hard to predict. That one (and until now, only) book by Harper Lee set an incredibly high bar. Purportedly “Watchman” is the book out of which “Mockingbird” was created by shifting the point of view to Scout as a child. If that’s the case, “Watchman” should have good “bones”. We’ll all just have to wait and see. In the meantime, there are plenty of new books that have been arriving almost as quickly as the grass has been growing. Enjoy!

May 7, 2015 - Community Read

On the “To Kill A Mockingbird” – community-read front, there is good news. You still have time to grab a copy of the book, read it and come to the group discussion on Wednesday, May 13th at 6 p.m. Unfortunately, you already missed the documentary “Hey Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird” as well as the feature-film presentation of the classic movie version of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. But you have not yet missed the visit by author Marja Mills who wrote “The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee”. Ms Mills will be at our library this Friday – that’s May 8th. At 6:30 there will be a special after-hours reception for Ms Mills which is a fundraiser for the Friends of the DeForest Area Public Library who sponsored this author visit. Twenty-five dollars at the door will get you access to Ms Mills and the opportunity to taste a number of Southern desserts – pecan pie, chess pie, and Lane cake. Many of the foods being served were mentioned in the book. After the reception, at 7:30 the public (this means you – unless you’re already here for the fundraiser) is invited for the author presentation and book signing. The paperback version of Marja Mills’s book was just released on May 4th. The Friends of the DeForest Area Public Library will be selling those books in case you wish to purchase a copy and have it signed. It should be quite the event. Please come. We would love to have a very full house! In the meantime – if you’ve already read “To Kill a Mockingbird”-- a number of new books have arrived and they are listed below. Enjoy!

April 30, 2015 - Sandhill Cranes

Two weekends ago, I was up at the crack of dawn and heading towards Columbia County before there was a hint of light in the sky to take part in the annual Midwest Crane Count. Being out so early in the morning, watching pastel hues blue being chased by oranges and pinks and finally yellows is one of those things everyone should do occasionally. Being out so early with a good purpose makes you feel doubly virtuous – for being up early while the rest of the world is asleep and for collecting data that helps advance knowledge. I’m always so gratified when I can get a “twofer” – especially when it involves getting up early. Someone asked me the other day how long I have been doing this and I really can’t tell you. I’d have to go back and check my records, but I do believe it was sometime in the 1990s. Sandhill cranes are long-lived birds so I could conceivably still be hearing and seeing some of those I first saw and heard many years ago. But the odds are I’m now counting children and perhaps grandchildren of some of my original cranes but mostly in the same places. The fact that good breeding land has remained over these many years is a good thing for the cranes and those of us you love cranes. Anyway, speaking of birds, the library is doing a community read of “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. A big event with the author, Marja Mills, who lived next door to the Lee sisters for 18 months in Monroeville, Alabama and wrote the book “The Mockingbird Next Door”, will be our library on Friday, May 8th. The Friends of the Library are sponsoring the author and holding a fundraiser prior to the presentation that will be open to the public. The fundraiser will include access to the author as well as “To Kill a Mockingbird” related desserts and beverages. Checkout the library’s website or call for more information. Speaking of books, a number of new titles have arrived and are listed below. Enjoy!

April 23, 2015 - To Kill A Mockingbird

Those of you who follow the book trade are probably already aware that the new book by Harper Lee – the author of that great American classic “To Kill a Mockingbird”—is due to be published this summer. The actual date of publication is July 14th (Bastille Day) and is very close to the July 11th publication date of her first book which was published in 1960. The new book, “Go Set a Watchman” purportedly contains some of the vignettes that eventually wound up in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. In anticipation of this publishing phenomena, the library has planned a community read of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, screenings of a documentary called “Hey, Boo!” which is about Harper Lee, a screening of the major motion picture adaptation of the book starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, and a discussion of the book. The Friends of the Library are sponsoring a presentation by Marja Mills who lived next door to Harper Lee and her sister and has written a book about her experience entitled “The Mocking Bird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee”. Ms Mills book spent 7 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list and she is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist. This celebration of “To Kill a Mockingbird” shall be taking place between April 27th and the middle of May. Check the library website or the circulation desk at the library for details. If you are counting the days until the new Harper Lee book is published this website is keeping track: http://www.bookcountdown.com/detail/harper-lee/go-set-a-watchman-a-novel Enjoy!

April 16, 2015 - Springtime in Wisconsin

Spring has arrived. The drought has been broken. The migrating birds are arriving in bunches every day and filling the day with song. The grass is greening and any day now will need mowing. The trees are looking all lacy in silhouette. The winds are bringing warmer air from the south and the heat isn’t kicking on at night. The tulips, crocuses, and daffodils are emerging and flowering. The shrubs are starting to bud out too. And the days are lengthening nicely so that evenings are extended and early mornings aren’t dark so long. Ah, springtime in Wisconsin. Perhaps the major reasons many of us live here and put up with the snow, the cold, and the dark. It is so hard to stay indoors and read when the weather is holding the door open and nudging you out the door. But those longer evenings and early mornings are still the perfect time to settle down with a good book. Spring titles are appearing at the library nearly as frequently as the house sparrows are making visits to their nest in the tree outside my window. An assortment of new book titles is below. Enjoy!

April 9, 2015 - Welcome, Spring!

I think we can officially declare that spring has arrived. Not only are there abundant robins on the grass (alas), red-winged black birds, grackles, and killdeer (just to name a few of the myriad springtime migrant birds) but there are also flowers popping up all over (daffodils, crocuses, and tulips just to name a few). The trees are budding out and looking lacy and the ornamental trees are sending forth flowers and pollen (alas). The Easter bunny has made his chocolate and candy deliveries and by the time you read this the NCAA men’s basketball championship shall have been decided. But what really makes this “officially” spring is that I saw my first motorcycle being driven around the area over the Easter weekend and I saw a family out flying a kite. I think when you combine those two sightings with the hints that nature has been giving us, you’d have to say “Welcome, Spring!”. Speaking of spring titles (admittedly not the smooth segue you are used, but, hey, it’s spring) there are a number of new titles for you to peruse below. Enjoy!

April 2, 2015 - Season of Hope

It seems one of those cruel twists of (dare we say) spring in Wisconsin that there were flocks of robins hopping around on the lawn listening for worms (as robins are wont to do) while I gingerly slid to my car and spent a good 5 minutes chipping it out of the ice it was encapsulated in last Sunday. While it does seem that we evaded the WIAA Basketball (boys and/or girls) curse of a winter snow storm, it seems that the basketball playoffs (NCAA) part of the curse was in effect when we got that four-inch snow event on the 22nd into the 23rd. It is hoped that we are done with that white, fluffy stuff for at least the next, oh, eight months or so. I know we still have the NCAA Men’s basketball Final Four and Championships to get through on April 4th and 6th. But what is spring, if not a season of hope? And why not hope that there is no more snow this spring? If you were hoping for some new books, you won’t be disappointed. A number of new books have been arriving at the library, some of which are listed below for your entertainment and enlightenment (and probably some other word that starts with “e” that I will come to me in the middle of the night). Enjoy!

March 26, 2015 - Spring Has Sprung

Last week I told you about some of the avian signs of spring’s approach. This week, let me tell you about the astronomical signs of spring and other things that happened at the time of the vernal equinox – also known as astronomical spring-- arrived on March 20th at around 5:45 p.m. At that moment the sun crossed the celestial equator going from south to north and we experienced the equinox( the hours of daylight and night are equal). From now on, with the sun heading further north we’ll be adding more hours of daylight until we hit June 21st. Also on March 20th the moon turned new only 14 hours after reaching lunar perigee (the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit). This means that this was a super moon (a new or full moons closely coinciding with perigee) at the new phase so it is not visible in our sky, but it was still having a larger-than-average effect on Earth’s oceans. This new super moon also swung right in front of the equinox sun on March 20th, so that the moon’s shadow fell on parts of Earth thus creating an eclipse. Unfortunately the best spots to have watched this total solar eclipse from land were the Faroe Islands and the Svalbard archipelago(Up near Iceland & Greenland). So while the arrival of spring was very exciting in some parts of the world, there wasn’t actually much to see around here. Except the robins. Robins returned to the area the beginning of last week (at least on South Street) and what with the robins, red-winged black birds, and having passed the vernal equinox, I think it’s pretty safe to say that spring has sprung. A baker’s dozen of new book titles are listed below. Enjoy!

March 19, 2015 - Spring is Arriving

Winter seems to have made a hasty retreat that seems to be persisting. We made it through the Girls’ WIAA Basketball tournaments without a blizzard and the extended forecast – at least at this writing—has the temperatures in the 50s right through the Boys’ WIAA Basketball tournaments. I’m knocking on wood even as I type this, but is it possible that we will miss this fine, old tradition of a major snow storm in mid-March? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. In no way am I even remotely complaining mind you. You do have to look very hard to find little piles of snow anywhere and while I have yet to see or hear a robin, I am getting reports of sandhill cranes in the area. The resident song birds are already singing and starting to build nests. The grass is starting to green up. My spring allergies are in full swing. The spring lists of books are arriving from the publishers. All of which are pretty sure signs of spring. Couple that with the fact that the vernal equinox occurs on March 20th and I think it is safe to say that spring is arriving. I believe the library’s prognosticating badger made the correct call on Ground Hog’s Day when he saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter. There are many new spring titles arriving almost daily at the library. Below is a sampling of titles. Enjoy!

March 12, 2015 - End of Winter

The Winter Reading Program officially ended on Saturday with the official “End-of -Winter-Reading-Program Party. And with the end of the Winter Reading Program, it seems as if quite suddenly winter has relaxed the stranglehold it has had on the thermometer. Why the days have become downright balmy and the birds have started singing (I have a cardinal who starts in a little before 5a.m. every morning. I would be willing to try to relocate him to your neighborhood, if you’re interested.). The spring books have started to arrive from the publishers with increasing frequency. So, before the snow cover completely disappears and you feel compelled to go out in your yard and start the spring chores, why not check out some of these great new titles and rest up for the great work ahead of you? Enjoy!

March 5, 2015 - Sandhill Cranes

Well. As I reported last week, I did go out to Nebraska to see the start of the sandhill crane migration. As anticipated, I did see thousands of sandhill cranes. I also saw tens of thousands of geese – mostly Canadian with a whole lot of Snow geese too. There were meadowlarks and huge migratory flocks of red-winged black birds. There were also many pairs and single eagles and red-tailed hawks all along I-80. Traveling down a rutted gravel road I saw something ahead of me in the ditch and at a distance thought it was a dog. It turned out to be the first of fifteen deer that meandered across the road in front of me to join about fifteen more deer in a field on the other side. There was one big buck that still had his rack of very white antlers. Quite the sight as were all the cranes and all the other birds. Usually the trip to Nebraska is reassuring in that spring is more advanced there. Temperature-wise it was only a few degrees warmer than Wisconsin, but there was no snow cover. Having no snow cover goes a long way towards reassuring a person that spring could possibly show up one of these days. While I was gone a whole lot of new books showed up at the library. Some of the new arrivals are listed below. Enjoy!

February 26, 2015 - Daylight Savings

There are only ten (or eleven days depending on when you read this and depending on how you count) until Daylight Savings Time starts. The days don’t actually get longer, but we are awake and moving during more of the daylight hours so the days seem longer. And if Daylight Savings Time is in effect, can spring really be that far away? I think not. If the weather holds and the forecasts are somewhat accurate, I should be out in Nebraska gazing at cranes by the time you are reading this. The first returning cranes were spotted on February 7th, so the odds are very good that a lot more sandhill cranes shall have arrived in the Kearney, Nebraska area by the time I get there. Those of you have read this column for lo, these many years know that I am a bit of a craniac (a portmanteau word made from “crane” and “maniac”). But even if you’re not a craniac, the annual sandhill crane migration through the central flyway is a sight you should see sometime in your life. It’s about a ten to 12 hour trip (depending on how fast you drive and how many stops you make), mostly out I-80. Words really can’t describe the spectacle of seeing tens of thousands (half a million at the peak) of cranes congregating in a stretch of the Platte River from York to a little past Kearney, Nebraska. The sound that tens of thousands of cranes can make is also indescribable. It truly is a wonder of the natural world. Anyway, while the countdown to spring continues here, I shall be searching for my February cranes which to me are the real harbingers of spring. There are a number of new books for your perusal listed below. Enjoy!

February 19, 2015 - Birds

Ever since our prognosticating badger said winter would hang around for six more weeks, winter certainly has been strutting its stuff. Those high winds couple with single digit temperatures have certainly cooled down the library building (at least near the exterior walls which is where my computer is located). The sunshine certainly helps and the longer days too. They help lift the spirits if you’re sitting somewhere warm inside looking out. If you’re out in the cold, that’s a whole different story. There is good news though. As cold as it is there are still some birds – raptors—that are starting to pair up, build nests, and start the cycle of life. I’m pretty sure I saw a loose flock of Lapland longspurs fluttering around a field where earth was showing through the snow cover. These birds head north to nest in the tundra (not much different than the current conditions we are experiencing) and start moving around in flocks prior to pushing further north. And, some sandhill cranes have already returned to Nebraska. So spring is getting here, just a little more slowly than some of us would wish. In the meantime, there are plenty of great books to read while you’re keeping warm indoors. Enjoy!

February 12, 2015 - History-Rich Month

Wow! Last week our prognosticating badger was on the front page of the DeForest Times Tribune. Sure, he was below the fold, but still he was on the front page! Now, if only he is as good at forecasting as he is photogenic! And, at least he didn’t bite anyone in the ear. If our badger is correct you can expect spring to arrive right around March 16th which would be nice for all of those looking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th. But let’s not look that far into the future. Let’s look at today, which, if memory serves, is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday – which, by the way appears only on one of the four calendars I have in my office and on my phone. When I was a kid we celebrated Lincoln’s birthday which was followed by George Washington’s birthday on the 22nd. It was a history-rich month that made us think about what an impact one person could have on an entire nation’s history as well as had us pretending to split rails, tell tall tales, make paper axes, and have cherry-based refreshments. President’s Day was/ is the official federal holiday commemorating Washington’s Birthday on the third Monday of February (in order to get a three day weekend). Lincoln’s birthday has rolled into it over the years and is ambiguous a holiday so as to encompass as many Presidents as you’d care to celebrate. Anyway, today is Lincoln’s birthday. A number of books were written over the past year or two to honor the sesquicentennial of his death coming up this year in April in case you’re interested in reading more about the man. A number of new books have arrived this week and coincidentally, the first title is a book about George Washington. Enjoy!

February 5, 2015 - Prognosticating Animals

I am sitting writing this on Saturday, January 31st, just two days away from Ground Hog’s Day. I am writing this with the threat of a major winter storm in the air. As you may recall, if the ground hog – either Sun Prairie Jimmy or Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow (i.e. it is sunny out so said ground hog casts a shadow)then he will retreat into his burrow and winter will persist for another six weeks. And right now, the way that winter storm is moving, it looks like the snow and clouds will be cleared out of here by the time the sunrises on February 2nd. This year the library is using its own prognosticating animal. We have been loaned a taxidermied badger who acts as a mascot for our Badger Book Club. Monday, our badger will be making his own forecast. Check Bucky’s prediction on our FaceBook page Monday afternoon. Badgers don’t do sunrises. They take a more moderate approach to waking up and like to have a leisurely brunch. In the meantime, there are a number of new books for you to check out this week. Enjoy!

January 29, 2015 - Promise of Spring

There are only two more days left in this first month of 2015 – which means a couple of things. First it means there’s still almost a full month of the Winter Reading Program left. There’s still plenty of time to earn dragon dollars to either donate to a worthy cause or to purchase really fabulous prizes in our store. Second it means that Ground Hog’s Day is only 3 sunrises away – on the fourth sunrise Punxsutawney Phil or Jimmy the Ground Hog from Sun Prairie will be making their prognostications about how much longer winter will be a-lingering. You know you’ve made it over some kind of hump when the discussion turns to how soon spring will be here rather than how cold it is or how short the days are. In fact, the birds have started showing little signs of spring already. The red-tailed hawks are already pairing up. The Decorah Eagles are doing home remodeling on their nest and beginning to put in softer layers of grass and corn husks which are pretty good indicators that egg laying isn’t too far off. The little chickadees at the feeders have started singing their “phoebe” song. The days have definitely gotten longer and the narcissi bulbs I planted just after New Year’s Day are blooming. The flow of new books has also unjammed so that suddenly there are a number of books for me to tell you about. With the promise of spring in our hearts, let’s turn to all the new titles that have arrived this week for your reading pleasure. Enjoy

January 22, 2015 - Top Titles

This is very unusual. Most weeks I have more new books to choose from to tell you about than there is space to do so. This week that is not the case. These week there are only five – yes five—books to tell you about. So let me tell you about some interesting year-end book publishing information.

The top 10 best-sellers for print titles in 2014 were: 

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (trade paperback) 
  2. The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  5. Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly
  6. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Movie Tie-in) 
  9. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Hardcover)
  10. Frozen by Victoria Saxon.

Notice anything interesting here aside from the fact that “The Fault in Our Stars” holds three of the top ten slots in different formats? Only two of the books are adult titles “The Gone Girl” and “Killing Patton”. The rest are young adult titles with two of those aimed at middle school or slightly younger children. So it looks like young people are reading actual, physical books and are being lead to those titles by movies.

The top 10 Kindle titles are as follows:

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  5. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  6. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  7. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
  8. If I stay by Gayle Forman
  9. Orphan Train by Christine Bake Kline
  10. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Of this list five are young adult (four from the print list and “If I stay”) which means five of the top sellers on Kindle are adult titles. So, does this mean that more adults are reading ebooks and more young adults are reading print? Hard to know, but it certainly is interesting. In the meantime, I’ve now filled up a few more column inches and will leave you to scroll down the page to the five paltry, new books we have for you this week. Enjoy!

January 15, 2015 - Month Of...

The month of January got off to a fine start with a brisk, somewhat extended dip into arctic temperatures. While waiting for the temperature to moderate and become more reasonable, I found myself continually querying myself as to why I continue to live in Wisconsin (during the winter). I have to admit that I didn’t come up with a very good answer. Habit of course is one answer and something to do with the 2nd law of thermodynamics is another. As the days lengthen in January and the cold –for the moment at least- is no longer strengthening there are a number of interesting celebrations coming up. To start off with month of January is not only Hot Tea Month but it is also National Oatmeal Month. Seems really appropriate doesn’t it? This week finds the 11th being “Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend’s Day” – a little difficult to do this time of year since our puddles tend to be solid blocks of ice. January 13th is purportedly “International Skeptics Day” but I find that hard to believe. The 14th is “Dress Your Pet Up Day” which some may find easier to do than others. The 15th is “National Hat Day” which isn’t hard to celebrate in these northern climes since we should all be wearing our hats when we go out in the cold. The 16th is “Appreciate a Dragon Day”. This library has more than its fair share of dragons, so feel free to come in and appreciate any one of our dragons you care to. When you’re not involved in all these marvelous opportunities for celebration, you might want to look through some of the new books listed below. Stay warm and enjoy!

January 8, 2015 - Temperatures and Daylight

Well, this is the first official, non-holiday, column for this year. The solemnity of this occasion is nearly overwhelming so let’s just get past that and move on to old familiar topics like the weather. It seems like we dodged the bad-weather bullet as far as travel on any of the four holidays around the end of the year were concerned. But now that we are firmly rooted in January, apparently the weather has decided to take the metaphorical gloves off and hit us with a one-two punch of winter. I mean, really? Snow and daytimes high temperatures right at or below zero? Did we really need to do this? There is that old weather adage that “as the days lengthen the cold strengthens” and that certainly does seem to be the case. Since December 10th when the sun was setting at 4:22 in the afternoon, we have gained (as of January 10th) twenty minutes—sunset is at 4:42. And as of January 10th we also gained a minute in the morning as well. Sunrise has been “stuck” at 7:29 since the 29th of December. It has now moved back to 7:28. So all this extra daylight will allow us to see how low the outdoor thermometer has dropped. But perhaps the forecast is wrong, or overblown. Be of good cheer, it’s only 23 days until February which is only 28 days from March which can be only a few days away from spring. In the meantime, there are plenty of books to read while you’re staying warm and cozy indoors. Enjoy!