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Author Archive for Kara Logsden

Dirty Books in the Library

by Kara Logsden on February 14th, 2014

Recently one of our dedicated patrons provided feedback about “dirty books in the Library.”  Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day and no, we are not talking about bodice-ripping romances that are very popular. He was talking about books that had been “violated with food stains and other deposits.”

Photo from

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At the Library, we take great pride in the physical condition of our collections. We allocate a portion of our collection budget to replacing worn or damaged materials. We understand things happen and sometimes our materials get damaged (OK – confession time – I have fallen asleep in the bathtub with a Library book and yes, the book fell in the water … oops).

We also check in over 1 million items each year. While we catch many damaged materials at checkin, we can’t catch everything. We depend on our patrons to let us know if a book, DVD or other item needs to go to mending or be “retired” because of damage or “violation.” The easiest way to let us know is to tape a note on the cover. A note will alert the people who check in Library materials that we need to route the item for further inspection and follow-up.

Happy Valentine’s Day, happy reading in the bathtub, and please let us know if a Library item needs attention.


Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

by Kara Logsden on January 9th, 2014
Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy Cover Image

Maeve Binchy finished her final novel, A Week in Winter, just before she died in July 2012.  This is a bittersweet review for me, because I have been a Maeve Binchy fan for over 20 years.  I saved reading her last book for nearly a year, not wanting to face our final journey together.

I first discovered Maeve Binchy when I was commuting between DeWitt, Iowa and Moline, Illinois in my first job after graduate school. The DeWitt Library had a great audiobook collection and I loved the Irish narration and stories.  I fell in love the the strong sense of place, good character development, and the feeling of escape to Ireland I felt while listening on my commutes.

Fast forward over 20 years and I’m still enjoying Maeve Binchy.  A Week In Winter is set in small town on the west coast or Ireland.  This is place where there are long & desolate beaches, pounding waves, fierce winds, welcoming pubs, warming sunshine, and a strong community.  There are two groups of people – the first is led by Chicky Starr who decides to buy a rundown house and turn it into a restful inn by the sea.  She enlists help from friends and family to bring her dream to reality.  The second group is the guests who stay at the Inn the first week it is open.

Characters develop, acquaintances become friends, problems are sorted out, delicious food is served & enjoyed, music is shared, and pubs are visited.  Maeve Binchy weaves the story of each character with her signature warmth and humor.  During our recent Polar Vortex, I knew it was the perfect time to read this book and enjoy one last Maeve Binchy escape.

Cheers to Maeve Binchy and thank you for the hours of reading pleasure we’ve shared over the last two decades!

Gadget as Gift…Now what do I do?

by Kara Logsden on December 26th, 2013
Gadget as Gift…Now what do I do? Cover Image

We noticed a trend today with many holds on books about devices including iPads, iPhones, Kindles, and Androids.

Do you need help learning to use your new gift?  Never fear – the Library is here!  We have many opportunities for help and learning in our Computer Lab.  Remember to bring your gadget and Library card.

Scheduled Tech Zones include:


“eBooks, eAudiobooks, and eMagazines for iPad or iPhone” held Monday December 30, 1-2 PM. Click here to register.

“eBooks, eAudiobooks, and eMagazines for Kindle Devices” held Friday January 10, 10-11 AM. Click here to register.

Drop in Tech Help:

Mondays & Wednesdays 10 AM-Noon

Tuesdays Noon-4 PM

Senior Tech Zone:

Thursdays 10:30 AM-12:30 PM

Special Tech Zone:

Saturday January 11, 10 AM- Noon

If none of these times work for you, bring your gadget and Library Card to the Library and we will help.  Happy New Year!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

by Kara Logsden on December 17th, 2013
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion Cover Image

I love when friends pass along good book recommendations. Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project was a lot of fun and aided in my continued procrastination this holiday season.

Don Tillman is a lovable but socially awkward professor of genetics in Australia who lives an orderly, routine, logical, evidence-based life. Because Don is lonely, he decides to create “The Wife Project” to help him find a partner. Being a scientist, he approaches this project the only way he knows how: Don identifies all characteristics he would expect in a compatible partner and creates a questionnaire that would have a high statistical probability of identifying Ms. Right. What Don doesn’t expect is to be drawn to someone who demonstrates a high probability of incompatibility.

Speaking of incompatibility, Don meets Rosie and abandons “The Wife Project” because Rosie needs help with her “Father Project.” Suddenly Don’s life is turned upside down and he’s not sure if he can fit flexibility, change and disorder into his life. But after some time with Rosie, he’s willing to give it a try.

The characters are quirky but lovable, the plot moves quickly, and Don’s social inadequacies are endearing. This is a fun read that is highly recommended. ~Enjoy~


Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

by Kara Logsden on December 12th, 2013
Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan Cover Image

Thanks to a friend I received an Advance Reader Copy of Nancy Horan’s new book, Under the Wide and Starry Sky. Nancy Horan is the author of Loving Frank, a fictionalized story about architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Because Loving Frank is on my list of all-time favorite books, I was delighted to have a sneak-peek at Horan’s new book due out January 7, 2014.

Horan’s new novel begins in 1875 and focuses on Fanny van de Grift Osbourne, an independent American woman who flees her life with a philandering husband in San Francisco and moves with her children to Belgium. After a personal tragedy, she moves to an artist colony in France where she can retreat and refocus her life. While in France, Fanny meets a young Scot who instantly falls in love with her. The Scotsman, Robert Louis Stevenson, is an unhealthy attorney, plagued with lung ailments, who yearns to devote his life to writing. Stevenson’s love for Fanny is not a popular decision with his family and friends; however, he is determined to forge ahead. After Stevenson achieves fame, Fanny must strike a balance between her independence, desire to also be a writer, and support for Stevenson.

I enjoy reading Historical Fiction and learning about a well-known person in a new way. Stevenson is best known for his novels Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; however, despite his writing success, health and personal issues plagued him during his lifetime and readers will come to appreciate the partnership Fanny and Stevenson shared that enabled his life as an author. From France to Scotland, California, England, Switzerland and Samoa, each place offered challenges and triumphs.  The book is on order, so put your hold in now for this great new novel. ~Enjoy~

The Wednesday Daughters

by Kara Logsden on November 8th, 2013
The Wednesday Daughters Cover Image

One of my favorite books from the past decade is The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. The Wednesday Sisters is a “coming of age” novel, set against a backdrop of the late 1960s, Civil Rights, Women’s Movement, and Vietnam War protests, that chronicles the friendship of five women who live in California. Fast forward nearly thirty years and The Wednesday Daughters continues the story with the next generation of friends.

The first chapter of the book was like meeting an old friend and I remembered why I loved The Wednesday Sisters years ago:

“We Wednesday Daughters weren’t born on Wednesdays, and we aren’t blood relations. We don’t gather to write at picnic tables like our mothers did.  We’re just daughters of friends who’ve called themselves “Wednesday Sisters” since before I was born, daughters who became friends ourselves the way girls who grow up together sometimes do, whether they have much in common or not.”

Set in the Lake District of the United Kingdom, Hope, Anna Page and Julie travel to the UK to retreat after the death of Hope’s mother and other collective and individual sorrows.  The sisters have learned life is not easy and sometimes retreats and friendships are needed in order to face an uncertain future.  Meg Waite Clayton weaves a compelling story with solid characters, a strong sense of place, and a meandering storyline perfect for cold winter nights.  There is also a side story about the author Beatrix Potter I initially found distracting, but once I was immersed into the story, I enjoyed it.

As winter settles in, it is nice to settle into a good book and rekindle friendships with beloved characters from the past.



Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear

by Kara Logsden on September 18th, 2013
Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear Cover Image

The tenth installment in the Maisie Dobbs series finds Maisie in London working on multiple cases. A woman from India has been murdered, a teenager has gone missing, and Maisie has been called in to investigate both.

Maisie continues to struggle with personal demons left from the loss of her mother and memories of World War I. In Leaving Everything Most Loved, Maisie is not only searching for answers for her cases, but also seeking clues about the journey her life should take. At age 37, when most of her peers have settled into domestic lives, Maisie feels the urge to travel and discover the world around her.

Jacqueline Winspear is known for her development of strong characters, deep sense of place, and compelling storylines evolving within the backdrop of England between World Wars I and II.  Leaving Everything Most Loved is no exception, although as a reader I worry Maisie’s downheartedness as a character may signal Winspear’s restlessness as an author about where this series is going. A quick look at Jacqueline Winspear’s webpage indicates she plans to continue writing but offers no details about future projects.

I will hope for the best and look forward to to where Maisie’s journey leads and the new adventures she finds as she sails to India. ~Enjoy~

Breaking Point & The Highway by C.J. Box

by Kara Logsden on September 1st, 2013
Breaking Point & The Highway by C.J. Box Cover Image

C.J. Box has two new novels this summer and both are page-turners! I enjoy C.J. Box books because they have a strong sense of place, good character development and the plot twists and turns. Books are always set in the West and often in places where I have traveled.

Breaking Point is the thirteenth installment in the Joe Pickett series. Like many other Pickett stories, the plot is loosely based on a legal issue and Joe must unravel details to get to the heart of the story. In this case, a central issue that moves the plot is the interaction between the EPA and landowners. The foundation of the story is loosely based on the Sackett Case, where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the EPA overstepped its jurisdiction when dealing with a family in Idaho. In Breaking Point, a landowner and family man is on the run after EPA agents are found dead on his property. All signs point to his guilt; however, the more Joe digs into the story, the more he realizes the facts don’t add up. Joe feels a strong moral obligation to solve the case; however, a rogue EPA agent, unmanned drone, and a dry forest full of trees killed by pine beetles may push Joe to his breaking point.

The Highway is a stand-alone novel, although characters from Box’s previous book, Back of Beyond, return in this novel. Cody Hoyt continues to struggle with sobriety while working as a sheriff’s deputy in Wyoming. When two teenage girls, who are friends of his son, disappear somewhere between Denver and Yellowstone en route to Montana, Cody feels an obligation to find them. Meanwhile, a long-haul trucker who has nicknamed himself The Lizard-King preys on prostitutes at truck stops and other women he encounters on the highway. Unhappy at home, he gets satisfaction from kidnapping and torturing women. Although he believes he outsmarted others, his clandestine crimes begin to unravel as the search for the girls continue.

I always look forward to C.J. Box novels. Two new books in one summer make for a great reading adventure! ~Enjoy~

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

by Kara Logsden on July 22nd, 2013
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg Cover Image

Every once in awhile I read a book and think, “WOW!” The last time this happened for me was with the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain. It was a pleasure to read Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In,” a book that redefines feminism for my generation and women in their twenties and thirties who are thinking about leaning into their careers, personal lives, and aspirations.

I listened to the book while driving to and from a remote camp in northern Wisconsin to visit my twenty-something daughter. “Lean In” shared many ideas I wish I would have heard twenty years ago about prioritizing, making good decisions, time management, working smarter, consciously creating balances between personal life and work life, and feeling confident in personal decisions instead of guilt for choosing one facet of life over another. Sheryl Sandberg invites a positive new definition of feminism where women lean in to work, relationships, and life within a context of not pitting choices against one-another, but creating a balance that works for the individual.

As I was listening to this book, I knew it was a book my daughter needed to listen to as well. Somewhere in northern Wisconsin there is a package with this book heading to my daughter. I hope she hears the message and feels confident in her choices to lean in to her aspirations. ~Enjoy~

The Heist by Janet Evanovich

by Kara Logsden on July 18th, 2013
The Heist by Janet Evanovich Cover Image

Janet Evanovich’s new novel is funny, entertaining, and perfect for hot summer days. The Heist is the first of a new Evanovich series, co-written with Lee Goldberg, called “The Fox and O’Hare Novels.” The series features FBI Special Agent, Kate O’Hare, paired with notorious international crook, Nicolas Fox, working undercover for the FBI to catch a thief who is living on a remote island in Indonesia. In true Evanovich style, the characters are quirky, the plot twists & turns, and there’s an undercurrent of a love interest between the main characters. A perfect combination to go with a cool beverage on a hot day. ~Enjoy~