Harper Lee and the Iconic Tale

Wood River Reads logo-What Page Are You On?

Our Wood River Reads title has been announced: it is To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, a persistently loved tale of justice, prejudice, unexpected heroes and childhood wisdom. Libraries around the Wood River Valley will be promoting talks, events, and online commentary, but mostly, we hope everyone picks it up, even just to taste a chapter. After rereading the novel myself this spring, I can honestly recommend it for nearly every reader. The story still sings.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Many dedicated readers and librarians across the globe were stirred and even thrilled to cold chills to hear of the impending release of Go Set a Watchman, the unpublished novel written by Harper Lee before To Kill a Mockingbird. The Library Journal reports that the current planned July 14 release date will include 2 million volumes in the first press run.

The announcement that a new book about Scout and company set twenty years later created quite a Twitterstorm after the February announcement. While Twitter is an ungainly firehose of information at the best of times, it can be useful for wrangling links on breaking news and diverse topics. Our @LibraryDenizenK and @KetchumLibrary accounts will be following the Harper Lee threads from now until the harvest moon in October, when the Wood River Reads project culminates. The Guardian online book club has its readership poised to jump on Go Set a Watchman quite literally the moment it is released, via eBook, print, audio, hook or crook. They have been licensed to release the first chapter, in text and audio–get a taste of the language at The Guardian via this link.

Cover to Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

The release announcement is not without controversy and conflicting reports, but there is no doubt the book is exciting a great deal of interest and anticipation. No pre-publication copies are available, and publishers are sending out stern warnings about keeping the content under wraps until the lay down date on the 14th (somewhat unusual in the library and publication trade, but not unheard of, as Harry Potter readers can attest.) Many are viewing the release with no little trepidation, and a lot of hope.

The looming question for Library Denizens at the Community Library here in Ketchum–how many copies to buy? What are your thoughts about the release?

Wood River Reads–One Book, One Community–July-October 2015

The libraries of the Wood River Valley are banding together to create a Valley-wide event uniting readers from all over the Wood River, and beyond. Librarians from Hailey Public Library, Bellevue Public Library, and the Community Library in Ketchum are conspiring to bring the Wood River one Really Good Book to share, experience and discuss up and down the Wood River watershed.

Wood River Reads logo-What Page Are You On?

What is the book? That’s a secret! The librarians are running silent on the title. However, keep a close eye on the floats in the July 4th parade in Hailey for the big reveal!

The Wood River Reads website on Dreamwidth is now open for speculation and discussion for all! The site is co-hosted by Wood River librarians, but open to all our far-flung readers.

What book will be chosen? We have some clues in advance of the Big Reveal on the Fourth. Enter your guesses in the comments, either here or at Wood River Reads–no account needed for anonymous posting. Some memorable lines from the book are loosely paraphrased here:

“Anxiety is not warranted at this point; you will be informed as soon as it is.”
“At our age, exchanging blows to resolve our differences was out of the question.”
“Drop the embellishments, and what remains will be the actual truth.”

Wood River Reads
Mystery Book Anagram Clue!
Guided by the accompanying clue, rearrange the letters in each phrase to produce the answer.
Answer: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Clue: The “true identity” of one of our young protagonists
(3 words of 4, 6 and 5 letters)

Welcome to Wood River Reads!

The West: Where We Are Winter Program January 22nd-February 12th


This Thursday at 6:00-7:30pm in the Regional History Library, our winter program will kick off with the first of a four part reading and discussion series lead by our new Library Director Jenny Emery Davidson, Ph. D. The reading series will focus on contemporary fiction of the American West, and how the changing West has been illuminated by works created in the new millennium. Four short works will comprise the core of the series. Deeper Winter by local author Alexander Maksik is a short fiction piece published in Harper’s Magazine in 2013–the work explores the modern immigrant experience in short, sharp scenes set here in the Wood River Valley.
absolutely true diary 2buddha in the attic

Other short works in the reading series include Julie Otsuka’s Buddha in the Attic, Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams. The books are available in a variety of forms at the Library, including print, audio, Nook and downloadable Axis360 eBook.


The reading series is open to all–come to the library and register in advance if you would like the syllabus ahead of time, or call up a librarian to sign you up over the phone @ 726-3493 ext 107. We’ve also created a list of staff favorites with western themes and have a rotating favorites exhibit near the circulation desk. Please share your own recommendations for contemporary western reads, here in the comments, or at our Community Library website. You can even add your own review to our library’s online catalog and share your favorites with other readers for years to come.

The West: Where We Are program will extend to departments throughout the library this winter. The Children’s Library will film the movie Locomotive at 4:00 pm Monday January 30th. Ask a young adult librarian about our multimedia project–teens will be able to post selfies that highlight western placds and activities that highlight their place in today’s West. The Regional History Library has thousands of period photos and ephemera on display, and the Museum (1:00-5:00 Tu-Sat) has exhibits on Ernest Hemingway and Railroad Ties: Tracking the History of Sun Valley through it’s rail connections.

Find the West where you are @ The Community Library.

Around the World in Lit–Alphonsina Storni and Argentina, 6:00 pm tonight

portrait of Alfonsina Storni

Join us tonight as The Community Library kicks off for a new series, Around the World in Lit. This Wednesday at 6:00pm Dr. Raquel Arenz will discuss Argentinian writer Alphonsina Storni, one of the strongest feminist voices in Latin America during the modernist movement. We’ve just added two new works by Storni to our collection: Mask and Clover (selected poems in Spanish), and My Heart Flooded With Water

sor juana

Future meetings of Around the World in Lit will feature more writers from Latin America, new wave writers from China, and many more. In anticipation, we are refreshing our international literature collection with new works by Can Xue (Old Floating Cloud and Vertical Motion), Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz (2 bilingual editions of her poems and writings), Gabriela Mistral (translated by Ursula K. LeGuin), and many more. Please comment if you have any suggestions to enhance our collection of global literature!

Are you on Twitter? Follow our #BookOfTheDay hashtag at LibraryDenizenK.

Hemingway’s Cuba–The Hemingway Symposium September 3-6 2014


The Community Library is hosting the 2014 Hemingway Symposium with support from Boise State University and the Idaho Humanities Council. The event kicks off with a party and reception from 4:00-6:00 pm on Sept. 3rd, with salsa music, beverages, and introductory speakers. Interspersed with scheduled literary discussions will be excursions to the world famous Silver Creek Preserve; a screening of the 1958 film, The Old Man and the Sea, which was partially filmed in Cuba; a tour of “Hemingway Haunts,” in Ketchum hosted by local guide Jim Jaquet; the chance to taste “Papa’s” favorite cocktails at the local Cornerstone Bar; and the opportunity to test shooting skills at the Sun Valley Gun Club.

To register for the event, click here, or call: (208) 726-3493, ext. 123. General admission cost is $45 ($30 student admission). Limited seating is still available as of this posting.

Portrait of Hemingway by Antonio Gattorno

Portrait of Hemingway by Antonio Gattorno

The highlights of the festival are presentations by director of the Finca Vigía, Ada Rosa Rosales, who is traveling to Ketchum from Cuba; by Sean Poole, author of Gattorno: A Cuban Painter for the World, about Antonio Gattorno, a close friend of Ernest Hemingway; by Boise State University’s Dr. Mac Test who will present, “The Old Man and the Sea (on the Sea)”; by Martin Peterson, renowned Hemingway scholar; and by Nancy Sindelar, author of Influencing Hemingway.

old man and the sea film poster

The literary portion of the event was created in close partnership with Boise State University who is sponsoring participating professors Mac Test, Mitch Wieland, Clyde Moneyhum, Emily Wakild, and Adrian Kane. Joining these scholars will be graduate students, featured in a panel discussion.

For more information, email Anna Svidgal at asvidgal@comlib.org.

August Guitar Circle meets Thursday 5:30 pm on the 21st–Drop on by!

The Guitar Circle is free and open to all players from all levels. Stop by and listen in, or bring your instrument and join in sharing a song. There are guitars available for checkout from the library as well–we have a Fender, a Little Martin, and just added a Yamaha. A Classical guitar is almost ready to go.


Thank you to two generous patrons and to the Gold Mine for donating more guitars to our circulating guitar collection–they are being checked out and tuned up by Taul Paul himself. New additions include a vintage Spanish guitar made in Mexico and a small backpacking guitar.

fender pic.php

Interested in learning more? Drop on by this Thursday, and give a listen or bring your instrument and share a song. We have a number of guitar songbooks in our music section for new learners and experienced players alike covering lyrics, chords, techniques, and styles. Also, we’ve added some keyboard songbooks as well, including a compendium of the music and lyrics of Johnny Cash. Explore the art of songwriting, playing or just indulge your curiosity–visit the library!

Published in: on August 19, 2014 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hyperobjects May Be Nearer Than They Appear


Dick Fassino, an excellent and perceptive patron of The Community Library, offered this interesting commentary on a recent addition to our stacks, Hyperobjects:  Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World by Timothy Morton.  The review is cautionary and thoughtful, and an interesting counterpoint to the publisher’s description.

“Not often I get flummoxed by a book, but this one “did me in”! Timothy Morton’s “Hyperobjects: philosophy and ecology after the end of the world”. Even my three years in a Benedictine Monastery did not equip me to handle this.

If that is what the end of the world is going to be like, I shall concentrate even more on living every second to the hilt!

Recommend you sample it – worth just seeing what it is. Here is just one paragraph as an example – p22:

“Humans have entered an age of hypocrisy, weakness, and lameness, terms that have a specific valence and definition that I elucidate in part 2. The overall aesthetic “feel” of the time of hyperobjects is a sense of asymmetry between the infinite poser of cognition and the infinite being of things. There occurs a crazy arms race between what we know and what is, in which the technology of what we know is turned against itself. The arms race sets new parameters for aesthetic experience and action, which I take in the widest possible sense to mean the ways in which relations between beings play out. Very significant consequences for art emerge, and the book ends by outlining some of them. “

It gets even better. Perhaps you know someone who cannot sleep – perhaps this would help!
Would be interested to know why this one got picked for the Library.”

In all transparency, I picked the book on the strength of an indie review and the publisher’s description–it still sounds fascinating, but I have not yet read it.  Also, I like to sneak some modern philosophy books into the stacks every few months when no one is looking.  It adds fiber.  When I communicated this to our guest reviewer, he responded, just as thoughtfully:

“I felt the same way just by looking at the cover and reviews. The reality upon reading it (or trying to), was a bit different. Will be interesting to see if other readers find it very interesting.  Keep up the great work. This one definitely “stretched my mind” in some ways it hadn’t done before. Perhaps I’ll try it in the future and see if it grows on me!”

If you are interested in reading further observations about Hyperobjects, the LA Times put forth a review that was almost as flummoxy.  Or take the measure of your philosophical fiber and check out the book @The Community Library.

Published in: on July 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Welcome Home, Bowe

Welcome Home, Bowe

May 31st, 2014

Published in: on May 31, 2014 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell–a guest book review by Richard Fassino

Thank you very much to one of our most widely read and erudite patrons, Richard Fassino, for this timely review of a newly released book on our shelves, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch by Lewis Darnell.  The Denizens blog at The Community Library welcomes a wide range of contributions from our patrons, board and staff that relate to our multifarious library collections.

the knowledge

With all the stories around about the destruction of the world as we know it – pick your poison – atomic war, terrorism, virulent flu gone wild, climate change cooking us, God’s revenge, etc, etc, etc – what happens after that? What happens if some of our human race survives? Are the folks with the guns and tons of food stored in their cellars going to rule? Will they wander around as in Cormac McCarthy’s book – The Road?  Really, what happens then?

Lewis Dartnell has taken a shot at it in his new book – The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch. This goes way beyond the basic survival books that have become popular over the last few Xmases. When the electricity goes off, when the food stores are depleted – how might the survivors be able to make it? Our human brains, our accumulated knowledge, our documented technological advances – how can we identify what will be useful? How can we preserve that knowledge in a way to retrieve it so it can be used in that kind of future?

It is an amazing book in many ways – one of the best ways is that it gives the reader a look into the basics of life – much of which is so far removed from our daily, technologically advanced life that we don’t even know about many of those basics anymore. The food part is great – perhaps there are some good, old-fashioned farmers that still know about some of those basics, but I’ll bet even some of them will get a few surprises.

It reads easily. It’s informative.
Try it.


notes from the internet

Other related reads at The Community Library on post-apocalyptic scenarios: Wayne Gladstone’s fiction satire Notes from the Internet Apocalypse the FoxFire series on folklore, country living and survival, and The Complete Survival Manual by Michael S. Sweeney.

An open question: What books would you squirrel away against technofailure? What would you keep around to read and consult by candlelight if an EMP hit and the power grid and internet went down?

Why Gove Shouldn’t Kill the Mockingbird

This excellent article comes from the Interesting Literature blog. I felt it was well worth boosting the signal.

Interesting Literature

Regular readers of this blog may know that we at Interesting Literature are rather fond of the following story about the genesis of To Kill a Mockingbird. The story goes that Harper Lee’s friends gave her a year’s wages for Christmas, on condition that she give up work and write. By any standard of measurement, she used the time off work wisely: she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. It was published in 1960 and remains her only novel. Harper Lee – or Nelle Harper Lee, to give her her full name – is now 88 years old, but her one novel has done enough by itself to secure her reputation. It has sold over 30 million copies.

This morning, it was reported that Michael Gove, the UK Education Secretary, has removed To Kill a Mockingbird and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men from the school GCSE syllabus. Gove…

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Published in: on May 27, 2014 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment