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Library Talk – May 17, 2018

Thank you to all that came to the Shaheen Miro talk about one’s own intuitive powers—always interesting! I’m sure we will have another visit from him sometime—he is very busy, often on an international scale, but we are fortunate that he doesn’t forget his Ripley roots and finds time to visit.

In the batch of books we added last week, besides the latest James Patterson (seems nearly weekly we are adding one, this time The Princess: A Private novel) and the latest Danielle Steel (The Cast), we had some interesting non-fictions. The Road to Dawn: Josiah Henson and the Story that Sparked the Civil War by Jared A. Brock is about the slave that escaped with his wife and children to Canada, and became quite the spokesperson for racial equality, raised funds for abolitionist groups and is often considered the model for Uncle Tom in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. While we have Josiah’s autobiography in our collection, we did not have anything this sweeping about his life and influence—interesting read.

While we have lots of fictional books with cowboys (both westerns and romance paperbacks) the non-fiction category is weak. John Branch has written The Last Cowboys: A Pioneer Family in the New West that is a portrait of a modern cowboy family that gambles on the now and future of ranching and rodeo. Family is the glue here, as well as vision and respect for the past.

Simon Winchester delves into the influence of precision in industry—the ability to replicate a part or a machine over and over changed the world. Simon covers from pre-Industrial Revolution that had an impact on our nation and the world to today’s modern technology—might sound a bit dry, but isn’t. Think of some of the items we take for granted, and many had early starts due to ‘Perfectionists’—transistors, computers, cameras, watches, firearms, locks, fountain pens, even flushable toilets—all using and improving precision machining and mass productions. Interesting history.

Reviews of this next book have been on the radio, in magazines and on television. Barracoon: the Story of the Last “black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston. In 1927, Zora travelled to Alabama to interview the last known survivor of the last known slave ship, Cudjo Lewis. The language is written in dialect, and takes a bit to get used to, but for a first-hand description of the horrors of traveling across the ocean, the slave auctions, it is an amazing short read.

Even if you are a dyed-in-the-wool fiction reader, I welcome you to try a non-fiction once in awhile—a biography, a history, a gardening book, a true crime… sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and fun to read.