Lit Pairings – The Lady in the Lake

The Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

In 1966, Baltimore is a city of secrets that everyone seems to know—everyone, that is, except Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz. Last year, she was a happy, even pampered housewife. This year, she’s bolted from her marriage of almost twenty years, determined to make good on her youthful ambitions to live a passionate, meaningful life.

Maddie wants to matter, to leave her mark on a swiftly changing world. Drawing on her own secrets, she helps Baltimore police find a murdered girl—assistance that leads to a job at the city’s afternoon newspaper, the Star. Working at the newspaper offers Maddie the opportunity to make her name, and she has found just the story to do it: a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake.

Cleo Sherwood was a young black woman who liked to have a good time. No one seems to know or care why she was killed except Maddie—and the dead woman herself. Maddie’s going to find the truth about Cleo’s life and death. Cleo’s ghost, privy to Maddie’s poking and prying, wants to be left alone.

Maddie’s investigation brings her into contact with people that used to be on the periphery of her life—a jewelry store clerk, a waitress, a rising star on the Baltimore Orioles, a patrol cop, a hardened female reporter, a lonely man in a movie theater. But for all her ambition and drive, Maddie often fails to see the people right in front of her. Her inability to look beyond her own needs will lead to tragedy and turmoil for all sorts of people—including the man who shares her bed, a black police officer who cares for Maddie more than she knows.

I REALLY enjoyed this book, and I gave it 5 starts on goodreads! A lot of reviews weren’t great saying the story had too many POV’s, but that’s what I ended up liking most about the story. I think the multiple POV’s might make it hard to listen to as an audio so make sure you read this one.

Since The Lake in the Lake takes place in 1966 I thought it would be fun to check out some of the popular and timeless recipes from the 60’s. One of my favorites is Chicken à la King. After looking at this recipe I think I’ll be adding it back into my rotation this fall! Another full on comfort food recipe that would be amazing to make this winter is Beef Bourguignon.This is of course Julia Child’s recipe because that should be the only one you ever use. After you enjoy either of these dinners you have to make this recipe, that won the Pillsbury Bake Off in 1966, Tunnel of Fudge Cake for desert.

I hope you enjoy The Lady in the Lake as much as I did. Hopefully the retro vibe will inspire you to make one of the recipes. If you do, drop me a line and let me know how it went.

New Catalog Tutorial

Have you noticed that we have a new catalog? We have recently started a consortium with Park City Public Library and Andover Public Library. With this change we are able to bring you a wider selection of items for your use. Items can be placed on hold, picked up or returned to any of these three libraries.

With the consortium we changed to a new catalog system. We are still learning how to use it but we will definitely try to help you find what you are looking for. Below I will show you how to search and see what new items have been added to the catalog.

Step One:

Visit our website, www.derbylibrary.com. Under the Books & Media tab look for Catalog. Click on this to take you to our online card catalog.

Step Two:

Click on Advanced search.

Step Three:

Select Collection. If you are looking for new items select New Book or New DVD. But there are many other categories if you want to narrow down your options to Juvenile Book on CD or Blu-ray. After you select the categories you want then click on Search.

Step Four:

To find the most recent additions find the drop down menu and select Acquisition date: Newest to oldest. This will show the items in the order they were added to the system.

Step Five:

You can (but it is not necessary) narrow this down to items that are only at the Derby Public Library or whichever library in the consortium you prefer.

Step Six:

If you would like to place the item on hold click on Place Hold. It will then have you login to your online account.

The login is your library card number and your password is the last four digits of your phone number.

Make sure that you confirm your hold. If the item is available here in Derby we should have it ready with 2-4 hours. However, if you place an item on hold from one of the other libraries it takes between 3-5 days for it to be delivered here. We will either email, text or call about holds that are ready to be picked up based on your account preference.

I hope this has helped but if you have any more questions or cannot find what you are looking for then feel free to call us at 316-788-0760 or visit our circulation desk for more assistance.

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon Week One

It has been just over one week since the start of the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon here at the library. And boy has it been one heck of a week. You do not realize the pressure you are under when you are given a set number of books to read in just a month! It is a little intimidating.

Going into the challenge I figured that this would be a piece of cake. I have already read over 100 books this year. Twelve books should be easy right?! I have finished three at this point which is a fairly good place to be but they were the shorter ones. Several on my list are hovering around five hundred pages. Yikes! Maybe I was overly ambitious but I am determined to finish this challenge.

So far I have finished reading A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (we own the movie but not the book) and The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way. Each has had their ups and downs but I would say my favorite so far has been The Umbrella Academy graphic novel. I have even read book two and have three on my desk for later.

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way

First line: It was the same year “Tusslin’ Tom” Gurney knocked out the space-squid from Rigel X-9…

Summary: At the exact same moment forty-three babies were born to women who had previously not been pregnant. Of the forty-three newborns born, seven of them were adopted by the eccentrically wealthy Reginald Hargreeves. He knew that there was something special about these children. For years they lived quietly hidden away in his mansion until one day when they reappeared in order to save the world. They called themselves The Umbrella Academy.

My Thoughts: I am not one that is much interested in graphic novels but they are slowly growing on me. I have now read a handful and started to enjoy them. The Netflix show based on the graphic novels is why I chose this book for the reading challenge. There are many similarities between the two but lots of differences as well. Each stand well on their own. The art is very interesting to look at. It is not realistic but it is not too cartoonish.

I liked the story because it is dark and imaginative. The authors create such an interesting world that it is not hard to get sucked into it. One of the characters, Number One or Luther, is part man and part ape. He is gigantic and spends quite a bit of his youth on the moon. Who thinks this stuff up? It is different which makes it fun. I am looking forward to book three and on.

FYI: There is a lot of violence which did not affect me at all but it may be too much for younger readers. This is book one in the series.

What’s Ashley Reading?: Cilka’s Journey

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

First line: Cilka stares at the soldier standing in front of her, part of the army that has entered the camp.

Summary: Sixteen year old Cilka Klein was sent to Auschwitz along with her family. One of the head SS officers of the camp notices her and moves her away from the other women. Over the three years she is kept in barracks 25 until the day the camp is liberated by the Russian forces. Upon their arrival she is arrested and charged with collaborating with the enemy. She is sentenced to fifteen years in a Siberian gulag.

When she arrives at the prison she finds a world that she has unfortunately become very familiar with. The forced labor and brutal conditions of the camp are not new to her. She makes friends with several of her fellow inmates but when she catches the attention of the female doctor her luck begins to change. With her work in the hospital she finds a way to make amends for the guilt about her past and maybe even start to feel love again.

My Thoughts:The Tattooist of Auschwitz was such a heartbreaking story. But I was beyond shocked by the story of Cilka. She was forced into a Russian prison after suffering for years in a concentration camp because she was raped for three years. It makes no sense. The poor girl is stronger than I can imagine I could ever be. I really cared about what happened to Cilka while reading her story. She did so much good in a terrible place. If only there were more people like her.

I never even considered that things like this happened to some of the survivors. It is sad that the “liberators” were nearly as cruel as the Nazis. Her time in the gulag is unbelievable. I know that the author did lots of research and she does a great job of bringing it to life. People need to know these things in order to try and stop them from happening again.

I felt like this was much better put together than the first book. It was not nearly as choppy.

FYI: This is a sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Librarians in The Forbidden Forest

The Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon is in full swing and some of your librarians have decided to join you in the journey! Reading twelve books in one month is quite a feat even for librarians, but we’ve armed ourselves with pretty awesome to-be read lists in hopes of conquering every obstacle in the forest. Check out our read-a-thon plans below to get some ideas for your own challenge, and feel free to share your to-be-read list with us!

Hannah’s Forbidden Forest Challenge:

Hannah and her dog Merry!
  • Talking Trees – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Witch’s House – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Fiery Fire Pit – Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  • Cursed Pond – The Ruins by Scott Smith
  • Shadow’s Shortcut – Elevation by Stephen King
  • Wolf Den – Winterhouse by Ben Guterson or a book in the Johnny Dixon series by John Bellairs
  • Mushroom Isle – The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
  • Poison Berry Bush – Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
  • Unicorn Grove – Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker
  • Will O the Wisps – Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
  • The Wish Well – The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
  • Carnivorous Plants – Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Ashley’s Forbidden Forest Challenge:

Check out Ashley’s reviews for other awesome book recommendations!
  • Talking Trees – A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Witch’s House – A Curse So Dark and Lovely by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Fiery Fire Pit – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Cursed Pond – Carrie by Stephen King
  • Shadow’s Shortcut – We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • Wolf Den – Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Mushroom Isle – Star Wars: Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray
  • Poison Berry Bush – Me by Elton John
  • Unicorn Grove – Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way
  • Will O the Wisps – The Loving Cup by Winston Graham
  • The Wishing Well – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling
  • Carnivorous Plants – Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory

Trisha’s Forbidden Forest Challenge

Barbara Kingsolver is one of Trisha’s favorite authors!
  • Talking Trees: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • The Witch’s House: A Discovery of Witches by Derborah Harkness
  • Fiery Fire Pit: The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
  • Cursed Pond: We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
  • Shadow’s Shortcut: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • Wolf Den: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  • Mushroom Isle: The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
  • Poison Berry Bush: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Unicorn Grove: Lumberjanes by Mariko Tamaki
  • Will O the Wisps: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  • The Wishing Well: Educated by Tara Westover
  • Carnivorous Plants: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Rachel’s Forbidden Forest Challenge

Rachel is also an amazing photographer!
  • Talking Trees: Jaws by Peter Benchly
  • The Witch’s House: Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  • Fiery Fire Pit: Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Cursed Pond: The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
  • Shadow’s Shortcut: Night by Elie Wiesel
  • Wolf Den: George by Alex Gino
  • Mushroom Isle: Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • Poison Berry Bush: Between, Before and After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
  • Unicorn Grove: Fragments of Horror by Junji Ifo
  • Will O the Wisps: Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  • The Wishing Well: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • Carnivorous Plants: The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab

Alyssa’s Forbidden Forest Challenge

I’m ready to face the challenges of The Forbidden Forest!
  • Talking Trees: Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
  • The Witch’s House: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Fiery Fire Pit: Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
  • Cursed Pond: Rogue Angel: Labyrinth by Alex Archer
  • Shadow’s Shortcut: Violet and the Pearl of the Orient by Harriet Whitehorn
  • Wolf Den: Valkyrie by Kate O’Hearn
  • Mushroom Isle: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Poison Berry Bush: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson
  • Unicorn Grove: Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G.
  • Will O the Wisps: Cucumber Quest #2 The Ripple Kingdom by Gigi D.G.
  • The Wishing Well: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult
  • Carnivorous Plants: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

The librarians even have our own little competition of sorts among the staff so we are ready to make it through this challenge! Feel free to share the books you plan on reading for this month, and let us know if you need any help!

Welcome to the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon!

I dare you to read twelve books in one month. I dare you to enter the Forbidden Forest, face cursed ponds, trickster fairies, and a witch’s spells. I dare you to follow the path through the forest, forgoing that hour of Facebook scrolling or Netflix binging to brave the treacheries of the woods. Only you can answer the call, and only you can make it through unscathed. I dare you to try!

Now I know that for most of us, it seems impossible to read that much in a single month, but I can assure you that if you choose your books well and prioritize your time, you can make it through this challenge. Welcome to the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon!

What is the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon?

In honor of this year’s NEA Wichita Big Read, the library is hosting its first read-a-thon. Here’s a link to a previous blog post that may answer any questions you have about what a read-a-thon is.

The Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon will take place during the entire month of October and is open to both adults and teens in sixth grade or higher. Each of the twelve reading challenges are themed around obstacles you would find in a forbidden forest.

Who can participate?

This challenge is for both teens in 6th-12th grade and adults over the age of eighteen!

How do I participate?  

Step One: Pick up a tracking log at either the front desk or youth services desk OR print out the log yourself at the link here.

Step Two: Choose twelve books to read for the month by following the prompts. E-books and audiobooks count as do children’s books, middle grade books, and graphic novels/manga. A good rule of thumb is if the book can be found in the Goodreads database, it counts towards your read-a-thon!

Step Three: Read! You have until October 31st to complete all twelve challenges.

Step Four: Write down the twelve books you read on the submission form and turn it in to either the front desk or youth services desk at the library by October 31st. You will be entered to win one of two $50 Barnes and Noble Gift Cards!

We are so excited to be hosting a read-a-thon this year and hope you join us on this adventure!

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Wolf Wants In

The Wolf Wants In by Laura McHugh

First line: A bitter wind sheared through the darkness, biting into my exposed flesh and lashing my hair across my face.

Summary: Sadie Keller is determined to find out what happened to her brother on the night he died. She does not believe the story told to her by his wife, Crystle. But the police do not believe that there is enough evidence to allow them to look deeper into the events.

Henley is hoping to escape from her small Kansas town. Her family are involved in some dangerous activities and she wants to leave before she is sucked into them.

My Thoughts: I loved the author’s previous book Arrowood. It was thrilling. This was sold to be a thriller but it really fell flat. I was hoping for more but it took almost 60% of the book to get to the more interesting pieces. The beginning was about the town, its people and the life in small town Kansas. This made it easy to connect with at least, as a girl from a small town in Kansas.

I liked the characters but they needed something more. We got glimpses into Sadie’s past with her brother. I would have liked more of that. Henley seemed like a filler character. She did reveal some information that lead to big reveal but her story was blah.

FYI: Read Arrowood!

What’s Ashley Reading?: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by Fiona Carnarvon, the Countess of Carnarvon

First line: This is a book about an extraordinary woman called Almina Carnarvon, the family into which she married, the Castle that became her home, the people who worked there, and the transformation of the Castle when it became a hospital for wounded soldiers during the First World War.

Summary: Written by the current Countess of Carnarvon we are taken into the past to meet the woman that helped inspired the hit television series Downton Abbey. Almina was the daughter of Alfred de Rothschild. Her dowry was used to help support the struggling estate. Almina opened the house to be used as a hospital during World War I and her husband was part of the team who discovered the tomb of King Tut. Using information from letters and diaries of the occupants of Highclere Castle, we get the true story of this great house.

My Thoughts: I have been a fan of the series Downton Abbey from the start. I watched each season religiously. I even got my mother hooked on it. I knew that much of the inspiration for the story was drawn from real life events. I have been meaning to pick up this book for years and with the upcoming movie I figured it was the right time.

It is easy to see that author had access to many primary sources and a wealth of information. She fleshes out the woman who saved the family from ruin and brought them into the 20th century. I loved hearing about her life before and after her marriage. She did so much for the house but my favorite part by far was the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. From a hobby in the desert and a final chance to find something worth the money they find one of the greatest discoveries of all time.

There is a follow up book called Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey. It is next on my list.

FYI: The Downton Abbey movie is released in theaters on September 20, 2019. (Several of our staff plan to see it this weekend. Hope to see some of you there too!)

What’s Ashley Reading?: Tidelands

Tidelands by Philippa Gregory

First line: The church was grey against a light grey sky, the bell tower, like a watchtower, dark against the darker clouds.

Summary: It is 1648 in England. The country is in turmoil. Alinor is a poor woman living on Sealsea Island with two children. Her husband disappeared several months before and left his family with nothing. One night while Alinor is holding vigil at the local church she stumbles upon a man hiding in the churchyard. He asks for her help to guide him to the home of the local land owner. She learns that he is a priest who is working as a spy for the imprisoned King Charles I.

For her silence about the mysterious visitor she earns the respect of the Peachey family. As she gains favor from her landlord she also draws the suspicions of her neighbors. In this time of witchcraft and superstition, Alinor is in danger of being accused of using spells to bewitch them to advance her ambitions.

My Thoughts: I absolutely loved this book. It is a beautiful story. The descriptions of the land are as vivid as a picture. It is easy to imagine the small island village in the south of England where life is controlled by the tides.

Alinor is a poor simple woman but she stands out from all the other people on her island. She is knowledgeable about herbs, she can read and write. Gregory does an amazing job writing about strong and interesting women. Alinor has been abandoned by her husband but she is able to continue to survive using her own gifts.

The time of Charles I is not one that I am very familiar with. Wikipedia is one of my best friends while reading about a new era in history. I have heard of the English Civil War and the Oliver Cromwell but I have never spent much time reading about it. Gregory did extensive research in order to bring the turbulent time to life. The fear of witches, the hatred of the king and the devastating poverty are just a few issues she covers. It was a time of great change.

A connection is being made here.

Throughout the novel I was constantly worried for Alinor. She is a wise woman. Many of her neighbors come to her for help in delivering babies or curing a sickness. But it is easy for people of the time to turn on women like her. I kept waiting for something to happen her. I was completely invested in her life. As I read the last few pages I was praying that it would not end. I want to know what will happen next for Alinor and her family.

We are SUPER excited!

Last week I was lucky enough to get to travel to Denver and meet Philippa Gregory. My cousin, Alaina, accompanied me to the event. It was a on my bucket list to meet and have a signed copy of one of her books. I was beyond excited to meet her. She was absolutely lovely to listen to. She did several readings from Tidelands and answered audience questions. I love attending author events. For me it is like meeting a movie star. I was literally shaking and nervous. I am so happy that I made the eight hour drive to Denver to meet her. It was surreal.

FYI: Philippa Gregory is my favorite author! My favorite book is The Other Boleyn Girl.

Random Reading Thoughts: How do you get out of a reading slump?

Drawing of book wity images coming out of it representing a story narative
Tell us in the comments how you get out of a reading slump.

If you’re a reader, you’ve experienced it: a reading slump. You know, that week, or month, or longer, when no matter what book you pick up, you just can’t seem to get interested in it.

If you’re in a slump now, here are 10 tips to help get your reading back on track. If you’re not in a slump, save this for later, because you know one will hit sooner or later.

1. Reread one of your favorite books. Not a re-reader? Give it a shot. There’s a reason we love our favorite stories and revisiting them can rekindle the feeling we had when we first read them.

2. Read a book completely out of your comfort zone. Normally read romantic comedies? Try a thriller. Love mysteries? Give a fantasy novel a shot. Picking up something completely unusual for you can pique your interest.

3. Judge a book by its cover. Go ahead. Do it! That cover that just grabs your attention? The book inside might just do the same and help break you out of a rut.

4. Pick up a nice short, easy to read book. If you’re in a slump, picking up that giant doorstop of a book might feel like too much. Give yourself permission to read a short, fluffy, brain candy kind of book.

Sometimes a new format can kick your reading back into gear.

5. “Read” in a different format. Do you usually read on an e-reader or mobile device? Try print. Always read print books? Listen to an audiobook. Consuming that story in a new way may prod your brain to respond more actively to the story.

6. Visit the library or a bookstore. Just browsing the shelves and being around books might get your brain back into a reading mode.

7. Participate in a reading challenge. Reading challenges abound on the internet, challenges with a few books or a lot of books. Locally, check out the Wichita Eagle #READICT Challenge group on Facebook. The Eagle’s annual challenge is to read 12 books from 12 categories.

8. Or, participate in a read-a-thon. The library has a month-long read-a-thon coming up Oct. 1-31, where you can journey through the Forbidden Forest as you read.

9. Join a book club. It can be motivating to have a deadline to finish and then meet and discuss what you loved — and didn’t — about the book. The library has three active book clubs, all open to everyone.

10. Take yourself on a reading date. Set aside some time for just you and your book. Find a comfortable place and have a cup of your favorite tea or coffee. Take a couple of hours and surrender yourself to the words on the page. Have a few books to choose from, in case the first “date” doesn’t quite work out.