Our Souls at Night is a coming of age story. Old age. Readers who cringed at seeing their grandparents kiss or otherwise show affection should look elsewhere for their next novel. Those ready to explore the complex relationships of long life, love, friends and family in Holt, Colorado: read on.
This thin book grabbed me during its opening scene and didn’t let go. Louis, an elderly widower receives a surprise visit from Addie, an elderly widow from down the block who boldly inquires after only the slimmest of small talk, “I wonder if you would consider coming to my house to sleep with me?” It is down the page a bit where it is clarified Addie is not offering sex. “I wondered about that,” is Louis’s response. Addie’s loneliness is much more powerful than her fear of small town rumor mills and gossip shops.
In Our Souls at Night, Haruf explores the myriad relationships that make up small town America. How relationships are maintained and strengthened and how they end.
My favorite passages in this book detail the wonderfully cutting rejoinders dished out to mercilessly crush small town gossipers just when they need it most. I know Haruf had many days to create these perfect put-downs on paper, but I have often wished to have such biting wit ready in the exact instant needed. (Alas, I wouldn’t have the nerve to deliver the words anyway.)
Haruf shows another clever bit of writing when Louis and Addie discuss the plausibility of two of his previous novels set in Holt County. They agree there may have been two bachelor cattle ranching brothers who take in a pregnant girl (Plainsong). I have not yet read the other book referenced (Benediction), this one is about a dying man and a preacher, but will ask for it the next time I am in the library. If it is as good a read as Our Souls at Night, you should too.
Recently Cameron Rolle and Jeff Stratter had the great pleasure of attending a library conference for the Make-It program funded by Idaho Commission of Libraries in Boise, ID. During this three day intensive learning environment surrounded by the wonderful libraries scattered around Idaho we experienced how to encourage future patrons at our library with an exciting new culture called “Make-It”. Learning techniques, program ideas, and being provided equipment to help facilitate (S)cience, (T)echnology, (E)ngineering, and (M)ath programs with infused creativity engaging problem solving in all our patrons that walk through the door. Over the course of the next six months we’ll be rolling out scheduled programs as well as in library activities set up for your inquisitive minds to learn, grow, cooperate, and explore. We’re so fortunate to have this opportunity, let’s all participate in the fun that is ahead.
Take a look at a few photos from our seminar/training. Keep an eye out on some of the equipment you see as it will be making an appearance soon in our library. (soldering iron, circuits, robots, makeymakey, programming, and much much more!)
Every now and again we’re graced with lessons from our youngest of Patron’s and this was no exception. Lilly an voracious reader, loyal patron, frequents the library as much as her mom can get her there. With books in tow she independently finds her next selections and reminds us all the simple joys we can get from reading. But her appetite for books, libraries, and patronage didn’t stop there. She mustered up the courage to approach the circulation desk to ask how she could help. “I’d like to volunteer”, Lilly said with a sly grin. To which we immediately responded, “Absolutely.” And then and there a new bond was formed. Thinking she might just get to put away some books or reorganize the “Junior” section, a surprise was in store. What about if you helped us develop an outreach program for other readers your age? And from there Lilly’s BookSwap was born.
How It Works:
On Tuesday March 8th, any young readers are invited to participate in Lilly’s BookSwap. Pick out a favorite book of yours from the library or bring one in from home. Each selection with be branded with a unique identifier in colorful piece of yarn. The group of young patrons will then reach into a bag and pull our a corresponding color to which matches an already brought in book selection by another young reader. This exchange will continue until all the books have been selected. There will also be a “Wild Card” which will allow that reader to select any book from the “Wild Card” selection. All young readers will then have a NEW favorite book from someone else to take home and digest. When two more weeks are up we’ll remeet up and have a special book discussion on the magic of our new books. Hope to see you all there so we can make this first meeting of Lilly’s bookswap a success!
Billy the Kid is both a simple narrative of the life of Henry McCarty Antrim (alias William Bonney aka Billy the Kid) and an analysis of his place and times, and the context of his life. It provides a means for considering his real importance to American history and, particularly, American myth. In fact, Robert Utley says that his purpose is to comment on violence in American society. Utley is known primarily as a historian of the Idaho Wars. As a National Park Service historian, he produced guides for such complex sites as Custer (now little Bighorn) Battlefield. Billy the Kid grew out of Utley’s highly regarded analysis of New Mexico’s Lincoln County War, High Noon in Lincoln: Violence on the Western Frontier, and is aimed, he says, at “stripping away the veneers of legendary.” By the time of Billy’s death in 1881, newspapers and the sensational press (such as Police Gazette) had already made of the Kid a larger-than-life outlaw chieftain. So the legend of Billy the Kid had been building for at least three years, and the manner of his death did nothing to discourage it. Within a year, Pat Garrett, in association with writer Marshall Upson, had published his own account, The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid. Fact and fiction about the Kid would evermore be inextricably intertwined.
Join the Let’s Talk About It Book Discussion series for Billy The Kid at the Library on March 3rd, 2016 at 7:00pm