Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Jan. 18, 2015

I've read lots of poems about the loss of beloved pets, but this one by J.T. Ledbetter, who lives in California, is an especially fine and sensitive one.

Elegy for Blue

Someone must have seen an old dog

dragging its broken body through

the wet grass;

someone should have known it was lost,

drinking from the old well, then lifting

Trust me when I say you'll like this novel

New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz has a new book out already in 2015, "Trust No One." It's romantic suspense, although a bit more suspense than typical romance, as her main character, Grace Elland, deals with a murder, a stalker and a past that's hard to leave behind.

Turning the page

The college textbook routine used to be simple: Register for classes, head to the campus bookstore and lug home a 50-pound stack of texts.

These days, student shoppers are more savvy, and the "textbook" they buy — possibly online — might be a piece of software or a passcode for a website with videos, interactive quizzes and chat groups.

'Open source' textbooks provide many benefits

When Professor Jonathan Tomkin went looking for a textbook to use in his introductory Earth Systems class, nothing was quite right.

He couldn't find a book that he felt was worth the high price tag for students. So he put one together with a few colleagues — for free.

Library events, Jan. 18-25, 2015

Events at local libraries during the coming week:

Champaign Public Library

Main Library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.

A coming-of-age story that's worth checking out

Graphic novels, so often bigger than life, can sometimes be exactly like life. Cousins Jillian Tamaki (illustrator) and Mariko Tamaki (writer) raise the bar of authenticity in "This One Summer" (First Second 2014), a coming-of-age story.

Preteens Rose and Windy meet at their summer cottages every year, but this time it's different.

Bringing history to life

I have always been drawn to stories of outcasts and rebels, people who don't quite fit into the role that society has carved out for them.

There have been brave people who sought to break the mold in all eras of history, but often their stories have gone unheard or unremembered.

Grisham takes us to Appalachia

I love a book that teaches you something by way of a riveting story line. John Grisham is pretty good at this, often setting his sights on big corporations picking on the little guys. His latest book, "Gray Mountain," is no different.

I've driven through various parts of Appalachia many times but have never been able to go hiking or camping in this beautiful region of our country.

Start new year off with a dramedy

One thing everyone needs to do more in the new year is laugh. So picking up an entertaining and funny novel can help with this goal. "Best to Laugh" by Lorna Landvik, author of "Patty Jane's House of Curl" and "Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons," is a great place to start.

Library events, Jan. 11-18, 2015

Events at local libraries during the coming week:

Champaign Public Library

Main Library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.

From 1 to 4 p.m. today at the main library, attend Downloadables Drop-in Day. Let us introduce you to our free digital borrowing options, available to anyone with a library card. Bring your device.