Happy Birthday, Severus Snape!

Yes, today, January 9, is the birthday of perhaps the bravest man Harry Potter ever knew. Of course, all true Potter fans of all ages know that already. ūüėČ . What you may not know is that we’ve got several books and series that Snape fans may enjoy. Some of these are adult, others YA, but both teens and adults who love fantasy and SF should enjoy them.

Jonathan strange

In an alternate England, during the Napoleonic Wars, young Jonathan Strange becomes apprentice to Mr. Norrell. Their goal is to bring magic back to England.  But who is the Raven King? At once a comedy of manners, an alternate history, a coming of age, and a tragic love story, this book is beautifully written and unique.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Severus Snape!”

‘Tis the Season to be Reading a Holiday Novel!


This year, as I was adding books to the library’s holiday display, it occurred to me that I have never actually read one of the “seasonal novels” that come out every December.¬† My resistance to them was, admittedly, strong, but I decided to experiment with a few that I thought “were not for me.”¬† I began with two authors who write many books in this genre: Richard Paul Evans and Debbie Macomber.

Within five minutes of reading Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans, I was hooked. A young man and woman meet at a distressing time for both of them. She was adopted at age 7 and separated from her sister, whom she’s been trying to find. He has been forced to drop out of college following the death of his mother, who had been keeping dark secrets from him. The book kept me guessing until the end and was surprisingly enjoyable.¬† Starry Night by Debbie Macomber is a much more predictable romance.¬† In this novel, a newspaper reporter’s promotion depends on whether she can get an interview with a popular, reclusive author who lives in the Alaskan wilderness. There are no surprises here, but I was entertained by it nonetheless.

My new adventure with holiday novels has convinced me that these books can be a great way to relax during the stressful holiday season. They make you feel good, are fairly light and easy to read, and have a happy ending.¬† Maybe you’ll even come to believe in holiday miracles! Make yourself a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy. Here are some of the new ones at the North Castle library:

Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 2.35.15 PM The Christmas Boutique by Jennifer Chiaverini. The Elm Creek quilters work tirelessly to make sure the Christmas boutique happens, but it may take a holiday miracle to make it the success they want it to be.


Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 2.43.51 PM

Noel Street by Richard Paul Evans. A single mother finds healing in her relationship with a recently returned Vietnam POW whose personal demons have created a stir in their small Utah community.



A Mrs. Miracle Christmas by Debbie Macomber. A woman who is struggling with her inability to have a child receives help from a kindhearted stranger and at the same time, her dreams start to come true.



All I Want for Christmas is You by Miranda Liasson. When a one-night stand results in pregnancy, Kaitlin and Rafe pretend to be engaged just for the holidays to please their friends and families.


Indie Authors at the Library!

Once again, we’ll be celebrating Indie Author Day at the library! When? Tomorrow, Saturday, October 13! Here are the authors who will be visiting us:

  1. The Berliners! Susan Berliner and her husband have both written witty adventure stories. Here’s a little info about just one of their many books–click on the image to ¬†find out more!bubbles
  2. K. Samuel Murray has a lot of experience he wants to share with his clients and their children. That’s why he wrote¬†Bank Magic. Click on the book cover to go to his amazon page.

Bank Magic

3. Barbara Josselsohn’s debut novel was praised by Kirkus reviews, who said, “‚ÄúIn this engaging debut novel, Josselsohn delves into the anxieties and insecurities of modern womanhood as well as the whims of celebrity-obsessed culture.‚ÄĚ If you’re a fan of contemporary realistic fiction, you should enjoy meeting her and hearing about her author’s journey. Click on the book cover to go to her author page.

last dreamer

Fiction, nonfiction, adult and children’s lit, humor, romance, dystopian thrillers–our talented authors have something for everyone! It all starts at 10:30, when you can share coffee and donut holes with the author. After that, you can stay for an author roundtable, creative writing workshops, book signings, and more! See you at the library!


Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!

Yes, the author of Walden was born on this day in 1817. Of course, we have Walden for you to borrow, and several other titles as well!

Expect Great things

Kevin Dann’s new biography examines Thoreau’s spiritual life. It’s been called ¬†“A refreshing new perspective on an American icon” (Booklist),¬† and ‚ÄúA graceful, attentive inquiry into the mind of Henry David Thoreau”¬† (Publisher’s Weekly).

thoreau in our season

Published on the 100th anniversary of Thoreau’s death, this unusual book includes both poetry and essays by some of the great thinkers of the mid-twentieth century. Both Buber and Martin Luther King, Jr. contributed.

Thoreau at Walden

Finally, if you’re looking for a quick and excellent introduction to Thoreau,¬† you could try John Porcellino’s¬† graphic novel.¬†Thoreau at Walden combines Thoreau’s own words and Porcellino’s drawings.¬†Booklist¬†says, “Marrying his minimalist line work to Thoreau‚Äôs minimalist philosophy, Porcellino manages a striking unity of words and art that works as an effective ode to simplicity.”

Just click on the pictures of the covers to find these books in our catalog!

Books to Movies in 2018

As part of my self-imposed challenge to read or re-read all of the Newbery Award winning books from 1922 forward, I re-read Madeline L’Engle’s¬†A Wrinkle In Time¬†a couple of years ago. (I actually listened to the audio CD version narrated by the incomparable Hope Davis and it was wonderful.)¬† I was excited to hear that a movie was in the works, and released in the theaters just last week!

I have since discovered that 2018 is a big year for book to movie releases.¬† Although we are somehow well into 2018 already, you still have time to read a number of great books¬† before the movies are are released.¬† Because we all know, the book is always better than the movie – or is that the other way around?¬† Well, whatever your perspective, you’d better get started with Ernest Cline’s¬†Ready Player One¬†which is due out in the theaters at the end of March.¬† This is another book that I recently listened to, read by Wil Wheaton, American actor and arch nemesis of Sheldon Cooper on¬†The¬†Big Bang Theory.¬† The plot is so far out of my comfort zone and yet I REALLY enjoyed it.¬† If you are still living in the 1980’s you will thoroughly enjoy it too but you don’t have to be an 80’s fan (I can’t say I am) to like the book.

Other movies due out this year include: Continue reading “Books to Movies in 2018”

Native American Authors!

This is a tricky one, actually! At least one Patuxet warrior spoke English, and the Indigenous people probably had as much religious liberty as the English colonists. But we do know:

  1. Both the British and the Native peoples celebrated the harvest, and
  2. The colonists would have died without the help of indigenous people. In fact, nearly half of the colonists at Plymouth died of starvation during their first winter.

That’s why we celebrate Native American culture in November, when we celebrate Thanksgiving. There are millions of Native Americans from many different tribes, and some of them are well-known, award-winning authors. Here’s just a sample of books, music, and more, by or about Native Americans.


house made of dawn

The magnificent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of a stranger in his native land.

round house

When his mother slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with three friends to find the person who destroyed his family.

code talker

“Readers who choose the book for the attraction of Navajo code talking and the heat of battle will come away with more than they ever expected to find.” ¬†Booklist, starred review

Native American Currents

An excellent introduction to modern Native American music.

And that’s not all! We’ve also got biographies of the famous shaman Black Elk, many more books by Native American authors, well-received books about Native Americans such as Tony Hillerman’s mysteries, and more. If you’d like to find out more about Native American life and literature today, these blogs are a great place to start:

Native American Authors You Should be Reading

Native Reader

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

I cannot stop singing the praises of this book.  Nor, it seems, can anyone else.  The novel met with wildly positive critical acclaim when it was released in 2016.  And a year later, the 158 copies of the print book owned by the Westchester Library System still has a hold list 269 people long.

No matter how compelling a book is, I can no longer read 462 page books in a reasonable time span РI only have time to read at night and I fall asleep two pages in.  You can see the dilemma.  So anything over 300 pages must be in an audio format.  I waited quite some time for the audio CD to become available and from the first sentence I was in love.  With the narrator, Nicholas Guy Smith, who has a voice like silky velvet, with the author, Amor Towles, who writes too beautifully to be of this world, and the story, which I thought could never work for a book that long but it did!

I am including links to the Washington Times review¬†which tells you a bit about the plot, and an interesting Q & A with author, Amor Towles¬†which is well worth the read but I urge you to find this book and read it, or better, listen to my new favorite narrator Nicholas read it to you. ¬†I, meanwhile, am on the hunt for Towles first novel,¬†Rules of Civility¬†which I’m told is just as good, if not better, and, is also on hold everywhere in the system! ¬†Darn!