Monday, December 28, 2009

Please treat the library books gently

Happiest of holiday seasons, friends, one and all.

Today I wish to address an issue that has arisen at our beloved Pine River Public Library. At least it’s my beloved Library. It is, after all, my home sweet home. In this age of disposable diapers, packaged meals, canned tire repair kits, throw away pens and the lot, it is sometimes difficult to understand that our books at Pine River Library are not disposable. They are not a one hit wonder. They are there for large numbers of patrons like yourselves to read and enjoy.

Here is what has been happening. People have been placing their books face down, marking their place, thus breaking the binding. They have been stretching the paperback books so they will lie flatter, thus breaking the binding. They have been dining while reading without benefit of napkin. They have been turning down pages to better mark their place.

Think of it this way… Suppose a large neighborhood was sharing a lawn mower. Everybody gets to use it for free. What if one person neglects to check the oil and damages the motor? What if somebody else mows right over large decorative rocks in their yard thus chipping the blade? What if somebody else leaves this gift out in the rain and it gets water in the gas or it rusts from exposure?

Our books are a gift. We should treat them with the respect they deserve and with a mind to others who also wish to enjoy this gift. The library has numerous book marks available if you need one. A Kleenex will also work, or a paper napkin, or the grocery list that is already filled.

You wouldn’t break the gift lawn mower. Don’t break the gift books. By the way, if you receive a book that is already damaged or losing its pages, please inform the librarians so that they can have it repaired or replaced.

Thank you for your attention.

Browser, the library cat

PS. The Pine River Library will be taking food donations for the local food shelf all winter. Please be generous and give.

Printed in the Pine River Journal 24 December 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here's holiday ideas to battle the blues

Dear Readers,

Normally during this season of holiday festivities I write about origins of winter festivals. Or I write about Santa. Or I write about short days and lighted nights. This year, however, I would like to address holiday blues.

For those of us who live alone the holiday season is not a perky time. It is a time of wondering what all the fuss is about. It is a time of mourning, on some level. Mourning the loss of sunshine. Mourning the loss of loved ones who once shared the season. Mourning the feeling of joy at giving the right gift or being surprised by someone bestowing on us some thoughtful present.

Fellow mourners, I have some suggestions.

1. Read a holiday inspired book. There are many at our Pine River Public Library. 3602 in all throughout the Kitchigami system with a “Christmas” theme. Some are fiction, some non-fiction. 1351 about winter solstice. 81 specifically about Hanukkah.

2. Take a drive after supper and enjoy the holiday lights. I can’t do that, being a cat, but you can, most of you. If you can’t, find a friend to take you or hire a taxi.

3. Buy a simple gift (a pair of socks will do very well), wrap it, and give it to a random stranger or visit a senior residence and bestow your gift upon an elderly person who is also alone. If you are shy, you needn’t stay for a long visit. The simple gesture will help cheer you and one other person.

4. Watch sentimental holiday movies on television. The nice thing about these is that the ending is nearly always happy. Light candles when you do in keeping with the holiday mood.

5. If baking isn’t your thing – it isn’t mine – then purchase some treat that you would not normally invite into your kitchen. You deserve it!

6. If baking is your thing, make cookies. (Try a new recipe from the many cookbooks at the library.) Bake loads of them. With sprinkles. Red and green ones. Take some to the neighbors or to your barber or hair dresser or…dare I say it?...the library.

7. If you go out to eat rather than cook at home, tip heavily. It’s the holidays. You are making another person smile and feeling the good feeling of giving at the same time. Waiting on tables can be dreary business, don’t forget. A surprise of appreciation is a wonderful thing.

8. Do you frequent coffee shops or taverns? Buy someone a beverage and include the phrase, “happy holidays”.

9. Even if you don’t normally go to church, this season is a wonderful time to go forth and visit a church in your neighborhood. It really doesn’t matter the denomination. Check the listing in “The Pine River Journal” or “The Echo”. There will probably be mention of holiday services. Many of these may include singing of carols. Not a singer? This is a good time to start, or just to listen.

10. Think of me! Alone in the library, sequestered because of the cold outside, I indulge in playing with the gifts under the tree. How fun is that?!

Happy Holidays!

Browser the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 7th Dec 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Minnesota Crime Wave Coming to Pine River

Minnesota Crime Wave
MN Authors: William Krueger, Carl Brookins, and Ellen Hart
Book Signing Following the Program
Where: The Warehouse 307 Norway Ave, Pine River
Date & time: October 30th at 7pm
The Minnesota Crime Wave author Visits are part of the Kitchigami Reads/ Kitchigami Writes project, made possible with funding from the Minnesota Legacy Arts Fund.
Tickets are free but seating is limited.
Visit the Pine River Public Library to get two free tickets with your valid library card

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October is cat month at the library

Dear Friends, all,

There are no hyperboles great enough for me to express my enthusiasm for this event. October! That would be the entire month of October. It is, at the Pine River Public Library, CAT MONTH! Of course it is. Naturally it is. We all knew there must be a whole month dedicated to felines. We were, however, unaware that it would be October, but it is so obvious. To someone. Not to me, but who cares? I knew I was important, but an entire month? (Next time we'll shoot for two months, then six, and so forth.)

At this juncture I would like to interject a public responsibility message. Please have your pets spayed or neutered. It is important. I am one of the lucky ones. I was a stray and the library adopted me. Others are not so lucky. Enough said. On to cheerier topics:

"What, you may ask, is the Pine River Library doing to celebrate this most important event?" Funny you should ask that. We would love for you to bring pictures of your cats to the library so that we might post them on the bulletin board. I'm certain that there are many of you who have furry friends you would love to share on our "Friends of Browser" display. Let us make it a goal that we cover the entire space with pictures! As an aside, the library has been contacted by "Cat Fancy Magazine", a monthly publication dedicated entirely to cats and cat stuff. I have no idea whether I will appear in said publication, but at least they thought of me, a library cat of extreme beauty and cunning.

If you would like to take a moment in your reading and/or listening to dedicate a little time to cats, the Kitchigami Regional Library online catalog lists 1937 entries using the keyword "cat". I hope that within that narrow spectrum there might be something for almost everyone.

On to Halloween, a holiday I think of as "Black Cat Day".

This year we will not be having a Haunted House. I'm sad, but I am not usually allowed to attend. There will be a small celebration at The Pine River Public Library, but I have a suggestion. Nobody ever listens to me anyway, so I am able to express myself freely without fear of retribution! Since Halloween happens during cat month, why not bring your resident black cat a treat for Halloween? I feel this is a splendid idea.

Happy October to me! And many happy days to you.

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 8 October 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nope, it's just a roof

Browser is on vacation this week so I thought I would fill in with the news.

As most can see the new roof is on the library. I've had a lot of questions if we have a second floor here.

Well No! We just put a roof on the library. It was an odd shaped flat roof where it was low on the west and east side and high in the middle.

To be able to get a peaked roof we had the have the walls all the same size, this is where the so call extra room came from. There is no storage up there, just A Roof.

There is also the question about "the door to nowhere."

That door on the west side of the building is for access to the Roof area for maintenance of the Furnaces. Yes two of them on the Roof.

I hope this explains why it looks like we have more space but really don't.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Muriel / Branch Manager filling in for Browser the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 13 August 2009

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Attention patrons: under construction!

No, the patrons are not under construction. Rather our library is under construction.

This is, of course, temporary.

Temporary is a relative term. With luck my life span will be something close to twenty years. People, I am told, live a lot longer than that as a rule.

Temporary for people could mean several years.

This, however, is not the case here. Our nooks and crannies are closed to the public (That would be you.) right now.

That would be the two rooms at the end of the hall that have the sinks and little booths.

Bathrooms, they are called, though I have never seen anyone, person or feline, bathe in either of these rooms.

They are not useable right now. Soon. Very soon. But not now.

Also the book drop is temporarily indisposed. For the time being you will need to bring your books and tapes and CD’s and DVD’s inside the library to return them.

We are sorry about that, since we realize that it is not always convenient to come to the library during the hours we are open.

For your information, our current hours are as follows:

Hours:effective January 2009

Sun Closed
Mon 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tue 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Wed 12:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Thu 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Fri 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Sat 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Thank you. See you soon, I hope.

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 9 July 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Time to plan for a Summer of Reading

Greetings and salutations and flowers and warm winds and boats and picnics and all the good things that happen when the sun is high in the heavens:

Although we are still a couple of weeks away from the summer solstice (June 21st, the longest day of the year), the season that I like to call “planning season” is upon us. This season generally begins as soon as the leaves appear on the trees. Living as we do in a northern clime, summer is foreshortened making it important to make the most of each “warm” day. By planning, we can cram as much as possible into this short but glorious season. (In North Dakota they call the seasons June, July, August, and winter…)

The term solstice can also be used in a wider sense, as the date (day) when this occurs. The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In some cultures they are considered to start or separate the seasons while in others they fall in the middle. The English expressions "midwinter" (winter solstice) and "midsummer" (summer solstice) may derive from a tradition according to which there were only two seasons: winter and summer. (

Taken in the English sense, summer has arrived and we had better make haste to enjoy it as long as we can. Here is what the library has for you:

The Summer Library Program at Pine River Public Library:

“Be Creative at Your Library” is the theme for the summer reading this year. How fun is that? Sign up at this writing was last week, the first week in June. Go sign up because the program officially starts June 8th and will run through August 1st.

Kids (This is not baby goats, though that would be fun as well.) program is for ages 5 to 12.

Thursday is activities day only for those participating in the reading program.

Teens program is for young adults (I refuse to call all of you “kids”. In days gone by you would be “young ladies and gentlemen”. Let us hope that you are still.) ages 13 to 18. This program spans the same dates as above. There will be special programs for the teen group.

Once again the library will be doing a “Mystery at the Library” for those participating in the reading program.

Construction on the new roof is moving right along. The hope is that this will not interfere with our reading programs, but if so, there is a plan “B”. Some programs might need to be held off site at Kitchigami Regional Library. (This is the headquarters for all the libraries in our region, not a lending library. It is, however, also located in Pine River. To some of you this may sound idiotically simplistic, but to others it may be illuminating.)

Be creative and enjoy our library at the same time! Who could ask for more?

I remain,
Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 11th June 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Write letters showing your support for Browser

Dear Friends and Readers,

Because I love visiting with you so much and I know that you love visiting with me as well, would you please write a few quick notes to the newspaper expressing your fondness for moi. (That would be French for “me”.)

I could go on and on in French, but I’d have to study a little first and I wanted to invite your support post haste. (That would be Latin…)Being multi-lingual can be such a trial… Plain old American English would be just dandy in your notes to the paper and to Pine River City Council.

I, much like Dewey, was rescued from certain demise from the streets of Pine River and lovingly raised first in our old library building which is now a quilt shop and coffee house, then in our elegant new building that needs a new roof. I care not at all about the roof. Muriel seems to, so I try to support her in any way I can, having been fed by her for many years.

Muriel tells me there are some who visit the library exclusively to visit with me. No other reason necessary. I doubt this not at all. I am, after all, a fine fellow. Here are some anecdotes about library cats that may inspire your writings…

This is how Spenser, Iowa (population 11,317) responded to an errant kitten found in the book drop of their public library:
“Shortly after the kitten’s rescue, city officials approved the library’s cat-in-residence and a photo of the city’s “new employee” sitting on the card catalog appeared in The Daily Reporter in Spencer. Residents were invited to help name the kitty and 394 cast ballots.” That would be the famous Dewey.

According to findings on dated September 21, 2007, worldwide there are 744 known library cats, 608 of them in the United States. (I certainly hope they counted me!) I thought I was rarer than that, but apparently not. Some of these are former residents, but the current figures for that same year still list 214 as current in the United States. That would be 4.28 per state. I doubt any of these felines are split, so obviously some states have more than others.

Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia (est. 1836) features their library cat on their website (

“The Wesleyan community mourns the loss of Squeakers, the Willet Memorial Library Cat-in-residence, who passed away on Saturday, April 12, 2008. If you've visited our library at any time between 1985 and 2008, no doubt you met her personally.”

Library cats are historically relevant. ” Did you know that library cats date back to the days when Monks kept cats in their libraries to save the books from being eaten by rats?” ( There are no rats in the Pine River Public Library. I have made sure of that.

Please help me tell the world (or at least the immediate vicinity) that I am a steadfast member of the community. Write letters. Tell a friend. Come give me a pat and a word of encouragement.

Sincerely, as always,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 16th April 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

April is National Poetry Month

Roses are pink, violets are white
I am not a poet, try as I might.

Or how about this… A rose by any other name might be a turnip.

April is national poetry month. Write a poem. Bring it to Pine River Public Library, my home. Our vast staff will read the poems – keep them relatively short, by the way – and we will endeavor to publish some of them in my column! How great is that? I just thought of it. Muriel doesn’t even know yet. She’ll guess when she gets the rough draft of this epistle. Be sure to put your name on your poem and your age might be nice as well. We’ll post some on the board in the library, so make sure we can read them.

March is half gone. Bring a can of food with your poem or your return books. I would suggest not dropping any food down the book drop. You might squish a DVD.

Bonjour mes amis,
Browser here with a rousing bit of news. First, let me just say that the word for today is “issue”. This is a tricky word. It can be a noun or a verb. “The Merriam-Webster Dictionary” gives some of the following definitions:
· Egress
· Emergence
· Exit
· Outlet
· Vent
· Offspring
· Outcome
· Point of debate
· The act of officially giving out or printing

This last is the one about which I am writing today. Though I feel I am the king of Pine River, I am apparently mistaken. I did think it a bit odd that there were very few furry friends roaming the streets of our fair city. It seems that I must be restrained – not literarily, of course, but literally. I therefore appeal to you, my dear readers, for your assistance. I must be walked. On a leash! Who knew? Muriel has asked me to publish a request for volunteers who would be willing to “take the air” with me, as the British say. A brisk walk would be peachy. The more volunteers the better. Call Muriel at the library if you would be willing to take a stroll with a feline in tow.

Additionally, does any fine friend have an enclosure of some kind – a tent, a screened something or other – that you would be willing to loan the library to place outside so that I may be allowed out of doors without straying afield?

The time frame of this “loan” is a bit sketchy at this point. When the construction on our roof is completed there should be a sunny space for me to take the air without need of a temporary structure.

I know our parents taught us “neither a borrower nor a lender be”, but at this point I am in a bit of a bind. Besides that, it is the point of a library is it not? Borrowing and lending? So lend me your attention and any time you may have for a stroll, please, and if you or a neighbor has some sort of outdoor enclosure you would be willing to install at the library for the time being, that would be great as well.

That is the issue at hand.
I remain,
Browser, the library cat

P.S. Oops! I forgot. I mustn’t leave the premises of the library without my leash. It may take some time for me to remember this last bit, so I leave it up to you not to let me out accidentally.

Printed in the Pine River Journal 19 March 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wine Tasting to benefit library

Bonjour, Friends:

The Friends of the Pine River Library Foundation will be having a Wine Tasting and Silent Auction Saturday, March 7th at the AmericInn Lodge and Suites south of Jenkins.

Of course this made me curious. I wondered what it takes to become a wine taster. Do you just taste a bunch of wine and voila you are a wine taster? There are many theories on the subject, one of which includes tasting upwards of 500 wines per year and taking copious notes. One has to wonder about those notes after all that wine. What does “copious” mean, anyway, inebriated? From the website I stumbled onto this paragraph written by somebody who apparently knows the answer to my searing question:

“I am a taster at several competitions and I also sell wine wholesale. There are only a handful of professional tasters in the world, and most of them make their living by tasting and rating wines and publishing their notes and scores. (James Laube, Robert Parker, Anthony Dias Blue, Michael Broadbent, etc.) Their careers are in the wine PUBLISHING business, so in addition to being extremely knowledgeable about wine also requires the same career track and skills as any professional writer.”

Maybe there is a simpler way. Why don’t you just go to the Wine Tasting and try a few of the wines being offered and see what you like. Did you know, by the way, that there are at least nineteen wineries in Minnesota? Visit this website and find out more: I was a bit shocked myself. I view Minnesota as more of a beer state. Speaking of which, there will be specialty beers served as well.

Lakes Latte will be making Hors d’oeuvres. I knew it, I knew it. Yes, Browser, there will be food.

Oh, and an auction. I do so love auctions. I have a close friend who sports a bumper sticker to that affect.

Proceeds from this silent auction will go to the Pine River Public Library roof repair fund! I love this fund because it means my ceiling won’t fall in. They are beginning, I am told, this coming summer. It would be best if they finished this coming summer…

Tickets will be available during February at the Pine River Public Library. Call Muriel at the library for more information. The number there is 587-4639. The advance tickets are $15, while tickets at the door will be $17.

Aren’t you tired of staying at home? I know I am. “Cabin fever”! Taste a little wine. You’ll feel ever so much better.

I remain your fun loving friend,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 26 Feb. 2009

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The amazing age of electronics

Greetings and salutations, friends all:

I am considerably tempted to begin this particular column with something that sounds like an ad for “Charles Schwab”. Something like this: “During these troubled times…”. However, as a feline I have no immediate understanding of what “troubled times” are other than what I see on television. (Yes, I watch television occasionally.)In order to truly “grok” this situation I shall break it down to the lowest common denominator. Bet you are wondering what “grok” means. It is a made up word from Robert A Heinlein’s 1960’s classic science fiction novel, “Stranger in a Strange Land”, available in our catalog. (Read it. It’s great.) This word means to fully understand something to the point of becoming it.

But I digress. “…lowest common denominator.” Food. If finance becomes so convoluted that the library can no longer afford to feed me, that would be troubling indeed, especially to me! Why am I, a mere library cat, discussing high (or low) finance? Because “Value Line” is now available on-line to our patrons from home with the use of your library card. “Value Line” publishes more than a dozen print and electronic products for timely information on stocks, mutual funds, options, convertibles, etc. This particular service was once only available in book form, and then only at the Brainerd Library, part of the Kitchigami Regional Library system. My guess, though I don’t know for sure, is that it was at that time for in-house use only, as the book cost over $200 and needed to be constantly updated. Imagine! Times may be troubled on some level, but on so many others they are simply marvelous.

The age of electronics is so amazing! On another front, you can access all of “Chilton’s” on-line from home to help you fix your vehicle if you so choose. I know this because I have personally helped two patrons fix their vehicles with the help of this wonderful service. Doubt me? Don’t. You can print the useful pages and peruse them at your leisure! (This website is very well organized.) Small engine repair services are also available on-line through By the way, Muriel has reminded me that you should book your computer time at Pine River Public Library in advance if you can. Our computers are in high demand, especially during the winter months.

If you recall, I mentioned food earlier in this column. I generally do in most columns. It is a particularly favorite topic of mine. Because of this I become rather corpulent during the colder months when very little exercise is at my disposal. With this in mind, the library staff has begun what they consider a humorous contest. Guess my weight. Now I ask you, would you want them guessing yours? I think not. Still, that is what is going on, and the person or persons who make the best guess will win a Browser key ring. Lucky you! They are simply terrific!

Reprise: “The age of electronics is so amazing!” The library will be having a teen and adult Wii day at the Pine River Library on Saturday, February 21 from 10 AM to 1 PM. I don’t personally participate in these games, but people seem to enjoy them. Bring a bag of groceries, if you’d like. (Food again.) The library is taking donations for the food shelf until the end of March.

Thank you, all, for being who you are.

I remain,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 5 Feb 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Valentine's Day brightens winter

Happy white time of year, friends all.

It’s hard to believe we could tire of the beautiful winter landscape of north central Minnesota. As a black feline, the contrast alone should ignite my spirits.

However… Thankfully February presents us with a red holiday. Yes, I am speaking of Valentine’s Day. A brief history is in order. “Which St. Valentine this early pope intended to honor remains a mystery. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of a third St. Valentine almost nothing is known except that he met his end in Africa. Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14.” ( Have a peak at this website. It is really interesting. Upon searching I find that there are 219 entries using the simple search word “valentine”. Everything from “Clifford’s Valentine’s Day” by Norman Bridwell to cookbooks on how to prepare Valentine’s Day cookies is represented. I, however, prefer to “cut to the chase”, as they say.

Bring me a Valentine’s card! I adore them. They show me that you have thought of me and that you love me. Bring me one any time in February and I will give you one in return, expressing my affection for you!

We have another fun filled event at the Pine River Public Library other than bringing me, Browser, Valentine’s cards. It is a Wii Game Day. This should brighten our January, which, judging from our parking lot, could use a little brightening. On Saturday, January 24th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM our library will be having a game day. Games will include Wii sports, Wii Play, Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution and Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz, just to name a few. Space is limited to 20, so you will need to sign up in advance. This gives me yet another opportunity to see you.

While the masochists of our community are standing out on the ice in Hole In The Day Bay (named after Chief Hole In The Day, born during a solar eclipse) fishing and freezing, you can be having a dandy time in the cheery, warm confines of our wonderful Pine River Public Library. The games are geared to ages 8 to 100, so bring Granny. (I especially like her since she doesn’t insist on carrying me around.) We will have teams. Teams are always good as they cause… teamwork! Go figure.

Smile! It’s winter. You can stay inside and read or come to the library and play games.

Affectionately yours,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 15 Jan 2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

"Curl up with a good book' this month


It all happens so quickly. Out with the old, in with the new. But what about all those cookies and candies left from the previous holiday, getting stale on the kitchen counter? And what about the fruitcake?

I have a wonderful idea, but first let us explore the fruitcake in question. I began searching the internet for the history of this item but became immediately sidetracked. Google “fruitcake lady”. Turn on the sound on your computer. (I usually leave mine off so I won’t be bombarded by shockingly loud sounds during relatively innocent searches.) You will love this, I promise! But about those fruitcakes – they are for the birds. Literally. Take your fruitcake and place it on a high stump away from the neighborhood dogs and cats (well, maybe only the dogs) or stuff it inside one of those wire cages for bird cakes and allow the birds to feast on it. The rest of the cookies and other crumbs too mangled to identify can go the same place, perhaps stuck to the fruitcake. Wish those cold feathered friends a happy new year.

Now, on to what to do during the long, cold winter months in the North Country. Curl up with some light reading like “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910). I have read this fine literature several times, usually during the winter months.

But wait! January is a time for drinking from mugs after reading 15 books. Slightly lighter reading is more to the point. Pine River Public Library’s Adult Winter Reading Program begins in January and ends on the final day of February. “Anna Karenina” may take the whole time slot!

Incidentally, if you would like information on authors you may be considering reading, log on to or use your library card and log on to and go to the online services.

Novelist is a handy way to find books that may mirror authors you already like or to read reviews of books you may not have considered reading until now.

Our Library’s theme this year is “Curl Up With A Good Book”. After reading 15 books and delivering your list to the library, you will receive a mug. Limit of 2/person.

In addition to the above, there are a few changes for 2009 here at Pine River Library.

New hours, once again because of budget cuts. Hours remain the same, the exception being Monday 1PM to 5PM and Saturday 10AM to 1PM. Confused? Check our hours on under library hours.

In closing may I wish you and yours an informed and delightful new year, filled with the unexpected.

-Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 8 Jan 2009

Monday, January 05, 2009

Travel back in time with 'Land of Hundred Wonders"

Browser here with another book review:

What of "Land of a Hundred Wonders" a novel by Lesley Kagen? The reviews on the back of the jacket say things like "...sensitive", "Poignant, compelling...", "...touch your heart", but this misses the point of this book entirely.

For anyone under the age of about 60, this book will transport you back to a time about which you know absolutely nothing.

If you haven't lived through it, you can't understand it.

This book will help you know much about this era, because its characters are sympathetic and authentic.

The book takes place in the early 1970s in a small southern town. On some level it is an historical novel. No, the characters are not based on real people, and yet they are. The town is divided between the haves and have nots, and it is sometimes difficult to tell which is which. It is also racially divided: physically, racially divided.

The southern sheriff is every bit as confused and corrupt as any you will find in the history of that era. The hero of the piece is a post-traumatic stressed Vietnam vet living in a tent in the woods in summer, a cave in winter.

Though immorality is studied in depth through the interaction of the characters, true immorality is not so easy. No right and wrong here, easily defined. What might seem terribly wrong in a different setting becomes perfectly understandable, and what is truly terribly wrong becomes clear.

I invite you to travel back in time and visit with Gibby, Clever, Billy and Cooter, lifelong friends to whom life has not always been so kind. You won't regret it.

As always, I remain,

-Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 1 January 2009