Archive for January, 2011

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers in 1980

Let’s get in our time machine and travel back to 1980. In February, the U.S. Hockey Team defeated the USSR, in the “Miracle on Ice”. In May, Mount Saint Helens erupted, killing 57 people and spewing ash all over the Northwest (I’m old enough to remember the skim of ash on my Dad’s car.) Ronald Reagan was elected president, and the question on everyone’s mind was ‘Who Shot J.R.?”

Taking a look at the New York Times Best-Sellers for the week of January 27, 1980, we find a few authors who are still at the top of their game today. Check out one of these titles and see if it helps you remember what it was like, way back then…



1. Smiley’s People by John Le Carré

2. Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut

3. The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer

4. Triple by Ken Follett

5. Memories of Another Day by Harold Robbins

6. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

7. The Establishment by Howard Fast

8. The Top Of The Hill by Irwin Shaw

9. The Dead Zone by Stephen King

10. The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart



1. The Brethren by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong

2. Aunt Erma’s Cope Book by Erma Bombeck

3. White House Years by Henry Kissinger

4. The Pritikin Program by Nathan Pritikin (with Patrick M. Mcgrady, Jr.)

5. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

6. Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin

7. James Herriot’s Yorkshire by James Herriot

8. The Americans by Alistair Cooke

9. Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins

10. Serpentine by Thomas Thompson

Q is for Quilts

Quilting is a definite part of the American craft landscape. I can imagine the early pioneers creating these padded coverings to ward off the cold of the frontier, as well as trying to create something that would liven up their spartan homes. Today, those antique homemade quilts are treasured; and more and more people are trying their hands at making their own. (I succumbed to the impulse a few years ago and started making one for my mother. Needless to say, with my procrastination proclivities, the unfinished item is still in a bag in the closet. So close…)

You don’t actually have to be crafty to enjoy the final product. Most how-to books offer a number of photos detailing the inspiration and the history behind many designs. Several fiction books  also play off the ideas of the quilting bee and the meaning of quilts. Check out one of these titles and peruse it while snuggling beneath your own favorite quilt! (Don’t forget to take a look at the quilt-of-the-month display inside the Library.)


365 Foundation Quilt Blocks – Linda Causee

American Folk Art Quilts – Maggi McCormick Gordon

American Quilts & Coverlets in the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Amelia Peck

American Quilts: The Democratic Art, 1780-2007 – Robert Shaw

America’s Best Quilting Projects – Marianne Fons

The Art of the Handmade Quilt – Nancy Brenan Daniel

The Art Quilt – Robert Shaw

The Classic American Quilt Collection

Community Quilts: How to Organize, Design, and Make a Group Quilt – Karol Kavaya

The Crazy Quilt Handbook – Judith Montano

How to Make an Amish Quilt: More than 80 Beautiful Patterns from the Quilting Heartland of America – Rachel T. Pellman

Learning to Quilt the Traditional Way – Annlee Landman

Passionate Patchwork: Over 20 Original Quilt Designs – Kate Fassett

The Quilt I.D. Book: 4,000 Illustrated and Indexed Patterns – Judy Rehmel

Quilt Inspirations from Africa: A Caravan of Ideas, Patterns, Motifs, and Techniques – Kaye England

Quilt National: Contemporary Designs in Fabric

Quilted Planet: A Sourcebook of Quilts from Around the World – Celia Eddy

Southwest by Southwest: Native American and Mexican Designs for Quilters – Kirstin Olsen



Elm Creek Quilt series – Jennifer Chiaverini (look here for the correct order)

The Persian Pickle Club – Sandra Dallas

Benni Harper series –  Earlene Fowler (look here for correct order)

Stitches in Time – Barbara Michaels

How to Make an American Quilt – Whitney Otto

American Quilt series – Jane Peart (look here for correct order)

The Wedding Ring – Emilie Richards


Cold Cases, brrr…..

I won’t ask if January’s been cold enough for you – it has been for me. But instead of complaining about the chilly weather, let’s embrace the idea of cold with a look at a few books featuring cold cases. A cold case is a crime that has not been solved, and is no longer being investigated. The clues may have all dried up and the witnesses scattered (or even dead). They are definitely a challenge to even the best detectives.

The books here, whether fiction or nonfiction, take a new look at an old crime – sometimes  ending with a positive result (or negative, if you happen to be the perpetrator). Cuddle up with one of these cold cases and you just might start feeling the heat…



The Bones in the Attic – Robert Barnard

Shadows – Edna Buchanan

Echo Park – Michael Connelly

Never Fear – Scott Frost

The Grave Maurice – Martha Grimes

Murder in Hell’s Kitchen – Lee Harris

Chill of Fear – Kay Hooper

Long Time Gone – JA Jance

What the Dead Know – Laura Lippman

The Bootlegger’s Daughter – Margaret Maron

The Virgin of Small Plains – Nancy Pickard

A Field of Darkness – Cornelia Read

Mission Road – Rick Riordan

In a Dry Season – Peter Robinson

The Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey



Dead But Not Forgotten: The True Story of a Cheating Husband, His Stunning Mistress, and a Murder Case Gone Cold – Amber Hunt

The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World’s Most Perplexing Cold Cases – Mike Capuzzo

The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City’s Cold Case Squad – Stacy Horn

Three Boys Missing: The Tragedy that Exposed the Pedophilia Underworld – James A. Jack

Unsolved Crimes – Michael Newton

Worth More Dead, and Other True Cases – Ann Rule


Have I forgotten your favorite? Add the title in your comment!

Around the World – Australia

Put another shrimp on the barbie, mates – we’re going to Australia for our final Around the World reading trip. It’s not every country that can brag about being it’s own continent.  With its  unusual inhabitants (animal and human), it is a unique journey all its own.  It should be summer down under this time of year, so dress appropriately…

A few interesting tidbits:

  • Australia is one of the most urbanized countries – at least 70% of its population lives in the 10 largest cities.
  • The country elected their first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, in June of 2010.
  • On October 25, 2009, turf was laid down on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and over 6000 people enjoyed picnics and live music.


    Australia: A New History of the Great Southern Land by Frank Welsh

    Australia: The Complete Encyclopedia

    Carpentaria by Alexis Wright

    A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia by Thomas Keneally

    Dancing with Strangers: Europeans and Australians at First Contact by Inga Clendinnen

    The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin

    The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville

    Moonlight Downs by Adrian Hyland

    Swimming with Crocodiles: A True Story of Adventure and Survival by  Will Chaffey

    Tall Man: The Death of Doomadgee by Chloe Hooper

    True Spirit: The True Story of a 16-Year-Old Australian Who Sailed Solo, Nonstop, and Unassisted Around the World by Jessica Watson

    Wanting by Richard Flanagan



    Australia Government Home

    BBC Country Profile: Australia

    U.S. Department of State: Australia

    Wikipedia: Australia