Beatrix Potter, the 20th century's most beloved children's writer and illustrator, created books that will forever conjure nature for millions. Although she is a household name around the world, her personal life and her other significant achievements remain largely unknown. Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature, by Linda Lear, is a remarkable new biography and exploration of the life and times of an extraordinary woman. Lear is a professor of environmental history and also the author of the prize-winning biography, Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature.
Since the death of British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, he has been the subject of innumerable books, some declaring him a hero, others dismissing him as an irresponsible fool. Now having access to Scott's family letters, his voluminous diaries and records, author David Crane has reassessed the life of this man in a convincing portrait of a complicated hero in Scott of the Antarctic: A Life of Courage and Tragedy.
An artist turned naturalist known today mostly for her exquisite butterfly prints, Maria Sibylla Merian was born just 13 years after Galileo was prosecuted for proclaiming the earth orbited the sun. In 1699, more than a century before Darwin, she sailed from Amsterdam to South America on an expedition to study metamorphosis. It was an unheard-of journey for any naturalist at that time, much less for a woman of 52. For two years she used the tropical wilderness as her lab and studio by searching for and sketching caterpillars. Author Kim Todd has detailed this remarkable woman in a beautifully written and illustrated biography, Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis.
DearReader.com Book Club
The DearReader.com Book Club offers many selections to Internet patrons. Each book runs for five days, Monday through Friday. Some genres offer selections every other week. Check out this service by registering at the library's Web site, http://vpl.sdln.net and clicking on the book club icon. Online patrons can find the club at www.supportli brary.com/su/su.cfm?x=470596. The following selections for the week of Feb. 19, 2007 are:
AUDIO BOOK: No selection for this week.
BUSINESS: If At First You Don't Succeed ? , by Bret Bowers
FICTION: Harvesting the Heart, by Jodi Picoult
GOOD NEWS: When the Heart Cries, by Cindy Woodsmall
HORROR: No selection for this week.
MYSTERY: Blood Memory, by Greg Iles
NON-FICTION: The Genome War, by James Shreeve
PRE-PUB: No selection for this week.
ROMANCE: I Did (But I Wouldn't Now), by Cara Lockwood
SCIENCE FICTION: No selection for this week.
TEEN: Tangerine, by Edward Bloor
Upcoming Calendar and Events
Volunteers from the USD School of Law and School of Business will again be available to help with tax returns at the library. You may qualify for this free service if you are low income, elderly or a foreign filer. This service starts on Feb. 5 and runs through April 12 on Mondays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.
Free-range Internet is available at the library. Just bring in your wireless-ready laptop and boot up during library open hours. There is no time limit.
While you are in the library, please pick up a free copy of the Winter Weather Preparedness Guide by the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management. These guides are located on the front of the circulation desk.
Collections are needed! The library staff is asking to borrow interesting collections for display in the case behind the circulation desk. Any patron with items for use may contact Joyce Moore, the children's librarian at 677-7060 during the day. Please note the current display of Hedgehogs donated by Janice Kitzler, which can be viewed through February.