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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

'Team of Rivals,' which inspired new Lincoln movie, good book for gift list

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 04, 2012 12:01 am
The advertisement said, “Only 26 shopping days left,” so I decided the annual “Buy books” column had better get written because by the time this is printed, there will be only fewer shopping days. And Hanukkah is early this year. So I’d better get started. But let me deviate for a paragraph or two to tell you about a marvelous “gift” I found our Allen County Public Library has for you. I just learned that our library makes house calls.

This special service provides free delivery to persons who are physically unable to visit our downtown library or any of its branches. That includes “the elderly, disabled and those temporarily incapacitated by illness or accident.”

Once one signs up, he or she can have a librarian select books and other materials according to the individual’s interests or the person may submit a list of books that can be delivered when they’re available. Isn’t that great? Homebound books are usually checked out for a three-week period, and if there are no holds, may be renewed. And you have a choice of regular print or large print books.

Generally, the library rules say, there is no limit to the number of items to be checked out. Three-day videos and other short-term stuff are not included, as you can easily understand. All one has to do is call the Outreach Services office of the ACPL at 421-1237 to schedule an appointment to apply for this free service. Isn’t this a wonderful gift?

Now to be put on your gift list – or maybe your wish list. Let’s begin with the Doris Kearns Goodwin masterpiece, “Team of Rivals.” As you know, Stephen Spielberg, the director, was inspired by the book to produce the wonderful new film “Lincoln.” The author always does immaculate research, and her writing style is very readable. This is a long book, but the reader learns so much about that crucial era and our 16th president that it is time very well spent. We have known of Lincoln’s brilliant mind; now we see his genius in working with people, including rivals. It is a gem, not new, as you know, but a gem.

“In the Garden of Beasts,” by Erik Larson, is still on the best-seller list and for a very good reason. It is a fascinating story of our United States ambassador to early-Nazi Germany, Dodd and his family, especially his attractive daughter. Could World War II have been avoided if the powers-that-were had stepped in early to stop Adolf Hitler? Was our state department asleep at the switch or ill-informed? The author has done remarkable research, and this is a very readable book and you may make a history lover very happy.

It has been my pleasure at school for the past couple of years to work with some gifted young teenage writers, and we have read a lot of poetry during our sessions. Youngsters thoroughly enjoy poetry, and there are some awfully good books out there. If you’re looking for a book that appeals to adults as well, I suggest “The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.” It is compiled by her daughter Caroline. It contains some of my favorites – and I hope yours, too.

For younger children, “Where the Sidewalk Ends” is still cherished. Instilling a taste for poetry is a gift that continues to give throughout a lifetime.

You want suggestions about fiction? Very popular and readable is “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel. The story takes place in the Court of Henry VIII, so you know there will be plenty of action as Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell clash. The book has been a prize winner, so you know others considered it worthy.

And you know I always recommend that you don’t forget the classics. Girls today still empathize with Jane Eyre, and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” should still be on everyone’s list of favorites – only it has to be read first.

Whoops, I’m out of space. More anon.


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