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We’ve all heard the cliché about books being able to transport us to another time and place. And like most clichés, it’s a cliché because it’s true. There’s nothing like a book to transport you to somewhere you’ve never been. Sometimes books take us somewhere we could go, if we had enough time off work and money for the plane ticket. But sometimes, books take us somewhere that exists only in the imagination of the author, and those are often the places we would most like to visit. So here’s a list of a few places I would love to go see, if only they were real.

Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books by J.K Rowlingharrypotter

Moving staircases, potion-making, friendly ghosts, spell casting, a Forbidden Forest, and house elves to do your laundry. Who wouldn’t want to go to school at Hogwarts? (Minus the evil megalomaniac trying to take over the world and kill all the Muggles, of course.)

Twelve Oaks from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchellgonewiththewind

The equally loved and despised Scarlett O’Hara may have lived at Tara, but it’s Ashley Wilkes’ antebellum home that I would most like to see. While the movie version of Gone with the Wind presents Tara as a classic Southern plantation home, the book describes it differently, saying “the house had been built according to no architectural plan whatever, with extra rooms added when and where it seemed convenient.” Twelve Oaks, on the other hand, is described as “tall of columns, wide of verandas, flat of roof, beautiful as a woman is beautiful who is so sure of her charm that she can be generous and gracious to all. Scarlett loved Twelve Oaks even more than Tara, for it had a stately beauty, a mellowed dignity that Gerald’s house [Tara] did not possess.”

Pemberley (Darcy’s home) from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austenprideandprejudice

When Elizabeth Bennet goes to tour Pemberley, she has already thoroughly and emphatically rejected a marriage proposal from its owner. Upon seeing the house she thinks, “And of this place … I might have been mistress! With these rooms I might now have been familiarly acquainted! Instead of viewing them as a stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own.” It must be quite the house to make her show a bit of regret over a man she turned down with such intense conviction. (Okay, we know she really liked him deep down, but still, the house must have been pretty great.)

Avonlea from the Anne books by L.M. Montgomeryanne

The fictional town of Avonlea is set in the actual province of Prince Edward Island in Canada, which is known to be an exceptionally beautiful place. But beyond that, Montgomery paints a picture of a charmingly old-fashioned little town, where friends and neighbors are noisy and opinionated, but ultimately helpful and reliable when one is in need; life is simple (or at least simpler); and days and seasons pass gently and quietly. A week or two there sounds just like the vacation I need!

The Gatsby Mansion from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgeraldthegreatgatsby

If The Great Gatsby teaches us anything, it’s that money can’t buy happiness. And while I wouldn’t want to live the life of the filthy rich during the Roaring Twenties, I would love to take a peek into their lifestyle and get a tour of Gatsby’s mansion.

So, how about you? Which fictional place would you love to visit?

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“Sing along with us
Dee dee dee-dee dee
Dah dah dah-dah dah
Yeah we’re hap-happy
Dah dah-dah
Dee-dah-do dee-dah-do dah-do-dah
Dah-do-dah-dah-dah
Dah-dah-dah do-dah-dah

We’re no threat, people
We’re not dirty, we’re not mean
We love everybody but we do as we please
When the weather’s fine
We go fishin’ or go swimmin’ in the sea
We’re always happy
Life’s for livin’ yeah, that’s our philosophy” – Mungo Jerry

Time for a great song!! Time for an upcoming book! New releases coming for August 15, 2015 and September 14, 2015. These dates are publishing dates. And now before summer ends, sing along to that meaningful classic In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry … ahhh the ’70s.

Historical romances take place before 1945. A heavy emphasis is placed on the development of a romantic relationship. Subgenres include medievals, American West and regencies.

h_balogh

Mary Balogh

Only a Kiss
Survivor’s Club series
September 1

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Kerrigan Byrne

The Highwayman
To Tempt a Highlander series
September 1

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Tessa Dare

When a Scot Ties the Knot
Castles Ever After series
August 25

h_duran

Meredith Duran

Luck Be a Lady
Rules for the Reckless series
August 25

h_forester

Amanda Forester

The Highlander’s Bride
Highland Trouble series
September 1

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Shana Galen

The Rogue You Know
Covent Garden Cubs series
September 1

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Karen Hawkins

The Prince and I
Oxenburg Princes series
August 25

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Karen Ranney

Scotsman of My Dreams
MacIain series
August 25

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Sue-Ellen Welfonder

To Desire a Highlander
Scandalous Scots series
August 25

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If you are going to read this series here is the order you should read it in: The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes A Bride and The Scoundrel and the Debutante by Julia London. I didn’t. If I had, I may not have finished the entire series.

Road trip! Road trip! This book comes with a warning — you are either going to like this book or not. Why, pray tell, would that be? 9780373779512_p0_v2_s260x420Well, because The Scoundrel and the Debutante covers a period of only four days tops — at least the road trip falling in love part. So, there is a bit of a suspension of disbelief involved in this particular story. While this book worked for me, it may not work for others. But hey! This is about me, and I loved this story! Let’s take a gander, shall we?

If you have been following this series, it is the third installment of the Cabot sisters and it seems that even though I purchased the other two books for some reason I didn’t read them. Oh dear! Although, now that I go back and look at the covers, there seems to have been some adjusting of original covers vs. released covers and some last minute change of titles — which I didn’t catch. So, I when I go back and read those missed books  I will probably learn a valuable lesson about things that change. This also might explain why I couldn’t recall a single thing about the previous books when I was reading The Scoundrel and the Debutante. I digress.

In this story we have Prudence Cabot, the straight arrow sister who is sad (sniff) because she’s not married. She blames her scandalous sisters for this; she pouts, she crumbles, she resents. She just doesn’t understand why men are not flocking around her — she is the beauty of the family after all. She actually sounds a little stuck on herself, doesn’t she? Well, anyway she’s decided to visit a friend in the countryside who has just had a baby, which will make her even more depressed because she doesn’t like to be around happily married people. She is waiting for her carriage to pick her up. By the way, this was when I knew I would have to leave historical accuracy behind — a young unmarried woman waiting for a carriage unchaperoned, puleese. Anyway, she’s waiting for the carriage and what should happen while she’s waiting? The public coach pulls up and who should disembark? The biggest, brawniest, handsomest man she’s ever seen, and he’s lost. You see, he’s American and he doesn’t understand English, or at least the English that’s spoken in England. After assisting him in finding his proper direction, Prudence has some kind of epiphany. This is not a small gentle epiphany, but more of a giant lightning bolt. She decides to chuck it all for an adventure with this man who has stunned her senseless, our hero, Roan Matheson.

By the way, isn’t Roan another name for a horse? Ummm, I wonder — horse — stallion — big — ummmm. Roan Matheson is on a mission. He’s searching for his sister Aurora who seems to be quite a bother. She’s left her fiancé in America and came to England to — I don’t know — hang out with the rich people and parrrrr-ty. Roan also has an almost fiancée back home, but he doesn’t really know her and she doesn’t really light any bulbs, trip any triggers, send any shivers through him. Nope, when he gets back home he intends to marry her and seal a business proposition between her family and his. You see, Roan’s family has money, but they want more. And, now he’s in this country where the city of West Lee is actually Weslay and he’s headed south when he should be going north. He’s grumpy. Then he is saved by a gorgeous angel, Prudence, and thoughts of his sister seem to just fly out of his head.

Well, it isn’t too long before these two people who are so wrong for each other are on a road trip adventure. A romp through the countryside where all the standard Romanceville things happen to them. Thanks to Julia London’s remarkable writing this standard romance yarn rises above the rest. This journey seemed longer than the few days it actually was. And, even though Prudence did things that were not at all in her character, I didn’t mind. Prudence and Roan shared adventures, they shared stories, they shared truths and they shared a good time. They even admit their love for each other.  The road adventure is bright, shiny, fun; but as they continue there is a growing bleakness that takes place because they know that when their adventure ends they will separate. This was one time when a marriage proposal is turned down, I found the rejection understandable.

There was a lot more to this book, but I’m not going to go into everything except to say Aurora was a really self-centered girl. There were some other secondary characters, but they didn’t overwhelm any of the storytelling. The Scoundrel and the Debutante is first and foremost a tale about Roan and Prudence. If you can get past the four day fall in love thing, you should enjoy this book. And, obviously you don’t need to read the other two to read this one.
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If you could see all of the activity around me today, you would know that the answer to that question is “yes.”  Of course I would say that as a librarian, but the last few days have brought home to me how much our services are needed.

There is so much information available on the internet that people need someone to sort through information for them.  Librarians find creditable sources and libraries pay to use online databases that the general public cannot afford as individual  subscriptions.  Yesterday I showed a mother the Tumblebooks link on our kids page.  With a computer, children can see the pages of picture books on which the words are highlighted while the computer reads the text aloud.  I also explained the Maker Lab to a very excited patron.These are two of the many resources you can access with your library card.  We offer e-books and audiobooks that can be downloaded to your mp3 player through Overdrive, streaming movies from Hoopla, magazines through Flipster, music downloads through Freegal and a language learning program called Mango.  All of these services can be accessed from home through whatever internet device you own.

We currently have two terrific apps for your mobile device: the ACPL mobile app lets you browse the catalog, check the events calendar, store your library card info and renew books with a touch of your screen; the family app has games, information and much more to offer to parents of young children.  You currently need to have an Apple device to access the family app, but I’m told it will be available for android in the future.

Libraries are gathering points for the community.  Parents attend the same story times each week with their children and make friends with other parents.  Groups use our meeting rooms for quilting, dance, yoga, scrap-booking and, of course, meetings.  ACPL has its own theater and art gallery. There are also live music concerts throughout the year.  This summer ACPL again offers Rock the Plaza concerts outdoors on Saturday evenings.  Oh, by the way, we also have books.

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peacnsthestoryinanutshellIn case you weren’t already aware, April is National Pecan Month, which automatically begs the question: how do you say “pecan”? Some people pronounce the name of this nut as pee-kan, while others say pi-kahn. I consulted several different dictionaries and they all verified that each of those pronunciations is acceptable. Personally, I like to combine the two to say pee-kahn. I didn’t find this listed anywhere as a correct pronunciation. Evidently, I’ve been saying it wrong.

Npecansasavorthesouthcookbookow that you know how to say pecan correctly (not like me!), and that we’re in the midst of National Pecan Month, it seems like a great time to explore this delicious nut. If you’d like to learn about the pecan’s uses, cultivation, life cycles, predators, diseases, and species development check out Pecans: The Story in a Nutshell by Jane thepecanahistoryofamericasnativenutManaster. If you’re more interested in the commercialization of the pecan try The Pecan: A History of America’s Native Nut by James E. McWilliams. Or if you just want to cook with pecans, a pecan cookbook like Pecans: A Savor the South Cookbook or In Praise of Pecans: Recipes and Collections might be right for you.

inpraiseofpecansBut most importantly, we want to know, how do you say “pecan”?

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Reclaiming EveTinCaps baseball, Debrand Fine Chocolates, the Embassy Theatre, Komets hockey, the Johnny Appleseed Festival, and (of course) the Allen County Public Library are just a few things to love about living here in Fort Wayne.  But did you know Fort Wayne is also home to a number of talented authors?  Suzanne Burden is a Fort Wayne resident and author of Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of GodShe is a part-time chaplain who enjoys speaking, preaching, and leading retreats. Suzanne was gracious enough to answer some questions about her book for me to share with you.  Enjoy!

Q: In your book Reclaiming Eve, you encourage women to find their true identity and calling in the  Kingdom of God.  Why did you want to write a book like this?

A: Because I needed the book myself! Through studying the Bible and dialoguing with my coauthors, we came to believe that from the beginning, with Eve, God had laid out a blueprint for every girl and woman that was empowering, life-changing and freeing. This was contrary to some of the impressions we had received that Eve was defined by her sin or an “inferior” nature. We taught what we were learning to a group of women in a Bible study, and 4½ years later, Reclaiming Eve was finally published. A Small Group DVD followed, and now people are leading book groups and studies in their churches and homes. We are thrilled to finally have the Reclaiming Eve project out in the world and to see women from every age, stage and circumstance being set free.

Q: What has the story of Eve been and why does she need reclaiming?

A: In Greek culture (which has heavily influenced our own), people believed that women were created as a curse on men. In Christian church history, some of our church fathers taught that women were not made in the image of God, even that they were “the Devil’s gateway.” In every era of history, we are always re-evaluating assumptions made and comparing them to the record of Scripture, reasoning them through and doing our best to live out God’s intentions. Even though Greek thought and some church fathers have passed on a negative view of women, when we studied more closely, we became firmly convinced this was unfounded. We believe that through Jesus, Eve and every woman is restored as both a “strong power”—Hebrew word ezer— (Genesis 2:18) and an image-bearer representative of the living God (Genesis 1:26-27).

Q: For centuries the church has taught that women cannot be leaders in the church.  Is this because they did not understand God’s reason for creating Eve?

A: It’s true that the Christian church has limited the leadership role of women. However, in pockets of Church history, including the early church of the New Testament, some leadership positions were open to women: Junia the apostle, Phoebe the deacon/minister, Priscilla the teacher, and many other women listed as “coworkers” of the apostle Paul. Things began to become more restricted for women around the third century. At times in history, included the late 19th and early 20th century, some women were teaching and preaching and leading again; it was a wooden literalism applied to passages written to a specific culture and city at a particular point in time in the New Testament that displaced them from their pulpits and mission stations, even stripping many of them of ministry licenses.

Our belief is this: God created Eve to alongside Adam mutually oversee his Creation and to flourish and to be fruitful and multiply. When sin entered the world and humankind chose their own way, hierarchy and domination began. But this wasn’t God’s fault, it was ours; neither was it God’s intention. Through Jesus, then, women are restored alongside their brothers to do God’s good work on this earth and to spread his love. We believe we were created as ideal partners, and that we need all hands on deck to get the job done.

Q: What are some of the things women can do if they feel certain doors are closed to them?

A: Every girl and woman has been created to love just as she is loved by God. The reality is that women often face more barriers to doing what they believe God is calling them to do — but every girl and woman can find ways to love well in whatever circumstance or calling they find themselves. Keep looking for open doors; go where women are cherished and welcomed alongside men; make a difference in your one life wherever you can, however you can, wherever you are planted.

Q: Your book is specifically about the identity and calling of women in the Christian church.  Is this an important book for men to read as well as women?

A: Yes! One Sunday a middle-aged man approached me and told me he had read Reclaiming Eve. With interest, I asked what he thought. He replied: “This really is what the gospel (of Jesus) makes possible!” The book is actually about gender reconciliation, about bringing men and women together as full partners. It’s filled with stories of what can happen when this occurs; we need men to champion women and women to lift up men. There is no superiority or inferiority, because we are interdependent. I believe a project or ministry is much stronger when both males and females are represented.

Q: We like to think we live in an enlightened time when men and women are treated as equals.  Yet in our world, the mistreatment and oppression of women is rampant.  For example, the World Health Organization reports that 30 percent of partnered women will experience physical or sexual violence by their partners in their lifetime.  How can a better understanding of God’s intent for the treatment of women by the church coincide with the need for justice for women all around the world?

A: I’m heartbroken by this. This year the National Council on Domestic Violence reported that one in three women in the U.S. are affected, and that one in six women will be a victim of rape. Women and girls around the world are victims of sex-slavery. This reality is absolutely opposed to the blueprint God gives us for the dignity of his daughters, those made in his own image as his representatives. When we realize the great intentions God has for women, our hearts rise up with anger and justice. We speak up when a woman is being abused; we help her find shelter and counseling; we make sure those abusing women are prosecuted by the civil authorities. “Real men protect women,” as the sign said at Fort Wayne’s “One Billion Rising” event. Those with faith in Christ should be the first ones to speak out against injustice both locally and globally. Women are infinitely precious to God and they deserve protection and freedom and flourishing.

Q: Do you have plans for any other books in the future?

A: I am working on a book project with a male coauthor that focuses on male/female partnerships, highlighting the amazing things that happen when men and women serve side by side. I’m thoroughly fascinated by stories that show how this is not only possible, but it’s happening. Men and women have and are accomplishing things together that neither could hope to do on their own. Stay tuned!

 

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As a child I was a voracious reader of novels, but turned up my nose at anything else. Over the last decade, however, I’ve come to appreciate works of nonfiction. While I may not tear through an informative volume quite as quickly as a good novel, I now recognize how much information is out there to be gleaned, if I just invest some time into a quality work of nonfiction. One of my newest discoveries in nonfiction is a series entitled Images of America. Produced by Arcadia Publishing, the Images of America series:

chronicles the history of small towns and downtowns across the country. Captured in unique pictorial format, small slices of hometown history detail the often forgotten aspects of American life. With more than two hundred vintage images, each title celebrates a town or region, bringing to life the people, places, and events that define the community. (Arcadia Publishing, 2014)

All the works in the Images of America series rely heavily on images (photographs, drawings, maps), hence the name. With just enough text to help tell the story relayed in the images, these volumes bring history to life before the reader’s eyes.

In particular, I love this series because it has so many wonderful volumes about local places, right here in Allen County, Indiana. I highly recommend giving some of these a perusal:

African Americans in Fort Wayne

African Americans in Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Headwaters Park

Headwaters Park: Fort Wayne’s Lasting Legacy

Lincoln Highway Across Indiana

The Lincoln Highway Across Indiana

New Haven

New Haven

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