Award-Winners to Read this Fall


There’s nothing better than curling up with a lengthy thought-provoking tome when the nights turn long in the fall. Here are several critically acclaimed award-winners that fit the bill perfectly.

81wRjIRHxALMan Booker Prize “promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year.” This year the winner is A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. This book delves into the 1970s in Jamaica, a dangerous and unstable time. It is told as an oral history with many voices lending light to their side of the story. At times dark, challenging and violent, this epic novel is sure to emerge as a classic.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction & Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction this year. This beautifully written novel is about a blind French girl and German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as they both try to survive during World War II.

The National Book Award was established in 1950 to “celebrate the best of American literature.” Literary greats like William Faulkner, Philip Roth, Norman Mailer and Flannery O’Connor have all won the award. The winner will be announced on November 18th, but until then you can read the finalists and decide for yourself who you would vote for as the winner:

Refund: Stories by Karen E. Bender

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Fortune Smiles: Stories by Adam Johnson

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara 

Looking for something a little more obscure?

41DriMmaGTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_PEN/Hemingway Award is awarded to a novel or collection of short stories by an American author who has not previously published a book of fiction. It is named after Ernest Hemingway; Mary Hemingway, a member of PEN, founded the award in 1976 to honor the memory of her husband. The 2015 winner is Elegy on Kinderklavier by Arna Bontemps Hemenway. This collection of short stories explores profound loss; death is a lurking, imminent presence in these exquisitely written stories.

51ou8L8MAPL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_PEN/Faulkner Award is given to the author of the year’s best work of fiction by a living American citizen. The winner for this year is Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish. Zou Lei, an undocumented immigrant from China, migrates to America and finds herself slaving in New York’s kitchens. She falls in love with a young man who is a veteran of the Iraq War. They try to forge a new life together that may be possible if they can overcome homelessness and the young man’s nightmares.

Rather read genre fiction?

51fGDeB1DWL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Hugo Award for Best Novel award the best science fiction or fantasy works that are 40,000 words or more. The 2015 winner is The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, China’s most beloved science fiction author. Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. This is the first book in a trilogy.

MrmercedesEdgars Award named after Edgar Allan Poe are presented by the Mystery Writers of America yearly. They honor the best mystery works of the previous year. The best novel of the year is Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. Perhaps the most terrifying mystery-thriller of King’s career, this compelling story is a classic race-against-the-clock thriller.

18377991The Edgar for the Best First Novel is Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman. When an elderly recluse discovers a corpse on his land, Officer Henry Farrell is drawn into murder investigation that might tear his sleepy community apart. It is a chilling debut that introduces one of the most memorable new characters in detective fiction.

RITA Awards are some of the most prominent awards given throughout the genre of romance fiction. It is presented by the Romance Writers of America.

51YSk91UY3L._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_Baby, It’s You by Jane Graves took the RITA for Contemporary Romance (Long). A runaway bride escapes to the Texas Hill country and lands on a tall, dark and handsome winery owner’s doorstop.  It’s a heartwarming romance filled with heartaches, struggles and tough choices.

511JEZg63JL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran snatched the RITA for Historical Romance (Long). This sexy Regency romance between a vengeful duke and a fiery redhead will delight with genuine and lovable characters.




51cR8SVq54L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Western Writers of America award the Spur Awards annually to distinguished writing about the American West. They have several categories. Bad Country by CB McKenzie won the Best Western Contemporary Novel, which includes any novel focusing on characters, events, places or developments in the American West from 1940 to present. It is set in the Southwest starring a former rodeo cowboy turned private investigator. It’s a noir novel that is as deep and twisty as a desert canyon.

Wild Ran the Rivers by James D. Crownover picked up the Best Western Historical Novel, which is given to any novel set prior to 1940 that is based on actual historical characters, settings and events in the American West or early frontier. The book is a story of pioneers, pirates, ponies, floods, earthquakes. It tells how the second generation of a Cherokee family found a home on the upper reaches of the Little Red River.



James Beard Foundation is a New York City-based national non-profit culinary arts organization named in honor of James Beard, a prolific food writer, teacher, and cookbook author, who was also known as the “Dean of American Cookery.” Their annual awards, considered the “Oscars of the food world” honor exceptional chefs and food writers.

61DPE4pV+zL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_The James Beard Award for Cookbook of the Year went to Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition by David Sterling. An internationally recognized authority on Yucatecan cuisine, chef David Sterling takes you on a gastronomic tour of the peninsula in this unique cookbook. Throughout the journey, Sterling serves up over 275 authentic, thoroughly tested recipes that will appeal to both novice and professional cooks.

9781594204074_custom-d5010d6d98ecf5926822cd6ecf0ea12bb4bcd64a-s400-c85The James Beard Award for Writing and Literature goes to The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber. Chef Dan Barber offers a radical new way of thinking about food that will heal the land and taste good, too. Looking to the detrimental cooking of our past, and the misguided dining of our present, Barber points to a future “third plate”: a new form of American eating where good farming and good food intersect. 

What about for the kids?

crossoverjpg-20b2040e19ef9914Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the American Library Association (ALA) to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” The 2015 winner is The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. This lyrical novel features 12-year twin brothers who dominate on the basketball court. It is a fast and furious middle grade novel about family and brotherhood.

7688b94a8d586e714b5d25ac20183616Caldecott Medal is also awarded by ALA to the “most distinguished American picture book for children.” This year’s winner is The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. The story begins on a magical island where imaginary friends are born. Beekle waits patiently to be chosen by a real child. When is he overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to a bustling city where he finally meets his perfect match. It is a sweet, unforgettable tale.

9780399252518_custom-924dd4d31f7bb7eb200cdc4ab20453f8fa19d7e1-s400-c85The ALA awards the Coretta Scott King award to outstanding African American authors and illustrators who have written books about the African-American experience for a youth audience. This year the winner is Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged.

Do you have any nonfiction recommendations?

510d42qlr+L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction is awarded for a distinguished book of non-fiction by an American author. The 2015 winner is The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert. Over the last half-billion years, there have been Five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes.

20342617Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction was awarded to Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. It is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.










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20 Our Favorite Fall Debuts


Fall is one of our favorite times of year. Short days allow for longer nights spent curled under a cozy wool throw while devouring a good book. Many of our favorite authors have treated us with new releases that we can’t wait to share with you. Many are on our shelves now; however, there are a few you will want to go ahead and put a hold on them for when they arrive later this fall.


Just in time for Halloween, we’ve compiled our favorite spooky mysteries that will give you a good spook. Make sure your door is locked before reading. 

51V+f2vovYLThe Scribe by Matthew Guinn

Release Date: Out now

It’s 1881 in Atlanta. Detective Thomas Canby is assigned to partner with Atlanta’s first African American police officer, Cyrus Underwood. The case they’re assigned is chilling: a serial killer is violently targeting the city’s wealthiest black entrepreneurs. For fans of graphic gothic horror and clever whodunits.




The Killing Kind by Chris Holm

Release Date: Out now

A hitman who only kills other hitmen winds up as a target himself. This book crackles with sly humor and sharp dialogue. You won’t want to put it down.




51haIURh+BLThe Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

Release Date: Out now

After Charlotte Cates loses her 4-year-old Keegan to a brain aneurysm, she begins having strange dreams of small children who need help. She begins to think they are real as she embarks on an investigative report about a toddler who went missing decades ago in Louisiana. She uncovers long-buried secrets of love, betrayal and murder. This Southern gothic mystery is powerful and captivating.


51JgG1GkAJLThe Girl in the Web by David Lagercrantz

Release Date: Out now

If you thought you had seen the last of Lisbeth Salander, you are mistaken. Lagercrantz has picked up where Steig Larsson left off. Our favorite hacker and journalist duo meet up again to shed light on a conspiracy surrounding the National Security Agency.



51hy+GbenKLCareer of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Release Date: October 2o

A mysterious package containing a woman’s served leg leads private detective Cormoran Strike on a hunt for a suspect from his past. This is the third book in the highly acclaimed series by J.K. Rowling under her pseudonym. It will be sure to thrill with unexpected twists that happen so swiftly that you won’t even realize that it is way past your bedtime.



Sometimes when the weather is dreary, we just want to be swept away to a different place….and time. These tales provide a time travel that will lead you on an unforgettable journey. 

51Ljk7evQoLGirl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

Release Date: Out now

This enthralling novel is based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs, Constance Kopp. It is a wry, light-hearted novel that is a joy to read. Who wouldn’t love a pistol-packing spinster with impish sisters?



81oj1RtRaNLThe Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

Release Date: Out now

This forbidden love story is set on the tropical island of St. Thomas in the early 1800s about the extraordinary woman who is the mother to Camille Pissarro, the father of Impressionism. It will transport you to sunny days on the beach as you get lost in this richly imagined tale.



51E78fRmLWLCleopatra’s Shadows by Emily Holleman

Release Date: October 6

Abandoned by her beloved Cleopatra and an indifferent father, Arsinoe must fight for her survival in the bloodthirsty royal court when her half-sister Berenice seizes Egypt’s throne. This outstanding fresh tale recreates the rich ancient world of danger and palace intrigue with new life to those who names are but footnotes in history.



51bDqlGn5vLThe Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks

Release Date: October 6

Peeling away the myth, this story traces the arc of King David’s life from obscurity to fame, from hero to traitor. It provides new context for the best-known legends of David’s life while also revealing other episodes that had been neglected. It is a beautifully written novel written by a talented storyteller.



41ao-BM4ztLThe Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

Release Date: October 27

The Pulitzer Prize winning author of Cleopatra is back with a story that unfurls the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials. It’s one of the finest stories ever told about the controversial trials that is rich with insight and lyrical writing.




When you want to escape into someone’s else life, we recommend checking out one of these memoirs. 

511alYGa1CLThe Lost Landscape by Joyce Carol Oates

Release Date: Out now

This vivid chronicle of Oates’s hardscrabble childhood in rural western New York state is a powerful evocation of the romance of childhood and its influence on the writer she would become.




61+ySbetkcLFuriously Happy by Jenny Lawson 

Release Date: Out now

Popular blogger, The Bloggess, explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. There is no other book on depression and anxiety that will make you laugh this hard. Fair warning: be careful if you attempt to read this while drinking any beverage because you may unexpectedly spurt Diet Coke through your nose.



41k2BnvL44LM Train by Patti Smith

Release Date: October 6

Patti Smith calls this book “a roadmap to my life.” She tracks her amazing odyssey through cafes and haunts she frequented. It reads like a beautiful letter from your smartest and most extraordinary best friend.




41EPYSumZvLHunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Release Date: October 27

Before Carrie Brownstein joined Sleater-Kinney and became a music icon, she was a young girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a mesmerizing and honest account of life before, during and after being part of “American’s best rock band.”



41RZYK+XrXLWildflower by Drew Barrymore

Release Date: October 27

Actress Drew Barrymore recounts her life through cheerful examination of its ups and downs. It’s a heartwarming tale that is sure to be loved by her fans.





Several literary heavyweights have new debuts this fall that are sure to be on this year’s best books lists. 

51P5bUSPVFLPurity by Jonathan Franzen

Release Date: Out now

Purity, a cash-strapped Millennial who goes by the Dickensian “Pip” for short wants to know more about her father. She goes in search of answer and what follows is a massive story with a WikiLeaks-like website, lies and a gruesome murder. The book is drawing big buzz and it’s well-deserved. The story will stay with you long after you turn the last page.


71qj4IB6yqLDid You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

Release Date: Out now

This heartrending story is about a circle of people who find solace in the least likely of places as they cope with a horrific tragedy. It is a beautifully written story that covers the full spectrum of human emotion.




61X4KnqQS4LFates and Furies by Lauren Goff

Release Date: Out now

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. This is an expansive novel that covers one marriage over the course of twenty-four years. With stunning revelations, it is profound and surprising that will stir both your heart and mind.



41GwItZ4KsLTwo Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

Release Date: Out now

This masterpiece of storytelling combines history, mythology and a timeless love story. It may be his best work yet.




51p81BG1txLSlade House by David Mitchell

Release Date: October 27

This is a haunted house story like no other. Spanning five decades, from the last days of 1970s to the present, this book provides a spellbinding chiller. It’s perfect for a Halloween’s evening.



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Read Dangerously: Top 10 Banned Books of 2014

This week is Banned Books Week where we celebrate the freedom to read. Established in 1982, Banned Books Week draws attention to books that are banned and challenged across the country and stresses the importance of ensuring differing opinions and viewpoints are available to all who wish to read them.

The American Library Association provides a list of the top banned books from around the country. Here are the top 10 for the previous year. They include some of the best writers of this century:

91L3pFC8JuL1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Synopsis: Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, leaves his troubled school to attend an all-white high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Reasons for challenge: Being “anti-family”, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling and offensive language


41VSM65TXSL2) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Synopsis: This memoir tells the story of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Her childhood is uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Reasons for challenge: Gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint




81l+kQeYh1L3) And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Synopsis: This heartwarming true story of two penguins who create a nontraditional family.

Reasons for challenge: “Anti-family,” homosexuality, political and religious viewpoints

41gSSNgpYJL4) The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, a black girl in an America, who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different.

Reasons for challenge: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group



61eSz7BpJlL5) It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

Synopsis: The definite book about puberty and sexual healthy for kids and teens that covers nearly every imaginable question from conception and puberty to birth control and STDs.

Reasons for challenge: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group



515jeiadAzL6) Saga by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Synopsis: A sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds.

Reasons for challenge: Anti-family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited for age group.




81fg5gpZZVL7) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Synopsis: The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant set against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years.

Reasons for challenge: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence



51GuzoWiFpL8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Synopsis: This cult-favorite coming of age story takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory.

Reasons for challenge: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group



41jiwNzXH7L9) A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

Synopsis: This memoir tells the story of Jaycee Dugard, who was abducted at eleven years old and held captive for more than eighteen years.

Reasons for challenge: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited for age group




51eR6G4Z-bL10) Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Synopsis: A graphic novel about a middle school theater stage crew and their relationship drama.

Reasons for challenge: Sexually explicit

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Beer Pairing Suggestions

It’s the last week of the Great Douglas County Brew Tour, and we hope you’ve discovered some great new beers from local breweries. We’ve selected several books that pair well with these local brews. Check one out and then get a growler from your favorite local brewery.


Grist Brewing 



If you like Third Ring Belgian Strong, you might like White Truffles in Winter by N.M. Kelby, a sensual novel celebrating food and love in equal measure. The ale is light in color and body, but big on flavor, with plenty of residual sweetness.







If you like Window Tour Hefeweizen, you might like The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck. Both recall expansive wheat fields, life on the road and the grand adventure of being changed by a journey.








If you like Ground Rule Tripel, you might like The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, the beautifully made, slightly sweet story of an unlikely shortstop chasing a winning season.





 3 Freaks Brewing



If you like Yoga Pants IPA, you might like Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, the perfect marriage of humor, bitterness, passion and strong, beautiful women. This brilliant novel also reminds us that there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage.







If you like Odd Man Stout, you might like Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. An unassuming young hero offers up his heart in a dark, full-bodied tale where time and destiny converge—an unforgettable fable for our time.








If you like Knees Up English Red, you might like Life by Keith Richards, the rocker’s long-awaited autobiography. The book, like the beer, is unfettered, fearless, true and easy-drinking, with an honest dryness in the finish.






Lone Tree Brewing



If you like Toots’ Oatmeal Stout, you might like Ruthless by John Rector, which pairs a classic noir tone with fast-paced surprises that keep it feeling fresh. Book and beer are thrillers to the end, featuring both bitter and silky curves.




51r4MdBBK1L (1)

If you like Ariadne’s Blonde, you might like The Rocks by Peter Nichols, a soulfully wise and knowingly funny romantic page-turner; a perfect complement to the brew’s complex smooth sweetness, which conjures sunshine, glamour and intrigue.






If you like Hoptree IPA, you might like Dead Wake by Erik Larson, the true story of a 1915 luxury ocean liner, richly appointed and an attractive target for a German U-boat. The book matches the beer for sheer drama and intensity. 







Elk Mountain Brewing


If you like Elk Horn Stout, you might like The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The dark and decadent story of wealthy Jay Gatsby, his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, and lavish Jazz Age parties, pairs well with the rich and creamy layers in this full-bodied American stout.







If you like Rock Slide Amber, you might like Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The chronicle of Seabiscuit’s transformation from underdog to legend starts slightly bitter and finishes with a satisfying sweetness—like this refreshing Amber.







If you like Puma IPA, you might like Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen, a mixture of farce and suspense that shares the bright citrus notes and tropical nature of this hoppy ale. Both book and beer are outrageous and over-the-top.






Living the Dream Brewing



If you like Plaid Pants Dry Irish Stout, you might like An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, whose captivating protagonist charms 1990s NYC, climbing ladders both social and professional. The highs are rich and creamy, the lows dark and bitter.







If you like Empty Trophy Case IPA, you might like Slow Getting Up by Nate Jackson, an uncensored memoir of life in the NFL. Not every player can be a superstar, but thanks to this golden and well-balanced IPA, you can drink like one.






If you like Royal Nonsense ESB, you might like A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer, the true story of the world’s most notorious dictator’s role in the 1978 abductions of a South Korean actress and director. The thriller is packed with passion and offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world.





 Hall Brewing


If you like Juicy Peach Blonde, you might like The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson, a haunting novel set in 1960s Denver that blurs the line between dreams and reality. Palisade peaches echo the Colorado connection and influence this divinely drinkable ale.






If you like Farmhouse IPA, you might like Too Bad to Die by Francine Mathews, an inventive and suspenseful masterpiece of historical fiction. This spy novel is the perfect vehicle for celebrating the brew’s deft blend of the best American and English styles.






If you like Farmhouse Red Ale, you might like Badlands by C.J. Box, a rich and robust mystery pitting a green deputy sheriff and an unlikely young witness against forces colder than the North Dakota winter.







Barnett & Son


If you like Newlin Gulch Gold, you might like The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt, a darkly comic, outrageously inventive novel that offers readers a decidedly off-center view of the Wild, Wild West. You’ve never met anything quite like it.







If you like Falling Skye Scottish Ale, you might like Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, an exploration of the dark side of Scottishness via the fringe of Edinburgh’s working-class youth, complete with its trademark black humor and sharp wit.






If you like CH-47 IPA, you might like Redeployment by Phil Klay, which takes readers from the front lines of recent wars to soldiers’ returns to domestic life in suburbia. The book and brew share themes of hope and fear, comradeship and remorse.

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Force Friday Favorite Buys

If you have a Star Wars fan in your family, you know today is Force Friday, a Black Friday style event for toys and other merchandise tied to the eagerly awaited Star Wars: Episode VII–The Force Awakens.

Here are some of our favorite buys:

Jedi Master Yoda that speaks 115 phrases to lead you to Jedi Wisdom and Lightsaber mastery. Watch out as he performs his 360 degree Lightsaber attack! $179.97 


Color Changing Lightsaber changes from blue to red to symbolize the switch to the Dark Side. Choose to battle like Anakin or Darth Vader with the color switch. Which side of the Force will you choose? $40.30

Fubacca is what happens when Furby and Star Wars combines! This little guy makes the most adorable wookie sounds and comes with a companion app. $199.00

Vader Toaster is perfect for those who want their toast a little on the Dark Side. $48.99


STEM Wars tickets by far the best buy for your wallet. You don’t have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to enjoy the Star Wars universe. Join us at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on October 24th as well celebrate all things science, technology, engineering and math at a Star Wars-themed extravaganza. Shoot a rock, avoid exploding fruit, meet a real-life astronaut and even a Star Wars character or two! $7.00

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15 Fictional Schools We Wish We Attended

Fall is a beautiful season filled with pumpkin spice lattes, leaf peeping and cardigans. It also makes us feel nostalgic for our school days. Although for most of us an average day of school amounted to nothing particularly memorable–that wouldn’t be the case if we had attended these amazing, adventurous fictional schools. Let us know where you’d love to go in the comments!

Wayside School (from the Wayside School series)

Not only is this school 30 stories high, but there is only one classroom per floor due to a construction error. If only we could be a student of Mrs. Jewls’ 30th floor classroom. With bizarre yet hysterical things happening all the time, math class would go by so much faster.

Ever After High (from the Ever After High series)

Can you imagine having the daughters of Snow White, Cinderella and the Evil Queen as school mates?  Our favorite classes would have to be either Grimnastics with Coach Gingerbreadman or Home Evilnomics with Mr. Badwolf.

5183RyDfNFLSt. Gallway School (from Special Topics in Calamity Physics)

This elite boarding school in North Carolina is filled with precocious, wealthy and alluring teenagers who just happen to be involved in a clique that may dabble in murder?!

Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (from the X-Men series)

Who wouldn’t want to train their mutant powers?  Just imagine the hijinks you might get up to with your mutant cohorts in the dorms.

Walkerville Elementary School (from the The Magic School Bus series)

The science lessons will really stick with you here—and possibly haunt your dreams for the rest of your life. You can never forget getting swallowed by one of your classmates for a thorough anatomy lesson.

Battle School (Ender’s Game)

A school for tough lover aficionadas. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, especially in zero gravity combat simulations.

Brakebills Academy (The Magicians)

This exclusive (and secret) college for magicians is filled with broken people who are disillusioned with life, but they get to practice magic—real magic that is taxing to learn and has consequences. It’s kind of like a grown-up Hogwarts complete with love, sex and booze.

Old School (Old School)

An English major’s dream school where the only acknowledged snobbery is literary snobbery. Famous authors are frequent visitors, and this year it’s Ernest Hemingway!

Avalon High (Avalon High)

This may seem like a typical American high school, but everyone finds their lives intertwined with a familiar Arthurian legend.

Crunchem Hall Primary School (Matilda)

Even though this school has the ogre Ms. Trunchbull as the principal who even uses eating cake as a punishment, there is light and hope in the form of teachers like Ms. Honey and friends like Lavender.

Sweet Valley High (Sweet Valley High series)

This series did make high school look glamorous with dreamy basketball captains or soccer stars asking you to the homecoming dance.

Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women (Gallagher Girls series)

This prestigious institution is for talented young women to study espionage. Just imagine spending your days in martial arts training or history class learning political secrets. Plus, there are several secret passageways to hide (or spy) in.

Avonlea School (Anne of Green Gables)

This quaint one-room schoolhouse on Prince Edward Island may not be as impressive as some of the other schools on this list, but with the richness of the company of Anne Shirley, Gilbert Blythe, and Diana Barry as classmates you won’t realize how sparse the surroundings are.

Hampden College (Secret History)

This small, elite Vermont college is filled with word nerds who form cliques over ancient languages. Okay, they may have some murderous tendencies, but it will be fine if you just stay out of the woods at night.

Hogwarts (Harry Potter series)

You didn’t think we’d forget this prestigious institution of witchcraft and wizardry. We are still waiting on an owl bearing our acceptance letter.

Extra credit for those who leave a comment on which fictional school you wish you attended. Class dismissed!

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5 Great Cold Main Dishes for a Hot Summer’s Night


Sometimes it’s just too hot to turn your oven on. Here are some of our favorite cold suppers found in cookbooks in our collection.

61ZOS2JNJ1LGreek-Style Chicken Wraps
(from Cooking Light: Annual Recipes)


  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons olives, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of red pepper
  • 4 ounces rotisserie chicken breast
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 6 tablespoons plain hummus
  • 6 whole-wheat tortillas

Place tomatoes, olives, feta, juice, oregano, oil, pepper, chicken and cucumber in a large bowl. Spread 1 tablespoon hummus over one side of each tortilla. Top each tortilla with about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture. Roll up wraps; cut in half.

51afcGl48dLCrab Louis
(from Martha’s American Food by Martha Stewart)


  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 1.5 pounds cooked crabmeat
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 to 2 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 4 celery stalks
  • lemon wedges
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons grated sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup tomato-based chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of cayenne
  • coarse salt

Slice eggs in half. Divide lettuce among four plates. Scoop crabmeat on top of lettuce and sprinkle with parsley. Arrange tomato wedges, celery stalks, egg halves and lemon wedges around the crab.

Stir together mayonnaise, onion, chili sauce, relish, lemon juice and cayenne; season with salt. Spoon dressing on top of crab.

51BVNBhVTLLTomato and Watermelon Salad with Feta and Toasted Almonds

(from The Epicurious Cookbook by Tanya Steel and the editors of Epicurious)


  • 8 cups watermelon
  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • pinch of salt
  • glob of olive oil
  •  splash of red wine vinegar
  • chopped assorted herbs (dill, mint, basil, etc.)
  • 6 cups fresh arugula
  • 5 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup almonds, lightly toasted

Combine melon and tomatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and toss to blend. After 15 minutes, add oil, vinegar, herbs. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as needed.

Toss the arugula in a smaller bowl with a splash of olive oil. Divide among plates. Top with melon salad; sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted almonds.

51CCyGiMkCL (1)Chilled Beet Soup with Yogurt and Pepitas
(from Endless Summer by Katie Lee)


  • 1 pound of roasted beets
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4 teaspoons Greek yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons pepitas

Coarsely chop roasted beets. Place beets, coconut milk, lime juice, ginger, salt and pepper in blender. Puree until very smooth. Transfer to fridge to chill until ready to serve.

To serve, pour soup into four bowls; top each with yogurt and pepitas.

51mjHq3NlHL (1)Souvlaki in Pita
(from Summer Days & Balmy Nights)


  • 4 pita breads
  • 2 oz. pre-grilled and marinated lean pork
  • lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 12 radishes
  • 1 red onion
  • yogurt
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 inch piece of cucumber
  • pinch of sea salt

Slice cucumbers, bell pepper, radishes and red onions. Place sliced vegetables together with lettuce and cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Toss gently. Add marinated pork. Place inside pita pockets.

Create garlic dressing by placing yogurt in a bowl. Beat in the garlic, cucumber and salt. Add a large spoonful to each pocket.

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Upcoming Author Events: August & September

We have a number of free author talks happening at Douglas County Libraries locations around the district. Join us and meet an author!

An Evening with Helen Thorpe
Saturday, August 22
Philip S. Miller/Castle Rock
6:30 PM

Colorado author and journalist Helen Thorpe will talk about her newest book, Soldier Girls, which follows three women over twelve years on their paths into military combat. It is a raw, nuanced look into the lives of female soldiers.



An Evening with Hannah Nordhaus
Friday, August 28
6:30 PM

Award-winning journalist and proclaimed author of The Beekeeper’s Lament, Nordhaus will discuss her latest work, American Ghost. In the book, she attempts to uncover the truth about her great-great-grandmother, Julia–whose ghost is said to haunt an elegant hotel in Santa Fe. It is a spellbinding exploration of myth, family history and the American West.



51sL9m8NUeLOne Book, One Boat: An Olympic Affair with Terry Frei
Thursday, September 24
James H. LaRue/Highlands Ranch
7:00 PM
Colorado author and journalist Terry Frei will talk about his novel An Olympic Affair based on the true story of Olympia filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl and Colorado Olympian Glenn Morris during the 1936 games in Berlin.



81YstxOwjPLAn Evening with Diane Mott Davidson
Wednesday, September 23
James H. LaRue/Highlands Ranch
7:00 PM

Bestselling author of the Goldy Schultz culinary mystery series set in the fictional town of Aspen Meadows (similar to Evergreen, CO), Diane Mott Davidson will talk about Goldy’s Kitchen Cookbook. The cookbook features recipes from the series as well as charming anecdotes from Davidson’s writing and cooking life.

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20 Books that Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

Summer is made for funny, breezy reads. The downside is the stares when a book makes you involuntarily chortle on an airplane or by the neighborhood pool. Here are some of our favorite humorous books that should come with warning labels….these books will likely make you laugh out loud.

41G+8CzY40L (1)The Knockoff  by Lucky Skyes and Jo Piazza

The Knockoff is an insider’s look at the ever-changing world of fashion, and it is wickedly funny.

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson, known to the internet world as The Bloggess, is a comic genius. This book recounts her eccentric childhood in rural Texas. It’s hysterical and yet unexpectedly touching.

Hyperbole and a Half  by Allie Brosh

Another popular blogger turned author, Brosh turns embarrassing life moments into hilarious comics. The subjects range from light (dogs) to dark (depression), but they all contain offbeat humor.

41HGJKFdW3LWhere’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

This charming satirical novel is about an agoraphobic mother and her broken promise to take her daughter to Antarctica. It’s hysterical, wacky and heartfelt.

Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

Tina Fey of 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live fame is one of the funniest women on television. Naturally, her memoir is laugh out loud funny. The book ranges from her start in the comedy world to balancing work and family as well as how to handle being in a male dominated industry. Of course, all these subjects are handled with her dry wit.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 

No funny book list would be complete without the comic genius of David Sedaris. While any of his short story collections will guarantee to make you laugh out loud, Me Talk Pretty One Day is a stand-out covering his attempts to learn French where he progresses “from speaking like an evil baby to speaking like a hillbilly.”

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 

This whimsical odyssey through the galaxy is one of the funniest science fiction series out there. Adams is the king of intelligent satire and comedic dialogue.

619eSNf4TYLThe Stench of Honolulu by Jack Handey

This is legendary Deep Thoughts humorist’s first novel; it’s an absurd adventure tale. An unreliable narrator and his friend discover an old treasure map and embark on a quest for the Golden Monkey, which takes them to the mysterious and stinky foreign land of Honolulu.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

After spending twenty years in Britain, Bryson decides to hike the Appalachian Trail to rediscover his native home. It’s a delightful chronicle of the history of the trail and the places it passes through.

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

Screenwriter of romantic comedy classics like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, Ephron nails the effects of aging on women. It’s wickedly witty.

61WS38mfpqLThe Princess Bride by William Goldman

A true fantasy classic with fencing, torture, poison, true love, revenge, passions, miracles. It’s a wonderful spoof of classic swashbuckling romance.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

International bestselling romantic comedy features an socially challenged but loveably quirky genetics professor on his quest to find true love. It’s at once funny, touching and delightful.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach 

Roach tackles the strange science of space travel with wry humor. It is a surreally entertaining trip.

51MyBHMOBCLBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A brilliant take on school yard scandal, ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters. There’s murder, but Moriarty’s sly humor gives the book the right balance of light and dark.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Widely considered an American comic masterpiece, A Confederacy of Dunces covers zany adventures in New Orleans brimming with original characters.

The Essays of E.B. White by E.B. White

While White is perhaps best known for beloved classics like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, his essays for publications like The New Yorker and Harpers are phenomenal. They are insightful and incredibly amusing.

91ne901bxeLGood Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

On the Eve of Armageddon, Aziraphale, a rare-book dealing angel, and Crowley, his demon friend found that they are rather fond of their Earthly lifestyles and are not actually looking forward to the impending Rapture. So, they set off to find the misplaced Antichrist infant…hilarity ensues.

Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Wodehouse is one of the best British humorists of the 20th century. Well-intentioned, wealthy layabout Bertie Wooster always seems to get himself in trouble. It’s up to his brilliant butler, Jeeves to bail him out. It’s a classic.

I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Crosley takes stereotypical tales of mid-20s life and turns them into hilarious vignettes with a sassy edge.

Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sing by Christopher Moore

A wild romp in whale researching with a boatful of wacky characters. It is thoughtful, irreverent and hilariously funny.

51jL4u3TZXL (1)Hatched!: The Big Push from Pregnancy to Motherhood by Sloane Tanen

You’re in for a treat if you’ve haven’t been exposed to Tanen’s signature chicks. She tackles the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and motherhood.

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Embrace Summer’s Bounty


Did you know that every time you shop using our reloadable Douglas County Libraries Foundation gift card at your favorite King Soopers, the DCL Foundation benefits? Please contact Elaine McCain at, or 720-348-9509, for a free card or more information.

Summer fruits and vegetables are having their moment. Currently, they are bursting with flavors and color. Here are some great cookbooks to check out so that you can take advantage of summer’s bounty.

614fli52e5LThe Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson

From James Beard Award winner Chef Hugh Acheson comes a seasonal cookbook of 200 recipes designed to make the most of your famers’ market bounty.

Endless Summer Cookbook by Katie Lee

Food Network host Katie Lee is known for her summer soirees. This cookbook includes more than 100 recipes that are staples at all her seasonal parties.

61ziCWZgcxLHomemade Summer by Yvette van Boven

These recipes will inspire you to step into the kitchen this summer and make something delicious with fresh herbs and delicate summer lettuces.

Fresh & Easy by Jane Hornby

Cooking simple and tasty dishes with fresh ingredients has never been easier with this mouthwatering collection of 75 step-by-step simple dishes.

Farmstand Favorites by Anna Krusinski 

This cookbook is the ultimate source for recipes to use with fresh produce. The over 300 easy-to-prepare recipes including all-American favorites like Strawberry & Blueberry Muffins as well as Broiled Sirloin with Spicy Mustard and Apple Chutney.

615X4GcQ90LSummerland by Anne Stiles Quatrano 

This cookbook makes the harvest a reason to celebrate. Imagine hosting a lakeside barbecue with watermelon sangria, corn on the cob in a jar, and roasted peaches with chamomile ice milk. All these recipes and more are featured in this cookbook.

Fresh Food Nation by Martha Holmberg

At its heart, this is a great basic vegetable and fruit recipe book, but it also has great information about family farming and coming together to share food across your community.

51B7jnTHzfLVibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink 

This cookbook invites you to look at ingredients different and choose based on colors that inspire you. It is an artistic picture of whole foods eating.

The Gardener & The Grill by Karen Adler 

Nothing tastes better than freshly harvested vegetables grilled to perfection. This is your ultimate summer grilling guide for getting some grill time with your produce.


51VFaWuDvrLThe Kitchen Garden Cookbook by Jeanne Kelley

What can be more rewarding than making a delicious meal from freshly harvested fruits, vegetables or eggs. This cookbook is both inspiring and practical with many tips on how to garden or raise chickens and bees yourself.

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