England

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas: Celebrating in the Old-fashioned Way

It ain't over 'til it's over! Every year kids and adults build up a head of steam for the Christmas holidays. Then the magical day comes and goes too quickly, leaving scraps of wrapping paper and half-munched cookies all around the house, as well as the nagging feeling that someone special has been left off the greeting and gifting list.

Welcome to Sherwood!

In fall, the woods are filled with trees and squirrels and birds and perhaps outlaws with hearts of gold, if your imagination stretches far enough. In England, long ago there arose a legend of a man who lived in the forest with his band of other outlaws. The story goes they stole from the rich, gave to the poor, and fought for justice. Their legend continues to be told today.

Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks

Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks

It is fascinating to trace the domino effect caused by something so seemingly small and insignificant as a bolt of cloth. In Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, by Geraldine Brooks, this bolt spreads misery in the form of the bubonic plague from London to a small, remote English village in 1666. Anna Frith, a young widow who has already seen her share of misfortune, is spared the fatal boils while all around her, family, friends, and neighbors succumb to the terrible disease.

Down on the Farm with Babe and Dick King-Smith

"I want to be a sheep-pig," he said.
"Ha ha!" bleated a big lamb standing next to Ma. "Ha ha ha-a-a-a-a!"
"Be quiet!" said Ma sharply, swinging her head to give the lamb a thumping butt in the side. "That ain't nothing to laugh at."

Pigs may herd sheep and perhaps even fly, but Dick King-Smith won't get on an airplane. He'd much rather travel by sea. The author of Babe, The Gallant Pig does have a dog named Fly after his favorite character in Babe. He says his Fly, a German Shepherd, is "beautiful, affectionate, intelligent, and as mad as a March hare."

The Name of the Star

By Maureen Johnson

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Rory, of Boueuxlieu, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation. Available in eAudio.
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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? By Jeanette Winterson

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? By Jeanette Winterson

“Most kids grow up leaving something out for Santa at Christmas time when he comes down the chimney. I used to make presents for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

When I picked up a copy of Jeanette Winterson’s recent memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, I couldn’t wait to start the first page. I’ve been fascinated by Winterson’s novels for years, but never imagined she would narrate her life in the coherent, linear style associated with memoirs. In Winterson’s fiction, she constantly manipulates the boundary between fantasy and reality, integrating personal experience, mythology, and philosophy into a fluid conglomeration. Although Why Be Happy does feature some of Winterson’s trademark structural experimentation, it is also an engrossing story about one woman’s experience of dysfunction, madness, violence, love, and religion.

Friday Book Flick: Brianne Reviews Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

During Chancellor Middle School Cafe Book Get Together Day at Salem Church Library Brianne reviews Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. In Ruby Red Sixteen-year-old Gwyneth discovers that she, rather than her well-prepared cousin, carries a time-travel gene, and soon she is journeying with Gideon, who shares the gift, through historical London trying to discover whom they can trust.

London Walks -- London Stories

By David Tucker & the Guides

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"Written by the expert guides of London Walks, London's oldest, most acclaimed walking tour company, London Stories collects local insight and knowledge that can only be gained through years of tour-leading experience. These theme-based walks offer something for everyone, whether a history buff, a fan of the paranormal, or those looking for fun off the beaten path. The walks include Sinister London, focusing on haunted London and Jack the Ripper; Literary London, from Shakespeare to Dickens; Public Houses, showcasing the old pubs of Soho; and a Mystery and Secrets walk exploring the city's hidden past. Perfect for tourists who want to experience London life beyond Trafalgar Square as well as for Londoners eager to step off the Circle Line and discover the secrets on their own doorstep, this guide offers a fascinating glimpse into the capital's rich history."
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Crowfield Curse

By Pat Walsh

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In 1347, when fourteen-year-old orphan William Paynel, an impoverished servant at Crowfield Abbey, goes into the forest to gather wood and finds a magical creature caught in a trap, he discovers he has the ability to see fays and becomes embroiled in a strange mystery involving Old Magic, a bitter feud, and ancient secrets.

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The London Monster: A Sanguinary Tale

By Jan Bondeson

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In the 1790s, well before Jack the Ripper, more than 50 victims fell prey to the London Monster. A man went on trial for the crimes, but was he guilty?  According to The Philadelphia Inquirer: "The facts in this case are so peculiar that no novelist would have dared to invent them." See what *you* think!

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