Big Library Read is back again!

In 2013, the Big Library Read program brought us Michael Malone’s Four Corners of the Sky and Jane O’Connor’s Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth Now, East Central Regional Library is participating in the third Big Library Read and you are invited to join us!  
This time we are going on a culinary adventure, with Keys to the Kitchen, by Food Network and Cooking Channel star Aida Mollenkamp  Big Library Read kicked off yesterday, February 17th, and runs through March 5th.  
Big Library Read creates a “global book club” which allows users to join readers across the world in reading the same book at the same time!  Over 5,800 libraries worldwide are able to lend Keys to the Kitchen eBook to millions of users simultaneously for free.  The program demonstrates the valuable role libraries play in connecting readers with books and authors.  

Keys to the Kitchen is a cookbook by definition, but it’s also much more than that.  For members of the tech-savvy new generation who can’t cook but want to, this essential reference guide is an ideal starting place. For those already at ease in the kitchen it’s full of “who knew” moments for expanding your repertoire of great recipes. It doesn’t just provide ideas on what to cook, but also walks the reader through how to cook.  Keys to theKitchen is an invaluable foundation for cooking with more than 300 recipes, color photographs, informative illustrations, a substantial technique primer, and helpful how-to information on subjects as wide-ranging as rust removal, throwing a cocktail party, and knife skills.  What amateur chef doesn’t need that kind of info?  I know I do! 
To borrow Keys to the Kitchen, simply log in to ECRL’s Digital Library. You’ll see the title on the home page ready to checkout.

Remember, the especially unique aspect about Big Library Read is that, for the duration of the program, the eBook will not follow the traditional one copy/one user model but will simultaneously be available  to all ECRL eBook users to borrow via our Digital Library.  No wait lists!  The eBook is available in the OverDrive Read, Kindle, Adobe EPUB, and Adobe PDF formats. 
Get involved even more! 
  • Join the Big Library Read discussion forum to share your thoughts and favorite recipes!
  • Like Aida on Facebook, and join the Facebook chat on Wednesday February 26th at 7 pm.  Ask her your burning cooking questions and thank her for offering her book free to libraries for the Big Library Read program.
  • Follow @ecrlib, @OverDriveLibs, and @aidamollenkamp on Twitter or use the hashtag #BigLibraryRead.
  • Follow Aida on Instagram.
  • Check out her weekly web series In the Pantry on Yahoo! Shine.

 Join the global movement of passionate readers and library patrons who support the access of eBooks through your local library.   Read Keys to the Kitchen as part of the Big Library Read.
Sarah Hawkins, Branch Librarian, Chisago Lakes Area Library

‘Hot Reads’ Readers Recommend Great Books

Looking for your next good book? Check out what fellow readers are reading this winter and sharing for the Hot Reads for Cold Nights program! 


A Catered Birthday Party by Isis Crawford (2010).  “Libby and Bernie own A Little Taste of Heaven, a bakery and catering store. They sleuth on the side with their father Sean. Only because the local Police Chief is too lazy to fully investigate!”  – Chisago Lakes patron

Forged by Laura Crum (2004).  “Horse vet Gail (Stormy) McCarthy finds herself involved in solving the murder of Dominic, her horseshoer. So many people wanted him dead.” – Chisago Lakes patron

Girl Who Sang to Buffalo by Kent Nerburn (2013). “Bemidji’s Kent Nerburn has a special way of writing to present the Native American story with respect and interesting characters. He has been there to see these stories. If you like this book I would encourage you to read one of his eight books!” – Pine City patron

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (2013). “Two Indian brothers coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s. One bound by tradition and the other revolution. Spare and poetic writing style – amazing!” – Pine City patron

Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate (2001). “A woman [Kate] moves with her young family to help take care of her aging Grandmother in Missouri. She has been chosen (by her family) to convince Grandma it’s time to move off the farm, which is devastating to the Grandma. Kate finds her Grandmother’s journal and the stories of families, friendships, and faith open Kate’s eyes, mind, and heart about her own family and her relationship with the Grandmother deepens and is seen in a new light.” – Chisago Lakes patron

And Then You Dye by Monica Ferris (2012). “When our favorite needlepoint draft shop owner Besty Davenpoint of Minnesota found another dead body, she must wring the truth from many suspects. The truth just might mean the difference between living and dying.” – Pine City patron


The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy (2013). “Disturbing. Self-indulgent. I couldn’t put it down. Would recommend to anyone who has read the Great Santini.” – Pine City patron

Make Each Day Your Masterpiece by Michael Lynberg (2001). Contains “inspirational short stories, words of wisdom, and uplifting reminders. Easy reading but powerful possibilities.” – Chisago Lakes patron

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson (2013).  “Historical account of notable figures in one year (1927). Interesting facts/quirks about Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Mt. Rushmore. A lot happened that year and the author brings it to life in fascinating detail.” – Chisago Lakes patron

Vintage Crafts by Clara Lidstrom (2013). “Ideas for fun vintage decorating. If you enjoy crafting, you’ll like these quick decorating projects.” – Chisago Lakes patron

Andrea Hermanson, Branch Librarian, Pine City

To a Healthier New Year!

It’s that time of year again: News Year’s Resolution time. Many among us will renew our commitment to making changes in our lives.  I already know mine will be cooking more and healthier food (fewer cans of soup and more homemade soup!)—and health is a common resolution theme, especially eating better and shedding a few pounds.  

This year, if you are among the nutrition and weight-loss resolution-ists, ECRL has a few resources that can help you on your way.  While there are countless methods and proposed solutions out there, I hope these resources will get your wheels turning about which one or ones might work for you.  

Here’s to rededicating ourselves to healthy living! 

BOOKS  (Print & Digital)

The 3-1-2-1 diet: eat and cheat your way to weight loss–up to 10 pounds in 21 days (Print) by Dolvett Quince (2013). Quince, a star trainer on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”, proposes a weight loss plan that balances diet and fitness: 3 days of “clean” eating, 1 day to cheat, 2 days of clean eating, and 1 day for reward–plus a fitness plan that incorporates brief but intense workouts. 

Better Each Day: 365 Expert Tips for a Healthier, Happier You (ebook) by Jessica Cassity (2011). Cassity’s 365 tips and tricks for better living incorporate research and wisdom garnered from conversations with wide-ranging health experts, including doctors, nutritionists, yogis, psychologists, trainers, and more.  

Eat to live cookbook: 200 delicious nutrient-rich recipes for fast and sustained weight loss, reversing disease, and lifelong health (Print) by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.  (2013). Fuhrman promotes a nutrient-loaded diet high in plant-based foods and low in animal and processed foods (and calories) for optimum health and longevity. Recipes span breakfast, main meals, snacks, and desserts. Click here for the ebook version.

Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food (ebook) by Susan Albers (2012). A licensed clinical psychologist and diet and fitness coach, Albers approaches health by exploring the myriad of personal and social meanings around food and eating (and the habits we form) and offering strategies to manage those meanings and habits in your own life.  

The start here diet: three simple steps that helped me transition from fat to slim … for life by Tosca Reno with Billie Fitzpatrick (2013).  Reno’s three-step weight loss “recipe” (dive inward, uncover your hidden foods, move a little) is packed with tips on shopping, meal planning, recipes, and effective exercises you can do at home. 


Natural Health Magazine. (Digital – ZinioMonthly magazine focusing on natural ingredients to better health, including articles on nutrition, recipes, and overall strategies for wellness.  

Weight Watchers.  (Digital – ZinioA monthly magazine offering recipes and tips for weight loss. 


“Choose My Plate,” Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP). The CNPP is an organization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Their website “Choose My” is dedicated to helping citizens developing health living habits, including tips to eat healthy on a budget, tools to estimate calories and physical activity, food plans and recipes. 

“Weight Loss for Life,” Weight-control Information Network (WIN). WIN is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (part of the National Institutes of Health). WIN offers a range of current, research-based health information, including tips on nutrition, weight control and fitness.  

Andrea Hermanson, Branch Librarian, Pine City 


Famous actors, renowned directors, best-selling authors, and popular books…

Studios and production companies are gearing up for their big fall releases.  Grab the books before seeing the movies!  Look for these films in your local movie theatres and ask for the books at your local branch library!

(Based on The Family by Tonino Benacquista)
Starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer
A “dark comedy” about the Manzoni clan and the mob — 
a powerhouse cast in this one!


(Based on Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)
Starring Helen Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes
Bonham Carter, known for her eccentric characters, plays
Miss Havisham

(Based on Horns by Joe Hill )
Starring Daniel Radcliffe
Young Radcliffe (Harry Potter) grows a pair – of horns!  Hill is the son of Stephen King

(Based on Carrie by Stephen King )
Starring Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore
A faithful adaptation of King’s novel — and Moore will be a
chilling Margaret White

(Based on As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner)
Starring James Franco
Franco, last seen in “Oz the Great and Powerful”, also
directs this adaptation of Faulkner’s classic

(Based on The Lost Child of Philomena Lee)
Starring Judi Dench
The true story of an Irish woman’s 50-year quest to find the
son she put up for adoption – Dench was made for this role

(Based on Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card)
Starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford
A huge sci-fi release that has come under scrutiny because of
Card’s personal views on gays and same-sex marriage

(Based on Big Sur by Jack Kerouac)
Starring Kate Bosworth and Josh Lucas
This adaptation of Kerouac’s 1962 novel received
excellent reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival

(Based on The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort)
Starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Matthew McConaughey
Di Caprio, riding high after “The Great Gatsby”, teams with director Martin Scorsese yet again

(Based on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins)
Starring Jennifer Lawrence
Could be the biggest film of 2013 — and Lawrence recently won the
Academy Award for “Silver Linings Playbook”

(Based on Four Days in November by Vincent Bugliosi)
Starring Zac Efron and Paul Giamatti
Parkland Hospital in Dallas on November 22, 1963 –
enough said

(Based on Therese Raquin by Emile Zola) 
Starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jessica Lange
Lange, one of our greatest living actresses, excels
in roles like this

(Based on The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien)
Starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellan
The second installment of Tolkien’s classic — sure to be an enormous
box office success

(Based on Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup)
Starring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender
Producers are expecting this film to grab every major award; it’s being released
just in time for 2013 nominations

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Minnesota Memoirs

Fiction is more popular than nonfiction at most public libraries, but many nonfiction memoirs on a topic that interests you also read like a novel.  A few memoirs I would recommend center around Minnesota in the 1800’s.  They include:

I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson  by Joy K. Lintelman (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2009) This has local interest because Mina ended up living in rural Mille Lacs County—Bogus Brook township.  The author has done extensive research about single Swedish women who immigrated to America and this is added to Mina’s own story.  Born in 1867, Mina’s childhood is spent in Dalsland, Sweden, where her family lives in a large house with several other families.   Her father works at the foundry 10 to 12 hours a day.   Mina goes out on her own to work as a servant at the age of 15.  With financial assistance from an uncle, she immigrates to America in 1890, working as a domestic.  Mina soon marries and moves with her husband to farm acreage near Milaca.  Mina’s story helps to explain why so many Scandinavians moved to Minnesota and the experiences they had upon arrival.

Harvest Journal: Memoir of a Minnesota Farmer, Part I: 1846 – 1903 by Sandra K. Wilcoxon & Frederick A. Cummings (Hats Off Books, 2000) Here is another story by an early Minnesotan.  Mr. Cummings came to Minnesota from Vermont as a youth after he lost his mother.  He arrived with an uncle in 1855 to the township of Waukokee near Rochester.  Mr. Cummings started his life as a school teacher and this is reflected in his highly literate writings.  He is also a poet, using his powers of rhyme as a way to reflect on certain life feelings and events.  Mr. Cummings also follows the news of the day and reports on news events ranging from Indian wars to presidential politics.  As most farmers, he also reports the weather and economic conditions.  A touching part is the description of a child who dies in infanthood. 

No More Gallant A Deed: A Civil War Memoir of the First Minnesota Volunteers by James a Wright and edited by Steven J. Keillor (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001) This is a must read for Minnesota Civil War buffs.  Wright was a student at Hamline University when it was located in Red Wing. He and many of his classmates signed up for service or as he says “responded to President Lincoln’s call for assistance.”  He details the adventures of the 87 men as they learn to become soldiers.  His pride shows through in how the First Minnesotans and their leaders were well regarded in behavior and battle.  He also is realistic in his assessments of the difficulties of fighting with little food, battered clothing and little protection from the elements for months at a time.  Originally 800 pages long, Keillor does an excellent job of editing Wright’s manuscript to tell the complete story of the First Minnesota Volunteers.

If you are a fiction reader and want to venture into nonfiction, try memoirs.  Just put in the keyword “memoir” in the ECRL card catalog and a list of memoirs will appear for you to put on hold, from celebrity exposes to plain old Minnesota farmers.

Katherine Morrow, Branch Librarian

Mille Lacs Lake Community Library