‘Cemetery Ridge” depicts horrors of the Civil War

April 12 marks the beginning of the Civil War 147 years ago. Join Kirby McCord of Palestine for a lively discussion about his new historical novel, Cemetery Ridge on April 12, 1:30 p.m., at the Palestine Public Library.

There’s nothing imaginary about the Civil War. Even today the memories are with us; in histories, documentaries, and family legends. The carnage was too appalling, the animosity too dreadful to escape our modern memory. Yet how can we, living in the 21st century, connect with that past? How can we begin to know the horrendous strife of 150 years ago?

Cemetery Ridge (2012, BeWrite Press) is a new novel about the period that offers us the chance to relive the bitter past as a front-row participant. Local author Kirby McCord combines the classic tale of the quest with the realism of Crane’s Red Badge of Courage in his new novel. Cemetery’s historical representation is far more realistic and accurate than romantic Civil War novels such as Gone with the Wind.

The story opens in the midst of battle at Gettysburg, where we learn that Cemetery Ridge is a fateful landmark that portends the beginning of the end for Lee’s forces. Meanwhile, in Gainesville, Texas, suspicion and fear turn neighbor against neighbor. Just as Texan Travis Anderson is beginning his mission for Sam Houston, he escapes Gainesville’s angry mob into Indian Territory, where more danger and violence await.  That danger seems to pursue him on his cross-country odyssey, whether in the hills of Indian Territory, the plains of Kansas, the caves of Kentucky, or the highways of Ohio. The pages turn quickly as the reader wonders if Travis can accomplish his mission.

Historical novels are enjoyable way to experience the past first-hand, if the author has done his homework. With painstaking descriptions of events, setting, weaponry, and even animal behavior, Cemetery Ridge is a jewel of historical accuracy and a rare delicacy for Civil War enthusiasts.

April has been named Civil War history month in some states, as its beginning and end occurred in April, and now, locals can join in commemorating the event.

Join Kirby McCord for a book talk and discussion about the Civil War at the Palestine Public Library on Thursday, April 12, at 1:30 p.m. Copies of the book will be available for sale. Copies of the eBook can be downloaded from or

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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Other


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Private keeps the pages turning

Private, the newest series from James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, offers all the mystery-thriller action of Patterson’s other series, but with a modern twist. In the first in the series, Private: New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris (2011), Jack Morgan’s private investigation firm and its cast of characters is introduced. Morgan is a marine veteran turned top-notch private investigator. In the first title, Private’s team of technologically and forensically-gifted investigators is hired to investigate a range of crimes in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. Thankfully, there are no giveaways in this mystery thriller; the reader is just as stumped as Private’s best investigators, until they uncover the truth.

Just like other series by James Patterson, Private promises to stick around. Its formula combines the world of cyber-crime with the gritty forensics of CSI and more bedroom action than a Harlequin romance. The plot is embellished with an array of clients and characters, from mobsters to football team brokers to video gamers, and, of course, the cops. At the center of the action is Morgan’s hero-like persona, whose haunting post-war trauma threatens to become the Achilles heel of his entire operation.

The pages turn swiftly as Morgan’s top-notch (and highly-paid) team of street-smart hunks and savvy vixens investigate a range of cases, endure personal threats, and make passionate love. Although Morgan’s inner struggle builds his depth as the story’s main character, less can be said about its minors. There are repeated attempts to build personalities for each of Morgan’s co-workers, but most are so stereotypical that they fall flat. However, what the series lacks character-wise is more than compensated for by its fast-action plot and expertly-described setting that is both vivid and realistic. In fact, the experience of reading this series is more like watching a television drama than reading a book (but few TV networks would dare to air as many expletives).

Private: #1 Suspect (2012), next in the series, surpasses the tension of the debut novel. As Morgan becomes the top suspect in the unsolved murder of his former girlfriend, he finds himself fighting for his life and his freedom from prison. Next in the series is Private Games (2012), in which the top-notch firm is hired to provide security at the Olympic Games in London.  

Private: New York, Los Angeles, London, is available in PPL’s adult fiction, large print, and audiobook collections as well as in eBook and digital audiobook format at our Digital Branch ( Private: #1 Suspect is available on PPL’s New Fiction shelf, New Audio CDs shelf, and as an audiobook at our Digital Branch.

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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Other


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From ‘One’ to ‘Eighteen’

With the classic hit One for the Money now in theaters, CollectionConnection is celebrating the success of the series by Janet Evanovich that started it all.

For the past 19 years, whenever we’ve wanted a quick, light read, we’ve turned the pages of Stephanie Plum’s latest misadventures. Her good looks and careening career as a clueless recovery agent, coupled with near poverty and a crazy family in Trenton, New Jersey, lead her into the most awkward of situations. Plum’s adventures are always exciting and fast-paced; Plum’s desperation plunges her into danger at every turn without skipping a beat.

Back in ’93, the Washington Post heralded the series’ success: One “Comes roaring in like a blast of fresh air.” A critic from the Trenton Times stated, “Evanovich’s writing is full of sharp humor and Stephanie is an inspired creation.”

The appeal of Plum’s character launched the series, but the rest has been up to Evanovich – and her loyal fans. The humorous originality of her series has been wildly popular among readers, and Evanovich has continued the series with the same tenacity that Plum hunts down convicts. She has even produced several titles not in the series, but which are based on Plum’s character. In all, Plum has survived more than 18 episodes of misadventures with Evanovich’s, Explosive Eighteen (2011).

Eighteen provides all the entertainment of One through Seventeen, but in her latest, Evanovich has pulled out all the stops. Plum’s foibles explode onto the international crime scene as she serendipitously becomes the only person alive who has seen a photo connected with a murder case.

Click here to watch the video trailer for Explosive Eighteen:

Eighteen is available at the Palestine Public Library in print and audiobook format. Patrons can also visit and in eBook audiobook that can be downloaded at our Digital Branch

If you want to read or listen to One for the Money before watching the movie, visit the Palestine Public Library onsite or online. Palestine Public Library has two print copies of One for the Money and one available as an audiobook at our Digital Branch. So get out your library card and download or check out your own copy, and be ready to be entertained.

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Posted by on February 3, 2012 in Other


Connect with PPL’s New Audio Books

If your New Year’s resolutions include reading more books in 2012, engage in a simpler approach: audio books. The library has several new titles on our “New Audio CDs” shelf just beyond the library’s front door.

While many patrons have been waiting check out this year’s acclaimed hit, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, the audio book is now also available on our “New Audio CDs” shelf. In Stockett’s brilliant debut, three women secretly conspire to become the catalyst for social change in 1962 Jacksonville, Mississippi. Listening to this poignant story as an audio book is like experiencing live theater, as it’s read by four seasoned actresses.

Another title that won’t stay on the shelves long is Janet Evanovich’s Smokin’ Seventeen. Look for the audio book instead on the “New Audio CDs” shelf. Seventeen continues Stephanie Plum’s misadventures as bail bond entrepreneur with her usual flair. In this hilarious sequel, Plum finds herself accused of murder (and avoiding her own murder) while trying to choose between three hot beaus.

For a more serious take on life, listen to the wisdom of Nelson Mandela, now 91, in the new audio book, Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage, by Richard Stengel. The editor of Time magazine, Stengel collaborated with Mandela on his 1993 autobiography Long Walk to Freedom (available in the library’s Biographies section). In Mandela’s Way, Stengel thoughtfully relates how Mandela’s personal trials, including his 27-year imprisonment, formed his philosophy and courage. This new addition is a unique opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth.

Novelist C.J. Box’s new audio book Back of Beyond weaves his love of the outdoors into this fast-paced murder mystery. Policeman Cody Hoyt investigates the cause of his best friend’s murder in a remote mountain cabin and finds that a group of young tourists on a horseback trip through Yellowstone National Park are in immediate danger. This audio book will hook listeners with its swift pace and colorful details.Three Weeks to Say Goodbye and Blue Heaven, Box’s most acclaimed novels, are also available in the library’s Adult Fiction section.

The PPL’s Digital Branch also features nearly 500 audio books that can be downloaded to a computer or MP3 player with just a few clicks. We’ve just added the audio version of The Help, Smokin’ Seventeen, and many other new titles by popular authors Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, J.D. Robb, James Patterson, Lee Child, Iris Johanssen, and Laurel Hamilton, and many titles not even available on the library shelves. Visit the library’s Digital Branch at to download free software for a computer or MP3 player.

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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Other


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Cozy up to these Christmas reads

Even in Palestine, Texas, we like to run inside and warm up with a cup of hot cocoa when the colder, shorter days of December roll around. Visit the Adult Non-fiction section at the Palestine Public Library for several cheerful Christmas titles to cozy up to.

Seasonal inspiration abounds in the encouraging words of Follow the Star: Christmas Stories That Changed My Life by Pastor T.D. Jakes, who invites us to stop for a moment and contemplate the meaning of Christmas as he shares some of his own personal stories. Another title worth a look is Pastor Rick Warren’s The Purpose of Christmas, which looks back at the first Christmas story and explains how the three purposes of the season can fulfill our greatest needs.

If you’re interested in exploring local Christmas traditions, check out Christmas in Texas by Elizabeth Silverthorne. She explores holiday traditions of Texas’ immigrant groups of the 19th century, with darling traditional artwork and authentic recipes.

If you’re crafty enough to make your own home décor or holiday gifts, check out Christmas in Crochet, edited by Connie Ellison. This book features 58 Christmas crochet projects, including gifts, apparel, ornaments, table runners and afghans, and Christmas tree skirts. Another title of interest is 55 Christmas Balls to Knit by Arne and Carlos, who have designed a variety of holiday patterns for ornaments and other home decorations from traditional Norwegian knitwear. Both books are available in the PPL’s New Non-fiction section near the circulation desk.

Many other homemade projects are available in A Greener Christmas by Sheherazade Goldsmith, environmental activist and proprietor of an organic farm in Devon, England. Goldsmith encourages us to enjoy a “greener” Christmas with traditional recipes, hand-crafted holiday cards and gifts and natural decorations.


Finally, if you have an eReader or Kindle that arrived last Christmas, the PPL’s Digital Branch at also has a couple of holiday non-fiction titles. The Official Guide to Christmas in the South: Or, If You Can’t Fry It, Spraypaint It Gold is a humorous guide to Southern holiday traditions. For more craft and recipe ideas, the Digital Branch also offers Best of Christmas Ideas from Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Visit the PPL’s website at to explore our catalog for more holiday ideas, and become inspired for the Christmas season.

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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Holiday Reads, Other


PPL’s Digital Branch Welcomes the Kindle

The Palestine Public Library is excited to announce that Kindle compatibility has finally arrived at our digital branch. Ebooks and audiobooks can now be downloaded to an Amazon® Kindle or any other device with the free Kindle app, including the iPhone®, iPad®, and Android™. Just as before, titles from the library’s digital branch can also be read on a PC or Mac computer and mobile devices such as the Smartphone, MP3 player, the Barnes & Noble® Nook™, and the Sony® Reader. Visit the PPL’s digital branch at to get started.

The PPL’s digital branch offers some benefits to patrons. For one, the digital collection includes many titles not available in the library, including both popular new titles and classics. There are no overdue fees, as the ebook expires at the end of the lending period. Most digital items have a lending period of seven days. Two items can be checked out at a time, but as many as five items can be downloaded for each lending period. Another convenient way to connect to the digital branch is to visit the library’s main webpage at then click on the digital branch icon.

To select an ebook or audiobook, visit the digital branch on a PC or Mac computer, browse the library’s digital collection, check out titles using a library card and PIN number, and select “Get for Kindle” to download ebooks to a Kindle device or any device running the Kindle app through their Amazon accounts. Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes the user’s notes, highlights, and the last page read.

To obtain digital titles for the Barnes and Noble® Nook™ and other mobile devices, it’s necessary to first download the OverDrive® Media Console™ or the Adobe® Digital Editions software to a PC or Mac. Users can obtain this software for free from the tabs on the lower left menu of the digital branch webpage. The next steps are to browse titles, add them to the user’s book bag and check them out. The items can then be download them to a PC or Mac. The ebooks can be read from a computer, or they may be transferred to a mobile device after downloading.

The PPL’s digital branch is made possible through a subscription to OverDrive, Inc. (, a leading distributor of ebooks, audiobooks, music, and video. Overdrive has recently updated the library’s digital branch website so users can obtain help with downloading digital items.


Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Audiobook, Classic Reads, eBook


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Lives of the Famous and Infamous

Politicians, actors, rock stars, authors. Famous people, famous lives. Now we can know them even better with some new biographies Palestine Public Library has recently added to its collection.

Sammy Hagar writes candidly (with help from journalist Joel Selvin) about his life as a rock star in Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock. Hagar relates his beginnings as the Red Rocker through fame as a soloist and lead for Van Halen. Reading this book is like going behind the scenes at a concert and riding with Sammy in his sports car. A great feature of the book is the color photos featuring Hagar’s family and musical life, and, of course, his Porsche.

Actor and producer Rob Lowe continues his infamy long after the 1980s in his new autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. In Stories, the reader gets an intimate glimpse at Lowe’s personal life. The book is like a personal invitation to experience the icon’s life behind the scenes while reliving the entertainment highlights of a generation.

It may be that most 1980s actors did not have a lasting impact, but before deciding that, stop by to check out A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future by Michael J. Fox. Perhaps the tiniest book on the biography shelf, the book offers a wealth of wisdom as Fox discusses his views on a variety of interests, from physics to political science. These are the foundations for the optimistic philosophy he desires to share with the world.

One infamous life that will always linger in our historical memory is Cleopatra’s. Stacy Schiff writes eloquently about the richest woman in the ancient world in Cleopatra: A Life. An acclaimed biographer, Schiff won the Pulitzer Prize for Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov) in 1999. Also, look for Cleopatra: A Biography by Duane Roller in our New Biographies section.

Sarah Palin is another unforgettable woman whose biographical stamp on our national consciousness is widely recognized. In Going Rogue: An American Life, Palin writes candidly about her private and public life, from her early years growing up in Alaska, to her rise to national politics. Those with political interests may also want to read Decision Points by George W. Bush and Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption by Jules Witcover.

Anything but infamous, reclusive Texas author Larry McMurtry writes about his life in letters in his second memoir, A Literary Life. McMurtry shares the pains and joys of his life work of writing more than 30 novels and winning the Pulitzer Prize for Lonesome Dove. McMurtry once wore the deprecating phrase “minor regional novelist” printed on his T-shirt in the 1960s. We now know he’s anything but that, but really, who is the real Larry McMurtry?

Our New Biographies section has moved to the shelf at the front window. Look for it on the left as you walk into the PPL, and spend some time reading about the famous and infamous.

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Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Other