Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Staff Book Review: "The Everafter" by: Amy Huntley

Author: Amy Huntley
Reviewed By: Marianne Vadney, Library Assistant I (South Branch)

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Book Summary: Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this - she is dead.  And alone, in a vast, dark space.  The only company she has in this place aer luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive.  And soon she discovers that with these artifacts,. she can re-experience - and sometimes even change - moments from her life.  In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life - and death.

Personal Review: For a truly unique young adult read, check out this novel.  In it we meet the main character Madison Stanton as she is floating in a black abyss.  Madison doesn't know much, not even her name, but she does know that she is dead.  As Madison floats, she finds pinpricks of light emanating from all the objects that she has lost in her lifetime.

The novel is beautiful, eerie, and heart wrenching.  If you're looking for a novel that will pull you in and not let go, give The Everafter a chance.  As you discover Madison's life through the fragments along with her, you will unlock they mystery of her death, the beauty of her life, and that love is not something easily killed.  Fast paced, with a truly unique writing style, The Everafter is a novel that you can't miss out on.

Although this is a young adult novel, don't let that deter you from thinking adults won't enjoy it too.  Many young adult titles out there are having massive crossover appeal to adults, and if you enjoy books that mesh fantasy with realism, this will definitely be worthy of you trying out for yourself.  So if you want to give it a shot, your Abilene Public Library owns two (2) copies in regular print.

New DVD Releases @ Your Library

Take a look at a selection of today's top new DVD releases at your Abilene Public LibraryIf they're not available, get yourself on the reserve lists by Clicking Here to view our online catalog.

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Drive starring: Ryan Gosling
This crime drama follows a Hollywood stunt performer named Driver, who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals.  When he discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong, it may take all of his driving skills to keep him alive.  This film, which appeared on the top ten lists of several critics for the best films of 2011, was adapted from the 2005 novel of the same name by James SallisYour Abilene Public Library has ordered a copy for our collection.

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In Time starring: Justin Timberlake
This dystopian sci-fi flick transports us to a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth.  Will finds himself accused of murder and on-the-run with a hostage, a connection that becomes an important part of the fight against the system.  Your Abilene Public Library has ordered a copy of this for our collection.

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Contagion starring: Matt Damon
An ensemble cast heads this thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak.  Your Abilene Public Library has ordered two (2) copies for our collection.

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The Thing starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
In this prequel to the 1982 film by John Carpenter, an alien craft has been discovered at an Antarctica research site, which leads to a confrontation between graduate student Kate Lloyd and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson.  Your Abilene Public Library has ordered a copy for our collection.

Don't miss your chance to get your hands on some of these popular new releases.  While you're here, take advantage of all the additional resources and services we have to offer you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book to Film Adaptations: February 2012

Join me for a look at the literary works hitting the big screen in February.  Plus, if we have them available for checkout at the Abilene Public Library, I'll be sure to let you know.

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February 3: Big Miracle
If you're interested in a movie based on a true story, lookout for the film Big Miracle starring Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski.  Based on the 1989 book by Tom Rose titled Freeing the Whales: How the Media Created the World's Greatest Non-Event, this film tells the story of a small town in Alaska, where a news reporter recruits his ex-girlfriend (a Greenpeace volunteer) on a campaign to save a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.  This international effort happened in 1988 and the trailers appear to be interested, but unfortunately, the Abilene Public Library doesn't own a copy of the book; however, you may request one through our Interlibrary Loan service at no charge.

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February 3: The Woman in Black
Daniel Radcliffe, former star of the Harry Potter series, steps out of his former role to tackle a more challenging one in the release of the thriller The Woman in Black, based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Susan HillIn this film, Radcliffe will play the role of a young lawyer who travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman who is terrorizing the locals.  Having been adapted for a TV movie in 1989, this will be the first time it has hit the big screen.  The trailer looks interesting; however, if you want to read the book, your Abilene Public Library doesn't own a copy, but you may request one through our Interlibrary Loan service at no charge.

February 10: The Vow
Although technically this film is not an adaptation from a book, it is inspired by true events, which has been released as a book due to the movie.  This film will tell the story of a woman, who wakes up from a coma after a car accident, only to have lost all memory of her husband.  Now he struggles to make her fall back in love with him.  This film was inspired by the story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter and their situation in 1993 when, after two months of marriage, a car wreck left her in a coma for weeks.  When she awoke, she had no memory of her husband, but he held true to his vow and got her to fall back in love with him.  This film version stars Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, and theh book is set to be released this month as well titled The Vow: The True Events that Inspired the Movie.

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February 17: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Gear up for an action/fantasy flick with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, the sequel to 2007's Ghost Rider starring Nicolas Cage.  Reprising the role of Johnny Blaze, the audience will follow him as he hides out in Eastern Europe, now being called upon to stop the devil who is trying to take human form.  Although this film is not necessarily an adaptation of a book, the series was adapted from Marvel Comics, which has seen new life in recent releases as graphic novels.  So if you've been a fan, you might want to see this film and stop by your Abilene Public Library to see about checking out some of the graphic novels we own of the series.

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Noted Japanese writer and director Hayao Miyazaki is returning as a writer for the release of the new film The Secret World of Arrietty.  Adapted from the popular juvenile series titled The Borrowers by author Mary Norton, this film will follow the Clock family, whom are all four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home.  Life eventually changes when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.  This series has been adapted many times in TV shows, made-for-TV movies, animated cartoons and feature films, and Miyazaki's is just another highly anticipated adaptation.  Check for this in theaters and then read the series from your Abilene Public Library.

Take advantage of reading the books before you see the movies by checking them out from your Abilene Public Library or using our Interlibrary Loan service in case we don't have them in stock.  I'm sure we'll hear from many patrons in the future just how much theme films measured up to the books.

New York Times Top 3 This Week

If you want to keep up with what's popular in mainstream literature, check out this new weekly blog where I'll give you a look at the top three (3) books on the current New York Times Bestsellers lists in Hardcover Fiction and Non-Fiction titles.  A new blog will be posted each Monday to see if any new titles have cracked the top 3, and then look for checking out a copy of them from your Abilene Public Library.

For a full list of the top 15 on the list, try listening to our weekly Podcast that will give you that rundown, or visit any branch location to view our printed lists each week.  Plus, you can also go online at the New York Times site to view the online list.

Hardcover Fiction Top 3

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Authors: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Weeks on List: 3
Publisher: Little, Brown
Library Copies: 5 in regular print; 3 in large-type, 3 in audiobook on CD
Summary: When a former lover's dead body is found in his bed, Jack Morgan, a former Marine and the head of an investigative firm, is accused of murder.

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Weeks on List: 1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Library Copies Owned: 3 in regular print
Summary: As King Alfred lies near death, the Saxon warrior Uhtred must decide whether to support a united England or reclaim his ancestral lands in the north.

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Weeks on List: 2
Publisher: Dutton
Library Copies Owned: 4 copies in regular print
Summary: Inspector Thomas Lynley's investigation of a murder unearths the secrets of a wealthy clan.

Hardcover Non-Fiction Top 3

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Publisher: Threshold Editions
Library Copies Owned: 3 in regular print
Summary: A talk-show host and president of Landmark Legal Foundation surveys the Utopian movement and warns that Americans must choose between utopianism and liberty.

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Author: Chris Kyle w/Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice
Weeks on List: 3
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Library Copies Owned: 3 in regular print
Summary: A member of the Navy Seals discusses his childhood, his marriage and his battlefield experiences during the Iraq war.

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Weeks on List: 13
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Library Copies Owned: 4 in regular print; 3 in audiobook on CD
Summary: A biography of the recently deceased  entrepreneur.

Check for these titles at your Abilene Public Library to see about reading these for yourselves if they sound of interest to you.  And be sure to look for all the other great reads we'll have available at all three (3) public library branch locations.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Online Videos from Your Library

February is right around the corner and your Abilene Public Library has added three (3) new videos to our YouTube and Facebook accounts.  We always look towards adding continuations in each of these three series each month so be sure to check them out as you’ll get great ideas for crafts for kids and teens as well as great suggestions on books to check out from your library for all ages.

Crafty Creations #37: Valentine’s Day Crafts

Crafty Creations is the monthly show that ties in great children’s literature with fun and easy-to-do crafts and each month features a new theme, new books to highlight from your library, and new crafts to make at home.  For February, Children’s Librarian Alyssa Crow will highlight the children’s book Love, Splat by Rob Scotton, and then show you how to make a Popping 3D Heart.  Afterwards, South Branch Manager Tremain Jackson, will talk about the book Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine by Herman Parish and then show you how to make some fun Sweetie Pies. 

Project Teen #13: Making Duct Tape Roses

Jessica Reyes, from the Main Library, is back for another Project Teen episode to show teens and young adults how to make some great crafts inspired from books within the library, as well as from popular teen programs we’ve held in the past.  This month, she shows you how easy it is to make Duct Tape Rose Pens using a simple pen and some multicolored duct tape.  Learn how to transform simple materials into works of art in her latest episode, and you can follow past shows on our YouTube and Facebook pages.

Book Talk #9: Emily St. John Mandel & Veronica Roth

Book Talk is a relatively new video segment hosted by Tremain Jackson (South Branch Manager) & Alyssa Crow (Children’s Librarian), where we highlight books available at your library geared for the adult audience.  Each month features two (2) books or series that we’ve read and found to be of interest, to simply introduce you to some novels you might not have stumbled across yet.  Our two featured books will be debut novels with 2010’s release of Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel and Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Look for these titles, and more, at your Abilene Public Library, and follow this show each month on our YouTube and Facebook pages.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Avoid Late Fees with Pre-Overdue Notices

Late Fees!!!  No one likes them, but we all get them.  Even library staff still gets late fees every now and again, but if you want to be alerted when your materials are about to be due, you have some wonderful options at your disposal.

Your Abilene Public Library offers three (3) great ways to alert you when you library materials are about to be due.  These reminders are extremely helpful to give you enough time to return them if you're done or renew them if needing them longer.  These three (3) services as Email, BookMyne and Library Elf.

Allow us to tell you a little about each.

Abilene Public Library's Email Notification:
If you have an Abilene Public Library account, and we have your email on file, you are automatically signed up to be alerted 2-days before your materials are due with a courtesy email notice.  If you already have an email account and don't receive these notices, chances are we may not have it on file, or we may not have your current valid email address.  To verify this, call our Circulation Desk at (325) 677-2474 and we can update your account.

BookMyne Mobile App
BookMyne (Free Mobile App):
If you use an iPhone or Android phone, you can take advantage of this free mobile app where you can set your own Pre-Overdue notices to alert you up to seven (7) days in advance.  In addition, through this app, you may also review your checked out materials, renew items, search our catalog, get reading suggestions and more.  To get started using this mobile, simply visit your App store on the iPhone or your Android Market to install the BookMyne app and start using it today.

Library Elf
For those who want more freedom in receiving pre-overdue alerts, you might wan to use this service where you can register for free to receive email, RSS and text alerts when your books are about to be do.  Additionally, you will receive notices when your holds are available for pickup, if you've requested materials through our library system.  It only takes minutes to get started and once you do, the site will automatically be updated of materials you've checked out, as well as holds you've placed.  You may signup by visiting our main website and clicking on the logo, or click here to go to its website.

These three (3) free tools are great ways to keep up with what you've checked out from your Abilene Public Library, so you may avoid acquiring any unwanted late fees.  Of course we may still receive a late fee every once in a while, but these programs help towards cutting that down. 

Don't miss out on your chance to take advantage of any of these Pre-Overdue Notice functions, and if you need any assistance, contact us at the library at (325) 677-2474 and staff will be more than happy to assist you. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book-A-Librarian @ Your Library

Book-A-Librarian @ Your Library
If you’ve ever had a moment where you’ve reacted to your computer like the man you see here, your Abilene Public Library can help.  We’ll be providing a new service called Book-A-Librarian to provide you with one-on-one assistance with library staff.  Patrons will be able to schedule a 30-minute session with a library professional to provide you with personalized help.  All three (3) branch libraries will be offering regular sessions each week starting on February 6th. 

Sign up for Book-A-Librarian if you need help in any of the following areas…
  • Setting Up an Email Account
  • Learning Microsoft Office Programs
  • Developing Computer Skills
  • Using the OverDrive Service for Digital Checkouts
  • Learning How-To Research Your Ancestry @ the Main Library
  • Figuring Out How-To Use Your New Laptop
  • Using our Great Online E-Resources & Databases
  • Job Searches & Resume Help
  • And More
Interested participants should call ahead to register, and when you do, staff will ask what help you require so we may match you with the library employee most capable at helping you.  This will truly be a program catering directly to your needs.

To schedule a session, phone the location most convenient for you and we'll help you get scheduled for your own personal session.  The Main Library will schedule appointments Monday through Thursday and you may contact anyone on the Information Services staff to schedule an appointment.  Your South Branch will schedule appointments on Thursdays taught by Tremain Jackson (South Branch Manager) or Alyssa Crow (Children's Librarian), and your Mockingbird Branch on Wednesdays taught by Anne Ellis (Mockingbird Branch Manager) or Darla Casella (Children's Librarian).

For more information about Book-A-Librarian, contact the Abilene Public Library location of your choice and look into signing up for these sessions in the future. 

Main Library: (325) 676-6025
South Branch: (325) 698-7565
Mockingbird Branch: (325) 437-7323

Upcoming Events & Programs @ Your Library

Your Abilene Public Library has some great events planned for the upcoming week.  Each Thursday, you can check our blog for a look at upcoming events, or visit our website for a complete listing.  Remember, all events are free and if you need any additional information, click on the title of the program to be redirected to the event post on our online calendar.

MS Word Workshop
Tues., Jan 31st @ 6:30 p.m.; Mockingbird Branch
If you need help learning how to use this popular Microsoft Office application, register to attend this training class as staff will show you the basics of using Microsoft Word.  We do ask that you already have some basic keyboarding and internet skills, and feel free to bring in a flash drive to save some files if you like.  Class size will be limited, so for more information, or to register for a spot, contact Anne Ellis at 325-437-7323.  Update: This course is now full.

Free Help @ Your Library
Free Tax Assistance 
Feb. 1st & Feb. 2nd from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Main Library
Allow IRS trained volunteers with the AARP help you to file your taxes in this annual program at the library.  Everyone is helped on a first-come, first-served basis and you’ll be able e-file your taxes that afternoon.  Be sure to bring your tax materials (i.e. Photo ID, W-2s, Social Security Card, etc), to complete the process.  This program will be offered every Wednesday and Thursday through the end of tax season and for more information, contact the Information Services Desk at 325-676-6025.

Tween Time Flower Pens
Wed., Feb. 1st @ 4:00 p.m.; Mockingbird Branch
Youth ages 8-15 are invited to come out to this fun crafting workshop where staff will show you how to create your own pieces of writing art.  We’ll be making Flower Art Pens that will look really cool once you’re done and we'll supply all the materials needed.  For more information, contact Heather Carter at 325-437-7323.

Family Fun Time
Thurs., Feb. 2nd @ 6:30 p.m.; South Branch
Kids of all ages, and parents too, are invited to this monthly event where the theme for the evening will be Alligators.  Have some fun with great stories, fun coloring pages, songs, crafts and more that all have to do with our friendlier version of the Alligator at your library.  For more information, contact Alyssa Crow at 325-698-7565.

Free Tax Help @ Your Library
Free Tax Assistance 
Feb. 3rd & Feb. 4th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Mockingbird Branch
Allow IRS trained volunteers with the AARP help you to file your taxes at the library.  Everyone is helped on a first-come, first-served basis and you’ll be able to e-file your taxes, for free, with a little help.  Be sure to bring your tax materials (i.e. Photo ID, W-2s, Social Security Card, etc), to complete the process.  This program will be offered every Friday and Saturday through the end of tax season and for more information, contact the Information Services Desk at 325-676-6025.

Also, don’t forget all location offer weekly storytime sessions for youth of all ages, and you can also sign up to get assistance from library staff on using computers and various other applications.  Offered at every branch location, contact the library of your choice for more information on dates and times.

Main Library: (325) 676-6067
South Branch: (325) 698-7565
Mockingbird Branch: (325) 437-7323

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Discover "The Fantastic World of Dan Yaccarino" @ Your Library

Mark your calendars because your Abilene Public Library is happy to announce a special and FREE children’s event on Saturday, Feb. 11th @ 10:00 a.m. at the Main Library on 202 Cedar St.  What makes this event special? Your library is hosting this event in conjunction with the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) and featuring special guest Dan Yaccarino.

"The Fantastic World of Dan Yaccarino"

Author/Illustrator Dan Yaccarino

Saturday, February 11th @ 10:00 a.m.
Main Library, Auditorium
202 Cedar St.
Abilene, TX 79601
(325) 676-6067

The theme for the event is The Fantastic World of Dan Yaccarino, which will be the NCCIL’s newest exhibit.  Yaccarino will provide an inspiring presentation connecting the dots from his childhood to a 25-year career in children’s publishing, television and character designs.  He’ll show kids that if they work hard enough, they will be able to achieve anything.

Yaccarino is a noted children’s author, illustrator, and creator of some of your favorite kids’ shows including Nick Jr.’s “Oswaldseries and the Emmy-winning “Willa’s Wild Lifeon NBC, as well as the being the designer of the characters on Nickelodeon’sThe Backyardigans,” and the writer, director, and producer of Disney Channel’s “Mr. Pig and Mr. Duck.” He has also illustrated books for other prestigious children’s authors including Margaret Wise Brown, Jack Prelutsky, Kevin Henkes, and Patricia MacLachlan.

"Unlovable" by: Dan Yaccarino
You won’t want to miss out on this amazing opportunity @ your Abilene Public Library.  Remember, this great children’s event will be open to the public for free to allow you to see an incredible children’s author and illustrator in-person and at your library…I know I’ll be there!!!

Before that happens, feel free to visit your Abilene Public Library and checkout some of the great books written and/or illustrated by Dan Yaccarino as we have plenty.  If you need help finding them, library staff will be more than happy to assist you…who knows, we may even feature some of them at our storytimes.

@ Your Library Article: "Baby Sign Language Aids Development"

Written by Melissa Rowland is a library assistant in children’s services at the Main Library of the Abilene Public Library

For most parents, curiosity about what your baby is thinking starts with his/her birth.  Studies have shown that by using baby sign language, which is a form of American Sign Language, a baby’s verbal development can be improved.  This gives parents and caregivers a better understanding of their wants, needs, and feelings.  Your Abilene Public Library has a number of books and resources to help you learn this unique method of communication.

By age six months babies begin to develop the cognitive and motor skills to use baby sign language.  The use of baby sign language provides care givers the opportunity to start communicating with children many months before verbal skills have developed, allowing stronger bonds to form between the two.

The use of baby sign language boosts both cognitive and emotional brain development in babies, and has been shown to potentially raise a child’s IQ by 12 points (http:://www.babysignlanguage.com/basics/research/).  By teaching baby sign language, children learn the names of the objects around them which will translate into spoken words once verbal skills are developed.  Children are most receptive to learning words they are interested in such as toys, food, and family.  By learning how to ask for familiar objects children can communicate their wants, needs, and over time their feelings.  This will help the parent/care giver eel like they have a better understanding of the child.

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Teach Your Baby to Sign: An Illustrated Guide to Simple Sign Language for Babies by Monica Beyer features photographs of babies signing, plus line illustrations of each sign.  And it provides 200 useful signs so parents can have a wide selection to choose from, along with stage-by-stage guidance so they’ll know which signs to teach first and which to add as they and their baby become more skilled and comfortable with signing.  Baby Signing: How to Talk with Your Baby in American Sign Language by Andrea Fixell and musician Ted Stafford uses songs, games, photos and easy-to-follow instructions to help parents teach basic American Sign Language to babies.

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The My Baby Can Talk series of DVDs can also help mom and dad learn American Sign Language more easily, particularly if you are a visual learner.  Then, they can be used with a slightly older child to copy the signs and learn them.  We also have DVDs and books in Spanish on this subject.

The use of baby sign language can start at birth; however, parents/caregivers should not get frustrated if the baby does not sign back.  Babies do not develop the cognitive and motor skills necessary until six to eight months.  Also, new skills take time to develop so if there is a delay in the child responding to baby sign language, keep trying.

Using baby sign language is one way to provide a bond between parents/caregivers and children through providing them with your attention, early communication, and the ability to be understood.  Other opportunities for binding include attending story times at the library, which are available at all these branches throughout the week.  One program, Baby Steps, caters to parents/caregivers of newborn and babies up to one-year-old, providing stories and songs to foster a caring, safe, and fun relationship.  This program is available weekly at the Mockingbird Branch Wednesdays at 10:45 a.m. and at the Main Library Thursdays at 10:15 a.m.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

February's Cover-to-Cover Book Club Selection

If you’re looking for a great book club discussion group, try out the Cover-to-Cover Book Club at your Abilene Public Library.  Meeting on the 3rd Thursdays of the month, this group reads everything including bestsellers, fiction, biographies, non-fiction, classics, etc.

February’s selection is the historical fiction novel titled The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks and we invite you to look out for a copy at your Abilene Public Library and then look at attending the book club discussion group.  The Cover-to-Cover Book Club will meet on February 16th @ 7:00 p.m. and for more information, contact Ann Mount at 325-676-6025.

Author: Robert Hicks
Publisher: Warner Books
Published: 2005
Pages: 426
Copies Owned: 3 Regular Print; 1 Large-Type Print
Call Number: F HICKS

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Book Summary: Carnton Plantation, 1894: Carrie McGavock is an old woman who tends the graves of almost 1,500 soldiers buried there.  As she walks among the dead, an elderly man appears – the same soldier she met that fateful day long ago.  Today, he asks if the cemetery has room for one more.  Based on an extraordinary true story, this brilliant, meticulously researched novel flashes back to 1864 and the afternoon of the Civil War.  While the fierce fighting rages on Carrie’s land, her plantation turns into a Confederate army hospital; four generals lie dead on her back porch; the pile of amputated limps rises as tall as the smoke house.  But when a wounded soldier named Zachariah Cashwell arrives at her house, he awakens feelings she had though long dead – and inspires a passion as powerful and unforgettable as the war that consumes a nation.

About the Author:  Robert Hicks is a New York Times Bestseller, for the novel selected for this month, and has played a major role in preserving the historic Carnton mansion, a focal point in the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864.  He has served on the boards of the Tennessee State Museum, The Williamson County Historical Society, and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Currently he serves on the board of directors of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans and of Historic Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee.  After becoming fascinated by the Battle of Franklin during the final months of the Civil War, he began to compile the ideas that would later become his first novel, The Widow of the South.