eBook Friday: Modern Girls

Modern Girls, by Jennifer S. Brown

A dazzling debut novel set in New York City’s Jewish immigrant community in 1935…

How was it that out of all the girls in the office, I was the one to find myself in this situation? This didn’t happen to nice Jewish girls.

In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in a family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options.

After the birth of five children—and twenty years as a housewife—Dottie’s immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she, too, is pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith.

As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never again be the same….


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In the Interest of Fairness to Snakes

how-a-snake-eats-a-frog…or to illustrate why some people want them all dead, here’s a story (from the October 31, 1895 Chatham Record) about a snake having a good day for a change.

Breathlessly told, kind of gruesome.

How a Snake Eats a Frog.

How a snake eats frogs is worth the telling. The writer distinctly remembers witnessing a dramatic meal of the kind, in which, of course, the snake came out the winner, getting his dinner in excellent style and completely vanquishing the frog.

The snake invariably grabs the frog by one of his hind legs. This preliminary struggle is one of the most impressive features of the combat. With a well-defined natural instinct the chief effort of the frog is to keep his other hind leg far away from the snake’s mouth, in the hope that he may speedily exhaust his enemy’s strength, and also because he feels that if his other hind leg is made captive he will have less power to fight.

Once both hind legs are within the serpent’s fangs the act of swallowing begins. Inch by inch the struggling frog is drawn further into the yawning orifice that expands at each gulp. The channel through which the frog has to pass is gradually enlarged by slow efforts on the snake’s part, accompanied by the fiercer and fiercer convulsions of the wretched wiggler.

The gullet of the snake in its natural proportions is quite large enough to contain the limbs of the frog, but as by frequent gulps the body is drawn further and further into the gullet the difficulty of swallowing increases. Gradually the ophidian’s throat is distended, gradually the frog is compressed and drawn out. Finally the latter is double its normal length and half his circumference. As the process of expansion on the on hand and contraction on the other goes on, the frog is worked down little, by little until he is finally “Jonahed,” and the snake starts in on his afternoon nap. – New York World

eBook Friday: Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, by Gabriella Coleman

Here is the ultimate book on the worldwide movement of hackers, pranksters, and activists that operates under the non-name Anonymous, by the writer the Huffington Post says “knows all of Anonymous’ deepest, darkest secrets.”

Half a dozen years ago, anthropologist Gabriella Coleman set out to study the rise of this global phenomenon just as some of its members were turning to political protest and dangerous disruption (before Anonymous shot to fame as a key player in the battles over WikiLeaks, the Arab Spring, and Occupy Wall Street). She ended up becoming so closely connected to Anonymous that the tricky story of her inside–outside status as Anon confidante, interpreter, and erstwhile mouthpiece forms one of the themes of this witty and entirely engrossing book.

The narrative brims with details unearthed from within a notoriously mysterious subculture, whose semi-legendary tricksters–such as Topiary, tflow, Anachaos, and Sabu–emerge as complex, diverse, politically and culturally sophisticated people. Propelled by years of chats and encounters with a multitude of hackers, including imprisoned activist Jeremy Hammond and the double agent who helped put him away, Hector Monsegur, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy is filled with insights into the meaning of digital activism and little understood facets of culture in the Internet age, including the history of “trolling,” the ethics and metaphysics of hacking, and the origins and manifold meanings of “the lulz.”


Every Friday, we highlight a title 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!


Just smile. It makes people crazy.


Here’s an exchange from the front page of the September 12, 1901 edition of The Chatham Record.

I think the Detroit Free Press are on to something here.

eBook Friday: The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer

The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.
In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is—a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend—an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably—but only because it’s over.



Every Friday, we highlight a title 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!

Did you know we can borrow materials from other libraries for you?


Did you know that, if we don’t have something you’re looking for at one of our branches, we can access a network of libraries across the country to find it for you?

It’s true! As you may know, we can transfer items from one Chatham County branch to another for patrons’ convenience, but we can also ask libraries outside of our system for material via Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

It’s important to note that ILLs differ from regular hold requests in the following ways:

  • We ask for three dollars (on receipt of the item) to cover postage to return the item to the lending library.
  • ILLs typically arrive around ten days from the date they are requested, but they can arrive far later (or sooner) than that.  If you need an item right away (say, for a book club), ILL may not be the right option for you.
  • You will need to present your own library card to check out an interlibrary loan.
  • We can’t use the ILL system to borrow items that were published within the last six months.
  • The lending library sets the borrowing period, which can range from a couple of weeks to a few months.  If you need to request a renewal, please do so at least three days before the item is due. That gives the lending library time to process (and to grant or deny) the renewal.
  • There is no grace period for ILL due dates. They are due on the day indicated on the material’s attached slip, and late fees (25 cents per day) begin immediately.
  • We ask that you return ILLs in person at the front desk to avoid damage to other libraries’ materials.

If you are interested in pursuing an ILL at one of our branches, stop by our reference desk and we’ll get you started.

See you soon!

eBook Friday: The Tin Drum

The Tin Drum, by Günter Grass


The Tin Drum, one of the great novels of the twentieth century, was published in Ralph Manheim’s outstanding translation in 1959. It became a runaway bestseller and catapulted its young author to the forefront of world literature.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the original publication, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, along with Grass’s publishers all over the world, is bringing out a new translation of this classic novel. Breon Mitchell, acclaimed translator and scholar, has drawn from many sources: from a wealth of detailed scholarship; from a wide range of newly-available reference works; and from the author himself. The result is a translation that is more faithful to Grass’s style and rhythm, restores omissions, and reflects more fully the complexity of the original work.

After fifty years, THE TIN DRUM has, if anything, gained in power and relevance. All of Grass’s amazing evocations are still there, and still amazing: Oskar Matzerath, the indomitable drummer; his grandmother, Anna Koljaiczek; his mother, Agnes; Alfred Matzerath and Jan Bronski, his presumptive fathers; Oskar’s midget friends—Bebra, the great circus master and Roswitha Raguna, the famous somnambulist; Sister Scholastica and Sister Agatha, the Right Reverend Father Wiehnke; the Greffs, the Schefflers, Herr Fajngold, all Kashubians, Poles, Germans, and Jews—waiting to be discovered and re-discovered.



Every Friday, we highlight a title from our collection at
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…but would Judas Iscariot say “Zut Alors”?


From the October 8, 1903 edition of The Chatham Record:

Humbug on a Large Scale.

In 1862 a man named Vrain-Lucas, living in the rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, Paris, managed to dispose of no fewer than 27,000 bogus manuscripts, gems, enamels and ivories.

He said he found them in an iron-bound chest in a ruined city in Central America: but it came out afterward that he had, with infinite pains and cunning made them all himself.

The pride of the collection was what purported to be an ancient silver casket of Syrian workmanship, and which contained, among other things, a love letter from Judas Iscariot to Mary Magdalen, twenty-five letters to St. Peter from Lazarus and two brief epistles from Gremius Julius to our Lord.

A quick google search returns many articles that contain both the name Vrain-Lucas and the word “forger”. One source says that Vrain-Lucas sometimes used contemporary French in his supposedly ancient epistles. Wow.

The man must have been very convincing.



eBook Friday: Heroes of the Frontier

Heroes of the Frontier, by Dave Eggers

Josie and her children’s father have split up, she’s been sued by a former patient and lost her dental practice, and she’s grieving the death of a young man senselessly killed. When her ex asks to take the children to meet his new fiancée’s family, Josie makes a run for it, figuring Alaska is about as far as she can get without a passport. Josie and her kids, Paul and Ana, rent a rattling old RV named the Chateau, and at first their trip feels like a vacation: They see bears and bison, they eat hot dogs cooked on a bonfire, and they spend nights parked along icy cold rivers in dark forests. But as they drive, pushed north by the ubiquitous wildfires, Josie is chased by enemies both real and imagined, past mistakes pursuing her tiny family, even to the very edge of civilization.

A tremendous new novel from the best-selling author of The Circle, Heroes of the Frontier is the darkly comic story of a mother and her two young children on a journey through an Alaskan wilderness plagued by wildfires and a uniquely American madness.



Every Friday, we highlight a title 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!

Accept No Substitute, and Put It on Your Tab



beans_2There has to be a lesson in this anecdote in the March 11, 1886 edition of The Chatham Record, but I can’t parse it just yet.

I will say I inexplicably enjoy the phrase “each bean perfect in its form”.

Real New England Beans

Every day or two I see the Massachusetts members wending their way in groups over to the Senate wing of the Capitol about lunch time, writes a Washington correspondent. That queer undertow which keeps the two houses so far separate, though they sit within a stone’s throw of each other, also generally makes the members patronize their own restaurants. On inquiry it turned out that the Massachusetts men went over to the other end to get some baked beans, which Senator Frye’s protégé, Landlord Page, serve in regular New England style. Those over at the House are weak in their color and baked into a mass, while Page has a knack of putting his beans upon the table with the real Yankee red tint and each bean perfect in its form.  This is what catches the New Englanders, who all patronize Page’s bean pot during the week. But he tells me that he has made no money since he came to Washington, and on the contrary has actually lost some. He say the Senate restaurant is not a paying property, unless liquor is allow to be sold over the counter.