Weekly Book List: Week 5 (Set in Wisconsin)

bodiesThe Bodies Left Behind / Jeffrey Deaver

Arriving at a deserted lake house to investigate an aborted call to police, Deputy Anna McCafferty walks into the middle of a heinous crime and is forced to flee, along with the daughter of the murdered couple, into the surrounding forest to escape the perpetrators. (FIC DEAVER)


murderOld World Murder / Kathleen Ernst

Chloe Ellefson, starting fresh as curator of Old World Wisconsin, finds herself in the middle of a mystery when a woman looking for a priceless eighteenth-century Norwegian ale bowl dies in a mysterious car crash and Chloe beings to realize that someone is trying to erase all traces of the bowl’s existence. (FIC ERNST)

reliableA Reliable Wife / Robert Goolrick

Ralph Truitt, a wealthy businessman with a troubled past who lives in a remote nineteenth-century Wisconsin town, has advertised for a reliable wife; and his ad is answered by Catherine Land, a woman who makes every effort to hide her own dark secrets. (FIC GOOLRICK)


mapA Map of the World / Jane Hamilton

On a dairy farm in the midwest, Alice is watching her neighbor’s daughter when she drowns in the pond. This marks the beginning of a series of events that turns Alice into a scapegoat and brings about her family’s downfall. (FIC HAMILTON, JANE)


fieldingThe Art of Fielding / Chad Harbach

A baseball star at a small college near Lake Michigan launches a routine throw that goes disastrously off course and inadvertently changes the lives of five people, including the college president, a gay teammate, and the president’s daughter. (PBK HARBACH)


oceanThe Deep End of the Ocean /  Jacquelyn Mitchard

Nine years after three-year-old Ben Cappadora’s kidnapping, a twelve-year-old boy knocks at the door of the Cappadora house, looking for yardwork. (FIC MITCHARD)


coconutThe Coincidence of Coconut Cake / Amy E. Reichert

On the day Chef Lou Johnson catches her fiancâe in a compromising position with an intern, British food critic Al pays a visit to her Milwaukee restaurant and writes a scathing review, which runs on the day the two meet at a local pub. (FIC REICHERT)


deathDeath Stalks Door County / Patricia Skalka

Haunted by death, former police detective Dave Cubiak must confront his own heartache before discovering what’s behind the tragic incidents plaguing the tourist mecca of Door County, Wisconsin. (FIC SKALKA)


crossingCrossing to Safety / Wallace Stegner

Two young couples, Sid and Charity and Larry and Sally, from different backgrounds–East and West, rich and poor–befriend each other in 1937 Madison, Wisconsin. (FIC STEGNER)


edgarThe Story of Edgar Sawtelle / David Wroblewski

A tale reminiscent of “Hamlet” that also celebrates the alliance between humans and dogs follows speech-disabled Wisconsin youth Edgar, who bonds with three yearling canines and struggles to prove that his sinister uncle is responsible for his father’s death. (FIC WROBLEWSKI)

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart


Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

It’s 1890 Washington State, and Joseph Johnson has lived through a great deal of heartache for a twelve year old. His family is gone, and now his life, his pony Sarah, has been wrongly sold to a shady horse dealer. Joseph aims to get her back and begins his harrowing journey. Along the way he makes a friend, stands up for himself, battles the elements, and comes in contact with the best and the worst of people he meets on his way. An extremely satisfying second adventure book from this talented writer.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC GEMEINHART)

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)


Reviewed by Zach S (Library Staff)


Wes Anderson makes very distinctive films. Unlike big budget blockbuster movie makers that seek to simply have the shiniest colors and least offensive aesthetic as to appeal to the widest possible demographics that their pictures can reach, Wes Anderson always sets out to make HIS movie above all else, thus is the case of Fantastic Mr. Fox. Ditching the traditions of conventional animated films, Anderson trades in computer animated characters for an entirely stop motion cast and world, intentionally reminiscent of the classic Rankin/Bass holiday TV specials. He’s literally crafted an entirely other world that looks and feels like no other animated movie in recent memory. What stands out most is despite the fact that this is a children film, Anderson never talks down to his audience. We see people smoking, we see them shoot guns, we follow the journey of a main character whose objective in life is to be the best thief there is, an objective he has to constantly struggle with in order to be a responsible family man. This is not some after school cartoon program you idly watch without a purpose. This is a piece of art.


Moby Dick by Herman Melville & Clam Chowder


“But when that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh! sweet friends, hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuits and salted pork cut up into little flakes! The whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt…we dispatched it with great expedition.” ~Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Clam Chowder


3 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams

1 cup minced onion

1 cup diced celery

2 cups cubed potatoes

1 cup diced carrots

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 quart half-and-half cream

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

ground black pepper to taste


  1. Drain juice from clams into a large skillet over the onions, celery, potatoes and carrots. Add water to cover, and cook over medium heat until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large heave saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in cream and stir constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in vegetables and clam juice. Heat through, but do not boil.
  3. Stir in clams just before serving. If they cook too much they get tough. When clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

What Light by Jay Asher


Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

I picked this book up because, like many people, I have a soft spot for stories wrapped up in the cheer of the holiday season. However, despite my admittedly low expectations, What Light still managed to disappoint me. It checked off all the requisite boxes for the holiday genre, but ended up being less than the sum of its parts. I confess that I didn’t even see it through to the end because I reached a point where I literally could not have cared less about what happened to the characters. If you are in the mood for a Christmas season romance, check out My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins. Any of those 12 short stories deliver more in 20 pages than this book could in 251.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC ASHER)

Weekly Book List: Week 4 (Short Stories)

bonfireBeneath the Bonfire: Stories / Nickolas Butler

A collection of stories includes the tales of young couples who gather annually to collect winter firewood and an aging environmentalist who takes out his anger on an unsuspecting target. (FIC BUTLER)


mothersMothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories / Bonnie Jo Campbell

In this third short story collection from author Bonnie Jo Campbell, mothers and daughters feature heavily, weighing the consequences of bad choices, facing difficult situations in the present, and worrying about their futures. (FIC CAMPBELL)


lose-herThis is How You Lose Her / Junot Diaz

Presents a collection of stories that explores the heartbreak and radiance of love as it is shaped by passion, betrayal, and the echoes of intimacy. (FIC DIAZ)


superheroesTwilight of the Superheroes / Deborah Eisenberg

A collection of short works includes the tales of a group of friends whose efforts to acquire a luxurious Manhattan sublet are halted by the September 11 attacks, a teacher’s Roman holiday in the wake of her husband’s life-threatening illness, and a brother’s painful love for his schizophrenic sister. (FIC EISENBERG)

dublinersDubliners / James Joyce

In this collection of masterful stories, steeped in realism, James Joyce creates an exacting portrait of his native city, showing how it reflects the general decline of Irish culture and civilization. (FIC JOYCE)


maladiesInterpreter of Maladies / Jhumpa Lahiri

In nine stories imbued with the sensual details of Indian culture, Lahiri charts the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations. This short fiction collection blends elements of Indian traditions with the complexities of American culture in such tales as “A Temporary Matter,” in which a young Indian-American couple confronts their grief over the loss of a child, while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout. (FIC LAHIRI)

more-thingOne More Thing: Stories and Other Stories / B.J. Novak

A debut collection by a writer for the television series “The Office” includes the title story, in which a boy’s lucrative sweepstakes win proves more harm than good for his family. (FIC NOVAK)


nineNine Stories / J.D. Salinger

“DeDaumier-Smith’s Blue Period,” “Teddy,” and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” are among the nine works in a collection of Salinger’s perceptive and realistic short stories. (FIC SALINGER)


tenthTenth of December: Stories / George Saunders

A collection of stories includes “Home,” a wryly whimsical account of a soldier’s return from war; “Victory Lap,” a tale about an inventive abduction attempt; and the title story, in which a suicidal cancer patient saves the life of a young misfit. (FIC SAUNDERS)


prettyMe Talk Pretty One Day / David Sedaris

In a collection of essays, observations, and commentaries, the humorist describes his recent move to Paris, life as an American in Paris, his struggle to learn French, his family, and restaurant meals. (814.54 SED)

Hilda series by Luke Pearson


Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Beginning with Hilda and the Troll and continuing through 4 more books (so far), Luke Pearson’s charming graphic novel series is an utter delight. Hilda’s life is nestled comfortably between present-day mundanity and fantastical Scandinavian folklore, with our plucky, blue-haired heroine approaching daily magical mishaps with confidence and humor. The whimsical color palette and expressive comic style bring Hilda’s world vibrantly to life.

All books available through BRIDGES Library System

Star Wars Rebels (TV SERIES)


Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Trust me when I say that this is not just a kids show. The sophisticated storytelling, well-developed characters and slick animation style make this series perfect for anyone dipping their first toe into the expansive Star Wars universe or seasoned veterans craving a satisfying snack between blockbuster release dates, not to mention everyone in between. The series centers around an unlikely team of rebels, including Jedi-in-training Ezra and Clone Wars-veteran Kanan, who conduct missions on various planets to further their cause. The combination of adventure, humor and heart keep me coming back for more.

Season 1 Available through BRIDGES Library System

Season 2 Located in TV Series (TV SERIES STAR WARS SEASON 2)

Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts & Bride’s Cake with Raspberry Filling


“And she had the cakes. And the pastries, she though, and the chocolates. But the cakes stood as the crowning touch.” ~Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts

Bride’s Cake with Raspberry Filling and White Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients (Cake and Filling)

Solid vegetable shortening for greasing the pans

Flour for dusting the pans

1 package (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix

1 cup whole milk

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

1 cup fresh raspberries, rinsed and drained


  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pans aside.
  2. Place the cake mix, milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed. The batter should look well blended. Divide the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing out. Place the pans in the oven side by side.
  3. Bake the cakes until they are light brown and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 27 to 29 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of the cakes and invert each onto a rack, then invert them again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Allow to cool completely, 30 minutes more.
  4. Prepare the White Chocolate Frosting (Recipe Below)
  5. Place one cake layer, right side up, on a serving platter. Spread the top with a thin layer of the White Chocolate frosting, then spread with the raspberry jam, spreading the jam with a spatula up to 1 inch from the cake edge. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the jam. Spread frosting on top and sides of the cake with clean, smooth strokes.
  6. Garnish the cake with the fresh raspberries.


White Chocolate Frosting


6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


  1. Place the white chocolate in a small saucepan and melt over low heat, 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and let the chocolate cool.
  2. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low seed until well combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the melted white chocolate and blend on low for 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and blend on low speed for 30 seconds more. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy, 1 minute more.
  3. Use to frost the top and sides of the cake of your choice.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge


Reviewed by Judy B (Library Staff)

Well written story with murder, deception, women’s subjugation, dysfunctional families, science and a “dash” of fairy tale all wrapped around the art of lying. It won the Costa Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for several other awards.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC HARDINGE)