39 Second Street
Presque Isle, Maine 04769
(207) 764-2571

E-mail: turnermemoriallibrary@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Norma McEntee's Reading Picks!

Norma McEntee is our newest library team member. As a way to get to know Norma and by way of a small introduction, Norma compiled a few of her favorite reads and wrote about them below. Welcome to the team, Norma, we know you will do great things in your new position!

Okay, I’ll admit it. I like reading a scary book—one that I don’t want to put down, even if Sunday dinner is burning in the oven and there is smoke coming from the kitchen. I think books with a little fear tucked into the pages help to remind me that my life is pretty safe and sound—there’s nothing living in my closet or under my bed. Maybe that’s what makes a good scary book so tempting. I’m content that all this stuff isn’t happening to me. So, here are a few of my favorites… with a long, cold, northern Maine winter coming, I plan to have my stack of books near my chair, at the ready. I may even re-read some of these again. The books are not necessarily in any order, but more how they came to mind.

1. Ghost Story by Peter Straub © 1979

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Whether you’re reading this book in the dark of night or on the deck on a sunny afternoon, Ghost Story will send a chill up your spine.

College boy (innocent?) fun gets out of hand and a very bad thing happens. Knowing that it was a ghost story, I was drawn into the story immediately. Soon, their ghost story becomes your ghost story. This is definitely one of my all time favorites. Don’t bother watching the movie, it doesn’t even compare.

2. Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King © 1993

I think readers hate to admit it, but Stephen King has written some good books; not all of them present readers with sci-fi monsters or clowns who bother little kids. Some of King’s monsters are real: like Dolores’ wife-beating husband, or the rich old lady with too much money and too much hate. This is a book with a great story line. No gore and guts, but it is scary. Poor Dolores is just a hardworking woman in Maine (where else?), and SECRETS. She doesn’t stand a chance and is forever labeled in her little coastal town.

3. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King © 1975

It’s been years and years since I’ve read this book, but I still can’t sleep with my curtains open at night, even though my bedroom is on the second floor of the house—just like the little Glick boys, who had a late-night visit from their dead friend.

Since I watched the ‘Wizard of Oz’ as a young girl, my mantra has always been: “I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks…” And I do.

4. Desperate Passage by Ethan Rarick © 2008

The subtitle of this book is: “The Donner Party’s Perilous Journey West”. If you’ve never heard of the ‘Donner Party’ or are unfamiliar with the true story, this is an awesome historical read for you. It reads like a novel, but includes details: diaries and photos. Though it was creepy, I couldn’t help but feel sad.

Boy, talk about ‘California Dreamin’ taking a bad turn….

5. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova © 2005

This is Ms. Kostova’s first book and it’s one that you won’t want to put down. A young woman finds an ancient book while going through letters and papers of her father’s.

She is extremely curious about the book, but it makes her feel uneasy—like something dark lives inside. I think you can never read enough legend of Dracula or books about the reign of Vlad, the Impaler. It’s well written, fascinating and menacing at the same time.

6. The Terror by Dan Simmons © 2007

It’s not just about the 120+ men on the ‘HMS Terror’ and their 1845 expedition to the so-called Northwest Passage, it’s how they survive while waiting for a summer thaw in the Arctic Circle ice where their ship has been frozen for two years – and it’s about things that go bump (and butcher the men as they stand guard) in the night.

Though I liked the book a lot, I was disappointed when it took a surrealistic turn. There’s a major character: a very peculiar Eskimo woman who shows up with a point to make. Good story, but somewhat odd.

7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown © 2003

Loved it! Actually, I inhaled it. There have been tons of critics who have found biblical errors in the book, but I didn’t read it for its biblical content, only for the interesting read that it was.

If you think it’s been overrated and haven’t read it yet, give it a try. The possibilities and the “What if?’s” that Dan Brown put forth are amazing!

I can be diverse in my reading choices, that’s why I would recommend anything by Maine author, Cathy Pelletier. My absolute favorite was her first novel, The Funeral Makers. I found all of her books to be funny in their own way – like living in northern-most Aroostook County – Cathy has discovered that it’s a good thing to be able to make light of some tragedy.

Norma can be reached at (207) 764.2571 or via email at norma.mcentee@yahoo.com.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Giving Back to Your Community

Giving Back to Your Community

Kevin Sipe, Library Board of Trustees Chair

Growing up in Presque Isle, one could be forgiven for thinking every hometown is like our own. We sometimes take for granted the opportunities we enjoy and the community we share. We enjoy good schools, effective local government responsive to its citizens, fresh air, clean water, a myriad of public services, and activities for all. But move away, live somewhere else for a while, a year, two years, ten years, and one begins to appreciate Presque Isle in a whole new way. The quality of our lives here often is thrown into stark contrast when held up for comparison. Sometimes it takes a returning resident to help us see just what a special place our little town, Presque Isle, is.

There is obviously something about growing up in Presque Isle that etches powerful memories into us. Perhaps it's the sense of community, the safety of our streets, the library, the recreation department, the parks or just the feeling of well being and belonging. Seen through another's eyes their memories become a mirror for us to view ourselves. What one does with those memories, however, makes all the difference. Does one rest in the comfort of those past days or look to give back, to insure that those opportunities remain for others to enjoy?

For one former resident the answer lies in giving back, to provide for future generations all the opportunities they enjoyed growing up here. With a one million dollar donation this former resident has fulfilled a dream to be able to give back in the form of an addition to the Presque Isle library that will provide much needed space and for the first time handicapped accessibility. Her stated goal is to give back to the community that meant so much to her growing up, to give without a desire for recognition but rather a desire to do for others. This gift will benefit the citizens of Presque Isle for generations to come and keep alive the sense of community and specialness we enjoy but sometimes fail to see in the day-to-day of our busy lives.

The concept of "Pay it Forward" lives conceptually in all of us. But how many of us can or do put that concept into action? When someone does act on that most noble of ideas it strikes a chord in us and makes us wonder if we, too, could do more for our community. The generosity of one woman will create a place of refuge, meeting, and education for all to enjoy and will stand as an example to the spirit of giving and service, an example of the concept of "Paying it Forward" becoming reality. With this gift our children, all of us, will be able to benefit form one more of the things that makes Presque Isle such a wonderful place to live and raise children. In the months to come we will see this woman's gift become a reality as the walls rise on the new addition to the library made possible by one person's desire to "Give Back" to the community she loves.