Musings

Back to the Abbey!

Have you missed Lord Grantham and the rest of his family? Do you want to hear more of Maggie Smith’s caustic remarks as the Dowager Countess? Do you need more jeweled gowns and formal manners? Luckily, the Downton Abbey movie opens in theaters on September 20, 2019.

While you’re waiting for the opening of the movie, you might need to brush up on all things Downton. The Aurora Public Library District has a complete set of the TV episodes on DVD to binge on, as well as several books that cover everything from television series episodes to Highclere Castle, the setting for the show.

Downton Abbey DVDs  Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

Browse through any of these Downton Abbey books to refresh your memory about characters and plot lines. Don’t forget to check out the Downton books on OverDrive, also.

The World of Downton Abbey    Downton Abbey: a Celebration

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey    Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey

See you at the cinema!

Roald Dahl: #1 Storyteller

Roald Dahl was a spy, a pilot, a chocolate historian and an inventor!

He was also a beloved author of many original and entertaining children’s books.

Roald Dahl was born in Wales on September 13, 1916 to Harald Dahl and Sofie Hesselberg. His parents named him after the first man to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen.

His mother sent him to several boarding schools in which many bizarre events happened and later were written in his autobiography, Boy. At one of his boarding schools, the pupils were invited to test chocolate bars which helped inspire Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

His lust to travel took him from Canada to East Africa until the start of World War II where he enlisted into the Royal Air Force at 23 years old. After receiving severe injuries in the Western Desert, and after recovering from those injuries in Alexandria, he returned to the fight by taking part in the Battle of Athens. Afterwards, he became a spy for MI6.

In 1961, he wrote James and the Giant Peach, which was quickly followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He also wrote several screenplays and adult novels. In 1970, a year before the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was released, he published Fantastic Mr. Fox

In the early 80s, he published The Twits, The BFG, and The WitchesMatilda was published in 1988 and Esio Trot in 1990.

Many of his works have been adapted as films and will forever entertain children and adults for generations to come!

To help us celebrate Roald Dahl, stop by the library on Roald Dahl Day (September 13) and check out some his works and adaptations!

 

At the Crossroads

We’ve been planning, we’ve been anticipating, and we’ve been building! The Crossroads: Change in Rural America exhibit at the Dillsboro Public Library is officially open on Saturday, September 7, 2019. You can explore the exhibit whenever the Dillsboro Public Library is open, including special exhibit hours on Sundays from 1-4 pm. We just ask that if you plan to bring a large group, please call ahead to let us know.

You can get a sneak preview of the exhibit by viewing this video produced by Indiana Humanities. You can also read about the exhibit at this link to Discovering Home: Your Friendly Guide to Rural Indiana. When you tour the exhibit, we have a special photo opportunity for you; take a picture and tag it #RuralCrossroads.

Many Americans consider rural communities to be endangered and hanging on by a thread—suffering from brain drain, inadequate schools, and a barren, overused landscape. Why should revitalizing the rural places left behind matter to those who remain, those who left, and those who will come in the future? Because there is much more to the story of rural America.

Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred.

Despite the massive economic and demographic impacts brought on by these changes, America’s small towns continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development. Economic innovation and a focus on the cultural facets that make small towns unique, comfortable, and desirable have helped many communities create their own renaissance. The future is bright for much of rural America as small towns embrace the notion that their citizens and their cultural uniqueness are important assets.

We hope that hosting the Crossroads exhibit will allow people in southeastern Indiana an opportunity to think about the changes that have taken place and how local communities can respond to the change. Please bring your family and friends with you to the exhibit and talk about the content. What in the display challenges you? What can you do to enhance the sense of community in your hometown? What assets do you bring to the table?

Last spring, the Aurora Public Library District asked Dillsboro Elementary School students to write about their vision for Dillsboro. The essays and drawing will be on display during the exhibit, along with the photographs we received for our Dillsboro Photo Contest. We also have 2 special evening programs tied to the exhibit.

  • On Thursday, September 26th, at the Dillsboro Public Library, Pamela Carralero from Purdue University will present “Valuing Hoosier Communities and Environments through Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior.” The program begins at 6:30 pm and will encourage those attending to reflect on how and why we value the Hoosier environment we live within.
  • On Wednesday, October 9th, at 6:30 pm at the Dillsboro Public Library, Indiana singer/songwriter Kevin Stonerock will perform and will share the way his rural upbringing has influenced his music.

Thank you to all the local people who have participated in bringing this exhibit to town. You have been a wonderful example of the community spirit!

Smithsonian Logo

Helen Hoang: The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test

 

A couple weeks ago, I sat down and read the summary for The Kiss Quotient. written by Helen Hoang. I was curious and interested, because I’d never read a romance novel where one of the main characters was diagnosed with a disorder. So I thought, let’s take a chance; I bought the book, and started reading it.

I was not let down!

I loved the book! I loved the main character Stella, and I loved her love interest Michael! I enjoyed reading about a character who was on the spectrum and how, even with being on the spectrum, she gets her guy! I completely understood all the hype about this book.

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan.

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic.

I really loved the characters and everything about Stella. I loved how Helen didn’t shove Stella’s ‘disorder’ in our face, but let us learn slowly that she had Asperger’s. I enjoyed reading about Stella’s life and understanding more about Asperger’s Syndrome and how it affects Stella’s everyday life. It was amazing to read a different type of romance instead of our normal everyday “run of the mill” romance. I was especially happy to read more about Asian culture! She incorporated the perfect amount of education and entertainment to even out the playing field.

Helen Hoang’s journey with this book is just as beautiful as the story.  She wanted to write a gender-swapped Pretty Woman, but couldn’t figure out why a successful, beautiful woman would hire an escort. So when her daughter’s preschool teacher informed her that she thought her daughter was on the spectrum, Helen started doing research. So she thought, “That’s an interesting reason to hire an escort.”

From there, she started researching autism solely for her book and ran into the difference between men and women on the spectrum; women have learned to mask their autism and to copy peers. While she was reading, she started to think about the things she does. “I tap my teeth, but I tap them because no one can see. Because if you move your fingers or you move your body or you rock in your chair, then people will see, and that’s no good, it has to be secret … and that put me on this journey where I started to explore, could I be on the spectrum?.” 

While Helen learned more about her new character Stella, she learned more about herself, and then the diagnosis came, and her first novel was born.

Helen has released book two in The Kiss Quotient Series,  The Bride Testand was inspired by a website that stated autistic people were heartless and that they couldn’t experience injustice. So her new character Khai was born. She wanted to display that just because autistic people don’t operate on the same wavelength as everyone else and don’t show their emotions as much as others, doesn’t mean they don’t have those emotions. She was also inspired by her own mother’s story of being a Vietnamese refugee. Helen decided to base her heroine, Esme Tran, on her mother’s story and the inner strength she needed to create a new life for herself.

Book three in the series is expected to be published next year!

This is definitely a book that will stay with you for awhile and make you come back and think about it months after finishing! She’s officially been tagged as one of my new favorite authors!

I want to believe that I can be a main character, I can be a leading character in my life, that I can have a happily ever after, that I can find true love, and I can get married, and conquer, and be happy.

-Helen Hoang on why she has characters on the spectrum

National Skyscraper Day

Did you know that September 3rd is National Skyscraper Day? I certainly didn’t! In honor of these engineering marvels, here are some skyscraper books for kids (or adults). Why September 3rd? This day is the birthday of Louis Sullivan, widely considered the “father of the skyscraper”. Sullivan pioneered new construction techniques, mentored Frank Lloyd Wright, and was a member of the Prairie School of Architecture.

Skyscrapers by John B. Severance Skyscraper: from the Ground Up by Susan E. Goodman Engineering World Trade One by Cecilia Pinto McCarthy

Unbuilding by David Macaulay   Building Math by John Perritano

The books shown above are probably best for older kids, but the next two work well for younger children. Skyscraper Projects would actually be great for a family activity day and is part of a series with great hands-on activities. On the Construction Site is one of the books in the Shine-a-Light series of picture books. Shining a flashlight on the pages will reveal hidden pictures.

Engineer It! Skyscraper Projects by Carolyn Bernhardt  On the Construction Site by Carron Brown

Have fun learning about skyscrapers, and maybe building some of your own!

This Day in History August 31, 1888

On this day in 1888, prostitute Mary Ann Nichols is found murdered and mutilated. Mary Ann is the first known victim of London’s notorious serial killer known as JACK THE RIPPER. Over the next few months, four more victims would be identified as being killed by the same man, but no suspect was found.  It is believed that “Whitechapel Jack” was behind the murders of Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly; however, some believe that Jack The Ripper could have been responsible for up to eleven separate murders in London between 1888 and 1891. There has been endless speculation, and there have been numerous claims to have “solved” the Whitechapel murders, but historians and other “experts” cannot agree.  History buffs, true crime fans, and mystery lovers can all agree it is a case that intrigues us still to this day.

Jack the Ripper has inspired numerous accounts of his heinous crimes on film and in print, including both fiction and non-fiction. Will this case ever be solved?

The Cases That Haunt Us: From Jack the Ripper to Jon Benet Ramsey, The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Sheds New Light on the Mysteries That Won't Go Away Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tessa Dare: Girl Meets Duke

Who is Tessa Dare?

Well, she’s a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. She is “a librarian by training and a book lover at heart”. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and many kitties.

What does she write?

Tessa Dare writes amazing historical romances that are just to die for. She mixes emotion, love, sensuality, romance, and drama together and creates amazing stories and characters that will stay on your mind for years to come! Her stories are generally set in the regency time period (1811-1820), so no outrageously poofy dresses or white wigs.

Why is she different than other historical romance authors?

She creates unique heroines who engages in ‘unladylike’ pursuits from paleontology to beer-making. She also dreams up strong-willed heroic men who find their hearts captured by these heroines.

What’s Girl Meets Duke?

Girl Meets Duke is a new series Tessa Dare is writing that can also be read as stand-alone. Each book features a new couple and a new story line. Each male character is a Duke while the ladies each venture into a new world of sin….romance…and love. So far there are three published works with another title in the works!

Can I check them out?

Luckily for you, the Aurora Public Library has purchased them in both hardback and eBook! The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game can be found in our adult fiction in the D’s. The Wallflower Wager can be found on our New Releases shelf.

 

Set on the Subcontinent

The Indian subcontinent has an appealing allure with sites of incredible natural beauty, a myriad of cultures, and a complex history. Even if you can’t manage an actual trip to India, reading books set in India can give you a small taste of the complexity of Indian society. In no particular order, here’s a sample of books to get you started on your adventure.

The Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan

 

Padma Viswanathan brings to life the story of one member of a Brahmin household from 1896 through 1960 in The Toss of a Lemon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey Sujata Massey has a new mystery series set in 1920s Bombay and based loosely on that city’s first female lawyer. The series begins with The Widows of Malabar Hill and continues with The Satapur Moonstone.

 

 

 

 

Also set in the 1920s, but in Calcutta rather than Bombay, Abir Mukherjee’s Sam Wyndham series features a Scottish detective with an Indian partner. These books provide an interesting contrast between the members of the British ruling class and the Indians who fill many of the government positions.

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee  A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee  Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee

Arundhati Roy’s books have been critically acclaimed, including a Booker Prize for The God of Small Things.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Any of these works of literature will transport you to a new world full of family drama, cultural nuances, and unfamiliar landscapes.

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar The Way Things Were by Aatish Taseer

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth The Romantics by Pankaj Mishra Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya

You’ll be intrigued by the locations you’ll visit in these books, so you may want to check out our travel guide to India to learn more. You can also get more information through Global Road Warrior, an online resource available through the library webpage. Just sign in with your library card number!

 

Eloisa James: The Wildes of Lindow Castle

Who is Eloisa James?

Eloisa James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a mother and a wife. When Eloisa isn’t writing novels, she is a Shakespeare professor.

What does Eloisa James write?

Eloisa James writes historical romances. Occasionally, you can find some Shakespearean themes within her stories.

Why is she different than other historical romance authors?

Eloisa James uses her own experiences as a mother in her stories. From a miscarriage to her own daughter’s problems as an infant, she connects each of her stories to herself in some unique way.

What’s The Wildes of Lindow Castle?

The Wildes of Lindow Castle is a series Eloisa James has began in 2017. The series follows the large family of the Duke of Lindow and is set in a castle. Think of Modern Family with a little of Downton Abbey mixed in. The stories are all set in the Georgian time period; yes, that means big wigs and poofy skirts! This also marks the beginning of the celebrity culture due to the printing press.

Where can I read them?

Print books by Eloisa James can be found in the Large Print collection or the Adult Fiction area under “J” for James. There are even more choices in our digital library.

 

Reading for a Book Challenge

One of the advantages of Book Clubs and Reading Challenges is that we are encouraged to read books we wouldn’t normally pick up. For the past few years, members of my family have participated in a Reading Challenge we downloaded from https://www.popsugar.com/. Each year, the website publishes a list of approximately 40 book categories, some of which are actually quite ridiculous. On January 1st, it’s game on!

My go-to genre is historical fiction, so here are some of the other books I’ve read this year to fulfill the Reading Challenge.

The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith                        Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh

        Set in Scandinavia                                                                    An Asian author

The Wall by John Lanchester                   The Music Room by Namita Devidayal 

      A Climate-Change novel                                                            A book written by a musician

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon                      Circe by Madeline Miller

        Takes place in a single day                                                            Based on mythology

The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll                             Sweet Caress by William Boyd

Recommended by a celebrity I admire                                         Title contains the word “sweet”

All of these turned out to be great reads even if they were different from my normal choices. I’ve also had fun comparing notes with other family members working on the same challenge!

What have you read this year that was a stretch for you? Have you discovered an interest in a new genre? Pass the word along, so we can try it, too.