Great Book Series to Great TV Series

I was late to reading Michael Connelly’s excellent, hard-boiled crime novels starring Harry Bosch as a tough, no-nonsense war veteran and LAPD cop, a modern-day Philip Marlowe, who goes after justice no matter what it takes. Connelly started writing about Bosch in 1992 and there are now 20 books in the series. I’m not yet through with them all but am enthralled and entertained so far by the series’ fast-paced action, its true-to-life descriptions of relationships and police work, and its gritty and bustling setting of Los Angeles, where just about anything can and does happen.

Late to the party as I am, I guess it also makes sense that I’ve only just discovered that the series “Bosch” was adapted for television in 2014 by Amazon who has just ordered its seventh and final season. With the weather turning chillier, I’m looking forward to working my way through all of them.

So far, I’ve binged-watched the first season, which stars Titus Welliver who magnificently embodies Bosch. Let me tell you, he’s not the only thing about this series that won’t disappoint. Unlike most TV adaptations, in fact, each of the characters in “Bosch” feel as real and complex as they are portrayed in the novels and some of the novels’ characters get even more developed on the screen. This is likely due to the fact that Michael Connelly serves as an executive producer and writer for the show. And, despite updating Bosch’s timeline as well (in the books he is a Vietnam vet but has served in the Gulf war and Afghanistan on the show), everything else rings just about right for this reader/viewer.

Want to jump in? No, I can’t buy you an Amazon Prime membership, but I can tell you to start reading the series with book #1, The Black Echo


An Apple A Day, plus other foods!

Wow. How did it get to be Fall? I’m a fan of cozy sweaters, beautiful Fall foliage, new school supplies (less this year than usual -obvs), and Halloween, but I’m not ready yet… are you?

It’s here, whether any of us are ready or not, and I have decided now is a good time to match up my excessive kitchen time with seasonal foods. Take that! (I don’t know who’s taking it but it felt good to put that there. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) I need a few more apples and I can make King Arthur Baking Company’s Old Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting (yum!) and then I”ll move along to searching for main meal options from books in the Fall Harvest collection… dessert should *always* be first!! If you have a tasty Fall recipe, please feel free to share! While I wait for ideas, maybe some soup?


Let’s Talk about Ohio

I don’t think there’s been anything really easy about this year so far and so I like to take a small win (or a rare 2020 big win!) whenever I can find one! I just finished reading Barnstorming Ohio To Understand America  by David Giffels and it’s definitely in my win column for this week!

Ohio. We are full of variety and contradictions. We are the 7th most populous state but 34th in total are; the top of the State gets incredibly cold with lots of snow and the lower half can be 10 to 20 degrees warmer with almost no snow; our economy is based on agriculture, industry, and innovative ideas; and there’s an incredible range of natural landscapes to explore. Ohioans have plenty to be proud about and issues we need to solve, but we are also an almost perfect cross-section of the U.S.A.

In Barnstorming Ohio, Mr. Giffels provides the current and historical context that helped me to understand exactly what it means to be seen as bellwether State for the Country. Having thoughtful conversations with the people who live in the “Five Ohios” (representing diverse voting communities) and offering great insights for what could be a larger, nation-wide conversation, this book was engaging, eye-opening, and easy-to-read. As we head into the 2020 General Election, you might also find this book worth checking out, and then we can chat!

(Small tangent -Did you know tomato juice is the official beverage of Ohio? Can we vote on that?)


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.


Chadwick Boseman’s Gift

I hadn’t read any Black Panther comics or books and had the same amount of background knowledge of his place in the Marvel Universe as I did about Thor (ie – so very, very little) before seeing the movie based on the character. Oh. My. Gosh. The 2018 film staring Chadwick Boseman was 134 minutes of greatness!! The history and lore of Wakanda, the special effects, the serious moments mixed with humorous moments, all the surprise twists, and getting to watch Chadwick Boseman create an unforgettable, strong, vulnerable hero as King T’Challa. Mr. Boseman passed away on August 29th but his kindness, his vision of what the movie industry could be, and his long list of films, speak to the legacy of this legend, taken too soon. Thank you for all the gifts you gave to us Mr. Chadwick Boseman!

Happy Dog Appreciation Day

This is Kevin. He thinks he is the library’s mascot. I don’t have the heart to tell him he’s not really, that he’s just a handsome good boy who can rock a bandanna.

Kevin is probably 9 years old. I rescued him from a shelter about 7 years ago. It’s been a weird relationship since day one. Right before Christmas I lost my dog Lexi. It was terrible and devastating and I vowed to never have another dog again. When life after the holidays resumed I realized that I was lying to myself. I had become a dog person. I needed a dog. So I started watching the APL’s website, searching for my next companion. One day I found her-she was an older golden lab. I was looking for an older dog and lab’s are known family dogs. I needed a dog that was good with kids and other dogs since I spent so much time with my sister’s family. Excited, my sister and I and my 6 and 8-year-old nephews headed down to meet her. I found her kennel and approached to meet her. Everything was fine until the six-year-old approached with me. This sweet looking old girl turned in to Cujo at the sight of him. Teeth bared, snarls, lunging at the cage. Yikes!
We quickly backed away and found ourselves in front of a fluffy little ginger dog. He was sitting sitting like a champ, staring at us with those golden eyes. He was practically a puppy and as Conor was OPENING HIS KENNEL I was saying no. But it was too late. I was going to meet Rusty.

The boys and I waited in the meet and greet group for Rusty. My sister ran home to get her dogs. This dog was nuts. He ran around the room completely ignoring all the humans and all the toys. His only interest seemed to be peeing on the walls (this has not changed). The boys were desperate to get his attention, but nothing was working on this spazz. Exasperated, Lucas, the 8-year-old, finally turned to me and said “I don’t think his name is Rusty.” Good point kid. He continued, “It must be something else. Maybe it’s Kevin.” You guys, I am not kidding. This dog’s ears perked up and he came over to us and sat! His name was KEVIN. Now, Lucas didn’t really pull the name out of thin air. They had recently seen Home Alone for the first time. My dog is named for Kevin McAllister…

At this point I had no choice. I knew this stupid dog was coming home with me, despite knowing that he had already been adopted and returned TWICE. Yup. I willingly brought him home. I immediately regretted this decision. For days he did nothing but bark in my face and poop all over the house. I discovered under the piles and piles of fluff he had mange. I learned on day one that he was afraid of cars, or walks, or noise, I don’t even know. He refused to take walks, but he let me stick him in the stationary tub for a weekly mange bath. This dog was a neurotic mess and a mystery to me.

Kevin’s first days. Turns out that expression is just his face.

I spent months cursing my nephews, crying, and walking around with hot dogs in my pockets desperately trying to get the hundreds of dollars I had spent on personal training to finally stick. And by training, I mean, going for a walk. I learned a lot about Kevin. Mainly, he does not care about your hot dogs if he doesn’t want to do something. It took what felt like forever, but eventually the baths ended and walks became a daily activity. Now, 7 years on, he still does not care what I think or say to him. His only trick is to sit like a champ. He would live in the car if I let him. He LOVES the vet, even when she is shoving charcoal down his gullet because he ate 3 lbs of Christmas melting chocolate (he was not sorry then, he is not sorry now, and he would totally do it again, vet visit and all). He is the master of the side-eye, loves sleeping in the fireplace, and he actually WANTS me to pet him sometimes. He is still weird and neurotic and frustrating, but I love him to death and can’t image life without this weirdo.

So, if you are dog lover, you might like some dog-related reading.

Happy Dog Appreciation Day!

~Megan (and Kevin)

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.



Virtual One Community Reads: Fall 2020

I’m finding it difficult to manage the intense ups and downs of this year -like pretty much *everybody* I talk to, and I feel like we all need:1) a seriously quality nap -maybe every day?, 2) more upbeat news on a regular basis, and 3) a way to contribute to the good things we see happening in the World. Maybe joining the conversations during our virtual One Community Reads helps you with at least two of the three items in the previous list?

For the second time this year all nine public library systems and our community partners in Cuyahoga County are working together to host a One Community Reads, a chance to engage and discuss timely and important topics. From August through December, you’ll be able to read a variety of books, attend virtual programs throughout Cuyahoga County, and join the conversation. And consider this -think of how easy it will be to attend an East Side or Downtown program from the comfort of your West Side couch!

A full list of events is available on

Events hosted by Rocky River Public Library:
Let’s Talk About Race – Presentation and Q&A
Wednesday, August 19, 7:00 – 8:00 pm
Join Dr. Ronnie Dunn, Chief Diversity Officer at Cleveland State University, for a discussion on race and racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and policing in the United States. This was a virtual program held on Zoom. (It’s over but worth noting -imho)

Booked by the Lieutenant
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Thursday, August 27, 6:30 -8:00 pm
Read to learn more about how guilt and fear can create defensiveness, how white fragility protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively, before joining a discussion of ideas led by Lt. George Lichman. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Ida Finds Her Voice: Author Visit
For families of all ages
Tuesday, September 15, 7:00 pm
Join Kate Anderson Foley, Ph.D. and Jenifer Anderson-Smith for a reading of their book Ida Finds Her Voice and a conversation about listening to one’s inner voice. We will discuss ways to advocate for kindness and social justice. This will be an opportunity for our youth and our experienced adults to better understand how to find the hero inside ourselves. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

How to Talk to Your Children About Racism
Thursday, September 17, 6:30-7:30 pm
Racism is an important parenting topic that many struggle or are uncomfortable with, but these conversations are necessary in this time of bias and violence against people of color. Join Adrianne Fletcher, PhD., Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at Case Western Reserve University, for a frank discussion on how to talk to your children about race and racism. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

We Read Together, We Stand Together Beanstack Program and Discussion Group
Mondays, 7:00-8:00 pm
This new discussion group is a community collaboration that will provide students in grades 6-12 and their interested parents or guardians with an opportunity to read diverse voices and have conversations on a variety of topics. Grades 6-12 and parents/guardians. @Rocky River Public Library.

Monday, September 21, Initial Meeting to introduce participants to Beanstack suggested readings and format for future discussions. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program,

Monday, October 5 Topic: African American Voices Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program,

Monday, October 19 Topic: Social Injustice and Voting Rights Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Monday, November 2 Topic: Poverty and Homelessness Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Monday, November 16 Topic: Native American Voices Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Monday, December 7 Topic: Diverse Abilities Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Monday, December 21 Topic: Asian American Voices Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Adult Rocky River Readers Book Club
Aperiogon by Colum McCann
Thursday, October 8, 7:00 – 8:00 pm
This novel is based on the real-life friendship of two men, an Israeli and a Palestinian. Bonded over the experience of losing a child to war, these fathers decide to use their grief as a weapon for peace. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

An Outrage: Film Discussion with Dr. Gilbert Doho
Wednesday, October 14, 7:00-8:00 pm
Dr. Gilbert Doho, Head of the Ethnic Studies Department of Case Western Reserve University will moderate a remote discussion on the film An Outrage by Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren, a film addressing the history of lynching in the U.S. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.
Celebrate Multicultural Diversity Day
For all ages
Monday, October 19, 4:00-4:45 pm
Join us virtually as we share multicultural books, songs, rhymes, activities, and other resources that reflect the diversity of our community. Register online to receive an invitation to join this event. Participants will be able to pick up a packet prior to the program with directions and materials to use during the program. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Booked by the Lieutenant
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD
Wednesday, November 4, 7:00–8:30 pm
Read to learn more about unconscious racial bias through the author’s personal stories, her research, and learn strategies to address one of the central controversies of our time before joining a discussion of ideas led by Lt. George Lichman. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Observe World Kindness Day
For all ages
Friday, November 13, 11:00-11:45 am
Help us make the world a better place by promoting acts of good kindness through stories, songs, crafts, and other activities that can be shared with others in the community. Register online to receive an invitation to join this event. Participants will be able to pick up a packet prior to the program with directions and materials to use during the program. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Novel Scares Book Discussion
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Thursday, November 12, 7:00 -8:00 pm
After a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives, four American Indian men are tracked by an entity bent on revenge in this blending of classic horror and sharp social commentary. Registration required. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.


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.



Imagine Your Story – Toughen Up

Lately it’s a challenge to feel strong enough to handle what life has been throwing at us. In order to do that for myself, I’m striving to step up my physical and mental fitness games in order to be ready for anything. But, I find that it’s harder and harder to focus on the “love” part of the love/hate thing I’ve got going on with my treadmill and actually get motivated!

In the past couple of weeks, to mix it up, I’ve started adding to my consistently, inconsistent virtual boxing routine and aforementioned treadmill relationship by investigating what the library had to offer me. I was reminded, when searching the catalog, of the vast collection of exercise DVDs our library owns. Additionally, through our digital services, I can find ways to motivate myself even more. For example, using Hoopla I am able to borrow access to some really great yoga classes. My current favorite is “Gaiam: Athletic Yoga, Yoga For Flexibility with Kevin Love.” And, yes, you read that correctly. Our very own Cleveland Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love is available to do yoga with you, in your home…and for that, you are welcome.

When I need strength building of the mental health variety, I usually find myself turning to Lynda Hudson’s guided meditations which I check out through the library’s Overdrive page. Lynda’s calming voice always get me to relax or to fall asleep faster. She’s even got an eBook for exercise motivation. Perfect timing, Lynda!

Are you looking for ways to change up your routine? I bet you’ll find something that will strengthen, entertain or at least surprise you when you check out our Digital Library.

Looks like it is time for me to go “move it” and spend 20 minutes with a certain Cavs player. Don’t worry, my husband is just in the next room.                     ~Carol