Posted in Book Talk

Survival Stories

Books about surviving in the wilderness have been classic reads for generations of children. I remember reading Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and more in elementary school. Here’s a list of survival stories to read if you grew up loving these tales of endurance or want to live vicariously through someone else’s harrowing adventure.

Middle Grade Fiction

  • Refugee 87 by Ele Fountain
  • Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart
  • Refugee by Alan Gratz
  • Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson
  • Hideout by Watt Key
  • A World Below by Wesley King
  • The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence
  • Swallow’s Dance by Wendy Orr
  • Stranded by Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts
  • The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
  • The Trap by John Smelcer
  • I Survived the Children’s Blizzard, 1888 by Lauren Tarshis
  • Memory Boy by Will Weaver
  • Horizon by Scott Westerfeld

Young Adult Fiction

  • Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
  • The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
  • Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter
  • The Goats by Brock Cole
  • The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby
  • When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn
  • Notes from My Captivity by Kathy Parks
  • Lost in a River of Grass by Ginny Rorby
  • Switchback by Danika Stone
  • A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

Adult Fiction

  • California by Edan Lepucki
  • Lord Grizzly by Frederick Manfred
  • The Revenant by Michael Punke
  • Midnight Sun by Elwood Reid
  • Winter World by A. G. Riddle
  • The Martian by Andy Weir


  • Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi
  • Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Survival by Yossi Ghinsberg
  • The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Lost in the Wild by Cary J. Griffith
  • Lost in the Amazon by Stephen Kirkpatrick
  • Into the Wild by John Krakauer
  • The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston


Posted in Just for Fun

Meinders Movie Theater Is No Longer Haunted

Thanks to our fearless, ghostbusting escapees, the library is once again a safe haven for Pipestone residents.

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Enjoy this quick escape room countdown:

  • Cats and Spook at 80 minutes
  • A Flock of Sandwiches at 75 minutes
  • Bones’ Harem at 72 minutes
  • The Rainbow Nerds at 71 minutes
  • The Lovebirds at 59 minutes
  • Locks Are for the Birds at 52 minutes
  • (B)lockbusters- the “B” is silent at 44 minutes

Mark your calendars for the last weekend in October and crack the codes in our next escape room adventure.

Posted in Just for Fun

Words Are Hard

Last weekend, I received two amazing gifts–a mug that says “Professional Bookworm” and this:

i before e mugAs we get ready for the new school year, I am once again reminded of all our educational professionals do in teaching our youth to reach their potential.

Reading is hard, but necessary. We live in a world of words. Without them, we get lost.

In fact, a training we just completed at the library gave me a terrifying insight into the world of words. By the age of three, a child coming from inter-generational poverty will hear 30 million less words than a three-year-old child coming from the middle class.


That’s equivalent to not hearing 333.3 full-length novels read out loud. That’s not hearing 111 books worth of words each year. That’s a lot of missing words.

Teachers have my utmost respect, whether they are professional educators or parents and acquaintances taking the time to talk to and read with the youth in their lives.

Words are hard. It’s not weird. It’s a fact.

As you go about your day, please support reading, support strong communication, and support education. It’s the only way any of us can reach our potential.

Thank you, teachers!

happy reading~ jody

Posted in Book Talk

Page to Screen Reads


There’s still time to assemble your team and sign up for Screened, our cinema-themed escape room. Here’s a list of books that inspired recent or upcoming screen adaptations that you can watch on TV, at the movie theater, or from your favorite streaming service.

Young Adult Fiction

  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Movie retitled Ashes in the Snow)
  • The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Adult Fiction

  • The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt


  • Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom
  • Boy Erased by Garrard Conley
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
  • Shrill by Lindy West


Posted in Get Connected

Escape from Meinders Theater

Some of my fondest, childhood memories center around movies. Or more specifically, movie theaters in Seattle, Washington, with my relatives. Mind you, this was at a time when you couldn’t DVR, stream, or rent the movie for home viewing at a later date.

Rather, you got to the theater early, got your snacks, and hit the restroom one last time, because, heaven forbid, you needed a refill or a potty break halfway through. Doing so meant you would miss part of the movie, and the only way to see it again was by paying for another ticket and sitting through another viewing–this time without the extra soda.

Lucky for you, our escape rooms only take an hour, and if absolutely necessary, we will let you out for a restroom break. Just come prepared to solve the mystery at Meinders Theater.


Call, email, or fill out the contact info below to reserve your time for our next escape room adventure. Reservations will be complete only after we have confirmed a time with you.


Posted in Just for Fun

Tastes Like Chicken and Other Like Things

Two weeks ago, my hubby and I were hanging out with friends talking about exotic foods we’ve eaten or are willing to try. Iguana? Tastes like chicken. Alligator? Tastes like chicken. Frog legs? Yep, you guessed it. Tastes exactly like chicken. By the end of the night this became a joke and inspired a later trip to Ivanhoe to pick up a few of these mystery meats at the seafood market.

Where the Crawdads SingCollectively, the four of us have eaten enough to know that, nope, these meats do not taste like chicken. Inherently we knew that Christopher Columbus had it all wrong when he declared that snake in the new world tasted just like chicken. Besides, we have all eaten enough to know the fallacy of this oft-used phrase to describe unfamiliar foods.

While certain meats might be white and mild, each animal has its own flavor. Chefs and foodies alike recognize the many subtle variations that each fowl and fauna bring to the table.

Likewise, serious readers enjoy the nuances that define individual authors and their individual works. And yet, we are still guilty of categorizing flavors of books to appease our literary tastes.

We google “books similar to…” or tell our reader friends, “If you loved Author X, you will love Author Z.”

As a librarians, it’s what we do. As book lovers, it’s how we shop and how we recommend. Though I doubt you would ever hear one of us say, “It’s exactly like….” In part, because there are far too many word combinations, characters, and plot twists for this sentiment to hold water.

Instead, we are more like great culinary artists who know that slight variations in the amount of one ingredient over another can vastly change the flavor of the end product. Temperatures do matter. As do oils and butter and lard. It might be similar, but it will not be the same.

Keep this in mind as I offer the following recommendation. If you are one of the many who have read or thought about reading Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing, you should give The Witness Tree by Amy Pendino a try.

Both are written by debut novelists, and both tend to end up in the same shopping cart on Amazon. Both have received strong accolades from fellow writers–including two we’ve hosted at the library.

According to Minnesota author Lorna Landvik, The Witness Tree is “deeply satisfying.”

According to Kim at the circulation desk, The Witness Tree is a worthy read. What did she love about it? The main character eschewed the social constraints of the time and stood her ground in the face of 1920’s conservative attitudes.

So while these two books are as alike as alligators and rattlesnakes on the outside, they share a similar flavor–a coming of age story tied to nature, social prejudice, and characters with a strength that defies the norm.

happy reading~ jody

P.S. Railroad Street Seafood in Ivanhoe has crawdads. Though I doubt they taste like chicken!