Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Staff Review: Stoner by John Williams

A 2013 review of the novel Stoner in The New Yorker magazine was titled "The Greatest American Novel You've Never Heard Of." I received a copy of the book for Christmas, read it right away, and was happy to see that the library owns it too.

Originally published in 1965, Stoner, by John Williams, sold an anemic 2000 copies and was quickly forgotten. Re-published in the new millenium, it was soon translated into French, becoming a best-seller across Europe. That enthusiasm traveled back to the U.S and Stoner now seems likely to be considered at least a minor classic.

The book's title refers to the main character, William Stoner, a pre-World War I-era farm boy whose joyless, wordless, utterly wrung-out parents wish him to prepare to assume the family farm by studying agriculture at the University of Missouri. In a literature class there one day, the heavens part and Stoner has an almost-religious epiphany, glimpsing the beauty and wisdom to be found in books. Abruptly changing majors, he ultimately earns a PhD, becomes a professor at the college, and teaches there for the rest of his life.

So far, so good, except that every other area of Stoner's life gradually becomes so difficult that the book can be tough to read. In his naïveté, he marries a cold young woman in haste and repents at leisure right up to his death bed. His beloved young daughter becomes estranged from him through the sadistic maneuverings of his wife. Cruel and peculiar college politics prevent his ever being promoted.

If the book is beginning to sound unrelievedly grim, it's not. It's a close-up look at an ordinary life. There are compensations and redemptions. Stoner is a sort of Everyman: fairly unremarkable, quiet, passive; one reviewer refers to him as the anti-Gatsby. But he's also genuinely and wonderfully free of neurosis and of so many less attractive human traits: envy, vindictiveness, anger, resentment, self-pity. The cover of the reissued book admirably portrays his character.

The beauty of this novel lies not only in the prose, where not a word seems wasted, but also in Stoner's day-to-day, clear-eyed sanity, the quiet and committed calm of the man as he navigates a typically turbulent life. It's as though his steadfast devotion to teaching and his unswerving faith in art allow him to exist relatively undisturbed above the fray. Stoner is a tribute to the literary life and to the sustaining power of an earnest vocation.

~Ann, Adult Services

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

Valentine's Day D.I.Y. Titles: Funny/Mischievous/Seductive How-To's

For your entertainment, we have on display a unique array of adventurous, humorous and seductive romance books. All of which  begin with the phrase "How To..." Who knew there were so many skills one needed to learn?!

Check them out on the first floor!
How to Tame a Wild Fireman - by Jennifer Bernard (ROM)

Firefighter Patrick "Psycho" Callahan earns his nickname every day. Fast, fit, and a furious worker, he thrives on the danger which helps him forget a near tragedy that changed his life forever. But when his off duty carousing gets out of hand, Patrick is sent back to Loveless, Nevada, where the wildfire threatening his hometown has nothing on sizzling Dr. Lara Nelson. Now, the embers of their decade-old attraction have ignited into a full-on inferno, as the bad boy firefighter and the good doctor take a walk on the wild side they'll never forget.

How to Ravish a Rake - by Vicky Dreiling (ROM)

Amy Hardwick has one last Season to shake off her wallflower image and make a love match. If she can't, she'll set aside her dreams of romance and return home to a suitor who can provide security--if little else. What she doesn't count on is the inappropriate--and irresistible--attention lavished on her by rake extraordinaire Will "The Devil" Darcett.

How to Seduce a Scoundrel - by Vicky Dreiling (ROM)

After being rejected by her brother's best friend, the Earl of Hawkfield, in front of the town, Lady Julianne Gatewick secretly writes a lady's guide to enticing unrepentant rakes that becomes the hottest scandal in London.

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf - by Molly Harper (ROM)

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it's unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham-who has been openly critical of Mo's ability to adapt to life in Alaska-has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.


Tax Forms and Free Filing Sites in Dubuque

Updated: February 1, 2016

The Iowa Department of Revenue is not distributing paper tax instruction booklets through Carnegie-Stout Public Library this year, and the selection from the IRS is very limited. Library staff can help you find tax forms and instructions on the Internet and print them for ten cents per page. For more info call Carnegie-Stout Public Library at 563-589-4225.

Federal tax forms and instructions are available online at http://www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs. You can order free forms to be delivered to you by mail at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Forms-and-Publications-by-U.S.-Mail or by calling 1-800-829-3676. Tax help is available by calling 1-800-829-1040.

Iowa tax forms are available online at https://tax.iowa.gov. You can order free forms to be delivered to you by mail by calling 515-281-7239 or 1-800-532-1531 (in Iowa only). Tax help is available by calling 515-281-3114 or 1-800-367-3388 (in Iowa, Omaha, Rock Island, and Moline).

Operation: New View is providing free and confidential tax preparation at several free filing sites in Dubuque to individuals with low to moderate incomes. For more information visit http://www.operationnewview.org or call 563-556-5130 or dial 211 on your phone.