Monday, April 21, 2008

Manic Monday

Greetings everyone,

Last week was wild. I had three programs and I'm dead beat. Even so, I had fun. On Sunday (4/13), we hosted Kali VanBaale for a book signing. On Wednesday (4/16), a local barbershop quartet performed at the library. On Thursday (4/17), author Carol Bodensteiner visited to sign books and talk about her memoir. It was a full rich week.

I finished The Space Between by Kali VanBaale on Saturday night. It was definitely one of those books that was hard to put down. It was gripping and sad all at once. The book is the story of a mother whose son is being bullied at school. One day he goes to school and shoots two of his classmates and kills himself. The book focuses on the "then what?" that we all wonder about after such a shocking event. How do the family members deal with the tragedy? Does the family survive? It was so well written, but I must admit that on my own it isn't one I would pick up to read. I write romance because I like a happy ending, nor tragedy. In my romances, the characters are tortured by the writer but then they come together to overcome all adversity and live happily ever after. The Space Between is about survival but not "happily ever after." In short, it's excellent literary fiction. I enjoyed it but it made me sad. Kali has also received several awards for her book and I know why. Having Kali at the library was really interesting and she is a WONDERFUL speaker. She had some good advice for writers and answered questions in such an open and friendly way. It was a pleasure to meet her. I will look for future books by her because I'm sure they will be as enthralling as this one, regardless of the topic.

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of meeting Carol Bodensteiner the author of Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl. This was a very different book though I'd only gotten about halfway through. Carol wrote a series of short essays about her life growing up on a farm in eastern Iowa. I really enjoyed it and it made me remember my youth. Now I wasn't a farm kid, but my grandparents had owned a farm. By the time I was of age to visit they had long since moved into town but I the chapter called "Country Hospitality" helped me realize why Grandma always had treats in the freezer in case anyone dropped by. I remembered stories my mom told me. She and Dad had lived on the farm with Grandma and Grandpa right after they got married and things kind of clicked as I read. I may not be a farm girl myself, but I could relate to Carol's stories. She also enjoyed sharing them with those of us who attended. Carol had chosen to self publish this book and I think her readers are glad she did. It is a fun read for anyone with memories of farm life, whether they are from Iowa or anywhere else.

We had fairly small crowds for our author visits, but the barbershop quartet packed an audience of sixty-two people into the library. It had been a nice spring day so the room was unpleasantly warm, but the crowd stuck it out. It was an SRO evening and when we get low on chairs - I end up on my feet for the duration. I loved the concert, but my feet did not.

I can honestly say I enjoyed National Library Week, but I'm glad it's over for another year. Now comes the time when I gear up for Summer Reading. Two months of insanity instead of just one week. Wish me luck! :-)

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