GILPIN LIBRARY FOOTNOTES

gilpin library Larry Grieco, Librarian

With Christmas looming around the corner, it seems like perfect timing for “the perfect book.” When Robert B.the Christmas Spenser Parker died at his writing desk on January 20, 2010, he was working on “the Christmas Spenser.” Had he finished it, it would have come out at the end of that year in time for Christmas. Helen Brann, his literary agent, had a go at completing the book and got it published in time for Christmas this year. It’s called Silent Night: a Spenser Holiday Novel, and it brings back an author’s voice we thought we’d never hear again. What a treat!
Unlike the several novels penned by others that purport to continue the various series created by Parker, this one rings true. In fact, the plot is nothing really new. Little people need help and protection from the powerful and greedy, and who better to provide it than Spenser and Hawk. Quirk is around, as is state trooper Healy. And, of course, Susan Silverman, with Pearl the wonder dog.
If there could be one last word from Parker, that we could savor forever, it seems that this short novel is the genuine article. And it ends with Christmas dinner, an ingenious concoction cooked by Spenser known as a turducken (turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken) that makes Hawk pity “all those folks out there with their little bitty one-bird dinners.” (With all the Spenser lovers in Gilpin County, take note that this book would make a terrific Christmas gift for the Parker fan in your house.)
Every Boy Should Have a ManIn a short novel hailed as a “tour-de-force,” Preston L. Allen offers us a glimpse at a future society in “a post-human world.” The critics have gone nuts about Allen’s new novel, Every Boy Should Have a Man, and with good reason. It’s probably unlike anything written in a long, long time. (Harlan Ellison’s A Boy and his Dog is the only thing that comes to mind in the last 50 years or so.) In Allen’s world a number of cultural givens are scrambled and what comes out is a fable that “takes on many of today’s issues including poverty, the environment, sexism, racism, war, and religion, all in lighthearted King James prose.”
In a startling memoir, Mary Williams, rescued as a teenager and adopted into Jane Fonda’s family, tells her story that begins with poverty, violence, and hopelessness on the streets of Oakland in the 1970s. Fonda and her then husband Tom Hayden invited young Mary to live with them, and she became a permanent member of Jane’s family, including throughout her subsequent marriage to Ted Turner. Williams grew up to be a writer, adventurer, and social activist. The title is The Lost Daughter, and author Eve Ensler wrote: “I love the way Mary Williams tells her story…of living in and between two worlds—upheavals and miracles, deprivations and opportunities. A world of mothers lost and found again.”
Registration is now open for the upcoming reading and discussion series, Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys: Literary Reflections. There is a 50-person limit imposed by the occupancy cap in the library meeting room, as well as the limited number of copies of the books to distribute. So, come into the library, or phone me (303-582-0161), or email lgrieco@co.gilpin.co.us, to sign up and reserve your seat and set of books.
The programs in this series are scheduled for January 18, February 1 and 15, and March 1 and 15. (All Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. to noon.) One book will be read and discussed during each of the five sessions. Dr. Nancy Ciccone, head of the English Department at the University of Colorado, Denver, will facilitate the discussions. This is our third Let’s Talk About It series in the last four years, made possible by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

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