Book Buzz: Pack Horse Librarians, Camels out West, and Presidential Assassinations

Note: Back to regularly scheduled blogging. Though our library building is still currently closed to the public, you can still request these books–or any item in our system–through our online catalog and receive them through our curbside pickup service. The link to the catalog will be at the end of the post. Thanks!

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For March, we’re looking at the If All Arkansas Read the Same Book pick for 2020, an unusual Western, and the most comprehensive look at a significant American tragedy.

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Your Library Card, Your Ticket to the World: Japan

Our library theme for 2020 is Your Library Card, Your Ticket to the World–because with the library, you truly can travel around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. Every month in 2020, we’ll be landing at a new place on the globe. We’re in Japan for March.

Japan, with its fascinating culture and stunning landscapes, is a favorite destination in fiction for readers and writers alike–and for good reason! We’ve got a wide-ranging collection of books (and movies) set in Japan, many of them from Japanese authors/creators. It’s a little something for everyone.

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Book Buzz: The Overland Trail, Royal Rebels, and Mr. Rogers

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For February, we’re looking at a 19th century tale of adventure on the road out West, a fictional look at one of the more infamous members of the British Royal Family, and a biography of a beloved TV star.

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Your Library Card, Your Ticket To The World: Alaska

Our library theme for 2020 is Your Library Card, Your Ticket to the World–because with the library, you truly can travel around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. Every month in 2020, we’ll be landing at a new place on the globe, but we’re starting off in Alaska.

The rugged beauty of Alaska has long inspired writers (and readers!), so it is not surprising how many books set in Alaska are in our system. And there’s a little something for every reader, regardless of preferred genre.

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Jojo Moyes’s The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars

Alice seems to have jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. In her native England during the Great Depression, she is bored and unhappy, and when she meets a handsome American man named Bennett, she quickly marries him to escape. When they relocate to his home state of Kentucky, she expects a well-to-do urban life, centered perhaps in Lexington. Instead, she finds herself in remote Eastern Kentucky, in impoverished coal country, trapped in an unhappy marriage. When the local pack horse library needs volunteers, Alice signs up, mainly as an excuse to get out of her house and away from her husband and father-in-law. At first, Alice is horrified by the rough people she encounters on her route, but she soon falls in love with her work, the people, and the mountains. Still, the solace she finds in work does nothing to ease her troubles at home. Complications ensue. . . .

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Mary Doria Russell’s Doc (2011)

Doc

Doc Holliday probably needs no introduction. He’s one of the more mythic figures of the American West–the well-educated, consumptive, Georgia-born dandy, dentist, and gambler/gunfighter who tag-teamed with the Earp Brothers for the Gunfight at the OK Corral in the Arizona boomtown of Tombstone.

Most pop culture depictions of Holliday offer the legend called Doc. Though Mary Doria Russell chose that nickname as the title for her book, her focus is much more on the John Henry Holliday lurking underneath the legend.

This book was suggested to me by Leslie, one of my undergraduate English professors. Last year, she recommended The Hunting Accident to me, and recently, she asked me if I was familiar with Russell’s work. I quickly remedied that oversight, and I am so glad I did. Thanks for the wonderful recommendation, Leslie!

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Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

At the Berryville Library this summer, we’re all busy reading the books on the Great American Read list and pondering which ones we’ll vote for in the Great Berryville Read. When I mentioned the Great American Read to my friend and one of my former English professors Elise Bishop, she mentioned really enjoying A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Well, that was one I hadn’t read, so I was determined to make it one of my selections. I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed it! (Thanks again for the great suggestion, Mrs. B!)

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