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April 2018

Volume 8, Issue 4

(May issue below)

A Newsletter of the Blue Mountain Community Library

Luncheon with author Kate Brandes!

April 26th

at nearby Grace United Methodist Church in Pen Argyl

Doors open at 11:30 AM, with lunch at noon. Tickets are available through April 19, while supplies last. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Brandes is the author of The Promise of Pierson Orchard, the April book group selection.


The library will hold a spring silent auction, beginning April 2. Items will be available to bid on through May 5; highest bidder wins the item!

Items available for bidding on:

Jewelry box/bracelet

Enamel cast iron fry pan

Hamilton Beach electric knife

Chip and Dip set/rack

Black Bill Russo handbag

Black wallet

Cedar Trail cooler tote

Cedar Trail insulated cooler picnic basket

Cedar Trail insulated wine bag set

Ozark Trail 6-can cooler

Party Beverage Dispenser, 2 gallon

Carry/Camper folding items: table, cooler, 2 chairs

Hand-crafted doily


Have you checked out OPAC yet? Instructions are available at the front desk.


The public is invited to the next board meeting, scheduled for April 18 at 6:30 PM.


The Book Nook special for April is to get any book written by an author whose last name begins with the letter “S” (for spring!!) for HALF-PRICE!!


Adult book discussion group selections:

April 17 The Promise of Pierson Orchard by Kate Brandes

May 15 – Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Book group meetings begin at 6:30 PM.

Books are available for checkout.


Book review:

Revolution Song

book by Russell Shorto

review by Katy Albanese

Most of us have learned about the Revolutionary War from history books in elementary and high school. We read about George Washington and King George III of England and the Marquis de Lafayette of France. But this war was about more than generals and kings; it affected the lives of so many unknown people.

Author Russell Shorto has attempted to explore this war from a different angle; he has chosen six individuals, some famous, most heretofore unknown, to showcase and make real for his readers. An Iroquois warrior, an African slave, a British lord, a shoemaker from Albany, a woman of questionable morals and General George Washington are all involved in the American Revolution, each of them for a different reason.

The author delves into the stories of each of these six, weaves their lives together and shows how each was affected by the war and how the war changed his/her life. He shows how the decision one person makes, even from across the ocean, can influence events and change history.

This was a compelling, insightful and well written book. I highly recommend it to all who are interested in American history. Find it shelved under 973.3 Sho.


Book review:

The Trust

book by Ronald Balson

review by Judy Piper

Liam Taggert currently lives in Chicago with his wife Catherine and their young son where he works as a private investigator. However, Liam was born in Northern Ireland and was brought up by his Uncle Fergus and his girlfriend Diedre after his father and sister died. At the age of eight, his mother brought him to the United States. In the 1990’s Liam went back to Northern Ireland as an agent for the CIA where his job was to do what he could to stop the fighting or the “Troubles.”

Now he is again called to come back as his uncle has been shot and he has been appointed the administrator of the estate. In fact, no distributions can be made until the killer is found. His uncle believed he was going to die but did not know if it was a family member or revenge for the killings during the Troubles. Now Liam has to investigate all the family members as well as two clans, the Walkers and the McManus.

Very interesting story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will also learn about some of the events with the IRA, the Ulster Volunteer Force, the Troubles, and the Good Friday Peace Agreement. (This book is by the author of Karolina’s Twins.)


Book review:

Killers of the Flower Moon

book by David Grann

review by Katy Albanese

In the early years of the 20th century, the Osage Indians in the north, central part of Oklahoma were the wealthiest people in America. They were living on top of rich oil reserves, and as the oil was pumped from the ground, the Osage received a percentage of each barrel.

At the same time, these people were enjoying unprecedented wealth, they were dying in numbers far exceeding the national average. While some deaths appeared to be from natural causes, many were obvious murders. And no one, not law enforcement, not politicians, not doctors, were doing anything to stop these crimes. What was happening to these peaceful, mild-mannered Native Americans?

After many years of terror, the federal government became involved in solving these crimes. The FBI, in its first celebrated case, under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover, sent in law enforcement agents who spent years digging through evidence and interviewing witnesses. The Osage murders helped legitimize the existence of the FBI, and Hoover used the story to bolster his own agenda.

This book tells the story of the plot to eliminate a whole group of people and also shows the prejudice most white Americans had for the Native Americans. These crimes could not have taken place had not racism been a part of the mindset for those in power. The author does an excellent job of taking the reader through the history of the Osage, Hoover and the FBI and the history of this horrendous conspiracy. Once you start reading, you will not be able to put the book down. Find this book under the call number of 976.6 GRA.


Book review:

The Johnstown Flood

book by David McCullough

review by Katy Albanese

A recent Express-Times article commemorated the 50th anniversary of The Johnstown Flood, (974.8 MCC), which launched the writing career of David McCullough. He has since become one of our country’s foremost historians. McCullough’s meticulous research and concise writing style explained the events leading up to the disaster in Johnstown, PA in 1889. The owners of a fishing club 14 miles above the city of Johnstown neglected to maintain a dam on their property. When a torrential rainstorm drenched the area, the ensuing flood took more than 2000 lives. Readers of this tragedy learn that the wealthy owners of the Club did not act responsibly, even though the townspeople assumed they were looking out for the citizens down in the valley.

In the fifty years since the book on Johnstown was published, McCullough has continued to write. The library has many of his titles, including Truman, 1776, John Adams, Mornings on Horseback (Theodore Roosevelt), The Great Bridge (Brooklyn Bridge), Path between the Seas (Panama Canal) and The Wright Brothers. Each topic is well written, thoroughly researched, easy to read and informative. Expand your horizons and check out one of McCullough’s book the next time you visit the library.


Time to celebrate BMCL: April is National Library Month!

May issue

The library’s spring silent auction ends on May 5. Bid now!


Book Nook special for May:  Purchase one nonfiction book, get another nonfiction book of equal or lesser price for FREE!


Fundraiser at Detzi’s Tavern

May 21 (4-8PM)

Mark your calendar for other upcoming summertime fundraiser events!

Details are coming soon.

Blue Ridge Winery – June 15

Old Mill – June 27


Information about special BINGO summer reading programs for children and adults will be in the June newsletter! The more you

read, the better your chances to win!


Book review:

The Making of a Navy Seal: My Story of Surviving the Toughest Challenge and Training the Best

book by Brandon Webb

review by Jill Silvius

Modern Navy SEALs (the U.S. Navy’s elite special operations force, with SEAL standing for sea, air, and land) are contemporary superheroes:  they exist in my mind in a sort of mythic haze, completing otherworldly tasks of incredible stealth and discipline in dangerous, dusty places I wish to only read about, simply because I can close the book at the end.  Rather than bursting my bubble, Webb shines a light on the gritty reality of the intense training required to become a SEAL and the subsequent tasks assigned.  The image of the superhero becomes less hazy, more tangible, relevant, human.

Webb opens with an account of his father essentially throwing him as a child off the family boat, pushing him into a life of independence and very hard work:  a military life.

The most fascinating part of Webb’s account, and the longest of his memoir, details all of the training stages and groups Webb endured to become a SEAL.  His true tales of slogging through swamps, completing endless push-ups in soggy sand, watching hundreds of fellow elite athletes “ring the brass bell” three times to mark their voluntary exit from training, not being allowed to sleep during the trials of “Hell Week,” and trying to undo knots (and not drown) while underwater and loaded with gear are just a few of the many that will stay with me.

Webb then became an elite sniper, and part of The Making of a Navy Seal describes that portion of his training.  Some of the momentum of the book slows, as Webb outlines the technological aspects of learning how to shoot accurately in adverse conditions and with different types of weapons.  Some of it is too technical, but his short chapters help balance the jargon and move the story along.  (Webb also includes a short glossary at the end of the book).

Webb then (too) briefly describes one treacherous twelve-hour-turned-nine-day mission in the mountainous caves of Zhawak Kili in Afghanistan, as well as his subsequent job training other snipers.

Webb has retired from military life, and I wished he had included more about his more recent past as a digital media entrepreneur, as well as about the effects of his SEAL career on his family (three children and an ex-wife).

One of the most interesting aspects of Webb’s memoir is his emphasis on practical advice about working hard, being honest, taking risks, striving for excellence, and, as he phrases it, “never giving up on yourself.”  Perhaps this is because the book is targeted toward young adults (and is shelved in the young adult nonfiction section), but the lessons and knowledge are appropriate for an adult audience as well.  Even grown-ups in our world of modern warfare need superheroes.


Book review:

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey

book by Candice Millard

review by Katy Albanese

This thrilling account of one of our country’s most famous Americans is sure to grasp any reader’s attention and keep him or her riveted to this story.  Author Candice Millard has done an excellent job of writing of the adventure of Theodore Roosevelt and his companions as they explored an uncharted river in the heart of the Amazon rain forest in 1914.

Roosevelt was defeated in his attempt to serve a third term as president.  He was shocked, humiliated, and discouraged at the loss and eagerly sought an activity to renew his spirits.  When asked to accompany the most famous Brazilian explorer, Candido Rondon, on a trip down an unknown, never explored river, he jumped at the chance.  Along with his son, Kermit, and twenty others, they set off on a journey of unbelievable hardship.

Three members of the group died and Roosevelt almost lost his own life.  Near starvation and disease were constant companions on this trip through one of the most dangerous jungles in the world.  Near drownings, traversing through countless whitewater rapids, fear of attacks by Indians, backbreaking portages around numerous waterfalls, the loss of canoes – it is miraculous that anyone survived the journey.  In fact, many geographers of the day refused to believe that Theodore and his party had accomplished such a feat; they deemed it impossible to have done so.

This extremely well-researched and well-written account will hold your attention; you will marvel at what these men survived and accomplished.  Find it in the stacks – 918.1 MIL.


Book review:

Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War’s Greatest Untold Story (The Epic Stand of the Marines of George Company)

book by Patrick O’Donnell

review by Katy Albanese

Americans are captivated by stories of WWII in the 1940s and Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s.  Many forget about the three year conflict in Korea in the 1950s.  This book follows the hasty formation of George Company in August 1950 through November of that year.  Two hundred raw recruits with little or no military experience were sent to Korea after just three weeks of training.  They fought in some of the most heated battles of the war, the landing at Inchon, the liberation of Seoul and the horrific fight at Chosin Resevoir.

This book recounts the bravery of these men who faced unbelievable odds, fighting in sub-zero temperatures, with little hope of making it out of Korea alive.  They fought without sufficient clothing, without enough weapons and without the understanding of the generals of what was really happening on the ground.  Yet still they fought and didn’t back down, even though none should have made it out alive.

I gained a new respect for these men, many of whom gave their lives, who faced such difficult circumstances but still prevailed.  Almost 68 years have passed since these events took place but we can still learn what heroism and bravery is from reading these pages.


Haven’t tried OPAC yet? OPAC is our online public access catalog and allows you to search the library catalog, check your list of checked out items, review your checkout history, and view fines.  Ask at the front desk for instructions on accessing OPAC.


The public is invited to the next board meeting, scheduled for May 16 at 6:30 PM.


Adult book discussion group selections:

May 15Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Book group meetings begin at 6:30 PM.

Books are available for checkout.