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The Children’s Blizzard
It’s January 12, 1888 on the Nebraska-Dakota border when an unseasonably warm afternoon turns into a deadly blizzard just as school lets out. The novel focuses on the experiences of two young teachers (sisters Raina and Gerda Olsen) before, during, and after the storm. They both feel guilty about the deaths of some students and the maiming of others. Omaha newspaperman Gavin Woodson feels responsible for luring many Northern Europeans to the area promising a “Garden of Eden” experience for the homesteaders. After the storm he travels and reports honestly on the hardships of the territory, sharing personal stories of survivors and of some who did not. Despite heroic efforts 235+ people died that day.
I have interest and genealogical ties to the Dakota Territory and Nebraska. My father, who was born in Foxholm, North Dakota in 1918, remembers guide ropes tied from the barn to the house to guarantee no one got lost in blizzard conditions when going out to do chores.
Based on actual oral histories this is a story of courage, family, and sacrifice.
Since 1937 Inauguration Day has been on January 20th, following the election. If January 20th is a Sunday the president-elect is sworn in privately and the public Inauguration is held on January 21st. The presidential term begins at noon, when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court administers the oath of office to the president-elect. And with that bit of presidential trivia, I present to you these fictional titles featuring real presidents.
There are many exciting new book releases coming and you don’t want to miss it…
Pianos and Flowers: Brief Encounters of the Romantic Kind by Alexander McCall Smith – An anthology of 14 stories by the best-selling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series imagines the rich lives and loves behind everyday people featured in pictures from the London Sunday Times photograph archives.
Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner – Investigating the cold-case disappearance of a Haitian teen in a gritty Boston neighborhood, Frankie Elkin navigates resident and police resistance as well as the challenges of her own sobriety before risking her life to uncover the truth.
In the Garden of Spite: A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte by Camilla Bruce – A novel of feminine rage looks at one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history and the men who drove her to it.
Shiver by Allie Reynolds – A reunion weekend in the French Alps turns deadly when five friends discover that someone has deliberately stranded them at a remote mountaintop resort during a snowstorm, where ominous things begin to happen.
Till Murder Do Us Part by James Patterson – A woman begins to suspect that her husband isn’t actually who he says he is and a teenager has her life upended during the hunt for a missing girl in two true-crime stories from the prolific and best-selling author.
Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World by Simon Winchester – The author of The Perfectionists explores the concept of land ownership and how it has shaped history, examining how people fight over, steward and occasionally share land, and what humanity’s proprietary relationship with land means for the future.
Knock Knock by Anders Roslund – The #1 international-bestselling thriller that tells the story of a police inspector and a former criminal informant in a race against time as they attempt to unravel past and present secrets.
The Divines by Ellie Eaton – Piecing together memories from her teen years at an elite English boarding school, Josephine gradually exposes a violent secret behind why the once-prestigious institution abruptly closed in disgrace.
With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism by Laura L. Lovett – Presents the first biography of Dorothy Pitman Hughes, a trailblazing black feminist activist whose work made children, race, and welfare rights central to the women’s movement.
Thyroid Reset Diet, The: Reverse Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Symptoms with a Proven Iodine-Balancing Plan by Alan Christianson – The integrative physician and author of the best-selling The Metabolism Reset Diet outlines a recipe-complemented, counterintuitive plan for reversing the symptoms of thyroid disease through strategic food replacements that regulate iodine intake.
Discover RRPL’s Shared Shelf. A staff member has shared a glimpse into their reading shelf in hopes that you will discover that next great read.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is the newest book topping the holds list at many libraries, including RRPL. If you’re someone still patiently waiting for your copy to come in, check out the titles below for other novels that will tide you over while you wait. Or if you’ve already read and loved it, the books below will help scratch that itch for something in the same vein. If you’ve never heard of The Midnight Library, you’re in luck – I’ve got a summary below just for you:
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
Find The Midnight Library on Overdrive here.
Click any of the book covers below to be taken to our catalog, where you can request a copy of the book with your library card number and PIN. We’ve also included links to our e-media services Overdrive and Hoopla where available.
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
As the countdown to the New Year begins, soon-to-be-19 Oona Lockhart faints and awakens 32 years in the future in her 51-year-old body; and, greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Killed in a tragic accident at a seaside amusement park while trying to save a little girl, Eddie, an elderly man who believes that he had lived an uninspired life, awakens in the afterlife, where he discovers that heaven consists of having five people, acquaintances and strangers, explain the meaning of one’s life.
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer
After the death of her beloved twin brother, Felix, and the breakup with her longtime lover, Nathan, Greta Wells embarks on a radical psychiatric treatment to alleviate her suffocating depression. But the treatment has unexpected effects, and Greta finds herself transported to the lives she might have had if she’d been born in different eras.
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle
In a novel imbued with magical realism, when Sabrina Nielsen arrives at her 30th birthday dinner in New York City, she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also her favorite professor from college; her father; her ex-fiance Tobias; and Audrey Hepburn.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Follows the experiences of a woman, who after being born on a snowy night in 1910, repeatedly dies and reincarnates into the same life to correct missteps and ultimately save the world.
All plot summaries courtesy of Novelist.
Ghost Ups Her Game
Bailey Ruth Raeburn, a resident of heaven and a member of the Department of Good Intentions, is given an assignment in her hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma. When she arrives at Goddard College, the site of the murder, young lawyer Robert Blair and assistant professor Iris Gallagher are standing over the dead body of college fundraiser Matt Lambert. Iris is holding the murder weapon but denies being the murderer. Robert disposes of the incriminating evidence. Working with the knowledge of the local police chief, Bailey Ruth appearing as a police officer, a private detective and a fashionable 27-year-old redhead identifies suspects responsible for the murder.
The 9th entry in the Baily Ruth mystery series is a quick fun read. You might want to give all of them a try.
Bailey Ruth Ghost
1. Ghost At Work (2008)
2. Merry, Merry Ghost (2009)
3. Ghost in Trouble (2010)
4. Ghost Gone Wild (2013)
5. Ghost Wanted (2014)
6. Ghost to the Rescue (2015)
7. Ghost Times Two (2016)
8. Ghost on the Case (2017)
9. Ghost Ups Her Game (2020)
10. Ghost Blows a Kiss (2021)
Here some of the new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week!
Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu – An award-winning essayist combines literary memoir and cultural history to examine her personal struggles with her mixed-heritage identity and the emotional trauma of her mother’s abandonment and father’s dark secrets.
The Captive by Fiona King Foster – A woman with elite skills from her violent past travels with her family and an escaped criminal through a harsh winter landscape to claim a bounty and safeguard her loved ones from murderous rivals.
Baby Detransition by Torrey Peters – A trans woman, her detransitioned ex and his cisgender lover build an unconventional family together in the wake of heartbreak and an unplanned pregnancy, in a debut by the author of the novella, Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones.
The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin – The best-selling author of The Aviator’s Wife draws on oral histories of the Great Plains blizzard of 1888 to depict the experiences of two teachers, a servant and a reporter who risk everything to protect the children of immigrant homesteaders.
The Lost Boys by Faye Kellerman – Detectives Peter Decker and Tyler McAdams link two suspicious disappearances from an assisted living facility to the case of three missing campers, before the reappearance of a foster son’s biological mother upends Decker’s home life.
Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey – PI Emma Djan investigates the death of a Ghanaian fashion icon and social media celebrity, Lady Araba, who was found murdered days after breaking up with her boyfriend, a womanizing talk-show host.
Saving Justice: Truth, Transparency, and Trust by James Comey – The former FBI Director and best-selling author of A Higher Loyalty, uses his long career in federal law enforcement to explore issues of justice and fairness in the U.S. justice system.
The Forever Girl by Jill Shalvis – Returning to her hometown to attend an estranged friend’s wedding, Maze navigates unexpected secrets with her childhood circle of friends while discovering that she still has feelings for a long-ago crush.
The Scorpion’s Tail by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child – A sequel to Old Bones finds FBI agent Corrie Swanson and Santa Fe archaeologist Nora Kelly investigating the mummified corpse of a long-dead victim who died in agony while holding a mysterious 16th-century gold cross.
Spin by Patricia Daniels Cornwell – Captain Calli Chase races against time to thwart a plot that leaves the fate of humanity hanging in the balance.
I usually make New Year’s Resolutions and, like many, don’t keep them. One regular resolution of mine that I usually keep, however, is reaching my set goal of reading 52 books annually. While this might sound like a lot of reading, I know many people who put my numbers to shame, and that’s okay. Everyone’s reading pace is different. And, is it cheating to turn up the speed of audiobooks? (I say no!)
So, while I’ve been keeping this resolution over the last few years, I’ve kept a little blank book with lists of the books and the year that I’ve read them. I’ve been very proud of my little notebook and was sure I could keep up this pace…until 2020 happened. Oddly enough, in a year where I should have had more time to read than ever due to lack of socializing, I failed, and stalled somewhere around book #47! Even worse, it’s January 11th and all I can do is stare at screens (and no, they are not the screens where I have loaded e-books). I haven’t downloaded an audiobook, cracked a book cover, or even (gasp!), written the year down on the fresh page in my aforementioned precious notebook that mocks me from across the room.
How can I face that notebook knowing my intentions have changed? Yes, I will read. Yes, I likely will even read 52 books this year. And yes, I’ll likely record these books somewhere. But first, I’m going to be kind to myself about this. And, when I’m ready to turn a page, I’m sure I’ll find myself immersed in my next favorite novel.
Until I have a book to recommend, be kind to yourselves and one another. And, if you are feeling like I have been feeling, know that when you are ready for distraction, information, entertainment and connection, the library will be here waiting for you. ~Carol
Some amazing news for 2021 – Roxane Gay is starting The Audacious Book Club and inviting all interested parties to join! Roxane is an award winning fiction and non-fiction author, Twitter goddess and New York Times op-ed contributor. Her books include Bad Feminist, Hunger, Difficult Women, An Untamed State and Black Panther graphic novels. Roxane is brainy, funny, and pointedly insightful.
She’s already announced the list of books but there’s not a lot of details. I’ll keep you posted when I find out more so we can read and explore the titles together with Roxane on future Mondays. First, though, get a copy of January’s title, Black Futures.
January: Black Futures, edited by Jenna Wortham and Kimberly Drew (Week of 1/25)
February: Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters (Week of 2/22)
March: The Removed by Brandon Hobson (Week of 3/22)
April: Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz (Week of 4/26)
May: Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenridge (Week of 5/24)
June: Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia (Week of 6/21)
July: The Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade (Week of 7/26)
August: Somebody’s Daughterby Ashley C. Ford (Week of 8/23)
September: The Renunciations by Donika Kelly (Week of 9/20)
October: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (Week of 10/25)
November: Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be by Nichole Perkins (Week of 11/22)
December: Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So (Week of 12/13)