Virginia Johnson

10/01/2015 - 12:11pm

The first colonists at Jamestown found life on the swampy tip of an Indian hunting ground by the James River to be grueling and often deadly. The Virginia Company hoped to make a start in this new world that would ultimately bring profits to King James, the men who ventured there, and, of course, the Virginia Company itself. But the coming of “the Starving Time,” sometimes hostile tribes, and sickness turned a dream into a nightmare.

09/30/2015 - 7:47am
Grab Your Pumpkin, and Plan for Halloween Fun!

It’s time for hayrides, apples, and sweaters. And pumpkins. Can’t forget the pumpkins. What will you do with your pumpkin? Will you carve it into amazing shapes, paint it with swirls and maybe sparkle it with glitter? Or, will you turn it into a pumpkin pie?

Pumpkins are so much a part of all fall celebrations—and Halloween brings out our imaginations. For one night, you can pretend to be someone else brave or magical or silly or scary. 

Halloween is also a great time for a party! Whether you make it a just a bit frightening or create something calm and low-key, you can make it happen with cool crafts, stories, games, food and fun.

09/23/2015 - 7:19am
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

After reading CRRL librarian Joy O’Toole’s great write-up on Agatha Christie, I thought I’d give one of her series a try. I’m not sure why I had been avoiding them. I like British stuff, historical novels, and mysteries. But what I had glimpsed of Inspector Poirot and Miss Marple did not immediately grab me. I decided to try one of her lesser-known series, Partners in Crime, which starts with The Secret Adversary.

Friends since childhood, charming, young, and starving Tommy and Tuppence meet at a London tea shop to catch up, only to discover that they both face the same problem—chronic unemployment! In London after the Great War, there aren’t a lot of jobs to be had, so for the price of an advertisement in the newspaper, they decide to create The Young Adventurers, Ltd., a firm that will take on very nearly anything.

10/13/2015 - 9:42am

Get the creepy crawlies with R. L. Stine. He's a master of conjuring things that go bump in the dark—and lurk in dark waters. In The Curse of Camp Cold Lake, Sarah has found a way to get even with her mean bunkmates, but she's the one who's in for a shock. Think you're beyond all that? So did Courtney. She tells everybody how brave she is, and Eddie is tired of it. He knows there's one thing she is afraid of. The monsters at Muddy Creek. Too bad for Eddie that Courtney is right again in You Can't Scare Me

Welcome to R.L. Stine's world. It's easy to make friends here. But they're usually the wrong kind of friends.

09/23/2015 - 10:08am

Columbus Day is sometimes called Discoverers' Day. In the spirit of discovery, take some time to learn about the world as it was in the days of the European explorers. You can make a compass, learn about the stars, read about other explorers and discoverers, and find how even our way of eating has changed since the Europeans came to the Americas looking for gold, glory, and, yes, tasty cooking spices.

Pizza Without Tomato Sauce?

The explorers who came to the Americas found the food enjoyed by the native people to be very different from what they knew at home. They had never seen tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize (corn), pineapples, chili peppers, or even cocoa. The vegetable dishes from the Europe they knew relied on parsnips, cabbages, peas, carrots, turnips, and onions. After being at sea and living off of a diet of lentil soup, salt beef from a barrel, salted sardines, hardtack, and other delights, the fresh, new foods of the islands would have been an astonishing change.

09/15/2015 - 2:55am
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

In Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son, Jun Do works for the government of “the most glorious nation on earth” as a professional kidnapper. This isn’t a science fiction dystopia, but rather it is a raw, searing novel concerning one man’s life under a regime that crushes its citizens, body and soul.

Jun Do doesn’t know his real name. Like his fellow orphans, his was chosen from a list of North Korean war heroes. There is decency to Jun Do, even as he surmounts a horrific childhood only to realize that he (and everyone else) exists primarily for their usefulness to the state. But Jun Do has ambitions.

09/22/2015 - 11:50am
The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

A dream to get out of the drudgery of domestic service led Tess to take a leap of faith and board the H.M.S. Titanic. She knew she had more to offer the world than cleaning her mistress’ dirty linen, so when the beautiful dress designer Lady Duff Gordon agrees to take her on as a personal assistant,Tess is eager to become part of another, more glamorous life. In Kate Alcott’s The Dressmaker, Tess’ voyage veers from Cinderella story to disaster. Its aftermath will test her loyalties and love for two very different men.

09/01/2015 - 2:15pm

Jim Murphy is one of those amazing authors who can introduce the past to new generations with his fiction and non-fiction works. Whether it’s an unsuspecting 18th-century port town about to get hit by yellow fever, the Big Apple shut down by a blizzard, or a fire that burned down a lot of Chicago, Mr. Murphy brings readers into the thick of events with a storytelling style that holds their attention.

Want to time travel with Jim Murphy? Click here to see which of his books we have in store for you at the library. Read on for some facts on his life, articles featuring him, and a sample from his book, An American Plague.

09/01/2015 - 10:46am
Longbourn by Jo Baker

What would Jane Austen’s delicate world look like from the point of view of the young woman who launders the family’s linen? Life at Longbourn can be as raw as Sarah the housemaid’s hands as she lugs buckets of water across an icy courtyard. It’s not that the Bennet family isn’t well-liked by their servants. It’s simply that there’s a world of difference between what goes on above and below stairs, as Jo Baker deftly shows in her award-winning novel.


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