By Jan Berg

In years gone by (and why, I ask am I one of the few who remember those years gone by?) this week would have contained two nationally recognized holidays, i.e Valentine’s Day and Lincoln’s birthday. Tomorrow is, of course, the commercial holiday that follows the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day. The celebration of this holiday on Feb. 14, started out in in the fifth century as a feast day set by the Catholic church to honor St. Valentines. There were two Valentines martyred around Feb. 14 by Claudius the 2nd in the 3rd century. There is a theory that the establishment of this saint’s day was to overlay chaste romantic love on top of the Roman spring festivities of Lupercalia, which were all about fertility, reveling, and welcoming spring. Chaucer took this saintly holy day into the realm of love birds (literally) and it wasn’t long before poems and declarations of love, a.k.a., Valentines, became associated with the day. Centuries later printed postcards and greeting cards began to appear and chocolate and other tokens of love became associated with the day as well, and voila! The conflation of a pagan holiday with a Christian saint’s day was complete. Another conflation this week is what happened to two of the United States’ great presidents’ birthdays. Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (Feb. 12, which isn’t even on many calendars anymore as a national holiday) and George Washington’s birthday (Feb. 22) were conflated into President’s Day which will be celebrated this year on Feb. 17. By the way, this week’s Studio 203 features a do-it-yourself Valentine craft. After you create your masterpiece, check out some of the new books that have recently arrived at the library. Enjoy!

New Arrivals

Non-Fiction

“Very Stable Genius” by Carol Leonnig & Phillip Rucker. A “Washington Post” national investigative reporter and the White House Bureau Chief share personal revelatory insights into Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, its consequences and the underlying patterns beneath a deceptively chaotic Trump administration.

“Why We’re Polarized” by Ezra Klein. A journalist, political commentator and cofounder of Vox explains how today’s rigidly partisan politics came to be, why we all participate in it and what it means for America’s future.

“Conversations in Black: On Power, Politics, and Leadership” by Ed Gordon. A collection of conversations with such notables as Stacey Abrams, Harry Belafonte, Charlamagne tha God, Michael Eric Dyson, Jemele Hill, Eric Holder, Maxine Waters and others offers wisdom for navigating race in a radically divisive America.

“What’s Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She” by Dennis Baron. The University of Illinois linguistics professor and national commentator on language issues explores evolving debates regarding modern pronoun usage, tracing the history of pronouns, the creations of new gender pronouns and the role of pronouns in establishing identity and rights.

“Fighting for Space: Two Pilots and Their Historic Battle for Female Spaceflight” by Amy Teitel. The spaceflight historian and creator of YouTube’s “Vintage Space” traces the engaging story of female pilots Jackie Cochran and Jerrie Cobb, who battled personal and patriarchal challenges to pursue their dream of becoming astronauts.

Fiction

“Moral Compass” by Danielle Steele. The students at an elite private school that has admitted females for the first time navigate painful secrets, family dynamics and a prying media in the aftermath of a Halloween event that is upended by a classmate’s alcohol poisoning.

“A Small Town” by Thomas Perry. Two years after a prison break unleashes hundreds of violent convicts on a local community, a police officer goes undercover to track down and eliminate 12 dangerous conspirators. By the Edgar Award-winning author of “The Butcher’s Boy.”

“Too Close to Home (Paul McGrath)” by Andrew Grant. A sequel to “Invisible” finds intelligence agent-turned-courthouse janitor Paul McGrath uncovering a shocking connection between a file of missing evidence and unwelcome truths about the mother he lost as a child.

“When You See Me” by Lisa Gardner. FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective DD Warren join forces with Flora Dane and true-crime savant Keith Edgar to investigate the secrets of a deceased serial killer. By the award-winning author of “The Neighbor.”

“Above the Bay of Angels” by Rhys Bowen. When a twist of fate lands her in Queen Victoria’s kitchen, a talented young chef is selected to accompany a royal retinue only to be wrongly implicated in a murder. By the award-winning author of “In Fairleigh Field.”

“Crooked River, No. 19 (Agent Pendergast)” by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Investigating dozens of grisly blue shoes containing severed human feet floating in the ocean off the coast of Florida, Pendergast and Junior Agent Coldmoon make harrowing discoveries while confronting an adversary of unimaginable power.

“The Museum of Desire, No. 35 (Alex Delaware)”by Jonathan Kellerman. When a crime of unprecedented malice occurs in a deserted Bel Air mansion, LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis and psychologist Ales Delaware navigate blind mazes in their efforts to identify links among the victims and how they were killed.

If you would care to reserve any of these titles, give us a call at 846-5482 and have your library card handy! The library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Can’t make it in when we’re open? Call and ask about our electronic locker system.

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