Reader’s Digest writer explores small fictional Southern community

Henry Hurt was a greatly admired writer at Reader’s Digest back when it was the world’s most widely read magazine, published in 39 editions and 15 languages with 100 million readers across the globe. Many of his articles were hard-hitting investigative pieces about espionage, terrorism and disasters. His book about the investigation into J.F. Kennedy’s’s assassination was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
But Henry also has a softer side, and some of his articles for Reader’s Digest that were most popular with the magazine’s readers told of ordinary people facing difficult issues in their lives. Throughout his impressive nonfiction career, in his spare time and for his own satisfaction (as he put it), he worked on novels and short stories. Now, in retirement, he has published “Stories from The Road Not Taken,” a collection of six pieces about people living in a small fictional community called Shaw’s Pond in Southside Virginia.
In some ways the stories stand alone. But their characters are linked by generations and geography – and by narrator Sam Cobbett, the town’s newspaper editor who has returned to his home town and whose wife has divorced him and taken his children away.
Henry writes in a deceptively easy style reflecting a skilled craftsman rewriting and polishing his prose for perfect storytelling. His rich powers of observation and sympathetic understanding introduce us to his characters as if we are meeting new neighbors, good and bad. A few of them are endearing. Several you will not like. But all are compelling and believable. By the time you finish this book, you will feel you know the customs, values and behaviors of Shaw’s Pond families as if you had lived there for decades.
“Stories from The Road Not Taken” has been added to the library’s collection. You can purchase your own copy from Shadetree Books in Chatham, Va. or at Amazon.

Activities calendars available
To be sure you don’t miss any of the free activities available to you and your families at your library, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month. There are three versions – kids, tweens/teens and adults.

Free teen role-playing today
The role-playing game for 7th-12th graders takes place today (Thursday, January 26) from 4-5:30 p.m. Use your imagination to go on adventures and battle monsters. You can join this group any time.

Free all-ages gaming tomorrow
Enjoy video gaming on the Wii and X-box 360 Kinect with your family and friends tomorrow (Friday, January 27) from 2-3:15 p.m.

Free Otaku
Monday, January 30 from 4-5 p.m. fifth-12th graders meet for Otaku. Watch some anime with your friends and talk about your favorite manga.

Free Black History Month event
Wednesday, February 1 bring your lunch or enjoy our snacks from noon – 1:30 p.m. while you listen to the best of TED Talks about Black History Month. TED (stands for technology, entertainment and design) is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short powerful talks. You may be familiar with the TED Radio Hour on KSUT, our local NPR radio station.

Free Paws to Read

Wednesday, February 1 from 4-5 p.m., youngsters from K-fifth grades are invited to share their favorite books with Penny and Cassia, therapy dogs who love listening to stories. This is a great way for beginning readers to build confidence.

Free tech sessions
Rachael is available for Tech Tuesday 10 a.m.-noon and Tech Thursday 2-4 p.m. Drop in with your technology questions. On Saturday, January 28 from 3-4 p.m. she will lead an Introduction to Computer Terms class where you’ll learn basic computer terminology like flash drive, loading, uploading, hardware and software. There also will be time for questions. No registration required.

Free Medicaid and Connect for Health session
Kevin O’Connor from San Juan Health and Renee Burch from Archuleta County Human Services discuss options and changes to Medicaid and Connect for Health, the Colorado Obamacare health exchange, next Thursday, February 2 from 1 – 1:45 p.m. No registration required.

Teen advisory board
Next Thursday, February 2 the teen advisory board meets from 4-5 p.m. Bring your fun and innovative ideas to help us plan teen programs. Share an idea to pick out a free book.

Free teen gaming
Teen gaming happens every Tuesday from 4 – 5:30 p.m. for teen gaming fans in the 7th-12th grades. Enjoy X-box 360 Kinect, Wii and snacks.

Free kids storytime
Every Wednesday from 10-11 a.m., join Michael for great stories, fun songs and plenty of reasons to get up and move. This is an excellent way for kids of all ages to have fun while building the skills they need to become independent readers.

Free baby storytime
Every Saturday from 9:05 to 9:25 a.m., join Michael for a short session of stories, songs and fingerplays for you and your little ones. Learn easy tips on how to include literacy skills into everyday family life.

Free toddler storytime
Every Saturday from 9:30 – 10 a.m., join Michael for 30 minutes of stories, songs and fingerplays with open play afterwards. Learn easy tips on how to include literacy skills into everyday family life.

Large print
“Shotgun: The Bleeding Ground” by C. Courtney Joyner, “The Man from Boot Hill: Dead Man’s Promise” by Marcus Galloway, “The Bones of Paradise” by Jonis Agee and “A Colorado Christmas” by William W. and J.A. Johnstone are westerns.

“Island of Glass” by Nora Roberts is book three in the Guardian a paranormal fantasy series. “The Seventh Plague” by James Rollins is a Sigma Force adventure. “True Faith and Allegiance” by Mark Greaney is a military adventure in the Tom Clancy mode.

“The Science of Positivity” by Loretta Graziano Breuning helps you stop negative thought patterns. “The Glass Universe” by Dava Sobel is a true story of Harvard women’s landmark contributions to astronomy. “Stand Tall” by Dewey Bozella is the inspiring story of one man’s fight against wrongful incarceration.

Thrillers and mysteries
“Ring of Fire” by Brad is a Pike Logan thriller. “Because You’re Mine” by Colleen Coble I a romantic suspense story. “Conclave” by Robert Harris goes behind the scenes when a new pope is being elected.

Other novels
“The Mirror Thief” by Martin Seay is set in three times and three Venices – Italy, Venice Beach and the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. “Mister Monkey” by Francine Prose revolves around a children’s musical about a pet chimpanzee. “Mr. Splitfoot” by Samantha Hunt is a contemporary gothic story tracking two women in two times. “Britt-Marie Was Here” by Fredrik Backman follows a fastidious woman forced to deal with muddy floors, unruly children and more.

Free programmed Nooks
We have nine Nooks and three tablets programmed for your e-reading pleasure. The eight adult content e-readers contain either fiction or nonfiction bestsellers. The four youth e-readers contain books for children, juniors and young adults.

Free downloadable e-books
Current New York Times bestseller downloadable e-books are being added regularly to our 3M Cloud Library. Access these e-books by clicking on the 3M Cloud Library icon on the home page of our website. While there, browse through a multitude of other adult, juvenile and children’s books, both bestsellers and classics in many genres.

Free downloadable films
For your viewing pleasure, we offer IndieFlix, a streaming movie service that gives you unlimited access to more than 7,500 award-winning and popular independent shorts, feature films and documentaries from more than 50 countries – on your device, PC or Mac, with no apps needed. Access IndieFlix through the Downloadable Content icon on the library’s website. Use “Quick Pick,” the discovery tool that lets you sample movies like you would music.

Thanks to our donors
For books and materials this week we thank Lyn Dryburgh and our anonymous donors.

Quotable Quote
“Amid our overscheduled, hectic lives, it’s important that we find time to pick up a book. Reading is the best way to both escape and engage with the world.” – Author Will Schwalbe in his new book “Books for Living.”

For more information on library books, services and programs – and to reserve books, e-books, CDs and DVDs from the comfort of your home – please visit our website at http://pagosa.colibraries.org/.
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