Happy National Bookmobile Day!

Although I never worked on a bookmobile, my library system did have one when I started working there. I found this photo online from 1973, the year I started working for the Anne Arundel County Public Library. The photo was taken at the Anne Arundel County Fair. Do any of my former co-workers know who is in this photo?bookmobile-library-on-wheels-28-58982a6e443c8__880

I worked on a version of a bookmobile for 12 years, the library’s Care-A-Van. We delivered books to home bound people throughout the county. This was highly personalized service. We selected books for the patrons based on their interests or their  specific requests. We were on the road 2-3 days a week covering a 588 square mile area.

I remember one gentleman who lived in an old slave/sharecroppers shack on a tobacco farm.  The wood slat walls were insulated with newspaper. Another patron lived on the water with sweeping views of the Chesapeake Bay. We had patrons who were temporarily disabled and some who were bedridden. I visited homes of people who had lots of friends and family and others who were very much alone. There were several patrons that we got very attached to and went to their funerals when they passed away.

Due to budgets and changing times, this service was replaced with Books By Mail, which I worked on during the transition period. While it still provides library materials and services to those who are disabled, it just isn’t the same. I feel that the patrons and the library staff were both enriched by the one-on-one community outreach services. I know I was.

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Channeling Hemingway and Julia Child

I ate at a local cafe/wine bar, Della Radice, and spotted some books on the liquor shelves. They are cookbooks, which I generally avoid since I hate cooking, but they are a nice safe distance away. But they did give me a excuse for a post.

This is a wonderful neighborhood eatery-drinkery with lots of charm and great food. And there are more books scattered about. I will have to come back with a book, sip wine and pretend to be a famous writer.

Spotlight On…The Brown Booknook

Blue Stage without Words

You may be wondering what The Brown Booknook is and how it’s different from The Brown Bookloft.

The Brown Bookloft features new and nearly new fiction books. The Brown Booknook is more free form. On the Booknook, I review older titles, but the format also allows me to post whatever is on my mind within the world of books and literature, including non-fiction, short stories, articles, author interviews, bookstores, libraries, book related art and more.

Since moving do Denver, I’ve re-discovered some treasures. I’ll be posting some of these in between my reviews, along with anything other places I find in my travels.

Lost Mars: Stories From the Golden Age of the Red Planet

Publication Info: Edited by Mike Ashley. Published April 5, 2018, paperback. Kindle edition also available.Lost Mars

I discovered this little gem while browsing the new book shelves at the main branch of the Denver Public Library.  Born in the 50’s, my childhood reading included fantastic fiction about amazing discoveries and about colonizing nearby planets. I used to devour the Danny Dunn books by Jay Williams, as well as the Miss Pickerell books by Ellen MacGregor and the Mr. Bass books by Eleanor Cameron. As a teen I grew up on Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.

But then I left the classics behind, moving on to more modern sci-fi and fantasy. This volume gave me the opportunity to learn about some of the very earliest sci-fi writers and their stories about Mars. Lost Mars: Stories From the Golden Age of the Red Planet covers short stories about Mars from the late 1800’s to the early 1960’s. Some of the authors were familiar to me, but most were not. I found the stories to be deep, reflective and intelligent for the time in which they were written. Note the phrase “for the time in which they were written”. Yes several are misogynistic, written in good old dead white guy style, but while that would rankle in a story written today, these tales laid a solid foundation for generations of writers to come– writers who continue to expand our horizons with their far-reaching imaginations.

Recommended for sci-fi enthusiasts.

Higher Authority by Stephen White

Publication Info: Paperback edition, Feb 2006 by Signet Books. (Originally published in hardcover 2004 by Viking Books. Book # 3 in the Alan Gregory series.

Higher Authority

I recently moved into an apartment building in Denver, CO, that has, among other great features, a small library. While stuck inside during Wednesday’s “bomb cyclone” snowstorm, I perused the shelves and found Higher Authority.IMG_0514

One nice thing about a random book collection is finding an author or series I’d forgotten about. I wish I’d gotten my hands on book #2 in the series, but I decided (for once) not to be persnickety about reading this series in order.

Alan Gregory isn’t the main character in this book, rather it is his girlfriend, attorney Lauren Crowder, who is featured. Lauren travels to Salt Lake City to visit an old friend, Robin Torr, to get legal help for her sister, Teresa. Teresa claims she was sexually assaulted by a prominent person and wants to bring a lawsuit against her. Although they realize this case could gather some notoriety, none of them were expecting the danger they found themselves in.

With locations in Denver, Utah and New Mexico, I was familiar with all of the settings, which added to my enjoyment of the book. I’ll have to track down more books in this series.

Highly recommended for readers of mysteries and suspense.

Off the Grid by C.J. Box

Publication Info: Published March 2016 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons.  Kindle edition, checked out of my local library. Off the Grid is #16 in the Joe Pickett series.Off the Grid

I’m almost caught up with this series. Actually, I’ll be sad when I get to # 19, Wolf Pack, which is Box’s latest entry in the series, because then I’ll have to wait until he writes and publishes the next one!

Governor Rulon’s time in office is about to end, but he sends Joe out on one more mission — to find out what’s going on out in the Red Desert area of Wyoming. Much to Joe’s surprise, the Governor wants him to find his old friend, Nate, to help with this mission.  Meanwhile, Sheridan, the usually predictably good daughter, gets herself into a bit of a mess right smack in the middle of the problems in the Red Desert, requiring Nate to come to her rescue. Without giving too much away, it was good to see  Nate finally get a bit of a break in this book. The poor guy has been on the run since book 3, Winterkill.

C.J. Box was in Denver at The Tattered Cover autographing books, which I unfortunately just missed in the midst of my move here. He does come here now and then, so I hope to catch him next time!

Highly recommended for mystery fans and those who like stories set in the west.

Library Love

One of the first things I did after moving to Denver was get a library card. Luckily, I’m in walking distance to one of Denver Public Library’s branches. I’ve already checked out an e-book and a good old fashioned print book, with holds in the queue. I can’t ever be without reading material!

Denver Library Card