Friday, July 31, 2009

Quote du jour/Elizabeth McCracken

A librarian, speaking about the library in The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken:

Space is the chief problem. Books are a bad family - there are those you love, and those you are indifferent to; idiots and mad cousins who you would banish except others enjoy their company; wrongheaded but fascinating eccentrics and dreamy geniuses; orphaned grandchildren; and endless brothers-in-law simply taking up space who you wish you could send straight to hell. Except you can't for the most part. You must house them and make them comfortable and worry about them when they go on trips and there is never enough room.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lily of the day/July 30

Something So Right - Paul Simon

Before drifting off to sleep last night, this song came into my head, and I was reminded of Olive Kitteridge. The words could be a blurb on the back of the book. Perfect really.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

36. Olive Kitteridge
by Elizabeth Strout
fiction, 2008
hardcover, 267 pages
library book
finished, 7/29/09

Some might call this a book of short stories, I think it is more a book with chapters on interrelated people in an area in Maine. A character you meet in one chapter shows up in another. I read only one at a time, and then put my bookmark back in the book, so I could absorb that person's life before going on to another's story. Olive Kitteridge is there in most of them, maybe even all. Sometimes it is just a mention, while other chapters are completely devoted to her.

One person left me a comment saying she began the book but dropped it because it felt 'a bit dark' to her. Well, dark it is, sometimes. Well, truth be told, most of the time. The people really are lonely, lonesome, alone. But most of them have a spark of something that lights up their lives even the tiniest bit. And those moments are appreciated.

Oh, I had a wonderful weekend. We went to Henry's folks and dug potatoes at night. Henry put the headlights on from the car and we dug potatoes. Finding the potatoes in that cold soil - like an Easter egg hunt!

When a man was dying, he'd ask his wife to bring him 'the basket of trips' - a basket which held pamphlets collected over the years of places they planned to go. They would look through them, 'talking about the trips we'd take when he got well.' They both knew he was dying, but this little event brought him joy and hope in those last days of life.

There are kindnesses that really can make someone's day, and the author knows this. I've felt my whole life that people who deal with the public; whether receptionists, grocery store clerks, salespeople in clothing stores, post office employees - each one of them can, and very often does, make another person's life a little better, one's burden a little lighter by simply being kind. It means everything to a young mother, often alone with a little baby all day with no one else to talk to, for the check out clerk to ooh and aah about the baby, and talk about blackberrying. To a widower, the teller in the bank may be the only person he sees for days. A couple examples from Olive Kitteridge are a piano player in a restaurant who would play a man's favorite song as he walked out after a meal, and a waitress in Dunkin' Donuts who remembers a customer likes extra milk in her coffee.

So, yes, there are sad people, but despite their circumstances, I didn't feel sorry for them; at least most of them. To me, this makes Olive Kitteridge a remarkable book. There are hurting people, people who cannot connect, people with mental instabilities. And I cared for them. Even when they didn't always behave well, I could find something in them to rejoice about. The book spans many years and sometimes goes back and forth in time, but it is always understandable. The characters are incredibly real; people you know, or people you walk past without knowing. In a small area, you 'know' things about people even if you don't know them personally. And there are lots of things you don't know, and can't know. Elizabeth Strout tells us some of these things about the people in her book, and we come away from it better people for knowing. We learn to care about these folks, and hopefully this will remain with us, and help us to care for those among us in our lives.

I marvelled over the language, the use of words, the way the author put those words together. Whether describing a person or the natural world, we can see just what the author wants us to see.

The tulips bloomed in ridiculous splendor. The midafternoon sun hit them in a wide wash of light where they grew on the hill, almost down to the water. From the kitchen window, Olive could see them: yellow, white, pink, bright red. She had planted them at different depths and they had a lovely unevenness to them. When a breeze bent them slightly, it seemed like an underwater field of something magical, all those colors floating out there.

And how the whole world can change with just a few words. A couple in their mid-seventies, who seem very happy, and all that we hope to be in those years run into acquaintances at a concert.

Mrs. Lydia said to Bob, "You've retired now, since we last saw you? Wasn't it funny, meeting you in the Miami airport the way we did?"...
"When was this?" Jane said. "Miami?"

I felt a knot in my stomach.

I hope you will read this if you haven't yet. It is a rare and exquisite book, and I loved it. Please also read Maggie's review. I'm sure there are others out there but this is the only one I've read (and I waited to do so until I finished the book, and finished writing my own). Please let me know if you have reviewed it, with a link, and I'll post it.

Aisling's Banana Oat Scones

This recipe comes from Aisling at The Quiet Country House. Here are her words. I'll add my changes afterward.

My original recipe for scones came from a book called The Joy of Snacks. I don't remember the book and may have to track it down sometime to refresh my memory. I think it was borrowed from the library. I have modified the recipe so much over time, that it is quite different than the original (which contains egg and raisins, and does not use bananas.)


(scant) 2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated (no trans-fats) margarine, melted
1/3 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla)
1 ripe mashed banana


Combine dry ingredients; set aside. Blend mashed banana, melted margarine, and soy milk until fairly smooth. Add in dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Shape dough to form ball; pat out on lightly flours surface to form 8 inch circle. Cut into 12 wedges (scones); bake on oiled baking sheet at 425 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm.

Note: I go "skimpy" on the flour at the start and reserve some to add at the end if needed. Not all bananas are created equal! I will (carefully) add more if the dough is too sticky to shape and cut.

Nan's notes:

I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup white.
1/2 cup butter (always butter for me, you already know!)
1/3 cup cow's milk
I used 2 bananas, and I added the juice of half a lemon just because I love lemon.
I didn't have to shape them because I have this adorable mini scone pan which I greased with cooking spray.
Instead of 8-10 minutes, I'll bet they took half an hour to cook. I have no idea why - a hot, humid day perhaps?

I cut them in half and spread them with butter, and wow, are they ever good! My thanks to my friend, Aisling.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lily of the day/July 28

One of my very favorites. I sometimes refer to it as the clown daylily for its bright red and yellow and because it always makes me smile.


an apparatus with rotating blades that creates a current of air for cooling or ventilation.

I love fans. These days there is one running in just about every room in the house. Window fans and floor fans. In older days when there wasn't a grill to block the sharp blades, people would put ribbons on the fan to remind everyone to watch out! At least I think that's what the ribbons were for. If there is another reason, please let me know. Anyhow, a few years back I began putting ribbons on our summer fans. I also love ribbons, and don't get to see or use them nearly enough so this is a grand opportunity to enjoy them, and to bring a little of the past into modern life.

Another summer; another garlic and shallot harvest

Last year, and the year before, we harvested the garlic and shallots at just about this same time. Why do we always remember it being later in the summer? Anyhow, I went out today when the sun was high (mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun - my English soul) and pulled the plants. After all these years of gardening, it still feels like a miracle to me.

There were only 27 (34 in 2007 and 48 in 2008) garlic bulbs this year but many more shallots. Not all of the latter are big, but still we'll use them. I think we planted both too close together. This was the second raised bed we planted three months and two days ago and it seemed right to put the two together. For next year we may order more garlic, and have two separate beds - one for garlic, the other for shallots. I cleaned it up today, and we'll plant lettuce in there for the rest of the season.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Banbury Bog by Phoebe Atwood Taylor

35. Banbury Bog
by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
mystery, 1938
hardcover, 266 pages
library book
finished, 7/20/09

To some this wouldn't be a very attractive book, but to me it is beautiful. The binding is torn, there's old tape on the cover, and a round stain on the front. I wonder about the person who (accidentally?) put a glass or cup down on the book. Was it coffee, iced tea, something stronger? Anyhow, the book has a history, and well it should, having been published 71 years ago! And it thrilled me to see that it was taken out once last year, twice in 2006, and once in 2000. That may not seem like very often but for an old book without a lovely cover, tucked away in the back room mystery section, I find it remarkable.

I believe this is the third Taylor book I've read which features Asey Mayo, a local man who has sailed around the world. In this book, a descendent of an old Cape Cod family comes back to town, renovates the old family home, and goes on to make improvements in the town. Weesit has fallen on tough times, with not enough tourists to keep it a thriving town, and Mr. Phineas Banbury wants to make it prosperous again. But someone doesn't like the work he is doing. Some tarts he makes for a town supper are filled with arsenic, a selectman turns up dead, and both crimes are pinned on Banbury. It is up to Asey to find the real villain.

"I've been wondering," said Mrs. Banbury, "if it could be the sort of thing that seems to happen so often in politics. You know, at first everyone always says how perfectly splendid the new governor or the new president is, and everything he does is so fine. And then there seems to come a day when everyone starts calling him The Madman in the Capitol."

The book was an interesting mystery with many twists and turns. There was a lot of humor and snappy conversation, especially from the young Banbury daughter. In addition to the mysterious elements, there is really good writing about the Cape and particularly its fogs. The book begins:

The minute she sniffed it, Tabitha groaned. Like other weather-wise Cape Codders, she knew that this fog meant trouble. This fog was going to cause grief.

This was not the slinking, sinister fog that invariably left a drizzling rain in its wake, nor was it the type which East Weesit, borrowing a phrase from carpet-cleaning of another generation, referred to as a Tea Leaf. A Tea Leaf was the regular June fog that slipped in evenings when the sun went down, and slipped out the next morning at sunrise, leaving behind a salty tang in the air, and a fresher, cleaner shade of blue in the sky.

This fog, billowing in so boldly, blotting East Weesit off the map, was the variety Tabitha had learned, during her fifty years, to detest. This was a Stayer. ... Almost anything could happen during a Stayer, and it usually did.

Tomorrow that east door, along with every drawer, cupboard and window in her house, would be stuck tighter than a drum. Matches would refuse to light. Spots of mildew would break out on the linens. Sheets would be clammy. Beds would be damp. Even clothes hung carefully away in closets would begin to look crinkly and shapeless. Sooner or later, the dampness would do something to the electricity, and then the plumbing and the water pump would stop.

What a description! Not something I would feel happy experiencing. This fog has an effect on the story as you may imagine, as do the tides, and the changes which have come to the town, such as the trains ceasing operation to Weesit. Banbury Bog was a fun book to read, and I plan to continue with the series. More about the author here.

Library Loot/July 27

Library Loot is an event hosted by Eva at A Striped Armchair and Marg at Reading Adventures.

I can't believe it but I got more books from the library even though I haven't read all the ones I got on July 15. I've finished one, and am almost finished another, but there are still two I haven't even opened yet. Those books came from the library I visit most often in the next town. The ones in this post are from another library a bit further away. It has an upper balcony full of old, old books which amazingly they let patrons borrow.

Though the author of Mother Carey's Chickens says, Riggs, (her second husband's name) it is actually the more familiar, Kate Douglas Wiggin (her first husband's name), the woman who wrote Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903). I read that book a few years ago, and wrote in my book journal:

This was wonderful and as fresh as if it were just written. It felt a bit like Anne Of Green Gables and Pollyanna. Rebecca's family is very poor, and she is given the chance for an education by going to live with two old maiden aunts. The young girl has a wonderful, cheerful outlook on life. I have a sense that all these books were written about a girl who could be an example to the reader. She isn't without troubles and problems, yet she remains steadfast and optimistic. Even as a grown woman, I found myself learning from her. Well written with memorable, real characters.

Mother Carey's Chickens is still available to buy, and is even on Kindle! But oh, this edition (which I think is a first) is just lovely. A lot of these old books in the balcony have little reviews pasted in the front which tell a bit about the book.

The second book from the balcony is a fourth printing in the year of publication -1948- of Graham Greene's The Heart of the Matter. I've been meaning to read his work for a long time. I've seen some movies based on Greene books, The Third Man,The End of the Affair and The Quiet American. It's time to go to the source.

And here is the whole stack. The woman in the picture is my Grammie as a young woman. She gave it to me when I turned sixteen, the age I believe she is in the photograph.

The Robert B. Parker is because we've just watched all the available Jesse Stone televised versions from Netflix which were excellent. The Penderwicks books have been recommended by several fellow bloggers, as has The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Will I read all these books? Time will tell. But I sure enjoy seeing them piled up on my 'library table.'

Addendum: Tom read the Parker book. I began The Penderwicks and didn't care for it. I started the Graham Greene but wasn't in the mood. It seemed sort of gloomy. I was sure I would read Mother Carey's Chickens but after I started it, I got into some other books and put it aside. Maybe I'll pick it up another time. The only one I read is the Selznick book, and how I loved it.

Lily of the day/July 27

This is the only daylily whose name I know. It is called Little Fred, and I bought it in honor of a man Tom and I looked upon as a father.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Stroll/July 26

My Sunday Stroll is a bird's-eye view looking out the upstairs windows. Tom followed me around, removing screens and putting them back on again after I took the photos.

I began at the east windows, moved to the south, and then crossed the hall to the north windows. There is no west view because we have no upstairs west windows. It was a bit overcast (it is bright and sunny now!) and the pictures aren't all that great, but I wanted to give you an idea of where the house sits on the land.

You may visit Aisling and see the other strollers this Sunday.

looking east - the side lawn and vegetable garden. everything is growing beautifully - what a year! beyond the woodpile you may see part of the tractor - from there the road goes up into our woods about .2 mile
to the left of the garden; honeysuckle, rhubarb, lilacs, rosa rugosa, globe thistle, milkweed
to the right of the garden facing south; honeysuckle, William Baffin rose, daylilies - area between honeysuckle and daylilies has yet to be planted. maybe cosmos next year? we plan to get rid of the sidewalk stones, too. the grass has taken over!
front of the house; daylilies and phlox, patio, start of terrace - another area to be planted between gone-by baptisia australis and daylilies. there is some spiderwort hidden in there
terrace and front lawn
daylilies along terrace (need to cut back the aquilegia!)
front lawn with old, old maple, crabapple, and plum trees - the road here goes down to the main road and the mailbox about .1 mile
tubs of torenia and verbena (and ever present splitting maul)
looking toward the west - lilacs (there is a sidewalk between the short light purple and the taller dark purple) and elephant ears or dutchman's pipe - the leaning tree is an ancient Duchess apple
out the north windows, looking toward west - the north pasture
raspberry patch
out the north windows, looking east - rhubarb, lupines, and the rosa rugosa in second photo
porch which faces west, standing on terrace looking north
porch looking south

Persephone Reading Week Challenge

I've just joined the Persephone Reading Week Challenge. You may read more about it and join this fun challenge here.

We would love for you to join us for a week of reading, blogging, and celebrating the wonderful, grey books. The challenge rules are relaxed and informal: on the week we have chosen enjoy Persephone Books, one Persephone or ten. I don't think it matters as long as you enjoy yourself and the independent publishing house who publish forgotten or neglected books (mainly by women). If you are only able to manage to read one of their books that week then that's great and if you don't have any Persephone books, or perhaps have never heard of them, then come read our blogs that week and discover some truly lovely books or, better yet, indulge in a copy now so you fully experience the challenge. We will be making a number of Persephone-orientated posts, not just reviews, and will host prize draws for books and related items to add to your Persephone collection or to start it off!

I happen to have two new Persephone Books on my shelf, and plan to read as much as I can of one or both during that week. The titles are Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey and A Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

'Like a summer with a thousand Julys'

I've written about the song You Go To My Head before (twice!), but every July I find myself singing it. If you have ten minutes to sit and dream on this July evening, I think you'll love hearing and seeing Dianne Reeves.

First Peas

May I refer you to Mrs. Appleyard, and Deborah Madison? The peas are a little later this year, but just as delicious as always. I picked, shelled, cooked, and ate within just a few minutes. Perfect.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The most decent man in the Senate.
Robert F. Kennedy

The single nicest human being I've ever met.
William F. Buckley

Two such different men, yet they are speaking of the same man; a man who has been a personal hero to Tom and I for lo, these many years. That man is George McGovern, and yesterday we were lucky enough to see him. I read on the Book Notes New Hampshire blog that he was going to be at two bookstores in the state yesterday. It was too late to go to Portsmouth, but we could easily make the appearance at Gibson's Bookstore in the state capital of Concord.

A while ago on Book TV, we saw Mr. McGovern signing his new book at a private home in Washington. It is available to watch online, if you'd like to do so. The book is:

It is one in a series on all the Presidents, written by many different people such as Robert Dallek on Harry S. Truman, H. W. Brands on Woodrow Wilson, and Elizabeth Drew on Richard M. Nixon. He told us that more books have been written on Abraham Lincoln than on all the other Presidents combined, around 6000 books.

On July 19, George McGovern turned 87 years old, and what a model for aging he is. Clear mind, passionate beliefs, eloquent speaker, and just the kindest heart. You may read more about our evening here. After he signed our book, he shook both our hands, and with tears in my eyes, I told him he was our hero.

Afterwards while we were looking for a parking place so we could eat at a Mexican restaurant, we just happened onto a new Egyptian restaurant called Gamil's which featured the best falafel, hummus, and tabouli I've ever had. A perfect ending to a perfect time spent with the man we admire above all others.

Addendum: Margaret sent me a link to a photo that was in the paper! We are the two people on the left. :<)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Stroll/July 19

You may visit here, and walk along with others on their Sunday Strolls.

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Luke 12:27, King James Version

I'm quite sure the Bible isn't talking about daylilies, but still... . Everywhere I look there are daylilies, mostly the orange variety, but there are splashes of other colors appearing everyday. Some are a blur of orange as I immerse myself in their beauty.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Sally/July 18

Sally: a brief journey; an excursion or trip.

Here are a few stops on this week's Saturday Sally.

Have you read The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith? It is, hands down, one of my favorite books of all time. It is now offered here. A brilliant idea for a blog.

Henry David Thoreau's writings make for a perfect blog. Here is a great way to read his words day by day as he wrote them.

And the third one I'll draw your attention to this Saturday is former talk show host Dick Cavett's blog. This is a blog full of information and intelligence. If he writes about an old show, he includes the video.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith

34. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built - tenth in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
by Alexander McCall Smith
fiction, 2009
hardcover, 210 pages
library book
finished, 7/16/09

You will either think I am nuts, or you will nod your head in understanding: I feel as if Mma Ramotswe and the others in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books are real people. Or at least, I want them to be real. Or, at the very least, there is this wonderful author in the world who makes me believe in these characters. The ten books in the series are like chapters in their lives. Often a book will feature one of the cast of characters more prominently, giving us a glimpse into each one.

In case you haven't read any of the books, the premise is that Mma Precious Ramotswe started a detective agency. The books feature a case, or cases, but they are not really mysteries. They are full of thought and feeling. They are not action-packed, but slow and quiet observances of life in Botswana. The fact of AIDS is touched upon, but not focused on. I read the following online:

The Republic of Botswana is in southern Africa, north of South Africa and to the west of Zimbabwe, with Namibia on its eastern border. Since independence in 1966 there have been many impressive social and economic improvements. Ninety-seven per cent of the 1.5 million population have access to safe water, and with free primary education access to learning is high with over 84 per cent of children enrolled. However, the highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the world is creating enormous problems. Close to 22 per cent of the population is HIV positive and life expectancy has dropped from 65 to 38 years. The number of orphans under the age of 15, because of AIDS, is estimated to be nearly 80,000.

These statistics are shocking and unimaginable. This is the reality of Botswana, yet Alexander McCall Smith focuses on the human stories. I don't believe there have been characters with the disease, but mention is made about the changes in the country, and the orphan population.

Mma Ramotswe liked people to know one another, and if the bond between them went back over more than one generation, then all the better. That was how it had always been in Botswana, where the links between people, those profound connections of blood and lineage, spread criss-cross over the human landscape, binding one to another in reliance, trust, and sheer familiarity. At one time there had been no strangers in Botswana; everybody fitted in somehow, even if tenuously and on the margins. Now there were strangers, and the bonds had been weakened by drift to the towns and by other things too: by the conduct that had sired the wave of children who had no idea who their father, or their father's people might be; by the cruel ravages of the disease that made orphans in a country where the very concept of an orphan had been barely known, as there had always been aunts and grandmothers aplenty to fill the breach. Yes, all this had changed, but in spite of it, the old bonds survived.

I can't praise these books enough, and will do as I did with Jane's Parlour, and share quotes to give you a sense of the warmth, humanity, and gentle humor of the book.

She looked at the woman, who smiled back at her; there was much that could be said without speaking, especially amongst women. A glance, a movement of the head, a slight shift in pose - all of these could convey a message as eloquently, as volubly, as words might do.

Until you hear the whole story, until you dig deeper, and listen, she thought, you know only a tiny part of the goodness of the human heart.

She would buy a doughnut for herself - a rich, greasy, sugar-dusted doughnut - and one for Mma Ramotswe too. They would eat them together over their morning tea, in companionable enjoyment - two ladies sharing a common office, but two friends as well, united as friends so often are, in the love of the things they loved.

The hot months were not easy - they drained the country of its energy, its vitality, crushing animals, people, plants under a sky that at times seemed like one great oven. And then, as the whole land became drier and drier and, in bad years, the cattle began to die, nature would relent, would remember that it was the time for rain. Great rain clouds, purple bank stacked upon purple bank, would appear above the horizon and then sweep in over the land with their longed-for gift of water. The temperatures would drop as the land breathed again; brown would become green; and the hearts of everything living would be filled with relief and gratitude.

"I'll try to be back in time for my dinner," said Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. "But you know how it is."
Mma Ramotswe did know. He would not be back until ten that night, perhaps even later, and she would worry about him until she saw the lights of his truck at the front gate. That journey could be perilous at night, what with bad drivers and with animals straying onto the road. She knew of so many people who had collided with cattle at night; one moment the road was clear and then, with very little or no warning at all, a cow or a donkey would nonchalantly wander out in front of the car. But you could worry too much about these things, thought Mma Ramotswe, and she knew that worrying about things was no help at all. Of course you were concerned for those you loved; it would be impossible not to be so.

Lily of the day/July 17

Yellow is the hardest color for me to photograph. Whether it be daffodils or yellow pansies or daylilies, the picture never quite shows how very beautiful the color looks in nature. But, that said, I'm still going to feature this beauty today. It is like a little sun in the garden.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Two Bean Salad

Recently we visited some friends and they made this salad for us. It is absolutely delicious!

Two Bean Salad

Mix together:
15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
15 oz. can white northern beans
pint container of cherry or grape tomatoes
basil leaves
arugula leaves (I happen to have some because the same friends gave me an arugula plant)

Sauté garlic in olive oil. You may put the garlic through a press, or mince it small, or chop it in larger pieces.
Drizzle over bean mixture and stir.

My notes:
I soaked 1 cup dried garbanzo beans overnight, and this morning cooked them in the crockpot along with 1 cup dried cannellini beans. I drained the beans after they were cooked.
I sprinkled a bit of salt over the mixture. My guess is that canned beans may have salt added.
The amount of garlic and olive oil is up to the cook.
And again, this is outstanding. We are having it for supper with fresh bread, and strawberries with cocoa whipped cream.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Library Loot/July 15

Hosted by Eva at A Striped Armchair and Marg at Reading Adventures.
'Library Loot is a weekly event that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.'

I am thrilled to post my first Library Loot entry!

I learned about A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson from Staci's great review. I picked up The Baker's Daughter because in these months of reading only my own books, I've missed D. (Dorothy) E. (Emily) Stevenson's writing. I love her books and though I've read several, there are still many waiting for me on the library shelf. How happy I am to find old titles that haven't been discarded in favor of the newest bestsellers. The same goes for Banbury Bog by Phoebe Atwood Taylor. This wonderful series featuring 'old salt' Asey Mayo is set on Cape Cod. I recognized Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout from reading about it on many blogs, and though I'm not sure it is for me, I thought I'd give it a try since I'm fond of connected short stories. This library lets patrons take all the books out for three weeks, and the older ones (without the red dots) may be renewed once.

Addendum: I read two, and brought two back unread. I decided to wait on the Birds of East Africa book since I had so recently read a Mma Ramotswe book. I wanted to read it fresh, without comparisons. And the D.E. Stevenson didn't appeal just now.