Posted in Book Talk

Classics Remixed

I watched the movie Clueless countless times before I found out that it’s based on Jane Austen’s Emma. This revelation completely blew my mind and made reading Emma a much richer experience. Retellings are a chance to explore familiar stories and beloved characters from a different angle, whether the retelling modernizes Shakespeare, looks at Frankenstein from a side character’s point of view, turns Sherlock Holmes into Charlotte Holmes, or sets Pride and Prejudice in a fantasy world with dragons.

If contemplating classic retellings sounds good to you, there is a list below. Or if you want to read the originals first, consider joining our new classic literature lunchtime book club. You can give us a call, stop by the library, or attend our introductory meeting at 12:00pm this Thursday, July 18.


  • The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson (Much Ado About Nothing)
  • Exit Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston (The Winter’s Tale)
  • Warm Bodies by Issac Marion (Romeo and Juliet)
  • Fool by Christopher Moore (King Lear)
  • As I Descended by Robin Talley (Macbeth)
  • Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (The Taming of the Shrew)
  • The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters (Hamlet)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

  • Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
  • Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
  • Unmarriagable by Soniah Kamal
  • Heartstone by Elle Katherine White
  • Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

  • Frankenstein: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz
  • This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  • A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
  • Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
  • Death Cloud by Andrew Lane
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by Larry Millett
  • A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

  • The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
  • Splintered by A. G. Howard
  • A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer

More Retellings

  • Going Bovine by Libba Bray (Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes)
  • Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan (A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)
  • The Hours by Michael Cunningham (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling)
  • We Are the Perfect Girl by Ariel Kaplan (Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand)
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (Dracula by Bram Stoker)
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire (The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum)
  • Circe by Madeline Miller (The Odyssey by Homer)
  • Sometimes We Tell the Truth by Kim Zarins (The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer)


Posted in Get Connected

When History Meets Mystery

I love mysteries, adore history, and am downright fanatical about crime. Put them together, and I’m in literary heaven. Lucky for me, the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime will present all sorts of chaos, crime, and mystery in their presentation, “When History Meets Mystery”.

Check out their bios and join us at 2:00pm on Sunday, July 21, for refreshments and a bit of writerly shenanigans. We have copies of their books at the library. Pick one up before the event or wait until after you hear from the panel before deciding which author you want to read first.

TCSIC panel 2019

Before he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Carl Brookins was a counselor and faculty member at Metropolitan State University in St Paul. He has reviewed mystery fiction for the St Paul Pioneer Press and Mystery Scene Magazine. Carl is an avid recreational sailor and has sailed in many locations across the world. He writes the sailing adventure series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney, the Sean Sean private investigator detective series, and the Jack Marston academic series.  He lives with his wife Jean of many years, in Roseville, Minnesota. Website:


Growing up in a family of avid readers and story tellers, Barbara Deese developed a keen appreciation for fine writing and sharp wit. From devouring Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries, to her first career as one of only thirty-three female air marshals in the U.S, to writing murder mysteries, she’s always been interested in crime and justice. The protagonists in her No Ordinary Women mystery series, are five middle-aged book club ladies, all mystery lovers, who fall into solving real-life crimes. Website:

Joke: What part of a city would a writer never visit?

Pat Dennis is the award-winning author of Hotdish to Die For, a collection of mystery short stories where hotdish is the weapon of choice. Her Betty Chance Mysteries include Murder by Chance, Killed by Chance, Dead by Chance and Vegas by Chance. Her memoir Fat Old Woman in Las Vegas: Gambling, Dieting and Wicked Fun ranked #1 on Amazon Travel Memoirs. Pat created the coloring book series for reluctant adults including Kill Me! My Husband’s Retired! Her fiction has appeared in numerous publications including: Once Upon a Crime Anthology, Anne Frasier’s Deadly Treats, Who Died in Here?, Hotdish Haiku, Silence of the Loons, Resort to Murder, Minnesota Monthly, Woman’s World, and The Pioneer Press. Pat is a veteran of 1,000 plus performances in comedy clubs, Fortune 500 special events, woman’s organizations, and church basements across the country. She has worked with such notables as Phyllis Diller, Lewis Black, and Tommy Chong.


After kicking around the corporate nonprofit world for over 20 years, Timya Owen escaped to the exciting life of sports production and cat herding. A rabid fan of mysteries since she picked up her first Mary Stewart novel (The Moonspinners), she reached her breaking point after reading one too many bad mysteries; she decided to give it her best shot and write one herself. Countless writing workshops paid off! Her short story “The Last Game” is her first published work under her pen name T.S. Owen. She is the current president of the Twin Cities Chapter of Sisters in Crime, one of the editors and a contributing author of the TCSinC anthology, Dark Side of the Loon. Timya lives in a quiet suburb of Saint Paul with her husband and a multitude of fat and sassy squirrels.


Barbara Schlichting has always been dreamer, so she writes books. She likes to wander through bookstores and fall in love with fictional characters. She also loves to travel and has had an English penpal for about fifty-five years. Barbara is the author of the First Ladies Dollhouse mystery series, historical fiction, as well as, picture books and poetry. She has several short stories published. Originally from Minneapolis, she and her family moved further north to Bemidji, MN.


Answer: a Writer’s Block

Posted in Just for Fun

Old Dogs, New Tricks

20190710_093541.jpgWe have two dogs at home. One is old and the other is in the throes of her midlife crisis. That said, neither act their age. They still bound around the yard, can walk/hunt tirelessly, and are more than willing to perform for the low fee of one small dog treat.

Unfortunately, they don’t know the classic trick of rolling over.

Over the years, spectators to our household dog show have wondered aloud–but can they roll over? Well yes, they can. Just not on demand, and usually to scratch their backs against the carpet. As if rolling over is the only worthy trick in the book.

Let’s face it, we sometimes get hung up on the classics. We judge everything that is to come by the merits of the old: from stories told around the dinner table (back in my day…), to art (not my kids’ kindergarten hand-print turkeys), to television shows (I Love Lucy, anyone?).

And I agree. Things become classics because they set a standard. And these standards reflect society and culture during a snapshot in time. There is tremendous value in that.

Two things have come together for the library in the past week that are exciting and new, despite having roots in the old.

For starters, someone requested a book club for reading the classics. While book clubs are not new to the library–we have two established book clubs already–the focus and time of this one is. For the first time, we will host a noon hour book club with the intent of reading through some of those “must read before you die” book lists.

If you are interested in reading and discussing classic literature over your lunch break, please give us a call, stop by the library, or attend our introductory meeting at 12:00pm on Thursday, July 18. There we will figure out the details, like when we will meet, what we should call ourselves, and how the reading and discussions will take place.

Also new is the booking of classical guitarist and composer, Kevin Sherwin for spring 2020. Kevin played for the library and the school almost two years ago. His music is amazing, his passion for his craft is a delight to watch, and it’s just plain wonderful to have all the arts represented in our programming.

What I love about Kevin (besides the aforementioned talent) is that his street creds are phenomenal, and still he is willing to stop by our tiny town of 4,000. He graduated from Yale, studied at Julliard, and has performed at Regent Hall in London. In short, Kevin’s musical journey is steeped in the high standards of the music profession.

My dogs may never learn to read “Moby Dick” or play Tchaikovsky, but they can still learn how to roll over. If I’m willing to teach them. You, too, can enjoy the classics at the library, because we are never too old to expose ourselves to something new.

happy reading~ jody

Posted in Book Talk

World War II Stories

A perk of working at the library is getting to talk to everyone about what they are reading and loving, which often leads to what a person should read next. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah has been one of the most raved about books at Meinders Library in the past couple years, and inevitably, readers want more books like it. Here’s a list of some of our newer titles set during World War II.

Middle Grade Fiction

  • The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • Grenade by Alan Gratz
  • Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood
  • The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet
  • Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Once Was a Time by Leila Sales
  • Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
  • Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

Young Adult Fiction

  • Lovely War by Julie Berry.
  • The Girl in the Blue Coat & The War Outside by Monica Hesse
  • The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
  • Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
  • Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  • What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper
  • Code Name Verity & Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  • White Rose by Kip Wilson

Adult Fiction

  • Transcription by Kate Atkinson
  • The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
  • Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker
  • We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
  • The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
  • We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet
  • The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  • Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce
  • At the Wolf’s Table by Rosella Postorino
  • The Huntress by Kate Quinn
  • The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer


  • Symphony for the City of the Dead : Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson
  • The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neil Bascomb
  • The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History: the Story of the Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
  • The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger
  • The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose
  • Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis by Paul B. Janeczko
  • Little Minnesota in World War II : The Stories Behind 142 Fallen Heroes from Minnesota’s Littlest Towns by Jill A. Johnson and Deane L. Johnson
  • The Perfect Horse: the Daring Rescue of Horses Kidnapped by Hitler by Elizabeth Letts
  • A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II by Elizabeth Wein


Posted in Get Connected

Kindle Your Love of Reading at the Library

Congratulations to our Kindle winner, Thomas Cotterman, and our e-book winner, Cristin Winter.


No bones about it, reading is cool, whether a physical book, e-book or audio book.

For newbies to the Plum Creek Library System, cards are free with a photo ID and PCLS area address. Your Meinders card allows access to the following digital platforms:

  • EBooks Minnesota
  • RB Digital
  • A to Z World Foods
  • Overdrive
  • ELM

We are open today from 10:00am-5:00pm and Saturday from 10:00am-2:00pm.

Get connected with a good book today and enjoy the weekend in style.

Posted in Just for Fun

A History of Celebrations

As we celebrate 243 years of independence tomorrow, it’s hard to remember that our most important national holiday is but a newbie to global festivities. In comparison, the Chinese New Year is believed to be over 3,000 years old, while the Persian celebration of Nowruz survived Alexander the Great way back in 333 BC.

A quick peek at websites like On This Day provides ooodles of interesting things to celebrate such as the birth or death of famous authors, presidents, or activists. In addition, they note historical moments that help us remember the social and cultural climate of the time. For lovers of dead tree reading, books also exist to keep us informed of benchmarks in our history, like this library copy of The American Book of Days.


At 945 pages long, it’s clear that Americans love their celebrations.

That said, long before we became America, the land was already filled with celebration. Indigenous peoples across the country ushered in the return of the sun with spring time festivities and celebrated the life of those who came before them. Native ceremonies encompassed the natural world and often lasted a week or more compared to the single day, anniversary-type holidays European Americans tend to focus on.

New though Europeans and their traditions are to this land, here are some Fourth of July facts to get you through the weekend.

  • The Continental Congress decided on July 2, 1776, to declare their independence.
  • Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4th.
  • It wasn’t signed until August 2nd, and Great Britain didn’t get the memo until November.
  • As of July 1776, an estimated 2.5 million people lived in our newly independent nation. That number has swelled to an estimated 329,091,242.

How do all those people celebrate? With parades, fireworks, family and friends, water sports, and barbecues and beer. Unfortunately, all this fun combines to make the Fourth of July a dangerous time of year. In fact, it ranks as the highest US holiday for personal injury–in large part due to fireworks. Sparklers burn at roughly 2,000 degrees, contributing to the high rates of hand and eye burns. Other risk factors include traffic and boating accidents.

What do we eat? Meat. Billions of dollars of meat. $1,522,000 in 2017 to be exact. Beef tops the grill more often than any other, with chicken a distant second and pork coming in third. In addition, we don’t like our meat naked. Instead, we slather on the teriyaki and Worcestershire sauces.

My wish as I prepare simple shredded turkey sandwiches for my family over the Fourth of July weekend is that we celebrate our diversity as well as our inclusion. I pray for the safety of those who choose to enjoy the revelry that goes with this holiday. And most of all, I hope that someday, we will all find independence.

As I say to my kids when they leave the house, “Be good, be safe, and have fun!”

happy celebrating~ jody

For more information on celebrations, please check out some of the resources I used.