Happy 20th, Game of Thrones!

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of George R.R. Martin’s first book in the landmark “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, A Game of Thrones. This sweeping saga is set in a complex, medieval-inspired world where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime. Myriad characters, including the Stark and Lannister families, struggle to control the Iron Throne. The political intrigue and subterfuge is masterful.

Unfortunately, Martin is a notoriously slow writer. There are currently five published books in the series. Two more are forthcoming, but there is no known release date yet.

Fortunately, we have the HBO television series. The award-winning show just wrapped up its sixth season. This was the first season that went beyond the original books; however, Martin provided show producers with outlines of his upcoming books The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

Whether you’re waiting on the next season or The Winds of Winter to be published, here are some great books to help you celebrate the 20th anniversary!

51YzNmrZ8ELAssassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

This is the first book in the Farseer trilogy. Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill—and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family.

As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.

George R.R. Martin says: “Fantasy as it ought to be written … Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”


81+BNns7M7LAcacia: The War With the Mein by David Anthony Durham

This is the first book in the Acacia trilogy. Durham began as an acclaimed writer of historical fiction, so he brings rich historical detail to his fantasy world of Acacia.

Born into generations of prosperity, the four royal children of the Akaran dynasty know little of the world outside their opulent island paradise. But when an assassin strikes at the heart of their power, their lives are changed forever.

Forced to flee to distant corners and separated against their will, the children must navigate a web of hidden allegiances, ancient magic, foreign invaders, and illicit trade that will challenge their very notion of who they are. As they come to understand their true purpose in life, the fate of the world lies in their hands.

George R.R. Martin says: “David Anthony Durham has serious chops. I can’t wait to read whatever he writes next.”


51dBDh9vm0LThe Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

The first book in the Shadowmarch tetralogy follows a young kitchen boy turned magician’s apprentice who embarks on a journey that could save his world from the dark machinations of a king gone mad. It is classic fantasy fare, but Williams is a wizard at world building.

George R.R. Martin says: “[It’s] one of my favorite fantasy series.”






51b5YG6Y1rLThe Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell 

This is the exciting—yet little known—story of the making of England in the ninth and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great and his son and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.

This thrilling adventure—based on existing records of Cornwell’s ancestors—depicts a time when law and order were ripped violently apart by a pagan assault on Christian England, an assault that came very close to destroying England.

George R.R. Martin says: “Bernard Cornwell does the best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present.”



81WmyLpandLThe Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This riveting first-person narrative tells the story of a young man, Kvothe, who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen. From Kvothe’s childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, this book transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. This book is the first in the trilogy; the third book is yet to be published.

George R.R. Martin says: “[The Wise Man’s Fear (second book in the series)] was worth the wait. I gulped it down in a day, staying up almost to dawn reading, and I am already itching for the next one. He’s bloody good, this Rothfuss guy.”



71HyjujBW3LA Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

The powerful city-state of Saraykeht is a bastion of peace and culture, a major center of commerce and trade. Its economy depends on the power of the captive spirit, Seedless, an andat bound to the poet-sorcerer Heshai for life. The Galts, a warring empire with a ferocious army, is set on destroying Seedless by disposing of Heshai.

George R.R. Martin says: “A thoroughly engrossing debut novel from a major new fantasist. A poignant human tale of power, heartbreak and betrayal.”





51kX4D-nWLLThe Iron King by Maurice Druon

The Iron King—Philip the Fair—is as cold and silent, as handsome and unblinking as a statue. He governs his realm with an iron hand, but he cannot rule his own family: His sons are weak and their wives adulterous, while his red-blooded daughter, Isabella, is unhappily married to an English king who prefers the company of men.

A web of scandal, murder and intrigue is weaving itself around the Iron King, but his downfall will come from an unexpected quarter. Bent on the persecution of the rich and powerful Knights Templar, Philip sentences Grand Master Jacques Molay to be burned at the stake, thus drawing down upon himself a curse that will destroy his entire dynasty.

George R.R. Martin says: “Iron kings and strangled queens, battles and betrayals, lies and lust, the curse of the Templars, the doom of a great dynasty—and all of it (well, most of it) straight from the pages of history, and believe me, the Starks and the Lannisters have nothing on the Capets and Plantagenets. Whether you are a history buff or a fantasy fan, Druon’s epic will keep you turning pages. This was the original game of thrones.”

Reading Challenge: Strong Female Character

readingchallenge150How far along are you on the DCL 2016 Reading Challenge? One of the challenge items is to read a book with a strong female lead. If you are still looking for a book, our staff highly recommends these titles:






51I2zhJVSNLCircling the Sun by Paula McLain

Paula McLain transports readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa. Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit. Available in Book, Audio CD, eBook and eAudio formats.




51iJNmx01KLThe Pearl that Broke its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

A tale of powerlessness, fate, and the freedom to control one’s own fate. In Kabul, 2007, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-great grandmother saved herself and built a new life the same way. Available in Book, eBook and eAudio formats.





Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy. Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her. Available in Book, AudioCD and eAudio.





51FopmhsJKLThe All Girls Filling Stations Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

The one and only Fannie Flagg is at her hilarious and superb best in this comic mystery novel about two women who are forced to reimagine who they are. Fabulous, fun-filled, spanning decades and generations, and centered on a little-known aspect of America’s twentieth-century story and the role of women aviators during World War II. Available in Book, Audio CD, Playaway, and Large Type.





51HqTkCELlLMonstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Polly Perks joins the Discworld army to find her brother Paul. “Ozzer” cuts off blonde braids, dons male garb, belches, scratches, and masters macho habits aided by well-placed pair of socks. Legendary and seemingly ageless Sergeant Jackrum accepts her plus a vampire, troll, zombie, religious fanatic, and two close “friends”. The best man for the job may be a woman. Available in Book, eAudio and eBook formats.





51YxzOgf-5LFollow the River by James Alexander Thom

Mary Ingles was twenty-three, married, and pregnant, when Shawnee Indians invaded her peaceful Virginia settlement, killed the men and women, then took her captive. For months, she lived with them, unbroken, until she escaped, and followed a thousand mile trail to freedom–an extraordinary story of a pioneer woman who risked her life to return to her people. Available in Book and eAudio formats. 






51eDT0KJwdLGlory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A. S. King

In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last–a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more. The female lead is contemplative, resilient and resourceful and while not sword wielding or archery experts, they conquer self doubt and fears with thoughtful aplomb. Available in Book, eBook and eAudio formats.




51yQ4QUWVbLNot A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Fans of classic frontier survival stories, as well as readers of dystopian literature, will enjoy this futuristic story where water is worth more than gold. With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a frontier-like world not so different from our own. Available in Book, eBook and eAudio formats.





51PR5E6NCDLCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

October 11, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun. A visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Available in Book, eBook, Playaway, Audio CD.





61t9JwdDgyLLegend by Marie Lu  
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Full of non-stop action, suspense, and romance. Available in Book, AudioCD and Playaway formats.

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter!

Harry Potter’s birthday is July 31! It also happens to be JK Rowling’s birthday. This year, there is an additional reason to celebrate with the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This play revisits Harry Potter 19 years after the last book. The world premier of this first official Harry Potter stage production is on July 30 in London. For those of us on the other side of the pond, we will have to settle for the Special Rehearsal Edition of the script.

While you wait to get your hands on the script, we suggest you celebrate by rereading the old books or watch the movies with some homemade butterbeer. You could also try making some robes or wands with your family:

Butterbeer Recipe (from Bakingdom)


6 12 oz bottles cream soda

3 teaspoons imitation butter flavor

2 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons imitation butter

Set out 6 16 oz glasses. Place ½ teaspoon of imitation butter in each. Pour 12 oz of cream soda over the butter. Lightly stir.

In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed for 3-4 minutes. Add the sugar and continue whipping until very soft peaks begin to form, another 3-4 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and imitation butter, then whip for another 30 seconds or so, until soft peaks form.

Spoon generous portion of foam on top of each glass of butterbeer. Serve immediately.

15 Minute DIY Wizard Robes (from Pieces by Polly)

Materials needed: oversize t-shirt, large black button, black thread, scissors, pins, iron-on Hogwarts patch

Wizarding Wands (from Doodle Craft Blog)

Materials needed: sticks and polymer/oven bake clay

Slick Science: Explosions

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Last week at Douglas County Libraries in Castle Pines, several little scientists attempted experiments involving explosions. Below are the experiments they tested.

To experience hands-on science experiments, sign up for a Slick Science near you. It’s ideal for ages 8-12. There are current openings at Lone Tree on July 21 at 6:00 PM (Register here) or July 22 at 1:00 PM (Register here):

Mad Scientist’s Oath

I pledge to use my scientific knowledge and really big brain for good rather than evil. I vow to not take over the world, scare my siblings with bubble bombs, create a soda geyser in the kitchen, or turn mom’s vases in to lava lamps without permission. This is the Mad Scientist’s Oath.

Bubble Snakes – Bubble Blower

What You Need:

  • 16oz bottles
  • Bowl of bubble solution
  • Fabric
  • Liquid food coloring
  • Rubber bands

Make the Snakes

  1. Find a clean, empty plastic bottle. While a 16 or 20oz bottle will work the best, feel free to try any size bottle you want. Maybe the results will be something crazy!
  2. Using a pair of box-cutters (and adult supervision), carefully cut the bottom off of the plastic bottle.
  3. Cover the freshly-cut hole with a piece of fabric that is similar to a washcloth or cotton sock. Use a rubber band to keep the fabric in place.
  4. Dip the fabric-covered end of the bottle into the bowl of bubble solution.
  5. Blow into the mouth of the plastic bottle and, before you know it, you’ll be creating Bubble Snakes like a pro!
  6. Let’s take it up a notch by adding some color! Find some liquid food coloring in your favorite color(s). Add a few drops of the food coloring to the fabric on the end of your bottle. Get creative!
  7. Dip the fabric in the bubble solution and give the bottle a blow… HOLY MOLY! You’re creating some super colorful Bubble Snakes!

How Does It Work?

Bubbles form because of the surface tension of water. Hydrogen atoms in one water molecule are attracted to oxygen atoms in other water molecules. They like each other so much, they cling together. So why are bubbles round? The physicists will tell you that bubbles enclose the maximum volume of air in the minimum amount of bubble solution, so that’s why they are always round.

When you blow air through your Bubble Snake maker, you are creating hundreds of tiny bubbles. As the air wiggles through the fabric, bubbles are continuously being made. The bubbles attach to each other when they come out of the fabric. It’s all thanks to the same hydrogen bonds that make bubbles possible!

Bubble Bomb’s

What You Need:

  • Measuring Cups
  • Zip Lock Bags
  • Paper Towels
  • Table Spoons
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar

What to Do:

  1. Figure out where you want to explode your Bubble Bomb. Sometimes the bags make a mess when they pop, so you may want to experiment outside. If it’s a rainy day, you can explode your Bubble Bombs in the bathtub or sink. It’s very important to use a bag without holes.
  2. Tear a paper towel into a square that measures about 5 inches by 5 inches. Put 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking soda in the center of the square, and then fold the square as shown in the picture, with the baking soda inside. This is your “time-release packet.”
  3. Pour into your plastic bag:
    1/2 cup of vinegar
    1/4 cup of warm water
  4. Now here’s the tricky part. You need to drop the time-release packet into the vinegar and zip the bag closed before the fizzing gets out of control.
  5. You can zip the bag halfway closed, and then stuff the packet in and zip the bag closed the rest of the way in a hurry. Or you can put the time-release packet into the mouth of the bag and hold it up out of the vinegar by pinching the sides of the bag. Zip the bag closed and then let the packet drop into the vinegar.

One way or another, get the packet in the vinegar and zip the bag closed.

  1. Shake the bag a little, put it in the sink or on the ground, and stand back! The bag will puff up dramatically and pop with a bang.

Why does the Bubble Bomb explode?

The bubbles in the Bubble Bomb are filled with carbon dioxide, a gas that forms when the vinegar (an acid) reacts with the baking soda (a base). If you’ve ever made a cake or baked a loaf of quick bread (the kind that doesn’t use yeast), you’ve already done some experimenting with the bubbles that come from an acid-base reaction. Most cakes and quick breads rise because of bubbles in their batter. Those bubbles, like the ones in your Bubble Bomb, are created by the chemical reaction of an acid and a base.


Bubbling Lava Lamp

What You Need:

  • Big glass or plastic jar or bottle
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Food Coloring
  • Alka-Seltzer tablets
  • Flashlight
  • Water 

What to Do:

  1. Fill the bottle 3/4 full with vegetable oil.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with water (almost to the top but not overflowing).
  3. Add about 10 drops of food coloring. Be sure to make the water fairly dark in color. Notice that the food coloring only colors the water and not the oil. Hmmm…
  4. Divide the Alka-Seltzer tablet into 8 pieces.
  5. Drop one of the tiny pieces of Alka-Seltzer into the oil and water mixture. Watch what happens. When the bubbling stops, add another chunk of Alka-Seltzer. It’s just like a lava lamp!
  6. If you want to make it even more “lave-like,” put your bottle on a flashlight and turn the room lights off.
  7. When you have used up all of the Alka-Seltzer and the bubbling has completely stopped, screw on the soda bottle cap. Tip the bottle back and forth and watch a wave appear. The tiny droplets of liquid join together to make one big lava-like blob.

How Does This Work

First of all, you confirmed what you already knew… oil and water do not mix. The molecules of water do not like to mix with the molecules of oil. Even if you try to shake up the bottle, the oil breaks up into small little drops, but the oil doesn’t mix with the water. Also, food coloring only mixes with water. It does not color the oil.

When you pour the water into the bottle with the oil, the water sinks to the bottom and the oil floats to the top. This is the same as when oil from a ship spills in the ocean. The oil floats on top of the water. Oil floats on the surface because water is heavier than oil. Scientists say that the water is denser than the oil.

Here’s the surprising part… The Alka-Seltzer tablet reacts with the water to make tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. These bubbles attach themselves to the blobs of colored water and cause them to float to the surface. When the bubbles pop, the color blobs sink back to the bottom of the bottle. Now that’s a burst of color! Your own homemade lava lamp… groovy baby!

Elephant’s Tooth Paste

What You Need:

  • 16oz plastic bottle
  • ½ cup 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid (found at beauty supply stores)
  • 1 Tbsp (1 packet) dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp warm water
  • Liquid dish washing soap
  • Food coloring
  • Small cup
  • Funnel

What to Do:

NOTE: As you can see from the picture, foam will overflow from the bottle, so be sure to do this experiment on a washable surface, or place the bottle on a tray.

  1. Hydrogen peroxide can irritate skin and eyes, so put on those safety goggles and ask an adult to carefully pour the hydrogen peroxide into the bottle.
  2. Add 8 drops of your favorite food coloring into the bottle.
  3. Add about 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap into the bottle and swish the bottle around a bit to mix it.
  4. In a separate small cup, combine the warm water and the yeast together and mix for about 30 seconds.
  5. Now the adventure starts! Pour the yeast water mixture into the bottle (a funnel helps here) and watch the foaminess begin! 

How Does This Work

Foam is awesome! The foam you made is special because each tiny foam bubble is filled with oxygen. The yeast acted as a catalyst (a helper) to remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. Since it did this very fast, it created lots and lots of bubbles. Did you notice the bottle got warm? Your experiment created a reaction called an Exothermic Reaction – that means it not only created foam, it created heat! The foam produced is just water, soap, and oxygen so you can clean it up with a sponge and pour any extra liquid left in the bottle down the drain. This experiment is sometimes called “Elephant’s Toothpaste” because it looks like toothpaste coming out of a tube, but don’t get the foam in your mouth!  


Mentos in Coke

The science behind the magic:

Carbon dioxide is what makes soda bubble and fizz, but carbon dioxide is a gas and wants to escape into the air. Mentos have tiny pits in their surface that the CO2 bubbles collect on. Plus, since they’re heavy enough to sink to the bottom, the Mentos collide with many CO2 bubbles, releasing them into the air and causing a geyser of soda.


Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag

What to Do:

  • Ice cubes (enough to fill each gallon-size bag about half full)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup salt (The bigger the granules, the better. Kosher or rock salt works best, but table salt is fine.)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint-size ziplock bag
  • 1 gallon-size ziplock bag
  • Your favorite mixins such as chocolate chips, cereal pieces, or fresh fruit.

Notes: Serves 1

How to make it

  1. Combine the sugar, half and half, and vanilla extract in the pint-size bag and seal it tightly.
  2. Place the salt and ice in the gallon-size bag, then place the sealed smaller bag inside as well. Seal the larger bag. Now shake the bags until the mixture hardens (about 5 minutes). Feel the small bag to determine when it’s done.
  3. Take the smaller bag out of the larger one, add mix-ins, and eat the ice cream right out of the bag. Easy cleanup too!


4th of July Crafts and Snacks!

Happy Independence Day! To celebrate, make some great themed crafts with the kids.

american-flag-kindergarten-craft-1-768x768American Flag Craft (From The Kindergarten Connection)

Materials needed: red and white popsicle sticks, glue, and blue and white craft gems or rhinestones








Fireworks Painting (From Happiness is Homemade)

Materials needed: red, white and blue paint, toilet paper rolls, scissors, paper plates, and construction paper







Sparkler-Firework-Craft-For-Kids-390x1024Sparkler Firework Craft (From Kids Craft Room)

Materials needed: colored cellophane sheets, tin foil, jumbo straws, sticky tape and scissors








Salt Fireworks Craft (From Crafty Morning)

Materials needed: salt, black paper, straw, glue, blue and red food coloring, and water








Finish off your crafts with this delicious Fruity Stars and Stripes Flag from Betty Crocker. 


  • 1 graham cracker
  • 1 tbsp white frosting
  • 1/2 roll of Fruit Roll-Ups
  • 4 blue Fruit Gushers


  1. Spread one side of graham cracker with frosting.
  2. Unroll Fruit Roll-Up; remove paper. With kitchen scissors, cut four strips.
  3. Arrange strips on frosted cracker to form four evenly spaced horizontal stripes.
  4. Arrange blue Fruit Gushers fruit-flavored snacks in top left corner for stars on the flag.

Hot Summer Reads

Our collection librarians stay atop the hottest trends and literary news to find the best books to add to our libraries. Here are some new books they think everyone should check out this summer. Be sure to pack a few for your next beach trip:




The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel. In the heat of summer it’s a little chill to cool you off!








Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

A summer page turner … Eleven people fly out of Martha’s Vineyard on a foggy night. Sixteen minutes later the plane plunges into the ocean. Touted as the blockbuster of the summer.








The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Summer in New England? Good idea after Olivia sets not just her signature flambéed dessert on fire, but also the entire restaurant.








The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown

Unhappy Madeleine decides to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and finally break some rules. Written by our very own NYT bestselling author and newest board member Eleanor Brown.








The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

A sexy debut and a fun summer romp, this book shows the line between love and hate is so very fine.









You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Ready for a roller-coaster ride this summer? This thriller is just the ticket.








The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Her horoscope promises a marriage of death and destruction, but 17-year-old princess Maya has other plans.










Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black

Music, magic and enchanted boots collide when a girl makes a deal with the devil to save her sister.









Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

Twelve bestselling YA writers! Check. You in your beach chair! Check. Sun and fun! Check.









The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Vika and Nikolai are the only two enchanters left in Imperial Russia and are set against each other in a deadly contest. But what if they can’t stop thinking about each other? Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone, The Red Queen, and The Winner’s Curse.





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Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

An epic romance set in a prehistoric world of wooly mammoths and saber toothed tigers? Sign me up!









My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

A king, a queen, a noble steed, a conspiracy and humor? Off with their heads! Or not.


One Book, One Walk in Highlands Ranch

51FH8CFR32LHighlands Ranch, come participate in our communitywide reading program! This year we’re reading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Bryson is the author of many bestselling comedic travel memoirs. This book is his hilarious account of walking the Appalachian Trail; he covers the history and ecology of the trail and introduces us to other folks he meets along the way — including a couple of bears. It was recently made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.

Join your friends and neighbors to discuss this great book and film. Stop by Douglas County Libraries in Highlands Ranch – James H. LaRue to pick up a copy of A Walk in the Woods today.

During the summer, enjoy a series of themed programs at the Highlands Ranch branch or an off-site facility.

Boyd Norton Photography Display

July 23-August 11

Enjoy the nature photography of Boyd Norton — renowned, award-winning wildlife and landscape photographer.

Storytime and Hibernation Party

July 23; 3 PM

Storyteller Judy Volc of Fulcrum Press presents bear hibernation, an all-ages story/activity time. Bring your teddy bear to hibernate overnight in the library! Reservations are required. Each attendee must register individually. Register here.

An Evening With Author Mark Obmascik 

July 27; 6:30 PM

Mark Obmascik will discuss his book Halfway to Heaven — Mark’s quest to scale all 54 of Colorado’s fourteeners with his son, within a year. Books will be on sale at the event; a book signing will follow the presentation. Registration is required. Register here.

Off-Site Nature Hike

July 30; 9 AM

Roxborough State Park

Families, take a walk in the woods at Roxborough State Park. Volunteer naturalists will guide you through the 2.3-mile hike. The hike begins at the Visitor’s Center patio. Sunhat, comfortable walking shoes, and water are recommended. It costs $7 per car to get into the park. Registration is required for this event. Register here.

Hiking in Avalanche Country

August 6; 3 PM

The Friends of Berthoud Pass present Hiking in Avalanche Country. Topics include: preparedness, avalanche awareness, route selection, safety, self-rescue and terrain analysis. Registration is required for this event. Register here.

Film Screening at Alamo Drafthouse

August 10; 6 PM

In partnership with Douglas County Libraries, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema presents A Walk in the Woods. Tickets are available at the Alamo.

Film Discussion of A Walk in the Woods

August 11; 6:30 PM

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Walter Chaw, local film critic and blogger, will lead a discussion of the film A Walk in the Woods. Registration is required. Register here.

Book Discussion of A Walk in the Woods

August 20; 3 PM

Douglas County Libraries staff will lead a lively discussion of A Walk in the Woods. Registration opens July 21.



10 Cookbooks for Delicious Summer Eats

Here are some great cookbooks to spice up your summer, including lots of ideas for the grill as well as some great recipes to use up your garden’s bounty or farmers market finds.

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Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes

There’s nothing quite like biting into the first ruby red strawberry of the season. Use summer’s bounty to its fullest by trying the fruit recipes in this delightful cookbook. From savory (Spicy Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Chutney or Scallop and Blueberry Ceviche) to sweet (Raspberry Mocha Fool and Triple-Cherry Lattice Pie), you’ll find a recipe that uses all your summer fruits.







CSA Cookbook

A great thing about living in Colorado is all the wonderful farmers markets and CSA opportunities throughout the summer. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what to make with all the delicious fresh produce. This cookbook’s globally inspired, vegetable-focused recipes will help you use every edible part of your produce.









Vegetable Harvest

Patricia Wells’ collection of recipes is inspired by the garden she grows at her home in Provence. Using the art and technique of French cooking, she creates classic recipes that are sure to become your family’s favorites. You can’t go wrong with her Roast Leg of Lamb with Honey and Mint Crust recipe, finished with Pistachio-Cherry Cake with Cherry Sorbet.







New England Open-House Cookbook

Even if you’ve never experienced a summer on Cape Cod, you can bring the taste of New England to your home with these delicious recipes: Hot Crabmeat Dip, Classic New England Lobster Roll, and Oysters “Clark Rockefeller.”








The New Cocktail Hour

With the summer’s long nights, cocktails on the patio are a nice way to wind down the evening. This inventive cocktail book covers the history of classic recipes and spirits along with vintage and modern recipes. It also includes seasonal ideas for syrups and shrubs.









Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

It’s not summer without ice cream! Bi-Rite Creamery is so well-known for its small-batch, handcrafted ice cream there are often lines around the block of its San Francisco store. This cookbook has recipes not only for creative flavor combinations (Orange-Cardamom, Chai-Spiced Milk Chocolate, and Balsamic Strawberry), but also for delectable frozen treats for desserts.







People’s Pops

Step away from those Otter Pops! Make some amazing popsicles from scratch with this great cookbook from one of the premier pop stands in the country. There are flavors like no other: Raspberries and Basil and Cantaloupe and Tarragon. There are even some boozy pops sprinkled throughout for the adults. Peach and Bourbon, anyone?






The Grilling Book

No one looks forward to summer as much as grilling fanatics. The glowing embers, perfectly charred corn, and sweet smell of barbecue are the smells of summer. This cookbook is the ultimate grilling book from the editors of Bon Appetit magazine. It includes summer favorites like All-American Barbecued Chicken and Baby Back Ribs with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce.







51h6oHgAX2LHaute Dogs

No Fourth of July cookout would be complete without some hot dogs. Impress your guests with extraordinary hot dogs this year by trying some of the recipes from this book. Take your cookout staple to the next level with south-of-the-border barbecue or a Japanese fusion twist.









Big Book of Burgers

This gigantic book of hamburgers goes beyond the mighty beef patty and reinvents the burger with alternative ingredients like pork, poultry, seafood and veggies. It also has recipes for sizzling sausages, hot dogs and brats; sides like onion rings; and drinks like milkshakes. You’ll want to keep this one by your grill all summer long.

June 14 Book Lovers Recommendations

Last night, we hosted a wonderful Book Lovers evening at Douglas County Libraries in Highlands Ranch, James H. LaRue. Our staff, along with special guest Alice Kober, discussed their favorite summer reads.

Alice Recommends: 

51i9lFRFckLThe Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is served with papers, and her husband is nowhere to be found. She turns to her island friends for help and support, but each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens — in a murderous way.







81+IUDBA2jLSecondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell

Lily Ivory feels she can finally fit in and conceal her “witchiness” in San Francisco. It’s there that she opens her vintage clothing shop, outfitting customers both spiritually and stylistically. Just when things seem normal, a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area. Lily has a good idea that some bad phantoms are behind it. Can she keep her identity a secret as she attempts to stop the phantoms?







8116j8zoJqLThe Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron 

Ruddy McCann, former college football star, has experienced a seismic drop in popularity — he is now the full-time repo man and part-time bar bouncer in Kalkaska, Michigan. His best friend is his basset hound Jake, with whom he shares a simple life of stealing cars. Simple, that is, until Ruddy starts hearing a voice in his head. The voice says it’s Alan Lottner, a dead realtor. To complicate matters, the girl he loves is Alan’s daughter. When Alan demands Ruddy find his murderers, Ruddy decides a voice in your head seeking vengeance is best ignored.






716MNPkO4QLSome Enchanted Éclair by Bailey Cates 

When Hollywood invades the historic district in Savannah, Georgia, to film a Revolutionary War movie, magical baker Katie Lightfoot and her witches’ coven, the Spellbook Club, take a break from casting spells for casting calls. One of the witches snags a part as an extra, while Katie’s firefighter boyfriend, Declan, acts as on-set security. Katie and her Aunt Lucy decide to stay out of the action, but after the movie’s “fixer” fires the caterer, the Honeybee Bakery comes to the rescue, working its magic to keep the hungry crew happy. But when someone fixes the fixer — permanently — and a spooky psychic predicts Katie will find the killer, the charming baker and her fellow conjurers step in to sift through the suspects before anyone else winds up on the cutting room floor.





5163+SkUKBLFool Me Once by Harlan Coben 

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her 2-year-old daughter playing with her husband, Joe, who was brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband — and herself.






41q7BIfWPILI Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped Her by Joanna Connors 

When Joanna Connors was 30 years old on assignment for the Cleveland Plain Dealer to review a play at a college theater, she was held at knifepoint and raped by a stranger who had grown up five miles away from her. Once her assailant was caught and sentenced, Connors never spoke of the trauma again until 21 years later, when her daughter was about to go to college. She resolved then to tell her children about her own rape so they could learn and protect themselves. Setting out to uncover the story of her attacker, Connors discovers stretches beyond one violent man’s story and back into her own, interweaving a narrative about strength and survival with one about rape culture and violence in America.




816Aq+jvq0LLaRose by Louise Erdrich

North Dakota, late summer 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence — but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he’s hit something else. He has killed his neighbor’s 5-year-old son, Dusty Ravich. The youngest child of Landreaux’s friend and neighbor, Peter Ravich, Dusty was best friends with Landreaux’s 5-year-old son, LaRose. The two families were always close, and Landreaux’s wife is the half-sister of Dusty’s mother. Horrified, Landreaux turns to an Ojibwe tribe tradition — the sweat lodge — for guidance, and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and his wife give LaRose to the grieving Peter and his wife.





6123t4rqyGLReading Up a Storm by Eva Gates 

After a successful party at Bodie Island’s Lighthouse Library, librarian Lucy Richardson is ready to curl up with her cat, Charles, and a good book. But her R & R is cut short when she notices some mysterious lights leading a small boat to crash into the coast. The two shipwrecked seafarers survive the ordeal, but one of them shows up dead ashore a few days later. Lucy finds herself again roped into a murder investigation and navigating a sea of suspects, all of whom had motives to deep-six the deceased. And this time, she has a sinking feeling that finding the real killer won’t be so easy.






51+F2IMp2-LThe Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin 

What would you do if your 4-year-old son claimed he had lived another life and that he wants to go back to it? That he wants his other mother? Single mom Janie is trying to figure out what is going on with her beloved son Noah. Noah has never been ordinary. He loves to make up stories, and he is constantly surprising her with random trivia someone his age has no right knowing. She always chalked it up to the fact that Noah was precocious ― mature beyond his years. But Noah’s eccentricities are starting to become worrisome. Did he really have another life?






51NFnz6TBjLA Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install 

Ben’s really great at failing at things ― his job, being a husband, taking the garbage out. But then he finds a battered robot named Tang in his garden. And Tang needs Ben. More ornery and prone to tantrums than one would expect from something made of gears and springs, Tang desperately must be fixed ― and he just might be the thing to fix what’s broken in Ben. Together they discover that friendship can rise up under the strangest of circumstances, and what it really means to be human.







51mN5Av5soLThe Highwayman by Craig Johnson 

When Wyoming highway patrolman Rosey Wayman is transferred to the beautiful and imposing landscape of the Wind River Canyon, an area the troopers refer to as no man’s land because of the lack of radio communication, she starts receiving “officer needs assistance” calls. The problem? They’re coming from Bobby Womack, a legendary Arapaho patrolman who met a fiery death in the canyon almost a half-century ago. With an investigation that spans this world and the next, Sheriff Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear take on a case that pits them against a legend: The Highwayman.





51JA+hlXowLChina Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan 

It’s the eve of Rachel Chu’s wedding and she should be over the moon. She has a flawless diamond, a wedding dress she loves, and a fiancé willing to thwart his meddling relatives and give up one of the biggest fortunes in Asia in order to marry her. Still, Rachel mourns the fact that her birth father, a man she never knew, won’t be there to walk her down the aisle. Then a chance accident reveals his identity. Suddenly, Rachel is drawn into a dizzying world of Shanghai splendor, a world where people attend church in a penthouse, where exotic cars race down the boulevard, and where people aren’t just crazy rich, they’re China rich.





71ZVjHtlO2LHow to Be a Grown-Up by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

From best-selling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus comes a timely novel about a 40-something wife and mother thrust back into the workforce, where she finds herself at the mercy of a boss half her age. Rory McGovern is entering the ostensible prime of her life when her husband, Blake, loses his dream job and announces he feels like “taking a break” from being a husband and father. Rory was already spread thin and now, without warning, she is single-parenting two kids, while coming to terms with her disintegrating marriage. And without Blake, her only hope is to accept a full-time position working for two full-time 20-somethings.





519bogS1iVLHow to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, 14, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde — fast-talking, hard-drinking gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer. By 16, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk, and working for a music paper. She’s eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less. Imagine The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease. This is a funny, poignant and heartbreakingly evocative story of self-discovery and invention.





51ySVDWUByLThree Wishes by Liane Moriarty 

Lyn, Cat and Gemma Kettle, beautiful 33-year-old triplets, seem to attract attention everywhere they go. Together, laughter, drama and mayhem seem to follow them. But apart, each is dealing with her own share of ups and downs. Lyn has organized her life into one big checklist, Cat has just learned a startling secret about her marriage, and Gemma, who bolts every time a relationship hits the six-month mark, holds out hope for lasting love. In this wise, witty and hilarious novel, we follow the Kettle sisters through their tumultuous 33rd year as they deal with sibling rivalry and secrets, revelations and relationships, unfaithful husbands and unthinkable decisions, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a trio.





917iVXZie0LA Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

When an intricate old map is found stuffed in the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes. Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets — to an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former chief of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go — but must. And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy and a dead professor. And with the body a copy of the old, odd map.






41UaQv8A4ILThe Assistants by Camille Perri 

Tina Fontana is a 30-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the CEO of a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss — but after six years of making reservations and pouring drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, the glamour has faded while her student loan debt has not. When a technical error with Robert’s expense report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off her loans, she hesitates. She’s always played by the rules, but this would be a life changer. Soon other assistants with crushing debt and less scruples approach her to say they want in. Before she knows it, she’s at the forefront of a movement with implications beyond what anyone anticipated.




513hfSbfDKLWho Let the Dog Out? by David Rosenfelt 

A lawyer by day, Andy Carpenter’s true passion is the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization he runs with his friend Willie Miller. So it’s frightening when there’s been a break-in at the foundation building. It turns out that a recently rescued dog, nicknamed Cheyenne since her arrival at the foundation, has been stolen. Andy and Willie track the missing dog to a house in downtown Paterson, New Jersey, and sure enough they find the dog — right next to a dead body. The man had been murdered mere minutes before Andy and Willie arrived. Could it be coincidence? Or could the dog theft be connected to the killing?





51-CraQeweLA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Travelers — magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel among parallel universes, connected by one magical city. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, and without magic; Red London, where life and magic are revered — and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the rougish heir to a flourishing empire; White London — a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back; and once upon a time, Black London — though no one speaks of it now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, carrying the monthly correspondences among the royals of each London. Unofficially, he is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpse of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.




51qZAVxPrFLThe Muralist by B.A. Shapiro

When Alizée Benoit, a young American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940, no one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her arts patron and political compatriot Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends and fellow WPA painters, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner. And some 70 years later, not her great-niece, Danielle Abrams, who, while working at Christie’s auction house, uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind works by those now famous abstract expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt? The Muralist plunges readers into the divisiveness of prewar politics and the largely forgotten plight of European refugees refused entrance to the U.S.



511FjMo8C9LThe Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson 

East Sussex, 1914. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha’s husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent saber rattling over the Balkans won’t come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master. When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking — and attractive — than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing. But the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.



51J3YJuhP-LThe Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children in danger, she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent. They are warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them. After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, she finds herself entangled in a world-famous 30-year-old missing-child case that continues to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance begin to heal her grief-stricken heart. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust — and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could have imagined.


Dodie Recommends:

51ArkeQ2bZLThe Dressmaker’s War by Mary Chamberlain

Ada Vaughan is a young working-class woman with an unusual skill for dressmaking who dreams of opening her own atelier. When she meets Stanislaus von Leiden, a Hungarian aristocrat, a new, better life seems to arrive. Stanislaus sweeps Ada off her feet and brings her to Paris. But when war breaks out and Stanislaus vanishes, Ada is abandoned and alone, trapped on an increasingly dangerous continent. Taken prisoner by the Germans, Ada does everything she can to survive. In the bleak horror of wartime Germany, Ada’s skill for creating beauty and glamour is the one thing that keeps her safe. But after the war, Ada finds that no one is interested in the messy truths of what happened to women like her. And though Ada thought she had left the war behind, her past eventually comes to light, with devastating consequences.



61GqtF53MPLThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor — there’s not much else to do in a dying small town that’s almost beyond repair. You certainly wouldn’t open a bookstore, and definitely not with a tourist in charge. You’d need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy’s house is full of them), and customers. The bookstore might be a little quirky, but then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel’s own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought.




41c7JXIfFFLThe Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends — the alluring socialite “Swans” Slim Keith, C.Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a prestigious husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath her elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman desperately longing for true love and connection. Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality sets Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrée into the enviable lives of Manhattan’s elite. But Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake.


The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield

Welcome to Quinn, Montana, population: 956. A town where nearly all of the volunteer firemen are named Jim, where The Dirty Shame — the only bar in town — refuses to serve mixed drinks (too much work), where the locals hate the newcomers (then again, they hate the locals, too), and where the town softball team has never even come close to a winning season. Until now. Rachel Flood has snuck back into town after leaving behind a trail of chaos nine years prior. She’s here to make amends, but nobody wants to hear it, especially her mother, Laverna. But with the help of a local boy named Jake and a little soul searching, she just might make things right.




41AFpxXA1KLAmerican Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis

Meet the women of American Housewife: They wear lipstick, pearls and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy. They casserole. They pinwheel. They pump the salad spinner like it’s a CPR dummy. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies out of the oven. These 12 irresistible stories take us from a haunted prewar Manhattan apartment building to the set of a rigged reality television show, from the unique initiation ritual of a book club to the getaway car of a pageant princess on the lam, from the gallery opening of a tinfoil artist to the fitting room of a legendary lingerie shop. Vicious, fresh and nutty as a poisoned Goo Goo Cluster, American Housewife is an uproarious, pointed commentary on womanhood. Great audio book!



Lisa Recommends: 

41AXAQ6noMLA Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin 

Legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and addicts. The complete prologue and introduction discusses Berlin’s life and stories, but I found that it gives away too much of her stories. Because of her extraordinary talent and life, I was drawn to the stories. Many are about things that happened to her or around her. She spent time in many places, including Boulder, Colorado, where she taught at the University of Colorado. She died in 2004. This book is surprising, blunt, tragic, funny and sad. I’m glad I read it, and will probably re-read it.


41TTIb30ChLThe Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown 

Madeleine is trapped in an unhappy marriage and a life she never wanted. From the outside, it looks like she has everything, but on the inside she fears she has nothing that matters. In Madeleine’s memories, her grandmother Margie is the kind of woman she should have been — elegant, reserved and perfect. But when Madeleine finds a diary detailing Margie’s bold, romantic trip to Jazz Age Paris, she meets the grandmother she never knew: a dreamer who defied her strict, staid family and spent an exhilarating summer writing in cafés, living on her own, and falling for a charismatic artist. Despite her unhappiness, when Madeleine’s marriage is threatened, she escapes to her hometown and stays with her critical, disapproving mother. In that unlikely place, shaken by the revelation of a long-hidden family secret and inspired by her grandmother’s bravery, Madeleine creates her own Parisian summer. Margie and Madeleine’s stories intertwine to explore the joys and risks of living life on our own terms.


51sxePOD32LThe Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck 

Traveling from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Baker City, Oregon, over the course of four months, Buck is accompanied by three cantankerous mules, his boisterous brother, Nick, and a Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl. Along the way, they dodge thunderstorms, chase runaway mules, cross the Rockies, and make desperate 50-mile forced marches for water. The Buck brothers repair so many broken wheels and axels that they nearly reinvent the art of wagon travel itself. They also must reckon with the ghost of their father, an eccentric yet lovable dreamer whose memory inspired their journey and whose premature death years earlier has haunted them ever since. This majestic, uniquely American journey is equal parts armchair adventure and moving history. “This tale of brotherhood, persistence, and daring so snares the emotions that it becomes a tear-jerker at its close” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), while also being “a laugh-out-loud masterpiece … and an unremitting delight” (Willamette Week).



51ndn5GGkVLThe Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth Church

Church takes us from the World War II years in Chicago to the vast canyons of New Mexico in the 1970s to follow the journey of a driven, spirited young woman, Meridian Wallace, whose scientific ambitions are subverted by the expectations of the era. In 1941, at 17 years old, Meridian begins her ornithology studies at the University of Chicago. She is soon drawn to Alden Whetstone, a brilliant, complicated physics professor who opens her eyes to the fundamentals and poetry of his field, the beauty of physics, the delicate balance of force and energy that allows a bird to fly. Entranced and in love, Meridian follows Alden west to Los Alamos, where he is engaged in a secret government project (later known to be the atomic bomb). In married life, though, she feels lost and left behind. She channels her academic ambitions into studying a particular family of crows, whose free life and companionship are the very things that seem beyond her reach. There in her canyons, Meridian meets Clay, a young geologist and veteran of the Vietnam War, and together they seek ways to mend what the world has broken.

51QvQhpnFiLCity of Secrets by Stewart O’Nan

In 1945, with no homes to return to, thousands of Jewish refugees set out for Palestine. Those who made it were hunted as illegals by the British mandatory authorities there and relied on the underground to shelter them. Taking fake names, they blended with the population, joining the wildly different factions fighting for the independence of Israel. City of Secrets follows one survivor, Brand, as he tries to regain himself after losing everyone he’s ever loved. Now driving a taxi, he navigates the twisting streets of Jerusalem and the overlapping, sometimes deadly loyalties of the resistance. Haunted by memories, he tries to become the man he was before the war — honest, strong, capable of moral choice. He falls in love with Eva, a fellow survivor, reclaims his faith, and commits himself to the revolution, accepting secret missions that grow more dangerous even as he begins to suspect he’s being used by the cell’s dashing leader, Asher. By the time Brand understands the truth, it’s too late, and the tragedy that ensues changes history.

Katherine Recommends: 


51ArkeQ2bZLThe Dressmaker’s War
 by Mary Chamberlain

The Dressmaker’s War is the compelling story of one young woman’s resolve to endure and of the choices she must make at every turn – choices that will contain truths she must confront. London, spring 1939. Eighteen-year-old Ada Vaughan, a beautiful and ambitious seamstress, has just started work for a modiste in Dover Street. A career in couture is hers for the taking – she has the skill and the drive – if only she can break free from the dreariness of family life in Lambeth. A chance meeting with the enigmatic Stanislaus von Lieben catapults Ada into a world of glamour and romance. When he suggests a trip to Paris, Ada is blind to all the warnings of war on the continent: This is her chance for a new start. Anticipation turns to despair when war is declared and the two are trapped in France. After the Nazis invade, Stanislaus abandons her. Ada is taken prisoner and forced to survive the only way she knows how: by being a dressmaker. It is a decision that will haunt her during the war and in its devastating aftermath.


51+Cn9rAEPLThe Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham 

After 20 years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly decides to stay, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business, her friendship with Sergeant Farrat — the town’s only policeman, who harbors an unusual passion for fabrics — and a budding romance with Teddy, the local football star whose family is almost as reviled as hers, she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in town, causing old resentments to surface, it becomes clear that Tilly’s mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion.


51C5epTqFuLSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all 10,000 people aboard — adults and children alike — must fight for the same thing: survival. Told in alternating points of view, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff — the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest hours.

Reading Challenge: A Book You Loved as a Child

readingchallenge150Every book lover has a book they fondly remember as being a favorite from childhood. As part of the DCL 2016 Reading Challenge, one of the challenge items is to read a book you loved as a child. Our staff recalls their personal favorites.






I remember loving to go to the library when I was a child, and I always wanted to check out a Babar book. It didn’t matter which of the Jean de Brunhoff Babar series that we found, I loved hearing those stories over and over. I’m sure mom got tired of reading them over and over. I also loved it when my dad would read me the Chicken Little story, because my dad would do all the voices of the different animals. And I distinctly remember him talking about growing up on a farm and how stupid chickens really are. It gave new meaning to the story. – Pat






91MtPDqj-bLAs a kid I loved the book From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. I wanted to run away and live in a museum too. I would have gone to the Smithsonian and played with the spaceships that had been on the moon. – Melissa









71cMueKD8BLMy favorite book was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. My dad was a fireman, and when I had my tonsils out it was given to me by all of the firemen who worked with him. It was a cherished gift, and I read it over and over again, and then to my daughters when they were growing up. – Suzanne








41GFWOEUePL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_My favorite book was The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. I was completely absorbed by Robin’s adventures as she discovered an abandoned mansion with a Velvet Room, and that experience made me realize how wonderful it was to read. I was transported to another time and place, completely different from my own life, and I have always remembered the wonder I felt while reading this book. I am so glad to see it available as an electronic resource now, as it has been out of print for years. The best gift I ever received was a hardcover copy of The Velvet Room that my husband tracked down for me. – Jennifer







51gnNy1uoSLI will tell you that my favorite book to read to my children is Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. It is a great story about a boy who worked hard to buy two dogs. It’s a love story between a boy and his two hunting dogs and the bond they shared. – Rebecca









51MCZJXCEELMy favorite book as a child was Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. My grandmother was from Norway and read this book over and over again with my mother just after World War II, when my mom had been about my age. It was really special because it linked me to my Norwegian heritage and kindled an unexpected shared interest among the three of us: reading stories about children living through Word War II. – Robin








71TNYAGIaILMy favorite book is Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. This colorful, lyrical children’s classic is a favorite of mine because it encourages open-mindedness. It is also a delightful read-aloud book, with repetitive rhyming words and a building plot that concludes with a happy surprise! – Terra








51P3P528GELOne of my very favorite books as a kid was Matilda by Roald Dahl — because it was one of the first books I read that blew my mind. A little humor, a little horror, a little sci-fi, and an inspiring protagonist. – Nicky









51gBHSuI1jLMy favorite book is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I remember clearly having this read aloud to me when I went to day care for the first time. The story and the use of words were so fascinating that the book helped me relax in a new place. – Melissa









71QRuUPljGLMy mother and my grandmother read me Mother Goose Rhymes. I still have the book from the 1970s. On the cover is a picture of Jack and Jill. My mother always said it was my brother and me (the drawings showed a girl and boy, blond and blue-eyed, climbing up the hill). I can remember the times we sang and spoke the nursery rhymes. These were wonderful times spent together. I was surprised my own children did not know the many nursery rhymes I learned, but I am sharing this book with them now! – Amy







516ioQAb1dLI loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. This was one of my first, and certainly my best-remembered, ventures into the world of fantasy. I searched in every cabinet I could for a way into Narnia, wishing Aslan would take me to the snowy woods and the lamppost. I even named my cat after Lucy, the Queen of Narnia. – Gwen







51kwxwTNFhLWhen I was reading this in elementary school, my dad saw Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James and said he had read the book as a child too. What?! My dad read books when he was a child?! And then he told me that when he was a boy there was a naming contest at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, to name one of the horses on the carousel. He entered the name Smoky because he liked the book so much, and he won a free pass to ride the carousel! The book won the Newbery Medal the year before my father was born, so it had been around a long time even when I read it. After my father passed away, I was able to see an exhibit of Will James’ artwork at the Gene Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles and learn more about his life. I’ve never re-read the book, and we only have one copy in the DCL collection, but it is a book that really touched my life. And the carousel is still at the zoo, so I think about the book and my dad every time I see it. – Patty




616AjlDryCLThe Monster at the End of this Book was a favorite of two librarians. Here is what they each said.

My favorite book growing up was The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. My mom is very good at doing impressions and she would read this to my sister and me while doing Grover’s voice. I think we requested it so much she had to suffer a sore throat quite often. The element that drew me to this book, besides my mother’s voice acting, was that the book character spoke directly to me as a kid, breaking the 4th wall. It reminds me a lot of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books. – Shelbi

The second librarian writes: My favorite childhood book is The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. Looking at it now, it’s a story of ignoring your fears and moving forward even though you’re being told to stop, but at the time it was bright and colorful, and I loved tracing the super-70’s-looking word bubbles and busy illustrations with my fingers. It helps that Grover was, and is, one of my favorite Sesame Street residents. – Gwen


71Iew0w355LTwo staff members reflected fondly on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

Staff member number one said: This is probably the first fantasy novel I ever read and I loved it. Charlie’s quest for the Golden Ticket was a terrific adventure, and then the fantasy adventure began during the chocolate factory tour. To be honest, one of the things about this story that stuck with me the most was how little money Charlie’s family had in the story. All of the grandparents slept in one bed! And his father’s job was to put caps on tubes of toothpaste! So for me it was a story about hope, and the rest of those rotten kids getting what they deserved! Ha! – Patty

And staff member number two said: I loved the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a child, and I spent one summer day outside on the deck behind our house reading it through three times in a row. I still remember that day fondly. – Cliff