It’s 1941 when 12-year-old Freddie Hackett, a government message runner in London, witnesses a murder. Freddie and the killer soon meet when he delivers a message directly to the killer. Freddie reports the crime to the police but no body is found and the case is dismissed. Determined Freddie contacts Maisie Dobbs who takes his eyewitness account seriously. The killer has some unusual facial characteristics that Freddie can identify. In addition to her detective work, Maisie works for the “Special Operations Executive” helping to recruit and interview workers for the French resistance. Maisie’s American boyfriend, Mark Scott, also works for his government and is in and out of the story. He adores Maisie and Anna, the little girl she adopted.
These are fun books for those who enjoy light British mysteries. I heartily recommend reading all of them in order to get the background story of Maisie. her friends, and family.
View the art of the Louvre online! The world renowned museum has recently made their collection available to search online and created curated virtual experiences. Use the different categories to see the thousands of objects in their collection.
April is National Poetry Month and in honor of this special celebration of poetry, I asked my colleagues to share some of their favorite poetry with me. For the next couple weeks I will highlight these selections on the blog. This week we hear from members of our Outreach staff on their favored works.
“For me, poetry is a good way to connect with how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking about in a certain time and place. There are so many poems and poets, the style and content can be so different, it’s like there’s always a piece of candy that catches my eye.
If Fog by Carl Sandburg were candy, it would be my perfect mix of caramel, chopped nuts, nougat, and chocolate. In just a few words, the poet creates an image and atmosphere, including a touch of whimsy with an accurate cat vibe. Thank you, Mr. Sandburg, for the gift of this poem!” Stacey, Outreach Coordinator
I just love April! It means Spring and Spring means Baseball! I’ve been a fan since I was tiny, listening to games with my Dad on the radio while he was working on yard projects or fixing whatever used car we had at the time. Something about the soothing sounds of the crowds, the crack of the bat, and cheering for the home team fill me with nostalgia and comfort and make me feel like everything is okay. What started as a family tradition for me continues on, but I doubt I am the only one looking forward to going to a game in person this year knowing that the stands at Progressive Field will be filled with actual fans instead of the cardboard cutouts that 2020 season saw. I’ll listen to today’s home opener on the radio, for old time’s sake, and then I’ll start reading the book I’ve had on hold that, coincidentally, just became available for me.
The Resisters by Jen Gish is a dystopian novel set in a not-too-distant future America about “haves” and “have-nots,” but it is also all about baseball and a girl named Gwen, a pitcher with a dynamite arm. This book sounds tailor-made for a book and baseball fan like me. I can’t wait! Find it in our catalog here. But first, let’s hope the good guys win! -Carol
I’m a bit corny. I like to celebrate each month by reading a book that correlates with any holidays or heritage celebrations happening during that month. This mindset can also help you with the daunting task of picking a book for your next Book Club meeting. It’s not too late to read a book about Ireland for March. We have two book titles in our Book Club Kit collection that brings the reader to Ireland, in all its beauty and travails. Keep in mind, a kit includes 8 copies of the same title and a set of discussion questions , available in a library canvas bag, to be checked out to the library card of the person picking up the kit. Stop by the adult reference desk and give it try. Two Book ClubKits to consider for March are:
If you like captivating and compelling historical fiction, The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly should be on your to-read list. This novel explores themes including love, loss, hope and friendship and its plot unwinds over three different time periods.
In 1907, Venetia has been hired by the owners of the Highbury House, to design a series of extravagant gardens on its estate. When she gets there, she is well on her way to making a name for herself in garden planning, but catering to the whims of the overbearing lady of the house threatens to ruin Venetia’s plans.
In 1944, the English countryside has become home to many land girls who are helping farmers produce food for the war effort, and Highbury House has been conscripted by the British forces to serve as a military hospital. The house is now owned by Diana Symonds, a young widow who feels like her life is out of her control. Diana’s only consolations are her beautiful son Robyn and the time she spends in her home’s lavish gardens, which she can no longer afford to maintain.
In 2021, Emma has been hired to breathe new life into the very same gardens, now very neglected and barely recognizable. Emma has longed to work on anything originally designed by the long-ago famous and secretive Venetia Smith and is thrilled when she’s picked to restore the grounds of Highbury House to what Venetia intended them to be. As Emma sets out to discover the garden’s original plans, secrets from the past begin to unravel, connecting these three women in unexpected ways.
Like a flower opening to reveal its beauty, this book is one to savor as it captures the lives and dreams of the very different yet strong women whose lives are bound by this special garden. If you are looking for inspiration to start picking out your backyard plants (or if you just want a fabulous read), pick up The Last Garden in England.
It’s young adult fantasy fiction about a young woman who discovers that she has unique magical powers that may be the key to saving her country. It’s billed as dark fantasy but it’s mostly fluff with a love triangle, but sometimes fluff is what you need to read! Shannon
Continuing my year of biographies and memoirs I recently read The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This graphic novel is about the author’s childhood and young adulthood. Her family is Iranian. Religious extremists take over her country. Her liberal minded family has a hard time adjusting to the years of war. From a very young age Marjane has always been outspoken and tends to get in trouble with teachers or other authorities for speaking out about inequality or injustice. She is sent to school in Europe for her safety, but being alone and coming of age in a whole new environment takes its toll. She finds her way back home, but it is no easier to fit into the traditional role her conservative society expects of her. Art and drawing and ultimately telling this story is what she needs to do. I watched the French animated movie based on this after reading it. I like the book just a bit better for providing details that are cut out of the film. Byron
Published in 1894 this early work of “weird” fiction by Machen was a great read. A short novel, this story pertains the consequences of investigating beyond the physical realm and the ripple effect that occur. The story begins with an experiment to see the spiritual realm by Dr Raymond, an act the Doctor notes the ancient called “seeing the great god Pan”. I won’t give more away about the plot as part of the joy of reading this story was watching it unfold. Recommended to fans of horror and supernatural fiction. Greg
After hearing multiple rave reviews of this fresh, feminist translation of Beowulf I’m finally reading it for myself! Fifty years after the translation of Beowulf that myself and many others were forced to read in high school, this new version is described as a “radical new verse translation” that brings to light elements of this classic tale that have never been translated into English. I just added this to my Kindle and am only on the introduction but looking forward to diving into the story. Nicole
After the death of her mother, a young woman’s compulsion to eat earth reveals that once ingested, she receives visions of the person with a connection to that earth. The first earth she eats shows her how her mother died. Abandoned by her adult relatives, she and her brother Walter live alone in the slums of Buenos Aires. Though many of the locales are put off by her ability, more and more people start leaving jars of earth and notes pleading for her assistance. A remarkable novel and the translator skillfully manages to convey a distinctive, youthful patois. Trent
During WWII Olive’s veterinarian father raises prize winning racing pigeons. Olive is very much involved in their care and training. She is contacted by British Intelligence to assist in top-secret missions using the pigeons as messengers. Olive wants to do her part for the war effort and is excited about this opportunity. As part of her cover, Olive dates a British officer which leads to all kinds of speculation in the small town. In addition, a local woman is found dead near the Bright’s dovecote (a structure used to house pigeons or doves). Olive participates in the investigation that uncovers many secrets including some about her family. Mystery, history, and a little romance make for an entertaining read. Emma
This is the story of Afi Tekple, a young seamstress raised in a poor rural village in Ghana. Afi is thrust into an arranged marriage to a wealthy businessman, Elikem Ganyo. After moving into one of Elikem’s many residences with very infrequent visits from her new husband, Afi starts to dream up how she can make the most of her new-found lifestyle. Beth
An earlier book by the author of The Sundown Motel, this novel follows the same model of a mystery with a (sort of) believable supernatural twist. Fiona Sheridan, a journalist, is drawn to the location where her older sister’s body had been found 20 years earlier. A mysterious woman has begun renovating Idlewild Hall, a school for “wayward and difficult girls,” that has long been abandoned and is the place where Fiona’s sister’s body was dumped. There is something unnatural about that place- a cold dampness, a constant aura of anxiety and fear, and a legend of a ghost that wanders the grounds. While covering the story of the renovation, Fiona is drawn into the tale of a group of girls at Idlewood Hall in the 1950s, one of whom went missing, presumed dead, and whose body was never found. Fiona learns about the lives of these forgotten girls who were basically abandoned by their families, and at the same time uncovers a secret about her sister’s murder that puts her own life in danger. Sara
Choosing the next book for your Book Club can be daunting. Here’ a selection from our 18 Book Club kits, ready for you to check out. Keep in mind, a kit includes 8 copies of the same title and a set of discussion questions , available in a library canvas bag, to be checked out to the library card of the person picking up the kit. Stop by the adult reference desk and give it try.
Synopsis: On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate a wedding. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding fit for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?