Veterans Day in the United States honors everyone who served in the U.S. military. Since Veterans Day is coming up on November 11, I'm reading Molly Guptill Manning’s nonfiction book, When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II.
Americans were hesitant—and sometimes outright opposed—to enter the war in Europe. After all, a mere eighteen years had passed from the armistice of the Great War in 1918 to the invasion of Poland in 1939.
Hitler’s military rampage across eastern and western Europe eliminated any doubts that Americans might have had regarding Nazi goals to obliterate not only armed forces, but also free thought, democracies, and the cultures in which they thrived. After France fell in June 1940, the U.S. Congress passed, in September 1940, the Selective Training and Service Act: the first peacetime draft in U.S. history. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Act into law on September 16. Barely fifteen months later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
In 1939, the U.S. armed forces consisted of outdated equipment, scant supplies, and approximately 334,000 volunteers. From 1941 to 1945, the armed forces grew rapidly from approximately 1.8 million to over 12 million men and women in uniform. Throughout the war, books played a critical role in building morale and winning the battle for ideas.
Current-day readers like you and me can enjoy the engrossing story of that role in Manning's 2014 book, When Books Went to War. You'll learn why and how Americans made fiction and nonfiction books accessible to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces.
It rained yesterday morning—a gentle shower that disappeared into the oh-so-dry earth where I live. Everyone is grateful.
In early October, Governor Laura Kelly approved updated drought declarations for Kansas counties—all 105 of them. Take your pick. Watch, warning, or emergency drought status, Kansas has it.
The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) also keeps an eye on drought. Perhaps you've seen some of their color-coded maps similar to the one pictured above for Kansas.
The NIDIS emphasizes that several drought indicators, for example,
Armed with facts, the NIDIS doesn’t mince words. Droughts fall into one of its four categories.
For in Oklahoma, all the experiences that went into the making of the nation have been speeded up. Here all the American traits have been intensified.
The author Michael Wallis described Angie Debo (1890-1988) as “the distinguished historian, teacher, author and editor, an inspiration to so many others, and an Oklahoma pioneer who deserves nothing less than sainthood.”
In 1940, And Still the Waters Run--probably the most important of Dr. Debo's many award-winning books--was published by Princeton University Press.
Was the library from your childhood as elaborate as the delightfully ornate Law Library in the Iowa State Capitol building? Did your library sport a playful gateway like the Children's Section of the Andover Public Library? Mine neither.
But these libraries, like my town's public library, possessed books that led to adventures far more fantastical than any in my neighborhood. And the pleasant librarians encouraged me to borrow as many books as I wanted--at the rate of four books per check-out, of course.
On a road trip to the Rocky Mountains last summer, my husband and I visited the historic site of Boggsville, located near the confluence of the Arkansas and Purgatoire Rivers in what would become southeastern Colorado. There’s not much there now, but at the time of its founding in 1866, the hard-working people of Boggsville pioneered irrigation, large-scale farming and ranching in the Arkansas Valley.
My husband and I arrived at the remote site on a hot, dusty day in June. No one else was about as we drove into the small, graveled parking lot. When we walked up the path toward the two homes that have been restored, we could hear the sound of our footsteps in the peaceful quiet.
A pleasant young woman greeted us at the reception desk. “Would you like a tour guide or a self-guided tour? No one else is here, so I can give you a tour now if you like.”
We happily accepted her guideship.
She was a local girl, a student in her first year of college, I believe, and well-versed in the story of Boggsville. When we entered the dining room of a large house, I noticed a framed document on the wall. I drew closer to read the handwriting—original or copy?—before asking some small question about a certain word, a name perhaps?
Here's the front cover of my new novel, Cloud County Harvest, the sequel to Cloud County Persuasion.
It will be published in fall 2022, and I hope you'll enjoy reading it.
What is the story about?
Cloud County Harvest.
Valentine's Day is coming up on Monday, February 14.
Although popular among many people, gifts and cards are not required on Valentine's Day. Perhaps your Valentines, however, enjoy books, and you would like to give each of them a novel.
But which novel?
Here are six "good reads" perfect for your gift-giving list.
A Beautiful Blue Death.
Book 1 of 14 in the Charles Lenox Mysteries.
Charles Finch, 2017.
England. 1865. Gentleman Charles Lenox, a bachelor with comfortable means, enjoys his comfortable life in his comfortable home in London next door to his widowed friend, Lady Jane Grey.
Nice guy (or rather, gentleman) that he is, Lenox must help when Lady Jane asks him to investigate the unexpected death of her former maid, a likable young woman engaged to be married. Lady Jane thinks the maid might have died by poisoning or suicide.
I haven't had the pleasure of reading A Beautiful Blue Death, but my husband Richard recommends it because he blasted through all fourteen books of the Charles Lenox Mysteries during our on-going pandemic. He shared details with me about each novel, often when I was about to drop off to sleep.
The plot always woke me up.
(updated 2/4/2022, 11/9/2022)
You love to read, and you want to discuss books with other people who love to read. You’ve decided to start a book club. What’s the next step?
I started and conducted a book club that continued for over ten years. Currently, I’ve been participating in a book club for over two-and-a half years.
Try out these ten tips to make your book club great.
1. WHO TO INVITE?
Fellow book lovers!
They’ll need to be readers who have both the time to read and to discuss books.
Are you interested in creating a club that focuses on one genre of fiction (for example, mysteries) or several genres? Do you want to include nonfiction selections? You might find it easier to recruit members if the readers are open to a wider range of books.
2. HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES A BOOK CLUB NEED?
It takes only a few people. Four or five regular attendees at each meeting might be just the right number for a discussion in your group. Over time, the club can adjust that number to what works best for them.
Two of the biggest determinants of a club’s size are
As the founder, take the role of coordinator to keep the group together.
I. Have you experimented with any of the following hints?
Good suggestions, but if it hasn't come together for you or you'd like to up your game, then check out one or more of the following five books for ideas.
Is penmanship old school now? Even archaic? Nothing more than a superfluous pastime in a high-tech society?
Lynne Schall is the author of three novels: Women's Company - The Minerva Girls (2016), Cloud County Persuasion (2018), and Cloud County Harvest (November 2022). She and her family live in Kansas, USA.