Books Between Bites!

What: Book reviews and book talks presented by authors and various members of the community.
Where: They are held in the Madden Auditorium at the Decatur Public Library.
When: The first Wednesday of each month from 12:15-1:00 p.m.
Feel free to bring a sack lunch, coffee will be provided. Registration is not necessary.

Destiny of a Republic

February 1 - Destiny of The Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, by Candice Millard. The extraordinary New York Times bestselling account of James Garfield's rise from poverty to the American presidency, and the dramatic history of his assassination and legacy- presented by Mark Sorensen

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Destiny of a Republic

May 3rd - Body Language 101: The Ultimate Guide to Knowing When People Are Lying, How They Are Feeling, What They Are Thinking. Presented by Shirley Elkin.

the last painting of sara de vos

On January 4th, Bev Hackney, Reference Librarian, Decatur Public Library presented The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith. The engaging novel about the fictional Dutch artist Sara de Vos.  The first woman to be so recognized, de Vos was admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland in 1631. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos, a haunting landscape, is known to remain.  An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she's curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both the original and her forgery are en route to her museum.

pacific crucible

December 7th - Pacific Crucible, War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 by Ian W. Toll. Presented by Judith Kimmons. Pacific Crucible begins with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.  It tells the epic tale of these first searing months of the Pacific war, when the U.S. Navy shook off the worst defeat in American military history. It culminates with the Battle of Midway.

Ella Minnow Peas

November 2 - Jackie Goeppinger is a retired child and adolescent therapist.  She talked about “Ella Minnow Pea and A, B, Cs,” based on the book, Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters, by Mark Dunn.  Ella Minnow Pea is a story about letters in letters based on the immortal pangram, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

fun with dick and jane

October 5th - Tim Rapson shared about his family of readers. 6 generations of family members who started reading at an early age. They learned from Dick and Jane readers, Mcguffey readers, even a Union reader from as far back as the 1880s. He has the set of the 6 readers used by his family over this 135 year span. 4 of the readers are the very books from which his Daughter, Father, Grandfather, and Great Grandmother learned to read.

dr profeta
October 1 - Uncomfortable Conversations:  Death The Patient in Room 9 Says He's God

Dr. Louis Profeta shared his experiences as an ER physician at a busy Indianapolis hospital, as detailed in his book, The Patient in Room 9 Says He’s God.  Dr. Profeta also discussed philosophical and professional concerns surrounding contemporary end-of-life practices. 

dr white

September 7th - Dr Patrick White, President of Millikin University spoke about the book: The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts Are The Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation. Authors: Antoine W. van Agtmael and Alfred Bakker.

August 3rd, 12:15 - 1:00pm - Jerry Johnson -Isaac Asimov: A Prolific Author and Scientist

Isaac Asimov was an incredibly prolific author and scientist best known for his science fiction.  Asimov, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he is considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers.  His most famous work is the Foundation Series (considered the all-time best sci-fi series), along with the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series. His concepts of psychohistory and robotics found in these books have been tremendously influential.

July 6th, 12:15 - 1:00pm - Jill Davis - A, B, See The Beatles!

Share your love of the Beatles one letter at a time! Arguably the most influential band in history, the Beatles shaped an era and were the soundtrack of a generation. What better way to celebrate their influence than with a book that can be shared with the youngest generation of all? From my granddaughter’s question that inspired me, to my magical mystery tour in Europe, to the illustration, publication and printing processes you will hear about the challenges I encountered as well as some funny things that happened along the way. My passion for The Beatles and my love of children finally came together in this book. ‘With a little help from my friends’, my dream came true!

books June 1st, 12:15 - 1:00pm -  Nancy Peterson - When Books Went To War  by Molly Guptill Manning

When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943 the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks in every theater of war. When Books Went to War is an inspiring story for history buffs and book lovers alike.

May 4th, 12:15 - 1:00pm - Mary Aylmer - The Habsburgs: The History of a Dynasty by Benjamin Curtis

Synopsis: The Habsburg dynasty ruled much of central Europe for six centuries (1273-1918) and rank among the most celebrated ruling dynasties in history. At one time their territories stretched across Europe spreading into Asia, Africa and the Americas. AEIOU symbolized the dynasty's motto - "Alles Erdreich ist Osterreich untertan" - ("All the world is subject to Austria") and fueled their ambition. In this book Benjamin Curtis explores both the Spanish and Austrian branches of the dynasty, providing a concise, comprehensive picture of the dynasty's development.

Searching For Jesus
April 6th, 12:15 - 1:00pm - Dr. Timothy M. Kovalcik - Searching For Jesus by Robert Hutchison

This book explores new trends in the search for the historical Jesus, essentially overturning about 30 years of assumptions and mistakes in scholarship.  The evidence includes new texts and archeology that supports an early date of authorship for the Gospels. 

Dr. Timothy M. Kovalcik is an Associate Professor of History at Millikin University, winner of the 2016 Teaching Excellence award, and current Teaching Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church. 

divine comedy
March 2 - Richard "Dick" Fiala - Subject: The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri, Translation by Clive James, 2013

The "Divine Comedy" is not a comedy. It deals with moral, political, governmental, and religious issues as viewed by Dante. It is possibly (?) the longest poem ever written and a leading classic coming out of the middle ages ( 1300's ). At a period when Dante has lost everything he valued in life, was desolate and questioning whether life contained justice, compassion, love and meaning he begins his search for these truths. The answer can't be found on earth. And so Dante, the Pilgrim, begins a journey through the three realms of the Christian Aftertife - Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven - in his Quest Thus he moves from despair to revelation and a meaning for life.

Miracle at Philadelphia
February 3 - Allen Bell - Miracle At Philadelphia by Catherine Drinker Bowen

Subject: The Ratification of the US Constitution - Talk Title: The Plowgogger's Speech

This book is a history of the Federal Convention in Philadelphia that resulted in the Constitution of the United States. A review of the events and personalities surrounding the Constitutional Convention of 1787 concluding with the debate and the final product.

Origin of the Friends and Books Between Bites: A Brief History by Lucille Crow & Dottie Butts

Although we do not know the exact date when Books Between Bites was formed, we do know that back in the early 1950s a group of Decatur Public Library patrons began holding regular meetings in an upstairs room of the Carnegie Library located on the southwest corner of North Main and Eldorado Streets.

Some of the original members of that group were Lloyd Latendresse, Dr. & Mrs. Peter Cantoni, Sally Gere, Charles Nelson, Ann Limerick, Mae Midkiff, Winifred Moorehead and Library representative, Mr. Loudermilk.

The group met a couple of times each month to discuss books and library events. These were evening meetings and usually followed by adjournment to the Greek's Bar & Grill nearby for refreshments. This original group became the organization known as the Friends of the Decatur Public Library. The Friends later joined with the national organization known as Friends of the Libraries, U.S.A. with headquarters in Philadelphia, PA.

By the late 1950s and early 1960s, many new names were added to the list of members. Some of these were Marian Ankenbrandt, Lucille Crow, Rex Smith, Irma Andrews, Nancy Curry and Marshall Susler. Sometimes they would go to one of the member's homes for their social get-togethers, and they all remembered having great times together. It is also interesting to note that there was an older couple in this group who at one time had been held in a Nazi prison camp and were the only survivors in either of their families. Their names cannot be recalled now, but they were very active until the wife died and the husband moved back east.

In the early 1960s, Edith McNabb, who was very prominent in local and state library activities, decided that the library should begin a regular book review program- Books Between Bites- to be held on the first Wednesday of each month at 12:00 noon. She convinced Mary Howe, who was Head Librarian, and they met with Lloyd Latendresse, who was president of the Friends at that time. Edith arranged the first book review, how we would like to know what the title of that book was! We do know that Mary Howe opened the first meeting and Mr. Latendresse gave the first review. Meetings were held in the second floor auditorium and Lucille Crow remembers giving the second review. These meetings continued monthly with members donating cookies to supplement coffee furnished by the library.

The name "Books Between Bites" came from the idea that people working downtown would bring a brown bag lunch and the Friends would serve coffee during their lunch hour. Many did this in the early days but only occasionally does this happen now, although coffee is still served.

Robert Dumas became Head Librarian in 1966, and actively encouraged the book reviews and introduced the speakers each month. All kinds of books have been chosen for review including fiction, poetry, biography, history, mysteries, travel and children's books. The monthly programs are scheduled by the Books Between Bites' chairman, a vice president of the Friends of the Decatur Public Library Board.

The location of the Library has changed twice since those early days, but the friends and Books Between Bites still remain an integral part of the Decatur Public Library.