Beth Solka

05/30/2012 - 3:31am
Suck Your Stomach In & Put Some Color On!

I loved my Southern Mama and my Southern Grandma, so when I found Suck in Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On! I knew that I would love it, too.  It is chock full of wisdom from mothers across the South--plus a running commentary by the author which is hysterical!

There are such wonderful pearls of wisdom as:

"My mom’s advice on raising children:  ‘If it washes off or grows out, it doesn’t hurt anyone.  Don’t worry about it!’”

“Mama said, ‘Just because it fits doesn’t mean you oughta wear it.’”

“My mama told me ladies never answered the door barefoot!”

“My grandmother advised me to marry a man my age or a little younger, ‘because they don’t improve with age.’  I now know what she meant.’”

05/29/2012 - 11:14am
picture of a piano and guitar

Many of you may not know that the National Library Service has been keeping the full libraries of Guitar by Ear and Piano by Ear lessons available for its clients to check out. The most recent order of 117 titles will mean they have well over 900 “by ear” titles ready for loan to their patrons.

05/17/2012 - 9:08am
The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry

Every once in a while a patron will call me to tell me how much they enjoyed a book.  Now I have a blog to share these sentiments with you.  The Jefferson Key (DB 73400) by Steve Berry is a book that received a glowing endorsement from a patron. 

Steve Berry has written a series of books using the character of Cotton Malone, a former Justice Department operative, who gets caught up in historical mysteries. In the newest book of the series, four presidents have been assassinated.  Were the assassinations unrelated or were the presidents all murdered for the same reason?  After saving the current president from an assassination plot, Cotton Malone realizes that he has angered a secret society.  The hunt for  that society leads him on a fast-paced chase that is highly thrilling.

Berry always does incredible research for his novels and even lets the reader know what is fiction and nonfiction at the end of the book. If you are looking for a good conspiracy theory, this might be it!

05/10/2012 - 2:59pm
The Catch: a Joe Gunther Novel cover

The Catch: a Joe Gunther Novel (DB 73170) was highly recommended by a patron who loves mysteries.  He said that he really didn't want to stop listening to it until it was done.  Just as a sighted reader cannot put the book down, he couldn't turn his audio book off.  The Joe Gunther series is built around Joe Gunther, the head of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation.  When one of the Vermont state troopers is shot and killed during a routine traffic stop near the Canadian border, the investigative team lead by Joe Gunther is taken to Maine where a drug kingpin has also been murdered. These two murders are interconnected.

04/03/2014 - 1:43pm
One Thousand White Women: the Journals of May Dodd

One of my patrons called me to discuss One Thousand White Women: the Journal of May Dodd by Jim Fergus. (RC 47157) This is a fictionalized account of a true incident in which an Indian delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. to negotiate a treaty.

One of the Indians was a Cheyenne leader named Little Wolf. As part of the negotiations, Little Wolf requested that his tribe be supplied with 1,000 white women, in an effort to assist in the assimilation of the Cheyenne peoples with the white man. Predictably, the request was met with derision and horror. 

05/01/2012 - 3:31am
Dog Man

Someone once said, “When you finish a book that you love, it is like saying good-bye to a friend.”  I felt sad when I finished Dog Man and for a few seconds thought about turning to the front of the book and starting it all over again.

Martha Sherrill has such a beautiful writing style that it was a joy to read from beginning to end. Morie Sawataishi developed a deep admiration for the rugged mountain hunting dogs of Japan. Before World War II, Japan revered the Akita, partly due to the true story of Hachiko.  He was the loyal Akita who waited every day for his owner to get off of the train.  His owner was a professor who died suddenly at work.  Hachiko continued to wait for him every day for years hoping that he would come back.  Hachiko symbolized the Japanese sense of discipline and loyalty. However, during World War II, people ate the dogs and used their pelts to line uniforms until they were almost extinct.

03/28/2012 - 8:43am
River Marked

I used to have an old Volvo that broke down frequently. The problem was a hose that would fly off of the engine. I always carried a screwdriver which I would use to reattach the hose and go on my way. One morning I was rushing in the door to work after one of these episodes when my supervisor stopped me. “What happened to you?” she asked with concern. I had no idea what she was talking about until I followed her eyes down to my arms and realized that my forearms were covered with black dirt and grease.

I explained about having to fix my car on the way to work, and she just stood and stared at me silently for a very awkward minute. Suddenly she burst into song! “I am woman. Hear me roar. With numbers too big to ignore. And I’ve come too far to turn back and pretend.” She turned to walk away but kept on singing at the top of her lungs. Her song only died away when she turned the corner and went down the other hall. 

Right then and there I decided to get a new car.

04/03/2014 - 1:40pm
The Napping House by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood

The Napping House, by Audrey Wood, is full of beautiful illustrations, and there is wonderful repetition in the wording of the book. The sequencing is great for children because it creates a sense of anticipation and allows them to participate in reading the book. The story is about a grandma who has everyone in the house gently pile on top of her while she is asleep.The pile includes her grandson, the dog, the cat, the mouse and the mouse's flea.The book is charming as well as being calming and would be a great bedtime story for a child who needs help settling down.

01/18/2012 - 8:45am
Lucky You

Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen is about a young black woman named JoLayne Lucks who has one of two winning tickets to the Florida lottery--and when she cashes it in she will win $14 million. As a vet assistant, she is very involved with raising the baby turtles that she finds and plans on using her money to buy a section of Florida swampland to create a wildlife refuge.  However, two con men named Chubb and Bodean Gazzer--who have formed a white supremacy militia--own the other winning ticket. When they find out that JoLayne is also a winner, they decide that $28 million would be even better to help them finance the White Clarion Aryans.

04/03/2014 - 1:39pm
Rose in a Storm by Jon Katz

Trinity, our greyhound mix, was a natural leader. She would break up cat fights by putting her head between the fighting cats.  Whenever there was dissent among our dogs, she would stare them down until they retreated. When our cat was dying and had to sleep in the bathroom the night before she took her final trip to the vet, Trinity slept on the other side of the door. We had no idea what a positive effect she had on the dynamics of our household until she passed away. Now the cats fight right next to one of our dogs' heads and they just lie there looking at them as if to say, “Will you look at that!”

The novel Rose in a Storm is Jon Katz's first fiction in 10 years. Jon Katz usually writes nonfiction books about his farm, Bedlam Farm, an hour outside of Albany, NY, where ironically, his lead farm dog is named Rose. It is a wonderful example of how a little book can be so much more than the reader expects. The book is written from Rose’s perspective. Rose is the best farm dog in the county, and her reputation is so good that other farmers have borrowed Rose when they have had problems on their farms. She and Sam, the farmer, share an excellent non-verbal bond as they work the farm on a daily basis. But their life is turned upside down when a catastrophic blizzard envelops the farm and all of the animals that they have are in danger of freezing to death or being attacked by coyotes.

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