Category Archives: Brainerd Library

Morning Meanderings… Up Close and Personal With Lorna Landvik

Recently at the Book Expo I was talking with my roommate (Beth Fish Reads and yes I like saying she is my roommate lol)  and we were talking about how much we used to blog…  she had said, “You used to put up two posts a day!”

She was right, I did.  For the longest time I would do a Morning Meanderings… and then something; bookish review, author meet up … in the  afternoon.  At the time… it flowed well… now it is funny to think how the heck did I do that?????

At this time, I have enough footage to do it…. I am behind (WAY BEHIND!) on reviews.  I have much to share about bookish things and by golly I am going to keep talking about those great Expo books.  So we shall see…  😉

Lorna Landvik was at the Brainerd Public Library yesterday.  She is not only an amazing author, funny funny lady, and our MC for Wine and Words… she is also someone I am pleased to call friend.

Lorna was at the Brainerd Public Library for our Brown Bag Author Event. Every Monday through the summer we have an author from noon to one.  I was initially going to skip this weeks as I was up to my ears in working on the Books Burgers and Brews discussion for last night, but once I checked the schedule and remembered it was Lorna I had to go.

Lorna packed the house.  Our events usually bring in around 45 – 60….  Lorna had 104 in the room.  I counted twice.




Lorna’s new book is Once In A Blue Moon Lodge.  The follow-up to Patty Jane’s House Of Curl.  The book sounds amazing!

Books, Burgers,and Brews: The Circle by Dave Eggers

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I am a gazillion posts behind and I have so much to share!  Books Burgers and Brews has been going strong since October…  this was the idea of having a Book Club in a public venue and Friends of the Brainerd Public Library hosting this free event.  The vision was to bring non readers to books… while that is not exactly what has happened (it has been more people who can not find a book club, writers, other book club people…) it is still connecting people to books and really – isn’t that all I ever want?
~Sheila

The Circle made for a great discussion book.  The futuristic synopsis around a company (The Circle) that puts social media at the forefront…  where secrets are considered lies and transparency in all things has value.

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Our group that night was the largest yet.  We had 37 people at Prairie Bay and a good variety of ages… people that had grown up with social media of some sort being a part of their life, those who came by it later in life and those that have heard of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc… but not really engaged or understood the draw.

What fascinates me about such a book is that I tend to lose how I truly feel about the book (I believe, I liked it).  Having lead book club discussions for so many years, I tend to focus on how the book will be for discussing and that is what excited me here.  Over all, those in this room did not love the book… but they loved the discussion it brought out.

What is the dangers of social media?
What is too much information? 
When are secrets a good thing?
If we are all 100% transparent, what is lost?  When do we just become desensitized to everything?
Is what is described in the book what is happening in our world today?
If so, is there a way to stop it?  Does the majority of the population want to?

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As always, Prairie Bay created a wonderful Literary Menu for us….  The Eye In The Pie and The Three Wise Men Melt both sounded so good… I ordered them both…  I was right they were delicious.

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And… as has become tradition… the drink special is one that Laurel and I always have to try.  This time there was two… the white wine that is mentioned in the book that Mae drinks… and a local beer that uses social media for promotions.

Once again… well played Prairie Bay.

Stay tuned.. later today I will post my review of the book The Circle.

 

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It’s Not Always About The Book

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This past Tuesday we had book club.  It was our annual December potluck, home made gift exchange, and donation to the library’s book in a bag program.  Normally, this is one of my favorite meetings of the year as I do love the little extras we put into book club.  This year however…

not so much.

The last month has been hard – and I thought I had the book we were reading on my shelf and if I do… I can not find it.  The library copies were all checked out, and I personally wasn’t sure if the book was something I was going to enjoy so I did not want to buy it.  All that and a lot of procrastination… I had not read the book.

I went to book club that night feeling a bit stressed out… tired, and unprepared.

And then…

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The visiting, the glass of wine, catching up on conversations and lives….

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and the food…

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Meatballs and seafood chowder, soup, salad, dips and chips, olives, breads, bruschetta, chocolates, cake and more….

I sat back and another girl in our group led the discussion which is normally what I do.  Even though I had not read the book, the discussion was engaging.  It was interesting to be the observer and watch this group of girls who have come together because of a book… but really… more than that.  This motley crew of women are all friends.  We come together to share in each others lives, to care for one another.  We have been together through sickness and celebration, great sorrow…as well as joy.  As I watched this group that at one time were for the most part strangers – joke with one another, discuss this book, listen to each others opinions, and share personal stories that surfaced because of reading this book and I thought…

this is so much more than about a book.

The book… well, I will write another post and share with you about the book.  When I asked at the end of the discussion if they felt this was something I should read or pass on, they said it needed to be read.  In fact, my favorite comment of the night came from Susanne who said, “It is a crime against humanity to not have read this book.”

I guess I will be reading the book.

I did mention this was our gift exchange night… the rule being it must be something the giver has made.  I put together a metal basket of canned goods I had made this fall – salsa, apple butter, stewed tomatoes, pasta sauce, and homemade caramels.

Here are pictures of the gifts that were given  (Yoda would say “talent in group runs deep”)

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Don’t forget…. 1st book of the year is just around the corner!

Morning Meanderings… It’s All A Bit Crazy

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*Deep Breath*

Today I wanted to share the pictures of the bench that was dedicated to my son at the Brainerd Public Library.  It is one of those things that I am a little surprised I have not already posted the pics (I did post the prep of the area pics but never the finished area).  And then as I plan to write this post the tears start rolling.

How my life has changed these past 5 months…

It is in all honesty quite surreal and surely requires a reality check from time to time.  How can this all be real?  How can 5 months ago I had this vibrant amazing kid in my life and we were making plans and hanging out and then…

this.

Now I have benefits, and Color Runs, and tree plantings and ribbon cuttings…

and a very very broken heart.

However, this is not what this post is about.  Well it is and it isn’t.

If you can put a shed of light over this tragedy I am trying to live through…  what I am posting here is a spark of life and love and well….  here it is.

A brief background story to the bench if you do not know it…. when my son died in a car accident this past April the book blogging community took a stand and wanted to do something to honor my love for books and the library and my great love for my son. Money was raised quickly for this project, bloggers and publishers, and authors, all came together to make this happen. 

I still can not write this or talk about this without tearing up… what an outpouring of love during the hardest part of my entire life. 

Two members of our friends group Dawn and Sherri spoke at the ribbon cutting

Two members of our friends group Dawn and Sherri spoke at the ribbon cutting.

 

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There was a nice gathering of people for the ribbon cutting… friends, family, and community.

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Justin's bench.

Justin’s bench.

 

 

And the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library group contributed $10,000 to add in 4 more benches and a picnic table to the area for people to enjoy.

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Thank you to every one who contributed.  Coming through the way the book community did at such a time as this was such a gift to myself and my family.  This heart felt generosity will not be forgotten.

(This post will be linked to Saturday Snapshot, where people share their stories through pictures).

Saturday Snapshot: Wine and Words 2015

Wine and Words, Minnesota, Brainerd, Grand View Lodge, Sheila DeChantal, Peter Geye, Lorna Landvik, William Kent Krueger, rica Spindler, Nadia Hashimi, Kathleen McCleary, Book Journey

Left: Gail (Co-Chair), Me (Co-Chair), Jill (Team Member), Lorna Landvik (Author/MC), Peter Geye (Author), Kathleen McCleary (Author), William Kent Krueger (Author), Nadia Hashimi (Author), Erica Spindler (Author), Sue (Team Member), Doreen (Team Member), Brenda (Team Member)

 

This weeks Saturday Snapshot is going to be about Wine and Words, the literacy event that our Friends of the Brainerd Public Library sponsor each year.  This is year three and we had 320 guests at our sold out event.

As you can imagine, this was not the easiest of years for me to push through this event.  I thankfully had secured our authors in February of this year and Nadia Hashimi joined us in late March (only a week before my life fell apart).  The website and the ticket sales were already in place by then so the team was able to move on with the planning without me until I was able to assist again in June.

We were at a larger venue (Grand View Lodge) that allowed us to accommodate 120 more guests than last year.  It has been so exciting to watch this event grow from a “do you think this will work in Brainerd?” to a “holy smokes we need a larger venue!

We had a great team of people willing to work on the silent auction, ticket sales, handing out brochures, and this year we even worked on sponsorship’s!  As you can see in the above picture, we had an excellent author line up – a good mix of genres and the authors were so well spoken – talking about their writing, their books, and their relationship to libraries.  Seriously.. I was a bit giddy.

Here are a few of the many many pictures taken of our event this year:

Check in and the social hour

Check in and the social hour

Social hour

Social hour

 

One of our Team Members, Sherri talking with William Kent Krueger about his book

One of our Team Members, Sherri talking with William Kent Krueger about his book

 

Part of the book sale team... Friends Members:  Rhonda and Amy

Part of the book sale team… Friends Members: Rhonda and Amy

 

The guy who puts the "wine" in Wine and Words - our local Liquor man, Mark from Cash Wise Liquor

The guy who puts the “wine” in Wine and Words – our local Liquor man, Mark from Cash Wise Liquor

 

Its always fun to see people get excited about books!

Its always fun to see people get excited about books!

 

Ahhh… what the heck, here is what the event really looked like:

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We gave away gift cards and a Kindle Fire.  Justin’s friends also purchased a table in his name and attended, just as he would have – and just as he had, the last two years.  ♥  There are no words for what that means to me…

Justin 2015

As far as how we did… I am finishing up the last bit of calculating today so I can give our team an accurate look at the total win for Friends of the Brainerd Public Library… and trust me on this…

it was a win. 🙂

Check out other Saturday Snapshots here and see what awesome people are taking pictures of around the world.

Saturday Snapshot…. It’s Happening.

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Well I certainly did not plan on being MIA this past week here, but I see my last post was a week ago.  A week on heavy library activity and we are down to the wire planning for Wine and Words.  Lots of busy volunteers out there making the final steps happen.  This week I worked on the table brochure, seating arrangements with my friend Sue, lots of email communications, sponsor information, phone calls, ticket sales, communications to our venue, and tomorrow myself and the Co-Chair Gail will hopefully take care of the final silent auction items which we are planning on a good 4-6 hours at the library doing that.

Whew.

Anyhoo…

This week at the Brainerd Public Library a lot of things were happening fast.

  1.  We got the word that the cement people were coming to lay out the plan for the benches and give the bid.
  2. The Library Director and I went and layed out the plan for the benches and where they would go.
  3.  When they came the bid was a good one and they said they would be able to do the job on Friday.  (Yesterday)
  4. Friday!!!!
  5. We hit “go mode” and bought materials to put stone around two of the trees in the area the benches would go to add a nice park feel to the area.
  6. I dug up hostas from my own gardens because I loved the symbolism of having the plants being from our home where my son’s bench was going to be placed.
  7. Thursday we were able to work on it a little bit in the morning and then we were rained out.
  8. Friday morning we finished the hosta project (including a bonus space because we had extra stones) and the cement people did their thing.
  9. The benches will go in early this next week.

A little background on the benches for those of you who are not familiar with my story of the past 4 months…. when my 24 year old son was killed in a car accident in April of this year, the book community did an AMAZING thing.  A group of bookish friends who I have connected with through here, started up a bench fund so a bench could be placed at our local library in memory of my son.

My heart… runneth over.

This bench led to the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library moving forward on something we had talked about over the last couple of years, and that was putting some nice outdoor benches outside the Library.  The Friends, on top of what the book community started with Justin’s bench, tossed in an additional $10,000 so we could add a bench on both sides of Justin’s as well as an octagon picnic table, a heavy duty garbage can, and two more benches for the Children’s outdoor area of the library.

I will post pictures once the benches are in place.  I have seen Justin’s bench and it is BEAUTIFUL.

book journey, Sheila DeChantal, Justin DeChantal, Brainerd Public LIbrary

The two trees that we planted the hostas around.

Mckay Concrete, DeChantal, Book Journey, Brainerd Public LIbrary

Preparing for the benches

Brainerd Public Library, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Prepping the Children’s Area ( we had planned on two benches but changed our mind and had them prep for 4. We will order two more benches.

Brainerd Public LIbrary, Book Journey

The moving of “Ben” the old bench that has sat in the bench planning area since the library was moved to this location.

Brainerd Public LIbrary, Book Journey.

“Ben’s” new home in the employee area of the library next to a picnic table. It looks as though he was meant to be there.

Brainerd Public Library

Jolene the library director working on the third “bonus” hosta bed.

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal. Justin DeChantal, Brainerd Public Library

The cement going in. It was crazy cool. I wanted to get my tent and stay overnight there so no one touched it while it hardened.

Brainerd Public Library, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Childrens area cement prep for the benches to go in this next week.

As you can imagine, this whole project has been bitter sweet.  I love being a part of it and digging my hands into the dirt knowing that this will become a place where people will sit and read, and talk, and enjoy.  For those of you who contributed to making this happen… I can not thank you enough.  Even now, 4 months in I still cry every day.  This bench… this project means so much.

Thank you.

I am posting this to Saturday Snaphot, where people all over the world can add pictures of what is happening in their lives. 

Morning Meanderings… Book Friends Make Me Smile

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Busy whirlwind weekend… lots of business and while it was good things, I am glad to be in the week and keeping it a little less busy.  I didn’t pick up a book all weekend.  A little audio time as I was in the car – especially yesterday from Brainerd to St. Cloud and back to Brainerd and then to Pine River.

Over a weekend a nice gift came my way.  I received a package from Amazon and tried to think if I had ordered anything… nothing I could recall.  When I opened the box it was a book wrapped in a pretty blue paper and when I opened it, it instantly brought tears to my eyes.

book journey

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Thank you Patty for the beautiful journal for me to write in.  It is perfect.  I just keep touching it and you can bet I will be putting lots of thoughts in it.

Today we have an author at the library, Lin Enger author of The High Divide.  I am kind of excited about this one and interested in hearing about his book.  Hoping this afternoon will include quiet time on the deck with a book.  I feel like I am sparking a bit more, but prefer to stay as close to home as possible.  Hoping maybe this week I can get out and ride my bike too – something I have not done yet this year.

 

 

Morning Meanderings… Catching Up With Brown Bag Author Terri Peterson Smith

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Thursday!  It has been a beautiful week here in Central Minnesota.  It is my favorite time of year!  Today I am in the office and feeling energized.  Later I plan to mow the lawn and if you follow these posts… you know I love to mow the lawn!  (It’s true – I really do!)

 

Terri Peterson Smith, Off The Beaten Path, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Author Terri Peterson Smith and her book, Off The Beaten Path

 

Fun story.  Earlier this year Author Terri Peterson Smith contacted me about our event, Wine and Words.  Our event already had the authors lined up but I really liked the sound of her book and directed her to contact my Vice-Chair in The Friends Group about being a part of the Brown Bag Author Line Up.  I am thrilled to say that it worked out for her to come and speak, which she did a couple of Mondays ago.

Terri’s book is about grabbing your friends and taking a literary trip.  It really is a book for book lovers.  I loved that Terri mentioned in her talk that book groups are now seeking out that next level to reading the book… they want to taste the food that the characters have, they want to see and touch and feel – almost making the books three-dimensional.  Terri provides that in her book, Off The Beaten Page.

 

Inspired by “field trips” with the author’s own book club, Off The Beaten Page offers a literary look at fifteen U.S. destinations as seen through the works of famous writers.  No plodding tour of dead people’s homes; award-winning journalist Terri Peterson Smith takes readers on a lively tour of some of the  most fascinating places in the U.S., combining her love of literature and her quest for a good time with friends. Her inspired explorations and meticulous research combine to help readers not only extend the experience of a great book but also to gain a greater understanding of the people and culture in the places they travel.

Terri was a lot of fun to meet in person.  She has a fun bubbly personality which I felt made her perfect to write about bookish adventures such as where to find the house in St Paul Minnesota that F Scott Fitzgerald finished his book “This Side Of Paradise”.  Terri’s book cover 15 US locations for literary trips for you and your group.

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It was a real pleasure to hang out with Terri Peterson Smith.  I have been reading her book this week and love the ideas it sparks about literary trips.  I am hopeful she will write a follow-up book… I am hopeful she invites me along on these trips to help her with her research.  😉  Hey, a girl can dream.

How is your Thursday shaping up?  I need to get into the office soon, I already have a list of things building up in my head of the “to do’s” for today.  It is funny how that happens. 🙂

Morning Meanderings… New Normal – Official Day One and Brown Bag Author

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good Morning!  Happy Wednesday!  (Is it crazy that I had to pause there and think what day it was?)  Yesterday was my first real full day of feeling like I was moving into my new role.  I have home space set up, and made a commitment to be in it.  I actually had time to open up a packet of papers that were given to me in mid June as research for my manuscript I am revising.  They have been sitting in the library since they were handed to me and are now in the office and I spent time yesterday reviewing them and making notes. It was a good feeling.

 

 

JOhnathan Friesen, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

Author Johnathan Friesen

This past Monday we had an exciting author at the Brainerd Public Library.  Author Johnathan Friesen (pronounced “free-zen”) spoke at our library about his books, and read from his most recent book, Mayday (LOVE the cover!)

I had never read or listened to Johnathan Friesen before and I for one was excited to have him at the library as a YA author.  He started out with sharing a very powerful story about his childhood and Tourette’s syndrome.  I think most of the room was in tears – and then he turned it around into his passion for writing.  At this stage in my life, what he said really resonated with me.  He spoke with intelligence and I found myself scribbling on a napkin (I know, I know, you would think I would be more prepared!) to capture some of the things he said…

…and when she left my room, she took something with her.  Almost like a magnet it stuck to the back of her shirt…. when she left, the hate I had felt for myself left with her.  ~ Johnathan Friesen

 

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Johnathan was a delightful speaker!  He was animated and funny and can really channel his inner child! While he spoke about each of his books I found myself trying to choose which I wanted to read, they all in one way or another spoke to me.  His book Jerk California is about a boy with Tourette’s.  This Schneider Family Book Award winner changed the face of Tourette’s Syndrome for modern teens.

When the event was over, the crowd of 44 people gathered around to but his books.  I always wait to be last to make sure everyone has the opportunity to pick up the books that they want.  I left this event with:

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If you ever have the chance to hear Johnathan speak, I highly recommend you do.  I was very impressed with his style and look forward to digging into his books!

 

 

 

 

Brown Bag Author Event: Julie Kramer

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Every Monday in June and July at the Brainerd Public Library, we have a Minnesota Author come from noon to one to talk about their latest book, answer questions, and sign books.  It is a lot of fun, and being a part of the Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library who sponsors these events gives me a front row seat when it comes to chatting it up with the authors.

Not a bad gig.  😉

Recently we had Julie Kramer at the library talking about her new book Delivering Death.  She was very engaging to the 70+ people in the room.

Julie kramer, Book Journey, Delivering Death

While talking about where she gets her ideas for writing thrillers, she passed out to the audience her Minnesota Book Award for Silencing Sam.  It passed from person to person, even I had to get in on that action!  When it had been “oohed and ahhhhed” over by everyone there, Julie said this:

Let’s say tomorrow I am going to book signing in Duluth.  And lets say on my way there I meet someone and I beat them to death with that Minnesota Book Award and leave the person and the award with all your fingerprints all over it.  That’s where ideas come from.  ~ Julie Kramer

 

We all laughed.  Some nervously.

Julie Kramer, Book Journey, Delivering Death

Julie was a wonderful speaker and we had a great time with her.  She left us a signed copy of her book Delivering Death, and a bottle of wine with the same book title on it for Wine and Words in August.

And I picked up a copy of her book as well:

Julie Kramer, Book Journey, Delivering Death, Sheila DeChantal, Shunning Sarah

Julie Kramer’s website