Here are a few ideas for holiday craft projects.

Easter Egg Wreath and Egg-ducational Jar

This project comes from PBS Kids. This is a way to put those plastic Easter eggs to fun use!

How to Make Fantasy Dragon Eggs

This fun project comes via Adventure in a Box folks. This is their idea of what a dragon egg might look like. Maybe you can come up with your own idea of what they look like?

Passover Crafts for Kids

This page of great Passover craft ideas comes from Artists Helping Kids. There are many fun projects to try for different age levels, including a Seder plate craft.

Book List

How to Train Your Dragon. [Book 1] by Cressida Cowell
Rechenka’s Eggs
by Patricia Polacco
Ollie’s Easter Eggs  by Olivier Dunrea
The Story of Passover by Bobbi Katz
The Easter Egg by Jan Brett

Reading Around – New Books, Recent Reads

All the new thinking is about loss.

In this it resembles all the old thinking.

               –Robert Hass from Meditation at Lagunitas

Loss

These lines from poet Robert Hass came to mind while reading Ann Napolitano’s 2020 novel Dear Edward. The novel follows Edward, a twelve-year-old boy en route to a new life with his family—from New York to California—when the plane crashes leaving him as the sole survivor. Dear Edward is certainly about loss, unfathomable loss for most of us, but it’s also about surviving and moving forward in the most tragic of situations and with the help of compassionate strangers–which made the novel, in the end, joyful and hopeful. I highly recommend it. Napolitano’s other works include A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach.

Another “Ann”

Ann Patchett had me at the title. Although the Dutch house in Patchett’s novel is outside Philadelphia, in New York Dutch domestic architecture is part of the air we breathe. This latest Patchett work, The Dutch House, begins in midcentury America and follows the story of a brother and sister over five decades. Similar to Dear Edward, this novel also examines loss—loss of a house and much more—but is also about healing. The portraits of the brother and sister are well wrought and compelling.

Literary Fiction

Several new literary fiction titles have arrived at the library, including Chang-rae Lee’s My Year Abroad, which I am currently reading and enjoying, and Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Also, just in, Jennifer Ryan’s novel The Kitchen Front set in WWII around a BBC radio cooking contest. Check out NPR’s review. You might also want to consider Ghanaian-American novelist Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom and, if you like fantasy, the best-selling The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab.

Mysteries

A patron recommended the works of recently deceased mystery author Margaret Maron. We have many of her titles, so we created a display of her works in the library. Maron’s works include two series both of which feature female sleuths.

New mysteries/thrillers in the library include works by Jonathan Kellerman, C.J Box, and J.A. Jance.

–K.E.

Reading Around – Crime Novel Series

“Characters, characters, characters” – Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike

Troubled Blood book coverBrad Taylor, author of the Pike Logan Thriller series, noted in a recent New York Times Book Review’s By the Book column: “Setting, pace and trajectory are important, but they’re irrelevant without the reader’s emotional investment, and that is driven by characters.” No doubt it is the character of Cormoran Strike appearing in the eponymous series of crime fiction novels by Robert Galbraith, set in contemporary London, that has kept me reading. Galbraith is the pen name of British author J.K. Rowling. Strike is a big lug of a guy with a prosthetic leg; he is a throwback to the down on his luck private eye depending for sustenance, mental and physical, upon whatever walks through the door. His backstory is complex enough—he’s a former military policeman and the illegitimate son of a rock and roll musician—and he has a capable side-kick name Robin. I just finished reading the first in the series, The Cuckoos Calling (2013), and I am already on to the next, The Silkworm (2014). The latest in the series, Troubled Blood, appeared in September 2020.

*Taylor’s most recent installment in his Pike Logan Thriller series, American Traitor, just appeared.

Setting, setting, setting

Having stated that characters are paramount, I need to add that setting is a factor in what I like to read and, especially as we sit here in winter of 2021, a bit of sun is always welcome. A library patron suggested David Baldacci’s Atlee Pine series and I started with Long Road to Mercy (2018), the first book in the series. Pine is an FBI agent “with special skills assigned to the remote wilds of the southwestern United States.” I like the main character, and I am drawn to the vivid southwestern setting. The crime that sets off the narrative takes place at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I cannot get enough of the Grand Canyon and its environs, so when the characters dine at the El Tovar hotel with its breathtaking view of the canyon, the armchair traveler in me is delighted. Daylight, the latest Atlee Pine, appeared in November 2020.

Daylight book cover

Speaking of setting, I just read If Looks Could Kill (2002), the first book in the Bailey Weggins series by Kate White. This first-person story is set in the publishing world of NYC. I used to work in this milieu, and so it was fun to be plunged into that world again. The details of editorial meetings and book parties are spot on—not surprising as Kate White is a former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine. The most recent installment in this series is Such a Perfect Wife which appeared in 2019.

–K.E.

Need Tax Forms?

Curbside Pickup — Call the library at 518-251-4343 for an appointment to pick up tax forms.

Go to IRS.gov/forms to view and download or call 1-800-829-3676 to order by phone.

Go to www.tax.ny.gov/forms/ to view and download or call 518-457-5431 to order by phone.

Trying to Make it in a Wild Place: Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing, the bestselling novel by Delia Owens, was one of the most borrowed books at TOJ Library in 2019, but there must be many who missed it. Or for whom it is still on a TBR list.

The novel is set in North Carolina marsh country in the 1950s and 60s; it is structured as two related narratives which the reader expects are moving toward each other. The main story, which begins in 1952, is thoroughly engrossing as it follows a young girl, Kya, as she grows up mostly on her own in the marsh; the second, set in 1969, follows a criminal investigation. Kya’s coming-of-age story is completely absorbing, and so is the book’s deep evocation of place, its flora and fauna:  

“Ducking beneath the low-hanging limbs of giant trees, she churned slowly through thicket for more than a hundred yards, as easy turtles slid from water-logs. A floating mat of duckweed colored the water as green as the leafy ceiling, creating an emerald tunnel. Finally, the trees parted, and she glided into a place of wide sky and reaching grasses, and the sounds of cawing birds. The view a chick gets, she reckoned, when it finally breaks its shell.”

It is perhaps not surprising to learn that Owens is a zoologist, but it may be surprising to learn that she spent most of her adult life in Botswana and Zambia, rather than in North Carolina. She has written about her experiences studying wildlife in Africa in nonfiction works, including Cry of the Kalahari (1984). Crawdads is her first work of fiction. She has said of her novel, “It’s about trying to make it in a wild place.”