I’ll Take Nineteenth Century Geography for Thirty Cents, Alex.


This advertisement appeared in the February 15, 1894 edition of The Chatham Record.

Greatest of Family Games

Progressive America.

 The most entertaining and instructive game of the century. It delightfully teaches American geography, while it is to young and old as fascinating as whist. Can be played by any number of players. Sent by mail, postage prepaid, for fifteen 2 cent stamps. The Trade Company, Boston, Mass.

I presume the name refers to the map’s changing face as the United States acquired land over the years, but I can’t be sure. Though this advertisement appeared in many papers of the time, I haven’t found anything else about the game.

I’ll keep looking. It seems to me this game would be a fascinating snapshot of the United States at the end of the nineteenth century.

eBook Friday: The Secret Place

The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, in the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.

Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. “The Secret Place,” a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

But everything they find leads them back to Holly’s group of close-knit friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen’s links to the Mackey family. St Kilda’s will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly’s father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points towards his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined.

The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.


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eBook Friday: Night of the Ninjas

Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House Series, Book 5), by Mary Pope Osborne:

Jack and Annie are ready for their next fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series–the Magic Tree House!

Have you ever met a real live ninja?

Jack and Annie do when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to ancient Japan, where they find themselves in the cave of a ninja master. Will they learn the secrets of the ninja? Or will the evil samurai warriors get them first?


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.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Resource of the Month: Home Grown eBooks






NC LIVE is experimenting with a new eBook project that gives North Carolina library patrons unlimited access to more than 1,200 eBook titles from North Carolina-based publishers. This collection offers a wide range of content, including novels by popular North Carolina authors, poetry, short stories, and non-fiction and features titles like Guests on Earth by Lee Smith and North Carolina and Old Salem Cookery by Beth Tartan, among many others.

NC LIVE partnered with eight local publishing houses to purchase the eBooks, including Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Crossroad Press, Gryphon House, Ingalls Publishing Group, John F. Blair Publishing, McFarland, Press 53, and UNC Press.

The Home Grown eBook collection is available at http://nclive.org/ebooks.  (You will be prompted to log in with your library card.) Unlike traditional library eBooks, this collection features always available, unlimited simultaneous user access during the life of the pilot, meaning patrons will not have to place a hold or wait for an eBook to become available. Users may view the eBooks in a web browser or download them to their tablet devices via the BiblioBoard Library app.

These Don’t, But I’m Sure Yours Will


This advertisement for a pamphlet on poultry farming appeared in several issues of The Chatham Record. The best reproduction I could find was in our copy of the August 8, 1895 issue.

I have nothing to add here. Gambling chickens, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you and good night.

Free eBook Friday: On Writing

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999–and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it–fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Global Warming? Gotcha Covered.


On September 9, 1896, The Chatham Record reported this patent:

To Cool the Atmosphere

A western inventor recently patented a scheme by which he claims he can artificially cool a whole community at little expense. At certain intervals he would erect skeleton towers-like windmill tower-each having an electric trolley wire running from bottom to top. The wire transports peculiarly made bombs to the top where they are exploded by electricity. The bombs contain liquefied carbonic acid gas, which, when liberated by the explosive, will instantly evaporate and severely chill the surrounding atmosphere.

So there you go. Problem solved.


Free eBook Friday: Strange but True

Strange But True, by John Searles

After a mysterious fall from his Manhattan apartment, Philip Chase has moved home with his mother, Charlene, a bitter woman who has never fully accepted the death of her younger son, Ronnie, five years earlier. Numb from watching too much TV and trading snipes with his mother, Philip is in stasis. But everything changes one winter night when Ronnie’s high school girlfriend shows up on their doorstep to deliver the news that she is pregnant … and the father, she claims, is Ronnie.

So begins the startling tale as Philip and his mother confront Melissa’s past and their own. Their search for answers takes them on an emotional journey, placing them in the path of murder and revenge. At once a moving story of redemption and a heart-stopping work of suspense, Strange but True brings to life a cast of characters that no reader will soon forget.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Root Beer With a Striking Level of Detail


Anyone besides me see that name and think “High Resolution Root Beer”? No? Just me?


A cool bottle of Hires Rootbeer on a sweltering hot day is highly essential to comfort and health. It cools the blood, reduces your temperature, tones the stomach. Hires Rootbeer should be in every office, in every workshop. A temperance drink, more healthful than ice water, more delightful and satisfying than any other beverage produced.

I love me some root beer, but I call shenanigans on this ad from the June 24, 1897 issue of The Chatham Record. Maybe high resolution root beer is good for you, but standard root beer is just sodey pop, isn’t it?

That bottle is cool, though.

So’s this mug, and it is in highly disturbing resolution.



Free eBook Friday: The Confidence Code

The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

Confidence. We want it. We need it. But it can be maddeningly enigmatic and out of reach. The authors of the New York Times bestseller Womenomics deconstruct this essential, elusive, and misunderstood quality and offer a blueprint for bringing more of it into our lives.

Is confidence hardwired into the DNA of a lucky few, or can anyone learn it? Is it best expressed by bravado, or is there another way to show confidence? Which is more important: confidence or competence? Why do so many women, even the most successful, struggle with feelings of self-doubt? Is there a secret to channeling our inner confidence?

In The Confidence Code, journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman travel to the frontiers of neuroscience on a hunt for the confidence gene and reveal surprising new research on its roots in our brains. They visit the world’s leading psychologists who explain how we can all chose to become more confident simply by taking action and courting risk, and how those actions change our physical wiring. They interview women leaders from the worlds of politics, sports, the military, and the arts to learn how they have tapped into this elemental resource. They examine how a lack of confidence impacts our leadership, success, and fulfillment.

Ultimately, they argue, while confidence is partly influenced by genetics, it is not a fixed psychological state. That’s the good news. You won’t discover it by thinking positive thoughts or by telling yourself (or your children) that you are perfect as you are. You also won’t find it by simply squaring your shoulders and faking it. But it does require a choice: less people pleasing and perfectionism and more action, risk taking, and fast failure.

Inspiring, insightful, and persuasive, The Confidence Code shows that by acting on our best instincts and by daring to be authentic, women can feel the transformative power of a life of confidence.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!