Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Available @ Your Library Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2012: Tissues at the ready, I braced myself for The End of Your Life Book Club, Will Schwalbe’s memoir of his mother’s death from pancreatic cancer. But Mary Anne Schwalbe is such a fierce, unsentimental heroine--and her son such a frank and funny storyteller--that what could have been an emotional roller coaster turns out to be a beautifully paced ride. Mary Anne loves a good book as ardently as she loves her kids and her causes, chief among them a campaign to build a library in Afghanistan. When her health starts to fail, Will joins her for hospital appointments. They wait, they talk, and they read together--everything they’ve ever wanted to discuss. As much an homage to literature as to the mother who shared it with him, Will’s chronicle of this heartrending time opens up his captivating family to the rest of us. We should all be so lucky as to read along with the Schwalbes. --Mia Lipman

“A wonderful book about wonderful books and mothers and sons and the enduring braid between them. Like the printed volumes it celebrates, this story will stay with you long after the last page.”
--Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Time Keeper

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reavis Wortham here tomorrow!

Don't forget to come by the Library and meet Reavis
Friday, October 12
12:30 - 3:00

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bazaar Festivities

The library had a very interesting display of furniture dating back to 1860, all made in Red River County.

Many people visited the antique furniture display throughout the day.
 We enjoyed getting to spend the day with Walt and Isabel Davis, 
authors of Exploring the Edges of Texas.
They had great stories to tell and sold many books.

A few of the watercolor paintings by Walt Davis

Budding artists

Getting a lesson from the pro

Monday, October 1, 2012

Let the Celebration Begin: 50th Anniversary

To kick off our month-long 50th Anniversary Celebration, Walt and Isabel Davis, co-authors of Exploring the Edges of Texas, will be visiting the  Library on Saturday, October 6, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. during the Fall Bazaar.  The couple spent five years traveling the four thousand-mile border of Texas and writing about the experience.


The border of Texas is longer than the Amazon River; it runs through ten distinct ecological zones as it outlines one of the most familiar shapes in geography. In the authors’ words, “Driving its every twist and turn would be like driving from Miami to Los Angeles by way of New York.”


As stated on the dust jacket, each of the sixteen chapters of Exploring the Edges of Texas opens with an original drawing by Walt and represents a segment of the Texas border where the authors selected a special place—a national park, a stretch of river, a mountain range, or an archeological site.

"Walter and Isabel Davis undertook to explore the edges of the state to learn if the sites of certain natural or historical events could still be found, and if so what stories might reveal themselves. They have done a masterful job.  Exploring the Edges of Texas is most readable and thoroughly enjoyable. Its stories will inspire you to visit the Texas borderlands and search for your own stories", says Dr. Mike Berger, retired Wildlife Division Director, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Leaving the beaten paths, the Davises  hiked, canoed, and rafted into some of the most remote, unforgiving, and spectacularly beautiful parts of the Lone Star State documenting for readers the state’s natural history written by passionate and determined people. Anyone interested in Texas or its rich natural history will find deep enjoyment in Exploring the Edges of Texas.

The Davises book has been very popular at the library over the past few months. It appeals to history buffs, nature lovers, and all Texans in between.  

Along with copies of their book, Walt will have some of his beautiful watercolor paintings on display.

More information can be found at their website:

Coming soon:
Reavis Z. Wotham, Friday, October 12, 12:30 - 3:00 p.m.
Lisa Wingate, Friday, October 26, Brown Bag Luncheon, 12:00 - 2:00

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Library Learning Patch - Children Discovering Nature

We entered a cucumber from our garden in the  Red River County Fair. Guess what? We won 2nd place - a red ribbon. Hurray for the children!!!
Our winning cucumber!

Maybe next year we will enter more items--and win a blue ribbon!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Books...

Cascade, Massachusetts, 1935.
Desdemona Hart Spaulding, a talented young artist who studied in Paris, has sacrificed her dreams of working in New York City to put a roof over her newly bankrupt and ailing father's head. Two months later he has died and Dez is bound by the promises she has made to her father, her husband, and her town. Dez is stifled by her marriage to kind but conservative Asa, who is impatient to start a family, and her ambitions are fading. She also stands to lose her father's legacy, the Cascade Shakespeare Theatre, as Massachusetts decides whether to flood Cascade to create a new reservoir for Boston.
Amid this turmoil arrives Jacob Solomon, a fellow artist and kindred spirit for whom Dez feels an immediate and strong attraction. As their relationship reaches a pivotal moment, a man is found dead and the town points its collective finger at Jacob, a Jewish outsider. When unexpected acclaim and a chance to recapture her lost dreams of life in New York City arise, Dez must make an impossible choice.

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.
Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwickupon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessy will live.
Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest along the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him--allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.
And there is unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy.

More new releases...
Burrows, by Reavis Z. Wortham
The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller
The Good Dream, by Donna VanLiere
Into the Darkest Corner, by Elizabeth Haynes
May The Road Rise Up To Meet You, by Peter Troy
Robert Parker's: Fool Me Twice, by Michael Brandman
The Sandcastle Girls, by Chris Bohjalian
The Time Keeper, by Mitch Albom
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D., by Nichole Bernier
Wife 22, by Melanie Gideon

Friday, September 7, 2012

Brown Bag Book Club

At the September meeting of the Brown Bag Book Club, in addition to discussing our current books, we discussed some of our favorite classics.

What is a classic?  The answer to this question could vary greatly upon who you ask or what list you consult.  For sure, we are not the first to ask it.

In 1850 Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804–1869) stated his answer to the question “What is a Classic?”:
“The idea of a classic implies something that has continuance and consistence, and which produces unity and tradition, fashions and transmits itself, and endures…. 
 In 1920, Fannie M. Clark, a teacher at the Rozelle School in East Cleveland, Ohio, consulted a group of eighth-graders when she asked them the question: “What do you understand by the classics in literature?” Two of the answers Clark received were “Classics are books your fathers give you and you keep them to give to your children” and “Classics are those great pieces of literature considered worthy to be studied in English classes of high school or college”. 
In the 1980s Italo Calvino said in his essay “Why Read the Classics?” that “A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.”  [1]

It would be safe to say that a classic would be a book that could outlast the time in which it was written. 
Just as there are a plethora of opinions on the subject, so is there a wealth of lists which you could consult. Here are just a few:

While the debate and the lists go on and on, here is a list of some favorites mentioned at this month's meeting:

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell
Little Women, by Louis May Alcott
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
Home from the Hill, by William Humphrey
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

For a list of more contemporary books we have discussed, see the Shelfari list in the left column of this website.
The Brown Bag Book Club is an informal group that meets at the library on the first Wednesday of each month at 12:00 noon.  There is no assigned reading list.  You can come anytime and not be behind.
Next meeting: October 3, 2012.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Arrivals...

Tom Harry has a streak of frost in his black pompadour and a venerable bar called the Medicine Lodge, the chief watering hole and last refuge of the town of Gros Ventre, in northern Montana. Tom also has a son named Rusty, an "accident between the sheets" whose mother deserted them both years ago. The pair make an odd kind of family, with the bar their true home, but they manage just fine.
Until the summer of 1960, that is, when Rusty turns twelve. Change arrives with gale force, in the person of Proxy, a taxi dancer Tom knew back when, and her beatnik daughter Francine. Is she, as Proxy claims, the unsuspected legacy of her and Tom's past? Without a doubt, Francine is an unsettling gust of the future, upending every certainty in Rusty's life and generating a mist of passion and pretense that seems to obscure everyone's vision but his own. As Rusty struggles to decipher the oddities of adult behavior and the mysteries build toward a reckoning, Ivan Doig wonderfully captures how the world becomes bigger and the past more complex in the last moments of childhood.

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: he kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead - keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian house she used to call home. 
But she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Every Noble Knight, by Maggie Bennett
The Girl of Nightmares, by Kendare Blake
One Hundred Flowers, by Gail Tsukiyama
The Inn at Rose Harbor, by Debbie Macomber
The Letter, by Marie Tillman
Love Story, by Nichole Nordeman
My Extraordinary Ordinary Life, by Sissy Spacek
To Love and Cherish, by Tracie Peterson 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New arrivals.....

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young was born with severe learning disabilities that caused teachers to label her slow, stubborn-or worse. As a child, she read and wrote everything backward, struggled to process concepts in language, continually got lost, and was physically uncoordinated. She could make no sense of an analogue clock. But relying on her formidable memory and iron will, she made her way to graduate school, where she chanced upon research that inspired her to invent cognitive exercises to "fix" her own brain. The Woman Who Changed Her Brain interweaves her personal tale with riveting case histories from her more than thirty years of working with children and adults.
Recent discoveries in neuroscience have conclusively demonstrated that, by engaging in certain mental tasks or activities, we actually change the structure of our brains-from the cells themselves to the connections between cells. The capability of nerve cells to change is known as neuroplasticity, and Arrowsmith-Young has been putting it into practice for decades. With great inventiveness, after combining two lines of research, Barbara developed unusual cognitive calisthenics that radically increased the functioning of her weakened brain areas to normal and, in some areas, even above-normal levels. She drew on her intellectual strengths to determine what types of drills were required to target the specific nature of her learning problems, and she managed to conquer her cognitive deficits. Starting in the late 1970's, she has continued to expand and refine these exercises, which had benefited thousands of individuals.

Recently orphaned, eleven-year-old Cathy Benson feels she has dropped into a cultural and intellectual wasteland when she is forced to move her academically privileged life in California to the small town of Kersey. Here in the Texas Panhandle where the sport of football reigns supreme, she is quickly taken under the unlikely wings of up-and-coming gridiron stars and classmates John Caldwell and Trey Don Hall. Like herself, they are orphans-with whom she forms a friendship and eventual love triangle that will determine the course of the rest of their lives.
Taking three friends through their growing-up years until their high school graduations when several tragic events uproot and break them apart, then expands to follow their careers and futures until they reunite in Kersey at forty years of age.

and more new arrivals......

Creole Bell, by James Lee Burke
Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
Dream New Dreams, by Jai Pausch
15 Seconds, by Andrew Gross
Heading Out To Wonderful, by Robert Goolrick
Just Send Me Word, by Orlando Figes
Keepsake, by Kristina Riggle
The Little Red Guard, by Wenguang Huang
Mike Wallace, by Peter Rader
Summerland, by Elin Hilderbrand
The Watch, by Jo Roy-Bhattacharya

Library Learning Patch - Children Discovering Nature

Week 19 - celebration time!!
The final class was a celebratory one. The Italian Bistro donated 4 delicious large pizzas.

We're hungry!
After enjoying the pizzas and drinks, the children were given "worm" bookmarks made by one of the members of the class. Each child received a certificate signifying that they had completed the course.

 They also were given their notebooks which contained various information about the lessons. It is our hope that they will add to the notebooks as they learn more about our natural world.
The Red River County Public Library and members of the Texas Master Naturalist organization  plan to hold the classes again next year. Signup will be held at the library in February, 2013. Watch for the announcement in January, 2013!

Week 18 - Lap Books

Well, our discovery of nature has been loads of fun, but now the classes are almost over for the year. Our group had a fun time assembling  their lapbooks. For those of you new to lapbooking, our books contain minibooks featuring our lessons about nature. The children's books were all different, as each child added their creative touches.

The Lapbooks

The children also harvested their last vegetables from the garden -- tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers.                                                                                    


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Library Learning Patch - Children Discovering Nature

Week 17 - Water

This week's lesson focused on water.  Drip Drop, Water's Journey explained the processes water goes through before we can drink it.. They children learned all about precipitation, evaporation and condensation.  They learned that only a very small percentage of  the water on earth is drinkable. In our garden we use the bucket method for the children to water, thereby doing our part to conserve water.

Wow-a lot happens before we can drink.

The garden continues to flourish. As you can see, we had a very good harvest this week. So far no zucchini--lots of blooms, but no squash yet. The tomatoes are ripening, the peppers are still producing, and the summer squash are producing. We also harvested our herbs--rosemary, thyme, and basil.

Next week we will make our lap books--the children will make minibooks for each of our lessons and  place them in their lap book.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

 Library Learning Patch - Children Discovering Nature

Week 16 - Trees-Part 2

This week we broadened our knowledge of  trees. The children learned that our state tree is the pecan. It can grow over 100 feet tall. The nuts provide food for many animals, as well as for us. The wood is very valuable. When identifying a tree, we can look at  the shape of the tree, the leaves and the bark. The children examined  several trees near the library, comparing the differences. 

Our garden is flourishing. We harvested tomatoes, peppers and squash today.

We like to harvest!

Today's harvest

Our efforts are being rewarded. It is fun to grow our food!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Library Learning Patch - Children Discovering Nature

Week 15 - Insects

This week we began the session by celebrating the birthday of one of the members. What fun--we had two kinds of cake and ice cream.

Happy Birthday!

Then it was learning time. This week's lesson was about insects. The book, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, was read to the group.

This book has sounds!
The children learned that insects have 6 legs, have three main body parts, and have their chewing apparatus on the outside of their bodies.

Learning about insects

They learned all about why insects are so numerous. They then took their magnifying glasses to the garden and searched for insects. Luckily, they did not find the dreaded squash bugs. Our bay leaves and petunias are working so far.

We harvested a few squash and a lot of peppers this week. The tomatoes are numerous, but not quite ready.  They will be ripe soon.

Nutritious vegetables

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Library Learning Patch - Children Discovering Nature

Week 14 - Trees

The children began their study of trees this week. We read The Life of Bud and How The Forest Grew.

The life cycle of a leaf
Describes how a forest regenerates
The children learned how to count rings to tell the age of a tree. The wider rings signify years of good nutrition. The dark rings form in fall and winter; the lighter rings form in spring and summer.

Count the rings!
Our sunflowers are beginning to bloom, the peppers continue producing, the tomato plants are loaded!

Sunflower bloom just beginning to open!
Tomatoes will be ready soon!

Next week we will continue learning about trees-identifying trees by shape of leaves and bark.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Library Learning Patch - Children Discovering Nature

Week 13 - Grass and grass-like plants--continued

This week the children enjoyed hearing the book, Jack's Garden, as they ate their snack.

They learned all about dicots--di refers to the leaves inside the seed. Various plants were passed around and the parts examined--taproots, flowers, and leaves. Dicots grown in their garden include, peas, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, basil, and sunflower seeds.  Sunflower seeds are used for oil, snacks, and animal food.

Learning about dicots

Then, out to the garden to weed, water, and harvest while learning about dicots. Our crops are progressing nicely.


Eager to work!

We'll soon have tomatoes!

Yellow squash

Our basil
Cucumber blooms
The children harvested the remaining onions and lettuce, as well as more sugar snap peas. They are looking forward to seeing the sunflowers bloom.

Check in next week to see more progress!