Archive for August, 2015

Take Ten: A “Fair” to Remember

Next week, the Twin Falls County Fair begins, bringing exciting entertainment, cool exhibits, and best of all, fair food! With tons of stuff going on, we doubt you’ll get too bored, but in case you’ve got some downtime, here are a few books – all featuring a fair in their plotlines – to read while you’re waiting to hit the Midway. We can smell the corndogs and elephant ears already!



The Alehouse Murders – Maureen Ash

  • As Lincoln’s midsummer fair is about to begin, Templar Bascot de Marins is called upon to assist in the investigation into four victims found slain in the town alehouse, risking his life once again for the justice of God’s will.

City of Light – Lauren Belfer

  • In 1901 Buffalo, New York, Louisa Barrett, the progressive headmistress of the exclusive Macaulay School for Girls, stumbles upon a secret involving the powerful members of her school board that could destroy everything for which she has worked as well as her relationship with her goddaughter and the child’s widowed father.

Key Lime Pie Murder – Joanna Fluke

  • While getting ready to judge the baking contest at the local town fair, Hannah Swensen stumbles upon the dead body of a fellow judge, along with a smashed key lime pie.

The Hatbox Baby – Carrie Brown

  • A baby born three months early is brought to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1933 by his father, who hopes the fair’s famous baby doctor will save the infant’s life.

Light from Arcturus – Mildred Walker

  • A bored and lonely housewife, Julia Hauser feels restless, until she steps beyond sacrifice and duty, impresses herself on a larger scene, feeds her spirit, and grows in dignity.

Swan Gondola – Timothy Schaffert

  • A tragic love story set amid the fanciful inventions, gothic amusements, spiritualists, flimflam men, and other crooked characters who populated the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair.

Swing – Rupert Holmes

  • Jazz musician Ray Sherwood, playing at the 1940 World Fair, becomes involved in the investigation into the death of a mysterious Frenchwoman, who had previously propositioned him.



County Fairs: Where America Meets – John McCarry

  • Describes the origins and continuing popularity of county fairs, and visits the exhibits, animals, entertainment, carnival attractions, and commercial vendors. (Annotation from TFPL catalog.)

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America – Erik Larson

  • An account of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 relates the stories of two men who shaped the history of the event–architect Daniel H. Burnham, who coordinated its construction, and serial killer Herman Mudgett.

Purebred and Homegrown: America’s County Fairs – Drake Hokanson

  • Presents the nearly 200-year-old county fair as a fountainhead of American ideals and rural life, as a place of reunion, and as perhaps the most traditional of all American celebrations. (Annotation from TFPL catalog.)


Annotations courtesy of NoveList Plus (unless noted). Log into NoveList Plus with your TFPL card for more about books, authors, and all things literary.

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 2001

Not too far back this time – just 14 years – to the summer of 2001. We all remember the event in September that shadowed the rest of the year (and decade) for us, but can you remember what happened the rest of that year? Here are a few events to jog your memory:

  • Wikipedia goes online and writing school reports – and library blogs! – gets simpler. (January)
  • Halle Berry and Denzel Washington take home the top acting awards at the Oscars. (March)
  • The Green River Killer is arrested, ending one of the longest U.S. homicide investigations ever. (November)

And, of course, we read some great books that year, including the following from the New York Times Best Sellers list for the week of August 12, 2001:



1. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

2. Cane River by Lalita Tademy

3. The Fourth Hand by John Irving

4. Any Way the Wind Blows by E. Lynn Harris

5. Open Season by Linda Howard

6. Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman

7. Leap of Faith by Danielle Steel

8. “P” is for Peril by Sue Grafton

9. The Jury by Steve Martini

10. Lawrence Sanders: McNally’s Chance by Vincent Lardo

11. A Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George

12. Seven Up by Janet Evanovich

13. Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs

14. Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara

15. Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler



1. John Adams by David McCullough

2. Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

3. Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir and Michèle Fitoussi

4. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

5. Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis

6. Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments by Dominick Dunne

7. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

8. Napalm & Silly Putty by George Carlin

9. The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

10. The Truth Is . . .  by Melissa Etheridge with Laura Morton

11. Supreme Injustice by Alan M. Dershowitz

12. Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo

13. It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins

14. The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon

15. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich


Great Online Resource: gfclearnfree

If you are looking for some free learning tools – especially for technology – try out The site, maintained by the Goodwill Community Foundation, provides lessons in all sorts of topics; from reading to math to mobile apps. There are tutorials, videos, and activities for visitors of all ages. There are even resources and topics in life-skills and careers. And, the best part is that it’s all free!

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