Winter Is Coming So Help Build a Snowman

The Lansing Community Library kicks off its first ever Winter Reading Program Saturday, November 19, 2016 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. There will be games and refreshments for the kick-off.  The theme for the Winter Reading Program is DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN?

The program provides challenges for all ages (two through adult), with a chance to qualify for prize drawings.  You’ll have until January 7, 2017 to complete all nine challenges in your age group. Patrons may sign up online (see detailed how-to instructions below) or at the library during the kickoff party.

Fun & Games

The kickoff party will feature several hands on games for children, including pin the nose on the snowman, building a snowman, magic color scratch snowmen and a story time.  Healthy snacks as well as a hot chocolate bar will round out the fun.


The Tic-Tac-Toe challenge sheets may be picked up at the library.  Each age group – 2-7 years, 8-12 years, 13-19 years and adults – may complete up to nine (9) challenges. Patrons who complete 1-2 challenges are entered into the drawing for a Freddy’s gift card. Complete 3-5 challenges to be entered into the drawing for a $25 AMC gift card. Complete 6-8 challenges to be entered into the drawing for a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card. Complete all nine (9) challenges to be eligible for the grand prize drawing for a Kindle e-Reader. There are additional drawings in two age groups (8-12 and 13-19 years) for LEGO kits.

20161112_133633 Continue reading “Winter Is Coming So Help Build a Snowman”

Book Bingo

Lansing Community Library‘s Winter Reading Program

Book Bingo

Lansing Community Library Winter Reading Program Book Bingo

Here’s my adult bingo card so far:

An Author Whose Last Name Stars With a “W” A Book in a Series A Nobel Prize in Literature Winner Book Read a Favorite Book from Your Childhood Check Out and Read a Magazine
A Book Related to Science Fiction A Book Related to Science An Author Whose Name Starts With a “M” A Dystopian themed Book An Author Whose Name Starts With a “B”
A Fairy/Folk Tale Book A Non-Fiction Book ***
Free Space!
Classic Literature A Book About Time Travel
An Audiobook An eBook A Suspense Novel A Book about a President Historical Fiction
A book That Was on Display in the Library A Caldecott Book (Winner or Honor) A Book That Was Made into a Movie A Biography A Book About Kansas

A Green highlight means I’ve already read a book that fits that category (and possibly more than one category).  I’ll figure out where to put them once I finish a couple more books.  To see what I’ve read so far this year (2015), visit my GoodReads book challenge page here.  Or click here to see what I’m currently reading.

A Yellow highlight means I have books I could read right now that fit that spot.

Looks like I need to find a book about a President to read.  Any ideas?

Keeping Me Up Late

While the City Sleeps MugI collected my commemorative mug (shown at right) from the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library this past Monday, the 4th of February.  I completed the reading log form via the ‘While the City Sleeps’ web page, noting that three of the five books I’ve read in 2013 were suggested readings for the Library’s adult winter reading program.  I surprised myself because I liked all three and gave each one a four star rating at GoodReads.

When I first reviewed the suggested readings list, I didn’t see anything that jumped out at me.  I found three or four titles that might work so I placed them on hold in various formats.

I didn’t have to wait for one title, Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross.  I found it available immediately as an audiobook via the Library’s Overdrive website.  I checked it out and downloaded it to my new smartphone.  One of the nice features of the Overdrive Android application is a sleep timer.  I set the playback with a thirty minute timer and dozed off each evening to the soothing voice of the reader, extolling me with theology while providing a healing blessing to ease my trials and sufferings.  None of the local book clubs opted to discuss Dark Night of the Soul, but one enterprising library technician is posting daily Lenten observances at his blog, All-Soulo.

The library didn’t own an electronic or audio version of Lost Moon, so I requested the print edition.  I picked up the book on Friday, the 25th of January, and started reading it on Sunday, finishing it the following Friday.  Even though I’ve seen the movie, Apollo 13, many times, I still found myself compelled to read way past my bedtime.  I tried to limit myself to one chapter a night and refrained from carrying the hardcover edition back-and-forth to work.  Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it’s definitely more riveting.  I hope to attend the ‘Read It/Watch It’ event on Sunday afternoon, March 3, 2013.  I’m looking forward to lively conversation led by Katie Stover, Director of Readers’ Services, at the Waldo Branch.  I will resist the urge to pull out my own DVD from my personal video library.

Concurrently, I listened to the audiobook of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern as read by Jim Dale, known in other circles as the ‘voice’ of Harry Potter (winning numerous awards, including two Grammys).  I’ve heard him read before (via one of the Potter books) and he is a delight to listen to.  Even  more delightful than Jim’s exceptional characterizations was the enthralling tale told by Morgenstern in The Night Circus.  I found myself looking for excuses to continue listening, even though I wasn’t driving, or walking the dog, or cleaning house, or doing laundry.  Of all the suggested readings, this one hit the spot perfectly.  I highly recommend it.  In less than a week, I will join the Women Who Dare Book Group at the Central Library for one of the three book discussions scheduled in February and March for The Night Circus.

I convinced my husband to read one of the books along with me.  He prefers non-fiction titles, so I snagged a copy of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers from my local library while waiting for the hold I placed at the Plaza branch to come through.  He’s already into the fourth chapter, while I have yet to start reading it. We both plan to attend the discussion for the newly formed Stranger Than Fiction book group, meeting for the first time on February 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the Plaza Branch. When I mention this book to friends and acquaintances, I hear nothing but good things.  I should begin my cadaverous journey tomorrow evening while my husband is otherwise occupied with his band mates during band practice.

That leaves just one book on my hold list.  Well, actually on two hold lists.  I requested a print edition of Kansas City Noir, as well as the ebook edition.  I’ve been waiting several days and I hope I get one of the editions checked out before the last book discussion arrives on March 9th.  That’s when I plan to join the Heat of the Night book group at the Bluford Branch to discuss this anthology of ‘hard-used heroes and heroines [who] seem to live a lifetime in the stories…Each one seems almost novelistic in scope. Half novels-in-waiting, half journalistic anecdotes that are equally likely to appeal to Kansas City boosters and strangers.’ –Kirkus Reviews

And so I wrap up my winter reads like I wrap up in my favorite worn hand-me-down quilt: relaxed, satisfied and not too terribly sleep deprived, but still awake enough to enjoy some fresh brewed tea in a treasured mug memento.

Destination: Anywhere Midpoint Travelogue

I began my Destination: Anywhere journey in mid-January, transporting myself back in time and halfway across the globe, watching the Suez Canal crisis bubble and boil and heat up the cold war and the Eisenhower Administration’s efforts to avoid World War III.  As soon as I finished Eisenhower: 1956, I coordinated a day trip to the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas, taking advantage of some very unseasonably warm weather for January.  I plan to return later this year to spend more quality time in the museum and help celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Library.

My next stop took me even further back in time (by at least fifty or sixty years) to late 19th century Chicago.  My second non-fiction book of the year, The Devil in the White City, explored the creation, construction, execution and destruction of the World Colombian Exhibition with a side of dastardly serial killing to spice up the event.  I attended the Common Grounds book club discussion at the Central branch of the Kansas City Public Library in late January, since this book happened to be on the suggested reading list for the Destination: Anywhere adult winter reading program.

I decided I’d had enough of living in the past and caught a hyperspeed transport out to Manticoran space to catch up with Honor Harrington in Honor Among Enemies.  This is the sixth installment in the series I’m reading with the Beyond Reality group at GoodReads.  I welcomed the switch from hard copy to ebook, since the former requires a reading light which doesn’t automatically turn itself off when I nod off in bed.  And I love being able to adjust the text size on my Nook Color and instantly look up words or names with the touch of a finger.

My next destination vibrated with supernatural and musical overtones yet I couldn’t quite decide whether Archangel aspired to be a fantasy or a science fiction novel.  Beyond Reality offered it up as the science fiction selection for February 2012 and I have since learned, through the online discussions there, that this novel and the sequels do belong in that genre.  As soon as I finished the novel, I fired off a book recommendation to my daughter, Rachelle, mostly because the protagonist, also named Rachel, saved the day with vocal performance precision and excellence.

The other selection for February from Beyond Reality took me back to the Dragaeran Empire and the introduction of the fabled Vlad Taltos in Jhereg.  A fun, fast fantasy jaunt full of intrigue, witchcraft, sorcery, sword fights, attempted assassinations and witty repartee.  Since the edition I checked out from the Kansas City Public Library happened to be an omnibus of the first three Vlad Taltos novels, I plan to read at least the next two in the series and will eventually read all his Dragaeran books.  As an added bonus, the author, Steven Brust, agreed to answer posted questions as part of our group discussion.   So please stop by and join in the discussion and ask that burning question you’ve always wanted to ask.

Winter Reading mug new additionHaving reached five novels read by the first week of February, I filled out my Destination: Anywhere reading log (online of course) and printed my receipt.  I took the short trip from the 9th floor to the lobby to hand in my receipt at the Plaza branch and receive my third adult winter reading program mug (see photo to the left for entire collection, including last winter’s Altered States mug).  But have no fear!  I am not stopping here!  There’s still plenty to read on the Destination: Anywhere suggested reading list.

Tomorrow I will download my first borrowed ebook from the Kansas City Public Library.  I received an email alert yesterday informing me that The Poisonwood Bible had finally become available for checkout.  I may have to stop reading everything else in order to finish it before the book discussion scheduled for this Saturday at 2:00 pm to be held at Trails West branch and led by Nancy Oelke.  I will read as much as I can before attending the discussion.  Many of my GoodReads friends give this novel favorable ratings but no written reviews (beyond a sentence or two).  I will definitely write up any of my reactions and observations and any notes I take at the discussion when I finish the book.  Update (2/16/2012): I successfully downloaded the ebook from the KC Public Library’s Overdrive web site this morning and transferred it to my Nook Color.  I started reading it over lunch and find myself catching my breath with the Price family upon their arrival in the Belgian Congo on the African continent at the close of the 1950s.  Update (2/22/2012):  I composed my review and posted it here.

I took a side-trip away from the Destination: Anywhere suggested readings, but followed on the heels of my early Eisenhower expedition, by starting Crusade in Europe in early February.  As of the writing of this blog post, the Allies had successfully advance across North Africa, capturing Tunisia, and are preparing to invade Sicily and eventually Italy.  The more I learn about World War II, the more I realize how much I have yet to learn and understand.  Eisenhower’s ‘big picture’ personal account of his experiences during the war keeps me riveted and turning the pages.  Keeping myself to just one chapter per day can be tough, but my February reads require me to limit my non-book club reading.

Since January fizzled without providing much if any wintery precipitation or chilly wind or freezing temperatures, I opted for an arctic expedition aboard the HMS Terror, the dark fantasy themed selection this month for the GoodReads Science Fiction and Fantasy book club.  So far, for this year (and the year is still young), this is the longest (768 pages) and heaviest (I think it’s close to five pounds) hardcover book I have picked up from the library.  I end up shivering as I huddle at the kitchen table reading about frostbite and disease among the crew and the extremely harsh conditions these men faced in the 1840s as they sought the fabled Northwest Passage to Asia.  If early indications prove correct, subzero temperatures are not the only potentially fatal thing they need to worry about.

My final stop, on the other side of the doomed Northwest Passage expedition, takes me to China.  Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China relates an epic family history, following three women from successive generations as they are buffeted by changes brought by the modernization in China. I am looking forward to reading this selection, but am slightly disappointed that no book discussion was coordinated by the library as part of the Destination: Anywhere winter reading program.  Perhaps I’ll start one online at the Library’s GoodReads community of readers group.