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Blog Category: Director's Notebook

Posted by DBarchi on Thu, Mar 24
Library Director’s Notebook March, 2016 Miss Lulu Bett by Zona Gale One of the best things about a public library is the serendipitous excitement of finding a book, by an author unknown to one, in the book stacks.  Some of my favorite books and authors have been discovered this way, and I am so grateful that Barrington Public Library has a long tradition of purchasing books by new or relatively unknown authors, thus adding great depth and variety to the reading choices in the library. One...
Posted by DBarchi on Thu, Jan 28
Library Director’s Notebook February, 2016 The Old Man Who Read Love Stories by Luis Sepulveda As someone who tends to primarily read books set in a Euro-centric milieu , I really enjoy coming across a book with a different cultural focus. Such a discovery for me was The Old Man Who Read Love Stories by Luis Sepulveda. Set in fairly recent times (the book was written in the late ‘80’s) and set in the Ecuadorian rainforest, this short but potent novel could be read as a warning about impending...
Posted by DBarchi on Thu, Jan 07
Library Director’s Notebook January, 2016 The Dinner by Herman Koch The Dinner by Herman Koch is a slender novel that might also have been written as a play. By that I mean most of the action takes place in a somewhat claustrophobic setting of a chic, pricey restaurant in Holland, peopled by the rich and famous, or the merely quite well-to-do. The major dramatis personae are also limited, including Paul,the narrator, his wife Claire, his brother Serge and his sister-in-law Babette. Overly...
Posted by DBarchi on Thu, Dec 10
Library Director’s Notebook  December, 2015 The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers  It’s often hard to tell when reading The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers in what period of time it is set.  This is a good thing, from the reader’s point of view, because there are certain universal and timeless aspects of this complex story that would resonate with people today, a hundred years past, or a hundred years in the future.  Set in the town of Chartres with its magnificent cathedral and many...
Posted by DBarchi on Thu, Oct 22
Library Director’s Notebook October, 2015 The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones It’s hard to write ghost stories. While ghost stories, many of fine literary quality, thrived in the Victorian and Edwardian period, modern ghost stories don’t seem to have gained as much traction with the public in modern times. Perhaps because so many of us have become jaded with the blood and gore of today’s horror books and movies, the idea of ghosts who may or may not have evil on their minds, doesn’t...
Posted by DBarchi on Tue, Sep 15
Library Director’s Notebook September, 2015 The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins Hemingway once said that journalism is a great training ground for novelists.  He would seem to be right as far as Paula Hawkins the author of The Girl on the Train goes.  The Girl on the Train is Hawkins’ first novel, but she writes like someone completely in control of narrative and dialogue, someone who knows how to keep a firm grip on the reader’s tautly-drawn...
Posted by DBarchi on Tue, Aug 04
Library Director’s Notebook August, 2015  Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon In his recent novel Leaving Berlin ,Joseph Kanon has added an excellent novel to the impressive  Cold War spy novel genre. The story begins in 1949 with World War II scarcely four years ended but the conflict between Western democracies and Russian-led communist countries well underway.  Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer who had fled Nazi Germany in the 1930’s finds himself in the very unenviable position of...
Posted by DBarchi on Thu, Jul 09
Library Directors Notebook  July, 2015  Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf Kent Haruf, author of Our Souls At Night, died recently.  This is his last book which he struggled to complete before dying. There is a poignancy associated with any artist’s last work, but I think Our Souls At Night would have been touching even if it were not Haruf’s final novel.  When so many novels today assume a modern acceptance concerning casual sex or mindless coupling, Haruf’s novel takes a unique, even...
Posted by DBarchi on Tue, Jun 02
Library Director’s Notebook June, 2015  Dead Wake: the last crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson Ordinarily, as a reader or movie-goer, I shy away from disaster stories. Perhaps it’s because stories of famous disasters seem to have an element of voyeurism to them, akin to rubber-necking to get a better view of a car wreck.   Yet reading Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson has shown me that in the hands of a tireless researcher and gifted writer, even a...
Posted by DBarchi on Wed, May 06
Library Director’s Notebook May, 2015 The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley There are many theories about why people love to read mysteries.  Is it because mysteries, particularly traditional mystery novels, offer the reader a challenging puzzle , with a final resolution that usually ends with a sense of justice served?  Or is it because our curiosity cannot help but be aroused at the very thought of that most serious and timeless of crimes, a cold-blooded murder?  The Art of...

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