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Don’t be afraid of Virginia Woolf


Contemporary writers and filmmakers have mined great material depicting the intertwined lives of the avant-garde artists, writers and academics of the so-called Bloomsbury group that flourished from 1905 — when the four siblings of the Stephen family moved into that unfashionable London neighborhood — until the death of its most illustrious member, Virginia Woolf, in 1941. A particular standout is Michael Cunningham’s “The Hours,” a novel that used Woolf’s own slipstream approach to storytelling to wend its way through parallel plots, including one which featured Virginia, and echoed the style and mood of her story, “Mrs. Dalloway.”

Also worth reading, are two new novels which comprise elements of Virginia Woolf’s biography, Priya Parmar’s “Vanessa and Her Sister,” which covers the years just before her marriage to Leonard Woolf in 1912, and “Adeline” by Norah Vincent, which leaps forward to the months just before her suicide.

“Vanessa and Her Sister” is told through the imaginary diary of Vanessa, a talented painter and the eldest of the Stephen siblings. Quieter than her the rest of her lively family, she nonetheless nurtured the group of young “apostles,” the Cambridge friends of her brothers Adrian and Thoby who gathered at their bohemian address in Bloomsbury every Thursday evening. In 1907, after the death of her beloved brother Thoby, Vanessa married art critic Clive Bell, and sparked a complex love triangle that threatened the devotion between the Stephen sisters.

‘Higher Standard’ more than a biography


“A Higher Standard” by Gen. Ann Dunwoody, U.S. Army, Ret. with Tomago Collins

c.2015, DaCapo, $25.99, 273 pages

If you’re curious about language, this book won’t get your goat


“Holy Cow!” by Boze Hadleigh

c.2015, Skyhorse Publishing, $14.99, 303 pages

How well do you really know your neighbors?


“Beneath the Bonfire” by Nickolas Butler

c.2015, Thomas Dunne Books, $23.99, 256 pages

Summer is a great time to see critters — even in your own backyard!


To me, owls seem to be one of the most mysterious creatures. I’ve only seen owls in the wild twice in my life, but last weekend, I had the privilege of seeing a family of barred owls at fairly close range.

The magnificent group of four flew back and forth, calling to each other, for the several days I spent at my aunt’s cottage in Michigan. On the drive back, we also spotted a heron rookery with 15 or so herons in nests, just south of Kenosha along Interstate 94. It was wonderful to see these sights, and nice to be reminded that we can see all kinds of wildlife, even in a city.

Characters carry young adult novel


“Rusty Summer” by Mary McKinley

c.2015, Kensington Books, $9.95, 352 pages

Book about baseball, dads a good catch


“The Dad Report: Fathers, Sons, and Baseball Families” by Kevin Cook

c.2015, Norton, $26.95, 272 pages

Kenosha Public Library launches summer reading program


School’s out for summer, and if you haven’t done it already, we encourage your child to participate in the Kenosha Public Library summer reading program by signing up at the library or simply by registering online at mykpl.info.

Children can get prizes for reading books and here are a few new titles that are on our shelves to encourage even your most reluctant reader to read this summer.

Library has resources for Spanish speakers learning English

The Kenosha Public Library has many books and multimedia packages for adult English language learners as well as native speakers who wish to refresh grammar, usage and writing skills.

Library cardholders also have free in-house and remote access to “Transparent Language Online,” a comprehensive instruction database with lessons for more than 95 languages, plus beginning English units for speakers of 27 languages, including Spanish.

Important book about children’s grief could use better illustrations


“A Sky of Diamonds: A Story for Children about Loss, Grief and Hope” by Camille Gibbs

c.2015, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, $19.95, 48 pages

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