Take Ten: Wildfires

Photo from blm.gov.

It’s definitely wildfire season out West – in Idaho as of today, crews are battling 9 fires. The closest one, the Sharps Fire is less than 80 miles away from Twin Falls, which makes us a little more aware than usual. Well, in addition to the haze and smoke coming from the Oregon and California fires.

With this on our mind, we thought we’d take a look at books that focus on wildfires – the men and women who fight them, the policies that have helped or hindered the fight, and, of course, the aftermath. Here’s a list of titles that will help you understand the chaos that is wildfire.


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 the forest service with consequences felt in the fires of today.

Fire and Ashes: On the Front Lines of American Wildfire – John N. Maclean

  • A history of American wildfires recounts the most significant fires, sharing front-line stories, past and present firefighting strategies, and the apparent increase in fire occurrence and intensity in recent years.

Fire in the Heart: A Memoir of Friendship, Loss, and Wildfire – Mary Emerick

  • A wildland firefighter describes how she became a stronger, braver person by battling for survival and making tough choices in her life-threatening line of work that has taken her from the swamps of Florida to the interior of Alaska.

Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future – Edward Struzik

  • In the spring of 2016, the world watched as wildfire ravaged the Canadian town of Fort McMurray. Firefighters named the fire “the Beast.” It seemed to be alive with destructive energy, and they hoped never to see anything like it again. Yet it’s not a stretch to imagine we will all soon live in a world in which fires like the Beast are commonplace. In Firestorm, Edward Struzik confronts this new reality, offering a deftly woven tale of science, economics, politics, and human determination.

My Lost Brothers: The Untold Story by the Yarnell Hill Fire’s Lone Survivor – Brendan McDonough

  • The sole survivor of the 2013 fire in Yarnell, Arizona, recalls the natural disaster that took the lives of 19 firefighters who were trained specifically to battle wildfires.

On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters – Matthew Desmond

  • Journeys inside the dangerous world of wildland firefighters to explore the reasons why men and women across the country risk their lives for low pay to fight forest fires, detailing the hazards and hardships of their career, the everyday facets of their lives, and the uniquely close bonds they form amongst themselves.

Smoke Jumping on the Western Fire Line: Conscientious Objectors During World War II – Mark Matthews

  • The story of the World War II conscientious objectors who volunteered for Civilian Public Service as U.S. Forest Service smoke jumpers is told in this history that reveals a little-known dimension of American pacifism.

Tending Fire: Coping with America’s Wildland Fires – Stephen J. Pyne

  • From experience with a “hotshot” crew fighting fires at Grand Canyon National Park over many seasons, Pyne (life sciences, Arizona State U.) situates US debates over let burn/controlled burn fire management policies for public lands in historical and ecological contexts.

The Year Yellowstone Burned: A Twenty-Five Year Perspective – Jeff Henry

  • A former National Park Service ranger details the origins and progression of the Yellowstone fires of 1988 as well as the impact of these fires on the landscape, both then and in the years since.

Young Men and Fire – Norman Maclean

  • A witness to the Montana Mann Gulch fire of 1949 explores the mysteries of the tragedy, with eyewitness accounts, new evidence, and research from fire scientists.


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Summer Reading 2018 is Almost Over…

Erica and Andrea after running the cotton candy station during our Summer Reading Street Dance!

We’re sad to see Summer Reading end, but we’ve had a great time – this year’s theme, “Libraries Rock,” allowed us to do some cool music-related things, like our concert with Mark Kroos and our Street Dance. We hope you all had fun too and we can all look forward to next year.

Don’t forget, adults can still turn in their Summer Reading activities for tickets through Saturday (July 28). We’ll draw for the final weekly tees and totes, as well as for the Grand Prize – an Amazon Fire – next week.

And, just because Summer Reading’s officially over doesn’t mean you have to put the books down in August. Our Librarians can help you find a couple of good reads to get you through the dog days.

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1972

Step into the Way Back Machine (it’s air-conditioned at least, right?) and let’s transport ourselves back to 1972. The swinging 70s are underway, and we are sure to find a book that recalls the craziness of the time. Here’s a look back to help you remember – or understand – what the year looked like:

  • In January, the first scientific hand-held calculator came on to the market – the HP-35 cost $395.
  • In March, The Godfather premiered in New York.
  • In June, five burglars were arrested attempting a burglary at a DC hotel called Watergate. Wonder what happened with that?

Grab one of these books from the New York Times Best Seller list for the week of July 16 for a deeper dive into 1972!



1. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

2. The Winds of War by Herman Wouk

3. The Word by Irving Wallace

4. Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell

5. My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

6. The Terminal Man by Michael Crichton

7. A Portion for Foxes by Jane McIlvaine McClary

8. The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty

9. Dark Horse by Fletcher Knebel

10. The Blue Knight by Joseph Wambaugh



1. I’m O.K. You’re O.K. by Thomas Harris

2. O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre

3. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

4. The Super Lawyers by Joseph C. Goulden

5. Open Marriage by Nena and George O’Neill

6. The Game of the Foxes by Ladislas Farago

7. Report from Engine Co. 82 by Dennis Smith

8. George S. Kaufman by Howard Teichmann

9. Bring Me a Unicorn by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

10. Eleanor and Franklin by Joseph P. Lash

Take Ten: Southern Gothics

We heard it was National Pecan Pie Day, and though it started us thinking about lunch, it also made us reminisce about some good old-fashioned Southern Gothic novels.

Southern Gothics are basically stories that are slightly mysterious, usually dark, and involve death, illusion, and the feeling that something’s just not as it seems. Of course, they’re set in the American South – and not in the open squares, but in the back alleys, mossy swamps, and decrepit plantation mansions, adding to the creepiness. In other words, good reads for lazy summer days.

If this sounds appealing, give one of these a chance for a few chills:


Beloved by Toni Morrison

  • Sethe, an escaped slave living in post-Civil War Ohio with her daughter and mother-in-law, is persistently haunted by the ghost of her dead baby girl.

Bliss House by Laura Benedict

  • Rainey Bliss Adams desperately needs a new start when she and her daughter Ariel relocate from St. Louis to Old Gate and settled into the impressive, historic, and inexplicably mysterious house where the Bliss family had lived for over a century.

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

  • Set in Tennessee in the 1960s, this chilling novel sees Lester Ballard become increasingly isolated from society. After taking a deceased woman as a girlfriend, he “saves her” from a fire–and his life spirals into deepening depravity.

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

  • When the dead body of a young woman is found on the grounds of Belle Vie, the estate’s manager, Caren Gray, launches her own investigation into Belle Vie’s history, which leads her to a centuries old mystery involving the plantation’s slave quarters–andher own past.

Deliverance by James Dickey

  • In the Georgia wilderness, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

  • Growing up in a small Mississippi town in a family haunted by the murder of her brother, Robin, Harriet Cleve Dusfresnes lives in a world of her imagination, until, at the age of twelve, she decides to find Robin’s murderer and exact her revenge.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil John Berendt

  • In charming, beautiful, and wealthy old-South Savannah, Georgia, the local bad boy is shot dead inside of the opulent mansion of a gay antiques dealer, and a gripping trial follows.

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

  • Retells the tragic times of the Compson family, including beautiful, rebellious Caddy; manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their Black servant.

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash

  • Easter and her sister Ruby have been shuffled around the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina. Then their ne’er-do-well father whisks them away in the middle of the night.

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

  • A sweeping story about a great dynasty of four centuries of witches – a family given to poetry and incest, murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being called Lasher who haunts the Mayfair women.


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You Really Can Learn Something New Every Day!

For those of you who haven’t been in the Library for awhile, you may not have noticed a new section just near the DVDs. It’s one of the latest resources we’ve added – The Great Courses.

Not familiar with The Great Courses? Well, they’re basically mini college-level courses created by knowledgeable experts and teachers on a variety of subjects. We have more than 150 courses on topics ranging from cooking to ancient history to philosophy to photography to… well you get the idea. Some of the courses are in video format, while some are in audio, and most have books included to provide guidance.

You can browse through the physical collection or check out the list online. And, best of all, the courses check out for 21 days – just enough time to create a good habit of learning something new!

Great Online Resource: All But Forgotten Oldies

Trying to remember a song you heard a long time ago? Well, if the song was released anytime between 1940 and 1990, you may be able to discover it at allbutforgottenoldies.net. You can search by artist or song title, and some entries will lead you to sound clips (via Amazon) so you can hear if you’ve got the right tune. With additional information about artists and notable covers of original songs, you’re sure to find more than what you’re looking for. Then, cruise on over to Freegal, TFPL’s free music service, and see if there’s a version you can download.

Take Ten: “June” Reads

We’re about halfway through June – whether that’s good or not may depend on whether you have school-aged children at home, am I right? In case you do have some time to spend reading – on top of all the other fun summer stuff – here are a few “June” titles that might help see you through (at least until school starts on August 20th!).


Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash – John Carter Cash

Presents a life of the country music musician and songwriter, from her childhood performances as part of the Carter family singers to her relationship and marriage to Johnny Cash.

Goodnight June – Sarah Jio

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown-and steps into the pages of American literature.


Henry and June: From the Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin – Anais Nin

An account of Anais Nin’s sexual awakening, this book describes her friendship with Henry Miller and his wife, June, and the fiery affair with Henry that liberated her sexually and morally, undermined her idealized marriage, and led her into psychoanalysis.

June Fourth Elegies – Liu Xiaobo

A bilingual edition of human rights activist Liu’s poems, written across twenty years in memory of fellow protestors at Tiananmen Square, as well as poems addressed to his wife, Liu Xia. (Annotation from goodreads.com)


A June of Ordinary Murders – Conor Brady

Just days before Victoria’s eldest grandson, Prince Albert Victor, and his younger brother, Prince George, are due to arrive in Dublin to represent the monarch, a man and a young boy are shot to death and their faces badly mutilated – Dublin Detective Sargeant Joe Swallow investigates.

Seven Days in June – Howard Fast

The week before the Battle of Bunker Hill, Evan Feversham, an English surgeon living in Connecticut, is at the center of the action.


The Summer After June – Ashley Warlick

Overwhelmed with grief over the violent death of her sister, willful Lindy takes off for Galveston with her dead sibling’s child but discovers life on the Texas coast is not the peaceful retreat she had hoped for.

Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris, June 6th – August 25th, 1944 – John Keegan

Chronicles the 1944 invasion of Normandy, from D-Day to the liberation of Paris. At the same time, the author furthers his exploration of the “role which warfare and its institutions play in social life” by showing how each of the six armies, while resembling one another in purpose and authority, is a mirror of its own nation’s values.


To the End of June: An Intimate Life of American Foster Care – Cris Beam

An intimate, authoritative look at the foster care system that examines why it is failing the kids it is supposed to protect and what can be done to change it.

A Sunday in June – Phyllis Alesia Perry

Grace, Mary Nell, and Eva Mobley–three African-American sisters who can “see” into the past and future–grow up in the Deep South backwoods of early twentieth-century Alabama in a world still haunted by the ravages of slavery.


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