Historic School House Summer Library

About Deering Public Library

The petition to the Senate and House of Representatives in Portsmouth to incorporate a library in Deering was granted on 6 December 1797.

"To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives in general Court at Portsmouth November 1797 Humbly sheweth [sic], That Robert Alcock Thomas Merrill Thomas Aiken William Forsaith James Sherrier and others their Associates Inhabitants of Deering have purchased a number of Books, for the purpose of a social Library in said Town, but finding it necessary to be Incorporated, in order to realize the advantages thereby Intended, by purchasing books in common, your petitioners therefore pray that they may be Incorporated with such priviledges [sic] as are usually granted in such cases, and they as in duty bound will ever pray
Robert Alcock for himself and Associates"

The Deering Library's Mission is to create a vibrant community center that inspires curiosity, personal growth and opportunities for life-long learning.

To view our policies, agendas and the minutes of trustee meetings please visit the library, or use the link to the Town of Deering website.

Deering Public Library is located in Southwest New Hampshire's glorious Monadnock Region. Deering is a quintessential New England town with a white clapboard church, a town hall at its center and a population of approximately 1800 people. The library is located year round on the second floor of the town hall. Our seasonal school house library is open during the summer.





American Covenant. A history of civil religion from the Puritans to the present, Phil Gorsky, 2017

Following are excerpts from a perceptive review on Goodreads:

"Philip Gorski is one who has looked at the history of America's culture wars and asks if there is another alternative to what he sees as the extremes of religious nationalism and radical secularism. He believes that there is and that it has a long history. He proposes that there may be a form of "civil religion" that is not invidious and that it is critical that we retrieve and strengthen a tradition that he believes has been at the center of our national life and combines what he calls "prophetic religion" and "civic republicanism." He calls this "prophetic republicanism."

Gorski's book provides, on a high level, the kind of education for citizenship, for republican virtue (not of the party-type) that we desperately need. It is the kind of education needed with our rising generation, as well as for all who sense that neither of the extremes of our culture war offer a good vision for our national life. It offers a substantive alternative and not a bland compromise to our polarized discourse. I only hope someone notices."

Churchilll's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. The maverics who plotted Hitler's defeat, Giles Milton 2016

This is a popular account of British guerilla activities during WWII.  Derring  Do and all that. One reviewer found the book to be only lightly referenced Still.. following is an excerpt from one review from Goodreads:

"The author provides us with a history of the British group known as MI(D) – Military Intelligence Destruction. This group was authorized by the top echelons of British government in the early days at the beginning of WW II. Its creation involved a lot of soul searching among the members of the cabinet because their purpose was to destroy assets of the German military force in “ungentlemanly ways.” It is what we term guerrilla warfare today – a term a far cry from the polite posture of the British people. It finally dawned on the government that fire must be fought with fire when dealing with the Nazi threat. The people recruited early on all had special skills beyond the normal military needs. There were experts in explosives, aeronautics, silent killing, etc. Mr. Milton lays out some of the main efforts of this group through the war – many of which were kept as top secret until very recently. The group was responsible for ‘limpet’ bombs, bombs which were placed against enemy ships and held there by special magnets and would explode upon proper activation. They also developed some clever weapons that were used against submarines."


Young Adult

The Sun is Also a Star, Nicola Yoon, 2016
Two teens meet by chance in New York City. She is from Jamaica and her family, after many years of being here illegally, is facing immediate deportation. He is son of a Korean family and is being pushed to take up medicine at Yale. She has one day to delay the deportation He has one day to make her fall in love with him. The story is a switch: She is the  scientist who wants to attend a university. He is the poet who has no interest in medicine. These highly engaging kids exploring love: of each other, of their families, of their cultures, of their country. Incidental characters all have interesting back stories:  the security guard who is on the brink of suicide, the lawyer whose first love is not his wife, the brother whose first love is not himself. Parents and their demands and aspirations. The backdrop is New York City, and you can feel the city. Do you  believe in Fate? God? Chance? I enjoyed this book. Good writing: the plot is interesting, the characters engaging and the author knows how to use the English language The book was written for young adults, but themes have far broader application than 'young adult,' especially in these days. Makes one think. Read it with your teenaged kids: you'll have a good time comparing notes.

Adult Fiction 

Moonglow, Michael Chabon, 2016

I will buy every book Michael Chabon writes if only for his wonderful use of the English language.

Following are excerpts from one Goodreads review:

"Michael Chabon pulls off a hybrid memoir and a contested fictional multigenerational family history peppered with anecdotes and stories from his heavily medicated grandfather on his deathbed. Chabon unashamedly states its fictional roots and perhaps questions the concept of a factual memoir, how much of a memoir can be said to be true when peoples' memories are notoriously unreliable?"

"I was entranced by the lyrical prose and the vivid metaphors in the narrative. The stories of efforts to strangle Alger Hiss with ripped out telephone cables which lands the grandfather in a New York prison, blowing up bridges, sex, war time espionage and efforts attempting to locate Nazi SS officer Wernher Von Braun in Europe only to find he ends up working for the US space programme, There is the obsession with rockets and a lovely story of the exploits of Ramon the cat and the hunt for the snake. It appears the outpouring of tales is chaotic and non linear, but this is often the nature of memory, going back and forth in time. What is particularly tender and heartbreaking is the recounting of the love and loyalty he has for Chabon's grandmother, her desperate and traumatic history and the consequent mental instability that ensued. There is the examination of what constitutes family with the inclusion of non blood family members. "

Like this reviewer, I will not soon forget this book! 

The Motion of Puppets, Keith  Donohue, 2016

I picked up this book at Toadstool because of its intriguing title. Creepy puppets? Bring 'em on!

Reviews of this book were mixed. Here is one of the good ones

""Never enter a toy shop after midnight" is a warning that appears early in this lovely horror story. Unfortunately, it comes too late for acrobat Kay, working for the summer in Quebec City and fascinated by the weird little shop filled with puppets. Returning home to her husband late one night after a performance, she fears she is being followed; as she passes the toy shop, she finds it unlocked and enters. By the next morning, she can be measured in inches, not feet, and is one of the eerie collection of once-human puppets. Meanwhile, her French professor husband Theo is beside himself, looking for her over and over with no success until months later, he learns of a puppet show and sees a news clip of a puppet who looks remarkably like Kay. And since this is a re-imagining of Orpheus and Eurydice, is there a chance he can save her? Very satisfying horror novel, when so many ultimately disappoint me by laying out all the tricks. Pacing here is relentless but not really fast, as there are lots of clues to investigate and we follow Kay's life in the puppet troop and Theo's endless search in alternating points of view; involving, compelling characters; intricately plotted, inventive story line that's layered with references to classical roots of Orpheus and Eurydice tale and fascinating information about photographer Eadweard Muybridge, the photographer famed for his photographs of animals in motion (proved that a galloping horse does have all 4 feet in air); "hypnotic prose"; suspenseful, nightmare tone. Narrator Bronson Pinchot's performance is a fabulous way to experience this fine story."

The Sojourn, Andrew Krivak, 2011
This little book was a National Book Award Finalist and is particularly relevant on the 100th anniversary of USA entering WW I. 

Here is the publisher's blurb:

"The Sojourn is the story of Jozef Vinich, who was uprooted from a 19th-century mining town in Colorado by a family tragedy and returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd’s life in rural Austria-Hungary. When World War One comes, Jozef joins his adopted brother as a sharpshooter in the Kaiser’s army, surviving a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps and capture by a victorious enemy.

A stirring tale of brotherhood, coming-of-age, and survival, that was inspired by the author’s own family history, this novel evokes a time when Czechs, Slovaks, Austrians, and Germans fought on the same side while divided by language, ethnicity, and social class in the most brutal war to date. It is also a poignant tale of fathers and sons, addressing the great immigration to America and the desire to live the American dream amidst the unfolding tragedy in Europe.

In the opening pages a desperate mother throws her infant son into a river. The son is saved and mom dies. The boy's immigrant father moves them from Colorado at the end of the 19th Century to his country of origin, Slovakia, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The boy and his father take up sheep herding when they speak and read English. They are joined by another young boy, who becomes Jozef's brother, in name if not in fact. Jozef becomes disillusioned by something his father does and the two  boys join the Kaiser's army where they become snipers. This is followed by death, capture by a victorious enemy and a long coming home.

Michael Dirda said in the Washington Post:

Although “The Sojourn” is rightly marketed as a literary novel, it should also appeal to fans of Stephen Hunter’s sniper novels and David Morrell’s early thrillers, and I really shouldn’t say any more about its plot, certainly not about the sudden deaths on the snowy mountain pass or the raped Gypsy girl or the bags of gold hidden in a cave. Yet throughout, Krivak returns, again and again, to the love between a father and his son, to the burden of tragic memories, and to the fraught nature of national or ethnic identity. As Jozef says at one point: “What was a Czecho-Slovak to me, though, a boy raised among Carpathian peasants in a Magyar culture, professing loyalty in a poor school to a Hapsburg, and speaking a language in secret they spoke in a land called America?”

"Packed with violence and death, yet wonderfully serene in its tone, Andrew Krivak’s The Sojourn — shortlisted for this year’s [2011] National Book Award — reminds us that one never knows from where the blow will fall and that, always, in the midst of life we are in death: “His foot slipped from the poor hold he had chosen on the next step and he pitched forward and began to slide and spin sideways down the hill, letting go of the rifle, which picked up its own speed and outstripped him as it dropped straight and slammed into a rock not twenty yards from my father and went off, shooting the man through the heart. He was dead before he came to rest."

I  thought The Sojourn was a very satisfying book that begs me to read it again. Soon.

Heretics, Leonardo Padura, 2013 (translation, 2017)
 The Good Ship S.S. St Louis and its 900 Jews who are trying to escape Nazi Germany comes to Havana in the hope that Cuba will accept these refugees. We know they won't. Nobody did. They perished back in Europe. But in this story mom and dad and one daughter of the Kaminsky family are on the boat, and the 9-yr-old son Daniel is in Cuba with an uncle, having arrived some time earlier. There is a Rembrandt painting in the family and it is supposed to buy entry into Cuba for the ship-bound Kaminskys. It doesn't. The painting disappears along with the family. The painting resurfaces 70 year later in a London auction house. This leads Daniel to return to Cuba and engage former detective and somewhat down-on-his-luck Mario Conde to try to find out what happened to the painting.

The story really begins in 17th Century Amsterdam where the Jews who were driven out of the Iberian peninsula in the 15th and 16th Centuries have been welcomed and have established a thriving community. The problem is that painting the human figure is not permitted by Jewish law. Despite that Elias is accepted to learn from the great Rembrandt and eventually is given a signed portrait of Christ, for which Elias was the model. The tensions within Amsterdam's Jewish community, something I knew nothing about, are the major theme of the second novel. Elias is ultimately excluded from the Jewish community and he migrates to Poland. On his death bed he gives the painting to a Dr. Kaminsky. Thus the Rembrandt painting enters the Kaminsky family. 

The book ends in modern day Havana with a Kaminsky girl disappears after becoming and emo (me either), a group of totally despairing youth who paint their faces, wear dark clothes and, oh yes, they hurt themselves.   There are lesbians and sleazy Italian druggies too.  Mario Conde tries to find the missing Judith. 

This is a long book over 500 pages. It tends to be discursive, but there is the missing painting, murder, exile and a description of pre Revolutionary Havana -- and Mario Conde drinks a lot of rum with friends and, then, there is the woman -- Tamara -- he might propose marriage to.  

Heretics, the title? From the NPR book review:

"And in all of this, the uniting strand is the idea of heresy — of rules broken that can never be unbroken, of modernity grinding away at tradition. The Jewish art student who posed for Rembrandt's Christ painting, the Kaminsky family displaying it in a fit of atheistic pride, the kids in Cuba, the "most remarkable tip of the iceberg of a generation of certified heretics." This is what Padura spends 500 pages talking about: Heresy as a forgetting of the past."

Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders, 2017

Bardo? bardo. " (in Tibetan Buddhism) a state of existence between death and rebirth, varying in length according to a person's conduct in life and manner of, or age at, death. " (English Oxford Dictionary) 

This is the description from Goodreads:

On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln's son who died probably from typhoid] was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son’s body.

Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel - in its form and voice - completely unlike anything you have read before. It is also, in the end, an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written as only George Saunders can: with humor, pathos, and grace

This is what one reviewer wrote:

"George Saunders has written a magnificent, unique, experimental work that is both heartbreaking and humourous, both heavenly and in the mire. This novel examines death and existence thereafter, while exalting the beauty of life, each precious moment of it. It reveals the unbearable grief felt at the loss of a child. It shows, in a chorus of voices, the many hues memory paints of an event. All the while, it magnifies the undeniable dignity of Abraham Lincoln.

The range of this book is astonishing. The format is original - part historical accounting, part Shakespearean play. The concept is this: Willie Lincoln, at 11 years old, dies, breaking his presidential father's heart. He finds himself (amongst a host of other spirits) in the "Bardo" (essentially purgatory), where he is visited by his father, and where he decides he will stay in order to see him again. The rest of the story is ghostly, Godly, mystical, mysterious, and oh-so-human. I loved it."

This is from Thomas Mallon's New Yorker review:

"Saunders’s witty and garrulous graveyard is filled with semi-spirits in a state of denial. They believe that their dead bodies are merely a “sick-form,” and that the coffins and crypts containing them are “sick-boxes,” as if Oak Hill were a hospital instead of a cemetery. They have chosen to resist passage to a genuine afterlife, and with their defiance has come boredom: “Each night passed with a devastating sameness,” Hans Vollman, one of those who have adamantly “soldiered on,” says. A printer with an enormous penis, he was, back in the eighteen-forties, just beginning to experience the joy of bedding his much younger wife when a ceiling beam fell and killed him. Vollman’s best posthumous pal is the campy, once closeted Roger Bevins III, now sporting multiple limbs like a Hindu god. The two are frequently in the company of a straitlaced “old bore,” the Reverend Everly Thomas, the closest thing to a Stage Manager in Saunders’s netherworld. Unlike Vollman and Bevins, he knows he is dead, as well as damned."

George Saunders has previously published several collections of short fiction. This is his first novel. Most reviews are very good. There are many characters in this book and becauses of that  several reviewers said that the book was better when heard in the audio version, and then it was otherworldly (or words to that effect). l


The Winter Solstice is nearly on us, in a few days on December twenty-first. Here in New England  it's getting dark at around 4:00 pm, or at least so dark that lights on cars and in rooms are called for.

For many, the short days of Winter are difficult. Not enough endorphins. Too much unknown  lurking in the surrounding darkness maybe.Of course, it's cold as well and the cold and dark night could trigger all kinds of fear.

I like this time. The long night emphasizes the warmth of my own cozy house. The fire in the hearth (as likely real as figurative)  The cold and, if we're lucky snow, preclude travel. The sense of isolation this brings is more like an old quilt taken from the cupboard in my childhood home than it is something to fret over, to be afraid of.

This is a time I like to read with some 'cool' jazz music in the background. Whatever pressing tasks are on the list just have to wait. Nothing I can do about them now.

Short stories are a favorite form of literature for me. One book can be like a box of mixed chocolates, except that if a small bite of one does not please me today, I can return it to its place and select another.

There are a lot of stories for the end of the year. I'm of the Christian tradtion, and so my end of year stories tend in that direction.  Sentimental, funny, uplifting: these stories can take me back the seventy-off years to  a fondly remembered home town (that, in remembrance, was never as in actuality. But, still....).

Although this is not the way things went in my largely unreading childhood,  I have a romantic vision of how it could have been. Reading together, as a family, is part of that vision.

With this in mind, I have gathered together some stories that I think you might like to read. Please follow the links and enjoy! Please let me know if you would like to share one of your stories and I will distribute it.

 Light returns with the Solstice,and with it another kind of joy. But, for  now, enjoy this peaceful time.

The first story, a poem actually, is,simply stated, obligatory for this season! Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Winter Spirit and His Visitor is a Cherokee tale of the Winter Solstice

The Christmas Masquerade is the tale of an ill-conceived chamber of commerce Christmas party that goes really wrong!

The Boy With the Box and Little Piccola are uplifting stories of  kids at Christmas.

L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz, describes a kidnapping: Of Santa no less!

The Tailor of Goucester is a classical tell of mice and men by Beatrix Potter

Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking, by O. Henry, is a funny story of a Hobo  who doesn't want his just rewards for doing good.

Christmas Eve in War Time is an admittedly maudlin story from the period of the Civil War, but, wuss that I am, it brought tears to my jaded old eyes.


The Trustees of the Deering Public Library continue the tradition of presenting the End of Year/Solstice/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah party and we need your help.

The party will be held on 10 December in Deering Town Hall

Beginning at 1:00 pm there will be an hour of crafting.
At 2:00 multi instrumentalist Roger Tincknell will present his Solstice Celebration of music and stories.
Santa will arrive at 3:00.

There will be a drawing for a home-made gingerbread house, the (undecorated) Christmas tree and for two gift cards to Toadstool Bookstore.

Light refreshments with cocoa will  be served.

How can you help? Can you contribute a craft and manage the table of little kids? These crafts should be simple things; something a child can complete within the hour, to take home. Crafts can be themed in any tradition, not just Christmas.

We expect anywhere from forty to seventy children, probably closer to the lower number.

There are only two library trustees. We are determined to make this party a success but could certainly use your help to ensure success.

If you can help, please leave a comment here.



Last night, October 29, Deering Town Hall became positively ghoulish as about sixty children brought their elders to the Library Trustee's Third Annual Halloween party.

There were games, decorating sugar cookies and coloring Halloween pictures. To enter town hall everybody had to pass a deliciously icky GHOULISH pantry, complete with maggotts and vampire brains, jars of eyeballs and little kid fingers. Some kids brought spooky carved pumpkins and every one wore a delightful costume.

Prizes in the form of gift cards from Toadstool Bookshop were awarded for best costumes, jack-o-lanterns and scarecrows.

Outside there was a fire pit where you could warm and toast marshmallows, tended by Michael and Matthew Krill.

The highlight of the party was a hayride on Gregg Hill, thanks to suitably costumed driver Bob Carter. Thanks very much  Bob and the whole Carter family for helping make this party  a success.

You can see from these pictures everybody had a good time. 



Henry James, a Week in October


The following is drawn from The Daily Henry James: A Year of Quotes from the Work of the Master, which compiles a quote from Henry James’s work for every day of the year, and first appeared in 1911 with James’s cooperation.

I have copied this from the November 10, 2016 issue of The New York Review of Books


It might be an ado about trifles—and half the poetry, roundabout, the poetry in solution in the air, was doubtless but the alertness of the touch of Autumn, the imprisoned painter, the Bohemian with a rusty jacket, who had already broken out with palette and brush; yet the way the color begins in those days to be dabbed, the way, here and there, for a start, a solitary maple on a woodside flames in single scarlet, recalls nothing so much as the daughter of a noble house dressed for a fancy-ball, with the whole family gathered round to admire her before she goes. One speaks, at the same time of the orchards; but there are properly no orchards when half the countryside shows, the easiest, most familiar sacrifice to Pomona. The apple tree in New England plays the part of the olive in Italy, charges itself with the effect of detail, for the most part otherwise too scantly produced, and, engaged in this charming care, becomes infinitely decorative and delicate. What it must do for the too under-dressed land in May and June is easily supposable; but its office in the early autumn is to scatter coral and gold. The apples are everywhere and every interval, every old clearing, an orchard. You pick them up from under your feet but to bite into them, for fellowship, and throw them away; but as you catch their young brightness in the blue air, where they suggest strings of strange-colored pearls tangled in the knotted boughs, as you notice their manner of swarming for a brief and wasted gayety, they seem to ask to be praised only by the cheerful shepherd and the oaten pipe.
—New England: An Autumn Impression, 1905


The talk was so low, with pauses somehow so not of embarrassment that it could only have been earnest, and the air, an air of privilege and privacy to our young woman’s sense, seemed charged with fine things taken for granted.
The Papers, 1903

One of the things she loved him for, however, was that he gave you touching surprises in this line, had sudden in consistencies of temper that were all to your advantage. He was by no means always mild when he ought to have been, but he was sometimes so when there was no obligation.
The Princess Casamassima, 1886


Sanin’s history is weighted with the moral that salvation lies in being able, at a given moment, to turn on one’s will like a screw. If Mr. Turgénieff pays his tribute to the magic of sense he leaves us also eloquently reminded that soul in the long run claims her own.
Ivan Turgénieff, 1878


The old gentleman, heaven knew, had prejudices, but if they were numerous, and some of them very curious, they were not rigid. He had also such nice inconsistent feelings, such irrepressible indulgences, and they would ease everything off.
The Reverberator, 1888


Surprise, it was true, was not, on the other hand, what the eyes of Strether’s friend most showed him. They had taken hold of him straightway, measuring him up and down, as if they knew how; as if he were human material they had already in some sort handled. Their possessor was in truth, it may be communicated, the mistress of a hundred cases or categories, receptacles of the mind, subdivisions for convenience, in which, from a full experience, she pigeon-holed her fellow-mortals with a hand as free as that of a compositor scattering type.
The Ambassadors, 1903


“If you’ll help me, you know, I’ll help you,” he concluded in the pleasant fraternizing, equalizing, not a bit patronizing way which made the child ready to go through anything for him, and the beauty of which, as she dimly felt, was that it was not a deceitful descent to her years, but a real indifference to them.
What Maisie Knew, 1898


A suppositious spectator would certainly, on this, have imagined in the girl’s face the delicate dawn of a sense that her mother had suddenly become vulgar, together with a general consciousness that the way to meet vulgarity was always to be frank and simple.
The Awkward Age, 1899

The Daily Henry James: A Year of Quotes from the Work of the Master will be published, with a new introduction by Michael Gorra, by the University of Chicago Press on November 12th
mber 12.


Six of the seven new books are fiction. Except where noted the summaries are from Goodreads.

BARKSKINS, Annie Proulx, 2016
In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen, René Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord, a “seigneur,” for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters—barkskins. René suffers extraordinary hardship, oppressed by the forest he is charged with clearing. He is forced to marry a Mi’kmaw woman and their descendants live trapped between two inimical cultures. But Duquet, crafty and ruthless, runs away from the seigneur, becomes a fur trader, then sets up a timber business. Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred years—their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand, under stunningly brutal conditions—the revenge of rivals, accidents, pestilence, Indian attacks, and cultural annihilation. Over and over again, they seize what they can of a presumed infinite resource, leaving the modern-day characters face to face with possible ecological collapse.

Proulx’s inimitable genius is her creation of characters who are so vivid—in their greed, lust, vengefulness, or their simple compassion and hope—that we follow them with fierce attention. Annie Proulx is one of the most formidable and compelling American writers, and Barkskins is her greatest novel, a magnificent marriage of history and imagination.

END OF WATCH (Bill Hodges Trilogy No. 3), Stephen King, 2016
Following is a review from Goodreads:
Seven years have passed since Brady Hartsfield drove a stolen Mercedes through a crowd of people, killing many, and paralyzing one survivor by the name of Martine Stover. Despite her disability, she still lives a peaceful life with her mother who is her primary caregiver. That is until the day the police are called to her residence in what appears to be a murder/suicide, but is in all actuality anything but. This crime has Brady Hartsfield written all over it, but he’s in a mostly vegetative state in the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, how could such a thing even be possible? But when more and more suicides begin popping up, the only thing that connects them is Brady and Bill Hodges just might be the only one that could believe such an impossibility.

The gang is all back together for one last hurrah: Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson. Hodges and Holly were doing their fair share of investigating the strange evidence piling up around the recent increase of suicides, but it’s not until one of these attempted suicides hits close to home that the ante has been upped. Despite the impossibility of Brady being the backstage conductor, readers that have been with this series from the beginning will have been given a glimpse at where King was heading at the end of Finders Keepers. Mr. Mercedes, the first installment, seemed to at first be a bit of a departure from King’s typical style, going for your basic mystery/detective thriller, yet slowly but surely he deftly infused it with his trademark supernatural horror. Whether it’s due to the blow that Holly landed or the experimental drugs being delivered by his doctor, Brady has developed the ability to influence the minds of others. With his technological genius, he manages to find a way to increase the way he spreads his infectious thoughts so that he can finally commit the massive crime he was prevented from carrying out before.

Despite the fact that King doesn’t fully flesh out the supernatural aspects of the novel, it doesn’t take much suspension of disbelief for it to still work. The powerful effects of video games are evident in society even without the supernatural aspects involved and King uses this to bring that effectiveness to life in this novel of horror. Suffice it to say, the cover may have been intriguing before reading the story, but after? You won’t want to maintain eye contact for long. And this song is definitely ruined. So, King subsequently ruined the ice cream man and a Mickey Mouse song in one fell swoop with this series. A most impressive feat.

The initial working title for this book was The Suicide Prince and while I was disappointed when it was announced it would actually be End of Watch instead, it’s so much more fitting. King didn’t disappoint with this ending, not leaving us hanging with unresolved questions but not coating the ending in unlikely perfection. I may have started this trilogy skeptical that King could pull off a convincing mystery but by the end I’m hoping that he experiments with this genre more in the future


HOT MILK, Deborah Levy, 2016
Sofia, a young anthropologist, has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother's unexplainable illness. She is frustrated with Rose and her constant complaints, but utterly relieved to be called to abandon her own disappointing fledgling adult life. She and her mother travel to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain to see a famous consultant—their very last chance—in the hope that he might cure her unpredictable limb paralysis.

But Dr. Gomez has strange methods that seem to have little to do with physical medicine, and as the treatment progresses, Sofia's mother's illness becomes increasingly baffling. Sofia's role as detective—tracking her mother's symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her pain—deepens as she discovers her own desires in this transient desert community.

Hot Milk is a profound exploration of the sting of sexuality, of unspoken female rage, of myth and modernity, the lure of hypochondria and big pharma, and, above all, the value of experimenting with life; of being curious, bewildered, and vitally alive to the world.

NUTSHELL, Ian McEwan, 2016
Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She's still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she's with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb.

Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers

The following is from a review of this short novel in the Washington Post:
Nutshell,” Ian McEwan’s preposterously weird little novel, is more brilliant than it has any right to be. The plot sounds like something sprung from a drunken round of literary Mad Libs: a crime of passion based on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” narrated by a fetus.

If you can get beyond that icky premise, you’ll discover a novel that sounds like a lark but offers a story that’s surprisingly suspenseful, dazzlingly clever and gravely profound. To the extent that “Hamlet” is an existential tragedy marked with moments of comedy, “Nutshell” is a philosophical comedy marked by moments of tragedy.

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, Colson Whitehead, 2016
 Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood - where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor - engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven - but the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

Following is part of a review from Goodreads:
About halfway through The Underground Railroad, I started to see the next turn around the bend. I knew what was going to happen next. This isn't because of lazy writing, it's because the story rises beyond itself and becomes almost an allegory or fable. What happens to Cora simply becomes inevitable. The beauty of this book is that while it has that deep communal feel of folk tale, it also lives vibrantly through its characters. This is not archetypes and cardboard cutouts going through motions to make a moral point. This is a book whose characters are fully alive. The details of their lives are richly expressed. It feels new and interesting. These are not characters you've met before. These are not the same old staunch abolitionists and earnest slaves in the stories we tell ourselves of our history. I cannot remember another book about this era that so completely brought the world to life in my mind.

Choosing to read a book about slavery means choosing to immerse yourself in brutality, violence, and inhumanity. But there's something essential about reading this kind of book. In the United States it's too easy to forget the dark times in our history. While this book isn't easy or light, it is deeply moving and very powerful.

RAZOR GIRL, Carl Hiaasen, 2016
When Lane Coolman's car is bashed from behind on the road to the Florida Keys, what appears to be an ordinary accident is anything but (this is Hiaasen!). Behind the wheel of the other car is Merry Mansfield--the eponymous Razor Girl--and the crash scam is only the beginning of events that spiral crazily out of control while unleashing some of the wildest characters Hiaasen has ever set loose on the page. There's Trebeaux, the owner of Sedimental Journeys--a company that steals sand from one beach to restore erosion on another . . . Dominick "Big Noogie" Aeola, a NYC mafia capo with a taste for tropic-wear . . . Buck Nance, a Wisconsin accordionist who has rebranded himself as the star of a redneck reality show called Bayou Brethren . . . a street psycho known as Blister who's more Buck Nance than Buck could ever be . . . Brock Richardson, a Miami product-liability lawyer who's getting dangerously--and deformingly--hooked on the very E.D. product he's litigating against . . . and Andrew Yancy--formerly Detective Yancy, busted down to the Key West roach patrol after accosting his then-lover's husband with a Dust Buster. Yancy believes that if he can singlehandedly solve a high-profile murder, he'll get his detective badge back. That the Razor Girl may be the key to Yancy's future will be as surprising as anything else he encounters along the way--including the giant Gambian rats that are livening up his restaurant inspections.  

The following review is from SLATE:
As long ago as the Progressive era, historians argued that the Founding Fathers’ war against Britain was waged not for lofty democratic ideals but rather to suit their own material interests. In recent decades, academic historians have exposed the critical role women, blacks, and Native Americans played in the War of Independence, as well as the larger imperial struggles of which the Revolution was just a bit part. In American Revolutions Taylor synthesizes this more recent scholarship but astutely combines it with the Progressive-era argument about the way the Founding Fathers manipulated populist anger to their own ends. Written with remarkable clarity and finesse, this will be the gold standard by which all future histories of the period will be compared. 

Taylor’s not interested in a triumphalist account of the nation’s origins; instead, his core arguments deliberately overturn the notion that the Revolution was fought for egalitarian, democratic principles. Most colonists, Taylor highlights, felt deeply attached to the British monarchy on the eve of the Revolution. There was no distinct American identity to speak of, and everywhere Britain’s American colonists looked—north to French Canada, south to Spanish America—they saw settlers with virtually no political autonomy. Their king, meanwhile, granted them greater civil liberties than any other European ruler; for much of the 18th century, British monarchs allowed elected Colonial assemblies to run their own affairs. But rather than inculcating a sense of independence, these Colonial assemblies only made American colonists cherish more deeply their status as “free-born Englishmen.”

British policymakers in London “concluded that settlers, rather than Indians, posed the greatest threat to imperial peace.” In consequence, they drew a firm line in the sand—the Proclamation Line of 1763, running along the Appalachian Mountain chain, across which colonists could not venture. But it wasn’t the poor white settlers whose complaints stoked patriotic fervor: George Washington, a wealthy Virginia slaveholder and Seven Years’ War veteran, and Benjamin Franklin, an affluent publisher and slaveholder as well, had bought western land now deemed inaccessible. As speculators, they had no intention of moving west themselves; they simply wanted to flip the real estate, cashing in on the backs of poor settlers. Now, thanks to the crown, they couldn’t.

Meanwhile, in port cities such as Boston and New York, artisans, laborers, and decommissioned soldiers bore the brunt of the new taxes Parliament imposed on the Colonies. But it was the better-off Colonial elite who came to their defense, “pos[ing] as Patriots to champion the rights of common people.” These wealthier elite controlled the cities’ printing presses and could quickly popularize the idea that Parliament had taxed the colonists without fair representation. Never mind that the increased taxes were the necessary result of the costly Seven Years’ War, or that they still amounted to only two-thirds of what mainland Britons paid. The affluent Patriot merchant John Hancock even encouraged a boycott against British goods while surreptitiously continuing to import those goods himself, hoping the boycott would destroy his competitors. When a pro-British newspaper called out Hancock’s hypocrisy, a Patriot mob nearly killed the publisher.
We are used to thinking about the War of Independence itself, which lasted from 1775 to 1783, as fought between Americans and Britons. But Taylor argues that it was truly our first “civil war.” He estimates that 20 percent of colonists were Loyalists—colonists loyal to Britain—and 40 percent Patriots. Another 40 percent constituted the “wavering” middle, a silent plurality who, like many in wartime, chose their allegiance not out of principle but out of their own safety and “based on relationships with neighbors and kin.” Moreover, many Patriots committed themselves to the revolutionary cause not in pursuit of freedom but out of fear: The “committees of safety” that emerged at the war’s outset to replace the discredited Colonial assemblies imposed crushing boycotts on those who did not swear allegiance. They were imprisoned and tarred-and-feathered; many received what was called “Hillsborough paint”—a smattering of shit thrown on their homes. None of this ought to be surprising. “As in other revolutions,” Taylor reminds us, “a committed and organized minority led the way, demanded that others follow, and punished those who balked.”

Taylor perhaps spends too much time on the battlefield, but he gives a central role to women, blacks, and Native Americans in determining the war’s fate. The wives and daughters of Patriot soldiers took over the shops, farms, and slave plantations of those who left to fight. For the first time in their lives, white women became public participants in politics, organizing boycotts and participating in street protests.
If Taylor portrays women as helping to save the Patriot cause, he suggests that black Americans nearly destroyed it. In 1775, blacks numbered half a million, making up 20 percent of the entire Colonial population. Ninety-nine percent of them were enslaved.  Shrewdly, Virginia’s Loyalist governor, Lord Dunmore, offered freedom to any male slave who fought for the British, and by the war’s end between 30,000 and 40,000 slaves escaped to British lines. As Taylor emphasizes, the arming of slaves proved a turning point. Up until Dunmore’s Proclamation, Southerners were ambivalent about the Patriot cause. But after it, whites in the South felt Britain had rescinded one of their most cherished liberties: the liberty to own property. In the most literal sense, they fought for freedom to maintain someone else’s enslavement.

Taylor rightly underscores that slavery—its protection and extension—was a central fact of the Revolution and its aftermath. But he tends to downplay the simultaneous restructuring of black life that happened in the war’s wake. As he notes, enslaved blacks in the North, often with the help of white allies, petitioned their new state governments to ban slavery. Elizabeth Freeman, enslaved in Massachusetts, used the new state constitution’s language, which stated that “All men are born free and equal,” to sue for and win her freedom in 1781. Her victory set the precedent that abolished slavery in Massachusetts, and by the end of the century, all the Northern states would abolish slavery. In focusing on the contradictions, indeed the hypocrisies, of the white Patriot elite, Taylor inadvertently overshadows this quieter revolution in freedom that that was growing up alongside it. The truth is that when we talk about liberty and equality for all today, we mean it in the way these black founders meant it, not the Patriot elite. It is a point worth emphasizing.
But Taylor deserves unqualified praise for vividly capturing what the more mainstream Revolution was about. The contradictory impulses that triggered the Revolution were, he suggests, replayed in the making of the Constitution. The Framers, all of them wealthy elite men, realized that someone had to pay for the war against Britain. Someone also needed to pay for defense against potential enemies—the French, Spanish, their likely Native allies, and that always internal enemy: the enslaved. Only a powerful central government could achieve all that, so the Framers devised a federal constitution that took away some local autonomy from the states in order to achieve a stronger whole.




Everybody is welcome to attend these events and THEY ARE FREE!

On Saturday, 22 October, 1-4 pm,  the Deering Association will bring its new CIDER PRESS to Deering Town Hall for some cider making. . Bring a bag of apples (no drops please) to share and a jug. Try your hand at operating the new cider press and take home fresh cider. 

Saturday, 22 October, 1-4 pm, Deering Town Hall. Set up your scarecrow.  This is the second year that the trustees of the Deering Public Library will host a gathering of scarecrows at our town hall. Bring your scarecrow to town hall, introduce it to the others, sit back and smile. As you make your scarecrow please remember to refrain from politics and keep your scarecrows G-rated.  Gift cards to Toadstool Bookstores will be awarded for the three best scarecrows (one scarecrow per family) at the Halloween Party (29 October).

Saturday, 29 October, Deering Town Hall, 5-7 pm. The Third Annual Deering Town Halloween Party. Come in a costume, roast marshmallows, play some games. There will be hay rides and a haunted house. Bring a carved pumpkin. There will be prizes for best costumes, pumpkins and scarecrows. There will be cider and donuts. Bring something to share if you like.