Even if you’ve outgrown trick-or-treating, you can still get into the spirit of the season with some great, ghostly reads.

More Than You Know by Beth Gutcheon. Looking back on the events of the summer she was 17, elderly Hannah Grey recalls her memories of love and loss, and of the ghost who haunted her and the boy she loved. Set on the Maine coast, this evocative novel is a “humdinger of a ghost tale”.

Eva Moves the Furniture by Margot Livesey. Motherless Eva has been lovingly raised by her father and sister, but she is still often lovely. When she’s visited by invisible companions, she takes comfort in their presence. However, keeping them secret cuts her off from others. Who these companions are and their roles in Eva’s life form the center of this intriguing story.

Sleeping with Schubert by Bonnie Marson. Brooklyn lawyer Liza Durbin is possessed by the spirit of composer Franz Schubert – and her life will never be ordinary again. Follow along as Liza takes a leave of absence from her law firm to prepare for her Carnegie Hall debut, struggles with a media frenzy and her quirky family for a fun and entertaining read.

Second Glance by Jodi Picoult. Ghost hunter Ross Wakeman wants nothing more than to be reunited with his dead fiancee, but nothing he does can bring her back. Sent to a small Vermont town to investigate possible paranormal phenomena leads him to an ancient murder and possible redemption. The intricate and suspenseful ghost story will keep you enthralled to its powerful conclusion.

A Gracious Plenty by Sheri Reynolds. Disfiguring scars from a childhood accident has made Finch Nobles an outcast in her tiny Southern town. After her parents die, Finch takes over her father’s job as a gravedigger, where she befriends not the living but those who haunt the graveyard and control the seasons. This lyrical novel is sure to charm.

Watch for these movies coming soon to the Davenport Public Library. Remember, DVDs check-out for one week and there is no rental charge!

November 4

Get Smart – Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson

Bungling secret agent Maxwell Smart is on a mission to battle the forces of the evil crime nemesis known as KAOS with his more-competent partner Agent 99, (whose real name is never revealed) at his side. When the headquarters of U.S. spy agency CONTROL is attacked and the identities of its agents compromised, the Chief has no choice but to promote his ever-eager analyst Maxwell Smart, who has always dreamed of working in the field. Smart will do whatever it takes to thwart the latest plot for world domination by KAOS. – IMDB

November 18

Wall-E – Voices of Kathy Najimy, John Ratzenberger, Sigourney Weaver, Fred Willard

In a distant but not so unrealistic future, where mankind has abandoned earth because it has become covered with trash, WALL-E, a garbage collecting robot, has been left to clean up the mess. One day, Eve, a sleek (and dangerous) reconnaissance robot is sent to earth to find proof that life is once again sustainable. WALL-E falls in love with Eve and rescues Eve from a dust storm. One day a massive ship comes to reclaim Eve, and WALL-E, out of love or loneliness, hitches a ride on the outside of the ship. IMDB

November 25

Hancock – Jason Bateman, Johnny Galecki, Will Smith, Charlize Theron

John Hancock is an unhappy and reluctant superhero. Hancock is depressed and has started drinking heavily. He has saved many lives in Los Angeles over the years, but in doing so, he has had no regard for damaging buildings, trains, roads, cars, or anything that gets in his way of getting the job done. The public has had enough of Hancock, and they want him to stop or go to another city. Then one day Hancock saves Ray Embrey from being run over by a train. Embrey, a public relations executive, owes Hancock his life and he makes it his mission to change the superhero’s image. IMDB

This great crime novel is translated from Swedish which adds a different flavor to the story. Certain things get added during translation or become more interesting when taken from slang. Sibylla the main character in Missing comes from a privleged background yet has chosen a life of the homeless in Stockholm. Brief snippets from Sibylla’s disturbing past help explain her modern day predicament. Her everyday struggle becomes almost unbearable after she is unjustly accused of a brutal murder. The story continues to pick up speed as Sibylla struggles to stay alive and hidden all the while trying to find the real killer with the help of a high school misfit. Great writer – I was easily transported into Sibylla’s world. The murder plot is well developed and unexpected.

Karin Alvtegen has received and been nominated for several literary awards. Interestingly she is the great-grand niece of the “Pippi Longstocking” series author, Astrid Lindgren.

Halloween is fast approaching, and of course this makes an ideal time to read some of those gory horror books. However, if you’re not a big Horror fan (like me) you might enjoy these titles of a kinder, gentler nature.

Brida by Paul Coelho

Well, I should’ve known better. This popular Spanish author, Paul Coelho, has written other books about witches (The Witch of Portobello most recently) but from the title and the cover art, I guess I was expecting something different. And, really, it’s more of a light romance. The main character, Brida, is a 21 year old Irish lass who wants to become a witch, so the story line revolves around her search and/or efforts to become one. There’s some pulling together of Christian and spiritualist themes which I personally didn’t understand, but then, I kept reminding myself that it was a work of fiction.

Mozart’s Ghost by Julia Cameron

As for ghosts, I’m just finishing up Mozart’s Ghost, by Julia Cameron. This, also, has turned out to be a light romantic story. Here, the main character is Anna, a 30-something “medium –medium” as she calls herself. Anna moved to New York a few years ago in part to escape the conservative Midwestern views present in her home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. In order to pay the rent, she teaches school by day, but her main focus is to establish herself as a medium, someone who helps others contact recently departed loved ones (i.e. – ghosts). When a struggling young pianist moves into her apartment building, she finds his constant practicing very distracting. Even more disturbing, though, are the frequent intrusions she gets from Mozart’s ghost, who is anxious for Anna to “help” the pianist correctly interpret his complex musical compositions. I’m not going to spoil the ending for you. Besides, as I said, I haven’t finished it – yet!

Unfortunately, I really haven’t read any goblin stories recently – but if you’d like to recommend one, I’d certainly give it a shot. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these “Halloween Light” suggestions.

I’m going to give you a warning about this book right from the start: a baby dies in this book. It is, in the words of author Elizabeth McCracken “the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending”.

McCracken was an award winning author (one of her books, Niagara Falls All Over Again, was the All-Iowa Reads choice in 2004), happy with her career and her status as a self-described spinster was in her mid-30s when she suddenly fell in love. Within a couple years she was living in France with her husband awaiting the birth of their first child. Everything was perfect, until her ninth month of pregnancy when her baby boy died.

What follows is a touching, heartbreaking story of love and grief, of struggling to go on without forgetting what happened. Told with warmth, humor and generosity, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination is a powerful and beautifully written memoir, a literary gift to us all.

Philippa Gregory does it again with her latest historical novel – another compelling story of a Tudor queen. This time, however, the queen is Mary, Queen of Scots whose very existence threatens Elizabeth’s tenuous hold on the throne.

The Other Queen is told in three voices – Mary, George Talbot and his wife Bess. The Talbots have been commanded by Elizabeth to host Mary but in fact, they are her jailers. Mary had fled to England on the promise that she would be given sanctuary, but instead she becomes a prisoner.

At first honored by Elizabeth’s request, George and Bess soon discover that Mary’s demands and large household (she continues to live in luxury fit for a queen) will bankrupt them and that their home has become the center of the intrigues and rebellions of Mary and her followers, bringing the very loyalty of the Talbots into question.

George falls in love with the Scots queen, Bess, an astute businesswoman, struggles to keep her lands and her marriage and Mary longs for – and plots for – freedom. These three viewpoints bring this distant historical period vividly and fully to life.

October is a great time to get your house ready for winter. You know the drill — have your furnace checked, caulk up those drafty holes, clear out those gutters. But with heating bills sure to rise, it may also be time for an energy audit. In the Quad Cities, Mid-America supplies both gas and electric energy to most homes, but they also offer this service, called EnergyAdvantage Home Check. You do need to make an appointment, but they will come to your home and offer energy-saving suggestions. At my house, the person doing the energy audit not only gave us new lightbulbs and low-flow showerheads, he actually took the time to install them! I don’t know if this is standard service or not, but I was very impressed with this service.

In the meantime, if your looking for other ideas on how to save energy around your house, check out these new titles at the library:

Greening Your Home: Sustainable Options for Every System in Your House by Clayton Bennett. This slim paperback is loaded with ideas for changing your lifestyle, as well as for using new technology (such as low-flow faucets) to save time, energy and money.

50 Simple Steps to Save the Earth from Global Warming is another easy-read paperback with very practical tips. For example, Step #8 – Unplug your chargers. Did you know that 95% of the energy used by mobile phone chargers is wasted? I didn’t.

Energy Crossroads: a Burning Need to Change Course. This is a new DVD that, according to the cover jacket, “comprehensively covers the key aspects of the energy/environment/economy dilemma.”

I’m reading the funniest book! It’s called Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas. I picked it up at the last Women’s Connection (TWC) meeting, but the library does have copies at both buildings. Dumas, an Iranian-American, is the featured speaker at the November 5 TWC meeting, when the group traditionally hosts an international author. If you can go, do — but be prepared for some belly laughs!

This book is laugh-out-loud funny. There’s one scene in particular, in which the author describes a time she is waiting in a crowded medical clinic, when the receptionist mispronounces her name. Badly mispronounces it! Now with a first name like “Firoozeh,” you would probably expect some of this, but in this case, both her first and last name (her husband is French) are really butchered.

The author freely admits that her first experience in the United States, at the tender age of seven, was a very favorable one, and that people were very kind to her and her family. She’s quick to note, however, that this was before the hostage takeover of the embassy in Iran, and that later Iranian immigrants often faced open hostility.

There are lots of anecdotes that many can identify with — her father attempting to teach her how to swim, her not-so-fun experience at summer camp, and the seemingly endless supply of relatives coming to visit. More importantly, though, this book goes a long way in gently educating us Americans that Iranians are human, too. Not to mention funny.

Dumas has also written Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American at Home and Abroad. Enjoy!

Announced on October 17, the 2009 selection for the All Iowa Reads program was is The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown. Opening on Alice MacCauley’s tenth birthday, this is a luminous story of one girl’s coming-of-age during a fateful New England summer. Raised by her widower father and doting older brothers, Alice learns about how different the worlds of adults and children can be when she befriends a local artist dying of AIDS and the neighbor’s visiting mixed-race grandson. Beautifully written, this exploration of love, tolerance, racism and death told from a child’s view brings a unique perspective to the world we live in.

Be sure to watch the Davenport Library’s newsletter and News and Events blog throughout the following year for information on programs and book talks exploring The Rope Walk.

…but you don’t have to wait until then to get the job done.

The Fairmount Street library is a satellite voting location for the upcoming general election. This means that from today through November 1st you can walk in and cast your ballot early. You can avoid the November 4th hustle, and while you’re at it, enjoy the library for a bit. For a list of Scott county satellite voting times and locations, click here:

The Scott County Auditor’s office website has a sample ballot, a search engine to determine your polling place, and a section where they will tally the results.

You have 5 more days (Deadline Oct 25th) to register if you haven’t already.

Like shopping the day after Thanksgiving, some folks really get a kick out of being in the thick of things and pulling the curtain on the big day. And then there are some of us that would rather sleep. What do you think?