Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Novels - Fiction or Fact? Or a little of both?

Ok, when you are reading a novel have you ever wondered precisely how much research was put into the story?  Where does the line between fact and imagination cross in a work of fiction?

Our Death in the Stacks - Mystery Book Discussion and Lunch Group is currently reading 'Hardball : a V.I. Warshawski novel' by Sara Paretsky. Warshawski, a private investigator in Chicago, is hired by an elderly lady to find her son who disappeared the night before a terrible snow storm engulfed the city in January of 1967. In addition to memories about the storm, this current case is also causing Warshawski to remember being a kid during the race riots of 1966 and worrying about her father who was a Chicago policeman.

I have to confess to not being familiar with current Chicago weather or happenings let alone historical aspects of the Windy City. However, as a native Pennsylvanian used to historical snow falls and events, I became curious to know more about the events Paretsky described in her novel. So, I did want any normal person would do... I Googled it!

The Chicago Tribune happily provided me with answers....

The Chicago Blizzard of 1967
Winter in Chicago has never been easy, but this one was a record-setter.
by Allan Johnson

Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago
During his stay in the city, the civil-rights leader faced a "hateful crowd."
by Frank James

I found some additional insight into Sara Paretsky's research on her website. The author performed the best kind of research possible... she lived it! Paretsky worked as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side during the turbulent race riots in 1966.

"Like her fictional detective, Paretsky lives and dies with the Cubs, runs Chicago’s lakefront with her golden retriever, and loves to sing, taking part in community musicals. Paretsky lives on Chicago’s south side with her husband, a member of the University of Chicago’s Fermi Institute." (http://www.saraparetsky.com/biography/)

Which brings us around to the advice given to many beginning authors... write about what you know!

Ms. Paretsky's novels are available through our library system, including Hardball and the first V.I. Warshawski novel, Indemnity Only.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas is in the air... and on the book shelves

Looking for a good read to put you in the holiday spirit? Need a fun adventure after all of that holiday shopping?  We have some new winter and Christmas titles in the collection that just might help you.

  • The Snow Angel by Glenn Beck
  • I Am Half-Sick Of Shadows : a Flavia de Luce novel by Alan Bradley
  • Lost December by Richard Paul Evans
  • White Heat by M. J. McGrath
  • A Christmas Homecoming by Anne Perry
We also have some regular novels of romance, suspense, intrigue and adventure making their way to our shelves.  Stop in and take a peek at our New Books shelf and hopefully something will pique your interest.

On a side note: not all of the titles listed above are gentle holiday tales of love and romance, a few are murder mysteries - which could be cathartic after a particularly rough holiday shopping experience.

Happy Reading!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving... The Lost Holiday

'Giving Thanks'
Outside Window Display
Go into just about any store in the United States after Halloween and you will be bombarded by Christmas. But wait! Isn't there another major holiday that all citizens of this great nation celebrate?

This Thanksgiving, we hope you'll take some time away from thoughts of future holidays to give thanks and show appreciation to your family and friends. Don't forget to give an extra big thank you to the person(s) responsible for your delicious feast. And always remember to bestow a genuine 'Thank You' or more upon the nice people who have to work and serve you on the holiday.

"But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck.... We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by 'Thanksgiving,' Charlie Brown." - Marcie from 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving'

We at the library are thankful for all of our wonderful patrons who make us a part of their lives. We are thankful for your smiles, kind words, and friendships.

The library will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but we will reopen at 10 am on Fri., November 25!

We wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day 11-11-11

Our Veterans are brave men and women of various ages and beliefs. They are family members and friends... but many are also perfect strangers. They have each defended our country, our lives, our liberties and our freedoms by land, sea and air. We owe them more than mere words could possibly express for their willingness to be placed in harms way for our benefit... for our ability to live in a free society where we can speak our minds without fear and where anything is possible and dreams really do come true!

To all of our Veterans, we say... Thank You!

Want to learn more about our veterans or the wars they fought in?  The library has biographies and personal narratives by various officers and soldiers. We also have many books on any number of wars ranging from the present to the French and Indian War. (We even have books on various battles in Medieval times.) Look online using our Online Catalog or stop by the library and we'll be happy to help you!

The Ligonier Valley Library will be closed on Friday, November 11th in honor of Veteran's Day.  We will reopen on Saturday, November 12th at 10am.