Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Review-The Vintage Caper

Ever since I found "A Year in Provence" by Peter Mayle, I have been reading his books.  They are usually light, funny, and interesting.  The Vintage Caper is no exception.  What happens when the victim turns out to be the bad guy, and the robber turns out to be the good guy, and the man investigating everything was once himself a bad guy but is now a good guy?  Throw in some delectible French meals, and lots of wine descriptions and you've got a great read.

The Vintage Caper

The Vintage Caper
By Mayle, Peter
2009-10 - Knopf Publishing Group
9780307269010 Check Our Catalog BookPage Notable Title

Set in Hollywood, Paris, Bordeaux, and Marseille, Mayle's newest and most delightful work is filled with culinary delights, sumptuous wines, and colorful characters. …More

A Year in Provence

A Year in Provence
By Mayle, Peter
1990-04 - Knopf Publishing Group
9780394572307 Check Our Catalog

They had been there often as tourists. They had cherished the dream of someday living all year under the Provencal sun. And suddenly it happened.
Here is the month-by-month account of the charms and frustrations that Peter Mayle and his wife -- and their two large dogs -- experience their first year in the remote country of the Luberon restoring a two-centuries-old stone farmhouse that they bought on sight. From coping in January with the first mistral, which comes howling down from the Rhone Valley and wreaks havoc with the pipes, to dealing as the months go by with the disarming promises and procrastination of the local masons and plumbers, Peter Mayle delights us with his strategies for survival. He relishes the growing camaraderie with his country neighbors -- despite the rich, soupy, often impenetrable patois that threatens to separate them. He makes friends with boar hunters and truffle hunters, a man who eats foxes, and another who bites dentists; he discovers the secrets of handicapping racing goats and of disarming vipers. And he comes to dread the onslaught of tourists who disrupt his tranquillity.
In this often hilarious, seductive book Peter Mayle manages to transport us info all the earthy pleasures of Provencal life and lets us live vicariously in a tempo governed by seasons, not by days. George Lang, who was smitten, suggests: "Get a glass of marc, lean back in your most comfortable chair, and spend a delicious year in Provence."

Keep Your Free Credit Report Free

Keep Your Free Credit Report Free: From GovGab:

I'm sure after your Black Friday shopping some of you are wondering if you hurt your credit. By law you are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the major credit bureaus---Experian, Equifax and TransUnion---and you can find out how to get it at

It's important to go to that website in particular because as Colleen showed us back in March some websites lure you in and charge you monthly fees. You may have seen TV advertisements from other companies which show people singing about their misfortune due to not checking their credit. When I wanted to check my credit, I signed up for a credit report from one of these websites. Suddenly, I found myself paying $15 a month to find out that nothing on my credit report had changed.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gets complaints about situations like mine and has aired advertisements like the one above to get people to the right website. In October, the FTC proposed new rules to curb consumer confusion and stop deceptive marketing regarding free credit report advertisements. The proposed rules include requirements for these companies to put disclaimers on their advertisements and websites so consumers are less confused. FTC's deadline to implement the new rules is February 22, 2010.

How often do you check your credit report?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Maximize Your Thanksgiving Leftovers with Leftover Recipes [Recipes]

Maximize Your Thanksgiving Leftovers with Leftover Recipes [Recipes]: From LifeHacker

It's the day after Thanksgiving, and you've got a pile of leftovers. It's time to take a look at how you can maximize the meals you can make from your leftovers, preferably with the least amount of effort.
Photo by Roland.
Last year we shared a few leftover recipes and now we're back to share a few more. The absolute easiest method of course is to simply throw servings of your leftovers on the plate and heat them back up. If you love a good Thanksgiving meal you can't go wrong with a basic reheat. That said, we've gathered up a few basic recipes here for you to mix up your left overs.
Open-Face Turkey Sandwiches: The open-face turkey sandwich is a staple in the leftover playbook. Take a thick slice of bread—some people put a light layer of mayonnaise with a sprinkling of salt and pepper here—mound it up with turkey, pour some gravy over it, and heat the whole thing up in a microwave or toaster oven. You can always go easy on the gravy to minimize the mess and slap another piece on top if you've got a deep seated distrust of an open-face sandwich.
Turkey Dumplings: Dumplings are filling and the recipe is about as simple as it gets. You'll need cooked turkey, all purpose flour, and a package of biscuit dough. Cook the turkey in water until a broth forms, drop in some hunks of biscuit dough, and you're done. You can check out the recipe here.
Pilgrim Pie: Rene Lynch, experimenting with her leftovers, saw that she had almost all the ingredients for a shepherd pie. All the ingredients save for the crust, that is. With a little kitchen ingenuity and some saut├ęd onions and flour she made a simple dish out of leftover cooked vegetables, diced turkey, and mashed potatoes. You can read more about it here.
Turkey Soup: Turkey soup has a moderate number of ingredients but if you already prepared a Thanksgiving meal the chances of you having all of them on hand is pretty high. Prep for the soup is a bunch of chopping and dicing and then tossing it all in a pot. With enough leftover turkey and a big enough pot you can make quite a batch. You can check out the recipe here.
Turkey, Chestnut, and Barley Soup: If you're in the mood for a heartier soup than a simple turkey broth and turkey mix can provide, this turkey and barley soup is plenty hearty. You can make it using a can of broth or use the carcass leftover from yesterday's festivities. You can check out the recipe here.
Grilled Turkey and Apple Sandwiches: The recipe is actually for chicken sandwiches but turkey is a great stand in. You can grill it in a skillet but it cooks great in a grill press. Flavorful and easy to make, it's a nice way to make leftovers seem less like leftovers. See the recipe here.
Our suggestions should get you started on mixing up your leftovers, but it's certainly not a conclusive list of ways to turn your turkey day leftovers into something fresh and tasty. Let's hear about your favorite leftover recipes in the comments below.

Buying Medicines/Medical Products Online

Buying Medicines/Medical Products Online: From GovGab:
Prescription medicineWe all have busy lives and most or us are on the lookout for ways to reduce the number of errands and trips we have to make. The fact that I can do my banking and bill paying online in my flannel jammies and my bunny slippers isn't as good as NOT having to pay bills at all, but it is still pretty wonderful. Whether it is shopping, ordering a pizza, checking on the kids grades, or keeping in touch with friends, the internet can really save time and make everyday tasks easier.

Many consumers are now using the Internet to purchase prescription drugs and other health products. Hey, it saves a trip to the pharmacy and it's one less
hassle, right? There is nothing wrong with that, but as with any type of online activity, consumers need to be careful. There are websites out there that are offering medicines or medical products that may be questionable or even illegal.

Consumers should be on the lookout for fraudulent products or claims. Fraudulent medical products bought through the Internet could be dangerous or
ineffective and end up wasting your money. When you are going to purchase medicines or medical products online, here are some things to keep in mind: check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to determine whether a website is a licensed pharmacy in good
standing. Look for the VIPPS seal, which indicates the site has passed the rigid criteria of the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program. You should avoid sites that are willing to sell you medication without a prescription. An internet pharmacy website should have a registered pharmacist available for medical consultation, just like an actual store pharmacy.

As with all internet online shopping, be careful with your personal information. Verify that the site is secure and find out how your information will be used or shared. Avoid sites that do not clearly identify themselves and do not provide a U.S. address and phone number to contact if there is a problem.

Here are some additional resources that you may find useful when buying medicines and medical products online:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

White House List of Government Twitter Feeds

White House List of Government Twitter Feeds: From the Free Government Information Blog:
According to the White House Blog (Making A List, Checking It Twice, by Katie Stanton, November 23, 2009):

Today we’re launching a list on the official White House account on Twitter which will make it easier for people to follow U.S. Government Twitter feeds. We’ve included a variety of accounts from Cabinet Secretaries, Agencies and Departments.

The list address is

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Library Journal's Reader's Shelf November 15, 2009

Library Journal's Reader's Shelf
Flying the Friendly Skies
Leonardo's Machines: Da Vinci's Inventions Revealed

Leonardo's Machines: Da Vinci's Inventions Revealed
By Taddei, Mario
Editor Zanon, Edoardo
Text by (Art/Photo Books) Laurenza, Domenico
2006-06 - David & Charles Publishers
9780715324448 Check Our Catalog

Unlocking the mysteries surrounding Da Vinci's notebooks, these full-color pages breathe life into Leonardo's inventions, from flying and war machines to musical instruments. …More


By Berg, A. Scott
1999-09 - Berkley Publishing Group
9780425170410 Check Our Catalog

Winner - 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Biography
Few American icons provoke more enduring fascination than Charles Lindbergh -- renowned for his one-man transatlantic flight in 1927, remembered for the sorrow surrounding the kidnapping and death of his firstborn son in 1932, and reviled by many for his opposition to America's entry into World War II. Lindbergh's is "a dramatic and disturbing American story, "

The Fun of It: Random Records of My Own Flying and of Women in Aviation

The Fun of It: Random Records of My Own Flying and of Women in Aviation
By Earhart, Amelia
2006-04 - Academy Chicago Publishers
9780915864553 Check Our Catalog

Autobiography of the famous flyer which describes her own ambitions to become a pilot and offers advice to others. …More

West with the Night

West with the Night
By Markham, Beryl
1982-01 - North Point Press
9780865471184 Check Our Catalog

"West with the Night" is the story of Beryl Markham--aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty--and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and '30s.

Black Wings: Courageous Stories of African Americans in Aviation and Space History

Browse Inside

Black Wings: Courageous Stories of African Americans in Aviation and Space History
By Hardesty, Von
2008-02 - Collins
9780061261381 Check Our Catalog

Featuring approximately 200 historic and contemporary photographs and a lively narrative that spans eight decades of U.S. history, "Black Wings" offers a compelling overview of African Americans in aviation. …More

Amelia Earhart's Daughters: The Wild and Glorious Story of American Women Aviators from World War II to the Dawn of the Space Age

Browse Inside

Amelia Earhart's Daughters: The Wild and Glorious Story of American Women Aviators from World War II to the Dawn of the Space Age
By Haynsworth, Leslie
Author Toomey, David
Joint Author Haynsworth, Leslie
2000-07 - Harper Paperbacks
9780380729845 Check Our Catalog

In 1942, with war raging on two fronts and military pilots in short supply, the U.S. Army Air Force enlisted a handful of skilled female aviators to deliver military planes from factories to air bases. These superb pilots flew every aircraft in the U.S. Army Air Force, logging over six million miles in all kinds of weather. In 1961, a handful of top female pilots took part in a new program termed "Women in Space". Subjected to the same rigorous tests as the Mercury astronauts, 13 topnotch women were admitted to the program. These skilled aviators had the "right stuff" at the wrong time, and women were denied their place in history. This is a story too long untold -- one of America's heroines and their courage, ferocity and patriotism, one of noble dreams and ignoble obstacles. …More

Air, Volume 1: Letters from Lost Countries

Air, Volume 1: Letters from Lost Countries
By Wilson, G. Willow
Illustrator Perker, M. K.
2009-03 - Vertigo
9781401221539 Check Our Catalog

Ladies and gentlemen, there's been a change in our flight plan. You may have heard of a group called the Etesian Front -- vigilantes dedicated to taking the skies back from terrorism. Sounds like a noble cause, right? But there's more to them than meets the eye. They're after someone I know. Someone who is either an average frequent flier -- or a terrorist. And he's got a secret. Something that will change the way we fly -- and the way we see technology -- forever.
To find him, we've altered course. We're en route to a country that doesn't exist on any maps. Only one person knows how to get us there: me. My name is Blythe, and I'll be your stewardess today. So buckle your seatbelts -- this will be the flight of your life.

Library Journal's Reader's Shelf

Library Journal's Reader's Shelf
On the Western Front:  The Great War in Print
A Century of November

A Century of November
By Wetherell, W. D.
2004-09 - University of Michigan Press
9780472114313 Check Our Catalog

A haunting story of the power of death, the pain of loss, and the possibility of hope in a time of war


By Faulks, Sebastian
1997-06 - Vintage Books USA
9780679776819 Check Our Catalog

Published to international critical and popular acclaim, this intensely romantic yet stunningly realistic novel spans three generations and the unimaginable gulf between the First World War and the present. As the young Englishman Stephen Wraysford passes through a tempestuous love affair with Isabelle Azaire in France and enters the dark, surreal world beneath the trenches of No Man's Land, Sebastian Faulks creates a world of fiction that is as tragic as A Farewell to Arms and as sensuous as The English Patient. Crafted from the ruins of war and the indestructibility of love, Birdsong is a novel that will be read and marveled at for years to come. …More


By Itani, Frances
2004-11 - Grove Press
9780802141651 Check Our Catalog

A Canadian bestseller for 16 weeks, this magnificent tale of love and war is set on the eve of World War I as a young deaf woman and a soldier try to sustain their intimacy. …More

Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs
By Winspear, Jacqueline
2004-06 - Penguin Books
9780142004333 Check Our Catalog

Hailed by NPRas "Fresh Air" as part "Testament of Youth," part Dorothy Sayers, and part "Upstairs, Downstairs," this astonishing debut has already won fans from coast to coast and is poised to add Maisie Dobbs to the ranks of literatureas favorite sleuths.
Maisie Dobbs isnat just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligenceaand the patronage of her benevolent employersashe works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind. …More

A Son at the Front

A Son at the Front
By Wharton, Edith
1995-09 - Northern Illinois University Press
9780875805689 Check Our Catalog


The Ghost Road

The Ghost Road
By Barker, Pat
1996-11 - Plume Books
9780452276727 Check Our Catalog

Winner - 1995 Booker Award
The Ghost Road is the shattering conclusion of Pat barker's brilliant World War I trilogy. Set in the final months of the war, The Ghost Road focuses on Dr. William Rovers, the compassionate psychiatrist of Regeneration and Lt. Billy Prior, last seen as a domestic intelligence agent in The Eye in the Door. "A triumph of imagination".--Publisher's Weekly.

Books on Display at HPL

Food Food Food!
The Way to Cook

The Way to Cook
By Child, Julia
1993-09 - Knopf Publishing Group
9780679747659 Check Our Catalog

In this magnificent new cookbook, illustrated with full color throughout, Julia Child give us her magnum opus--the distillation of a lifetime of cooking. And she has an important message for Americans today. . .
--to the health-conscious: make a habit of good "home cooking so that you know you are working with the best and freshest ingredients and you can be in control of what goes into every dish
--to the new generation of cooks who have not grown up in the old traditions: learn the basics and understand what you are doing so cooking can be easier, faster, and more enjoyable
--to the more experienced cook: have fun improvising and creating your own versions of traditional dishes
--and to all of us: above all, enjoy the pleasures of the table.
In this spirit, Julia has conceived her most creative and instructive cookbook, blending classic techniques with free-style American cooking and with added emphasis on lightness, freshness, and simpler preparations. Breaking with conventional organization, she structures the chapters (from "Soups to "Cakes & Cookies) around master recipes, giving all the reassuring details that she is so good at and grouping the recipes according to method; these are followed--in shorthand form--by innumerable variations that are easily made once the basics are understood.
For example, make her simple but impeccably prepared saute of chicken, and before long you're easily whipping up Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream, Chicken Provenale, Chicken Piperade, or Chicken Marengo. Or master her perfect broiled butterflied chicken, and next time Deviled Rabbit or Split Cornish Game Hens Broiled with Cheese will be on your menu.
In all, there aremore than 800 recipes, including the variations--from a treasure trove of poultry and fish recipes and a vast array of fresh vegetables prepared in new ways to bread doughs (that can be turned into pizzas and calzones and hamburger buns) and delicious indulgences, such as Caramel Apple Mountain or a Queen of Sheba Chocolate Almond Cake with Chocolate Leaves. And if you want to know how a finished dish should look or how to angle your knife or to fashion a pretty rosette on that cake, there are more than 600 color photographs to entice and instruct you along the way.
A one-of-a-kind, brilliant, and inspiring book from the incomparable Julia, which is bound to rekindle interest in the satisfactions of good home cooking.


By Peterson, James
2007-10 - Ten Speed Press
9781580087896 Check Our Catalog BookPage Notable Title
2008 James Beard Foundation Book Award - General

James Peterson, one of the country's most revered cooking teachers, provides the confidence-building instructions home cooks need to teach themselves to cook consistently with ease in success. This instructional manual details techniques, teaches basic recipes, and includes hundreds of photos.

Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home: 52 Quick Meals to Cook for Family and Friends

Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home: 52 Quick Meals to Cook for Family and Friends
By Stewart, Martha
2009-10 - Clarkson N Potter Publishers
9780307396457 Check Our Catalog

Whether preparing a Sunday dinner for family or hosting a festive evening with friends, "Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home" offers 52 seasonal menus for nearly every occasion. 225 full-color photographs throughout. …More

New Thanksgiving Table

New Thanksgiving Table
By Morgan, Diane
2009-10 - Chronicle Books
9780811864930 Check Our Catalog

Thanksgiving is the favorite holiday of millions of Americans. And with so many diverse regions across the United States, it's no surprise to find that the Thanksgiving menu changes significantly from New England to the Pacific Northwest. This is the quintessential cookbook for our national day of thanks, capturing this diversity with creative recipes for the perfect dinner and providing the key to a stress-free occasion with author Diane Morgan's indispensable do-ahead tips. Including appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, stuffings, casseroles, biscuits, side dishes, desserts, and even leftovers, it contains everything the busy cook needs to celebrate this most festive and food-centered of holidays! …More

Monday, November 23, 2009

Constitution Monday-Amendment 5: The Bill of Rights

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Participate in the National Day of Listening to Preserve Family and Community History [Holidays]

Participate in the National Day of Listening to Preserve Family and Community History [Holidays]: From LifeHacker:

November 27th is the National Day of Listening, a day created by the non-profit organization StoryCorps, an organization dedicated to preserving personal, community, and cultural history through spoken stories. You can participate by interviewing a loved one or community member.
Since 2003, StoryCorps has been actively traveling the country and helping communities record their oral history. You may have heard some of its local and nationally recorded stories on your local NPR stations. We shared the idea of the National Day of Listening with you last year, its inaugural year. This year we're back to encourage you to participate again, or if you missed out last year, to participate for the first time. Check out the video below for an overview and some DIY information so you can participate at home:

You'll find a DIY packet here. Whatever method you use to record your interview, like the excellent open-source sound recorder Audacity, a tape recorder, or a video camera, make sure to play around with your tool of choice to make sure it's in working order before you sit down to conduct your interview. Sure you've got working gear but not sure what kind of questions you could ask? Check out the StoryCorps questions generator here.
Whether you participated last year, you're going to participate this year, or you've just got some tips and tricks for recording and interviewing you want to share, let's hear about it in the comments.


Safe Battery Disposal

Safe Battery Disposal: From GovGab:

BatteryI don't need 8 hours of battery power from my laptop, but when my computer couldn't last an hour away from the socket I decided to pony up for a new battery. After a few minutes of careful research online, I found a deal on a replacement.

Since I had never replaced a laptop battery, I didn't know if I could throw away my old computer battery. It turns out that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has many resources available for electronic disposal and recycling and a specific page devoted to batteries.
I found that not all batteries contain toxic materials, but some do contain cadmium and mercury which can pose a threat to the environment. While it's not illegal to throw away most batteries, it's best to recycle them. The EPA directs those who want to recycle to the Earth911 website where you can plug in your zip code and find a spot to recycle rechargeable and single use batteries in your area.
When I punched in my zip code, I found that in addition to a local county recycling center, my local grocery store recycles batteries. I'll probably drop off my laptop batteries when I go shopping.
How do you dispose of your batteries?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Author: Richard Russo

Richard Russo

Check Our Catalog for his latest book: That Old Cape Magic
Empire Falls Review by Alden Mudge
Richard Russo renders timely portrait of American life
Although Richard Russo believes he is "essentially a comic novelist" and his big, lively fifth novel, , is often very, very funny, we don't get around to discussing humor until our long telephone conversation is almost over.
"In interviews it's often this way," Russo says, bemused. "I think the darker aspect of my fiction—or anybody's fiction—is by its very nature somehow easier to talk about. Humor is notoriously difficult to discuss. Think about it: college literature courses almost always focus on very serious, often humorless works; they tend not to be about great comic novels or great comic writers. Even when they teach Shakespeare, they move from the comedies to the more serious and therefore more important tragedies. I reject that view completely."
Readers of such earlier Russo novels as Straight Man or Nobody's Fool will know exactly what he means. Probably no other contemporary American novelist writes as well or with such wicked, unsparing humor about working class life as Russo. He may care deeply about his characters, but he doesn't always let them off easy.
"It's no secret that in my books I'm trying to make the comic and the serious rub up against each other just as closely and uncomfortably as I can," Russo says with a chuttering laugh that sounds a bit like Richard Dreyfuss. "I want that which is hilarious and that which is heartbreaking to occupy the same territory in the book because I think they very often occupy the same territory in life, much as we try to separate them."
According to Russo, the hilarious and the heartbreaking naturally converged five or six years ago as he began the ruminations that would lead to . "When I began working on this book I saw a guy from my youth who just reminded me of a certain kind of male who in his later years still likes to put on a kind of lady's man air. For some reason I started dwelling on this kind of adolescent, who in his 50s or 60s is still tracking in a kind of sexual rut. And I immediately saw him as one of these guys who would be singing Perry Como. That was a small thing.
"The bigger thing was that since the shootings in Paducah, I had been thinking about the pressures that kids are under. As a father of two daughters, I had been dwelling in some sort of dark way on the question that everybody always asks after a school shooting and then promptly forgets—why? The problem is that there are so many answers and so many sociological reasons for it. But even at its most perceptive, sociology deals in abstractions. Novels are in a unique position to explore something like this in a way that hits home. So this is a book that has a lot to do with kids and adults who somehow or other in this culture of ours never manage to grow up."
Russo's early thoughts about the book are reflected in the two poles of his narrative. There is the hilarious Walt Comeau, aka "The Silver Fox," a barroom blowhard who aspires to a health club empire that reaches from Empire Falls, Maine, to, well, at least as far away as Massachusetts. And there is the quiet, talented, deeply troubled teenager John Voss, a character who seems drawn directly from recent headlines.
"Unfortunately, this book is timely," Russo says, commenting on some of the more chilling aspects of his portrait of Voss. "I think a lot of what is going on with kids who get pushed too far and attempt either murder or suicide is that they are trying to deal with their own non-existence for the people who are supposed to care most for them."
If John Voss and Walt Comeau represent the extremes of the fictional world of , Miles Roby is at its center. Roby is the manager of the Empire Grill, a diner with growing culinary pretensions in the heart of Empire Falls, a dying milltown controlled by the Whiting family. As the novel opens, Miles is in the midst of a divorce from his wife, Janine, worried about his exceptionally bright, sensitive daughter, Tick (who befriends her odd, silent classmate, John Voss), and is seemingly paralyzed by an uncomfortable web of obligations to his less-than-responsible father, to the memory of his mother, and to his employer, Mrs. Whiting, who owns the Empire Grill, along with almost everything else in town.
Mrs. Whiting, one of Russo's most sharply drawn characters, is a study in a sort of gloved malevolence which gives the book both a spiritual and a political cast. "If there's an enduring theme in my work, it's probably the effects of class on American life," Russo says when asked about the broader meaning of Miles' difficulties with Mrs. Whiting. "If my career continues along its current arc, people will probably look at me and see a writer who is obsessed with the relationship between rich and poor and with how the rich somehow or other always manage to betray the poor, even when they don't mean to."
Of course, Russo is a novelist, not a politician or a theoretician, so his views get worked out through the messy, human interactions of his characters. Still, his choice of subject seems to put him somewhat at odds with much of contemporary writing. Like his other books, is a big novel with lots of characters and wide-ranging perspectives. It also focuses on an America that now seems to be out of the mainstream.
Says Russo, "My books are elegiac in the sense that they're odes to a nation that even I sometimes think may not exist anymore except in my memory and my imagination. I find that by ignoring a lot of American culture you can write more interesting stories. Unfortunately, if you were writing about America as it is, you'd be writing about a lot of people sitting in front of television sets. My best sense is to ignore much of what is going on in the culture at large and to focus on some of the things that are still of interest to me."
Luckily, a good many readers seem to be interested as well. Since he collaborated on the film version of Nobody's Fool, which starred Paul Newman, Russo has seen a resurgence of interest in his novels and the rise of a parallel career as a screenwriter. He now divides his time between writing fiction and writing for the movies.
Freed from the need to support his family by teaching, Russo seems to have entered a remarkably productive period of his life.
"I suppose all writers worry about the well running dry," Russo says at the end of our conversation, "but it hasn't been a problem to this point. I don't think there's a shortage of material in the world. Or in my head. I just pray for continued good health, because I've got other stories to tell."
Alden Mudge writes from Oakland, California.
© 2003, All rights reserved, BookPage

Upcoming Events at Hackley Public Library

Locker Hooking Class
November 24

6:30 pm
Locker Hooking is a simple craft that creates durable, attractive items, from rugs to purses and more.  It uses a locker hooking tool, fabric scraps and rug canvas.  It is an easy and relaxing craft, easy to take along.
Nancy Hartman will have some sample projects in various degrees of completion so students can see the progression of the work.  She will also have some items available to practice with.
For more information or to register call HPL at 231-722-7276.


Teen Comics Workshop
November 28, 2009

12:00 pm and 3:00 pm
Youth Services.
Teens will learn comics theory and how to tell a story with drawings. Ryan Hipp is a published artist and cofounder of the Grand Rapids Comics Roundtable. Bring a notebook or sketchpad. Signup required. Registration begins November 1. To register call 231-722-7276 x 230.


Herbs for the Holidays
December 1

6:30 pm
Come learn about the significance of the herbs that we use for celebrating the holiday season.  Why did the Magi bring frankincense and myrrh to the manger and why do we still kiss under the mistletoe?  This class will explore why herbs have played such a significant role in holiday celebrations for centuries.  Presentd by Veronica Muscat, from the Herb Society.
Julia Hackley Room.  Free and open to the public.
For more information call HPL at 231-722-7276.


Mini Class on the Internet
December 2

2:00 pm
This week in the Julia Hackley Room we will be doing an overview of the Interent.  This is a watch and learn class, but feel free to bring your own laptop.
For more information call HPL at 231-722-7276.