Fiction vs Non-Fiction
When all is said and done, most people prefer to read either fiction, usually a novel, or non-fiction, usually a factual book on just one subject, but sometimes on several related subjects. Happily, for the reader, there are many types of fiction; however, for sheer numbers of types, non-fiction has fiction beat by miles. There are at least a hundred categories of information in any non-fiction classification system. For example, the Dewey Decimal system, used by public libraries, is one system, and the Library of Congress system, used by college and university libraries, is another. Since so many of us have really strong preferences for fiction over non-fiction or, vice versa, non-fiction over fiction, you may well ask, “Why?” So, here goes!
Why read fiction? Most often, fiction, likely a novel, takes us away from our everyday lives. We get lost in someone else’s life, usually a life that seems far more interesting than our own. Characters in novels often have unusual challenges or problems that the reader has never experienced, or actually has experienced, or wishes they had experienced, or never wants to experience! Any one of those scenarios makes for an exciting perspective that keeps the reader guessing, turning page after page. Fiction can take us to places we have only dreamed about. And, often, the reader is so drawn into a character that the line between real and imagined becomes a fine line! This happens all the time with authors who write series with the same main character in each novel. Fiction can also take us into worlds we would like to know more about, like law, medicine, espionage, politics and, of course, relationships! We can learn a lot reading fiction.
Bottom line: Usually fiction is fascinating, as well as entertaining!
Why read non-fiction? Reading non-fiction is a work out for your brain, improving your memory and analytical skills, while helping to keep your brain younger longer. An apple a day, wait, make that a chapter a day, just might keep the doctor away! Non-fiction improves concentration and focus. You need to pay attention to what you are reading, if you are going to understand and remember what you are reading! Clarity of thought in written as well as spoken communication may also improve. That would be because, almost effortlessly, your vocabulary is going to improve. What you learn by reading non-fiction makes you more knowledgeable about something that interests you!
Bottom line: Non-fiction is a gateway to knowledge that does not depend upon having a formal education. You are enjoying reading and learning about a subject just because you want to know about it! It’s a win win!
The Shadows of Foxworth,” V.C. Andrews; “The Vanishing Half,” Brit Bennett; “Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Evolution,” Brian Freeman; “Deadly Touch,” Heather Graham; “Half Moon Bay,” Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman; “The End of Her,” Shari Lapena; “Robert B. Parker’s Grudge Match,” Mike Lupica; “The Friendship List,” Susan Mallery; “The Midwife Murders,” James Patterson and Richard DiLallo; “Say No More,” Karen Rose; “The Wedding Dress,” Danielle Steel
“Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own,” Eddie S. Claude Jr.; “Trump and the American Future: Solving the Great Problems of Our Time,” Newt Gingrich; “The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family and a Shocking Murder,” John Glatt; “Live Free or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink,” Sean Hannity; “Whatever It Took: An American Paratrooper’s Extraordinary Memoir of Escape, Survival and Heroism in the Last Days of World War II,” Harry Langrehr and Jim DeFelice; “His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope,” Jon Meacham; “Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface, Salvador and the Movie Game,” Oliver Stone; “The Answer Is…” Alex Trebek; “More Than Love: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother, Natalie Wood,” Natasha Gregson Wagner
“I Survived the California Wildfires, 2018,” Lauren Tarshis
“Hawk,” James Patterson
Children’s Picture Books:
“Clifford Goes to Kindergarten,” Norman Bridwell; “Wild Symphony,” Dan Brown; “Elbow Grease: Fast Friends,” John Cena; “Pete the Cat: Crayons Rock!” Kimberly and James Dean; “5-Minute Under the Sea Stories,” Disney Books; “We Will Rock Our Classmates,” Ryan T. Higgins; “Pinkalicious: 5-Minute Pinkalicious Stories,” Victoria Kann; “Pinkalicious: Schooltastic Storybook Favorites,” Victoria Kann; “Curious George 3-Minute Stories,” H.A. Rey; “Heroes Wear Masks: Elmo’s Super Adventure,” Sesame Workshop; “How To Catch a Yeti,” Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton
New Books July 2020
NEW BOOKS JULY 2020:
The Shadows of Foxworth – V.C. Andrews
The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
The Sentinel – Lee Child and Andrew Child
Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Evolution – Brian Freeman
Deadly Touch – Heather Graham
A Time for Mercy – John Grisham
Chaos – Iris Johansen
Half Moon Bay – Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman
The End of Her – Shari Lapena
Robert B. Parker’s Fool’s Paradise – Mike Lupica
Robert B. Parker’s Grudge Match – Mike Lupica
The Friendship List- Susan Mallery
Vince Flynn Total Power – Kyle Mills
The Coast-to-Coast Murders – James Patterson and J. D. Barker
The Midwife Murders – James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
All the Devils Are Here – Louise Penny
The Book of Two Ways – Jodi Picoult
Shadows in Death – J. D. Robb
Say No More – Karen Rose
The Return – Nicholas Sparks
The Wedding Dress – Danielle Steel
One by One – Ruth Ware
The Meaning of Mariah Carey – Mariah Carey
Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own – Eddie S. Claude Jr.
Trump and the American Future: Solving the Great Problems of Our Time – Newt Gingrich
The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family and a Shocking Murder – John Glatt
Live Free or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink – Sean Hannity
Whatever It Took: Am American Paratrooper’s Extraordinary Memoir of Escape, Survival and Heroism in the Last Days of World War II – Henry Langrehr and Jim DeFelice
His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope – Jon Meacham
Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface, Salvador and the Movie Game – Oliver Stone
The Answer Is… – Alex Trebek
More Than Love: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother, Natalie Wood – Natasha Gregson Wagner
The Deep End (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #15) – Jeff Kinney
Dork Diaries 15: Tales From a Not-So-Posh Paris Adventure – Rachel Renee Russell
I Survived the California Wildfires, 2018 – Lauren Tarshis
Hawk – James Patterson
Children’s Picture Books: (All Hardcover)
Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Kindness – Kimberly and James Dean
Llama Llama 5-Minute Stories – Anna Dewdney
Construction Site Mission : Demolition! – Sherri Duskey Rinker
I Promise – LeBron James
Grumpy Monkey Up All Night – Suzanne Lang
Playing Possum – Jennifer Black Reinhardt
Curious George Goes Swimming – H. A. Rey
Roy Digs Dirt – David Shannon
Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark – Jonathan Stutzman
An Elephant and Piggie Biggie-Biggie-Biggie! Volume 3 – Mo Willems
New Books June 2020
NEW BOOKS JUNE 2020:
Hello, Summer – Mary Kay Andrews
Walk the Wire – David Baldacci
Furmidable Foes – Rita Mae Brown
Thick as Thieves – Sandra Brown
A Private Cathedral – James Lee Burke
Outsider – Linda Castillo
Fair Warning – Michael Connelly
Deadlock – Catherine Coulter
Wrath of Poseidon – Clive Cussler
The Goodbye Man – Jeffery Deaver
A Week at the Shore – Barbara Delinsky
Murder, She Wrote: the Murder of Twelve – Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
The Lies That Bind – Emily Giffin
Seeing Darkness – Heather Graham
Camino Winds – John Grisham
28 Summers – Elin Hilderbrand
You Betrayed Me – Lisa Jackson
Credible Threat – J.A. Jance
The Persuasion – Iris Johansen
The Murderer’s Daughter – Jonathan Kellerman
If It Bleeds – Stephen King
Someone Like You – Karen Kingsbury
A Walk Along the Beach – Debbie Macomber
Tom Clancy Firing Point – Mike Maden
On Ocean Boulevard – Mary Alice Monroe
The 20th Victim – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
1st Case – James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
Cajun Justice – James Patterson and Tucker Axum
Hush – James Patterson and Candice Fox
The Summer House – James Patterson and Brendan DuBois
Close Up – Amanda Quick
Hideaway – Nora Roberts
The Order – Daniel Silva
The Silent Wife – Karin Slaughter
Daddy’s Girls – Danielle Steel
Royal – Danielle Steel
Girls of Summer – Nancy Thayer
Near Dark – Brad Thor
The Last Trial – Scott Turow
Redhead by the Side of the Road – Anne Tyler
Big Summer – Jennifer Weiner
The Lost and Found Bookshop – Susan Wiggs
The Book of Lost Friends – Lisa Wingate
Choppy Water – Stuart Woods
Bombshell – Stuart Woods
John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father’s Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial – Dan Abrams and David Fisher
Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st Century Memoir – Madeleine Albright
Pelosi – Molly Ball
The Room Where It Happened – John Bolton
Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump – Kate Anderson Brower
The Mamba Mentality: How I Play – Kobe Bryant
Memoirs and Misinformation – Jim Carrey
No Ordinary Dog: My Partner from the SEAL Teams to the Bin Laden Raid – Will Chesney with Joe Layden
Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Ride From Hell – Tom Clavin
Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage – Dan Crenshaw
American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI – Kate Winkler Dawson
Perfectly Wounded: A Memoir About What Happens After a Miracle – Mike Day with Robert Vera
Untamed – Glennon Doyle
Eat for Life: The Breakthrough Nutrient Rich Program for Longevity, Disease Reversal, and Sustained Weight Loss – Joel Furhman, M.D.
Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir – Alan D. Gaff
The World: A Brief Introduction – Richard Haass
American Crusade: Our Fight to Stay Free – Pete Hegseth
How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
Hidden Valley Road – Inside the Mind of an American Family (Oprah’s Book Club) – Robert Kolker
Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership – Edward J. Larson
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz – Erik Larson
Unknown Valor: A Story of Family, Courage, and Sacrifice from Pearl Harbor to Iwo Jima – Martha MacCallum with Ronald J. Drez
Mengele: Unmasking of the “Angel of Death” – David G. Marwell
The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President—and Why it Failed – Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
Up All Night: Ted Turner, CNN and the Birth of 24-Hour News – Lisa Napoli
Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties – Tom O’Neill with Dan Piepenbring
Killing Crazy Horse: The Merciless Indian Wars in America – Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
The House of Kennedy – James Patterson and Cynthia Fagen
Rachel Maddow – Lisa Rogak
Make America Healthy Again: How Bad Behavior and Big Government Caused a Trillion-Dollar Crisis – Nicole Saphier MD
Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family – Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand
Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers – Doug J. Swanson
What Makes a Marriage Last: 40 Celebrated Couples Share With Us the Secrets to a Happy Life – Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue
Find Your Path: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul, and Get Strong with the Fit52 Life – Carrie Underwood
Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World – Chris Wallace with Mitch Weiss
The One and Only Bob – Katharine Applegate
Minecraft: The Voyage – Jason Fry
The Wizenard Series: Season One – Wesley King and Kobe Bryand
Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure – Jeff Kinney
What is Lego? – Jim O’ Connor
Late Lunch with the Llamas (Magic Tree House Series) – Mary Pope Osborne
Dog Man: Grime and Punishment – Dav Pilkey
Cupcake Diaries: Katie Cupcakes and Wedding Bells – Coco Simon
Dragonslayer (Wings of Fire: Legends Series #2) – Tui T. Sutherland
Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You – Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
Midnight Sun – Stephenie Meyer
Crave – Tracy Wolff
Children’s Picture Books:
The Undefeated – Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson
The World Needs More Purple People – Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart
Cat Dog Dog: The Story of a Blended Family – Nelly Buchet
You are Ready! The World is Waiting – Eric Carle
Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us – Lauren Castillo
Macca the Alpaca – Matt Cosgrove
Pete the Cat: 5-Minute Bedtime Stories – Kimberly and James Dean
Libby Loves Science – Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes
Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters – Disney Books
How to Put an Octopus to Bed – Sherri Duskey Rinker
You Don’t Want a Dragon – Ame Dyckman
The Yawns are Coming – Christopher Eliopoulos
What About Worms!? – Ryan T. Higgins
Twinkle Thinks Pink! – Katharine Holarbird
It’s Not My Fault! – Jory John
Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina – Lea Lyon
A World of Opposites – Gray Malin
Curious George and the Summer Games – H.A. Rey
Dream Big, Little Scientists – Michelle Schaub
How Big is Your Brave – Ruth Soukup
Llama Unleashes the Alpaccalypse – Jonathan Stutzman
It’s Okay to be a Unicorn! – Jason Tharp
How to Potty Train Your Porcupine – Tom Toro
Welcome to the Party – Gabrielle Union
Because I Had a Teacher – Kobi Yamada
Curbside Service at the Library! Rain or Shine and Contactless!
At this time, all public libraries in Pennsylvania are closed to in-house patron services. However, every public library in Pennsylvania that can offer “Curbside Service” will be doing so. The Public Library of Catasauqua is very happy to be one of those libraries. Our “Curbside Service” is a contactless, rain or shine service that we will be offering until such time that the Library can reopen to patrons, perhaps as soon as Lehigh County goes Green. In the meanwhile, Curbside- Contactless- Rain or Shine Service at Catty Library is an easy 5-step process that looks like this:
- With your Library Card in hand, call the Library at 610-264-4151.
- Let us know what you want to read. We are happy to help you.
- Give us your Library Card number, your name, and phone number.
- We will call you when your items are ready.
- Please pick them up from the table that is located just inside the Library door at the bottom of the ramp.
Patrons must wear masks to enter any area of the Library, including the foyer where the table is located for Curbside Service pickup. All library materials are sanitized between patrons, and your items are placed in a new bag every time you place an order. Please return all items to the Book Drop. Do not place returned items back on the table, because the items on the table are sanitized while your returned items need to be sanitized. Curbside Service is available every day the Library is open at these times:
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday- 3-6:30
Sandra, Kathy, Daryl, and Amy are busy working on collection development. Dozens of the new books that were published over the past three months were ordered and have been delivered. Literally, as you read this, they are being catalogued and made ready for circulation. These books represent the latest works of the authors of contemporary fiction and non-fiction that you know and love. Our goal is to close the gap between what you were reading in March and what is available to you in June. See you Curbside!
Famous Love Stories
Some of us were lucky enough to have read and studied in school some of the world’s greatest tales of love and intrigue.
At the top of just about anyone’s list would be William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Not as often taught, but close behind, might be Nathaniel Hawthorne’s treatment of forbidden love, “The Scarlet Letter.” It would be hard to find two more enduring tales of passion and its ultimate, tragic consequences. The years- make that centuries- have not dimmed the memory of any of those star-crossed lovers: From feuding families, the lovers Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. From a repressive society the passionate Hester Prynne, her unfortunate husband Roger Chillingworth, her paramour the Puritan Minister Dimmesdale and the child, Pearl. Nor is the literary importance of either novel any less today than yester year.
Those of us who were very lucky to have been required to read Jane Austen’s, ”Pride and Prejudice,” learned much about the social considerations and pitfalls that are all along the road to marriage.
If we were very, very lucky, we were introduced to the Russians and their darker portrayals of love and the consequences of bucking society’s morals and norms so brilliantly expressed by the celebrated Boris Pasternak and Leo Tolstoy in “Dr. Zhivago” and “Anna Karenina,” respectively. The Russians more reminiscent of Hawthorne than Shakespeare.
Many popular, contemporary American novels of love lost, gained and lost again are also universally acknowledged for their content and style.
“Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell sets the love story of Scarlett and Rhett in the old South and the Civil War. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald tells the story of the obsessive love of Jay Gatsby for Daisy Buchanan, and is the most taught book in American education. Not so much as great literature but certainly for sheer emotion, there are the very popular Nicholas Sparks novels, especially “The Notebook.” And, teenage love may be no better remembered than by John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” and Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series, the first so tragically and the latter so uniquely.
Right about now, you have probably noticed that, with the exception of the novels of Jane Austen, the truly great love stories that have stood the test of time are not especially “and they lived happily ever after” stories.
You may well ask: What do the experts have to say about romantic love, about being in love, specifically about being in a happy, healthy, loving relationship? Two works come to mind. In 1992, John Gray, Ph.D. Psychologist and Certified Family Therapist published the blockbuster, best-selling, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.” Considering the title, is there any hope for us mere mortals? Perhaps psychoanalyst Eric Fromm summed it up best in his groundbreaking 1956 work “The Art of Loving,” when he said, “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” Yes, indeed.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
“Lady Clementine,” Marie Benedict
“Long Range,” C.J.Box
“American Dirt,” Jeanine Cummins
“Coconut Layer Cake Murder,” Joanne Fluke
“The Look-Alike,” Erica Spindler
“The Numbers Game,” Danielle Steel
“Salt River,” Randy Wayne White
The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” John Bolton
“Guinness World Records 2020,” Guinness World Records
“The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+: Winning Strategies to Make Your Money Last a Lifetime,” Suze Orman
“Profile in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite,” Peter Schweitzer
“The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired,” Daniel J. Siegel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD
“A New Way to Age: The Most Cutting-Edge Advances in Aging,” Suzanne Somers
Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal,” Jeff Kinney
“Master of Disaster (Middle School Series), James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
“The Fierce 44: Black Americans Who Shook Up the World,” Staff of the Undefeated
“I Know You Remember,” Jennifer Donaldson
Children’s Picture Books:
“The Good Egg Presents: The Great Eggscape!” Jory John
“Five Fuzzy Chicks,” Diana Murray; “The Box Turtle,” Vanessa Roeder
“Snail Crossing,” Corey R. Tabor
“How to Catch a Dragon,” Adam Wallace
“How to Catch a Unicorn,” Adam Wallace
Reading Outside the Box
Most of us have a favorite author.
We’ll read anything as long as it’s by our favorite author. Many of us have a favorite genre. We’ll read any author as long as it’s a mystery, a thriller, a romance, or even a work of non-fiction. There is much talk these days about “thinking outside the box.” On that theme, it might be fun to “read outside the box!” The following authors are masters of their craft. Just for fun, consider reading works by the writers who influenced some of your favorite best-selling contemporary authors.
Stephen King, arguably the current master of horror and the macabre, has personally recommended “The Hunger” by Alma Katsu and “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson.
King acknowledges Matheson as the writer who influenced him the most, while the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction calls Matheson’s work “perhaps the very peak of all paranoid SciFi.” Speaking of the macabre, Joyce Carol Oates is another writer known for unusual storylines. Oates considers herself as having been “deeply influenced” by Franz Kafka as well as having a “writerly kinship” with James Joyce.
David Baldacci’s early influences were Harper Lee, Truman Capote and William Faulkner.
John Grisham also acknowledges William Faulkner’s influence, as well as authors John Steinbeck and John Le Carre. Grisham has gone on record saying that he frequently rereads Le Carre’s “The Little Drummer Girl.” Current favorite Louise Penny, a Canadian, acknowledges the influence of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Michael Innes (the pseudonym of John Innes MacIntosh), all three of them British.
While Nathaniel Philbrick writes acclaimed non-fiction on subjects in American history, he credits novelist Anne Tyler as a big influence on his writing for her sense of life as a survival tale of ordinary people being nibbled to death by loss.
The hugely popular contemporary social scientist Malcolm Gladwell has said that “The Person and the Situation” by Richard Nisbett and Lee Ross is the book that has most affected him. Gladwell read it in one sitting and says that Nisbett, a University of Michigan psychologist, “Basically gave me my view of the world.”
Fiction or non-fiction, familiar or new, each book we read has the potential to become part of our view of the world and our place in it.
“Out of the Attic,” V.C. Andrews
“When You See Me,” Lisa Gardner
“The Museum of Desire,” Jonathan Kellerman
“Cilka’s Journey,” Heather Morris
“The Dutch House,” Ann Patchett
“Blindside,” James Patterson and James O. Born
“Crooked River,” Douglas Preston and Lee Child
“Golden in Death,” J.D. Robb
“Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years,” Julie Andrews
“Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War,” S.C. Gwynne
“The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy,” Elizabeth Kendall
“A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America,” Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig
“Open Book,” Jessica Simpson
“Martha Stewart’s Organizing: The Manual for Bringing Order to Your Life, Home & Routines,” Martha Stewart
“Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary,” Pablo Hildalgo
“Dear Sweet Pea,” Julie Murphy
“Magic Tree House: Narwhal on a Sunny Night,” Mary Pope Osborne
“Minecraft: The End,” Catherynne M. Valente.
Children’s Picture Books:
“Pig the Tourist,” Aaron Blabey
“Pete the Cat: Five Little Bunnies,” Kimberly and James Dean
“Disney’s Frozen 5-Minute Stories,” Disney Book Group
“The Little Snowplow Wishes for Snow,” Lora Koehler
“Grumpy Monkey Party Time!” Suzanne Lang
“Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be a Vet!” Dr. Seuss
Symbols of Faith
No sooner has Thanksgiving come and gone than folks everywhere are preparing for the celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah. Two symbols that convey important information about how the faithful worship are the Christian creche and the Hanukkah menorah. Each tells us much about faith.
The word creche means “a model or tableau representing the scene of Jesus Christ’s birth.” It was in the year 1223, in the town of Greccio in central Italy, that a humble friar that the world would come to know as Saint Francis of Assisi moved his Christmas Eve worship service from a small chapel to an area at the opening of a cave. Humans and living animals were staged to represent their Biblical roles at the time of Jesus’ birth, the cave suggesting the shelter of a manger. Saint Francis did this to emphasize that Christmas was about the worship of Jesus Christ, because, even in 1223, the exchange of presents had become central to the celebration of Christmas. Word spread quickly about the beauty and solemnity of Saint Francis’ living creche. So much so that even the Pope, Honorius III, gave his blessing to Saint Francis’ living nativity.
Within a hundred years, every church in Italy was expected to display either a living nativity or a representation in some medium, perhaps terracotta, paper, wood, wax or even ivory. These representations were often great works of art. Many have survived and are now displayed in the world’s great museums. From Saint Francis’ iconic model of faith until the present day, churches, homes and municipal buildings all over the world have displayed a traditional Christmas creche, either living or ornamental. Every year, since 1982, the Pope has displayed a nativity scene in Vatican City in St. Peter’s piazza.
Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the second century BC. After years of oppression, the freedom fighters known as the Maccabees successfully rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors to reclaim the Temple. Although in ruins, the Temple was purified and rededicated. Miraculously, oil in the Temple menorah burned for eight days, even though there was only enough sacred oil for one day- “A great miracle happened there.”
‘Hanukkah’ is the Hebrew and Aramaic word for ‘dedication.’ The Hanukkiah is the nine-branched candelabrum lit during the eight-day festival of Hanukkah. On each night, an additional candle is light and all remain burning until self-extinguished. The ninth holder, called the shamash (“helper” or “servant”), is for a candle used to light all the other candles or to be used as an extra light. A special blessing thanking God is said before or after lighting the candles, and a special Jewish hymn is often sung. Gifts are given and traditional games are played. A popular one is with Dreidel, a 4-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side- NGHS- that stand for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham- “A great miracle happened there.” Traditionally, the Hanukkiah menorah is put in a window so passersby can see the lights and remember the story of Hanukkah. This year, Hanukkah is celebrated from Sunday evening December 22nd through Monday evening December 30th.
During this holy season, the most memorable good wish of all may well come from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” In the words of the dearly loved young Tiny Tim, a sickly little boy who walks with a crutch, comes the message, “God Bless Us Everyone!”
Beneath the Attic,” V.C. Andrews
“Big Lies in a Small Town,” Diane Chamberlain
“ Good Girls Lie,” J.T. Ellison
“The Family Upstairs,” Lisa Jewell
“Hindsight,” Iris Johansen
“The Vanishing,” Jayne Ann Krentz
“Lost,” James Patterson and James O. Born
“The River Murders,” James Patterson and James O. Born
“Moral Compass,” Danielle Steel
“Treason,” Stuart Woods.
“Free Melania: The Unauthorized Biography,” Kate Bennett
“The Fall of Richard Nixon: A Reporter Remembers Watergate,” Tom Brokow
“How Not to Diet: The Groundbreaking Science of Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss,” Michael Greger, MD, FACLM
“Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” Dylan Howard with Melissa Cronin and James Robertson
“The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2020,” Sarah Janssen
“Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump,” Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch
“Conversation with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty & Law,” Jeffrey Rosen
“Touches by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie,” Carly Simon.
“The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs,” America’s Test Kitchen Kids
“One of Us Is Next,” Karen McManus
Children’s Picture Books:
“Where Is the Sun?” Eric Carle
“Love From the Crayons,” Drew Daywalt
“The Serious Goose,” Jimmy Kimmel
Historical Fiction and Contemporary Commentary
This month, I’d like to introduce you to an author who writes interesting thrillers of a kind quite different from last month’s legal thrillers.
Philippa Gregory writes amazing historical fiction that will have you turning pages as fast as you can. Start with “The Other Boleyn Girl” (2001). It’s about Mary Boleyn, the sister of Henry VIII’s wife, Ann Boleyn. Mary and Henry never married, which may have been in her best interests. As you remember, Henry VIII had a habit of doing away with his wives, in one way or another. “The Other Boleyn Girl” was made into a major motion picture starring Scarlet Johanssen and Natalie Portman. After only a chapter or two of the book, you will understand right away why it was made into a movie. Philippa Gregory’s books are often on the New York Times Bestseller List. Look for her new book, “Tidelands,” set in 17th century England torn by civil war. Gregory’s books are so interesting that you will think of them less as history and more as a human drama of people you can imagine knowing.
On an entirely different note, Malcolm Gladwell writes books that explain why things happen.
He has a unique perspective on what makes us tick and what makes society tick. Gladwell bridges the gap between observations on social concerns and the serious analysis of social trends. Gladwell’s titles tell us exactly what he is going to explore. Start with his first, “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” (2000). Gladwell writes as though he and his reader are having a conversation. He has published 5 books, and his books are always on the New York Times Bestseller’s List. Readers tend to get hooked on Gladwell. Look for his new book, “Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know.” Malcolm Gladwell really understands human nature.
“Nothing Ventured,” Jeffrey Archer
“The Testaments,” Margaret Atwood
“The Bitterroots,” C.J. Box
“Robert B. Parker’s The Bitterest Pill,” Reed Farrel Coleman
“The Titanic Secret,” Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul
“The Stalking,“ Heather Graham
“The Guardians,” John Grisham
“Sins of the Father,” J.A. Jance
“The Institute,” Stephen King
“The Timepiece,” Beverly Lewis
“Vince Flynn’s Lethal Agent,” Kyle Mills
“The 19th Christmas,” James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
“Bloody Genius,” John Sandford
“The Oysterville Sewing Circle,” Susan Wiggs
“Thank You For My Service,” Mat Best
“A Republic, If You Can Keep It,” Neil Gorsuch
“Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History,” Gregg Jarrett
“Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency,” Andrew C. McCarthy
“The United States of Trump: How the President Really Sees America,” Bill O’Reilly
“Permanent Record,” Edward Snowden
“Barnum: An American Life,” Robert Wilson
“What is the Story of Frankenstein?” Steve Keenan
“What is the Story of Wonder Woman?” Steve Kortel
The Tyrant’s Tomb (Trials of Apollo Series),” Rick Riordan
Children’s Picture Books:
“5-Minute Stories,” Margaret Wise Brown
“First Day Jitters,” Julie Danneberg
“Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party,” James Dean and Kimberly Dean
“Hey Grandude!,” Paul McCartney
“Cutest Animals Collection (National Geographic Readers Series), Anne Schreiber, Laura Marsh and Amy Shields“Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum,” Dr. Seuss
The Library Staff Recommends…
Here at the Library, we are often asked to recommend “a good book.”
Suffice it to say, there are many definitions of “a good book.” Just Google “The best books of 2018” and you will marvel at the variety of those mentioned. Some books are considered good because they have won major awards. Some books we expect to be good because they are the latest by our favorite author. In this column, we will feature works by authors generally acknowledged for the quality of their work. Some will be more recent than others. We hope that you will find all of them interesting. This month, we are featuring the work of several lawyers who went from practicing law to writing legal thrillers. Non-fiction can often read like a novel and be just as spellbinding as a legal thriller. Nathaniel Philbrick fits that description.
Fiction: The lawyerEarle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) wrote a series of legal thriller short stories featuring criminal defense lawyer Perry Mason. While the stories sold well, America’s appetite for legal thrillers was whetted by the television series based on those stories starring Raymond Burr as Perry Mason. The series ran from September, 1957, into May, 1966. The genre was born, and several lawyers quickly found an audience for their work. Richard North Patterson (1949-) published his first work “The Lasko Tangent in 1979.” Scott Turow’s “Presumed Innocent” followed in 1987. John Grisham (1955-) published “A Time to Kill” in 1989. Lisa Scottoline (1955-) published “Everywhere That Mary Went” in 1993. And, Meg Gardiner (1957-) published the first of the Evan Delaney mysteries in 2002. All these writers went on to write many more blockbuster legal thrillers, many of which became blockbuster movies.
Non-Fiction: If you have never read non-fiction, but you like American history, the work of Nathaniel Philbrick might be just for you, because Philbrick’s work really does read like a novel. He takes his subject and explores the “before, during and after” in such a way that the reader comes away with a very good understanding of the “why” of it. To mention just a few: Philbrick’s “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex,” published in 1999, won the National Book Award. Revenge of the Whale” followed in 2002, “ Mayflower” in 2006, “Why Read Moby Dick,” in 2011 and many more!.
ADULT FICTION: “Labyrinth,” Catherine Coulter
“A Dangerous Man,” Robert Crais
“Tidelands,” Philippa Gregory
“The Girl Who Lived Twice,” David Lagercrantz
“Someone We Know,” Shari Lapena
“Temptation’s Darling,” Johanna Lindsey
“Lady in the Lake,” Laura Lippman
“Killer Instinct,” James Patterson and Howard Roughan
“Old Bones,” Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
“Vendetta in Death,” J.D. Robb
“The Last Widow,” Karin Slaughter
“The Dark Side,” Danielle Steel
“The Turn of the Key,” Ruth Ware
“Life After Suicide: Finding Courage, Comfort and Community After Unthinkable Loss,” Jennifer Ashton MD
“Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know,” Malcom Gladwell
“Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court,” Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino
‘Unfreedom of the Press,” Mark R. Levin
“Alone at Dawn: Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman and the Untold Story of the World’s Deadliest Special Operations Force,” Dan Schilling and Lori Chapman Longfritz
“Three Women,” Lisa Taddeo.
“What is NASA?” Sarah Fabiny
“Magic Tree House: To the Future, Ben Franklin!” Mary Pope Osborne
“Wings of Fire: The Poison Jungle,” Tui T. Sutherland
“Wilder Girls,” Rory Power
Children’s Picture Books:
“The King of Kindergarten,” Derrick Barnes
“Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School!” Christina Geist
“Red: A Crayon’s Story,” Michael Hall
“Moon’s First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship,” Susanna Leonard Hill
“How to Catch a Dinosaur,” Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton
THE BOOK CLUB
The Book Club meets every month on the first Thursday of the month at 6pm. Each month the group discusses that month’s book and decides what to read next. Sometimes members read the same book; sometimes members different books by the same author; and, sometimes members read a book of our choosing in a particular genre, for example, a biography.
KEEP ME IN STITCHES
The Library’s club devoted to, but not limited to, knitting and crocheting meets every week on Monday night from 5:30-7:30PM. At this time, members are finishing up their crocheted scarfs and beginning a knitted scarf. We all help each other. When members feel confident about their knitting and crocheting, we will take on a more ambitious project- perhaps a sweater!