Olive, Again

November 14, 2019 by

Olive, Again (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel by [Strout, Elizabeth]    As in the Strout’s first book about Olive Kitteridge, this novel also seems like a string of short stories about people living in Crosby, Maine with Olive as the star.  We meet back up with Olive beginning with Jack Kennison, a widowed Harvard professor who left his professorship somewhat under disgrace when he was found to be having an affair with a student.  Jack is a curmudgeonly, grumbling old man who wanders his large, empty home wondering how it’s all come to this.  And then he meets Olive.  Her irascibility makes him realize she is just what his life is missing at this stage.  At first, Jack and Olive are somewhat brash with each other.  Then they realize they are just the piece each needs to make their life seem whole and meaningful.  Along with Jack and Olive we meet several other Crosby, Maine characters.  Some of them interact with Olive and others exist on the periphery as if Strout is describing various neighbors of a small town in the northeast.  I enjoyed the stories about Olive the most.  And if you choose to listen to ‘Olive Again’ you’ll get the extra treat of hearing the narrator speak Olive’s curt, “Yep” and “Oh, Godfrey” as only our beloved Olive can.

Tech Tools to fight fake news

November 13, 2019 by

advocacy-appsAccording to America Libraries Online, libraries have turned to various tech tools to combat fake news. A web browser extension, NewsGuard, looks at the credibility of thousands of websites and issues a rating for each. It uses 9 criteria to judge the site’s accuracy. There are also fact-checking websites that one can use as well, such as Snopes.com, Factcheck.org, Politifact and Allsides. Read the full article here.

Who Wet My Pants?

November 11, 2019 by

When I first read the title of Bob Shea’s new book, I paused. I live with a 2-year-old who doesn’t lack opportunities to practice her potty humor–Who Wet My Pants? seemed like an open invitation.

But Who Wet My Pants? turned out to be a sweet, funny book about human nature that both adults and children will enjoy. The protagonist, Reuben, returns from a doughnut run to the serious faces of his scouting troop. “Ahem,” one of them says. And Reuben, in front of all his friends, must confront the fact of his wet pants. He rants and raves and tries to find out who is responsible. His friends remain calm and empathetic (“It was probably just an accident”) until at last Reuben takes off his wet pants and shares his doughnuts.

This is a tender story about how good friends can help us survive difficult moments.

Honor Girl

November 9, 2019 by


I recently read Maggie Thrash’s graphic memoir Honor Girl for a book conference that I attended. The story was wonderful and extremely familiar (young love, dealing with gossip and mean girls, having a crush on someone older, etc.) and I would highly recommend it for all ages – disclaimer though: the drawings aren’t so great and this made it hard to tell some of the characters apart!

Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.”

The Giver of Stars

November 6, 2019 by

indexThe latest novel by Jojo Moyes is a gripping tale of the “packhorse” librarians who travelled around Kentucky in the 1930’s, delivering books to families in remote and outlying areas. Eleanor Roosevelt had developed the idea to support literacy, and the women who undertook that task were brave and determined to complete their routes to the best of their abilities. This job was not for the faint of heart; they faced wild animals and wilder men who had been hitting the homemade moonshine and thus very unprincipled. And women had very few rights at that time, although one of the main heroines, Alice, leaves her husband after her father-in-law punches her in the face for “sassing” him. But she has the support of her friends and fellow librarians, Margery, Izzy, Beth and Sophia.Moyes has again written a story that you just can’t put down… I give it 5 stars!

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