April 6, 2015 by Reader's Connection
When I announced that I was going to double the 2015 Read Harder Challenge, my colleague Jan commented: “This sounds like a lot of fun. Think I’ll try it too, though I’m not sure I could handle two romance novels.”
I read my first romance a couple weeks ago: Beth Kendrick’s New Uses for Old Boyfriends. I didn’t hate it.
After her splendidly successful life in New York falls apart, Lila Alders moves back to Black Dog Bay, Delaware. She encounters human males, and I succeeded right away in guessing which one would be her mate at the novel’s end. I must be better at guessing romance endings than I am at guessing the guilty parties in mysteries.
Lila’s mom, an ex-model, has financial problems of her own; and the two of them open a clothing shop. Someone steals buttons, and another character, or possibly the same one, tries to push some knock-off handbags as the real thing. These are the darkest shades of character revealed in the book.
One romantic interest has a past in the military about which he won’t say much, and I was hoping that would give him a dark side, but no. His time in the Special Forces–I think he was Special Forces–has equipped only with a great bod, and the ability to issue intoxicating sweat.
There are some nice passages in which Lila ponders how self-centered she was in her youth, how willing to skate by on her good looks. But in truth, her good looks are still coming in handy.
Oh, what is my problem? Who needs darkness all the time? If you’re a romance reader, you should give this one a try. Critics loved it, and I’m going to let Booklist have the last word:
*Starred Review* After being dumped by both her employer and her husband, Lila Alders’ current net worth consists of the pittance she gets selling her wedding ring and whatever she can pack into her SUV. So returning to Black Dog Bay to help her recently widowed mother get through the summer seems like a sensible thing to do. However, Lila soon discovers that her mother is in even worse financial straits than she is, and that means Lila is going to have to figure out a way to take care of them both. When she bumps into Ben Collier, the idea of a second chance with her first true love is tempting, until she encounters Malcolm Toth, whom she dated exactly once and quickly forgot but now finds she can’t get out of her mind. Kendrick returns to the charming town of Black Dog Bay, last seen in Cure for the Common Breakup (2014), for her newest, perfectly tailored tale of love, family, friendship, and vintage couture. Kendrick’s gift for creating endearingly flawed characters combined with her impeccable sense of comic timing ensure that her books will always be in fashion with discerning readers.
New Uses for Old Boyfriends is also available as a downloadable e-book.
April 3, 2015 by Reader's Connection
For the third year running, the Columbia Club in Indianapolis will host the Magna cum Murder Mystery Festival. If you’ve been brave enough to open this blog post, be braver still and click on that blood-splatter, for details and links to registration forms.
Halloween falls on a Saturday, this year, and the October 30th – November 1st festival dates are appropriate.
William Kent Krueger, author of the Cork O’Connor mystery series, will be the Guest of Honor. Click on the Windigo Island cover or Krueger’s name to see his titles at IndyPL.
Simon Brett, author of the Charles Paris, Mrs. Pargeter, Fethering, and Blotto and Twinks series, will be the International Guest of Honor. Click The Tomb in Turkey or Brett’s name to see his Carole Seddon mysteries at IndyPL. Then click on his name on one of those titles to see more Brett.
“Magna cum Murder is the best small mystery conference in the country, period. Everything is run to perfection, the people are great, the location is great… What more could you ask for?” – author Steve Hamilton
April 1, 2015 by Reader's Connection
This just in: the book discussion group at Fountain Square Library will be reading Mary Beth Keane’s novel Fever on April 9th. See our updated book discussion list for details.
We’ll begin our observance of National Poetry Month by announcing the final guest appearance in this spring’s Rufus and Louise Reiberg Reading series at IUPUI.
Thursday, April 16, 7:30 p.m.
University Library Lilly Auditorium
755 West Michigan Street
Library Journal named The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed one of “Thirty Amazing Poetry Titles for Spring 2014.”
It’s hard to believe that Roeser’s sprawling and uninterrupted third collection consists of only eleven poems. In each, the mind darts compulsively between its preoccupations, combining these concerns as if to suggest that motherhood sentences women to relive their adolescence–wise now but put on mute. A daughter “flies/ over me like Evel Knievel. Like I’m just an/ aggravating mattress in// the road.” When watching your own bad decisions borne out in front of you, what is there to do but confess and try again, as the opening poem says “I’m just a messed-up/ person trying to live// on a spiritual basis.” Rather than arriving at a solidified view of the self, these poems enact the often painful reality that we are the sum of our choices, and little more. “I never knew who I was–// this truth has to be/ told each morning. I// wake in the dark/ trying to assemble// a lexicon,/ to make a coherent// line.” Beginning and ending with petitions to a higher power, this collection sends up an honest prayer, pleading that for the ones we love, everything will turn out all right. — Publisher’s Weekly
All readings in this series are free and open to the public. Visitor parking is available in the North Street Garage, 819 W. North St. and the Vermont Street Garage, 1004 W. Vermont Street. For parking information on the IUPUI campus, visit http://www.parking.iupui.edu/Visitors/VisitorHome.aspx. For more information about the series, contact Terry Kirts at (317) 274-8929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 29, 2015 by Reader's Connection
I’ve never been a runner, and never been attracted to books about running, but I was caught up by Thomas Gardner’s Poverty Creek Journal.
His account of the year 2012 includes the death of a brother, the aging and illness of friends, and recollections of his daughter’s days as a competitor. If you read the passages below, you’ll see how his mind enlarges the track as he runs.
Poverty Creek Journal was published by Tupelo Press, © 2014 Thomas Gardner. These passages are used with permission.
From June 12, 2012
Two miles easy to this hill, rhododendrons in bloom, shading from white to pink. The woods dripping after last night’s rain. A terrible focusing down as I swing into each sprint, ten or twelve digging steps as I get up to speed and then hold on, crossing an imaginary line and then falling back to a jog. Something foreign and odd about this concentrated rhythm. As if I were watching myself run, studying my stride by tearing it to bits. Thoreau recognized “a certain doubleness” in himself, aware of “a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me, but spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it; and that is no more I than it is you.” It didn’t seem to bother him. As I turn to begin the last hill, I notice a man and his dog walking toward me. I’ve seen them before. I know his dog’s name but not his, having heard him plaintively calling her deep in the woods. Usually we nod, but today he stops to chat. I’m flushed, self-conscious, as if I’d been caught wanting something too much. When he’s out of sight, I do one more hill and jog back to my car. Off the trail, rhododendrons are scattered through the trees like lanterns, calling me out of myself.
From August 29, 2012
I try to erase my thoughts as I jog back and start again, though hours later, those last steps are still there, my legs buzzing as if they had been shocked. The first time up, I scrape a line across the dirt when I hit 2:30, marking the time. When Seamus Heaney writes about the woman taken in adultery in John 8 he uses that phrase. The scribes and Pharisees bring the woman to Jesus in order to test them. They know the law. He does too. Jesus bends down and writes in the dust. He “marks time in every sense of that phrase.” Everything stops. The words don’t seem to matter, only the act itself, the space of attention marked off in the road. This is poetry, says Heaney, the power to concentrate “concentrated back on itself.” When Jesus looks up the second time, the crowd has melted away. Only the woman remains. Sin no more he says. She’s ready now to read what he wrote.
March 26, 2015 by Reader's Connection
The American Library Association (ALA) has announced their 2015 list of Notable Videos for Adults. This list is comprised of 15 exceptional films released within the last two years that have made a significant impact and had a positive influence in the world of film.
Interested in learning more? Explore further with the wealth of information in the library’s non-fiction and database resources.
Particle Fever IndyPL has not been able to acquire this title, but you can click on the cover art to see the trailer.
(And click here for an earlier blog post in which Brenda Hillman’s poem “Symmetry Breaking” is quite helpful about the beginning of the universe. — Reader’s Connection guy)
Discover many of these titles and more at the Indianapolis Public Library!