Set In: The Woods

The forest, in all its shadows, is a rather primeval setting. In fact, a number of us could probably rattle off a few frightening fairy tales or legends that take place in the woods – “Hansel and Gretel” or “Red Riding Hood” come quickly to mind. But how many of us could name a more contemporary work? Still, this setting, whether we picture sinister activities or nature in its original state (or camping with the family, which can be sinister in its own sweet way) is just unfamiliar enough to create dramatic tension.

See the forest and the trees with one of the following trips into woods…



Cold Tracks – Lee Wallingford

  • Ex-Seattle cop Frank Carver’s new job patrolling Oregon’s Neskanie National forest begins to get complicated when he and local ranger Ginny Trask start investigating the death of an immigrant who has possible criminal connections.

The Darkest Part of the Woods – Ramsey Campbell

  • The lives and destinies of the Price family become intertwined with the ancient forest of Goodmanswood, from Lennox Price who discovers a hallucinogenic moss, to his grandson’s sexual encounter in the heart of the forest.

Forests of the Night – James W. Hall

  • Policewoman Charlotte Monroe intercepts a threat by one of the FBI’s most wanted men, intended for her husband, a situation that turns deadly when her troubled teenage daughter runs away with the outlaw to the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Glister: A Novel - John Burnside

  • Ever since George Lister’s chemical plant shut down, the neighboring woods have become the home to strange, sickly plants, and when a young boy named Leonard and his friends realize that boys from their school are vanishing after venturing into the poisoned woods, they alone are willing to confront the forces of evil that are destroying their once-happy town.

Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest – W. H. Hudson

  • An illustrated facsimile edition of a definitive work by the naturalist author of A Shepherd’s Life bridges the period between Romanticism and the ecological movement and traces an ill-fated relationship between a refuge-seeking European and a mysterious aboriginal in Venezuela.

Into the Forest – Jean Hegland

  • Two sisters survive a near-future apocalypse and retreat into a forest where they relearn what it means to be human.

The Inverted Forest – John Dalton

  • Along with the other new counselors, Wyatt arrives expecting to care for children. To their astonishment, they learn that for the first two weeks of the camping season they will be responsible for 104 severely developmentally disabled adults, all of them wards of the state. In preventing a terrible tragedy, Wyatt commits an act whose repercussions will alter his own life and the lives of the other Kindermann Forest staff members for years to come.

My Abandonment – Peter Rock

  • Thirteen-year old Caroline has been raised and home-schooled by her father in a wild nature preserves on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. They follow a rigid code that enables them to survive in the wilderness. Once a week, they go to the city to buy groceries, attend church and otherwise merge with the civilized world. Yet one small mistake allows the authorities to discover them and their forced relocation is only a brief respite in their flight from a world that doesn’t understand them.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel – Louise Murphy

  • A retelling of the classic fairy tale, set in Nazi-occupied Poland, follows two Jewish children, left by their father and stepmother to seek refuge in a dense forest, as they wander the woods until being taken in by Magda, an eccentric old woman.

Wild Rain – Christine Feehan

  • Finding a safe haven in the rain forest from a relentless killer, Rachael, armed with a new identity, finds her peace shattered by Rio, an exotic native of the forest who harbors a dark secret.



American Canopy: Trees, Forests and the Making of a Nation – Eric Rutkow

  • In the bestselling tradition of Michael Pollan’s “Second Nature,” this fascinating and unique historical work tells the remarkable story of the relationship between Americans and trees across the entire span of our nation’s history.

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America – Timothy Egan

  • Narrates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire of August, 1910, and Teddy Roosevelt’s pioneering conservation efforts that helped turn public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, though it changed the mission of theforest service with consequences felt in the fires of today.

The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Saved 1200 Jews, and Built a Village in the Forest – Peter Duffy

  • Discusses how the Bielski brothers banded together after the execution of their parents by Nazi soldiers, explaining how they and other Jews lived in the forest of Belarus, fighting the Nazis and saving many Jews along the way.

Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City – Greg Grandin

  • The story of the auto magnate’s attempt to recreate small-town America, along with a rubber plantation, in the heart of the Amazon details the clash between Ford and the jungle and its inhabitants, as the tycoon attempted to force his will on the naturalworld.

The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature – David George Haskell

  • Reveals what can be understood about the natural world through the author’s year-long observation of a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest, explaining the scientific ties binding all life and how the ecosystem has cycled for millions of years.

The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, the Future of Our Forests, and an Urgent Plan to Save Our Planet – Jim Robbins

  • Describes the efforts of a former alcoholic nurseryman, whose near-death experience prompted him to attempt to find the best specimens of the U.S.’s 872 known species of trees and use them to propagate their offspring around the world.

The Pine Barrens – John McPhee

  • Describes the natural vegetation and rustic peoples of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, an area of wilderness in the center of urban sprawl.

Walden, or Life in the Woods - Henry David Thoreau

  • In 1845 Thoreau built himself a shanty in the woods by Walden Pond, where he lived from 1845-1847. Walden is a treatise on the subjects of self-sufficiency, individualism, relationship with nature, and rejection of material ambition. His residence at the pond was interrupted by a day’s imprisonment for refusal to pay a poll tax to a government that supported the Mexican War. this action was in accord with his belief in passive resistance, a means of protest he explained in his essay “Civil Disobedience” (1849).

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail – Bill Bryson

  • Traces the author’s adventurous trek along the Appalachian Trail past its natural pleasures, human eccentrics, and offbeat comforts.

Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees - Roger Deakin

  • Accompanying famed British nature writer Deakin through the woods of Britain, Europe, Kazakhstan, and Australia in search of what lies behind man’s profound and enduring connection with trees. Deakin lives in forest shacks, goes “coppicing” in Suffolk, swims beneath the walnut trees of the Haut-Languedoc, and hunts bushplums with Aboriginal women in the outback. Along the way, he ferrets out the mysteries of woods, detailing the life stories of the timber beams composing his Elizabethan house and searching for the origin of the apple.


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Take Ten: We’re Having a Heat Wave

It seems senseless to complain about the weather here in the Magic Valley. After all, we should expect the heat – we’re living in the high desert. But, after a few days of 90°+ cloudless days, things tend to get a little old. So, it’s time to turn the tables – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. The following are all books that deal in some way with a heat wave. Reading one might not cool you down, but it might make you feel better about the long, hot, summer.


The Dead Season: A Mystery in Florence – Christobel Kent

  • Sandro Cellini will not be joining the crowds of holidaymakers escaping the heat this year. The former policeman turned private detective has a case: a man who seems to have vanished into thin air, leaving his pregnant young wife alone in the city.  As Florence sweats it out, Cellini attempts to grapple with his case and the complications it throws at him. And when the weather finally breaks, it brings with it a shocking revelation. (This is the third Sandro Cellini mystery)

Frog Music – Emma Donoghue

  • Burlesque dancer Blanche Beunon tries to discover who murdered her friend Jenny, who was shot through a window in a railroad saloon in 1876 San Francisco, amidst a record-breaking heat wave and smallpox epidemic.

Full Blast – Janet Evanovich

  • Jamie Swift and Max Holt find themselves taking on a murderer who is targeting some of the less popular citizens of Beaumont, South Carolina, when they discover that the key to the killings lies in the personal ads of the newspaper. (Fourth in the Full series)

Good Graces – Lesley Kagen

  • During a sweltering 1960 Milwaukee heat wave, Sally O’Malley struggles with the trauma of her father’s sudden death and her sister Troo’s possible role in a string of burglaries, an escape from a reform school, and an orphan’s disappearance.

Heat Wave – Richard Castle

  • In the midst of a suffocating heat wave, NYPD homicide detective Nikki Heat investigates the falling death of real estate tycoon and a brutal attack on a Manhattan socialite. However, when another shocking murder puts Heat on a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy, her investigation may prove fatal. (First in the Nikki Heat series)

Instructions for a Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell

  • When a recently retired family patriarch clears out his bank account and disappears during a sweltering summer in 1976, his three children converge on their mother’s home for the first time in years and track clues to an ancestral village in Ireland, where they uncover illuminating family secrets.

The Square Root of Murder – Ada Madison

  • While celebrating famous scholars of the past with her students, Dr. Sophie Knowles, a much loved math teacher at Henley College, must add up the clues to prove her assistant’s innocence when she is accused of killing Dr. Keith Appleton, the most disliked professor on campus. (First in the Professor Sophie Knowles mysteries)


And 3 nonfiction books:

Hot Time in the Old Town: The Great Heat Wave of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt – Edward P. Kohn

  • Shows how Democrat William Jennings Bryan’s hopes for the presidency began to flag amidst the abhorrent heat of 1896 New York just as police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt scrambled to mitigate the dangerously high temperatures.

The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm – Juliet Nicolson

  • Chronicling four months during 1911, an evocative portrait of an English society on the brink of turbulent change describes such milestones as the crowning of a new king, strikes that paralyzed British industry, and the first London appearance of the Ballets Russes, from the viewpoints of a debutante, a suffragette, a trade unionist, a butler, a politician, the queen, and others.

Twilight at the World of Tomorrow: Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World’s Fair on the Brink of War - James Mauro

  • The summer of 1939 was an epic turning point for America – a brief window between the Great Depression and World War II. It was the last season of unbridled hope for peace and prosperity; by Labor Day, the Nazis were in Poland. And nothing would come to symbolize this transformation from acute optimism to fear and dread more than the 1939 New York World’s Fair.


Great Online Resource – Idaho Parks and Recreation

Looking for a new adventure this summer? You don’t have to go too far to find something really cool – just check your own backyard! The Idaho Parks and Recreation Department‘s website is a great tool for deciding on your weekend vacation plans. Start with this retro map and then click on a park that appeals to you. From there, you’ll get specified information on amenities, events, and how to make reservations. Plus, each park has its own Facebook page so you can keep up-to-date with the latest happenings. Tourism in Idaho isn’t just for out-of-staters!

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1971

Let’s back the machine out of the garage and set the dial for 1971. Smack dab in the middle of the Nixon era, as well as the middle birth years for Generation X. And, unfortunately, 1971 was at the height of bell-bottom popularity. Not a great omen for the rest of that decade’s fashion…

It was also the year that:

  • All in the Family premiered (January). On the air until 1979, its impact can still be felt on television and society today.
  • Jim Morrison died in France (July). His grave is one of the most visited in Paris.
  • Walt Disney World opened (October). The park’s size now is about the size of the city of San Francisco.

Here are the most popular fiction and nonfiction books, according to the New York Times Best Sellers list, for the week of June 27, 1971. Check out one of these and relive the year!



1. The Passions of the Mind by Irving Stone

2. The New Centurions by Joseph Wambaugh

3. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

4. QB VII by Leon Uris

5. Penmarric by Susan Howatch

6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

7. The Other by Thomas Tryon

8. The Throne of Saturn by Allen Drury

9. The Underground Man by Ross Macdonald

10. Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy



1. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

2. The Sensuous Man by “M”

3. The Greening of America by Charles Reich

4. The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer

5. Boss by Mike Royko

6. Future Shock by Alvin Toffler

7. The European Discovery of America by Samuel Eliot Morison

8. Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945 by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman

9. Mr. Cub by Ernie Banks and Jim Enright

10. Capone by John Kobler

Mmm… Culinary Mysteries

Our theme for Summer Reading this year is “Literary Elements,” focusing on the idea that good books have just the right mixture of ingredients. It’s pretty obvious then that we should include a list of books with a cooking slant – most of which include recipes for creating your own perfect mix. The fact that the following are all mysteries adds a bit of spice – and after all, you can’t make an omelet without cracking a few eggs (whether those eggs deserve it or not is a different story).


Listed are the first book in each series:


An Appetite for Murder – Lucy Burdette

  • When her potential new boss at “Key Zest” magazine–Kristen Faulkner, the woman who stole her boyfriend–is murdered, aspiring food critic Hayley Snow becomes the prime suspect in the investigation and works to clear her name. (4 books in series)

Candy Apple Dead – Sammi Carter

  • When she is stood up by fellow merchant Brandon Mills, Abby Shaw, the owner of the Divinity Candy Shop, is shocked when he is found murdered and discovers a whole new and disturbing side to this man whom she thought she knew when she launches her own investigation. (5 books in series)

Carbs and Cadavers – J. B. Stanley

  • Professor James Henry joins a supper club for dieters when he becomes involved in solving a crime in his tight-knit Virginia community. (6 books in series)

A Catered Murder – Isis Crawford

  • When Libby and her sister Bernie cater a vampire-themed high school reunion in honor of bestselling author Laird Wrenn, they find themselves knee-deep in murder when Wrenn drops dead after dinner and Libby is accused of the crime. (9 books in series)

Catering to Nobody – Diane Mott Davidson

  • Catering a wake for her son’s teacher leads Goldy Bear into the detective business when rat poison turns up in her food and the police, except for investigator Tom Schulz, begin to treat her like a suspect. (17 books in series)

The Chocolate Cat Caper – Joanna Carl

  • After accepting a job supplying chocolate from her aunt’s luxury chocolate business to a party for unpopular defense attorney Clemintine Ripley, Lee McKinney takes on a new job as detective when someone adds cyanide to a chocolate confection eaten by the hostess. (13 books in series)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder – Joanne Fluke

  • Cookie-baking sleuth Hannah Swenson must protect her reputation when a popular delivery man is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah’s cookies scattered around him. (17 books in series)

Cookie Dough or Die – Virginia Lowell

  • Olivia Greyson finds her reputation and cookie shop in danger when she becomes the prime suspect in the murder investigation of her mentor, prominent business owner Clarisse Chamberlain, when it is revealed that Clarisse left her a large sum of money along with a collection of valuable antique cookie cutters. (4 books in series)

Crime Brulée – Nancy Fairbanks

  • Accompanying her husband to an academic conference in New Orleans, food writer Carolyn Blue decides to take the opportunity to write an article on Cajun cuisine, but her trip takes an unexpected turn when a friend mysteriously vanishes. (11 books in series)

Delicious and Suspicious – Riley Adams

  • When her family–the owners of Aunt Pat’s barbeque–is accused of murdering a prominent restaurant critic for the Cooking Channel, Lulu Taylor will stop at nothing to get them out of hot water even if it means grilling possible suspects. (4 books in series)

Death by Darjeeling – Laura Childs

  • When a guest turns up dead at a tea for the annual historic homes garden party she is catering, Theodosia Browning, the owner of Charleston’s Indigo Tea Shop, turns sleuth to save her reputation, clear her name, and track down the real killer. (15 books in series)

Glazed Murder – Jessica Beck

  • When her donut shop becomes a crime scene after a dead body is dumped on her doorstep, Suzanne Hart, who finds sleuthing as addictive as her sugary baked goods, joins in the search for a killer. (11 books in series)

A Good Day to Pie – Carol Culver

  • Hanna Denton has returned home to Crystal Cove, California, to take over the pie shop her Grannie Louise owned for thirty years. However, Hanna is suddenly faced with an even bigger challenge: convincing the handsome new police chief (her ex-high school crush Sam Genovese) that Grannie couldn’t possibly have committed murder. (2 books in series)

I Scream, You Scream – Wendy Lyn Watson

  • When her ex-husband’s buxom girlfriend is murdered, ice-cream parlor owner Tally Jones and her former high school flame, Finn Harper, investigate the inhabitants of Dalliance, Texas, to find the murderer and clear Tally’s name. (3 books in series)

If You Can’t Stand the Heat – Robin Allen

  • Poppy Markham investigates after a Michelin-rated chef is found stabbed to death with her stepsister’s knife at her father’s restaurant. (3 books in series)

Killer Mousse – Melinda Wells

  • When the first live airing of In the Kitchen with Della results in murder, Della, discovering that her Killer Mousse is indeed deadly, must prove that she did not deliberately poison her delectable concoction, which is no easy task. (4 books in series)

Lemon Tart – Josi Kilpack

  • Cooking aficionado turned amateur detective Sadie Hoffmiller tries to solve the murder of her beautiful young neighbor–a single mother who was mysteriously lured from her home while a lemon tart was baking in her oven.* (11 books in series)

On What Grounds - Cleo Coyle

  • Clare Cosi, the manager of The Village Blend, finds a murder mystery percolating in her very own store when the assistant manager is found dead in the back and the police believe it to be an open-and-shut case of robbery, but certain clues lead Clare to believe otherwise. (13 books in series)

Pies and Prejudice – Ellery Adams

  • After discovering her hidden talent for enchantment, Ella Mae opens the Charmed Pie Shoppe, but her dream is short-lived when the fiancé of her nemesis, Loralyn Gaynor, is found murdered with Ella Mae’s rolling pin. (3 books in series)

Something’s Cooking – Joanne Pence

  • When someone murders a frequent contributor to Angelina Amalfi’s food column, the sophisticated journalist must elude dangerous smugglers and brutal killers and help a sexy homicide cop crack the case. (14 books in series)

Sprinkle with Murder – Jenn McKinlay

  • This first installment in a new series follows Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura, the proud owners of the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery, as they race against time to save their business and catch a sugary sweet killer who used their cupcakes to kill a famous fashion designer. (6 books in series)

State of the Onion – Julie A Hyzy

  • While going up against her nemesis for the executive chef position, White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras finds her goose cooked when she becomes the target of a world-class assassin, after witnessing a murder. (7 books in series)

Steamed – Jessica Conant-Park

  • Known in local chatrooms as GourmetGirl, Chloe Carter, a food connoisseur and expert in failed romances, continues her quest to find the perfect man, but a blind date with a fellow food lover goes horribly wrong when he is stabbed to death. (5 books in series)

Thyme of Death – Susan Wittig Albert

  • When her friend Jo dies of an apparent suicide, ex-lawyer and herb-shop proprietor China Bayles looks with suspicion upon the friendly faces of quaint Pecan Springs. (22 books in series)

Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth – Tamar Myers

  • Insights into Mennonite customs and authentic Mennonite recipes mark a mystery set in Magdalena Yoder’s Mennonite Inn, the setting for a series of mysterious poisonings involving a congressman, his socialite wife, and a group of animal-rights activists. (19 books in series)


Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus (those noted with * are courtesy of the TFPL catalog).

Log in to NoveList Plus, for more books reviews and series information, using your Library card.


Take Ten: Got Chemistry?

Our Summer Reading theme this year involves “Literary Elements” so we’ve taken up the cause literally. Our contest this year includes the Periodic Table of Elements, and asks participants to mix up their own good time. And, of course, you can say that every book blends literary elements in order to come up with a fascinating mix – sometimes explosive – to get readers interested.

If you’re looking for a good book this summer, there are some compelling science books relating to the field of chemistry; books that don’t require readers to have a degree merely to crack them open. The following are ten popular science chemistry reads that are sure to stir up your imagination – just add an iced drink and a comfy chair.


The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements – Sam Kean

  • The periodic table of the elements is a crowning scientific achievement, but it’s also a treasure trove of passion, adventure, obsession, and betrayal. These tales follow carbon, neon, silicon, gold, and all the elements in the table as they play out their parts in human history.

The Elements: An Illustrated History of the Periodic Table – Tom Jackson

  • Covering one hundred scientific breakthroughs, presents a history of the periodic table, traces the discovery of the elements, discusses the life and works of the great chemists, and poses questions alongside developments in culture, world events, and invention.

The Joy of Chemistry: The Amazing Science of Familiar Things – Cathy Cobb

  • This text introduces lay readers to the principles of chemistry. Hands-on demonstrations (such as a bottle rocket assembled from common household objects) and quotations from popular literature show how chemistry and everyday life intertwine.

Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History – Penny Le Couteur

  • Describes seventeen chemical compounds in spices, textile fibers, dyes, explosives, medicines, and other substances–including the drugs that account for witches flying on broomsticks–and how they affect civilization.

Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc – Hugh Aldersley-Williams

  • An energetic and wide-ranging book of discovery and discoverers, of exploitation and celebration, and of superstition and science, all in search of the ways the chemical elements are woven into our culture, history, and language.

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York – Deborah Blum

  • Chronicles the story of New York City’s first forensic scientists to describe Jazz Age poisoning cases, including a family’s inexplicable balding, Barnum and Bailey’s Blue Man, and the crumbling bones of factory workers.

Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape Our Man-Made World – Mark Miodownik

  • With clarity and humor, world-leading materials scientist Mark Miodownik answers all the questions you’ve ever had about your pens, spoons, and razor blades, while also introducing a whole world full of materials you’ve never even heard of. Stuff Matters tells enthralling stories that explain the science and history of materials.

The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus – John Emsley

  • Science writer and chemist Emsley (Cambridge U. and London U.) describes how the element was discovered by alchemists in the 1600s, was exploited by industrialists of the 19th century, and by combatants in the 20th.

The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People – Neil Shubin

  • Traces the unique qualities of the human species to astronomical events that occurred billions of years ago, revealing how the molecular development of human life can be linked to the evolution of the cosmos.

What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained – Robert L. Wolke

  • The chemistry professor columnist for the Washington Post‘s “Food 101″ presents explanations of kitchen mysteries involving food types, temperature, cooking equipment, and food myths.


Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus. Log in to NoveList Plus for more book summaries, reviews, and information using your TFPL card.


Summer Reading 2014

Getting the kids to keep up with their learning over the summer is an important part of Summer Reading, but adults should be inspired to read this season, too! That’s why we run the Adult Summer Reading program alongside the Children’s and Teen’s. This year our theme is:

02 Adult Slogan 2

In light of our theme, we’re changing up our program. In the past, we’ve had participants fill out reviews of books which they turned in for drawings, but we decided to mix things up a little this year. We have created a “Periodic Table of Literary Elements” with activities (including reading!) to help you fill your Summer with fun. Plus, we’ll have weekly drawings for Summer Reading tees and totes, as well as a Grand Prize Drawing for an Amazon Kindle.

Check out our Summer Reading page for more information, including dates/times of some cool programs.


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