Friday, July 21, 2017

Michelle's Musings


Post-Civil War Texas has always been of great interest to me.  It was a time of chaos with an abundance of untamed and rugged land.  Texas was in transition between Reconstruction and the Progressive Era. While cotton, cattle, and railroads were the economic future of the state, agriculture was still dominating the economy at this time.

Most of the people in the state were illiterate, but they were hungry for news.  Men made their living traveling from town to town giving readings from the latest newspapers so the isolated towns on the Texas frontier were kept up to date on domestic and foreign events.  Such is the background for my recommendation for a great read, News of the World by Paulette Jiles.

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd was one of those men who roamed the frontier reading newspapers to Texas citizens.  While in Wichita Falls, he is asked to return a young girl, captured by the Indians, to her relatives near San Antonio.  She is a former captive who still considers herself an Indian.  Thus begins an adventure that will shape both of their lives forever.  This is a story of honor and courage and these two things are in the possession of these two main characters.  The minor characters are rich in background and accurate to the time period in Texas.

Paulette Jiles got her inspiration from the real Captain Kidd who was a relative of one of her riding friends.  When she heard her friend discuss her great-great-grandfather, she knew this was a great story.  The book has been compared to Charles Portis’s “True Grit” and to John Ford’s film “The Searchers” because one involves a girl on a long journey with an older man and the other involves the rescue of a white girl who had been kidnapped by Indians.  Jiles is an accomplished poet and it greatly enhances her narrative writing style.  She has been so successful at bringing the characters and the times they lived in to the reading audience that she was a finalist for the National Book Award and was recommended by the Gulf Coast Reads Association as well as Galveston Reads.

For those of you who love historical fiction and are fans of our Texas culture, this book is a wonderful read.  Our state history is so very rich with characters like this.  It is no wonder that we are proud to be Texans...

Friday, July 7, 2017

Language Static at FPL

Language Static: Christopher Oddo Art Show Reception:  Come and meet the artist during this come and go reception. Christopher Oddo's art is inspired by lorem ipsum. A filler text used in publishing and graphic design to demonstrate the graphic elements of a document or visual presentation. Replacing meaningful content with placeholder text allows designers to design the form of the content before the content itself has been produced.
Wednesday, July 26 from 6 - 8pm

Art exhibit open now through September 7


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Michelle's Musings: The Alice Network

This is the time of the year when people resort to “beach reads”.  Ordinarily these are books that often include romance or at least something you don’t have to follow intensely.  For me a “beach read” is a book that you would not ordinarily read, one in which you have vacation time to pursue.  As a library clerk, I often get asked to make recommendations for “beach reads” and now I am going to take the time to endorse a book that has romance, history, and suspense.  The book is entitled “The Alice Network” and is written by Alice Quinn.

Quinn is a national bestselling author who writes historical fiction and in this book she has brought together a female who was a spy during World War I and a young college student searching for her cousin in 1947 postwar France.  Eve was an agent for the British government in France during the “Great War” and Charlie is a pregnant, unmarried young woman who has brought shame upon her family.  She is desperate to find her much loved cousin, Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during World War II.  Together these two bring the reader a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

The Alice Network was an actual spy network of a hundred people who were located forty kilometers from the front of WWI France.  They were extremely effective at smuggling Allied soldiers to England and at providing valuable information to the Intelligence Service.  It is estimated to have saved the lives of more than a thousand British soldiers during the 9 months of full operation from January to September 1915.  Alice Quinn portrays these women faultlessly and with an incredible eye for detail.  Her main characters are both funny and heart-breaking.  This is an enthralling tale filled with a narrative that makes the reader feel that they are living in this time period.  This book is a must-read for anyone who loves history and intrigue.