Full Moon, Easter,

Today is a full moon! Therefore, in the Christian church, April 4th will be Easter Sunday, a day that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection. Easter is one of the few floating holidays in the calendar year, because it’s based on the cycles of the moon. Jesus was said to have risen from the dead on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring (the vernal equinox of 20th March). For that reason, Easter can fall as early as March 22nd and as late as April 25th.

The word “Easter” comes from an ancient pagan goddess (Eostre) worshiped by Anglo Saxons. In the legend, Eostre once saved a bird whose wings had frozen during winter by turning it into a rabbit. Because the rabbit had once been a bird, it could still lay eggs. Eggs were a symbol of fertility in part because they were scarce during the winter. There are records of people giving each other decorated eggs at Easter as far back as the 11th century. We didn’t get chocolate eggs until well after the new world was discovered!

Our current holiday has easter bunnies, egg hunts, chocolate eggs, hats and other fun things for children of all ages. There are lots of books to read on this subject, and many others in our Bookstore!

BOOK SALE April 18th

Just an advance notice that the Friends will be having a spring cleaning Book Sale on SUNDAY afternoon the 18th of April. This is a great chance to find some great buys in fiction, non fiction, childrens and other media while we try to make space! Put it on your calendar now, and plan to be there early. The Friends’ Bookstore will also have an excellent supply of newer used books available.

I saw a wonderful sign advertising a Used Bookstore in Chicago this weekend: the name of the store was After Words.

Publication, re-issue, Mary Stewart, Gene Stratton Porter, City Secrets Books

This past weekend I was visiting a friend and noticed that one of my favourite authors was being republished: Mary Stewart. I picked up the copy and rather quickly read through The Moonspinners, revisiting not just Greece, but the memories of the first time I read that book. Gothic suspense was the genre in those days (not too far from the first printing!) Her Merlin/King Arthur trilogy was sublime. I have been delighted by a number of other authors that have been republished, generally not widely read anymore. Gene Stratton Porter is a case in point. A few years ago Wisconsin started re-issuing her novels, much to my delight. All of my copies are in tatters, much loved and well read. There are many that I have never been able to find. I have mentioned how delighted I have been with Sandor Marai, Embers and Cassanova in Bolanzo, now being translated from Hungarian or German into English, 70 years after their original publications.
Which is making a new book CITY SECRETS: Books a gem for me. There are essays, about many authors, noted for one book or one genre, in which unfamiliar and perhaps ‘best’ work is then described. I am familiar with 30 of the books (and do indeed think them masterpieces) so have at least 50 more to find. This was a great library book, and will continue my borrowing for some time to come. Unless I find it in the Friends’ Bookstore!

New arrivals for Spring: Fiction, Non-fiction

The Special and Unusual Books have a new display in our Display case located in the Library. Numerous books on and by Tasha Tudor are available for purchase! Check the Friends Website for further details.

Donations have continued to arrive and both the Fiction and Non-fiction new arrivals carts in the Friends’ Bookstore are full. Check out the great selection! (I’ll bet the new John Sandford has sold by this time tomorrow!)

We have a great new display in the Friends’ Bookstore created for Spring by Sue McMillan.

Did you know that by clicking on the photograph you can read all the titles? I tried this out and was delighted to more accurately share with you what is now in the Friends’ Bookstore! I will take photos often so if you can’t be there, check it out here.

Sarah Blake The Postmistress

I loved my husband’s comment on the dilemma of birthday shopping – that he went into the bookstore and requested 1) only the latest publication, preferably this week but March 2010 would do, 2) only hardcover (for greater chance combined with 1) that I hadn’t read it) and 3) that it have style over substance, although substance was equally important (to exclude the mystery/romance/horror genres perhaps). He could have said literature 😉
But I did get a lovely book, that I haven’t read! and can’t wait to read. Somehow it will be at least two days before I can pick it up but I will be sure to tell you all about it. Especially as the advance praise for the book includes the comment: “…belongs in what Gellhorn called the ‘permanent and necessary’ library.” The first chapter alone is beautifully written and makes me impatient to know the characters and the rest of the story!
It is a perfect present that will give me hours of enjoyment.

Fresh Eire

Some short notes on recent favourite Irish mystery authors:

Leonie Swann Three Bags Full
I am still laughing, 12 months later. Detective Sheep! The ‘wrong kind of grass’ ;-0 the busybody (miss maple-cleverest of the sheep, perhaps in the whole world; Othello a black Hebridean 4 horned ram with a mysterious past; Gabriel – a very odd sheep; cloud – the wooliest sheep) and intriguing story. “Genuinely odd” “best (or only?) sheep detective novel you will read all year.” In an Irish village of Glennkill, shepherd George was murdered with a spade; great puns! Light.
German translated into Irish (Anthea Bell).

Ian Sansom The Book stops here (2008)
Like the case of the Missing Books and Mr Dixon Disappears, Israel Armstrong continues the Mobile Library mysteries with hilarity. It is so classically Irish, with English subtitles 😉 Hard to believe he has only lived in Tumdrum 6 months (and three books) selfsame rainy days which slowly and silently became weeks and then months, and which seemed gradually to be slowing, and slowing and slowing….stuck there not just for months, but years, decades almost! Oh the young. But he is well read, and continually quotes authors, plays, poets, while no one around him understands anything. Already an anachronism.
But also very sad as he has to learn that ‘you have a life where you’re living. That he wasn’t English, hardly european, certainly not irish, ….

Tana French In the Wood, the Likeness
The Irish Troubles, from within the police force. Huge creep factor, we are so uncivilised. The second book, redeemed some of the first – you do care about these people, but learning how much is out of our control isn’t pleasant. Games people play, which destroy other lives. Carrie Maddox, detective is contacted because a look alike is found dead, so the previous story ( novel) continues (do read in order). Edgar award for first novel, Clarian Best Fiction. Other awards.

John Connolly The Reapers
This man still scares me to death. Read only with the lights on – start in order of publication. His command of the language still amazes and delights me – how this Irishman got under the New England skin ….

Sebastian Barry 2008 The Secret Scripture
Intriguing with the different views of life, as fact and as remembered. Stranglehold that the Catholic church had on individual lives…. Not an easy read. A Long Long Way. 2005: Dublin 1955 plays, poems. 1914, Great War/Battle for Irish Independence – flawless use of language, beautiful, evocative moments, singing, birth, words. But overwhelming consequences of war. Utterly depressing, totally Irish. ‘He was born in the dying days” (1896). Read at your peril.


Just a reminder about the books on tape (audio cassettes) that will be on sale in the Friends’ Bookstore this weekend – it turns out there are literally 1000 of them so there will be a HUGE selection to chose from. This is a great chance to find some of those books you have always meant to read. We will look forward to seeing you there.

Our next BOOK sale is the SUNDAY the 18th of April. Again there will be a large selection of used books, albums, tables, art work, encyclopedias, etc. Remember if you are a Friend of the Library you get early admission, which can be important to find that special book.

Irish Literature, St Patrick’s Day, James Joyce, Edna O’Brien,William York TIndall

Continuing our Irish theme, for further understanding of James Joyce, you can read several studies by the American (Vermonter) James Joyce scholor and literary critic Willliam York Tindall : particularly A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce (1959) and A Reader’s Guide to Finnegan’s Wake. Tindall traveled to Europe after graduating from Columbia University. In Paris, on June 16, he bought a copy of the notorious book Ulysses, and “went straight to Luxembourg Gardens and read the final chapters, and discovered that it wasn’t a dirty book but a fascinating one.” He became obsessed with Joyce. When he started teaching a course in modern literature at New York University, he was one of the first to assign Ulysses to his students, although the book was still banned in the U.S. at the time. The students read a bootlegged copy that was chained to a desk in the library. He went on to become president of the James Joyce Society.
One of the best biographies on Joyce is by Edna O’Brien James Joyce (1999).
I think perhaps it takes an Irish to understand an Irish: fresh eye, passionate, stern, but a tribute, with many insights about the individual and his writing. This is the Penguin Lives series, one I hadn’t read in awhile = but loved Carol Shield’s Jane Austen, Peter Gay’s Mozart, Larry McMurtry on Crazy Horse, Karen Armstrong on Buddha and David Quammen on Charles Darwin. The writers are absolutely first rate, nearly obsessed with their chosen subject. I found this series with a $1 paperback (Shield’s on Austen) in the bookstore several years ago. I wondered what else I could learn about Austen, and was astonished with the nuances, the finatics, and the writing style. So, now I have another series to read!! A rather long list.
Fyi, Joyce – matured into a man who was obsessed with home, the usual fate of self imposed exile. I have to tell Robin that some one marked the library’s copy – underlining words they didn’t know. And indeed the first two paragraphs have 15 words most Americans don’t know; (but most of them are common in English academics – we decided two were made up! Need the longer version of the OED). I have to erase all the marks in this library book…it is so distracting from reading.


On Saturday March 13 (1.30 to 4pm) and on Sunday March 14 (from 1.30 to 4pm)The Friends’ Bookstore will be holding a special sale of AUDIO BOOKS on Cassettes! Prices will be $1 each or 6 for $5, plus tax. Stop in early for the best selection! This is a great opportunity to add to your collection, or have additional books for our current exercise programmes (remember Literacise?? let’s move while we read this spring!)