Two new books to check out at the library

Published 11:06 am Monday, September 26, 2016

By John Maruskin, Clark County Public Library

I often mention new books I find intriguing, but today, I’ll highlight two new books that were brought to my attention by one of the library’s most thoughtful and eclectic readers, Gordon Liddle.

Gordon attends both the Pageturners and the All Over the Page Book groups and he’s a member of Meeting of Minds, the library’s discussion group.  He can be serious and insightful as well as playful and comic in his comments.I usually learn something interesting when I talk to Gordon, and I am always charmed by his self-effacing intelligence.

About a week ago, Gordon showed me a new book comparing social condition in Scandinavia and America.Its title is “The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life,” by Anu Partanen (Call # 306.0948 Part).

Partanen, a naturalized American citizen, compares and contrasts life in the United States with life in Scandinavia by focusing on relationships between parents and children, men and women, employees and employers, and the government and citizens. She disparages notions that Nordic countries are socialist and reveals that Americans are enmeshed in unhealthy dependencies, because, as she explains step by step, the Nordic approach to government allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence.

Partanen wants show her beloved new country what it can learn from her homeland in order to reinvigorate and fulfill the American dream of  a healthy, safe, economically secure, upwardly mobile life for everyone. The Nordic Theory of Everything offers convincing solutions for rebuilding American society with optimism restores true freedom to our relationships and lives.

The second book Gordon suggested proves he’s an eclectic reader.  It’s titled: “The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal,” by Howard Blum (call # 940.54 Blum).

It’s the biography of Betty Pack,a dazzling American debutante who was the “Mata Hari from Minnesota”  a WW II Allied spy hailed by OSS chief General “Wild Bill” Donovan as “the greatest unsung heroine of the war.”

Supremely confident about her charm, beauty, and intelligence qualities crucial to her success, she became an agent for Britain’s MI-6 and then America’s OSS and led a tempestuous life filled with dangerous liaisons and death-defying missions.

Researching recently unclassified files, Howard Blum discovered how the attractive blond, codenamed “Cynthia,” seduced diplomats and military attachés across the globe in exchange for ciphers and secrets; cracked embassy safes to steal codes; and obtained the Polish notebooks that proved key to Alan Turing’s success with Operation Ultra.  The Last Goodnight is an adventurous portrait of an exceptional heroine whose undaunted courage helped save the world.

And, just like Ginger Rogers, in high heels!  Take that 007!

At the library, Reader Advisory works both ways.  Librarians often get the best book advice from patrons.  Let us know about your favorites.

Programs this week?

— Tuesday, Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m., Meeting of Minds plumbs the great unknown-Death.

— Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2 p.m., Kentucky Picture Show gets stylin’ with a 2016 comedy.  As the surrounding community takes a questionable turn, the crew at Calvin’s Barbershop comes together to create some hopeful change.. Rated – PG – 13

— Wednesday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m., Trivia Night at the Engine House Deli.  This is the answer to where the fun is in Winchester on Wednesday Night.

— Friday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m.,Pantsers, the writing group that dares to prove “Not all those who wander are lost.”

Ah, Autumn at the library.

Fantastico!