It is that time of year when we dust off our horror movie collection and put it on display. New to the library collection include The Exorcist (which is also a book), all the Conjuring movies, Host, Relic, and much more. There is nothing like watching a horror movie this time of year. There is something about the weather cooling, and leaves changing color that helps set the mood. You can check out up to ten movies at a time. Just enough to have a horror movie binge marathon. Time to get your scare on!

Library secrets, part 6

We have ebooks. You can’t find them on the shelves, but you can find them at this link: netldc.overdive.com.

 

Once you’re there just sign in up at the top right corner. You’ll use your library card number and your PIN. (The PIN is the last four digits of your phone number.)

Then browse to your heart’s content. It’s easy to tell which books are available and which are waitlisted. Just look for the helpful banners at the top.

Once you’ve decided on a title, this is where things get tricky. There are lots of options for downloading and reading.

 

Which one works best for you will depend on the kind of device you have as well as the types of file that the publisher has made available. There is also sometimes an option of downloading to your device and reading in the browser window.

Libby is an easy to use app that is available on most devices. You can learn more at the website: meet.libbyapp.com

Kindle is, of course, recommended if you have a Kindle. It does require an Amazon account though. But again, this app is available for most devices.

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Teen Fiction Review – A shot at normal

The book A Shot at Normal by Marisa Reichardt tells a tale of a teen at odds with the beliefs of her parents. Juniper Jade has always followed her parents homeschool, all-organic lifestyle and she is ready for a change. She is sixteen and wants to go to the public high school. She wants a cell phone and friends her age. She wants to see more of Nico, the cute boy who works at the library. She wants store-bought toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant instead of the concoctions her mom makes. And after the unthinkable happens, she wants all her vaccinations.

Juniper reminds me of teens who are ready for some independence from their parents. She does not agree with her parents’ no vaccines rule. She knows it would be easier to wait until she turns eighteen, but she is afraid.

The relevant plot about vaccines and anti-vaxxers is a timely topic. Juniper consults with a doctor and considers the pros and cons of getting vaccines. She loves her parents but wants the right to take care of her own health. Will Juniper get her vaccines? Read this topical novel to find out.

 

 

 

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Adventures in Gardening

We inherited a mess of a yard with a few easy plants when we moved a few years ago. The biggest problem has been invasive vines that grow all over the place, and have even left scars on the house. At one point, my husband and I dug up two sections of the yard and have been super aggressive in our fight against this green creeping foe.

Another problem is that three trees have died, two from a pest and one from lightning strikes. We also cut down two other trees because of their proximity to the house. Pictured to the left is the stump of one which started growing mushrooms. We’ve removed all of it except just a bit of stump that a grinder will have to rip out.

 

 The good plants that came with the yard are a gorgeous red canna and some yellow iris. These are among my favorite plants because they are so easy to care for. We also have some elephant ears that I was thrilled to get because I’ve admired the big beautiful leaves for so long. Alas, this plant didn’t do so well this year because of the vines, as well as a drainage problem that will be fixed this fall. I also have a ton of monkey grass that I love to have as a border plant.  I’ve added some purple heart, which are easy to grow according to Texas Home Landscaping by Greg Grant and Roger Holmes . I’m looking forward to them spreading out. The previous owners also left behind lots of big rocks; I’m not too sure where to place those so that they look good.

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time researching the best trees and plants to grow in this part of Texas. I have a lot of space in front of the house to fill with good plants. So far, the weeds have taken over. My goal is to spend every spare moment that I can this fall clearing out the bad stuff and planting what I can so that I can enjoy a gorgeous garden all next year.

As always the best place to find info for any subject is at the library! I checked out some gardening and landscaping books and learned that fall is the best time to plant a tree in the book The Horticulture Gardener’s Guides: Design and Planting by Andrew McIndoe. I decided on a Chinese pistache for the main attraction. In this picture you can see that my neighbor across the way also has this tree. His tree is gorgeous, and I can’t wait till our puny little guy grows to be that big! We also planted three white natchez crepe myrtles on one side of the yard and a Japanese maple on the other side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other books that I have recently explored in my landscaping adventure include The Big Book of Garden Designs by Marianne Lipanovich, Landscape Planning by Judith Adam, Grounds for Improvement by Dean Hill. These are just a few out of a big section we have at the library on gardening and landscaping.

Most of my budget has gone into replacing trees. I would love to put in a path like this:

This is a picture from the book Walks, Patios & Walls. Instead the path I’m excavating will be filled with mulch. My head is full of visions that are full of colorful plantings in perfectly laid out beds with beautiful stone or brick pathways. I see full healthy trees with flowers encircling their bases. I have ideas of outdoor furniture I would like to build myself. I would also love to build a trellis and have something growing all over it. Something that I can manage that won’t invade the yard. Unlike what has been growing wild up until now. I found several ideas for these kinds of projects in 100 Weekend Projects Anyone Can Do.

There is a bit of a problem with all the grand plans in my head. I don’t have a big budget to put towards all of the plants that I need/want. I was lucky to be gifted the purple heart from another avid gardener. I also share what I can from my garden like giving some of my iris to a neighbor and elephant ear to some of my colleagues. I hope to find other gardeners that I can trade plants with!

In the spring I will do a follow up article that will hopefully picture a full garden with that mulch path! What gardening projects are you tackling? Do you have any gardening tips or tricks to share with our audience?

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Fiction book review – A shot at normal

The book A Shot at Normal by Marisa Reichardt tells a tale of a teen at odds with the beliefs of her parents. Juniper Jade has always followed her parents homeschool, all-organic lifestyle and she is ready for a change. She is sixteen and wants to go to the public high school. She wants a cell phone and friends her age. She wants to see more of Nico, the cute boy who works at the library. She wants store-bought toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant instead of the concoctions her mom makes. And after the unthinkable happens, she wants all her vaccinations.

Juniper reminds me of teens who are ready for some independence from their parents. She does not agree with her parents no vaccines rule. She knows it would be easier to wait until she turns eighteen, but she is afraid.

The relevant plot about vaccines and anti-vaxxers is a timely topic. Juniper consults with a doctor and considers the pros and cons of getting vaccines. She loves her parents but wants the right to take care of her own health. Will Juniper get her vaccines? Read this topical novel to find out.

 

 

 

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Fiction book review – A brilliant partnership

I’ve been reading books by the dynamic duo Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child for years. In 2019 they started a new series, Nora Kelly Novels. The first book, Old Bones was published a couple of years ago and the newest book, The Scorpion’s Tail, was recently added to the library collection. These books are filled with thrills and adventure with the best kind of characters (in my opinion), strong female leads. Nora Kelly is an archaeologist and Corrie Swanson is a green FBI agent hungry to prove herself. In the first book Corrie is investigating a suspicious death that is related to some recent grave robberies. Nora is busy trying to find a rumored lost treasure that a member of the Donner party hid away (yes, the cannibalistic Donner party). The two of them are thrown together and they don’t really hit it off, but the book does have a satisfying end. Especially when Agent Pendergast shows up to help solve the last bit of mystery.

Before reading this book, I would read a few books in the Agent Pendergast series to really get a sense of the genius that is Pendergast. In the book Still Life with Crows, Agent Pendergast discovers Corrie as he is investigating a series of gruesome murders. I recommend this book to really understand Corrie and appreciate her character. Nora Kelly makes an appearance in several books by Child and Preston. All of them come highly recommended. Among them are Thunderhead and Book of the Dead.

The end of Old Bones has a bit of narrative between Corrie, Nora, and Pedergast. Nora and Corrie make plain to Pendergast how they feel about one another and Pendergast predicts that their partnership, despite their differences, would be most excellent in solving future cases. Thus, the promise is made that another story will be written by the authors that will indeed further this partnership!

That promise is fulfilled with The Scorpion’s Tail. This book was fun in so many ways. This time Corrie purposefully seeks out Nora and convinces her to abandon a dig she is in the middle of to help her solve a very old and mysterious death in an abandoned city in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. In the usual style that is Preston and Child, the story meanders in unexpected ways. There are two parts that are the most entertaining to me. One is when Nora and Corrie both find two clues separately that when put together point to something the book keeps hinting at. The second is when Pendergast makes an appearance again at the end of the book. Again, he solves the last bit of mystery. This one is tied to that abandoned grave that was discovered in the middle of nowhere New Mexico.

I’ve read almost all the books that these authors have written together. I recommend all of them. Start with The Relic and lose yourself in great story telling for a good long while. There are several that they have published alone that I haven’t read…yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Fiction book review – Cimarron

I chose to read Cimarron by Edna Ferber because the movie based on this book won an Oscar in 1931. It was the first western film to do so.

There are many colorful characters in this western tale. Yancey Cravat with his smooth-talking ways stands out. Sabra, Yancey’s wife is a strong female character, but not quite endearing. She was blatantly racist for one and walked around with a sense of entitlement because of her upper-class upbringing. Despite her narrowmindedness she became quite successful in everything she set out to do. She had to be strong because Yancey was so weak and was a terrible husband.

I was disappointed that Yancey turned out to be too much of a dreamer who couldn’t really be completely successful. His success came about in spurts that were some of the best parts of the book. I was left feeling that this was a character that couldn’t ever reach his full potential with his weakness for drink and selfish tendencies. Because of his flair for the dramatic, his ending was both heroic and tragic.

The most entertaining part of the book was based on true accounts of the Osage Indian tribe becoming millionaires during the big oil boom in Oklahoma. This book inspired me to look further into the Osage tribe and I learned that many Osage were murdered by white men who married into the tribe to steal millions of dollars. David Grann wrote a book about it, Killers of the Flower Moon. This book has been added to my pile of books to read.

I think that I will continue to read Edna Ferber’s books. She did win a Pulitzer prize and it is easy to see why. I will say that her books are a bit offensive in when it comes to talking about POC. That is not surprising considering in what era she wrote her books. Despite this I think it is important to read these points of view to try to get a well-rounded understanding of where people are coming from. Even if the language makes one cringe a bit.

 

 

 

 

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Library Secrets, part 5

Library Secrets, part 5

We’re friendly to everyone who comes in, but there’s also a special group called:

Their whole purpose is to support the library. They occasionally have meetings, run the Book Sale, and do some fundraising.

Joining the Friends is a really great way to support the library. The Friends are always looking for new members and new ways to benefit the library. There is a $10 membership fee but all that goes back into the library.

 

So here’s a couple of FAQs:

 

Q: how old do I have to be?

A: all ages are welcome. There’s even a family membership available.

 

Q: how do I join?

A: you can get a membership form at the library and here’s a link, too.

 

 

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

 

Fiction review: Don’t make me choose…

Don’t Make Me Choose Between You and My Shoes by Dixie Cash had some great memorable characters. My favorite character was Celina who is a librarian in a small Texas town. I liked reading about her bravery as she stepped out to try something new and found love along the way. The two main characters, Edwina and Debbie Sue, were a lot of fun to read. The dialogue that came from them was laugh out loud funny.

One of the most entertaining parts of the books was when Edwina decided to go win a karaoke contest. She decided in order to win, she first needed some liquid courage. In the meantime, Debbie Sue found the empty mini bottles of said courage and knew trouble was brewing. Sure enough, when Debbie Sue caught up with Edwina she found the bar crawling with cops and Edwina literally hanging on a wall. You’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out how that came about.

As I read the book, I wondered about the very beginning of the book that narrated a murder. ‘‘

“Whodunit” is what you are left wondering as more characters are defined. My initial opinion regarding Celina’s love interest was that he was the culprit of the heinous crime mentioned at the beginning of the book… I won’t say more about that, or what happened with this particular character.

The book had a great epilogue that tidied up how the characters went on from their New York adventure.

I haven’t read any other books by this author, but the next time I want to read something funny and light I will go see what else the library has by Dixie Cash.

 

 

 

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

 

Fiction review: Attack Surface

Title: Attack Surface

Author: Cory Doctorow

After reading this book, I am now officially wary of my phone, my thermostat, my Kindle and various other devices in my possession.

The book centers on Masha, who makes a living analyzing and using the results of surveillance software. She’s a good person, with good intentions, and we all know where that leads.

The events of this book also touch on events that happened in two of Doctorow’s earlier books.


I greatly enjoyed this book. Masha is an interesting character who lives in much more of a moral gray zone than the main character of the two other books (Little Brother and Homeland.) I did find myself wanting to go back and reread those other two, since now I have another perspective on the events.

 

 

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.