Notes from your Alta Library

Friday, September 21, 2012

Another month has passed, and our new calendar page reveals September, the 9th month of the Gregorian calendar which rules our lives. This month is known for warm days that gradually become shorter, and cool nights. The leaves start to change color and fall to the ground -- it seems even more so after the summer of extreme heat and drought. Children of all ages return to school and we begin to look toward harvest time, which will be earlier than usual in this year when everything seems accelerated and topsy-turvy. Holidays in this month include Labor Day, which is a celebration of the "working man," and Patriot Day, an annual observance on 9/11 to remember those who were injured or killed during the terrorist attacks in the United States on 9/11/2001. This is not a federal holiday, but a National Day of Service and Remembrance when we are asked to display the flag -- flown at half-mast as a mark of respect, and observe a moment of silence at 8:46 AM (EDT), when the first plane struck the Twin Towers. This is not to be confused with Patriots' Day, which is celebrated in Maine and Massachusetts on the third Monday of April to commemorate the Battles of Lexington and Concord, epic Revolutionary War battles fought near Boston in 1775.

September also brings the official beginning of fall -- the autumnal equinox on 9/22/12. Needless to say, we have some great books and movies about these events. But this month I would like to suggest something different. A short time ago, I was reminded of a book which was once one of my favorites, and I could scarcely remember it. Curiosity compelled me to dig it out and re-read it...and much to my surprise, I fell in love with it all over again. "Cry, The Beloved Country" by Alan Paton. It is an old book, and a short one, and the story is stark and unusual by present standards, but the language is poetic and beautiful and absolutely true to the events which unfold. Perhaps you can think of a book which once moved you, but has now slipped out of your memory. A re-read may trigger the same response I had -- or it may leave you wondering "whatever did I see in this story?"

We have a lot of books that are classics that you perhaps read in high school or college that might fit into this category. Let me name a few authors that might have moved you at an earlier time. Charles Dickens, George Orwell, Jane Austin, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Conrad -- and more. There are some that have been made into movies that are also available. This was an experience that was meaningful to me and I intend to intersperse an "oldie, but goody" into my reading life regularly.

Now, to return to reality. The FEATURED AUTHORS for September are Sara Gruen (best known for "Water for Elephants"), Heather Gudenkauf (our author with a local connection) and Emily Griffin (a fairly new author who has already had a book made into a movie). And -- new books on our shelves include the latest offerings of Debbie Macomber, Clive Cussler, James Patterson, Tana Franch and Jennifer Weiner. Plus, "Off the Beaten Path", a guide to more than 1000 scenic and interesting places still uncrowded and inviting, and "Betty Crocker's Big Book of Cupcakes".

Something for Everyone. Take time to relax and enjoy this time of respite between the heat and the cold.