What’s Ashley Reading?: 1922

1922 by Stephen King

First line: TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: My name is Wilfred Leland James, and this is my confession.

Summary: In a short story by Stephen King we get a dark tale of murder on the Nebraska plains. Wilfred James lives on a farm in Nebraska with this wife and son. When his wife suggests that they sell the 100 acres she owns but it angers Wilfred. He does not want the land to be used as a pig farm. As his anger with her grows he starts to conceive of a plan to make his wife disappear.

My Thoughts: 1922 was the perfect start to my October TBR and Dia de los Muertos read-a-thon list. It was spooky and quick. I have driven many times through the farmland of Nebraska. The old farmhouses with acres of land as far as the eye can see. I could easily imagine Wilfred living on his farm, killing his wife and burying her in the well. And no one else around to even notice. Especially in 1922.

But then his wife begins to haunt him with her decaying body and the rats that are slowly eating away at her. Rats are terrifying on their own but imagining them eating a human body is a nightmare come to life. King does a great job bringing the eeriness to the story without out making it outlandish. The visions, smells and memories just add to the suspense.

Then mixed in with the terror that Wilfred is experiencing is the guilt and changes happening to his son. I was surprised with the way his story changed from the beginning till the end. It was heartbreaking to see but it definitely added another level to this short story.

FYI: This is originally part of Full Dark, No Stars, a collection of King’s short stories. It has also been made into a Netflix movie which I plan to watch real soon!

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Night She Disappeared

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

First line: The baby is starting to grumble.

Summary: 2017: Tallulah Murray, a nineteen year old mother, goes out with her boyfriend to the neighborhood pub for dinner. The next morning her mother, Kim, finds that neither one of them have come home. Kim knows that Tallulah would never abandon her baby son. As she talks with Tallulah’s friends she find out that they were last seen at a party at Dark Place, a manor house outside the small village.

2018: Sophie Beck has just moved into a little cottage on the grounds of a private boarding school. Her partner is the new head teacher while Sophie is a mystery novelist. As Sophie explores her new home she finds a sign in their garden with the words, “DIG HERE”, written on it. As she digs she uncovers a missing link in the mystery of the disappearance of Tallulah Murray.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book from the beginning until the end. Normally the time jumps can be confusing but since each time had a different narrator that made it easier to follow. The end was excellent. I was on the edge of my seat, trying to finish it as fast as I could. And of course, that’s when my dog decided he needed to go outside!

I liked the characters of Tallulah and her mother Kim. Sophie felt like more of a filler character to help solve the mystery. She was the like her characters in her book which the comparison is drawn in the books as well. Her part felt more cozy. But I think Jewell did a great job of bringing Kim’s pain and Tallulah’s struggles out. They were relatable and I could sympathize with them as their lives changed through the story. After Jewell’s last book I was hoping that this one would be much more entertaining. Thank goodness it was!

FYI: Audio book was read by Joanne Froggat (Anna Bates from Downton Abbey).

The Lineup: Maycie

Maycie’s Lineup

TV Show: American Horror Story

I know I know, everyone else already knew how amazing American Horror Story was but for some reason it had never crossed my mind to watch it.  Then about a few months ago my husband and I were looking for something a little spooky to watch that we had never seen before and Netflix presented us with the holy grail of televised anthologies. So we might be ten years late to the game, but we are obsessed, and I can’t wait to watch the rest of it. 

Video Game: Animal Crossing New Horizons

I’m a huge fan of cozy gaming; Stardew Valley, Pikmin, the Sims you can toss them all my way. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time on my Island of Alderaan bonding with my villagers, catching bugs, fishing and discovering that I owe a lifetime’s worth of bells to Tom Nook. 

  • Available for Nintendo Switch

Hobbies: Fantasy Football

Do I know anything about football? No. Do I know what I’m doing with my lineup each week? Also no. “Hey Maycie do you at least come close to winning your league every year?” I absolutely do not. But as the full-time general manager of Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood my fall schedule is booked with strategy meetings, game tape reviews and injury reports. Whether you’re an avid fan of football or being roped into a league I find it’s a fun way to engage with your family and friends. 

Goals: Bread Making

“2021 is the year I make breads from scratch” -Maycie at the end of 2020.  Armed with a stand-mixer and a jar of yeast I spent my year learning to bake all things bread. So far I’ve mastered biscuits, pizza dough and pasta but I have to say that my favorite creation was a beautiful blueberry babka.  

On My Radar: Here’s what I’m looking forward to in the next few months

To Read: Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Water of the World. I’m so excited for this sequel to come out and I can’t wait to join Ari and Dante’s world again.

At the Movies: West Side Story. I’m not always a huge fan of movie remakes but the new West Side Story looks so good and has some of my favorite Broadway actors in it.

TV Shows: One of Us is Lying. One of my favorite YA thrillers that is being adapted and will be streaming on Peacock later this fall. 

Holidays: CHRISTMAS

Terese’s Thoughts: People Like Them

People Like Them by Samira Sedira, translated by Lara Vergnaud

First Line: There’s no cemetery in Carmac.

Summary: The story is told from the perspective of Anna, who lives with her husband and children in the quaint Alpine village of Carmac. Life seems to follow a comfortable pattern for those who live there. Everyone lovingly tolerates the two old men who spend their days at the pub, they know the bartender and his past relationships, and they all celebrate together at the wedding of a young couple in town. This is a close-knit community unused to interlopers, aside from the mild annoyance of seasonal tourists. But of course, that all changes once a new family begins building a house next door to Anna and her husband. The Langloises seem to have wealth. Their house is large and they drive expensive cars. Bakary, the husband and father of the family, is black. This is all in contrast to the other villagers. But despite their differences, Anna’s husband becomes close to Bakary and Anna even works as the Langloises part-time cleaner. However, it isn’t long before tensions build to a shocking end.

My Thoughts: This is a small book to begin with, but it is also a page-turner. I finished it in one night. The writing is lovely, and it’s the description of the later hours of an outdoor wedding that might be my favorite part of the whole book:

“I didn’t know where you were, but I wasn’t worried. I imagined you were chatting under a lime tree or along the river, amid a cacophony of frogs… I raised my head toward the sky; it was pure, without complication. The moment struck me as so delectable that I closed my eyes. I went inside myself with as much delight as if I was slipping into a warm bath. I reached a primitive state of serenity, rocked by the music and the whispers around the table.”

If you haven’t felt this way in the wee hours of a summer night at some point in your life, are you really even human? But the other thing the author does so well is demonstrate how subtle racism can be–how we might ignore a questionable comment from a community member, assuming they meant no harm, or thinking perhaps we misheard them, or in the interest of avoiding conflict—and she does so with a light touch, without judgment. She merely shows us where prejudice can hide, how everyday it can be, and how tragic the consequences might be.

FYI: This book was based on real events that occurred in France in 2003, which I didn’t even realize when I first read it!

Quotables

Ah, yes, the long lasting literary quote. We all know them. They are beautiful and meaningful and eternal.

They aren’t usable in everyday conversation, though.

Here are a few lines us library-workers have clung to over the years, beautiful or not. These are the lines we use in our everyday conversation. The ones our spouses hear, and may or may not know actually come from one of our favorite pieces of media.

Ah, yes, the long lasting literary quote. We all know them. They are beautiful and meaningful and eternal.

They aren’t usable in everyday conversation, though.

Here are a few lines us library-workers have clung to over the years, beautiful or not. These are the lines we use in our everyday conversation. The ones our spouses hear, and may or may not know actually come from one of our favorite pieces of media.

Justin:

Oh, The Weather outside is weather! | Favorite movie quotes, Forgetting  sarah marshall quotes, Weather quotes
Paul Rudd as Chuck in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”

It's not a lie if you believe it – SDI Guy
” Jason Alexander as George Costanza in “Seinfeld”

Eric:

21 Alone in my principles ideas | i movie, movies, favorite movies
From “That Thing You Do”.

Whenever someone is being stubborn [we say this] to give them a hard time.   It’s normally modified a bit [to fit the situation] but the quote is essentially the same. 

Singin' In The Rain Sunset and Camden - YouTube
From “Singing in the Rain”

We say this whenever arriving home.

Megan:

Cousin Eddie Griswold - Caption | Meme Generator
Eddie from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

YARN | It's a good, quality item. | National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation  (1989) | Video clips by quotes | 44ba6b30 | 紗
“That’s a Good, Quality Item”– Eddie, from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

(and I always say it in his voice too)

YARN | I think they're cheating. | Heavy Weights (1995) | Video clips by  quotes | 0ae4de0e | 紗
“I think they’re cheatin'”, from Heavyweights

My sister and I always use this one… at least twice whenever we are around each other.

YARN | Good luck with that. | I Love You Man (2009) | Video clips by quotes  | c1d48021 | 紗
“Good Luck With That” from “I Love You, Man”

Dawn:

This Is Bat Country GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
From the Book (and Movie) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Terese

Grool Mean Girl GIFs | Tenor
From Mean Girls,

I do awkward things like that a lot. 🙂

Hannah:

Pin on Movies, TV, Disney, Pixar, Etc.
Keanu Reaves in The Replacements

Specifically, we say “chicks dig scars” from this moment in the movie.

YARN | Ronnie, don't fall off! | Secretariat (2010) | Video clips by quotes  | 9a967400 | 紗
Ronnie, don’t fall off. -John Malkovich from Secretariat

Ashley:

9 Things You Should Know Before Coming Out | Feminism In India
Ron in the book (and movie ?) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Compilation Of Every 'That's What She Said' From 'The Office' Is Hard To  Beat - BroBible
From the Office

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 Trailer Is Just Divine - E! Online
“Tits up!” – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,

beyonce pad thai ⋆ BYT // Brightest Young Things
From The Mindy Project

Chelsea:

Goonies Never Say Die! - GIF on Imgur
“Hey, you guys!” Sloth, from the Goonies

From Bridesmaids

20th Anniversary: Lessons from 'Sister Act 2' - J.Says Online
“I guess you know what that means.”– Sketch, from Sister Act II

The Princess Bride Quotes | POPSUGAR Entertainment
From The Princess Bride

Bloxi — So get this, Supernatural trivia.
Sam from Supernatural

Super Troopers Quote | Quote Number 554804 | Picture Quotes
from Super Troopers

Do I need a rug? - Patina
The Dude, from The Big Lebowski

It's a race! - GIF on Imgur
From Rat Race

He always has a creative way to bail out of danger. | Supernatural  playlist, Supernatural bloopers, Supernatural quotes
Dean from Supernatural

go with god crispy | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir
from Sister Act II

Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, your opinion, man. - MagicalQuote | Big  lebowski quotes, The dude quotes, Mom humor
From The Big Lebowski

Celebrating a Decade of our Library Director!

It’s not difficult for a staff member to find library director, Eric Gustafson, in the building. All one has to do is pause and listen carefully, because you can hear him just about anywhere. His voice can travel a mile, at least. And there’s comfort in the sound of his sometimes loud voice.

In September, the staff of Derby Public Library celebrated ten years of Eric Gustafson’s tenure as library director. And what a ten years it has been!

Melanie Turner, library board chair, presents Eric with his 10-year plaque.

Many of our patrons can recognize the booming success the library has had under Eric’s careful guidance. In the last ten years, Eric has helmed many library projects that have enriched the lives of the citizens of Derby.

Eric brought more ebooks and digital content to library patrons with the apps Hoopla and Libby. Thanks to Eric the library is now a one-stop shop for many services outside of checking out materials. Services such as passports, mobile printing, notary services, and business center databases. Eric started Santa’s Village and then expanded it exponentially into Christmas in the Park. Viewed by many as his crowning achievement, the amazing KanShare library consortium was Eric’s brainchild. With careful negotiations, Eric brought eight regional libraries together in one shared catalog with room for additional expansion.

But what the patrons perhaps don’t see is the work culture Eric has created for his staff. He is often heard telling new employees, “If you aren’t having fun, then I’m not doing a good job.” Eric has fostered a work culture of productivity, creativity, and fun. He has made change a positive experience, not one of dread and frustration.

Eric is honest, transparent, and sincere. These qualities make him a great boss man, Supreme Overlord, and fearless leader.

So cheers to 10 years of Gustafson! Here’s to many more successful years for Derby Public Library.

What’s Ashley Reading?: Rizzio

Rizzio by Denise Mina

First line: Lord Ruthven wanted him killed during this tennis match but Darnley said no.

Summary: On the night of March 9, 1566, the personal secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots was murdered by assassins in the Queen’s apartments at Holyrood Palace. David Rizzio was dragged out and stabbed fifty six times while the pregnant queen was restrained by her husband, Lord Darnley.

My Thoughts: I remember the first time I learned about David Rizzio. It was a in a book by Jane Yolen, The Queen’s Own Fool, that I stumbled upon in a book sale. It seems like such a fantastical story but it is actually history. Mina’s book is a quick story about these events, the people involved and the reasons behind them.

Even though I liked the story I found the writing style strange. I didn’t feel like it flowed well. This was my first book by Denise Mina, so maybe this is her normal style but it’s not one that I found appealing.

Mary had such a tragic life. But I think that is why so many people, including myself, find her interesting. She was a woman with power in an age when many women had no power. And she is constantly being compared to her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. If you have never heard about this event in Mary’s life or need a short book (118 pages) to complete your reading challenge then I would recommend picking this one up!

FYI: Very bloody. He was stabbed 56 times!

What’s Ashley Reading?: A Slow Fire Burning

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

First line: Blood-sodden, the girl staggers into the black.

Summary: A young man is found murdered in his houseboat in Regent’s Canal. As the police look into what happened they focus on three women. The young woman with whom he had a one night stand, the grief stricken aunt and the nosy neighbor. Each one has their own dark pasts with lots of mistakes. And their own reasons to kill.

My Thoughts: This book started great! It felt like it was going to be an exciting story with lots of twists. And it was fun but so much of it seemed to not matter to the whole storyline. Miriam especially seemed like she was just an addition to get the book to a certain page count. Plus there was lots of characters at the beginning. Keeping track of them while listening to the audio version made it hard to keep track of the plot.

I did enjoy the relationship between Irene and Laura. Seeing two women who are lonely and very different be friends and support each other is heartwarming in a murder mystery. I felt bad for both of them throughout the book because of the prejudices against them by society.

I was not surprised by who the killer was. It seemed rather obvious from the beginning as we learn the women’s backstories. With each one we see the connections and can figure out how the story will play out. Especially if you have read other thrillers. But I will say I still had fun reading it and would recommend it.

FYI: From the author of The Girl on the Train.

The Lineup: Chelsea

Chelsea’s Lineup

Music: Spotify playlist: ConfiDANCE (Song spotlight: Not 20 Anymore by Bebe Rexha; Okay Okay by Alessia Cara)

We all have our struggles. Two at the top of my list are mornings, and confidence. In an attempt to kill two birds with one stone, I created a Spotify playlist to start my mornings with a little pep. As soon as I turn off my alarm in the morning, I try to queue up this playlist, and keep it playing during my morning routine & trip to drop my oldest off at school. I sought out about half of the songs, knowing they already help me improve my mood on bad days. The other half Spotify suggested to me! A couple of my *new* favorites include Not 20 Anymore by Bebe Rexha, and Okay Okay by Alessia Cara.

  • Available on Spotify

Movies: He’s All That

I suppose I’m a shameless millennial. I was scrolling through the Netflix “coming soon” tab when I found this. She’s All That was one of my favorite movies for the years after it came out. I mean, Paul Walker you guys. Even as the jerk bad guy, he’s dreamy. Anyhow, it gave me all the teenage angst lovey-dovey vibes that I wanted. I had such high hopes for this movie. I watched it the day it launched onto Netflix. A little overzealous, I know. Anyway, they did a great job of giving the story line an update and making it current to today’s youth. The characters have the same personalities and attributes of attraction that the original actors did. Matthew Lillard and Rachel Leigh Cook even make an appearance! It didn’t live up to the original’s hype, for me, unfortunately. Perhaps that is just because those were my people, and I suppose that makes these ones my kids’ people. Whatever. Worth the watch—but maybe just once.

  • Available on Netflix

Television Show: Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

Some might say I’m a bit of an oddball. I would say I just really love Halloween, and spooky stuff, and all things weird. This Netflix series is all of those things and more. Christine is kind of a Martha Stewart of the…spooky variety. She shows the audience how to make beautifully creepy creations like cakes, tea services, and edible tree ornaments. She also has a host of strange Jim Henson-like creature friends who are always getting into mischief while she tries to teach us about her creations. It’s a strange show, but I suppose I’m a strange person.

  • Available on Netflix

Kid’s Television Show: Dug Days

My son is two, and I stay home with him during the daytime. It’s a fun age riding the line between constantly having to tell him, “no”, and staring at him with a big goofy grin on my face because he’s just SO wonderful. Watching him watch Dug Days does that second one to me. He just loves Dug. I’m not sure what it is—he’s not very verbal just yet—but the grin on his face when I turn it on just melts my heart. There’s only five or six shorts in the series, and they are short, but they are adorable and definitely worth the watch.

  • Available on Disney+

Audiobook: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, narrated by Amanda Leigh Cobb

I read this series a couple of years ago and truly enjoyed it. I must have talked about it quite a bit, because when my husband decided to start an audiobook series (and the book he was hoping to read was checked out), he started listening to this series. I became very excited to enjoy the story with him—a tiny book club for two. The story was just as good the second time around! I’m not a huge fan of the narration of this series, but I am glad they got the same narrator for all of the books (so far); it made it a consistent read. I’m a sucker for a few specific things in stories, and this series seems to check all of those boxes.*sigh*

Apps: Chirp Books

Are you a fan of free and inexpensive? I am a fan of free and inexpensive. Chirp is an audiobook application I learned about through their sister (e-book) company Bookbub (which you should also check out if you haven’t heard of them). After creating your account, you can select favorite genres, authors, and narrators. Based on these favorites, you will receive a daily e-mail with a list of books you can purchase at discounted prices! The only disadvantage is you have to listen to it through their app. It’s a free app and subscription, though, so I’d call that a win! All books suggested to me so far are $5 or less. You can also put audiobooks on a wish list, and the app will alert you if they ever go on sale! I, um, I’ve purchased more $5 audiobooks than I care to admit so far.

Hobbies: Spare Room Remodel

*NOT* my office but what it aspires to become

About two years ago we moved into a new place to make room for a new little addition to our family. It had everything we were searching for, if it was a little higher in the price range than we were hoping for. Anyhow, the basement was unfinished. This might be daunting for some (read me), but the benefit was worth it. I aspire to write– and when I’m not writing, I’m usually reading—so, one of the unfinished rooms in the basement has been reserved as an office/writing space for me sometime in the distant future. I guess I decided I wanted less distance, because I moved all my books back into storage and started working.

Man I underestimated the work that goes into a project like this. I was excited to paint, but forgot about the dry walling and mudding that had to occur first. I did a decent amount before deciding a garage sale to fund a professional to finish the work was probably the best idea. Now that is done, and I’m in the painting process. I love the gothic library look I’ve chosen, and I’m excited to decorate now. Again, I forgot how much work has to occur before that step can be taken, though. Baseboards, crown molding, door trim, window trim, carpeting, and installation of shelves ALL have to occur before I can decorate. Picking those items out is enjoyable, and the installation isn’t unenjoyable—but the bill that accompanies it? That’s is for the birds. So, my project is somewhere in the in-between now. Not exactly the distant future anymore, but further away from the now I was eager for. These things take time, I suppose.

ON MY RADAR: books on my “TBR” shelf, movies and television shows on my “Queue”, podcasts I’ve been eyeing but haven’t had the time to listen to yet. Things I haven’t bit the bullet and purchased, but really hope to sometime soon.

  • Books: Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul
  • Podcasts: The GIST of it; Ologies
  • TV Shows: Sexy Beasts; Tattoo Redo
  • Movies: The Fundamentals of Caring

What’s Ashley Reading?: For Your Own Good

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

First line: Entitlement has a particular stench.

Summary: Belmont Academy is the best school in town. It churns out smart and well connected students to Ivy League universities. Teddy Crutcher, an English teacher, has just won Teacher of the Year. It is a high honor, especially for someone who did not attend Belmont as a student. And as a teacher he has high hopes for his students. He wants the ones who deserve to do well to achieve great things but he must teach the students who are entitled to learn a lesson. For their own good of course. When a parent dies at a school function the Belmont community is thrown into chaos. But then another murder happens. What is going on in this prestigious school?

My Thoughts: This is fine. I liked it. The characters were mostly terrible people. They each had such strong opinions about everyone else around them and were not afraid to act on their urges. Teddy was definitely scary in a calm methodical way. He could always justify his actions. But he also seemed to make sense in some of the things he thought which is even scarier.

I felt like the book was aimed more for young adult readers. And this may be because several of the main characters were teenagers. It felt like it was missing something that her other novels had which led me to give them a higher rating.

There were plenty of little twists but the reader knows from the very beginning who is killing. It was fun to read. And the ending was satisfying. Perfect for the story and the characters involved.

FYI: Death.