Have you ever read such a good book that you immediately wanted more of the same thing? Maybe not the exact same book, but in the absence of a sequel, something similar in style, tone, characterization, or setting.

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I have to admit that I was an e-book skeptic when we initially partnered with OverDrive, our electronic books platform, because their software was clunky and difficult to learn, and I didn’t want to read on a screen any more than I already had to. However, several interface and app updates later, OverDrive is infinitely more intuitive and appealing, and I’ve come around to the myriad benefits of both e-books and e-audiobooks. That’s not to say that I don’t still love physical books; an entire shelf of my home bookcase is dedicated to my current Library stash, and few things please me as much as lining the books up neatly, in descending order by height, and admiring “my” very own Library mini-collection. However, I’ve discovered several instances where the electronic versions of titles work better for me than the physical versions.

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"I can excuse everything but boredom. Boring people don't have to stay that way." - Hedy Lamarr

In the summer of 1940, a shipload of children being evacuated to Canada and the United States was torpedoed by German forces. 293 people, including 83 children, were killed. At this time, the German U-Boats were on the verge of winning WWII. It would take a stroke of genius to balance the odds for the British military. This came in the form of frequency hopping. Using this technology, the military could remote access torpedoes on a secure line, preventing enemy efforts from accessing the signals. Due to a lack of understanding and vision, however, this brilliant solution was not utilized.

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It seems like “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is on everyone’s mind these days - or, at least in everyone’s Netflix queue. Personally, I was both excited and a bit wary when I first heard about the show; I’d read the book shortly after it came out, and loved it, but I wasn’t convinced it would translate well to television. A reality show about cleaning? As geeky as I get about organization, that didn’t sound very exciting, and now that I’ve seen a few episodes I can honestly say that, indeed, it’s not that exciting. However, if it takes reality TV to bring the KonMari method to more Americans, I’m all for it!

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Hello again, and happy 2019! It’s hard to believe that a mere couple of weeks ago we were idly floating in lakes of gravy and heroically summiting mountains of sugar cookies, revelling in the overindulgence of the season. Or perhaps we were achy and shaky and hacking up pieces of what we hoped weren’t our lungs - or both! Winter in North Idaho is, after all, nothing if not a fine example of extremes. And speaking of extremes, another thing I get slightly tired of at the end of every year is the preponderance of “best of” lists -- Best Cat Memes of 2018 (not a thing, hopefully), Top 2018 Dog Names (definitely a thing), Longest Government Shutdowns (sigh), and the one category I actually pay attention to: Best Books.

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Astrid Anna Emilia Ericsson was born November 14, 1907 in Vimmerby, Sweden. She developed a strong work ethic on the farm which her family ran but had plenty of time to roam free and play with her three siblings and the neighborhood children. She grew up feeling secure and able to exercise independence, cultivating her propensity of forming strong opinions and independent thought. The various people who worked alongside her family formed a diverse group from which she developed a keen understanding of the human condition. Growing up before television and radio were standard household inventions, the oral tradition of storytelling was still the primary form of entertainment. Among the many stories she heard, Astrid drew inspiration for the future characters and stories that would make her the most widely translated author in Sweden as Astrid Lindgren.

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November is an odd month. Not quite winter, not quite autumn, it starts with elections and ends with a holiday based on gratitude and the celebration of a healthy harvest. Well, theoretically, at least. Often, it seems that the Thanksgiving holiday (AKA “Turkey Day” AKA “the lull before Christmas”) can just as easily descend into overindulgence and family strife, or cause massive amounts of stress on panicked hosts trying not to dry out the top-heavy fowl taking pride of place on an overloaded feast table.

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Let’s talk about trees! (Said more people than you might expect. We are in North Idaho, after all). Honestly, though, I do enjoy a good tree talk. Comparing the merits of various squirrel and bird shelters is much more fun than raking up the carpet of helicopters my backyard maple creates or sending up fervent non-denominational prayers whenever a loud thump rattles the roof, hoping it was just a small branch and not an entire limb of the huge split-crown pine looming treacherously over the house. Potential destruction notwithstanding, I think trees are magnificent, and that anyone who disagrees with this statement should live elsewhere. No, really, pack up your bags and head to the Sahara. I’ll wait.

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Many people might consider Virtual Reality (VR) to be just a game, something to pass the time even. While gamers have typically been the principal consumers of VR, many fields are beginning to embrace the usage of VR. Market forecasts have predicted that VR will be a $21 billion dollar industry by the year 2021. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which you can find at the Library, propelled the use of VR to the forefront. He describes a world in which a large majority of the population spent their days in a virtual world because the actual world was a harsh place to be. Ready Player One could quite possibly become a new reality.

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Do you miss summer? If so, my sympathies, because despite the occasional splashes of sun, it’s clear from the quickly descending twilights and the brisk temperatures that the season is long gone. On the bright side, however, if you don’t like autumn (sacrilege!), rest assured that it won’t last very long, either. After all, we already had snow on Schweitzer, so we’re actually closer to winter now than any other season! But I digress.

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Many of us work indoors, we often exercise at home or in a gym, we eat and sleep indoors, and we frequently spend time with our loved ones unexposed to the outside elements. We spend much of our lives within the confines of man-made structures instead of exploring what the natural world has to offer. As we enter the colder months, this becomes especially true, though more as a result of necessity than preference.

RyanJW

“Outlook, Saskatchewan after visiting this part of the prairies on an autumn morning after the harvest. An old abandoned railway track with beautiful symmetry, no longer in use but with stories to tell as long as the seemingly endless journey into the distance.” -Ryan Woytowich, Photographer, on what inspired him to take the photo.

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We live in an extraordinary place. People are drawn here for the natural beauty, friendly locals, and quality of life. From the top of Schweitzer Mountain to the middle of Lake Pend Oreille, we have a breath-taking 360 degree view.

Because I have lived here since childhood, I often ask newcomers and visitors what drew them to Sandpoint. Almost invariably, the answer is that they can experience all four seasons here. Recreational opportunities abound in this natural diversity, putting everyone on an equal playing field regardless of material means.

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