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Lots of books of all interests to choose from

September is officially Library Card Sign-up Month, a time to remember that a library card is the most important school supply of all. When children under the age of 10 sign up for a new library card during this month, they will receive a canvas bag and a book of their own to keep. The bags were purchased with a generous donation from a library patron and the books are from the Crow Wing County United Way through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program. For details on how to help a child you know sign up for a library card, call the library at 829-5574.  

While introducing a young child to the joys of reading is a priceless gift anyone can give, most of us recognize that learning through reading is a lifelong pursuit. Each of the staff members here at the library always have at least one book at hand, and we have enjoyed a diverse array of great books over the summer that you may want to check out for yourself.

We all enjoy mysteries, and there is a wide range of styles and themes to choose from within the genre. The protagonists can sometimes be supernatural detectives, investigators of paranormal activity, or teens with otherworldly gifts. Two of our staff members have been making their way through Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, about wizard detective Harry Dresden. A mixture of suspense, action and humor, Dresden’s story begins in “Storm Front,” in which he is recruited by the Chicago police department when a double murder is committed using black magic. The forces behind the murders aren’t pleased that Harry is involved, and he suddenly becomes their target. The 13th and latest book in the series is “Ghost Story.”

Another supernatural thriller is Heather Graham’s “Phantom Evil.” Paranormal specialists Jackson Crow and Angela Hawkins team up to discover the true cause of the death of a senator’s wife in New Orleans, and find a little romance for themselves along the way.

Two mysteries that we loved featured teens with unusual abilities: “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs and “The Body Finder” by Kimberly Derting. Don’t let the fact that these are classified as young adult novels turn you off.  These spectacular stories are about family, self-discovery and the fears and joys in being different.

If you prefer your mysteries firmly rooted in the real world, try the gritty series about Private Investigator J. McNee by Russel D. McLean. The author and his books, “The Good Son” and “The Lost Sister,” are based in Dundee, Scotland. On the lighter side is Jessica Beck’s Donut Shop series, starting with “Glazed Murder.” Each book includes doughnut recipes for when you suddenly find yourself craving a sugary treat.

This year has seen many excellent autobiographies by the famous and not-so-famous. One that caused a few of us to giggle all the way through our lunch hour was comedian Tina Fey’s “Bossypants.” Fey tells stories from her childhood through her years as writer and cast member on “Saturday Night Live” and her role as the boss on the NBC series “30 Rock.”

Another funny lady, Betty White, has written about her life in the spotlight, particularly her newfound “It Girl” status at age 89. She chats about everything from her appearance as host on “Saturday Night Live” to her friendships with her fellow “Golden Girls” cast members.

Iowa native Bill Bryson has penned many fascinating books about life and culture in the United States and England, where he lived for 20 years. His latest is “At Home: A Short History of Private Life,” in which he examines the role of each room that makes up a house, and how it has changed throughout history. He gives a detailed tour of his own home-a former church rectory-dropping many interesting facts and funny anecdotes along the way.

Other excellent reads we recommend include traditional fiction, as well. “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett — recently made into a major motion picture — is about African-American house maids in Mississippi in the 1960s, the white women who hired them and the children they raised.  “When Crickets Cry” and “Wrapped in Rain” by Charles Martin are gentle reads that explore the relationships we build and how they shape our lives in unexpected ways.  

For something to read alongside your young grandchildren, you must check out “Press Here” by Herve Tullet. An interactive picture book, “Press Here” was the story time hit of the summer. For readers in grade school, try “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” by Julie Andrews Edwards, a classic book about imagination and learning in a completely different way. For these and thousands of other great books for every taste, pay us a visit.

The Brainerd Book Club is seeking new members to talk about interesting books of all genres. Call the library today to find out which title will be discussed at the next meeting.

I, along with many of my colleagues in senior services, will be eager to speak with you at the Ageless Expo this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. I will be there to answer your questions about all the services that the library provides, offer book recommendations, and give out some fantastic prizes! Please stop by and introduce yourself, and sign up for a library card if you don’t already have one. It will be the most valuable card in your wallet, and doesn’t cost a dime. 

LAUREL HALL is the senior outreach coordinator for Kitchigami Regional Library System.

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.