ASSOCIATES (2012, March, v. 18, no. 3)


What book are you currently reading or have just recently finished. Also, let us know if you are reading the book using an electronic device.

I have just finished reading ‘Churchyard and Hawke’ / E.V. Thompson. It is a police procedural murder mystery based in 19th Century Cornwall, England. It wasn’t a bad read but it lacked a description of time and place.

Last time I wrote about the books I was reading I mentioned the bookmark in ‘Moby Dick’ hadn’t moved in the last 2 years. Well, the bookmark is still in the same place.

Kevin Dudeney

The book I have just read is The Bookman / Lavie Tidhar. I must confess that I chose this book from my local library a tad serendipitously. No prizes as to why… library …library technician .. Bookman fiction .. well you get the connection. Then I struggled. I have to say in the end I enjoyed the read, but I am not going to read the sequel. It is billed as an imaginative remix of history, technology and Victorian adventure. Now to the plot. Lizards from another planet have taken over the monarchy and rule Britain and the empire. There are automatons (think of the replicants in Blade Runner) and famous Victorians (Gilgamesh, Sherlock Holmes, Lord Byron and Isobel Beeton) working against the Lizards as is the main character. All this is set in an era of candle lighting and horse and carriage and futuristic technology or as it is know – “steam punk”. A quick Wikipedia read will tell you that “Steampunk involves a setting where steam power is still widely used usually Victorian era Britain or “Wild West”era United States that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology, or futuristic innovations as Victorians might have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology includes such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.” I confess I haven’t work in public libraries for a long time so I can’t claim to be up on all fiction trends but this genre caught me pleasantly by surprise.

Lothar Von Retzlaff
Perth, Western Australia

Jack Kerorac. The sea is my brother.

As this novel lets you into the transient lifestyle of a sailor in1940’s you feel enveloped in the social scenes and opportunities not to be missed.

The atmosphere of young people and the separation from family life and loved ones is explored in this momentous account.

Kerry Borg

I’m currently more than half way through Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls. I’m waking myself at night to read more! I’m quite gripped by his whole adventure, and especially his positive approach to life. The tales of his SAS training are very gripping. Each chapter is very short so it’s almost like reading a short story compilation. Can’t wait for him to get up Everest. His Christian faith is quite apparent. I didn’t expect to enjoy such a macho story (no sexist comments please!).

Highly recommended.

Just old-fashioned paper for me!

Christine Roberts
Nambour Christian College
Woombye, Queensland

I have recently read ‘A genius in my basement’ by Alexander Masters, the same guy who wrote ‘Stuart a life backward’s, so I had high expectations. It is about a guy who was a child genius in England. It is a biography about his life, he is a mathematician and lives a happy different life. The book was good, and he has a lovely easy style of writing, I skipped over all the maths equations. I too didn’t finish Moby Dick.

Janine Thom

Helen Chuckrow here, a clerk at the Ossining, NY public library. Last book I read was ‘Empire of the Summer Moon’. Amazing recounting of the Comanches, who dominated parts or all of the lands that became five states for 150 years! Really gripping book.

Helen Chuckrow
Ossining, NY

‘The bring cafe’’ by Susan Duncan. Not just an eBook but borrowed from Morton Bay Regional Libraries and on my phone.

I have enjoy Susan’s other books and this is no exception. An easy read after a hard day, some poignant moments shared without the sap, and leaves me with a smile. After my last read, Dean Koontz’ ‘False memory’ I am enjoying a light read. (also an eBook)

Corrine Hills

I have just finished reading ‘Jack and the Team That Couldn’t See’ by Tony Wilson. It is a book about managing teams whether that is a team at work or a sporting team. The first part of the book is a (fictional?) narrative based on his experiences coaching an Under 9 soccer team, with references to managing people in a work setting. Part 2 summarises the elements of successful leadership. The book was easy to read and is relevant to managing any sort of team.

Alison Curry

I am reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Larson. I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and was hooked on the trilogy. Have not seen the movie, though.

Beth Duncan
Jackson County Public Library
Seymour, IN

‘Kiss Me If You Dare’, the third book in the Patricia Amble Mystery Series, begins with Trish, a house renovator, landing in California in an unofficial witness protection program. Uncertain of what she left behind, she only hopes that her fiancé will call and take her home and that her life there is still intact. Unfortunately, the man who has set up protection for her falls short of his duties. Author, Nicole Young, keeps the reader in suspense with what happens next. ‘Love Me If You Must’ and ‘Kill Me If You Dare’ are the first and second books in this entertaining series. I read all three on my Kindle.

Penny McGinnis
Clermont College Library
Batavia, OH

I just finished reading ‘The Winter Sea’ by Susanna Kearsley, and I must say that it is probably the best book I have read in the past 4 years. The story is about an author of historical fiction who decides to set her next novel in Scotland in and around the year 1708 when exiled James Stewart is anticipated to return from France to claim his throne. The author in the story even takes a rental cottage near her story’s location to hopefully help inspire her novel and also to have research opportunities closer at hand. However, the story gets very interesting when the author of the novel begins to find her own present day life paralleling that of one of the characters in her story, which she had off – handedly named after one of her own ancestors, and whom, as it turns out, actually lived the story she is writing. This book was very well researched and written, and was nearly impossible to put down. I would give it a definite ‘two thumbs up’ rating, and recommend it to those who enjoy reading mystery and historical fiction. A very satisfying read!

C. Krisanne Hickman
John F. Kennedy Elementary
Kingsport, TN

I just finished “The Cat’s table’/Michael Ondaatje. This is a lovely book that you want to savour rather than read quickly. The story is told by a 11 year old boy who is travelling alone on an ocean liner from Sri Lanka to England in the early 1950’s. Michael Ondaatje is an excellent writer whose prose brings such a sense of place that you can almost smell the ocean air and feel the ship moving as you read. This is a moving tale of friendship and adventure.

‘The Cat’s table’ book (hardcover print) was a Christmas gift. I do not have an e-reader, however, I subscribe to Dailylit online and receive a chapter of a book a day. I am currently reading ‘Don Quixote’/Miguel de Cervantes and as of Friday I am have read chapter 214 of 454. It takes a while but I find this short read a nice break every afternoon.

Brenda McKenna
Angus L. Macdonald Library
St. Francis Xavier University
Antigonish, NS, Canada

I just finished the hard back copy (borrowed from a friend) of ‘Welcome to the World, Baby Girl’ by Fannie Flagg. It is a great read. It is about a woman, named Dena, who is in broadcasting, tends to drink too much and has an ulcer. It follows Dena, her quirky relatives, friends and others she encounters on her journey of self discovery.

Diann Cullen
NOAA Library
Boulder Labs

I just finished ‘11/22/63’ by Stephen King, on my Nook reader. It’s about a present-day high school teacher who learns about a time portal, which takes him back in time to 1958. He accepts a mission to go through the portal; the ultimate goal is thwarting President Kennedy’s assassination. In my humble opinion, it has something for everyone: time travel, nostalgia, romance, friendship, politics, action … and it makes you wonder, if you could change the past, should you?

Christine Shearman
Fidelity Investments
Merrimack, NH

I am not using electronic readers; I’m still old fashioned enough to like turning pages.

1. ‘Let me hear your voice’ / Catherine Maurice. Non-fiction. A first person account of a family’s triumph over autism. A gripping read. Surreal at times considering the parents had no medical background and had to read voraciously to get even some idea of what was wrong, and then had to keep pushing the medical system to find somebody qualified to give them some kind of valid diagnosis. Raises the question: what does a family do if there is more than one child involved? Especially, interesting considering the rise in diagnosis in autism and autism spectrum disorders in this day and time. Early diagnosis seems critical for intervention. I learned a lot about autism, therapeutic alternatives, and the power of persistence and the human mind.

2. ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat’ / Oliver Sacks. Non-fiction. A series of stories about neurological cases the author encountered over his years in practice. Very interesting.

3. ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ / Michael Connelly. Fiction. This was recently a movie starring Matthew McConaughey; it’s now out on RedBox. A lawyer has a mobile office in his Lincoln automobile that sports license plates that say “nt guilty.” He screens his prospective clients based on their ability to pay. He takes on a client who he thinks might be a financial bonanza but instead finds himself face-to-face with a master manipulator, one whose skills may even exceed his own. A grittier read than I’m used to, but the story was compelling.

4. ‘Still Alice’ / Lisa Genova. Fiction. A brilliant, successful woman faces a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease and all that means. Compelling reading. A must for anyone who knows someone who is affected by Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.

Linda Lemery
Averett University Library
Danville, VA

I just finished “The Dog Who Knew Too Much”, the fourth book in the Chet and Bernie mystery series by Spencer Quinn. These delightful light mysteries are narrated by the dog (Chet) as he and his detective owner/partner Bernie try to solve various assignments. This title dealt with a boy who disappears during an overnight hike, but there are many other threads involved which pull together characters and relationships from the previous books. These are fast-paced and funny, with some great characters, a little romance (even for Chet!), and the extra fun of looking at life from a dog’s point of view ( think Squirrel!!! Squirrel!!!). The books should really be read in order, to build up the history of Bernie’s divorce and relationship with his ex-wife and son, Chet’s references to previous cases, and the tantalizing question… why did Chet really flunk out of police dog training school? Don’t use e-readers, I much prefer the book in my hands… and the enjoyment of stumbling onto a series like this simply by noticing the first book as it came thru the book drop one day!

Diane Hollendonner
Jacksonville Public Library
Jacksonville, IL

I’m reading two books right now. In non-fiction, I’m reading ‘The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories’, by Christopher Booker. Some of it is very interesting, but his explanation tends to wander and meander. Unfortunately, it sometimes comes across like a boring text book from high school.

I’m also re-reading ‘Big Sur’, by Jack Kerouac. It’s one of Kerouac’s last books (2nd to last in his On the Road/Duluoz series). It’s sad and joyful, and the writing is some of the closest to poetry in Kerouac’s career. A wonderful book.

Michael Bradshaw
Supreme Court of Ohio Law Library
Columbus, OH

I have just finished ‘The Confession’ by John Grisham. Read it on my Kindle Fire.

Vicki Jo Beglau
Willamette University
J.W. Long Law Library
Salem, Oregon

I have just finished reading ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockton. It’s a great look at relationships and race relations in the Southern US. I have not yet seen the movie, but those who have seen it tell me the movie follows the book quite well. I have also just finished reading ‘Affair of Steak’, the latest in the White House Chef murder mystery series by Julie Hyzy. White House chef Olivie (Ollie) Paras is a great cook and a great sleuth. The recipes included appear to be yummy, although I’ve not yet tried them, but, for me, the real interest is the “backstage at the White House”. I expect even readers not in the US would enjoy that, because I’d surmise that all head of state/head of government residences are similar.

Mary T. Kalnin
260 Suzzallo Library
University of Washington Libraries
Seattle, WA

Currently reading: ‘Reading in the Brain: the Science and Evolution of a Human Invention’ by Stanislaus Dehaene. It discusses the way the brain works when it is reading, why reading is an invention and not a natural process, and other things about how people read. It was recommended by John Mediema (Slow Reading)

‘Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, and Dogen’s Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye’ by Brad Warner (Hardcore Zen). I am re-reading it in conjunction with a class I am taking on Mindful Meditation.

‘The Door into Summer’ by Robert Heinlein. I just finished reading a couple of various non-science fiction series and just got TDIS for my Kindle. Heinlein bears re-reading periodically.

Barbara Trumpinski-Roberts
Funk ACES Library

I’m presently reading a memoir called “Shade it Black: Life and After in Iraq” by Jess Goodell. Ms. Goodell enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from high school and in the book describes her harrowing experience serving in Iraq in the Mortuary Affairs unit. Tasked with retrieving and processing the remains of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians, the author describes in heart-wrenching detail things that no one should ever have to witness and the resulting effects on her body and mind. She also chronicles the many challenges of being a woman in the USMC and her struggles upon returning to life as a veteran suffering from PTSD.

To lighten things up a bit, I am also listening to “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck on CD.

Jill Baker

I’m reading Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. Want to finish it before I see the movies. I finished ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, and am now on ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire’. Next up will by ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest’. The library has all three of the Swedish movies, which I want to watch before I see the Hollywood version. So far is very enthralling.

June Power
Mary Livermore Library
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Pembroke, NC

I am currently reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. It is very interesting and challenges many of my assumptions about what Germany and the German people were doing during the time of Hitler. It also makes me take a hard look at my life as well and the current political situation here.

Wayne Owen

I’ve just finished reading ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ by Diana Setterfield in paperback, and am a few pages (screens?) into ‘The Cellist of Sarajevo’ by Steven Galloway on my kindle. Love the kindle, and I plan to try reading a book on my iPad soon.

‘The Thirteenth Tale’ is a modern twist on the Gothic novel form that included lively imagery and fairly complex characters and relationships.

Jacki Betsworth
DeWitt Wallace Library
Macalester College Library

I’m just returning to the library, Andrea Wulf’s ‘Founding Gardeners’, a treatise on the interplay between gardening and politics among the American Revolutionary generation. I learned that garden design was political: Tory gardens were more formal and artificial, while Whig (and Revolutionary) gardens were more Romantic, with winding paths and surprising vistas. The love of gardening was a bond and a bridge between widely differing points of view. The book is very good at describing basic issues, such as the rift between Madison and Hamilton. I was hoping for more about aesthetics and worldviews, but it was a good read. Another memorable nonfiction work was “Last to Leave the Field,” a collection of Civil War letters written by and to a sergeant in the 28th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. I really like source material like diaries and letters, if they are interesting, which this one is. The editor did a wonderful job giving the reader the context in which the letters were written.

Probably the best novel I read this past year was Brian Doyle’s ‘Mink River’, an exuberant explosion of language about a mythical town on the Oregon Coast. Not the great American novel, not even the great Oregon novel, but ‘Mink River’ might be the Great Oregon Coast Novel – maybe even better than Ken Kesey’s, ‘Sometimes a Great Notion’ – it is that good.

Susan Gilmont
Guin Library, Hatfield Marine Science Ctr
Oregon State University
Newport, OR

I just finished ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ by Rostand. The book (not nook, real book) was published in 1933, small and compact, and had the full play, not a narrative. I had forgotten how beautiful the poetry is and how much I actually recognized that has been included in other sources. A true love story. A step back in time. Next up is Carl Sagan’s, ‘The Varieties of Scientific Experience’ about the relation of science and religion. Should not be a spoiler to say he believes in both.

Nancy Bolt
LSSC Project Co-Director

Hi, following is a mini-book review:

Quirky and clever is ‘The Cloud Collector’s Handbook’ by G. Pretor-Pinney. The book is a scientific look at clouds in plain terms for the rest of us. Its definitions of cloud types have more than a tinge of English humour (“Lenticularis … often look remarkably like flying saucers. Presumably, when they were named, no one could think of the Latin word for ‘shaped like a UFO’”). Enjoyable, instructive and available via and The Cloud Appreciation Society homepage.

Jack Taylor

Professionally: The Long Tail / Chris Anderson

Personally: The Hanging Valley / Peter Robinson

Emma Datson

A Wisconsin girl, born and bred, I’ve recently discovered Jerry Apps and have been reading his series – started with ‘Blue Shadows Farm’, which began during the Civil War with a New York soldier homesteading in Central Wisconsin, then moved back 30 years or so to ‘The Travels of Increase Joseph’ which has a travelling preacher come here and begin a church. I just finished ‘In a Pickle’, set in the 1940s and 50s, the beginning of the big farm era, and I have ‘Cranberry Red’, “portraying the challenges of agriculture in the twenty-first century” yet to enjoy. I’m learning things I didn’t know (milking cows was ‘women’s work’) revisiting things I did, and enjoying both immensely.

I’m also reading ‘The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East’ for my book club. That’s going considerably more slowly.

Jeanette L. Skwor
Cofrin Library
University of WI – Green Bay
Green Bay, WI.

I am almost finished re-reading Amanda Quick’s “Burning Lamp” and should finish it today. “Amanda Quick” is the pseudonym that Jayne Ann Krentz uses for her Victorian era paranormal mystery romances. This is Book Two of her Dreamlight trilogy.

Since I’m a chain reader, I have “File M for Murder” / Miranda James, waiting in the wings, his latest “A cat in the stacks mystery”.

Tina Gunther
Biola University,
La Mirada, CA

I am currently reading. ‘Death in Holy Orders’ by P. D. James. Set at St. Anselm’s Seminary in England. New Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgleish is asked to look into the death
of Ronald Treeves, a student at St. Anselm’s. I understand this book had been made into a TV Series in about 2003-2004, but I never saw it.

Cindy Harris
Randolph Public Library
Randolph, KS.

I tend to read several books at once. Right now, I’m into: ‘I am a strange loop’ / by Douglas Hofstadter, ‘Living in the end times’ / by Slavoj Zizek, ‘Without conscience’ / by Robert Hare, ‘Political ponerology’ / by Andrew Lobaczewski, Geological guide, ‘South Greenland’ / by Henning Sorensen, and a ‘Buffie the Vampire’ Slayer novel.

John G. Marr
Univ. of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM.

This is always a question that any bibliophile enjoys. I am currently in the middle of reading two books. One is “The Bully, the Bullied and the By-stander” by Barbara Coloroso. Very good and timely. The other one is “In the Garden of Beasts’”by Erik Larson. Also very good. I enjoy his writing.

The last book that I picked up but just couldn’t get into unfortunately was Christopher Paolini’s new book “Inheritance.” Rather disappointing, that, considering I was so looking forward to it.

Kathy Fictorie
John and Louise Hulst Library,
Dordt College

I’ve almost finished the third book in Mary Stewarts Merlin trilogy. I bought these books when they first came out in the late 70’s-80s and usually give them an annual reading over the Christmas and New Year break. It is Merlin’s story told in the first person of his birth and his upbringing. Finishing with the ascent of Arthur to the throne and Merlin’s own end. All without the magic of the films and TV series.

Marilyn Morton
Adsetts Centre
Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield, England

I’m in the middle of an ebook I just recently got. The first in the series was very good. I’m reading the 2nd one now – ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ by J. Carson Black.

Jody Crocker
Hale Library
Manhattan, KS.

One of the great perks of attending library conferences are the wealth of Advance Reader Copy books! I am reading an “ARC” of Adriana Trigiani’s new book, ‘The Shoemaker’s Wife’. Adriana presents the fictionalized account of the life of her grandfather, a shoemaker, and her grandmother, who was a seamstress. The story begins in the Italian Alps in 1905 and tells the improbable tale of their separate immigration to the United States and finding each other in the land of opportunity. You can read more about the book here:

Jennifer S. Kutzik
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO.

I just finished ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’, by Richard Dawkins. He calls it a pilgrimage to the dawn of life, and just like the pilgrim in the ‘Canterbury Tales’, we meet a number of interesting characters on the way. His ability to arrange such a volume of information in a logical order, weaving it all together in a witty, erudite and Chauceresque narrative actually clarified what I thought I already knew. Opposable thumbs up!

Ken Hopson
VCU Libraries

I’m finishing “11/22/63” by Stephen King. This is the date when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, TX. But what if someone found a way to go back in time to stop the assassination? If the assassination were stopped, what would happen to the present?

This is a fat book but a real page-turner. From start to finish, King has held my attention (as usual), filled with unexpected twists and turns, and the end is a definite surprise. Anyone who enjoys his books would really love this one!

My copy of this book is hardcover. I don’t know if it comes in ebook format yet.

Barbara Edwards
ENMU-Ruidoso Library
Ruidoso, NM

If you are interested in more “description of time and place”, I would suggest any in the series of “Thomas and Charlotte Pitt” a series of books by Anne Perry, it describes Victorian England really well. The first in the series is called: ‘The Cater Street Hangman’. Although, the books are mainly pitched to women, I am sure men would enjoy them also.

Still with Anne Perry and her Murder Mysteries, there is also a series featuring “William Monk” these are set in slightly earlier times – just after the Crimean War and start off with ‘The Face of a Stranger’.

I am a fan of both series as well as her novellas set with a Christmas theme. She also writes novels set in World War 1, one in a fantasy genre and one set in Byzantine times – which I was not too thrilled about.

Martina Munn
Norman Waterhouse

I’ve recently finished Daughter of the Forest, which is the first in Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters trilogy. As a Celtic historical fantasy it gives an amazing feel of the landscape and connection to nature. The story focuses on the experience of Sorcha, the daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Sorcha’s task is to rescue her six brothers from a spell by sewing garments from a nettle-like plant. However, the story is about more than just her painful toil, the magical and mysterious world around them really draws you in. The use of language is beautiful and I enjoyed the story – even in the difficult parts. That’s probably as much as I can say, I would really recommend this and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

My other recent read was ‘Lost in Translation’, which was simultaneously awe-inspiring and devastating (much like Daughter of the Forest).

I read both books in print format – I’m getting through my “to read” backlog.

Sonja Barfoed