All posts by rgray

Book Talk Thursday 4

Book cover of Scarlet PimpernelThis classic novel takes place during the French Revolution. An English nobleman is rescuing French aristocrats from the gallows under the noses of those who want to execute them. Sir Percy Blackeney is known for his realistic disguises and for the small red flower, a scarlet pimpernel, left as a signature after of his rescues. He appears to all to be a fop, dandy and fool, and this disguise suits his purpose well. His wife, Marguerite, was a famous actress on the French stage. She is accosted by the French Envoy to help him unmask the Pimpernel – if she does not help him, her brother faces the guillotine. After doing so, she realizes who the Scarlet Pimpernel is, and she sails to France to warn Sir Percy before he is snared in a neck-severing trap.

I recommend this book for anyone liking action, adventure and intrigue. Its characters have wonderful character arcs, and the villain is the only one that is not fully rounded and complete. You can find The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy in our adult classics, on the window shelves on our west wall. Its call number is F ORC.


Beautiful Bundts book coverPicnic season will be here (eventually) and what could be more perfect than impressing your friends and family with a lovely cake? Beautiful Bundts by Julie Anne Hession has many options for a show-stopping cake! Do you like Boston Cream Bundt? Take a look at the recipe on page 100. Maybe Pumpkin Spice Pull-Apart Bundt  is more your speed. Page 148 is your stop.  There are savory recipes as well like Southwestern Mac & Cheese Bundt (p 246)  or Crispy Parmesan Hash Brown Bundts  (p 262).

The great thing about this recipe book is that it has a beautiful picture of a beautiful bundt for each of its recipes. You can also get bundt basics like greasing the pan, testing for doneness, or making a filled cake.

The recipes are easy to follow and go step by step, so this could be good for bundt beginners, but there is enough variety in the techniques it covers that a more advanced baker might also enjoy it.

Look for Beautiful Bundts along the back wall in the non-fiction books at call number 641.86 HES.


Accidental Beauty Queen book coverWhat happens when a beauty queen and a school librarian are twins and the beauty queen has an allergic reaction that makes her entire face swell up? You guessed it, the librarian helps her out and takes her place for the preliminaries of a national pageant. Oh, and she falls for one of the judges!

This is a very fun book that I will be recommending to friends who like books that reference other books, and friends who like modern takes on Pride & Prejudice, rom-coms, etc. Wilson wrote a couple of movies for the Hallmark Channel (Unleashing Mr Darcy & Marrying Mr Darcy), and I can see this being made into one as well.

This is a fun summer read sure to leave you with a smile on your face. You can find it in our paperback shelves with the call number PPB F WIL.

Thursday Book Talk

This is the first in a series of (hopefully) weekly reviews of books I’ve enjoyed reading or listening to. I hope you enjoy them!

The Ravenmaster: My Life With the Ravens at the Tower of London by Christopher Skaife.

Book Cover of Ravenmaster

Christopher Skaife has worked at the Tower of London for many years, working his way up to being in charge of the Tower’s Ravens. In this short book, Skaife talks about the history of the birds, about his history at the Tower, and about the ravens that currently live and “work” there. He is an excellent storyteller and tells his story in a no-nonsense manner.

This book is not is a scientific study of ravens and their behavior. Instead, it is a very readable memoir of both Skaife and his feathered companions. I recommend this for Anglophiles, bird lovers,  memoir readers and anyone in search of an interesting book about a little known (at least in the US) topic.

You can find this book in our nonfiction section. Its call number is 942.1 SKA.

Going Green

Help the VHPL go green by donating reusable shopping or tote bags. We are no longer ordering plastic bags & want to offer reusable bags for people to bring home books!
Help the VHPL go green by donating reusable shopping or tote bags. We are no longer ordering plastic bags & want to offer reusable bags for people to bring home books!

Board opening

We have an opening on our Board of Trustees!

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 an opening on our Board of Trustees. Board members serve a three year term and can have three consecutive terms. Meetings on the second Monday of every other month at the library at 6pm.

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 Document.