Five Days for Democracy: How Can I Do More?

All of us want to protect and support our democracy, but what can each one of us do? Here are a few ideas:

1. Know who your local legislators and politicians are

Here’s where to find your House Representative.

Put your address in here to find a full list of your elected officials.

2. Know how to get in touch with them (and actually make them listen.)

Here are some general guidelines on how to contact them.

3. Identify an issue you care about and pursue it

4. Attend town hall meetings

A town hall is where you, in person, can make your actual voice heard, in front of local politicians who can actually do something about it.

5. Attend City Council meetings

Alternately, attend a City Council meeting to get an up-close view of what’s important to your city’s legislators.

6. Get to know your local School Board

Whether or not you have kids in school, it’s a good idea to know about your school board and the direction they are leading your schools.

7. Join your local PTA

Not only can you have a direct communication with your school, you can also volunteer and participate in other ways that directly impact your community. 

8. Join a voting league or political organization

A non-partisan group like the League of Women Voters is a good way to get informed, or you can choose a political group that aligns with your values.

9. Register to act on behalf of a political party

Here’s a starting place for RepublicansHere’s one for Democrats. Keep in mind your party has a state chapter, too.

10. Join a campaign

If you find a local politician who represents the change you want to see in your community, contact their office to figure out how you can get involved in the campaign! Maybe they’ll have you stuff mailers or put up signs or some other boring task, but the boring tasks is what actually gets stuff done.

(adapted from “25 ways to be politically active whether you lean left or right” by AJ Willingham, CNN)

What We’re Reading Now–September edition

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith

This challenging and haunting debut novel straddles the line between horror and literary fiction, following three women in Vietnam in three different time periods: 1986, 2009, and 2011. In the 2011 narrative, young American ex-pat Winnie goes missing without a trace. The book is an unpredictable mash-up of Vietnamese folklore, colonial history, revenge, violence, and ghosts- all of which have something to do with Winnie’s disappearance. I have yet to finish the book, but the puzzle of these intersecting characters and timelines is intriguing and I’m looking forward to how this all comes together in the end. Nicole

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen 

The Vietnam War is coming to an end, and as Saigon is about to fall, a Captain begins to plan his General’s escape from the county.  Together, with a select few, they flee Saigon on one of the last army transports over-crowded with other refugees.  The Captain, half-French half-Vietnamese, a man of two minds, is a communist agent whose role is to observe and report back on the military cadre as they establish themselves in America.  As suspicion of a mole rises, the Captain must deflect attention away from himself at terrible costs.  This was an especially interesting and relevant contemplation of war, refugees, politics, and film considering the parallels of current events.  Trent

The Guncle by Stephen Rowley

Patrick loves his niece and nephew, but he is not prepared to be their caregiver when their mother dies and their father checks himself into rehab. A six and nine-year-old don’t really fit into his solitary actor’s life, but he’s resigned to making the best of it. He has Guncle Rules (Gay Uncle Rules) and treats for dinner. The trio stumbles through the summer not realizing how much they are all helping each other. I loved this one so much. It gave me the same feelings as The House in the Cerulean Sea-charming, delightful, and the perfect book for right now. This book was so funny I could almost forget it was, at its heart, a book about grief and loneliness. A must-read, feel-good story. Megan

Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah, Duchess of York

In 1865 London, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott is supposed to be delighted with the man her father chooses to be her husband. She is not! The night her engagement is to be announced, she runs off. Margaret’s family is embarrassed in front of 200 aristocratic guests. Her father refuses to have anything to do with her. Margaret is banished from the family and soon devotes her time and energy into helping the poor.  She heads to Ireland, America and then back to England. This is a fun gossipy tale. Emma

Something That May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel M. Lavery

Lavery’s collection of personal essays struck me with a range of emotions but mostly it had me laughing. This insightful and clever memoir switches from genres and formats with each chapter (and interludes) showcasing the author’s skill as a writer. I highly recommend the audiobook version which is read by the author. Greg

The Wonder Test by Michelle Richmond

On-leave FBI agent, Lina, and her son Rory head to Silicon Valley to clear out her recently deceased father’s house (which is in an extremely snobby and upscale neighborhood) as they are also recovering from her husband’s death. As Rory tries to adjust to life at his exclusive new school, he discovers all academics revolve around something called “The Wonder Test”, a national exam in which his school continuously places first. Students who do poorly on practice tests are required to see tutors in the evenings and on weekends, encouraged to “be sick” on exam days, and there have been some strange teen disappearances. Lina can’t help but to investigate as she attempts to make sense of this strange town and keep her son safe. Sara

Discover@RRPL.org

Tender is the Bite

by Spencer Quinn

Chet is the star in the 11th entry in the Chet and Bernie mystery series. Every smell, every sound, every event, and every person are described from Chet’s perspective. This is a tale of missing persons, murder and organized crime linked to a political candidate. For comic relief a ferret, named Griffie, makes an appearance that is not appreciated by Chet. Griffie adores Bernie which Chet cannot tolerate.

I have included a list of the books in the “Chet and Bernie” mystery series. This is a fun series for dog lovers. Chet has so much personality and so much respect for his owner Bernie. I recommend reading the books in order of publication.

Chet and Bernie Mystery series

  1. Dog on It – 2009
  2. Thereby Hangs a Tail – 2009
  3. To Fetch a Thief – 2010
  4. The Dog who knew too Much – 2011
  5. A Fistful of Collars – 2012
  6. The Sound and the Furry – 2013
  7. Paw and Order – 2014
  8. Scents and Sensibility – 2015
  9. Heart of Barkness – 2019
  10. Of Mutts and Men – 2020
  11. Tender is the Bite – 2021

Still to come in 2021 –

 12. It’s a Wonderful Woof

~Emma

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

These are the books we are adding to our collection this week. Click on the green text to go to our catalog and place a hold today!

The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye – After his Broadway theater baron father dies mysteriously, Ben Dane, his best friend Horatio and his artist ex-fiancé Lia, on one explosive night, are drawn into otherworldly events where the only outcome is death.

Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce – A young wartime advice columnist, Emmeline Lake must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends when the Ministry of Information calls on her to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort.

Ice and Stone by Marcia Muller – Hired by Crimes Against Indigenous Sisters, private investigator Sharon McCone goes undercover in Eiwok county on the Oregon border to determine who killed two women in the latest addition to the New York Times best-selling series.

Cul-de-sac by Joy Fielding – Five families on a quiet, suburban cul-de-sac deal with the shooting of one of their own and the secrets they each harbor, including newlyweds whose marriage is already on the rocks and a family who fled to Florida from California.

Vortex by Catherine Coulter – While FBI agent Sherlock helps an investigative journalist piece together the past to bring a killer to justice in the present, FBI agent Savich becomes a target as he protects a CIA operative who was betrayed on a compromised mission in Iran.

Mrs. March by Virginia Feito – When someone suggests that the protagonist in her husband’s latest book is based on her, Mrs. March questions everything she believes about her husband as she embarks on a harrowing journey that builds to near psychosis – one that may uncover a killer and the long-buried secrets of her past.

In the Country of Others by Leila Slimani – After marrying a handsome Moroccan soldier during World War II, a young Frenchwoman is torn as tensions mount between the locals and the French colonists in the new novel by the internationally best-selling author of The Perfect Nanny.

Gone for Good by Joanna Schaffhausen – Chicago Detective Annalisa Vega investigates when a new tally is added to the body count of the Lovelorn Killer, a notorious, local serial killer who has evaded the police and been dormant for 20 years.

Ramadan Ramsey by Louise Edwards – When Ramadan Ramsey, the son of a ninth generation New Orleans African American and a Syrian refugee, turns 17, he sets off to find the father he has never known – an adventure-filled journey filled that takes him from NOLA to Egypt, Istanbul and finally Syria.

This Will All Be over Soon: A Memoir by Cecily Strong – In this raw, unflinching memoir about loss, love, laughter and hope, a Saturday Night Live cast member tries to make sense of her beloved cousin’s death and embrace the life-affirming lessons he taught her in an upended world struck by the coronavirus pandemic.

Everything I Have Is Yours: A Marriage by Eleanor Henderson – A bestselling author looks back on her twenty-year marriage to a man who unraveled in front of her due to a mysterious chronic illness that led to his decreasing descent into mental illness.

The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey – Once obsessed with pre-Raphaelite paintings along with her four friends, which led to tragedy, Ruth returns home where her childhood friend Stuart quietly insinuates himself into their lives and gives Ruth’s 16-year-old daughter the attention she longs for.

~Semanur

Introducing Sara Dykman!

We are so very excited to have Sara Dykman come to speak with us on Monday, August 2. By now, you’ve read all about Sara’s book Bicycling with Butterflies, and her trip on Butterbike, where she travelled with the monarchs on their journeys North and South, visiting schools and nature centers on her quest to educate children and adults about the plights of these orange and black beauties.

But did you know that this is Sara’s fourth adventure journey? Sara belongs to a group called Beyond A Book, a group that describe themselves, as “…an adventure-linked education project that connects real-time adventures to classrooms creating opportunities for real-life learning inspires students to push their limits and explore the planet.”

I’m looking forward to asking Sara about how she got started on these adventures, what inspired her as a child to seek out opportunities to not only push herself physically, but help the planet at the same time? I’d also like to know more about her art (see the watercolor above). What a talented person!

I’ll leave you with this recommendation for the book from naturalist Jane Goodall. She describes the book as, “An extraordinary story in which Dykman seamlessly weaves together science, a real love of nature and the adventure and hazards of biking with butterflies from Mexico to Canada and back.”

Can’t wait to see you on August 2!

~Dori

Endangered, Vulnerable or Threatened, Oh My!

Like Sara Dykman’s journey in her book, Bicycling with Butterflies, monarch butterflies face a perilous journey of survival. If you’ve followed our blog this past month, you might wonder if monarch butterflies are an endangered species.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a bureau within the Department of the Interior and the premier government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats, the answer is, sadly, not yet.

On December 15, 2020, the bureau announced that while listing the Monarch as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act is warranted, the Monarch is still just a candidate in this process and its status remains under review annually until a decision is made.

Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), plant and animal species may be listed as either endangered or threatened. “Endangered” means a species is in danger of extinction. “Threatened” means a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.’

You can read the latest about the status of Monarchs here: News Releases – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (fws.gov) and learn more about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s conservation efforts here: Assessing the status of the monarch butterfly (fws.gov)

Knowledge is power. Consider yourself armed with it and decide what you can do to help protect monarch butterflies!

Words About Butterflies and a Butterfly Word Search

We are all reading Bicycling with Butterflies: My 10,201-Mile Journey Following the Monarch Migration by Sara Dykman here at Rocky River Public Library this month. It really is a fascinating read and an informative, adventure-filled ride. You’ll want to place your hold here.

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To get you in the spirit to follow Sara’s journey, here are a few interesting monarch butterfly facts from Save Our Monarchs, a grassroots, non-profit organization that is dedicated to saving the embattled monarch butterflies:

-Like many birds, monarch butterflies migrate south for the winter. They’re not able to survive winters in the US.

-The monarch butterfly is an incredible creature that starts as an egg and goes through three amazing transformations during its life. The egg hatches into a caterpillar, which forms a pupa (chrysalis), which is then transformed into the adult butterfly.

-Monarch butterflies taste and smell using their antennae and legs, which are covered with sensory cells called chemoreceptors. These chemoreceptors also help the Monarchs find Milkweed plants on which to lay their eggs.

Learn more at www.saveourmonarchs.org

Feeling inspired by these facts? Here’s a Monarch butterfly themed word search you can print and complete, just for fun:

Happy Reading! Until next time, Carol