The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1980

Take some time out of your busy day to hop into the Way Back Machine and travel with us to 1980. We can’t guarantee the weather will improve, but at least we can mock the crazy fashion choices to make us feel better (just don’t look in the closet when you return back to 2017…)

If you can remember that far back, you might recall

Of course, if you can remember that far back, you might also recollect the books that made it to the New York Times Best Sellers list for the week of June 22. If not, here they are…



1. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

2. Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz

3. Random Winds by Belva Plain

4. Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer

5. The Ninja by Eric Van Lustbader

6. No Love Lost by Helen Van Slyke

7. Innocent Blood by P.D. James

8. The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth

9. The Bleeding Heart by Marilyn French

10. The Spike by Arnaud de Borchgrave and Robert Moss

11. Portraits by Cynthia Freeman

12. Back Bay by William Martin

13. Whip Hand by Dick Francis

14. Smiley’s People by John Le CarrĂ©

15. Hungry as the Sea by Wilbur Smith



1. Thy Neighbor’s Wife by Gay Talese

2. Free to Choose by Milton & Rose Friedman

3. Men in Love by Nancy Friday

4. The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler

5. Will by G. Gordon Liddy

6. Jim Fixx’s Second Book of Running by James F. Fixx

7. Donahue by Phil Donahue

8. The Real War by Richard Nixon

9. Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins

10. The Brethren by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong

11. Heartsounds by Martha Weinman Lear

12. War Within and Without by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

13. How You Can Become Financially Independent by Investing in Real Estate by Albert J. Lowry

14. The Book of Lists #2 by Irving Wallace, David Wallechinsky, Amy Wallace and Sylvia Wallace

15. Aunt Erma’s Cope Book by Erma Bombeck


Construction of Landmarks in Fiction

Boring subject heading, I know – but a fascinating topic!

Take Ten: That Girl is Poison…

When we talk about female killers – especially serial killers – we almost inevitably talk about poison. Historically, poison is the preferred weapon for women, possibly because they have been the ones to prepare meals, making adding a little something to food or beverages convenient and quiet. And even women who are killing off fictional people – led by Grand Dame Agatha Christie – have become experts in death by poison. The books below offer a look at the slow, eerie ends of those who come into contact with all sorts of interesting toxins – and the women who are responsible for them…



A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie – Kathryn Harkup

  • Investigates the poisons Christie employs in fourteen of her mysteries, discussing why the poisons kill, how they interact, obtainability of such poisons, and which cases may have inspired Christie’s stories.

The Case of Madeleine Smith – Rick Geary

  • In comic book format, an upper-class woman and a man of lower standing engage in a scandalous secret affair in nineteenth-century Scotland, but the relationship comes to an end when the man is murdered by poison.

City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris – Holly Tucker

  • Draws on transcripts, letters and diaries to chronicle how an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s led to Nicolas de La Reynie’s appointment as Paris’s first police chief, the installation of lanterns that turned Paris into the City of Light and the investigations in the criminal underground that implicated Louis XIV’s mistress.

The Devil’s Rooming House: The True Story of America’s Deadliest Female Serial Killer – M. William Phelps

  • Profiles the owner of a rooming house in Windsor, Connecticut, who was accused of murdering two husbands and sixty-six sickly “inmates” between 1911 and her arrest 1916.

Did She Kill Him?: A Torrid Story of Adultery, Arsenic, and Murder in Victorian England* – Kate Colquhuon

  • Tells the story of a young Southern belle, her older British husband, and the addiction, deception and adultery that keeps readers asking to the very last page, “Did she kill him?”

Female Serial Killers* – Don Rauf

  • A look at the psychology of women who kill.

Lady Bluebeard: The True Story of Love and Marriage, Death and Flypaper* – William C. Anderson

  • The story of the investigation behind the conviction of Lyda Southard, Twin Falls’s resident female serial killer.

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.

Trials of Passion: Crimes Committed in the Name of Love and Madness – Lisa Appignanensi*

  • An examination of three cases, including one focusing on Christiana Edmunds, who poisoned her lover’s wife and many others.

Women Who Kill – Ann Jones

  • A study of women murderers in America from precolonial times to the present reveals a social history of the United States in terms of the women who murdered and their crimes.


Annotations (except for starred items) are courtesy of NoveList Plus, which offers reading recommendations, reviews, and more.

Summer Reading 2017

After the wacky winter and cool spring we’ve had, it seems like all of us here at TFPL are ready for summer and Summer Reading. Last year’s program was successful, so we’re hoping we’ve created enough fun events and reading challenges to entice even more of you to participate this year. Our BUILD A BETTER WORLD program will begin on Monday, June 5 and finishes up on Saturday, July 29.

A full informational brochure is available inside the Library, with rules, events, and a chart of activities that will earn you tickets toward our prize drawings (or, you can download just the chart here). Prizes this year include tees, totes, travel tumblers, coloring kits, and more. All of this simply for reading, interacting with our electronic resources, and attending programs – which you were planning to do this summer anyway, right?

Call (733-2964 ext 200), email (, or drop by the Reference Desk to get more information.

Read, Watch, Listen: Memorial Day

Need something to do this weekend that doesn’t involve driving for hours? Here’s our inaugural list of “Read, Watch, Listen” – our suggestions of books, audiobooks, music, movies, and TV to turn to for a little down time. Here’s what we recommend for Memorial Day weekend:




The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War by Richard Rubin

  • This nonfiction book takes a look at the lives (including interviews) with some of the last veterans of WWI, talking about their experiences both during and after the war.

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

  • An in-the-trenches fictional account of a squad of young men behind the lines in Vietnam.

Redeployment by Phil Klay

  • Klay, a Marine veteran, won the National Book Award for Fiction for his collection of short stories about U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.



Band of Brothers

  • This HBO mini-series introduces viewers to the men of Easy Company and their travails before and after D-Day.


  • The classic film featuring the stories of the men of the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first African-American units to serve during the Civil War.

Hallowed Grounds: America’s Overseas Military Cemeteries

  • Featuring images and stories, this PBS documentary gives viewers a glimpse into the national cemeteries honoring our soldiers in places as diverse as Belgium, Tunisia, and the Phlippines.



Letters from the Greatest Generation: Writing Home in WWII

  • Excerpts from letters of soldiers who fought in virtually all arenas of WWII.

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

  • The classical fictional account of the young soldiers of Vietnam and their emotional journeys.

War by Sebastian Junger

  • Explores the neurological, psychological and social elements of combat, as well as the incredible bonds that form between these small groups of men.

B is for Botswana

Now’s a good time to head for Botswana – although May is considered an early winter month, it’s also a dry month with sunny days. Perfect for viewing the big game people from all over the world come to see (even if we’re only armchair travelers).

Botswana is known for its conservation efforts, serving as an example for other countries looking to preserve its wildlife while offering tourists a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In the past forty years, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the fastest growing economies. Readers may also be familiar with the country through Alexander McCall Smith’s Precious Ramwotse series (which is at #17 as of this post). However you come to understand Botswana, you’re sure to learn even more with the resources here.



Carrion Death – Michael Stanley

  • In the aftermath of the murder of an anonymous victim, assistant superintendent David Bengu begins his career in Botswana, where his convivial passions and determined methods earn him a local nickname that likens him to a hippopotamus.

Frommer’s South Africa

  • A guide to travel in the countries Botswana and South Africa.

Mortals – Norman Rush

  • In the heart of Botswana, the lives of three Americans–an undercover CIA agent, his disaffected wife, and an iconoclastic black holistic physician–entangle with that of a local populist leader as a violent insurrection erupts in the area.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith

  • Boldly going where no woman has gone before, Precious Ramotswe is the very first female private detective in all of Botswana. Tactful, effective, and insightful detecting comes naturally to this very independent woman in this highly entertaining humorous cozy mystery series.

The Old Way: A Story of the First People – Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

  • The author revisits her experiences studying the Kalahari San in Africa and documents their behavior as hunter-gatherers.

Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood – Robyn Scott

  • Documents the author’s adventures growing up in Botswana with her eccentric family, an upbringing marked by her doctor father’s yearnings to be a vet, her holistic and home-schooling mother, and the apartheid mind-set embraced by their white neighbors.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide – Peter Allison

  • Presents tales from a safari guide about his encounters with big cats, elephants, hippos, and other unpredictable animals.

White Dog Fell From the Sky – Eleanor Lincoln Morse

  • An intimate portrait of 1970s Botswana is told through the intertwined stories of three people including a medical student who is forced to flee apartheid South Africa after witnessing a murder and an American Ph.D. student who abandons her studies to follow her husband to Africa.



Botswana: In the Footsteps of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective with Alexander McCall Smith

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency



Botswana (Official Website)

“Botswana: A Haven for Africa’s Endangered Species” (National Geographic)

History of Botswana (Wikipedia)

Okavango Delta (UNESCO Heritage List)

Reader’s Dozen Challenge

If you’ve been following our Reader’s Dozen Challenge – a year-long event challenging you to read a different type of book each month – you’ll know that this month’s activity is to read a book published the year you were born. So, instead of getting in the Way-Back-Machine and looking at the best sellers of a specific year, we thought we’d share a few resources to help you with your RDC.

First, here’s a list we created at TFPL for books published during the years 1937 through 1999. We tried to include some perennial favorites, as well as popular juvenile and adult books to entice readers of any genre.

Need more? You can use Google, like we did here. Just above the covers in the right hand of the screen, you’ll find you can arrow through the years. Or, search Goodreads Listopia and do a search for books published in whatever year you like. There’s also Wikipedia – try a search for the year you want and then add “in literature” – they also offer links to other years in the right hand corner. A website that offers information on notable books for the 20th Century is The Books of the Century, which tells you which books were significant for a certain year. Keep in mind not all the books were published that year – for example, some award winners or best sellers were published in previous years. Another website that is a valuable resource for best sellers (again, watch the dates) is the Hawes New York Times Best Sellers list, which will give you week-by-week breakdowns of popular titles.

Whatever resource you use, have fun finding a book that gives you a glimpse into the world at the time of your birth!