Imagine Your Story – Free From Your Library

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t rationalize paying for all of the streaming TV out there. Instead, I like to get caught up on the popular series by checking them out from the library because it’s free! Sometimes that means I’m a little late to the party, but I don’t mind. The shows (if you are as good as avoiding spoilers as I am) are just as good, and in reality, I don’t always have the time to do the binge-watching necessary to keep current with several series. (There is reading to be done after all!)

My latest free score was checking out the first season of Barry on DVD. This dark comedy airs on HBO and stars Bill Hader as Barry Berkman/Barry Block, a Marine turned hit-man who is lonely and dissatisfied. After traveling from his hometown of Cleveland to Los Angeles to “work” (aka, murder someone), Barry finds himself drawn to a community of aspiring actors. Barry inadvertently steps into an acting class led by Gene Cousineau, who is played by Henry Winkler, and decides to quit the life of crime in order to become a full-time performer, but just can’t seem to keep his bloody past from creeping into his new life. While the content is dark, it is also, often, hilarious, and this viewer couldn’t help but root for the guy who was, at times, literally hurting the people he loves.

Sound like your cup of tea, too? Place your hold on series 1 of Barry in our catalog today. And, then, we can (impatiently) wait together for the DVD release of season 2.


Imagine your Story – Books



Mrs. Morhard and the Boys: One mother’s vision. The first boys’ baseball league. A nation inspired. 

by Ruth Hanford Morhard

The Rocky River Public Library is pleased to invite you to an author talk via Zoom on Tuesday, September 22nd from 7:00-8:00. Ruth Hanford Morhard is the daughter-in-law of Josephine Morhard, the star of the story.

In the book the reader learns about Josephine’s life before she settles in Cleveland a single mother with two children, owning a butcher shop, and surviving the impact of the Great Depression,

Josephine, who was one of 17 children, had a hard life. Her father depended on her for much of the farm work in addition to helping with her siblings. At 12 she left home figuring she could support herself by living with another family taking care of children and doing housework.

Eventually Josephine married twice. Both husbands were alcoholics and abusive. After divorcing her second husband, Josephine was particularly worried about her son, Junior (Albert). He needed positive male role models and something to occupy his time.

You will know and understand the “rest of the story”, as radio personality Paul Harvey would say, by joining the presentation on September 22nd. Hope to see you there!




Imagine Your Story @ RRPL

Lila and Lenu in Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend

I did it! I finished the Neopolitan Quartet, My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and The Story of the Lost Child, by Elena Ferrante, and I already feel lost without “my” girls, Lila and Lenu, Ferrante’s main characters in this sweeping series of a lifelong friendship within the backdrop of a poor neighborhood of Naples, Italy.

I need to rely on some wonderful quotes from a review by Ella Alexander found at to give an essential understanding of Lila and Lenu’s story. “We place a lot of emphasis on romantic love because of the narratives that we’re fed from such a young age. But the relationships and love we have for our female friends, especially during childhood, are equally as emotional and charged…But it’s not always rosy. There’s the jealousy, competitiveness and cruelty that people only dish out to those they love the most, and when we’re children, teenagers and even in our early twenties, we don’t understand yet how to rationalize those feelings or to temper them… It is a reminder that we never lose the love for someone who we were once so close to, and of how far someone can push another before deciding that a friendship brings more sadness than joy.”

I believe most readers will find a friendship, somewhere within their lifetime, that will cause reflection and raw emotion to surface, while reading about the journeys of Lila and Lenu. As a reader, as well as both the main characters, you come full circle and find some understanding and peace as to how we got here.

If you choose to go on this journey with Lila and Lenu, which I highly recommend, it will be lengthy, but take your time, absorb, digest, reread, if necessary. I also watched the HBO series while reading the books and found that each format, reading/watching, complimented each other very well, and ultimately enhanced the story for me.

While I will miss “my” girls”, I look forward to jumping into Ferrante’s new novel, The Lying Life of Adults, to be released September 1st, 2020.

Imagine Your Story – The More Things Change (Books)

This past week, I read two new historical fiction novels, set in very different centuries. What they have in common was their settings, as both take in the U.K. during flu pandemics. More striking was that both books are luminous depictions of motherhood, pregnancy and loss.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell gives readers an imagined look at the grief shared by a playwright and his wife, in Stratford, England in the 1590s, when they lose their son Hamnet to illness. Beautifully rendered, this novel is also about the couple’s courtship and marriage. Ultimately, however, this is the wife’s story. Agnes, in this book (though history tells us Shakespeare’s wife was named Ann), is a complex character whose own childhood comes alive here. An herbalist and healer, Agnes is a devoted wife and mother who isn’t sure she can handle returning to business as usual or the changed dynamics of her marriage after her son dies. She is further challenged her husband writes the play “Hamlet” (a name interchangeable with Hamnet) a mere four years after Hamnet’s death. And, while death from the “plague” wasn’t uncommon, with the removal of the lens of history, it is obvious that the impact of such a loss was just as devastating to a family as it is now. This book is already one of my favorites of 2020.

I dove further into women’s work in The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue, a full-of-heart novel set in a war and illness-ridden Dublin in 1918. Over the course of three days, readers follow Julia Power, a nurse in an over-crowded hospital, who has been tasked with caring for pregnant women who have been quarantined by the flu. Under horrible conditions, Julia forms eye-opening, meaningful relationships in this short time with her coworkers, a 22-year-old orphan named Bridie Sweeney and a character based on real-life woman doctor and Irish patriot, Dr. Kathryn Lynn, who in this story, is wanted by police even as she saves lives. Though this book, too is filled with loss of life, it is ultimately a story of strength, survival and love. And, despite its graphic depictions of the on-goings of a maternity war and disease, I literally couldn’t stop turning the pages.

Too soon? Not for this reader.  I’m guessing I won’t be the only one feeling this way. Make sure to reserve your copies of both of these books in our catalog here or request a digital copy hold here.



Imagine Your Story – Books



The Last Mrs. Summers

by Rhys Bowen

Newlyweds Georgiana and Darcy have just returned home from their honeymoon when Darcy leaves on a top-secret work assignment. Belinda, Georgiana’s best friend, has just inherited a cottage in Cornwell so they decide to make the trip to inspect the property. While in Cornwell the women run into Rose, a childhood playmate of Belinda’s, who invites the women to stay at her estate. Tragically Tony, Rose’s husband, is murdered and Belinda is found holding the knife. Belinda is arrested and charged with the murder. Georgiana must help untangle the mystery even when local officials encourage her not to.

Even though fun characters Queenie, Georgiana’s maid, and Granddad are missing from the story, the fourteenth entry in the Royal Spyness Mystery series is a delight for fans of Rhys Bowen.




Imagine Your Story@ RRPL

Title details for Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker - Wait list

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

WOW, what a book.   It took me about a week to finish this book, but each time I put it down, I could not stop thinking about it.  In fact, if I was reading it before going to bed, several times I ended up dreaming about it – it was that good, that thought provoking, that well written, that emotional.  As you can see by the cover, this book is one of Oprah’s Book Club picks, so you have confidence going into the book that it should be a good one.  Fair warning, it’s a gut wrencher but well worth your time.

The Galvin family consisted of 12 children, 6 of them developed schizophrenia.  It was like a row of dominoes, Donald, the oldest , with his all american good looks & athleticism, during college, began a steep and steady descent into madness, with five of his brothers following in his footsteps. Kolker takes the reader right into the home of the Galvins to experience the chaos and confusion about what was happening to them. While 6 of the children have no mental illness, not one family member walks away from their home unscathed.  Kolker also explores the scientific piece of schizophrenia, mostly in laymen terms, so the reader has better knowledge of  schizophrenia as a disease without getting lost in the extensive history of the brain.  The matriarch of the family, Mimi Galvin, is one of the  survivors of this brutal truth, until her death late in life, and she is not to go unnoticed.  Despite every obstacle and roadblock thrown at her, she remained steadfastly committed to the care and support of her sick sons, even at the expense of losing her well children. Imagine if you were once a healthy young man, facing down the terrifying consequences of schizophrenia. Imagine if you were not mentally ill, surrounded by siblings struggling with mental illness and worrying, will you be next. Imagine being a mother to both and trying so very hard to protect them all.

Imagine your Story – Books



by Imogen Kealey


I thoroughly enjoyed Liberation, a joint venture between screenwriter Darby Kealy and novelist Imogen Robertson. Australian-born Nancy Wake, nickednamed “The White Mouse” by the Germans, is the subject of the novel. Major Bohm, a Gestapo agent, has captured Nancy’s husband Henri Fiocca. Henri is tortured assuming he will eventually give up information about his wife who joined Britain’s Special Operations Executive. Nancy quickly rose to the top of the organization training others to undermine the Nazis in France. The Gestapo wants her stopped.

After reading this novel I look forward to reading Nancy Wake’s autobiography The White Mouse. Nancy Grace August Wake died on August 7, 2011 at age 98.




Imagine Your Story@ RRPL

Have You Heard About RRPL’s Little Library?


Our Little Library is located near the front entrance, right next to the bench. I’m sure many of you have heard of “Little Free Libraries” and may have seen one in your own neighborhood.  The philosophy of the “Little Free Library” is simple: take a book, leave a book.  Here at RRPL we encourage our community to simply take a book, no need to contribute books, we’ve got that covered.  This is a small collection of books ranging from adult book selections to books for children. We refresh our selections weekly, along with a bottle of hand sanitizer to keep you safe. If you would like to browse a larger collection, come into our lobby and peruse our ongoing Book Sale.  Donations for your choices are always appreciated and can be left at the Greeters Desk.  I love tending to the books housed in this little gem, and I can’t help but smile when I discover these books have found a new home.  So,  if you find yourself taking a stroll near the library, take a peek inside our Little Library, who knows, maybe you will stumble upon that next great read!

Imagine Your Story – Books


Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters

by Jennifer Chiaverini

After the death of three of her sons and a decade after the assassination of her husband, Mary Todd Lincoln is declared legally insane and is committed to an asylum. After watching his mother’s erratic behavior, irresponsible spending and hoarding for years, Mary’s son Robert takes responsibility for pursuing this arrangement. In alternating chapters Mary’s sisters attempt to explain the family’s history and Mary’s behavior. Eventually Mary is invited to recover at Elizabeth Edwatds home in Springfield. (Elizabeth was one of Mary’s sisters.) Mary never recovers and is forever alienated from her son.

This is a treat for fans of historical fiction. It provides an interesting look into Mary Todd’s family, her unusual  interest in politics, the courtship and marriage of Mary and Abraham along with the triumphs and tragedies they faced.



Imagine Your Story – Unplugged

Do you feel like if you might scream if you have to read one more email, attend yet another meeting online or answer another group text message? If so, then I feel your pain. I was right there with you a week and a half ago. I managed to complete my workdays without taking anyone’s head off, but then I realized, for me, it was time to unplug.

I’ve heard that unplugging for just 24 hours can be beneficial and can help people feel more centered and grounded in the present moment. But gosh, it seems harder than ever to unplug, right? We are in the middle of a pandemic. We are being forced to attend more virtual meetings than ever, order online more, stream everything, and text everyone that it seems impossible to avoid technology. But maybe this is the perfect time to do it.

A 2011 study from the University of Maryland demonstrated that when students unplugged from technology, they spent more time with friends and family, got more exercise, and cooked and ate healthier foods. That all sounds pretty good.

This past weekend, I left my phone alone, chose a paper book over my e-reader, avoided the video game console, and just let my brain relax. It wasn’t easy. I had to bow out of my weekly family Zoom meeting, miss an installment of a TV show I’ve been watching, and (sigh) put on my reading glasses to read, but think I ultimately benefited from it. I got lots of spouse and cat-time and some daydreaming in, got a bit of extra sleep, and crossed a few chores off my list. It was worth it.

So, how about it? Unplug for a day and see how it makes you feel. I won’t even be mad if you read my blog post a day late.