“Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders

“Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders

“Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders

SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

My Review: ★★★★★

This was absolutely not what I was expecting, and it took me a little while to get into the book and its rhythms. I had heard a lot about how good the audiobook was, so I started with that, but got too confused to follow the narrative. I started following the book along with the audiobook, then just dropped the audio altogether. This book is so unique, I don’t really know how to describe it. Yet the story it tells fits in with the best of literary tradition. I found the characters throughout to be striking and original, yet with an understandable humanity that made them both relatable and sympathetic. The story has stayed with me since I finished it. I would strongly recommend this book, with the caveat that you stick with it until you get into the flow of the piece. This would be an easy book to give up on, and think that nothing is happening. However, I think you’ll discover that everything is happening. This is a literary experience not to be missed.

Professional Reviews: 

“A luminous feat of generosity and humanism.”—Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review

“An extended national ghost story…As anyone who knows Saunders’s work would expect, his first novel is a strikingly original production.”—The Washington Post

“Saunders’s beautifully realized portrait of Lincoln…attests to the author’s own fruitful transition from the short story to the long-distance form of the novel.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Devastatingly moving.”—People

“Profound, funny and vital…the work of a great writer.”—Chicago Tribune

“Heartbreaking and hilarious…For all its divine comedy, Lincoln in the Bardo is also deep and moving.”—USA Today

“Along with the wonderfully bizarre, empathy abounds in Lincoln in the Bardo.”—Time

“There are moments that are almost transcendentally beautiful, that will come back to you on the edge of sleep. And it is told in beautifully realized voices, rolling out with precision or with stream-of-consciousness drawl.”—NPR

Get to Know Your Board of Trustees – Tony Derricott

I am Tony Derricott.  I have been a member of the Board of Trustees for the Madison Library District since June of 2013.  Prior to that I was also a member of the Madison Library Foundation.  I have served 1-year stints as both Vice Chair and Chair of the Board.  Leading and following have both been enjoyable experiences for me.

My wife and I both work for BYU-Idaho.  We and our children have long enjoyed patronizing libraries.  I have fond memories of visiting the Carnegie Library in Preston as a child.  One of my first favorite book series was “The Great Brain.”  In addition, I had a subscription to Games magazine.  Later in life I volunteered and then worked for some time in the Bitterroot Public Library up in Hamilton, Montana, prior to moving to Rexburg back in 2009.  Serving just seems right…it’s my type of fun!  You should come and try it sometime! 😉

In the meantime, continue to patronize the library.  I have a list of thousands of books that I want to read that I keep organized on my account in Goodreads.  I have just finished The Great Gatsby and am now reading Silas Marner.  In the past, I’ve read the complete list of Newbery Award Winner books.  Want to see what else I’ve read or want to read?  Join me on Goodreads and see what books we might have in common. The library also sponsors a Goodreads contest. If you see me in the library or in person, let me know how I can represent you on the board.  Whether we only meet online or in person, let’s talk books.  They’re good for us!

Get to Know Your Board of Trustees – Golden Fulcher

GREETINGS!  I’m Jared Golden Fulcher, one of your friendly neighborhood Trustee members!  You can call me Golden since there are too many Jareds around here. 😀

I’ve been on the Board of Trustees for over three years now and it is an honor to fill this position.  I am lucky to work with four other people who are like me and want to help guide the Madison Library District on to bigger and better things.

Me?  Oh. Well.  Let’s see. I’m originally from Maryland and grew up with deviously evil parents.  They were dead set on not only tricking us kids into reading, but using the library!  No joke!  Their standard go-to trick was to get us kids book series as presents but intentionally NOT give us the last book in the series.  Fiends!  The one year their tricks caused an insurrection was when for Christmas they got each of the three younger kids, myself included, one book each from a series.  Three kids, one copy of book one, library closed for the holidays…  I still have nightmares.

Despite the almost collapse of the Fulcher family, we all grew into voracious readers and found love in many diverse forms of writing.  I myself graduated from Ye Ole BYU-Idaho with a BA in English-Creative Writing (can you tell?).  I enjoy contemplating and writing the various, “What if?” type of stories that thread through History, Fantasy, Church, Science Fiction, and Modern themes.

As for what I enjoy reading, well, that goes all over the place.  I can get into a good Dean Koonz novel just as fast as one of Gerald N. Lund’s books.  If I’m up for a book that will take me a year and a half to read, Tad Williams is my guy (Sorry Robert Jordan).  Growing up I gained a strong love for the high adventure books of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Fritz Leiber, and Robert E. Howard.

But my current, all time hands down favorite author has got to be Jim Butcher.  His Dresden Files series is AMAZING!  He is able to create a lush and full picture in each page that brings not only the characters to life, but breathes dimension into the world you’re exploring.  I really can’t get enough of him.

Well, I think I’ve rambled on enough about me, thanks for reading and remember, I didn’t just name drop these authors to get brownie points with them, I hope that at the end of this article you might just get curious enough to head down to the Library, and check one or two out for yourself.  C’mon, I double-dog dare ya!

Grief Awareness Seminar

Grief Awareness Seminar

Suffering from a broken heart? 

Join us for a Grief Awareness Seminar

Wednesday, August 30,

from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm,

in the Community Room.  

Certified Grief Recovery Specialist Geoff Winfree, LMFT, will help us learn common misconceptions about grief and give us tools to help down the path to recovery.

Goodreads Spring Challenge Starts March 1

We’re about to start our next Seasonal Reading Challenge!

Each season (Winter, Spring, and Fall) a new challenge with a series of reading related tasks is posted. Each task is assigned a point level and then it’s up to you to decide which tasks you’ll attempt (or if you want to try to finish them all) and then find the books that fit. This challenge is a great way to discover new books as well as to have a chance to win some great prizes.

The Spring Challenge runs from March 1 through May 31.  Any books read during that time period can be used to complete tasks.  For example, if you don’t join until May 1st, you can still count any book you’ve read since March 1.

The Challenge is open to any patron over the age of 10 who has a library card at the Madison Library District. When you join, please give us your library card number, so we can verify you are one of our patrons.  We have a Goodreads table in the library with brochures explaining how to play and books that fit some of the tasks.  You can chose to play with paper forms (which will be available on the Goodreads table) or online at The Madison Library District Goodreads Seasonal Challenge.

If you have any questions feel free to ask a librarian next time you visit the library.  We hope you’ll all play!

 

“The Forsyte Saga” by John Galsworthy

“The Forsyte Saga” by John Galsworthy

“The Forsyte Saga” by John Galsworthy

ForsyteOne of the greatest works of literature, there’s a reason why Mr. Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this work. An epic saga of a single extended family which spans several generations, Galsworthy creates characters that are human and fallible, noble, kind and cruel. The story is deeply moving, funny, infuriating and completely compelling. This is a huge work, but, as with all great novels, the better it is, the more you want it to continue on and on. This one does! The Saga comprises of three novels and two “interludes” or short stories between the novels. The first interlude of the saga, “Indian Summer of a Forsyte,” is one of the most beautiful and poignant works I have ever read.

In addition to this first work, Galsworthy continued the story of the Forsytes for another two complete epics, creating nine novels in all. He also created a series of short stories to fill in elements of the characters backstories.

If you intend to embark on this wonderful journey into the heart of middle class Brits at turn of the 20th century, I recommend the Oxford University Press edition, which has an extensive glossary included. Galsworthy includes a large amount of slang of the period, and this edition explains those terms. Its available at the Madison Library District for patron use.

Gina’s test for Story Times

Gina’s test for Story Times

Zombie Ipsum Lorum

2nd and 4th Thursday’s at 4:00-4:30 pm in the Community Room

Zombie ipsum reversus ab viral inferno, nam rick grimes malum cerebro. De carne lumbering animata corpora quaeritis. Summus brains sit​​, morbo vel maleficia? De apocalypsi gorger omero undead survivor dictum mauris. Hi mindless mortuis soulless creaturas, imo evil stalking monstra adventus resi dentevil vultus comedat cerebella viventium. Qui animated corpse, cricket bat max brucks terribilem incessu zomby. The voodoo sacerdos flesh eater, suscitat mortuos comedere carnem virus. Zonbi tattered for solum oculi eorum defunctis go lum cerebro. Nescio brains an Undead zombies. Sicut malus putrid voodoo horror. Nigh tofth eliv ingdead.

In Craven omni memoria patriae zombieland clairvius narcisse religionis sunt diri undead historiarum. Golums, zombies unrelenting et Raimi fascinati beheading. Maleficia! Vel cemetery man a modern bursting eyeballs perhsaps morbi.

Zombie Ipsum Lorum

2nd and 4th Thursday’s at 4:00-4:30 pm in the Community Room

Zombie ipsum reversus ab viral inferno, nam rick grimes malum cerebro. De carne lumbering animata corpora quaeritis. Summus brains sit​​, morbo vel maleficia? De apocalypsi gorger omero undead survivor dictum mauris. Hi mindless mortuis soulless creaturas, imo evil stalking monstra adventus resi dentevil vultus comedat cerebella viventium. Qui animated corpse, cricket bat max brucks terribilem incessu zomby. The voodoo sacerdos flesh eater, suscitat mortuos comedere carnem virus. Zonbi tattered for solum oculi eorum defunctis go lum cerebro. Nescio brains an Undead zombies. Sicut malus putrid voodoo horror. Nigh tofth eliv ingdead.

Zombie Ipsum Lorum

2nd and 4th Thursday’s at 4:00-4:30 pm in the Community Room

Zombie ipsum reversus ab viral inferno, nam rick grimes malum cerebro. De carne lumbering animata corpora quaeritis. Summus brains sit​​, morbo vel maleficia? De apocalypsi gorger omero undead survivor dictum mauris. Hi mindless mortuis soulless creaturas, imo evil stalking monstra adventus resi dentevil vultus comedat cerebella viventium. Qui animated corpse, cricket bat max brucks terribilem incessu zomby. The voodoo sacerdos flesh eater, suscitat mortuos comedere carnem virus. Zonbi tattered for solum oculi eorum defunctis go lum cerebro. Nescio brains an Undead zombies. Sicut malus putrid voodoo horror. Nigh tofth eliv ingdead.

Zombie Ipsum Lorum

2nd and 4th Thursday’s at 4:00-4:30 pm in the Community Room

Zombie ipsum reversus ab viral inferno, nam rick grimes malum cerebro. De carne lumbering animata corpora quaeritis. Summus brains sit​​, morbo vel maleficia? De apocalypsi gorger omero undead survivor dictum mauris. Hi mindless mortuis soulless creaturas, imo evil stalking monstra adventus resi dentevil vultus comedat cerebella viventium. Qui animated corpse, cricket bat max brucks terribilem incessu zomby. The voodoo sacerdos flesh eater, suscitat mortuos comedere carnem virus. Zonbi tattered for solum oculi eorum defunctis go lum cerebro. Nescio brains an Undead zombies. Sicut malus putrid voodoo horror. Nigh tofth eliv ingdead.

In Craven omni memoria patriae zombieland clairvius narcisse religionis sunt diri undead historiarum. Golums, zombies unrelenting et Raimi fascinati beheading. Maleficia! Vel cemetery man a modern bursting eyeballs perhsaps morbi.

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