Goodbye stains and smudges, the Library is getting a little upgrade! Work crews will be in the Library October 5-15th laying new carpeting and painting the inside of the whole building. With that much commotion going on we have no choice but to close our doors to the public, but Library staff will still be on hand to collect the book drop. We’ll be back open on Monday, October 17th, looking better than ever. Ten days without a library fix? Get your book orders in early and stock up!
The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
Southern France, 1241.
The Albigensian Crusade has been over for a dozen years, but fear and blood have long memories. Although the few remaining bons omes and bonas femnas are consigned to exile and starvation far from the family and friends who once revered them as holy, the desire to root out the heretics burns bright among the Dominican friars-preachers. Heresy, after all, is like a clinging weed – growing and spreading in the dark and infecting all it touches.
When word of Dolssa de Stigata of Tolosa, a young gentlewoman of noble birth who purports to have a relationship with her beloved Lord Jhesus, reaches Bishop Raimon of Tolosa, he immediately suspects her passion to be heresy. When Dolssa escapes the flames by means unknown, fleeing into the countryside, he sends his most fervent young friar, Lucien, to hunt her down.
Botille of Bajas, a small seaside vila in Provensa, is returning from a two-day journey with her younger sister Sazia to bring the two young nephews of her aging neighbor, a vintner with no heirs, to take over her vines, when she stumbles across a starving young woman hiding in the reeds near the river. Something tells Botille she must not reveal what she has found to anyone, but most especially not to the young friar making inquiries about a runaway from Tolosa. Together, Botille, Sazia, and Symo, the eldest of the brothers, hide the girl in their cart and take her home to Bajas.
But true faith, love, charity, and passion are impossible to keep hidden for long. As word of small miracles in Bajas and the young angel who brings them spreads along the coast, Friar Lucien closes on his prey. Botille knows that her young friend cannot be what the friar claims she is, but how can a simple matchmaker and tavern girl defy the will of men much more powerful than she and her sisters?
This was fascinating, completely absorbing look into a time and place I knew absolutely nothing about before reading this book – I was completely taken by surprise to discover the Inquisition began more than 200 years earlier than the more commonly known Spanish Inquisition and had never even heard of the Albigensian Crusade (no infidels and no Robin Hood!). I was completely transported to the world of 13th-century village life in what is now southern France – the simple joys, friendships and community, brutality and violence, and the sheer amount of backbreaking labor it took just to put food on the table. I was also particularly impressed with the portrayal of the many faces of faith, belief, religion, and charity. For anyone who loved The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, or those who are completely fascinated by how politics and power went hand in hand with faith and religion in medieval Europe, Julie Berry’s impeccably researched novel (the use of Old Provencal is particularly impressive and interesting for us language geeks!) is not to be missed.
One of the great things about our country is our freedom of expression. It’s a Constitutional right, yet this founding principal gets challenged all of the time, especially regarding books. Banned Books Week, September 25-October 1st, celebrates our right to read what we will, particularly those books that have been banned or challenged. To honor this week, we’ve filled a display with banned books, some of which will surprise you. Did you know Harry Potter was challenged because it allegedly had an irresistible pull towards sorcery for children? How about To Kill A Mockingbird because it supposedly supported white supremacy? Come check out these or many other scandalous books from our display and celebrate your right to read what you want!
Ove is the man everyone’s talking about these days. He’s the main character in Fredrick Backman’s bestselling novel, A Man Called Ove. It’s a heartwarming tale about a stubborn, short-tempered man with steadfast beliefs, strict routines and the certainty that everyone around him is an idiot — with no hesitation about telling them so. After new neighbors accidentally run over his mailbox, the cantankerous old codger’s solitary, regimented world is shaken in ways he would never have imagined. Already made into a movie in Sweden, the film rights have been purchased for release in the USA, though no premier date has been set at this time. The Friends of the Library book club will be reading A Man Called Ove for the month of September and they invite you to join them for a discussion of it on Tuesday, September 13th, at 5:30 pm. Come hear why Ove is such a popular guy!