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Smyth Library

November with Smythie


The monthly e-newsletter of the Smyth Public Library

November, 2018

Volume 12, No.8



Wanna’ keep the politics out of Thanksgiving this year?

Try this conversation starter:

You’ve been kidnapped.  Name the one fictional character you would call upon to save you.

You’re welcome




Candia “Antiques Roadshow”
Thursday, November 15th at 6:30 pm
Our own local “Antique Roadshow” comes to Candia! Sponsored by the Heritage Commission.




Currier Fall Art Program

Monday, November 19th at 6 pm
Currier Art Museum Instructor, Holly Rousseau, is coming to lead a painting lesson inspired by “Ethan Murrow: Hauling.”

Holly Rousseau is a graduate of Plymouth State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Art Education, concentrating on ceramics and printmaking. In 2013, she was a National Writing Project Institute Fellow. Along with her work at the Art Center, she is a full time Art Teacher in the Manchester School District.


Bear-Paw Regional Greenways Drinking Water Lecture
Monday, November 26th from 6pm-7pm
Where does your water come from?
What can you do to protect it?
Bear-Paw Regional Greenways is offering a workshop for landowners, their families, and others interested in how land conservation helps protect drinking water. Have you been thinking about doing something to help protect water quality? Are you wondering if land conservation is an option for your property? This workshop will be an opportunity to learn more and get expert advice. Questions? Contact: or call (603) 463-9400


Holiday Gingerbread House Making Party
Saturday, December 8 at 11 am
Limited to 15 people, so please formally register by emailing or calling the library at 603-483-8245!
For: All ages!
All goodies provided, just sign up and bring your smiles!





How to Make Your Own Holiday Cards with Debbie Dunn!
Tuesday, November 27th at 6pm
Debbie Dunn will teach you how to make your own holiday cards to give to friends and family!



“Keeping A Sketchbook: Drawing Your World” Class Preview with Sue Anne Bottomley
Tuesday, December 11th at 6pm (and more)
Sue Anne Bottomley is doing her preview presentation for her sketch class on Dec. 11 and then three classes early 2019. Jan. 15; Feb. 12; Mar. 12; all on Tuesdays at 6pm.
She also will have her work displayed in our art gallery space for the month of January.

Artist and instructor Sue Anne Bottomley flips through her sketchbook made on site while in a botanical garden. Her three class sessions will guide you through choosing a sketchbook, materials, tools, and techniques. Learn to record your favorite views of the world, both at home or in your town, or while traveling. It is never too late to explore your artistic POV.

Sue Anne is a graduate of UNH and a life-long artist. Since 2014, she has written and illustrated three books.

Class limit, ten adults


If you have a special talent you’d like to share, please see Heidi at the front desk

Check out our monthly calendar on our website for all our events and programs.




Smyth Public Library is now offering home delivery of library materials for any Candia community residents in need.  Please contact us for a registration form for this service or use the link to a form to fill out on our website.

The library is proud to now offer The Healing Library; reading kits to aid with coping with difficult situations. We offer The Death of a Loved One, The Death of a Pet, plus Alzheimer’s & Your Family. These are located in the children’s room, along with books relating to each topic. The kits are available now for check out.


Digital Movies, Music and More Instantly Available 24/7 Free with your Library Card!

We are excited to announce hoopla digital coming next month: a new digital media service provided to you, our patron, through which you may access and enjoy nearly half a million titles, from six different formats: Movies, TV,Music Albums, eAudiobooks , eBooks, and Comics/Graphic Novels. All in one location, from your computer, tablet or Smartphone!

With hoopla, there are no hold lists, no extra apps or accounts needed or special steps to use it.

It just works! On a mobile device, borrowed content may be temporarily downloaded and accessed offline or, in either the app or on a computer, all borrowed content may be enjoyed while connected to the internet by streaming.

Don’t forget  – you can always borrow our internet hot spot or telescope!

New on our shelves…


New Fiction      

The next person you meet in Heaven Albom, Mitch

The dead ringer: an Agatha Raisin mystery Beaton, M. C. writing at Marion Chesney

The little shop of found things Brackston, Paula

The night tiger: a novel Choo, Yangsze,

Dark sacred night Connelly, Michael

War of the wolf: a novel Cornwell, Bernard

Rise of the mystics Dekker, Ted

The fox Forsyth, Frederick

The Witch Elm: a novel French, Tana

The lighthouse keeper’s daughter: a novel Gaynor, Hazel

The reckoning Grisham, John

Button man Gross, Andrew

Winter in paradise: a novel Hilderbrand, Elin

Black Leopard, Red Wolf James, Marlon

Vendetta Johansen, Iris

The darkness: a thriller Ragnar Jónasson

When we were young Kingsbury, Karen

Unsheltered: a novel Kingsolver, Barbara

The forbidden door: a Jane Hawk novel Koontz, Dean R.

China rich girlfriend: a novel Kwan, Kevin

Rich people problems: a novel Kwan, Kevin

In Prior’s wood: a Max Tudor mystery Malliet, G. M.

The clockmaker’s daughter: a novel Morton, Kate

Shell game Paretsky, Sara

Ambush Patterson, James

A spark of light: a novel Picoult, Jodi

Beautiful invention: a novel of Hedy Lamarr 

Holy ghost Sandford, John

The collector’s apprentice: a novel Shapiro, Barbara A.,

House of gold Solomons, Natasha

Every breath Sparks, Nicholas

Under my skin Unger, Lisa

Ghosted: a novel Walsh, Rosie

Desperate measures Woods, Stuart

New Non-Fiction


The code of the extraordinary mind: ten unconventional laws to redefine your life and succeed on your own terms Lakhiani, Vishen,

Almost everything: notes on hope Lamott, Anne

An American summer: love and death in Chicago Kotlowitz, Alex,

The restless wave: good times, just causes, great fights, and other appreciations McCain, John

Sit down and shut up: how discipline can set students free Henderson, Cinque.

Backyard birding 

52 simple ways to health Phillips, Carol.

The bulletproof diet: lose up to a pound a day, reclaim energy and focus, and upgrade your life Asprey, Dave.

How to break up with your phone Price, Catherine,

The autoimmune wellness handbook: a DIY guide to living well with chronic illness Trescott, Mickey,

Onward: how Starbucks fought for its life without losing its soul Schultz, Howard.

Colorful journey: an artist’s adventure, drawing every town in New Hampshire Bottomley, Sue Anne.

Runner’s world run less, run faster: become a faster, stronger runner with the revolutionary 3-run-a-week training program Pierce, William James,

Sunrise in Spain: finding the good life hiking the Camino de Santiago 

Fersch, Theresa A.,

She Read to Us Late in the Afternoons: a life in novels Hill, Kathleen,

Everything’s trash, but it’s okay Robinson, Phoebe,

Killing the SS: the hunt for the worst war criminals in history O’Reilly, Bill

The great Halifax explosion: a World War I story of treachery, tragedy, and extraordinary heroism Bacon, John U

Fantasyland: how America went haywire : a 500-year history Andersen, Kurt

In the hurricane’s eye: the genius of George Washington and the victory at Yorktown Philbrick, Nathaniel

Fear: Trump in the White House Woodward, Bob

New Books on CD…

Endurance: a year in space, a lifetime of discovery CD (10) Kelly, Scott,

Transcription CD (9) Atkinson, Kate

Two kinds of truth CD (5) Connelly, Michael

The reckoning: a novel CD (15) Grisham, John

Dead man running CD (7) Hamilton, Steve

Winter in paradise CD(9) Hilderbrand, Elin

The forbidden door: a Jane Hawk novel CD (12) Koontz, Dean R.

A spark of light: a novel CD (12) Picoult, Jodi

Holy ghost: a Virgil Flowers novel CD (8) Sandford, John

Every breath CD (8) Sparks, Nicholas

In his father’s footsteps CD (8): a novel Steel, Danielle

The chalk man CD (8) Tudor, C. J

The female persuasion CD (12) Wolitzer, Meg

New Video…

Wonderstruck DVD 1116 [PG] 

Skyscraper DVD 1117 [PG13] 

The catcher was a spy DVD 1118 [R] 

Ant-Man and the Wasp DVD 1119 [PG13] 

Simon Birch DVD 1120 [PG] 

Sex and the city DVD 1121 [R]: the movie 

Mamma mia!: DVD 1122 [PG13] — Here we go again / 

Won’t you be my neighbor? DVD 791.45 [PG13] 

Avengers: infinity war DVD AVG3 [PG13] 

Hotel Transylvania 3 DVD HOTELT3 [PG]

Going into a bookstore when it’s raining is like grocery shopping when you’re hungry.

Coloring night for all ages, all supplies provided,

Fridays 6-7 pm

Plus, packets available to use anytime we are open and you feel the urge

Tip from the front desk

How do you help children gain an interest IN reading even when parents themselves may not be AVID readers?

See these six tips for a reading routine any busy family can start:

“The late Maya Angelou said, “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”

Watch the magic happen when you let your child pick any nonfiction book to read. Yes, any. Even if you think the book looks dumb, remember that it’s not your opinion that matters here. You already read nonfiction. In fact, you’re reading this nonfiction article right now. Choice gives your kids ownership, power, and motivation.

Are you busy juggling professional, personal, and family commitments? Do you struggle to find time to teach the valuable life skills you know your children need? Fostering a love of reading in your child at a young age can be extremely helpful as they grow and learn. You’ll treasure the joy your child finds in stories, and the time you put into helping your child read will be completely worth it.”

1~Begin before your child is born.

You can start a joyful reading routine during pregnancy, which will make it easier to continue once the baby is born. Reading out loud and even singing the book to your baby bump will help with bonding and fetal development. Get your partner and older children involved too!

2~Make storytime interactive.

Setting up early routines with your baby in a loving and nurturing environment will help her connect books with special time as a family. Read aloud while your little one is playing independently. The more words a baby hears during the first three years, the greater the chance that their language and vocabulary will develop. Encourage them to turn the pages during reading time and use high contrast books, as this helps to develop a baby’s vision; rhyming books, which may help develop a baby’s language skills; and tactile books to help stimulate the baby’s interest and encourage interaction.

3~Schedule family reading time and take conversation off the page.

Say, “Now is our reading time. We can read together or each read our own books.” Reading can also be a safe time to talk about feelings and cultivate empathy. Use curiosity questions like “What would you do if your friend didn’t want to play with you?”

4~Expand your reading material to anywhere and everywhere.

Family reading time doesn’t have to be just about books. Reading newspapers and magazines together illustrates to kids that there are many sources of information (not just the Internet!) and it can be a great way to build on a personal interest. Engage your kids in cooking. Simple recipes can help them recognize ingredient words. When your child is around four to five years old, start playing reading games on the go. In the car, offer prompts like “Let’s see how many signs we can find that have a ‘K.’”

5~Create routine charts to encourage reading.

One of the best Positive Discipline tools for getting reluctant kids to read is to get them involved in creating their own routine charts. When the charts have one or two words (and a photo or drawing) of the task, they will start to recognize the word: Bath, Pajamas, Brush Teeth, Find clothes for tomorrow, Read book, Hugs and kisses, Sleep. Encourage your child to read their routine chart aloud. Completing the tasks that they’ve set for themselves will help them feel capable, and reading the chart will help the child feel confident around reading. Use “limited choices” where the child gets to choose between two books. It makes them feel empowered and more engaged in the activity.

6~Lead by example.

You can always start with attitude and energy. Children feel and understand energy more than words. Try to make sure that you’re communicating joy and enthusiasm when you read with your child, rather than stress or frustration. Are you excited for the bedtime story routine? Your kids will feel it. Children have a natural curiosity to learn and understand. Share stories of how amazing it feels to be completely absorbed in an exciting book, how you can find courage, inspiration and unexpected solutions to problems through the journeys of the heroes in the stories. Your enthusiasm will help your child discover the joy of reading.

Excerpts by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D., Kristina Bill, and Joy Marchese

-Heidi Deacon, Director


A truck hauling a load of Scrabble games rolled over today.  That’s the word on the street, anyway.


Writers’ group

On the 2nd and 4th Friday of every month, 6:30pm

The Smyth Public Library hosts a gathering of writers once or twice a month where we work together on timed writing exercises using prompts and other sources of inspiration. The writing periods will be followed by sharing some of the work with each other. The goal of the group is to loosen up and get the pen moving on paper. We don’t seek to have a finished work by the end of the session and you don’t need to arrive with a finished piece of writing to share. The writer’s group is a place to meet with other writers and to flex your writing muscles.

Please come ready with a writing medium of your choice: paper and pen/pencil, computer, tablet, etc.

Ongoing Book Sale!
You can browse at your leisure now and bring home a favorite to keep or to give away to a friend. Just look for the bright signs just inside our main doors on the left. Pay at the front desk. Only… $1 for hardcover and $.50 for paperbacks. Proceeds go to the Friends of Smyth Library.

Try out our new “Volunteer Your World” ideas at Smyth Public Library. Visit our Volunteer Your World Page


Family Game Nights!!

First Friday of every month at 6:30

Coming up: card games, Giant Yahtzee, Dominoes and Quidditch



Knitting & Crochet Circle
Help with the cap, blanket, and scarf charity project, work on your own items, or just come to learn. Call Lisa 587-0603 for more info.
Third Thursday of the month, 7pm

Monthly Lego Night!

EVERY third Friday 6:30-7:30 for all ages.


Featuring : Magic-The Gathering

Held monthly on the First Wednesday of the month at 4 pm!

For ages 8 and up! Next meeting-December 5

Family Movie Night   

Friday, November 30, 6:00 p.m.

“Tad the Explorer”

rated PG ~

Did you Know???

If you read a book a week starting at the age of 5, by the time you’re 80, you would have read 3,900 books!
That’s just a little over one tenth of one percent of the books currently in print.

In theGallery



“Home. Family. Motherland.”
This exhibition is courtesy of the Kharkiv Regional Library for Children, Kharkiv, Ukraine



Our art gallery and (locked) glass case is always available for the works of local artists.  Just see Heidi at the front desk to display your works


Now! 2 groups!

2 times!

How about sharing your thoughts on a book at the friendly monthly book discussion group?

Thursdays mornings…

Thursday, November 13, 11:00 a.m.

A Place for Us

By Farheen Mirza

*Extra titles of this book are available at the front desk


Thursdays evenings…

Thursday, November 29th at 7:30 pm

The Story of Arthur Truluv

by Elizabeth Berg

*Extra titles of this book are available at the front desk


Library Assets


Brought to you by the Friends of the Smyth Public Library

The Little Free Library is up and running at the CYAA complex – anyone can take advantage!!

Making Your Life Easy:

By going to our website, you can search our entire catalogue for books, CD’s, DVD’s and movies.  Once found, you can check to see if what you want is in.  If so, just to our website and reserve the book.  The next time you come in, it will be waiting for you at the front desk.  WITH OUR NEW WEBSITE YOU CAN DO IT WITH YOUR MOBILE DEVICE!

PLUS!!  Check out our website updates and Smyth Library’s new Public Catalog featuring:


– A crawl of new items.

– “What’s Hot” now covers several choices.

-“Most Popular” titles (a combination of checkouts and reserves are used to determine this list).  

– “More Search Options” includes Medium that lets members search by DVD or Large Print, etc.


Available at the library…

Candia Walking Tour Guides to Candia Village, East Candia and Meetinghouse Hill ($2 each or $5 for all three to the Heritage Commission)

A Sense of Place: Candia’s Past & Present 1763-2014: A Compilation of Town Tributes, Personal Histories & Cherished Memories in Celebration of the Semiquincentennial ($15 to the Heritage Commission) Water Powered Mill Sites in Candia, New Hampshire ($20 to the Heritage Commission)

The Candia Heritage Commission is pleased to announce the acquisition of a valuable historical resource, bound volumes of the Rockingham County News encompassing the years 1978-1998.  The newspaper begins with the “Candia Current”, weekly news from our town.  Within the pages of the newspaper is a wide variety of news from Candia and our surrounding towns.  A survey of a volume gives a delightful illustrated picture of life in Candia during that year.  A sample copy can be viewed at the Smyth Public Library. A two week loan of a volume can be arranged by contacting Sis Richter 483-2585, president of the Historical Society or Diane Philbrick 483-8239, chair of the Heritage Commission. 

More Research Options:

Full text articles from thousands of magazines, journals and national newspapers, plus NoveList. Call or e-mail us and provide your name and your library card number, and we’ll give you the password.


We’re on Facebook!

Like the Smyth Public Library

Look at our page on Facebook for events and updates about our library!



Downloadable Books!!!!

Ipods and Kindles work and you can

Order right from our website!

Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Smyth Library



Check our website for passes!!!

Two new passes: NH State Parks and Fuller Gardens

All are listed in the “museum passes” tab of the website and can be reserved there.

Kids’ Stuff

Check out our monthly calendar for children on the children’s tab on our website.


Book Clubs!

First Meeting will discuss what everyone read over the summer and what they will read this year in book club.

Magic Tree House Book Club (K-2)-Third Thursday 3pm; Meeting: November 15

Reading Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne

Dear America Book Club- Wednesday, December 5; 3pm

Reading Journey to the New World by Kathryn Lasky

Rick Riordan Book Club – Wednesday, November 14; 3pm

Reading Sea of Monsters

Also, possible future Cookbook Book Club

New STEM Club (K-3)

Combined Math and Science

Second and Fourth Thursday 3pm; Meeting: December 13 only

Theme: Robots

Art Club (K-5)

First Thursday 3pm

First Meeting: December 6; 3 pm

Theme: Gingerbread House

Creative Writing Club (Grades 4-7)

Second Thursday 3pm

Meeting: November 13

Baby—Preschool children-

Stories, games, crafts, music, puppets

During Thursday Story Time 10 a.m.


Teen Creative Book Club:

Wednesday, November 28 at 4 pm

Teen Book Club-Discussing We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson


Teen Creative Club-Build a Cookie Pizza!

Teen MOVIE(gr. 8+)- November 29, 3:30pm (w/snacks)

Feature:  Darkest Minds (PG13)

Read to Simon, Gwen Paprocki’s Certified Therapy dog.

Want to boost reading confidence?

Why is reading to a dog educational AND fun? Because Simon is soft, furry and warm and he loves the attention you give him when you practice your reading out-loud skills! In the Children’s Library Room ~ one-on-one with Ms. Gwen and Simon present. (Simon and Gwen Paprocki are certified through Therapy Dogs International)

Please sign up if interested.  Call Gwen for more info at 483-8245


Special Pajama Story Night with Santa

December 14, 6-7 pm

Join us monthly for a night of storytelling and treats!

Storytime with our new Librarian-Jessica

Thursdays, 10 a.m.

Preschoolers and babies welcomed

Second Friday, 6:00 p.m.

We break out our snap circuits! Build exciting projects including computer interfaced experiments and solar cell applications. Build over 175 exciting projects now with lights.  All new kits and all ages welcome! Check our Facebook page for some cool snap circuit projects.

1000 BOOKS before Kindergarten

Personal memory registers and book bags are available for parents.

New books for children…

Goodbye Little Dude: a remarkable story of kindness, hope, and love 

Trotsky, Rebecca,

First 100 farm woods Creese, Sarah.

Little Blue Truck Schertle, Alice

The unicorn and the moon De Paola, Tomie

I love the alphabet Hosta, Dar.

The spectacular adventures of Sophie and Sebastian Jeyaveeran, Ruth.

A pocket full of kisses Penn, Audrey

Car wash Steen, Sandra.

The gift from Obadiah’s ghost Wainwright, Richard M.

The mystical magical abracadabracal Daniel McDougal McDouglas McFly Davis, Sheryl

New books for young adults…

An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason Boecker, Virginia.

The war outside Hesse, Monica,

The Lady’s Guide to petticoats and piracy Lee, Mackenzi

Backlash Littman, Sarah Darer

Kingdom of ash Maas, Sarah J

Muse of nightmares Taylor, Laini

Bridge of Clay Zusak, Markus

From the Young Adult Shelves~

An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason

by Virginia Boecker 


When Lady Katherine’s father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn’t the only secret he’s been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father’s mission, and to take it one step further–kill the queen herself.

Katherine’s opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare’s newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn’t know is that the play is not just a play–it’s a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.

The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play’s leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.



New books for juniors…

The faithful spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the plot to kill Hitler Hendrix, John,

The names upon the harp, Irish myth and legend Heaney, Marie.

The castaway survivor’s guide Storm, Rory,

Great baseball debates 

Awesome good clean jokes for kids Phillips, Bob,

Ghosts of the White House Harness, Cheryl

The phantom tower Graff, Keir,

The pudding problem Berger, Joe,

Mystery in the mansion Magaziner, Lauren,

Max Einstein: the genius experiment Patterson, James

Isabelle Yep, Laurenc

From the Junior Shelves~

Mystery in the Mansion (Case Closed #1)

by Lauren Magaziner 


Carlos Serrano has never solved a mystery in his life. And he’s counting on you to solve his first one.

On the morning of a big investigation that would save her failing detective agency, Carlos’s mom gets sick with a nasty flu. But Las Pistas Detective Agency can’t afford to lose this case, or they will close down for sure. That’s where Carlos—and you—come in.

With the help of his best friend Eliza and her wild little brother Frank, Carlos takes over the investigation. The mystery involves an eccentric local millionaire, who starts receiving death threats. It appears someone wants to get their hands on a buried fortune. However, their search for the culprit is complicated by tricky riddles, cagey suspects, hidden secrets, and dozens of impossible choices. They need your help!

In this hilarious, interactive, and puzzle-filled adventure, YOU pick which suspects to interview, which questions to ask, and which clues to follow. Can you help Carlos and his friends figure out who’s sending the death threats, find a lost treasure, and save Las Pistas Detective Agency? Or will it be case closed? You pick the path, you crack the case!




Trivia Time!

Every month we ask a trivia question.  If you know the answer, drop it off at the front desk or e-mail it here.  We will randomly select the winner from the correct answers and the WINNERwill win ONE FREE WEEK of OVERDUE FINE AMNESTY ON ONE BOOK

Last month’s question and answer:

Q.    What is considered the mystery novel?

A.    Edgar Allan Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)

No Winner!

This Month’s Trivia Question:

Which Stephen King novel takes place mostly in the fictional Overlook Hotel?

From the New and Recent Shelves~

We (being I) are always looking for contributors to this reviews section.  The editor has a limited range of taste, so any reviews would be more than welcomed.  Just e-mail them in reply to this, or to

I admit to a rather limited taste in reading materials.  I generally eschew science fiction, fantasy and what are euphemistically referred to as “chic books”.  I realize this is a deficiency in not only me, but the “From the New and Recent Shelves” section of “The Smythie”.

I may therefore resort to pilfering reviews from for a book at times to widen the breadth of this service.  I’d much rather have a contributing reviewer (or twelve).  If you’ve read a book you’ve loved, please shoot me a review so we can enjoy a more personal perspective.



“Back in the day”, we had the literature and spy novels

inspired, provoked and generated by the Cold War.  Who can forget Smiley’s People or Checkpoint Charlie as they brought the spy world to our living rooms and reading chairs?

With the downfall of the Berlin Wall, Iron Curtain and Soviet Union, tales of the spies went the way of King Arthur’s Court.  Replacing those books has been the growing genre of the lone wolf espionage agent or assassination.  Allon and Rapp and domestically, Reacher.


One not to miss is Ward Larsen’s David Slaton, now “retired” from the Massad, but somehow still working at the behest of the CIA and Mossad.

Assassin’s Run is the fifth in the series.  It stands well alone.  Trying vainly to stay a retired assassin, Slaton traverses to Europe to get to the bad guys.  This is an entertaining page-turner with an engaging hero (who even has a family).




My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?  Goodreads


Beginning with a Best American award-winning narrative, Kathleen Hill’s memoir, She Read to Us in the Late Afternoons explores defining moments of a life illuminated by novels, read in Nigeria and France and at home in New York. As a child in a music class where a remarkable teacher watches over a classmate marked for tragedy, the author by chance reads Willa Cather’s novel, Lucy Gayheart, and is prepared against her will for death by drowning. And prepared for the teacher’s confessions to the class of a frustrated ambition to become a pianist, her regret for a life that will never be. Later, recently married and living in a newly independent Nigeria, a teacher now herself, the author gives Achebe’s Things Fall Apart to her students and is instructed by them in the violent legacy of colonialism. And loses her American innocence when she visits a nearby abandoned slave port and connects its rusting shackles with the students sitting before her. Reading A Portrait of a Lady, also in Nigeria, she ponders her own new marriage through the lens of Isabel Archer’s cautionary fate, remembers her own adolescent fear that reading might be a way of avoiding experience. A few years later, this time in a town in northern France, haunted by Madame Bovary, by Emma’s solitude and boredom, she puts aside Flaubert’s novel and discovers in Bernanos’ Diary of a Country Priest the poverty and suffering she had failed to see all around her. The memoir closes with a tender account of the author’s friendship with the writer, Diana Trilling, whose failing sight inspires a plan to read aloud Proust’s masterwork, an undertaking that takes six years to complete. Faced with Diana’s approaching death and the mysteries of her own life, the author wonders whether reading after all may not be experience at its most ardent, its most transforming.  Goodreads


Ever want to be one of those know-it-all reviewers?

Got a book to recommend?

Want to write a blurb?

Have a child with a favorite book who would like to contribute to the Smythie?

We welcome contributors (less for us to write!), especially children and teens to review and recommend favorite books.  Just drop Heidi Deacon an e-mail at or “reply” to this and we’ll include it here.  It need not be a new book – it can be a golden oldie, a classic, a trashy beach book or whatever you have enjoyed.

I hope you have enjoyed this edition.  Comments, suggestions and, of course, reviews are always welcomed.

Rick Mitchell

The Smythie is now over 700 subscribers strong!!

But… We may not be for everyone.  If you do not want to be on this e-mail list, just reply and tell us to remove your name.

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