Archive for November, 2018

Best Books 2018 and Staff Favorites

Forget decorations and presents – the reason December can be so much fun is because of the “Best of” lists that come out this time of year. It’s always fun to find out if you’ve read/watched/listened to the books/movies/music that are celebrated for the year. And, if you haven’t read/watched/listened to the “bests” you can compile a list of things you want to read/watch/listen to!

Of course, everyone has a different list, which adds a bit of challenge to the whole venture. Here’s a list of lists that you might want to glance through for an idea for your next good read:

Publisher’s Weekly

New York Times



Powell’s Book Store

Chicago Review of Books

New York Public Library


And, in case you want a few local recommendations, here’s what some of our staff enjoyed reading this year:

Favorite Books Published in 2018

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton (Jennifer)

Artificial Condition – Martha Wells (Jason)

Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World – Mackenzi Lee (Jordan)

Christmas Cake Murder – Joanne Fluke (Kathleen)

The Clockmaker’s Daughter – Kate Morton (Susan)

The Dark Between Stars: Poems – Atticus (Sarah)

The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah (Amy)

Markswoman – Rati Mehrotra (Jessica)

Scourged – Kevin Hearne (Erica)

Sea Prayer – Khaled Hosseini (Amt)

Truly Devious – Maureen Johnson (Erica)

The Word is Murder – Anthony Horowitz (Susan)

The Winter Soldier – Daniel Mason (Jennifer)

Favorite Older Books

Attachments – Rainbow Rowell (Susan)

Cinnamon Roll Murder – Joanne Fluke (Kathleen)

The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons, and Growing Up Strange – Mark Barrowcliffe (Jordan)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman (Susan)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot (Jessica)

The Mountain Between Us – Charles Martin (Amy)

Off Armageddon Reef – David Weber (Jason)

Origin – Dan Brown (Amy)

Out of My Mind – Sharon Draper (Erica)

Patient Zero – Jonathan Maberry (Erica)

Savage Country – Robert Olmstead (Jennifer)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han (Sarah)

Great Online Resource: Creative Bug

Just in time for the holidays! If you’re into crafting, making, cooking, etc – we’ve got a great new resource for you: Creative Bug. With video classes and printable guides, Creative Bug offers help on all sorts of topics, from paper crafts to knitting to baking to home decor. And, with your TFPL card, it’s free to use. Get a jump-start on Christmas gifts or just give yourself a new challenge. Check it out!

Take Ten: Soldiers of WWI

Armistice Day in Twin Falls, November 11, 1918 (Photographer: Clarence E. Bisbee)

November 11, 2018 marks the 100th Anniversary of the armistice of WWI. The Great War, as it was called at the time, lasted four years (though the U.S. had been involved for just over a year). What was it like for the average soldier in the trenches, or in the air, or even at home? The following books all take a look at the war through the eyes and actions of the American men who fought in WWI.


Conscience: Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family: A Test of Will and Faith in World War I – Louisa Thomas

  • Norman Thomas and his brothers’ upbringing prepared them for a life of service–but their calls to conscience threatened to tear them apart. Sons of a Presbyterian minister and grandsons of missionaries, the four brothers shared a rigorous moral upbringing, a Princeton education, and a faith in the era’s spirit of hope.

The Doughboys: America and the First World War – Gary Mead

  • Examines the contributions of American soldiers during the First World War, following their progress from initial derision by the Europeans to a hard-won respect.

The Escape Artists: A Band of Daredevil Pilots and the Grandest Escape of the Great War – Neal Bascomb

  • Presents the story of a group of downed Allied airmen who masterminded a courageous and ingenious breakout from Germany’s Holzminden POW camp.

First to Fly: The Story of the Lafayette Escadrille, the American Heroes Who Flew for France in World War I – Charles Bracelen Flood

  • The story of the daredevil Americans of the Lafayette Escadrille, who flew in French planes, wore French uniforms, and showed the world an American brand of heroism before the United States entered the Great War.

Five Lieutenants: The Heartbreaking Story of Five Harvard Men Who Led America to Victory in World War I – James Carl Nelson

  • Documents the stories of five young Harvard students who met different fates while serving in World War I, drawing on uncensored letters and memoirs to illuminate the impact of the conflict on the educated class of soldiers.

Hellfire Boys: The Birth if the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service and the Race for the World’s Deadliest Weapons – Theo Emery

  • Traces the actions of the “Hellfire Battalion,” a group of American engineers who were trained in gas warfare and were sent to the front lines in France to launch multiple assaults against the Germans.

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

  • Journalist Richard Ruben painstakingly tracked down and interviewed dozens of surviving WWI veterans (aged between 101 and 113 years old at the time of their interviews) over the course of a decade. He skillfully weaves their halting, haunting individual stories into a vividly humanized account of the world’s first industrial-scale war, and America’s last days as a rural economy.

Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality – Richard Slotkin

  • Examines the United States’ history of ethnic assimilation and racial strife through the experience of World War I regiments, the fabled Harlem Hell Fighters of the 369th infantry and the legendary “lost battalion” of the 77th division.

Sons of Freedom: The Forgotten American Soldiers Who Defeated Germany in World War I – Geoffrey Wawro

  • A prize-winning historian describes the battles, strategies and human toll of the Americans during World War I, but whose efforts ultimately saved the Allies, defeated Germany and established their nation as a great power.

The Unknowns: The Untold Story of America’s Unknown Soldier and WWI’s Most Decorated Heroes Who Brought Him Home – Patrick K. O’Donnell

  • A critically acclaimed medical historian describes the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery and tells the stories of those laid to rest there as well as those veterans serving as Body Bearers.


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Annie Pike Greenwood

Last week, Idaho Public Television broadcast a new episode of its “Idaho Experience” series, this time featuring the story of a woman with deep Magic Valley ties – Annie Pike Greenwood. She and her family settled on the Northside, near Hazelton, and she wrote about her experiences in a book that was published in 1934.

If you didn’t catch the initial airing, you can see it online (or check their schedule for a rerun). And, if you want to learn more about Greenwood, we have copies of her book, We Sagebrush Folks, available for check out.

Still interested in pioneer life in the early days of the Magic Valley? Pick up one of the following titles and learn more about the history of our region.


Six Decades Back – Charles S. Walgamott

Bucking the Tide – Henry James Kingsbury

Twin Falls County Pioneers – James L. Holloway

Gifts of Heritage: Pioneer Portraits – edited by Donna Scott and ZoeAnn Shaub

Buckskin and Smoke – Anna Hansen Hayes