Thursday, October 25, 2007

Preview Shelf -- Halloween Calls For Mystery

Here is the latest arrival of books requested by patrons. Over half are mysteries.

Perfect for Halloween. Find one about a place that interests you by authors who make plots come alive. "Justice Denied" by J. A. Jance is an A.J.P. Beaumont story that begins with what looks like just another case of turf warfare in Seattle. In "Dry Ice" by Stephen White a determined murderer who has left the Colorado State Mental Hospital returns with psychological page-turner terror. "Sweet Revenge" by Diane Davidson has a chocolate cupcake on the cover because the plot begins at a catered holiday feast for the staff of the Aspen Meadow Library. "The Tenderness of Wolves" is a 2006 Costa (formerly Whitbread) Book of the Year winner by Stef Penney set in 1867 in a Northern Canada Territory settlement. Elizabeth Lowell's "Innocent as Sin" identifies a private banker in Arizona who while painting landscapes in the Pacific Northwest is accused of a shocking crime. "My Summer of Southern Discomfort" by Stephanie Gayle finds a recent Harvard Law graduate working in Macon, Georgia, where she welcomes a new experience. "In the Woods" by Tana French is a psychological suspense story set in a Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984. "Play Dirty" by Sandra Brown involves a secret agreement between a Cowboys quarterback just released from prison and a golden couple owning a Texas airline. "Invisible Prey" by John Sandford opens in the richest neighborhood of Minneapolis where two elderly women lie murdered in their home. "Citizen Vince" by Jess Waltere paints early November of 1980 just before Ronald Reagan's victory over Jimmy Carter; from Spokane, Washington east to New York City, the story moves with dark humor as a charming crook chases his second chance. "The Good Husband of Zebra Drive" is Alexander Smith's new novel in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series in Botswana with a few tricky cases, a series of deaths, and pertinent office supplies missing from a local printing company. "Vineyard Stalker" by Philip Craig takes us to the "Martha" island where there is pressure to sell precious real estate, and a body turns up nearby complicating property disputes. James Benn's "The First Wave" is a Billy Doyle World War II mystery when in November 1942 Eisenhower's personal investigator goes to shore with the first troops at Beer Green Beach near Algiers. By contrast "Ham Bones" is Carolyn Haines' Southern Belle Mystery about Broadway coming to the Delta and how the star's lipstick is laced with cyanide. "The Night Ferry" by Michael Robotham involves a London neighborhood and a high school reunion that leads to a terrible crime and to action in Amsterdam. "The Broken Shore" by Peter Temple shows us a big-city detective posted in a quiet town on the South Australian coast and a crime blamed on three aboriginal boys. Here are other fiction requests. In "Her Royal Spyness" Rhys Bowen turns her attention to mischief by stylish minor English royalty circa 1930. "The Bourne Betrayal" by Eric Van Lustbader again features the rogue secret agent who has lost his memory, this time learning that his last friend in the world has gone missing after having been seen in Ethiopia tracking shipments of atomic bomb weaponry. To mention briefly a few more requests, try "The Maytrees" by Annie Dillard, "The Penny" by Joyce Meyer, "Sheer Abandon" by Penny Vincenzi, Fern Michaels' "Up Cose and Personal", Johanna Lindsey's "The Devil Who Tamed Her" and Linda Miller's Stone Creek novel "A Wanted Man".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Preview Shelf: Keeping Up With the Demand

The Crawfordsville District Public Library staff carefully buys new books, including those requested by readers. Often, patrons fill out request cards clipped to good reviews about useful reading. Just arrived Tony Dungy's "Quite Strength" giving his principles, practices, and priorities of a winning life is already wait-listed by football fans. "The New American Story" comes from Bill Bradley who believes that we are at a teachable moment, and he proposes things every American can do to shape our nation's future. "Modern Liberty and the Limits of Government" by Charles Fried is a meditation on the fate of traditional concepts of liberty in the modern welfare state. "A Brief History of Science" edited by John Gribbin divides its text into chaos & order, energy & motion, space & time, the nature of matter, the dynamic earth, and the pulse of life; it resembles a short colorful encyclopedia. "African American Dance: An Illustrated History" by Barbara Glass follows the dynamics of these dance forms throughout each generation. "The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang" was put together by Leonard Maltin amd Rocjard Bamm. "The Best
American Travel Writing 2006" edited by Tim Cahill includes essays about the Grand Canyon, downhill skiing in South Korea, the charms of Zurich, and an acquaintance with a French passenger plane manufacturer. "Truck: A Love Story" by Michael Perry actually recounts a year in which the author struggles to grow his own food, live peaceably with neighbors, and sort out his love life. A single experience walking out of the shadows of abuse is "Ama, Your Story is Mine" by Ercenia Cedeno. "The Grand Ole Opry" by Colin Escott gives the over-80-year-old history of that American icon. Two new travel guides are Fodor's "New Orleans 2007" and Lonely Planet's "Mexico".

New books about war struggles are Alex Keershaw's "The Few" about the American nights of the Air who risked everything to fight in the Battle of Britain (World War II). "Surviving the Sword" is Brian MacArthur's tribute to prisoners of the Japanese in the Far East from 1942-1945. "First into Nagasaki" by George Weller contains censored eyewitness dispatches on post-atomic Japan and its prisoners of war (1945). "A Deserter's Tale" is the story by Joshua Key, an ordinary soldier who walked away from the war in Iraq. Navy doctor Richard Jadick's Iraq war story is "On Call". Practical guides "Practical Pole Building Construction" by Leigh Seddon and "Water Gardens 1-2-3" come from The Home Depot. Jeanne Martinet saves us from embarrassment in "The Art of Mingling". "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics" is by Joe Kraynak. Secrets to getting and keeping the joy you really want are found in Ron and Caryl Krannich's "The Blue-Collar Resume and Job Hunting Guide". "The Comfort of Home" by Maria Meyer is a guide for caregivers who work in patients' homes. "Keep Them on Your Side" by Samuel Bacharach shows how to lead and manage people and organizations to accomplish momentum. Elizabeth Pantley tells of gentle ways to encourage children's good behavior without whining, tantrums, and tears in "The No-Cry Discipline Solution". "Black & White" by Dani Shapiro is a novel about art, fame, ambition, and family that asks: Is it possible for a mother to be true to herself and true to her children at the same time?"

Monday, October 01, 2007

Celebrate Oktoberfest Exhibits at CDPL Art Gallery!

In the blaze of October's pumpkin sun, a whimsical ballet of frisky falling leaves begins. Radiantly colored leaves swirl, pirouette and gracefully dance on the breath of a breeze before landing on cool damp grass and warm white sidewalks, awaiting the crunch of happy-feet to grind them into fodder for next spring's avalanche of colorful blooms.

So too, under the warm haze of October's harvest moon, a whimsical ballet of WINSOME WATERCOLORS by Rena Brouwer, GLASS: AS HOT AS IT GETS by Lisa Pelo-McNeice and a FUNKY FALL FABRIC CHALLENGE by quilt artists Toshie Kazahaya, Sara Kleihauer, Marilyn Maddux and Jan Sieferman shout for joy in the Library's Mary Bishop Memorial Art Gallery.

October gallery at CDPL Watercolor artist Rena Brouwer lives in the midst of a luscious wildlife haven in rural Carroll County Indiana. The environmental inspiration for her paintings is clearly evident in her delicately detailed watercolor depictions of the fauna and creatures she observes.

Rena's distinctive style is an interesting combination of realism, impressionism and abstraction. Always struggling to categorize her work in traditional terms, Rena asked international juror Robert Genn to define her work. After much thought he said, "It is Rena Brower."

Her Artist's Statement reads: "The imagery in my work springs from the history to which I belong. A part of a legacy that we each leave behind. Painting is a means for me to explore the recesses of memories from yesterday and the expressions of the 'todays'. The fluid freedom of watercolor breathes life into my creative journey."

Rena's collaborative nature has brought her opportunities to work locally, nationally and internationally through the arts.

In 2006, Rena was one of ten artists juried from a select group of 150 artists to represent Indiana in a project titled "Preserving Nature".

In recent years she has limited her teaching to community grants for schools and public venues that reach out to children and those at risk. As an instructor at Morton Community Center for 15 years, she offers public classes at the West Lafayette facility.

She has served on numerous arts boards. Her work has received recognition through awards from the Hoosier Salon, Watercolor Society of Indiana, Indiana Artists Club and various juried shows. She is also a member of the Brown County Guild, Nashville, Indiana.

Co-owner and founder of the Lafayette Renaissance Academy, Rena is the Gallery Director of the company. Her studio/gallery is located in the Lafayette Renaissance Academy. She may be reached at

Blown glass artist, Lisa Pelo-McNeice, owns Hot Blown Glass, Ltd. at 3717 S. County Road, 200 E, Clayton, Indiana. It is here, and at the glass studio of the Indianapolis Art Center, that she creates her one-of-a-kind eclectic glass pieces ranging in size from small and delicate to large and complex. To create her work, Lisa uses both a Hot and Cold Glass studio.

She has been the Glass Studio Department Head and Faculty Instructor in Glassblowing since 1998 at the Indianapolis Art Center. In 2000, she added Art Gallery Manager of Plainfield-Guilford Township's Public Library Gallery in Plainfield Indiana to her agenda.

Lisa strives to make a complete visual statement both in the skill needed to achieve the glass form and in the complementary color and styling enhancements of the form. She chooses glass as a medium or means to express glass, with glass, about glass. Within that equation -- her personality equals the glass. This makes for timeless study and the knowledge that there is always more to learn about glass, and about herself.

For her art glass, Lisa insists that it be identifiably unique in color and form. There would be no point in creating glass art that replicates anything created by any other glass artist. "And why would any artist want to do that anyway"? she asks.

In 1988, Lisa graduated cum Laude from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Specializing in Glass and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, in Creative Writing. This distinguished student spent 1986 in a European Study Program in Seville, Spain and belongs to the Golden Key National Honor Society. She has received many honors for both her art and her writing. Impressive!

Quilt artists Toshie Kazahaya, Sara Kleihauer, Marilyn Maddux and Jan Sieferman chose FUNKY FALL FABRIC CHALLENGE as the title for their exhibit. "Brown & white challenge fabric" was pulled from a rag bag at a quilt bee last spring. At its unveiling quilters present burst out laughing, thinking there was no way that ugly fabric could be used to make a thing of beauty! Never say never!

An exceptionally creative quilt bee member saw the fabric's potential. She brought the fabric home. She called three quilters, not present at the bee and asked them to use the fabric in a quilt, sight unseen. The three accepted and secretly created their challenge piece without the others seeing it. Weren't they brave? Or were they foolish?

The challenge read: Create a small quilt. Use fabric provided for at least one fourth of the quilt. Add "some" red. That was it! The challenge was worded loosely enough that "small" could be interpreted in any way the quilter wanted, as could "Red"!

A glance at the northwest wall of the gallery will bring forth gasps of unbelievable pleasure as you observe how each quilter interpreted their Funky Fall Fabric Challenge! Wouldn't you love to tap into their imaginations and see what falls out???

Don't let the chill of October keep you from the warm comfy exhibits presented, or the ghouly ghosts of October will come and get you.