Gilpin Library Footnotes

booksLarry Greico, Librarian.  Every once in a while I stand scanning the new shelf to remind myself what biographies we’ve recently added. A particular name will catch my eye and I’ll pull the book off the shelf and kind of open it anywhere to get a feel for the style. Celebrity biographies are usually the most fun, and if they have indexes, even better. That’s how I discovered the new bio of Johnny Carson, written by Henry Bushkin, lawyer and close friend of Carson’s for 18 years.

It’s called, simply, Johnny Carson, and tells the in depth story of their time together, through the seventies and most of the eighties. The move of The Tonight Show from New York to Los Angeles is described in great detail, as are several of Johnny’s marriages, not to mention his extramarital escapades. Most of the characters in Johnny’s life are names you would be familiar with, and Bushkin is the perfect “fly on the wall,” recording incidents and conversations that, given the participants, have a great deal of entertainment value.

When Johnny hosted the televised inauguration ball for newly-elected president Ronald Reagan, the behind-the-scenes details, with more than a little intrigue, are hard to resist. Likewise, the six weeks of live stand-up Johnny would do in Las Vegas every year produced many juicy stories of his life, both in the limelight and in private. As the book jacket accurately proclaims: “A revealing and incisive account of the King of Late Night at the height of his power, by his lawyer, wingman, fixer, and closest confidant.”

A fun new series of murder mysteries centers on—not a detective—but a newspaperman named Gil Malloy. Malloy is colorful, all right, witty (some might say smart-alecky), intrepid, and a heck of a first-person narrator. In Shooting for the Stars, author R.G. Belsky’s third entry in the Malloy series, a TV magazine delves back into the shooting of a movie star, Laura Malowe, thirty years earlier. Malloy decides to follow up on the story, and soon discovers a number of long-buried secrets, including the rather major possibility that Marlowe was the victim of a serial killer, who might be still on the loose and killing again. Malloy’s narrative glibness is reminiscent of the late Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, and his voice moves the plot along in a most enjoyable way. It’s nice to find a character that can be that amusing once again. (Despite the publishing efforts to continue the “Spenser” detective series after Parker’s death, many of us who loved that series have come to the realization that the fictional character Spenser did indeed die with Parker.)

We rarely highlight a romance novel in this column. Romantic fiction is a clear genre just like any other specialty that is not mainstream, and oh, does it have its followers. Here’s a new novel by Christine Johnson that is representative of the genre.

In Love’s Rescue we meet Elizabeth Benjamin, an adventurous woman who has enjoyed life on the high seas in the mid-nineteenth century. When she learns her mother has died, she returns home to Key West, “determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be,” and that’s just the beginning. She’s met with resentment from her brother, defiance from the servants, and annoyance from the man she left behind years before, who still pursues her with a passion. Then she begins to doubt that her father is really her father. It seemed so much simpler when she had to contend with life at sea and the ship’s captain who had stolen her heart. Should she stay and perform her “duty” to her family, or run away again and follow her dreams? The author has created “a world of impossible choices, hidden desires, and heart-melting romance in the steamy South.”

The Gilpin County Public Library has earned the honor of being selected as just one of thirteen libraries in Colorado to participate in a financial literacy initiative, Common Cents for Colorado, made possible through a national grant program. The public will have the opportunity to take part in workshops and other activities that offer help with everything from personal budgeting and money management planning, to strategies for saving and investing. You can sign up for these free workshops, which will take place on Saturday mornings, beginning February 27. The series will be facilitated by library staff member Debra Benitez. For more information, and to sign up, contact Larry Grieco at 303-582-0161, or email lgrieco@co.gilpin.co.us.

The library is beginning its annual search for a summer artist-in-residence. This individual will offer a series of programs throughout June, July and August, that “raise the consciousness of the community about a particular art or craft form.” If you have the talent and expertise to be our 2016 artist-in-residence, contact Larry Grieco (phone number and email address above) to discuss your qualifications. The residency pays an honorarium of $1,000 over the course of the summer.