Closed Friday

Due to the snowstorm, we are closed tomorrow, 2/24.

Stay safe & warm everyone!

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Barn Tour Cancelled

Saturday’s Barn Tour is cancelled due to the pending snow storm. We hope to reschedule it for for sometime in March or April, so stay tuned!

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Closed for Presidents Day

We are closed Monday, February 20 in honor of Presidents Day.  We reopen with our regular hours on Tuesday the 21st.

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Join our Library Board!

WANTED: Two Library Board of Trustees Members

Are you a library lover? Do you enjoy volunteering and serving the community in a variety of ways? Then come join us!

The Van Horn Public Library currently has two openings on our Board of Trustees. Board members serve three year terms. Meetings on the second Monday of every other month at the library at 7pm.

Preference will be given to citizens of the City of Pine Island, although you may also represent Goodhue, Dodge or Olmsted Counties. Applications are available at the library or on our website: PDF or word doc.

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HRCN: Published in 2016

I almost feel like I am cheating for this box on my bingo card… Almost, but not quite. I decided earlier this week to include How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex as my book published in 2016 because it was so clever and fun. It only feels a bit like cheating since it is a picture book. But a wonderful one at that!

How This Book Was Made takes a look at the process of taking an idea and turning it into a book. And while it highlights the draft upon draft upon draft that are written before that nugget of an idea flowers into a published and read book. I love the story as it goes off onto tangents like angry tigers, pirates and astronauts. The illustrations are a fantastical match to the whimsy of this story – some pages have models that seem to pop off the page, others are pencil drawings on colored paper. When the story talks about places like Malaysia (where the book was printed), Malaysia is highlighted in a picture of an actual globe.

I would recommend this book to just about anyone, not only children, who is interested in book publishing or likes looking at their world from a slightly skewed point of view. I will leave you with the last couple of sentences, which do a great job of tying it all together. “Because a book can have words and pictures and paper and tigers, but a book still isn’t’ a book until it has a reader. And then you came along. and you read this book through to the very last page, which was how this book was made.”

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HRCN: Published the Year You Were Born

I was born in 1974. I was happy to search the catalog for this publication year and find a Nancy Drew book in our collection – The Strange Message in the Parchment by Carolyn Keene. I was a bit disappointed in this one.

The story takes place at the sheep farm of one of Nancy’s friends, June. June’s family has a parchment that has a mystery behind it that Nancy is invited to solve. In the process of investigating this mystery, Nancy is attacked by a flock of birds, a ram and an intruder. She also gets to show off her amazing art skills and gets a tour of a slaughterhouse and parchment factory.

I was disappointed at the obvious villain of this story – it is obvious from the first time you meet him that he is behind all the strife and chaos in the book. The Strange Message… seems to be written by a staff writer as quickly as possible in order to cash in on the Nancy Drew craze. It’s plot is much more linear than other Nancy Drew Mysteries I’ve read. It is also bit more political in tone and specifically seems to be pro-vegetarian and anti-labor unions.

Nancy got the bad guys in the end, of course, but I will not be returning to read this book again.

*****

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Book Club This Week

Have you read The Barn by Avi as part of One Town One Title? Do you want to talk to others in Pine Island about it?

Our library’s book club is meeting on Wednesday, February 8 at 6pm at Better Brew Coffeehouse to enjoy a cuppa and also talk about The Barn. All are welcome to join us in this informal discussion!

Haven’t had the chance to read this book yet? We still have a few free copies here at the Library, Pine Island Bank & Better Brew. This is a quick read so there is still plenty of time for you to enjoy this slim novel!

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HRCN: Cold Setting

Last week, my 7 year old and I read How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell together and we enjoyed just about every page! This is the book that inspired the movie franchise of the same name, although the book and the movie do not have a whole lot in common with each other. Instead of being the first to domesticate dragons as in the movies, in the Viking village of the book, boys must catch and train dragons in order to be members of the tribe in their own right. Before the beginning of this story, members of the tribe yelled at their dragons in order to train them and get them to do what they wanted. This is not the way Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III works, as he is puny and not much of a yeller. He has been studying dragons and has learned how to speak their language, Dragonese, the first Viking to do so.

Unfortunately, this does not help him much in training the smaller-than-normal dragon he caught and named Toothless. Toothless is stubborn, vain, recalcitrant dragon who won’t listen to Hiccup, at least, not in the beginning of the story. After many false starts, Toothless finally starts listening to Hiccup because Hiccup offers many tasty treats. But as happens in many coming-of-age stories, everything goes wrong during the actual test during the Thors-day Thursday festivities and ALL of the boys are to be exiled from the tribe the next day. Fortunately for them, two GIANT dragons show up on opposite ends of the island and the fates of all the Vikings appear to be in a very bad way. I say fortunately, because Hiccup is the only Viking to have learned Dragonese. He learns a bit about these large brutes and formulates a plan to get rid of them.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are likable and engaging, the storytelling is a bit whimsical and fun, and there are small ink illustrations peppered through the book that are fun additions to the narrative.

*****

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HRCN: Rural Setting

How could I not pick The Barn by Avi for the Rural Setting box for Hot Reads Bingo?

The Barn by Avi is our One Town, One Title selection for 2017. It is the story of a boy who is summoned to return home from school in 1855 when his father suffers from a seizure or stroke. The home farm is not the place that Ben seems to fit in well. He is small and book smart. His older brother and sister are bigger and better suited to the harsh conditions and hard work of pioneer farming.

Ben realizes early on that instead of working the fields he should care for his father who is basically in a vegetative state. The father cannot move on his own, except for small hand twitches and moving his eyes. Ben believes that the only thing that can save his dad is for the three siblings to build the barn his father was planning before his attack. Will it be enough for him to live for?

The characters in this short book all come to life, especially the children’s mother and father. They are both absent characters that live on in their children’s memories. The mother died in the not-too-distant past and the father’s stroke has left him absent as well. The father was a dreamer and ready to joke with his children, especially Ben. The mother, on the other hand, was much more a grounded realist who appeared to be disillusioned by her marriage. Their relationship fascinated me, probably most of all because it was only seen second hand.

I look forward to hearing what everyone else in Pine Island and the surrounding area thinks of this book. Please either stop by the library and share your thoughts on it, or come to our book club discussion on February 8 at Better Brew Coffeehouse at 6pm.

*****

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HRCN: Reader’s Choice

I have been having a great time finding and reading books to fill up my Hot Reads Bingo Card. The one I’m reviewing for you today is for my Reader’s Choice box. I read The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory: 400 Warp-Faced Weaves by Anne Dixon.

As a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, I have done a fair bit of handicrafts that have been done for many many centuries. One of my favorites is weaving. I love to sit down with a bunch of string and get up a while later (sometimes a long while later!) with a decorative band of fabric. A while ago, I took a class at one of our events, and the teacher recommended Dixon’s book. I am glad I finally took her advice and read this for myself!

Dixon has been weaving inkle bands for more than 20 years, and she shares her experience and patterns with the rest of us in this spiral-bound book. She describes step-by-step how to setup the warp to make decorative bands and trims using a variety of methods. She breaks down each type of weaving so that anyone can follow along and learn from her book. I am not an inexperienced weaver, but I learned a better way to start and stop a piece in the first 10 pages of her book.

The book begins with straight weaving, called tabby weaving. This is the basic over/under you probably think of when someone says “weaving”. The pattern here comes directly from the colors you used in your warp string. She then progresses through warp manipulation (also called pickup weaving), Baltic-style pickup weaving, Monks Belt and many more ways to create beautiful bands.

I have been on a weaving kick since reading this book and here are some of the bands I’ve created recently.

*****

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