Linda Reads: The Beekeeper’s Ball by Susan Wiggs

19 Aug

beeThe Beekeeper’s Ball  by Susan Wiggs is book two of the Bella Vista Chronicles.  Book One, The Apple Orchard was previously reviewed here.  It is best to read book one first.

Thirty year old Isabel Johansen is a talented chef who had to suddenly leave culinary school under traumatic circumstances.  She returned to her beloved home in Archangel to transform the family estate of a beautiful hacienda, apple orchards, gardens, and beehives to a destination cooking school.  It’s a huge undertaking, especially since she is also planning her half-sister Tess’s wedding.  But a stranger shows up, and Isabel’s carefully ordered plans are put into jeopardy.

Cormac O’Neill is an award winning, world famous journalist.  Unbeknown by Isabel, he’s on his way to Bella Vista to meet Isabel’s grandfather, Magnus, to help write Magnus’ life story – a powerful, moving story of the Danish Resistance during World War II, the two women who shared his life, and the friend who helped him go to America and build his apple orchards.

Ms. Wiggs beautifully weaves the two plot lines – Magnus’s prior life, and the present day struggles of Isabel trying to build her cooking school, plan her sister’s wedding and overcome a painful episode that forced her to quit culinary school.  A sweet and understated romance blooms between Isabel and Cormac as they both learn to overcome their painful pasts.

Once again, Ms. Wiggs has written a visually appealing, moving story about love, lost, forgiveness and family.  Her incredible descriptions bring you right into the middle of World War II and smoothly transition to the lush, fragrant hills of present day California.  This book ends with the promise of an exciting story regarding Isabel and Tess’ father’s untimely death in the next installment of Bella Vista.






At the Library: Puppy Love

16 Aug

Once upon a tdogime (just a few months ago on a Saturday, actually) a family came in to the Cheshire Public Library to use the library’s computers. They wanted to fill out an application to adopt a dog from a rescue shelter in North Carolina.

The family (dad, mom, son, and daughter) was excited about adopting this dog. They showed his picture, which included his name, to Cara, the librarian on duty. She agreed the dog was a cutie.

It was near closing time, and the application was a long one. The family needed to provide a lot of information and had to make a few calls to get names and phone numbers for references. Cara tried to disable the computer reserve system, which automatically shuts off all computers at closing. To her dismay, the computer shut off before the application was submitted.

“Did we get the dog?’ the little girl asked excitedly.

She did not realize they had just lost all their information. The application had to be submitted by 5:00PM on that same day. The family did not have a working computer at home.

The library was closing so the family left knowing they missed the application deadline.

Feeling bad about what had happened, Cara returned to her computer, found the website, and after some searching located the dog the family wanted to adopt. She sent an email to the animal shelter, explaining what had happened, describing how the entire family had come in together to fill out the application and how much they wanted the dog. She asked the shelter to not make any decisions until Monday when the family could return and use the library’s computers to submit an application.

She thought about the family and their dog for the rest of the weekend. She never expected to hear back from the shelter.

But hear back she did. The woman from the shelter who responded to her email was impressed that she had taken the time to contact them about the family and was delighted that the entire family had been so involved with the application process. She agreed to wait for the application.

In the meantime, the family found a friend with a computer and submitted their application that weekend.

A few days later, the family returned with flowers for Cara. The shelter had told them what she had done for them. In addition, the shelter said that her description of their family and their excitement for owning the dog, plus the fact that Cara had thought highly enough of the family to send the first email, were the best recommendations that they could have had. The shelter knew, the woman told them, that they were sending the dog to a good home.

So a rescue dog has a new family and a family has a new pet to love.

Librarians can make a difference in your life.

If you’d like to learn more about adopting a dog, try our non-fiction shelves under 636.7!

Summertime Stargazing for the Whole Family

14 Aug
Warm summer nights are the perfect time for stargazing alone, or as a family. Learning about space, the night sky, and how to find objects in the sky is free, can be lots of fun, and is a great way to spend some summer night with the whole family.  So, if you have a youngster that is fascinated by the stars, or if you would have some interest and would like to encourage that interest in other family members or friends, here are some great children’s books about the stars and getting started stargazing.
1. Stargazers by Gail Gibbons
2.Night Sky Atlas by Robin Scagell
3. Awesome Astronomy by Raman Prinja
4.A Black Hole is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano; Illustrated by Michael Carroll
5. Universe by Robin Kerrod
6.The Kids Book of the Night Sky by Ann Love & Jane Drake; illustrated by Heather Collins
7. Once Upon a Starry Night: a Book of Constellation by Jacqueline Mitton, Christina Balit
8. The Young Astronomer by Harry Ford

9.Where are the Stars During the Day?: a Book about Stars by Melvin and Gilda Berger; illustrated by Blanche Sims
10.Beyond the Solar System: Exploring Galaxies, Black Holes, Alien Planets, and More by Mary Kay Carson


Want more great books about the night sky and space include: Is there Life on other Planets?: and Other Questions about Space by Gregory L. Vogt, 11 Planets: a New View of the Solar System by David A. Aguilar,Exploring the Solar System: a History with 22 Activities by Mary Kay Carson, Dot to Dot in the Sky: Stories in the Stars by Joan Marie Galat, and 101 Things Every Kid Should Know about Science by Samantha Beres.


Still not enough information, or looking to study more study about space, the night sky, and stargazing? In the adult nonfiction department you might want to check out: Stargazing with Binoculars by Robin Scagell, Firefly Guide to Stars and Planets by Sir Patrick Moore, Astronomy Hacks by  Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson, An Intimate Look at the Night Sky by Chet Raymo,A Field Guide to the Stars and Planets by Jay M. Pasachoff, Discover Planetwatch : a Year-Round Viewing Guide to the Night Sky with a Make-your-own Planetfinder by Clint Hatchett, or The Audubon Society Field Guide to the Night Sky by Mark R. Chartrand.

10 Books We’re Looking Forward to in August

12 Aug

Thrills, history, fantasy, and a bit of romance are all coming to Cheshire Library shelves in August. Just the thing to get us through the lazy, hazy days of summer!

Every month, librarians from around the country pick the top ten new books they’d most like to share with readers. The results are published on One of the goals of LibraryReads is to highlight the important role public libraries play in building buzz for new books and new authors. Click through to read more about what new and upcoming books librarians consider buzzworthy this month. The top ten titles for August are:

  1. One Kick by Chelsea Cain
  2. Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
  3. Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  4. Lock In by John Scalzi
  5. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
  6. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  7. The Truth about Leo by Katie MacAlister
  8. An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd
  9. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
  10. The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar

Librarians as Detectives

9 Aug


Librarians often wear many hats during the course of their workday.  Recently, I donned my detective hat to solve a mystery.

An old photograph of Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh was found in our bookdrop.  We had no way of knowing who it belonged to.  Stamped on the back of the photograph were the words, “Valuable Original.  Must Be Returned.”   There was an address in New York City also listed on the back for the Bettmann Archives and I sent the photo off to them with a letter explaining how we found it.  The envelope was returned one week later as “Not Deliverable”.


So I did a little searching and found some fascinating information.  The Bettmann Archive is named after Dr. Otto Bettmann, a librarian from Berlin, Germany.  He was a cataloger and he created a visual index for cataloging images.  In 1935, Bettmann left Nazi Germany for New York City with two steamer trunks full of pictures, books, and film (15,000 images).  Once in New York, he created an industry of collecting and classifying historic images for publication.

In 1995, the archive was sold to Corbis Images, a digital stock photography company in New York City founded by Bill Gates.  In 2002, to preserve the photos and negatives, Corbis moved the archive from Manhattan to the Iron Mountain National Underground Storage Facility, a former limstone quarry located 220 feet below ground in western Pennsylvania.  This site was chosen because it’s the most seismically sound and environmentally optimal location for film preservation in the United States.  Over the years, other collections were added to the archives including the United Press International collection.  There are 19 million historic photographs and images stored in this facility.

The Corbis website is mainly for selling reproductions of their photographs, so I sent an email to their sales department explaining what I had.  An hour later I received an email from their Sales Manager!  Not only was he happy I contacted Corbis, he told me his wife was actually from Hamden!  Small world!  I mailed the photograph to him on July 10th and on July 14th, I received an email from him letting me know the photo arrived safe and sound.  It will be shipped off to Pennsylvania for  digitizing and preservation.  He included a link to a 10 minute video that talks about that facility.  You can view it here.

I want to thank Sam Pagan and Oscar Espaillat from Corbis Images.  They were very helpful.  I wish I was able to find out how the photograph wound up at the Cheshire Library, but the paper trail was just too old.  But I certainly enjoyed learning about the Bettemann Archives and Corbis Images and I hope you found it interesting too!

If you’re interested in the story of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the Cheshire Library has an assortment of materials for you to peruse.  I reviewed the fiction book, The Aviator’s Wife in an earlier post you can read here.


Source: Corbis Images





Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,494 other followers

%d bloggers like this: