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Book Review:When the Stars Go Dark

A total departure for the author of The Paris Wife, Paula McLain’s emotionally intense and exceptionally well-written thriller entwines its fictional crime with real cases.”—People (Book of the Week) Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with saving the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in. Weaving together true crime, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this tense, affecting story is about fate, unlikely redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives–and our faith in one another”–

A mystery that is more thought-provoking than murder and mayhem, When the Stars Go Dark touches on what makes a family, and what can break a family. A fallible, strong, female detective, Anna Hart tugs at you throughout the book, praying she solves the case but hoping it doesn’t tear her apart in the process. And if you are doing the 2021 yearly reading challenge, it can fit in categories 13,29, and 35!

2021 Hugo Award Finalists

Every year the World Science Fiction Society awards the Hugo award to outstanding works of Science fiction and Fantasy. The past several years have seen a boom of incredible new fiction in these genres, and last year was no different, featuring some standout work from both new and established authors. Some of my personal favorites from the finalists are Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, and Axioms End by Lindsay Ellis.

We’ve created a list featuring the nominees for Best Novel, Best Series, Best YA Novel, and Best New Writer which you can check out here. Winners are announced in December, so you have plenty of time to read them all before then!

Pandemic update

Now that our doors are open (Wednesday – Saturday), it has been wonderful to see so many people back at the library. Our staff have missed having patrons in the library and we are glad to see our library friends and families again! 

Our ability to open further – or to avoid implementing restrictions again – depends on continued progress against the pandemic. We carefully monitor two key metrics tracked by the CDC: the number of new cases per 100,000 population and the percentage of positive test results.

Lately, these numbers have been rising in Goodhue County. If the numbers continue to rise such that for 3 consecutive days both numbers are in the CDC’s high transmission range (the total number of new cases per 100,000 equals or exceeds 100 and the percentage of positive test results equals or exceeds 10%), we will have to tighten our restrictions at the library. This would mean returning to appointment only browsing and computer time and asking patrons to use curbside pickup for most items.

While we hope these measures do not need to be implemented, we wanted to inform everyone of the possible changes in the coming days. We will continue to monitor the CDC COVID Data Tracker and keep the public informed if things should change. 

Thank you for your continued support during these unprecedented times. We appreciate your understanding and we will continue to do our very best to keep our patrons safe and healthy. This includes our continuing requirement that all visitors age 2 and over wear a correctly fitting cloth mask regardless of vaccination status. Unfortunately, face shields are not permitted in the library as a substitute for cloth masks, as they have not proven effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19 and as such are not recommended for use by the CDC.