Jul 18

Local Materials

Libraries are curators of local history in addition to providing popular reading material to its users. The Willmar Public Library has a variety of materials focused on local history. Below are a few of the selections that can be found. There are many more materials that can be found and we are more than willing to help find what you are looking for so you can learn about events from Willmar’s history.

Willmar 8

This documentary tells the story of the Willmar 8, women who were driven by sex discrimination to generation a strike, turning into the largest bank strike in American history.

Sculptor in Wood: The Collected Woodcarvings of Fred Cogelow by Fred Cogelow

Fred Cogelow, a famous woodcarver from Willmar, shows his work in this book.

A Legacy of Music: A History of Willmar Orchestras, 1957-2002 by Ruth Polta

Learn about the various orchestras that have history in Willmar.

These are just some of the local history gems that can be found at the public library. Why not take the opportunity to learn about Willmar.

Jul 11

Powerful Books

Powerful Books 

In this article, readers were polled about the most powerful books they’ve read. While we often think of books in terms of likes and dislikes, powerful books are those that leave an impression whether we enjoyed them or not and tend to change our lives. These books tend to be classics and whether you have read them or haven’t, if you are looking for a book with a profound message, check these out. As with classics, I will leave the summary to be found elsewhere as no one can completely summarize the plot and themes of these important books. Many of these have movie adaptations, which might have helped with the powerful component that people were voting on.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

1984 by George Orwell

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood



Jul 03

Whisked Away by a Book

Summer is here is full swing and for many that means spending time outdoors and vacations. Maybe you have vacations planned or maybe, like me, you are staying in town this summer. Fret not! Enjoy one or more of these reads and you will be whisked away to new lands, enjoying the plot or real story of someone else’s vacation. There is nothing better than to live vicariously through someone else, so why not let it be with a great book?

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This popular book turned movie follows Gilbert as she searches for happiness through Italy, India and Indonesia. The book will have you wishing you were on a vacation that explores the ways of other cultures.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

This book explores the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless, the man who hitchhiked to Alaska and walked into the wilderness near Mount McKinley. He was found dead four months later, and Krakauer explores this bizarre yet fascinating story. Not an upbeat vacation read by any stretch of the imagination but a book you will not want to put down.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Mayle moved into his 200-year-old farmhouse with his wife and dogs, realizing a long time dream. He details the experiences he went through and things he learned during this year. This book will transport you to Provence and make you wish you lived in this culture.

Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon

In this book, the author takes the reader on a journey through America’s back roads. Leaving home with nothing but a sense of adventure, Heat-Moon details his journey through the little towns on maps that no one seems to know about. Maybe this will  inspire your next vacation to go visit an unknown town, one of which can’t be too far away.

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

Elizabeth sat down to lunch with a Frenchman and never returned home. In this memoir, she details her experiences in France falling in love with a man and French food. This book includes recipes which means you can cook French food right here and feel transported to Europe.

Jun 27

Print to Screen

There have been a plethora of movies based on books that have come out this year and many more are expected in the second half of 2014. While many movies that are derived from books disappoint due to the time constriction of movies, movie adaptations of books are extremely popular, one reason why Hollywood capitalizes on these. For this week, I’ve listed some books that are slated to hit the big screen in the coming months, providing you with some to-read choices to consider before you see the movies.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

This popular Young Adult novel about a utopia will hit the big screen in August. In this community, everyone receives a role and must adhere to that job. Jonah, a 13 year old, is picked to be the next Giver, an extremely important role in society that he must study in order to perform correctly.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Another August Young Adult release, If I Stay follows the life of teenager Mia who is badly injured in a car accident that killed her family. She must make a tough choice, whether to live with the grief or join her family in death.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Most known for her novel Gone Girl (which will be mentioned later in this post), Flynn focuses on a young girl who witnessed the murder of her parents and siblings and helped put her brother behind bars. With individuals seeking to get him out, she is being pumped for details. The movie will be released in September.

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

This novel, hitting the big screen in September, focuses on a family who hasn’t been together in years but following a death in the family, they spend 7 days together to honor his wish. During this time, things spiral out of control and secrets are revealed, leading to an entertaining story about love, marriage and family.

 The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Another Young Adult book being made into a movie this year, The Maze Runner focuses on a 16 year old boy who wakes up in the middle of a maze and must work with the community in order to escape. The first book in a trilogy, this popular series will sure be a hit at the box office when it comes out in September.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 On the morning of their anniversary, Nick’s wife Amy goes missing and Nick is the prime suspect. With conflicting evidence, the search continues as the question of what really happened to Amy looms over the heads of all who knew her.

Many of these books are available as audiobooks or ebooks if you prefer a different format. Happy reading and watching!

Jun 20


Mysteries are an extremely popular genre, checked out very frequently. Mystery writers are among the most popular in history, including James Patterson in the present day and Agatha Christie from the past. Mysteries have made their way into popular culture, such as the Sherlock Holmes series. So why are these so popular?

There are many reasons people read mysteries, just like there are a host of reasons people read in general. Here are a few reasons people read mysteries, and feel free to comment and add why you read them if your reasons isn’t listed.

- They provide a safe thrill and adventure.

- In the end, good always overcomes evil.

- The reader becomes part of the solution and is immersed in the experience.

- People like to solve puzzles and mysteries require people to think about what happened and put the clues together.

- Death is explained in a rational way, making death make sense for once.

Many people agree that there are a few basic categories of mysteries. I will break mysteries down into 5 main categories and list popular authors, with links to their books in our catalog, so you can see which type you like to read and authors you may want to explore. As always, if you are looking for other authors in these categories stop by or contact us.

1. Hard Boiled Mysteries – these are tough and gritty and tend to include graphic crime scene descriptions. Authors in this category include James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and Robert B. Parker.

2. Soft Boiled Mysteries – these have realistic stories but the violence and blood is not explicit; they tend to include light humor. Authors include Janet Evanovich and Tana French.

3. Cozy Mysteries – these mysteries are very light and involve an everyday person or amateur detective solving the crime. Popular authors are Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Hannah Fluke.

4. Police Procedural – these mysteries include a police officer or private detective (a professional) solving the cases and focus heavily on the methods. P.D. James and Tony Hillerman are two popular authors in this category.

5. Locked Room Mysteries – the crimes in these novels are committed under impossible circumstances. While many authors have written one or two of these books, John Dickenson Carr and Edward Hoch are two that made careers out of locked room mysteries.

6. Thrillers – Thrillers put ordinary heroes against villains and tend to include high stakes; the books have nonstop action and many plot twists. Famous writers in this area include Michael Crichton and David Morrell.

Jun 13

Liked The Fault in Our Stars? Try These!

The much anticipated The Fault in Our Stars movie came out last weekend, making big bucks at the box office. When movies of book adaptations come out, they always become popular, gaining many holds at the library. Although a young adult novel, The Fault in Our Stars is being read by those of all ages. In a recent article in Slate magazine, a woman criticized adults who read YA novels and defended her position in a recent NPR interview. Readers reacted strongly to this, mentioning many reasons adults read YA novels. Among these are the following:

- great literature challenges us, no matter if it was written for adults or young adults

- literature increases empathy and forces us to question the truthfulness of our own personal experiences, and young adult novels bring us back to times we were teens and lets us look back at our own experiences that made us who we were today

- people read for a variety of reasons (seeing the world in new ways, the feeling of the ending of a story, to experience nostalgia, to experience joy, etc.) and if young adult novels fit into the reason people read, why not read them

So we say, read the books you want if they fit into your reason for reading. Whatever that reason is, we don’t have time to read the books that don’t fit into our reasons. Below are some books that people have recommended for those who enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, both adult and YA novels. Didn’t read that book or want to find other books like one you loved? We’re here to help! Stop by the library or shoot us an email (annice.sevett@pioneerland.lib.mn.us) and we’ll find suggestions for you.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Two individuals who experience different kids of loss enter into each other’s lives and change them for the better.

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

A teenager fighting leukemia relies on her sister who was conceived strictly to be a bone marrow match for her sister, but when forced with the decision, she has to decide if she wants to help her family or not.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Enzo, a dog nearing death, recounts everything he and his family has been through. A heartwarming tale told from the perspective of a pet, creating empathy for the human characters.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

A soldier returning from war is left with memories of a girl he met years earlier and fell in love with, until one day she reappears in his life. The story of the two unfolds, leaving a tale of miracles and emotions. Most people are familiar with the movie version of this story.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Rowell, a popular YA author, writes a love story of two individuals who couldn’t be more different and their path of teenage love. This is another YA novel that has become popular with adults.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Written by the same author as The Fault in Our Stars, a teen attends a boarding school, entering into an unsafe world and getting pulled in with other teens that were not expected.

Jun 12

Summer Reading is Here!

School has officially let out which means it is time for Summer Reading! The Willmar Public Library has two summer reading programs, one for kids and one for teens. Research shows that kids who read during the summer are less likely to suffer from falling behind. Signing kids up for summer reading is a great way to keep them motivated to read during the summer. In addition to the summer reading programs themselves, there are a number of fun events for kids and teens to participate in during the summer. More information on our events can be found on our website. Below is more information about our summer reading programs – make sure to stop by to sign up today!

Kids – June 9th to August 29th

The theme for summer reading is Paws to Read.

- Kids preschool through incoming 5th graders are able to sign up for this program

- Kids can record their progress by the number of books or the time read

- After ten books or ten hours of reading, kids are able to choose a prize and register for the grand prize drawing

- The books have to be checked out from the library and not returned on the same day

Teens – June 9th to August 9th 

The theme for summer reading for teens is Rock the Read.

- Teens come to the Information Desk in the library to sign up

- Every time they finish a book they come to the library to fill out a slip

- After 8 books, you will get a free book of your choice

- For each book you read, you will get a raffle ticket for great prizes

- If you give the book you read a theme song, you will get an extra raffle ticket


If you have any questions, stop by the library or call us at 235-3162.

Jun 06

Summer Bestsellers

The New York Times Bestseller List is a great place to find popular reads. While these books usually have a wait time, sometimes you get them faster than expected. The bestsellers are always great books to read, especially in the summer. I’ve listed a few of the bestsellers that we have in our library but feel free to go to the link above to check out the whole list. Many of these titles are also available on Overdrive.

The One and Only by Emily Giffin

Shea has spent her entire life in a rural town that is centered around football. Instead of move away, she elected to stay in Walker but when a tragedy strikes the community, she begins to wonder if the life she chose is what she really wants. She leaves the safety of her community and discovers startling truths about the people and things she has always trusted, forcing her to reexamine what she has always believed.

Finding Me by Michelle Knight

This highly anticipated memoir from Michelle Knight chronicles the time she spent kidnapped in Cleveland. Despite gruesome details, it is mainly a story of hope and how she found the courage to survive her circumstances.

 No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald looks into the NSA scandal that triggered that national debate about security and information privacy. It explores the cooperation of private industries and the NSA and highlights the consequences of the survellience program. For those captivated by this debate and the Edward Snowden ordeal, this book will shed light and provide some answers and arguably more questions about what is really going on.

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles

When a family doctor and prominent member of the community is accused of murdering a nurse he worked with, his son, Penn Cage, begins to investigate. Readers of mysteries will love this new novel.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie, a blind French girl, flees with her family when the Germans occupy Paris during World War II. Her path collides with Werner, a German boy, and they learn to see the good in each other. Weaving their lives together, Doerr has written a beautiful novel with a strong message that fans of historical fiction will enjoy.

May 30

New Reads

Summer is fast approaching and with it comes vacations, barbecues, swimming and a host of other activities. Many people catch up on reading, whether it is because they are on vacation, they read outside or some other reason. In honor of that I’m going to talk about a few new books we have at the library and books that will be coming out soon that I’ve read to help you find your new and exciting reads this summer.

Notes from the Internet Apocalypse by Wayne Gladstone

This book explores what a world without the internet would be like. Gladstone discovers that one person may be online and sets out to recover the web so his life, and the lives of everyone else, can return to “normal.” I am especially excited to read this book on a day when I decide to not use the internet in order to fully engage with the story. Going on a summer camping trip? This would be the perfect companion.

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement

Clement does a wonderful job exploring a tough subject in this novel. Set in a rural town in Mexico, it is commonplace for drug traffickers to come and kidnap girls in order to use them in their operations. Ladydi lives in this reality and all too often must hide when the traffickers come along. Detailing her childhood, she talks about the fear she lives in everyday. Once she is given an opportunity to leave, she takes it in stride but soon ends up in trouble of her own and must fight to stay alive. I read this book in a day, mesmerized by the struggles they went through and taken aback by the poise of the young narrator and the strength she has to get through the tough circumstances she faces.

The Painter by Peter Heller

The author of the popular book The Dog Stars comes back with a novel about an artist trying to outrun his past. Jim, trying to forget events in his past, moved to Colorado to abandon the art scene in Santa Fe. When a brutal encounter rips the quiet life he was living wide open, he returns to New Mexico to try and clear his conscience.

 In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen

More than 100 individuals gather to participate in a retreat at the site of a concentration camp in order to experience what it was like and offer prayers. Among them is Clements Olin, a man who plans on conducting research on the death of a survivor. When tensions begin to mount, the process of healing is threatened. Olin must now face his past, one that his family has longed to suppress.

None of these sound like something you’d be interested in? We’re more than happy to help you find your next great read. Stop into the library, give us a call or shoot us an email – annice.sevett@pioneerland.lib.mn.us.



May 23

Memorial Day

With a long weekend pending, I hope you have plans to sit down with a great book and take in some literature. Hopefully some of that time is spent reading outside, as that is one of my favorite summertime activities now that spring finally has come (and soon will be gone). Today’s Readers’ Advisory post has to do with Memorial Day. I have compiled books of all genres and even a movie for you to check out.

Memorial Day – Vince Flynn

 There is a grand memorial tribute being planned yet the CIA has been tipped off to a minor terrorist attack on the United States. Rapp must work alone to avert the disaster.

Memorial Day: (decoration day) : its celebration, spirit, and significance as related in prose and verse – Edited by Robert Haven Schauffler

Part of the American holiday series explaining the details and significance of Memorial Day.


Heart of a Patriot – Max Cleland

This memoir is one of recovery and triumph, detailing his journey from Vietnam to the United States senate.


My Vietnam Your Iraq – DVD

This PBS documentary details the stories of Vietnam veterans who have children who have served in Iraq.

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