Homer Hickham has very successfully mined his family history in his writings.  Rocket Boys told the story of his youth in Coalwood, West Virginia.  Carrying Albert Home takes the reader along when Homer’s parents drove from West Virginia to Orlando, Florida to release Albert, an alligator, into his natural habitat.  Albert had been a wedding present to Elsie and Homer. Sr. from Buddy Ebsen (of Beverly Hillbillies fame).  When Elsie had previously visited Florida she had spent time with Buddy and he became a standard that all men, including her husband, failed to meet.  This trip to Florida with Albert in a bathtub in the back seat was a real test of their marriage.  Parts of the novel are hilarious, parts are historical, and it resolved their marriage.  You will be left to wonder which parts of the story are true-life and which are embroidered with the author’s imagination.  A trip from West Virginia to Florida with an alligator in the back seat would be exciting enough without all the unusual characters they supposedly met along the way.

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Top Ten Ways to Use DDL on Vacation or Staycation during Spring Break

Spring Break is almost here! Whether you’re planning to travel with your family , or stay home and “staycation” your DeWitt District Library (DDL) card gives you access to great resources that will most certainly enhance your Spring Break activities. Here is our top ten list of ways to enjoy DDL at home or on the go…all for FREE!maxresdefault

#10. Check out music from DDL. With over 550 albums in our collection, you won’t have to listen to the same song over and over, unless you want to!

#9.  Read digital magazines from Flipster.  Use any one of your mobile devices to take the latest issues of our most popular magazines with you in the car, on the plane, at the beach, or on your back deck!

#8.  Borrow some movies.  Need a little quiet time in the car? Check out a few kids’ DVDs that you can’t recite by heart…yet.  Need a stay-cation movie night? Pop the popcorn and enjoy one or more new DVD releases.  With over 4,500 movies in our collection…there’s a movie for you.

#7. Listen to engaging Audiobooks. We have more than 2,500! Download and listen to MP3 audiobooks from our Digital Library, or come checkout our collection of audiobooks on CD!  Audiobooks provide hours of entertainment and with selections in children’s, teen and adult, you’re sure to find a story that everyone will love.

#6. Make Teen Fandom Crafts. Drop your teens (6th grade and up) off at the library to to create fandom swag and discuss with other teens the stuff they geek the most.

#5. Go on a Library Scavenger Hunt. Work together with your family on Tuesday, April 5th to find the answers to our Library Super-User Scavenger Hunt and win cool library swag from our treasure chest!

#4. Play Life-sized Candyland with the whole family. Visit the library on Wednesday, April 6th between 11 am and 3 pm to step into a life-sized version of this much loved children’s game where you and your family become the game pieces.8b621ed2d4778f4e5e2c834187a738c0

#3. Zoom through Tape Town.  Children ages 2 – 8 years old and their caregivers are invited to bring their Hotwheels and other Matchbox cars and trucks to the Woodruff Annex for a day of driving fun.  On Thursday, April 7th from 10:30 am to 1 pm the entire floor space of the annex room with be taped up with roads and designed to look like a miniature city.

#2. Learn a new language! Prep for that overseas vacation you’re planning for next year or just impress your co-workers and classmates by learning a new language with Pronunciator our online language learning program.

#1. Read a book (or two, or three). Whether you’re riding in a car, plane, relaxing on a beach, or snuggled up at home…reading is a great activity. Check out books at the library, or download or stream them to your e-reader device.




A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable starts out sounding like an average chic lit type of book.  April Vogt is a furniture expert working for Sotheby’s New York office who specializes in 18th and 19th century continental furniture.  She is sent to Paris to help evaluate the contents of an apartment that has been shuttered for over seventy years.  April is very willing to take working month in Paris.  In addition to an intriguing professional challenge, this time away from home will give her space to evaluate her troubled marriage.  In spite of the dust and cobwebs, the apartment is a treasure trove.  There is a piece of furniture that belonged to Marie Antoinette and many items of similar value.  The apartment tenant had been a hoarder, but her hoardings hadn’t been stacks of old newspaper.  One of the finds is an unknown portrait done by a famous artist.  April accidentally found a diary that had been written by the apartment’s tenant.  This diary is interspersed with the April’s story so we learn the history of the acquisition of all the apartment’s beautiful things.  The book is a complex story of love lost and found and a pleasurable course in art history.

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GUESTThe Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer is a nice read. Sophie Anderson is facing divorce and being replaced with a younger woman. Trevor Black lost his actress wife to drugs. Both rent the same cottage for the summer, from cousins who don’t communicate well. The two decide to divide the cottage and try to make the best of it. With three kids between them and visitors, it makes for a hectic vacation. But somewhere between trips to the beach, bike rides and star watching, something happens and the healing process begins for both.  Sophie begins playing the piano again and Trevor bonds with his son Leo over a Lego® wall. The question is – do Trevor and Sophie want to take their “relationship” to the next level? Read and find out!

If you find yourself enjoying this particular book, we have several additional books by Nancy Thayer.

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If you decide to read The Bronze Horseman by Paullna Simons, prepare for a reading commitment even longer than that required to get through Gone With the Wind.  There are strong similarities between the two novels.  The Bronze Horseman is the story of a young Russian couple separated by World War II.   This is the first book in a trilogy and the story is left unfinished until the last book.  Just after the German invasion of Russia, seventeen year old Tatiana Metanova meets Alexander Belov.  Their attraction is irresistible although Alexander had been dating Tatiania’s older sister.  After Alexander is called to the front, Tatiana is left to endure the siege of St. Petersburg with her family.  Their struggles against cold and hunger are so well detailed that you will feel grateful for the next slice of bread that you eat. There are occasionally improbable events and meetings, but this novel will give an American insight about how much the Russian people suffered during World War II and still provide an entertaining and engrossing story.

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LOVELove Becomes a Funeral Pyre by Mick Wall is not your everyday, run of the mill biography. This chronicles the life behind the critically acclaimed band, the Doors, and a history of life and music in the 60’s and 70’s. Jim Morrison was well known for his drug use and sexual misconduct on stage, but there was far more going on. The band fired Morrison for continually missing concerts, interviews and such. But the real eye opener is not in the way he lived, but how he really died, and the cover-up that ensued. Morrison fled the country to avoid indecent exposure charges, and never returned to the U.S.  Fans of the Doors will be captivated by the story, and surprised by The End.


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Lee Miller is The Woman in the Photograph by Dana Gynther.  This is a fictionalized account of the time Lee spent in Paris with Man Ray.  First she was his student, then his assistant, and then his partner.  Man Ray was an American who had lived in Paris for over a decade and had established a career as a creator of lovely conventional photographs, but also created avant-garde artworks.  Lee comes from a wealthy New Jersey family and has done some modeling for Vogue and other prestigious publication.  What she wants from Paris is excitement, challenge and change.  The novel is about both the glamour and the squalor of Paris in the twenties.  Lee Miller is a very attractive woman.  Her beauty gives her a certain passport to the rich and famous and the about to be famous.  The author researched both Lee and the era well so she was able to create a realistic picture of those Lee was associated with, including Picasso, Dali, Man Ray, and Cocteau.  The book is a dip into a time when the art world was very experimental and sometimes decadent.  Take a look at Man Ray’s photographs on the internet.

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