Some characters that weathered storms

As November sets in, we're readying ourselves for winter's storms. I liked how these two recent picture books showed characters that resiliently weathered their own storms.

Jim Dey: Author takes in-depth look at cult leader

More than 40 years after the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders horrified the nation, cult leader Charles Manson and his band of drugged-out, murderous zombies still fascinate the nation.

Library events, Nov. 9-16, 2014

Each week, The News-Gazette offers a series of events presented by area libraries.

Champaign Public Library

Main Library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.

Learn the basics of job searching online, writing a resume and applying for a job at 6 p.m. Monday at the Douglass Branch.

Champaign library a 'star'

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign Public Library again ranks among America's "star libraries" as designated by the Library Journal.

The 2014 ratings named Champaign as one of 258 public libraries with "star library status," among the top 3 percent nationwide. It's won a 4-star rating each year since the program launched in 2008.

Army veteran sees books as route to conversation

DANVILLE — As a kid, John Fundator remembers coming across a cigar box of World War II artifacts in his dad's dresser.

But his father didn't talk about those days much and Fundator never got comfortable asking about them. It's a barrier he has since discovered is all too common when soldiers come home.

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Nov. 2, 2014

I love a good ghost story, and here's one about a ghost cat, by John Philip Johnson, who lives in Nebraska, where most ghosts live in the wind and are heard in the upper branches of cedar trees in country cemeteries. He has an illustrated book of poems, "Stairs Appear in a Hole Outside of Town."

Bones and Shadows

She kept its bones in a glass case

'Rain Reign' a riveting read for all ages

Newbery Award winner Richard Peck cautions writers to remove themselves from their stories. Readers aren't looking for the author, Peck advises, rather readers are looking for themselves.

This seems absolutely true to me. And sometimes, we readers have the good fortune to come upon a story that presents a character very different from ourselves, but whom we may begin to understand.

Authors address gadget overload

When I saw the title of this book, "Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World," I was immediately drawn in. From talking with other parents, I know I'm not the only one concerned about this topic. Even my own screen use can be all-consuming if I don't consciously put away my laptop at home or smartphone when I'm out and pay attention to the people I'm with.

Another round of goose bumps

I have had so many scary books piled up to read that I continued on past the deadline of the last article I posted here. Because the weather continues to emit feelings of foreboding for a dark, cold and windy winter, I've decided to keep up with my scary readings.

Author to sign book

CHAMPAIGN — Monticello author Maureen Holtz will sign copies of her new novel, "The Last Resort," from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Jane Addams Book Shop, 208 N. Neil St., C.

The book was published in August by Little Creek Press, a Division of Kristin Mitchell Design.