Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Season’s Readings

One of the nice things about this time of year is the keeping of certain traditions, both those passed down through the decades, or ones newly started. At a recent Reader Services meeting, we realized we each had a book-related tradition at Christmas and we decided to share some of them with you!

Our necatmaswest Reader Services member, David, cracked us up as he explained how each Christmas since he was in 6th grade, he has read the book The Night Before Cat-Mas by Virginia Unser to his cat, Magic. We don’t know for sure how the cat feels about it, but we Davidmagicare certainly delighted by this 16-year old tradition.


Carol (our formerly-retired-now-returned specialist!) also has a feline-themed tradition. She’s a wordsmith, so I’ll let her tell about it:

XmaskittenThis is probably the first book I ever received as a Christmas present. I was probably about three years old, which makes this book a verifiable antique. The fact that it’s about kittens is not insignificant. If people know two absolute truths about me, it’s that I love cats and books just about equally.

Whenever I have decorated for the holidays, I’ve always made sure books were prominently displayed. “The Christmas Kitten” became part of my favorite mantle scene, joining other toys and mementos from my ’50s childhood.

Xmaskitten2Christmas is a magical time for children, and the treasured stories and books that celebrate that wonder can instill memories that will last a lifetime, and find a meaningful place in our homes and our hearts.

Speaking of magical books for Xmasbookschairchildren, Reader Services member and poetry-lover Marianne shared how every Christmas Eve her family gathers to read Holly Hobbie’s Christmas Book, an illustrated collection of original Christmas verses, together with some well-known Christmas poems. Each person reads a page and then passes it along.

I also like how Jill annually sets out a bounty of seasonal books – invitingly arrayed in a basket for all to dip into as time allows!

Of course, adults deserve magical books too, and Trudy’s annual tradition of checking out new Christmas cookie cookbooks from the library sounds perfectly delicious – and makes me want to stop by and help out (and by “help out” I mean “eat all the cookies”).

My own book-themed tradition is re-reading a “personalized” ChristmSantaBookas story featuring a character excitingly named “Marlise” and her friends who go around the world collecting letters from various Santas, Kris Kringles etc.. As I read it now, I am so amused by the fact that the publisher put a “patent pending” notice on this 1973 “personalized computer book.” The story ends when Marlise has collected the letters spelling out PEACE – the Christmas wish Santa has for everyone in the world.

Come to think of it, peace is my wish for each of you, too — plus many wonderful books and traditions to celebrate the season!

Summer 2015 Grilling & BBQ Cookbooks

Grilling outside and barbecuing  is a favorite pastime for many Americans during the warm summer months. Here are some recently released cookbooks to make you the grill master of your neighborhood.

GrillingGrilling: Mouthwatering Recipes for Unbeatable Barbecue

by Good Housekeeping Institute



Summer Cooking

Summer Cooking: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Picnics, Patios, Grilling and More

by Chicago Tribune



The Barbecue Lover’s Big Book of BBQ Sauces: 225 Extraordinary Sauces, Rubs, Marinades, Mops, Bastes, Pastes, and Salsas, for Smoke-Cooking and Grilling 

by Cheryl Alters Jamison


BBQ2Secrets to Smoking on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and Other Smokers : An Independent Guide with Master Recipes from a BBQ Champion

by Bill Gillespie


BBQ3Grill It, Braise it, Broil It, and 9 Other Easy Techniques for Making Healthy Meals

by American Heart Association



Ultimate BoBBQ4ok of BBQ

by Ashley Strickland Freeman



vegetarian grillingVegetarian Grilling : 60 Recipes for a Meatless Summer

by Karen Schulz

Summer 2015 Gardening Books

Ever wonder how to plan a hardy vegetable greenhouse garden or grow beautiful rose bushes? Then look no further as the St. Charles Public Library has the newest and hottest gardening titles to help you improve your skills. So, grab your favorite trowel, gardening gloves, and wide-brimmed hat and get ready to get your hands in the soil! 

Fine Gardening Grow Healthier & Easier Gardens: 698 Gardening Tips and Techniques


Learn the easy and efficient way on how to water, plant, prune, compost, and so much more!



The New Southern Living Garden Book : The Ultimate Guide to Gardening : 2,000 Full-Color Photos, 500 Garden Ideas, 8,000 Flowers, Vegetables, Trees and More


Discover the essentials of growing Southern gardens and develop skills to identify the South’s best plants.



 Water G

Transform an ordinary backyard garden into pure garden magic! This books details how to select, group, and cultivate plants required in the making of water gardens.


Greenhouse Vegetable Gardening: Expert Advice on How to Grow Vegetables, Herbs, and Other Plants


Discover the basics on what to consider when buying, laying the foundations for, and decorating your greenhouse — as well as how to plan and use one. Soon after you’ll be ready to explore the many types of vegetables and flowering plants that thrive in greenhouses.

Practical Rose Gardening: How to Place, Plant, and Grow More than Fifty Easy-Care Varieties

Rose Bush


This practical how-to guide will show you the basics of successfully growing healthy and beautiful rose bushes.


Prefer your gardening to be purely fictional? Enjoy this list of stories that take place in and around the garden, created by your very own Reader Services team!

Can You Keep a Secret?

There’s an ongoing fascination with those who protect our national leaders, but I’m not so sure they are pleased with their recent publicity. Here are four books for those interested in learning more about the Secret Service:

The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents by Ronald Kessler (363.283 KES)

Within Arm’s Length: A Secret Service Agent’s Definitive Inside Account of Protecting the President by Dan Emmett (363.283 EMM)

In the Secret Service: The True Story of the Man Who Saved President Reagan’s Life by Jerry Parr (363.283 PAR)

Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill (973.922 HIL)

NextReads – Book Recommendations by Email

NextReadslogoThere are so many ways to find out about new books: from social media and newspaper reviews, to late night shows like The Colbert Report (check out their “books featured” page). And don’t forget browsing the shelves at the Library and our monthly “Sneak Peeks” at the new titles we’re purchasing!

Now we’re adding one more great resource:  “newsletters” conveniently sent to you in your email! Each one has five to ten new titles, plus some bonus titles (often older or “under the radar” books) to add to your TBR (to be read) list. It’s organized by topic/genre and covers everything from Mysteries and Romance to Armchair Travel and Nature and Science. It also has the weekly New York Times Bestseller lists! Start here and sign up for as many as you like or, if you prefer, you can subscribe by RSS feed.

You can also simply view the latest issue online.  Click on any topic in the list and a brief description will appear plus a link to the current issue (see example below).




Coincidence or a New Trend in Book Covers?

aColdSeasonI’m always intrigued by what appear to be “trends” in book covers.  Do book cover designers meet and share ideas? Or perhaps there simply are not many of them so it is no wonder they recycle ideas?  For example, earlier this year, it seemed like every other thriller had a cover featuring someone  moving away from the reader in a red coat.

This time I think I may have spotted a trend in the making! I’m sure you can spot the common denominator – I’ll be keeping an eye out for more.

MemoirsofaMarriage  ExecutionofNoah  HopeaTragedy     scissors

badblood   re mine



Last-Minute Gifts for Library Lovers

StarTreeThe holidays are but days away! Still need that perfect gift for Christmas Day? Look no further than your local library to find:

  • New or gently used, quality $3 books at the St. Charles Public Library (on wooden cart near Circulation Desk).
  • Canvas bags support the Library and make a truly practical gift.
  • Honorary book selections for anyone on your list. Includes a nameplate inside front cover and a note card mailed to the recipient.
  • Giving Tree donations (located in main-floor lobby). Thoughtful and generous option for the Hard-to-Shop-For individual. Choose an ornament and make a contribution to those in need. A simple option when looking to make a smaller contribution that directly benefits the community.
  • Interested in making a book purchase from a retail establishment? Popular title recommendations are always available from our Readers Services staff members.

~Seasons Greetings from the Readers Services Staff~

Books to Gift to Book Lovers

Searching for a fun book to give to the bibliophile in your life? Or perhaps YOU are the book lover and a spouse or friend has asked for a hint as to a gift you might like this Christmas? Here are some recent, fun books that just might fit the bill:10yearsintub

Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books  Another engaging compilation of columns written by Nick Hornby (author of About a Boy and High Fidelity amongst other titles). I have this at home to read right now!

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher. You didn’t know you needed the Bard and Darth Vader combined until now.StarWarsShakespeare

Of course YOU can perfectly recall all the classics, but perhaps for someone else… The Faker’s Guide to the Classics: Everything You Need to Know About the Books You Should Have Read (But Didn’t) by Michelle Witte.

For the Science Fiction/Fantasy fan: What Makes This Book So Great: Re-Reading the Classics of Fantasy and SF by Jo Walton is sure to please. WhatMakesthisBooksoGreat

Off the Beaten Page: The Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs, and Girls on Getaways by Terri Peterson Smith should appeal to those who love reading and travel. Stop by and see our copy in Reader Services Reference!

This one works for both readers and writers: A Reader’s Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year by Tom NissleyOfftheBeatenPage.

And if you didn’t grab this last year, try Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell. (By the way, you can pretty much swap “libraries” for “bookstores” so this would make a fine gift for any Librarian in your life, too. :))


It’s a Date…

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Just for fun: 10 books as we count up to 11/12/13!

Beyond the Book

I love reading (no big surprise there) and I especially enjoy it when a book provides interesting “rabbit trails” to investigate. This month the Second Tuesday evening book group read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I somehow had it in my mind that I had once read this book, but I quickly realized that in fact I had not. As one of the book club members said, “What a treasure!” Set in the early 1900s, I learned all sorts of things about the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn and the lives of the very poor at that time. However, two items in particular fascinated me… and I thought I’d share them.

treeofheavenFirst, have you ever wondered what type of tree the title of the book refers to? Many of us were expecting something like a majestic oak or maple. Instead, the “Tree of Heaven” is the Ailanthus altissima or Chinese sumac and it was first introduced to America in 1784. At first prized as an ornamental that grew quickly in urban areas, it is now considered an invasive species in many States.

Another bit of information I just HAD to learn more about while reading the book is from a scene in which Francie and her brother Neeley tell each other what they want for Christmas:

“I’ll tell you what I want and you can buy it for me,” said Neeley.
“All right. What?”
“Spats?” Francie’s voice scaled up.
“Pearl grey ones,” he said firmly.

spatsI had a vague idea that “spats” had something to do with shoes, and indeed they were originally called “spatterdashes”  and were designed to protect shoes and ankles from mud, etc. (although Neeley probably wanted them more to be fashionable and show off his improving economic status).

And in the typical “one thing leads to another” way of searching, I now also know that I’ve seen spats every time I enjoyed a snack featuring a certain cane-wielding, monocle-wearing, top-hatted peanut.

I could go on (author Betty Smith led a fascinating life) but I’ll leave further investigations to those who are interested — or drop by Reader Services any time and discuss reading rabbit trails with us.